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#> no way to become sure of such a thing either except to go through
#> all the various orders and then trust that all the ones that you saw
#> were all that there was. the lodges vary in their rites at times and
#> customs. what do you suggest to stipulate as 'possible' secrets?
# It depends on what level we discuss `secrets'. As for a system of
# mystic experiences or experiences that transcends language or
# rationality I have not so far met such in the freemasonic
you might meet more amongst Speculative Freemasons and you might
also find more of them via online resources if they are not in
your area. the appended rites such as the Scottish and whatever
are prone to being more "esoteric" in an expanded and not-
originally-Freemasonic character (e.g. Pike's "Morals and Dogma").
# On the other hand there seems to be references to
# concepts that had their birth at the same time as historic
# (speculative) masonry that seems to be difficult for many
# masons to see. As if such concepts are worked into the
# system as a blind to those that doesn't free themselves
# in the mind (A free mind is important and in a sense a
# prerequisite to be a mason in my view).
perhaps this is the phenomenon encountered inspiring
people to propose that Freemasonry has 'lost the Keys'.
# To mention one - the humanistic concepts of freedom,
# equality and brotherhood. It is if some masons don't
# see the forest for the trees in their path.
do you mean by this that they are set into religious dogmas
such as are provided by Christians and Jews and Muslims to
their worshippers? if so, it could be that the 'Volume of
Sacred Law' used by those whom you mention constrains their
minds to a non-humanistic measure, whereas there are or at
least were lodges who have extended that to Crowley's and
even LaVey's scriptures. do these latter have the type of
'humanistic concepts of freedom' we might encounter within
French Freemasonry? (some whom even admit atheists?! there
is a restriction in most Freemasonry to those who confess
a belief in a Cosmic Architect, a Creator God if you like.)
# Another one is within the moral structure. If one
# looks at the general atmosphere around 1717 in Europe
# the ideas that took place in the intellectual community
# (and which later evolved into the general population)
# are much like what one finds in freemasonic texts. What
# puzzles me are these traditionalists -- if I may call
# them that -- that don't realize that masons at that
# time was in the very forefront of moral development
# fighting `the new and rational' battles of the
# humanistic ideas. It seems that masons today still
# live of the goodwill of masons past and won't do their
# own work.
interesting, Isabel. if they did their own work would
that include research into the history? something more
internal such as spiritual or mysticoreligious work?
or work in terms of coming to understand the Freemasons
and their history through some particular means?
# Example: It is really silly to keep up this nonsense
# that women are not part of freemasonry -- it is not
# consistent with the goals of masonry.
now this opinion seems to be waxing after a period of
strong resistance to a homogenizing of Freemasons in
general. the most recently resolved(?) issue was that
of the Prince Hall Masons in the US (segregation led
to the complete duplication of Lodges in many areas,
and a lack of recognition until lately by the UGLE).
# First of all they have always been so -- both in
# operative and speculative masonry (I don't know
# what Anderson ate that day but it wasn't healthy).
you mean they were until the women were kicked out?
# Second -- it makes no sense to work for a global
# brotherhood and then excluding more than half simply
# because their sexual organs are inside rather than
this type of dimorphism seems to be heavy in European
and American countries where Freemasonry has a home.
the Christian men are the 'heads of the household',
so why would they want to upset this hierarchy with
a few Freemasonic ideals? the Co-Masons seem to have
rather put their foot down (as did some Frenchies)
in favour of including women, to their credit.
# I can only wonder why this group that recently split
# from UGLE didn't change this -- or maybe it is the
# other group that is working towards this.
it is possible that the UGLE is losing authority. not
knowing to what order you refer, it is somewhat
difficult for me to assess, especially since i'm so far
from Freemasonry (and many other things, acc. to Fr. 72!).
# Anyways, to return to the subject of secrets -- there
# is also a sort of pedagogue secret in the sense that
# one through the system is taught rather by doing than
# by verbalising or thinking. These latter parts --
# though used - are in the background. In this sense I
# agree with one of the writers above that mentioned
# this indirectly. But as I hinted I am not all settled
# on this issue.
kinesthetic learning, yes.
#> one important aspect of Freemasonry is that they did
#> kick women out at some point and then tried to wash
#> that out of historical memory in some cases, or at
#> least become convinced that it is now only for men
#> and always was. this doesn't entirely square with
#> Thelema, to my knowledge, and the Eastern Star
#> thing they made for women was overseen by male
#> masons and is different.
# Yes, it was quite an odd development -- a clear
# sign of degeneration. In my view it is on the
# level of removing one of the two dominating
# colours of a masonry temple -- very odd -- I don't
# know who initially got that brainfart.
it's probably trackable. you might start here:
Freemasonry For Women, by catherine yronwode
# There has always been women in the French Grand
I've heard that but don't know much about it. the
local groups to me that derive from that French
system appear to have gone for St. Germaine.
# -- but you are right -- also in EU women were
# pushed into actual esoteric groups for many years.
# London Grand Lodge did recognize that there are
# female masons a few years ago -- but still insist
# to keep them out of their particular rite.
steps, slowly, but surely, toward rectification.
bureaucracies and orders seem to work very slowly.
#> the iconography of Freemasonry is blatant in its attempt to lure
#> in the masculine and principled to virtue and goodness. it has
#> shorthand all out on its sleeve giving the interested hints and
#> clues as to its pieces, expanded within dramatic rituals spun off
#> of pieces of the Christian Old Testament (Hiram), and focussed on
#> architecture and construction.
# I think you are right that a large part of today's masonry act in
# this way. These days I am reading a text of Ben Kadosh a frontrunner
# in last century masonry in Denmark. He saw JHVH as Lucifer and the
# demiurge (Hiram) -- a rather Gnostic approach (not odd seeing that he
# was carrying an apostolic succession). Kadosh influenced some
# important later masons. (Masonry in Denmark is old -- I do believe
# that it was the second or third to have a grand lodge -- but I am
# not certain as I am extremely tired right now).
all of this is beyond me. Fr. 72 (Bryan Hooper) might be able to
address this kind of material, since he is sure I'm all wrong. ;)
part of the problem with esotericists who are quick to say that
their mail-companions "know nothing" is that they seem rarely to
offer up anything other than denials (perhaps because they have
been hamstringed in their knowledge by oaths of secrecy?).
#> recitation, inculcation, symbolism, movement,authority,
#> masculine virtue, knowledge, and charity. it's all there
#> if you want it. I'm *not* a Freemason. my dedication to
#> the Great Feminine doesn't really admit my interest,
#> though i have become more and more intrigued by the
#> symbolism and teachings of the Eastern Star (point-down
#> pentagram, multi-coloured).
# You say masculine virtue but not feminine virtue -- why
# is that?
maybe in the Eastern Star? I figure if there were so obvious
remnants of women in the Freemasons such as inculcation of
feminine virtues (they may be, I'm not generally fond of
their masculine pole), then denials would be less
forthcoming from the initiates. there's a lot being
instructed within Freemasonry, about the whole wide world,
and most of it does seem to be directed toward men.
# And what is the great feminine in your view`?
I'm dedicated to a goddess whom some regard as 'The Great
Goddess' (along with numerous others no doubt). as such,
this takes the form of escalating women beyond mere parity
and particularly where men are already having the upper
hand. in sociopolitics and in religiomystical endeavours,
this plays out with providing women more administerial
power (something i don't yet see across the movement that
is known to us as Thelema, but i hope to be surprised).
as such, my focus is away from martial, masculine boys
clubs (like the OTO) and more toward that which features
elements attractive to and conversant with women's
character and general behaviours. Freemasonry has not
yet displayed itself (in my CA locale at least) as more
than this men's club enterprise, fitting squarely into
the male-dominated sociopolitical systems into which
women are barely penetrating and co-opting their values
to engage. my focus has more often been nonprofit
charitable and educational institutions which are set
up and run, quite often, by women, and whose upper
management tends to consolidate women into them,
even setting quotas to ensure fair representation.
#> how does Freemasonry connect with Thelema?"
# I find your question hard to understand....
sorry about that. my query really has to do with an
analysis of the two categories and evaluating where
and how they have, do, and may *need* to be integral.
# ...In my work with Thelema I am in these years
# rather convinced that Thelema is a kind of
# meta-structure -- I am not certain of the hows
# and the whys and for the time being are merely
# experimenting -- chances are I am wrong. But
# as long as I have this view it is difficult
# for me to see a direct connection between a
# purely humanspecies conventional, social-
# structure working with the individual
# (freemasonry) and then a cosmic background for
# the laws of nature and epistemology.
it might coincide within certain principles
common to both, such as will and love. surely
there are many masonic terms carried over
into such orders as the GD and the OTO.
# It might be done -- but this is why I find
# the question so difficult.
I totally understand what you mean. there is
some reason to assert that all organizations
are contrary to individual sovereignty by
virtue of its requirements to conform and to
ally with possibly unknown individuals within
the social structure to the contraint of will.
in this way we might say that Freemasonry is
aslant the best interests of Thelema toward
# As for myself as
# an individual I have chosen to work
# Freemasonry to add to my knowledge so that
# a gain freedom of mind -- also I gain a
# tolerance through the humanistic teachings.
# So a vague (and hence poor argument) would
# be that they might connect through the will
# of the individual.
that's kinda what i figured. some apparently
think that the masonic framework is useful
for Thelema, and yet its democratic and
more egalitarian aspects aren't always
integrated into the Thelemic social milieu.