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Freemasonry

Ave,

Every single senior Adept of the Golden Dawn I have personally encountered is a Freemason. Every.Single.One. I am not. I wonder how this is effecting my development? What I've studied of Freemasonry hasn't revealed any hidden wisdom that I hadn't acquired previously to joining the Golden Dawn, and what I've found in the Golden Dawn esoterically has been far superior in depth, understanding , and practice. I would go so far as to say that Freemasonry--from a purely magical standpoint--may serve as a nice preparatory school for someone transitioning from the common materialistic mindstate, or someone whose esoteric experience doesn't extend much beyond church. But that's about it. Yet, here I stand, the one dude who isn't a Freemason among the multitudes of GD magicians who are. I must be missing something here. Is there more going on at the Freemasonic meetings than dinner in nice jackets? I've attended a few Freemasonic events--for a gentleman I'm hoping to transition into the Golden Dawn one day--and found there to be some beauty there, and a very warm Fraternal feel. That's something the Masons seem to excel at. Outside of Fraternity, there seems to be very little of use to be found within Freemasonry that isn't done better in the GD for the modern magician.

Not that they aren't doing magic-they are....well, they're miming it, at least. They just don't seem to be aware of that, which is interesting to see. The pillars, circumambulations, reference to the Architect and all that.....you can see how, in the hands of Magicians, Freemasonry works as a fine initiatory tool, up to a certain level. Perhaps it differs depending on the Masonic Temple one is attending, but the rituals I witnessed were pretty, solemn, and completely lacking in "juice". The LVX was not a-flowing. There were no energies invoked or manipulated, only a very subtly altered state of consciousness, akin to what one experiences at church. I think this is a matter of the tradition and solemnity with which the rituals are expressed, and has little to do with the intent of the officiates. I don't say these things to be perjorative; perhaps Freemasonry isn't meant to be an Occult organisation these days, perhaps it isn't meant to evolve the person beyond a certain point. Perhaps it is meant to encourage men to be better members of their community, better socially and civilly. Masonry today is not necessarily the Masonry of the 19th century.

Most of the big names in Western Magic historically had their start in the Masons. Arguably the finest minds in Western Magic have sprung from within it's ranks. It was once fertile ground; perhaps that ground has grown fallow? Perhaps, like the Golden Dawn, the quality of each temple varies with the quality and aims of it's leaders? I know the Masons provided a nice shield for gentleman with Occult aims to pursue their studies with like-minded individuals in the past. That shield isn't quite as necessary these days, but Masonry may still serve as welcoming place for those of Occult bent. Especially in small towns, or very religious places. I live in the SF Bay Area, and could glue horns to my head and bay to the moon every night, and none would bother me. Things my be a little different elsewhere. 

I don't know-there are a lot of things that would be a bit easier if I were part of the Masons. The Masons are huge, and the connections and resources their Fraters have available we could only Dream of having in the Magical community these days. They have temples that are gorgeous and absolutely MASSIVE, and a respectability that this Magician won't likely gain in society anytime soon. Even with all the conspiracy theories, decline in Masonic values (problems with racism, problems with religion in the Southern areas with Christianity being highlighted), and decreased membership,  the organisation creates bonds between men that are strong and strengthens communities. 

Then there is the question of which Masonry--Prince Hall, which has a long and honored tradition within my ethnic community--or standard Masonry, which may not be quite as warm in welcoming this Frater, if the various blogs and testaments of current Masons are accurate. I certainly want no part of an organisation that would discriminate against myself and my brethren. I am aware that this isn't all Masonry, only certain regions, but it gives one pause. 

Many of the magicians I honor and respect are Freemasons; there must be something of value there. Perhaps an organisation need not be purely magical to be valuable to a magician. 

In LVX,

AIT


Perhaps what it comes down to is perspective. 


Comments

  1. Frater,

    I had been a ceremonial magician for ten years before joining the Masons. If you go IN as a magician, it's a totally different beast. Here is what I found:

    - A sudden uptake in feelings of safety, both at the astral and cultural level—as I now had 2 million men backing me up, all over the world.

    - A shift from being an enemy of the state to BEING the state. No small mental shift.

    - A wealth of occult information encoded in the rituals and symbolism, especially in the appendant bodies (Scottish and York Rite)—IF you know how to see.

    - A great fraternal experience that you just won't get from the magical community (mainly due to numbers of people)—and the ability to meet and socialize "on the level" from men from many, many walks of life that you would never meet in daily life. Men from STABLE walks of life, also something harder (though of course not impossible) to surround yourself with in the magical community.

    Masonry, as you say, is the headspring of the WMT—it's also the meat and potatoes. If the GD and Thelema are the party after dinner, Masonry, IMO, is dinner—what you need to stay healthy and not be hung over the next day.

    As far as racism—I've heard that too, unfortunately. It mostly happens in the south, and seems to be part and parcel of entrenched attitudes in that part of the country. It's a shame and I hope their jurisdiction sorts that out. But I'm a California Mason—and every Masonic lodge I've been to has members of all colors, creeds and walks of life. It's just not an issue. Of course, Prince Hall still exists for those who want an exclusively African-American Masonic experience, but it is by no means mandatory. There have been black Masons in every lodge and body I've visited, often as the Worshipful Master.

    As with anything, it's just people—so every lodge will be different. If you look around, you're likely to find some with a more esoterically-minded bent, including practicing magicians, especially in the Bay Area. There are some Real Weirdoes in the Craft, more than you would think. ;)

    If you're in the Bay Area, I recommend checking out the California Grand Lodge in SF. It's the HQ of Masonry in the State—ask for a tour, you'll get to see some awesome stuff and you can grill your guide with any questions you may have. Of course, nobody will ever ask you to become a Mason—you have to inquire yourself.

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  2. Care Fr AIT,

    I hope you are now fully recovered from your illness.

    Thanks for this post. I will not say much as I sure many others will be saying lots :)

    (1) We will get ‘out’ of Freemasonry whatever we bring to it. For example, several of my close magician friends think I am mad attending Communion, and by viewing what occurs on the surface I agree with them. However, attending outer Communion with an inner intention and attention, trained in magical and ritual procedures, there is much depth, beauty and spiritual grace. I have felt the same in any Masonic ritual I have attended as a guest.

    (2) That said, since it is as obvious as dogs’ balls that the founders of the GD saw women’s equality in the Order as a crucial component and the exoteric and esoteric world has also moved to that opinion. Any valorisation of any male only tradition for its esoteric or ritual aspects by members of a tradition that has sexual equality as its basis is discordant indeed.

    (3) The obvious advantages of being a Mason outlined above by your anonymous commentator need to be weighed by each male GD member against what I consider one of the revolutionary core aspects of the GD tradition. Westcott and Mathers wanted to (or were directed to?) bring the magical and fraternal wisdom once accessible only to Masonic brothers to non-Masons and to women. Personally, I could not consider myself fully a part of the Golden Dawn tradition and impetus and be a male-only Freemason.

    Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Care Fra. Anon,

    Thank you for sharing your experience! It is nice to know that the *ahem* "southern condition" isn't prevalent throughout the Fraternity. It's also great to get the perspective of a Magician who is also an active Mason-you don't here too many Magicians talking about their personal experiences with Masonry (beyond mention of their degrees, that is).

    I have a few friends in the San Jose lodge, and they've had nothing but good experiences with their Fraters there (both of these gentleman are black fellows). I would likely choose a multi-varied lodge over a homogeneous one...Prince Hall has a great tradition among my people, but I'm not that concerned with race-a man's a man. Better have multi-varied perspectives. I think people miss out when they dis-include other backgrounds-although to be fair to Prince Hall, all races are welcome within it's arms. There are Prince Hall Fraters from every creed and corner, although they are primarily black. They don't keep anyone out, which is nice. They'd be just as bad as the Southerners if they did.

    Thankfully, the same can be said for regular Masonry in many areas of the country, mine included. Thank you again for sharing! I'll pay the SF lodge a visit. I've been inside it a dozen times, but never with intent.

    In LVX,

    AIT

    ReplyDelete
  4. Care VH Fra Peregrin,

    Thank you for perspectives-you've brought up an interesting point with the gender issue! Although I wonder if your own focus on and understanding of the issue may be beyond even the founding members of our own Fraternity. While they wanted to include women in the Golden Dawn (as they rightly should), not a single one of them actually Left Masonry. Two of them left the Golden Dawn, even, but their Masonic roots remained intact all of their days. It would seem clear that they found no conflict with being members of both a male-only and an intermixed group. Traditionally, it seems that more Adepti are inclined to retain this dual membership.

    I personally would only have issue with being a member of a male-only secret society if it where actively oppressing or keeping ignorant the female persons who would like to join. I understand that there is a female Masonry that contains all of the same rites and information as the male...with that in play, I don't see anything wrong with a male-only fraternity.

    Perhaps the feminist perspective would be that a male-only institution of any sort is oppressive to females by it's mere existence; I would argue that oppression is a matter of inequality of power, and that in occult fraternities it is the hidden knowledge that is the power. If that knowledge is equally shared between the Fraternity and Sorority, than all is to the good. As the Freemasons aren't an operative magical order, polarity does not seem important for them ritually...the gender of the various Masons, who come from all walks of life, seems to be the only thing many of them have in common. Perhaps that is part of why they have such division in this day and age, that and tradition. Just my opinion, of course.

    Thanks again for your perspective, Frater-you always add an interesting turn to conversation!

    In LVX,
    AIT

    ReplyDelete
  5. Think the nature of the tree is to be insulted by another tree growing near its roots. this is common when tree hold fruit that the animals really like and encourages its seeds to multiply. I think the morning tires of mistakes as much as the Yaks, but cant both trees provide for man better then one?

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  6. Care Frater,

    I believe it differs between Lodges if they cand offer you anything of value, besides fraternisation. I would recommend either a Scottish Lodge or a Royal Arch Lodge, the former because it is somewhat regarded as "esoteric" or "hermetic" compared to Blue Lodge (Craft Masonry), playing with some Rosicrucian motifs, the latter because lots of that particular Rite has spilled over into the creation of the Golden Dawn tradition.

    I believe some Lodges are more freespoken when it comes to discussion of the Western Mysteries, while others are relatively unaware of anything esoteric. I believe there are local variations even within the same Rite.

    A good working lodge would at least give you some directions in how to properly perform rituals, i.e. how to perform them physically. Freemasons generally know how to create atmosphere and sonority. Belonging to a lodge will also learn you basics of Order etiquette, which also should spill over to a G.D. Temple.

    If you are historically inclined freemasonry has lot to offer a G.D. initate. As I have pointed out before, lots comes from that direction in the creation of most hermetic societies, the Golden Dawn included. One may play with the though of stripping of the Golden Dawn tradition of all of its freemasonic influences and connections, how much would then remain? Being a freemason will make you aware of how much the G.D. is in debt to freemasonry.

    But besides this, don't expect to learn that much about Qabalah and Hermeticism. You will of course learn lots about freemasonic symbolism, which also somewhat spills over to the Golden Dawn. Personally I regard freemasonry, also the Blue Lodge variaty, to be part of the Western Mystery Tradition. A Adept of the Golden Dawn should be well versed in freemasonic symbology, which revolves a lot around the mystical interpretation of the Temple of Solomo and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem.

    Being a freemason won't contradict anything you are learning in the Golden Dawn. On the contrary, you might see the Golden Dawn in a somewhat different light because of it. There are even direct references to freemasonic symbology in the G.D. documentation, such as the 12 Tribes of Israel in relation to the Shew Bread diagram, etc. That particular (and important) document almost presupposes the reader being a Freemason.

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe
    S:.R:.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Care VH Fra SR,

    Thank you for your perspective, Frater. It is interesting to note that Freemasonic symbology spills over into our own...especially with the direct references involving the tribes, which has been so important in work like the Concourse of Forces GH Fra LES developed in his researches. Interesting to think that some of the keys we use to unlock the Mysteries can still be found within the Freemasonic lore.

    In LVX,
    AIT

    ReplyDelete

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