The questions that people interested in the history of Freemasonry ask more often can be summarized as follow:
– What was the nature of the Ancient Mysteries of which modern Masonry claims to be the heir?
– To what end and purpose did they exist?
– What reason is there to perpetuate them to day?
– For what purpose was Initiation created?
– Did it at any time serve any real purpose, or can it now?
– Was it ever more than a mere perfunctory ceremonial leading to nothing of essential value, and emphasizing only a few moral principles and elementary truths that we know already?
It is always a surprise to find that all religions, old and modern, have many common factors, common beliefs, doctrines, practices, and symbols. Religions and moral can be separated from each others by time or distance, they can be primitive or modern, elaborated or simple, however wide their differences all of them use roughly the same ideas, symbols and practices. This is also true for the Masonic doctrine that uses the same ancient and universal ideas, symbols and practices. This uniformity is probably due to the fact that a long time ago, when the world population was very small compared with what it is now, a Proto-Evangelicum, or Root-Doctrine, was implanted in the whole human family. The modern man assumes that he is wiser and more advanced that his primitive ancestors, but all the evidence point to the contrary, at least in the spiritual field. We are certainly cleverer and more knowledgeable than our ancestors were, but they were at least as spiritually conscious and psychically as perspective as we are, if not better. All Scriptures and cosmologies proclaim that there was a “Spiritual Golden Age” in the past, and that since then there has been a “fall” in the spiritual and moral level of humanity in favor of a big advance in practical and materialistic knowledge and well being.
This “fall” was not the fact of a single individual but, on the contrary, it was common to all humanity and, moreover, the process lasted a very long time. It is also within the normal Divine process that humanity should be redeemed and restored to its previous state, that it should be brought back into close association with the Divine Principle, from which it became increasingly detached as its materialistic tendencies overpowered its native spirituality. This restoration will require a vast amount of time, and the use of an orderly and scientific method to bring each soul to its previous pure and perfect condition. Recovery requires skilled scientific assistance that can only come from the Divine and now invisible world, from the gods and angelic guardians of the human mentioned in all the ancient traditions and sacred writings. This regenerative method could be called, as the Masons do, a “heavenly science”, or “Royal Art”.
The origin and birth of Religion (a word implying a “binding back” or re-ligare as with a fractured limb) can be explained in this way. After that the collective soul of humanity was fractured as a result of its “fall”, men were damaged, became imperfect, and in need of restoration to their previous perfect state. The spiritual guardians of these primitive men created the universal science of rebuilding the fallen temple of humanity. Traces of this old science are found now in every race and religion of the world. They use the same symbols, practices, and doctrines modified locally in accordance with the intelligence of the people, yet, with all of them based on the same root and purpose.
The Holy Catholic Religion was at once a theoretical doctrine and a practical science intended to reunite Man to his Maker. This religion was supposed to be universal, unique, and for all men equally and alike. Due to the perverse distortive tendencies of humanity, it became debased and sectarianised into too many forms all over the world. However its main original principles have never be altered, although they have been understood in different ways (exoterically and esoterically) and their importance has not always been clear. Catholicism provided the unalterable landmarks of knowledge of human nature, human potentiality, and human destiny. It stresses the ancient and established “usages and costumes” to be followed at all times by everybody accepting its discipline, and from which nobody can deviate or add innovations. It was the “Sacred Law” for the guidance of the fallen souls, valid at all time. It was also the science of the temporal limited life understood to lead to the eternal universal life that was assumed to be reached by all those who followed its scientific or philosophic rules.
The Proto-Religion is assumed to have originated in the East where all lights come from, to have diffused in the West in a second time, in the same way and direction that the population of the earth occupied the whole of our planet. As we have already seen, in the early times the people were more spiritually sensitive whereas, now, they are more materialistic. As the population increased with time, the influence of the Proto-Religion decreased, even if its principles remained as effective and valid as before as man can not changes them. The human race has moved farther and farther from the original Wisdom, so that the Light that shined on the cosmic principles is now barely visible. However that light, like the light of the Master Mason, is not extinguished. The Masonic system acts now as the witness of the Ancient Wisdom and Mysteries; it is a feeble light, but it is there all the time to show the true line of succession of the primitive doctrine and to guide its members on the way of peace and perfection.
The earliest known teaching of the Mysteries took place in the Orient in the Sanskrit (Holy Writ or “Sanctum Scriptum”) language. The student of the Ancient Secret Doctrine must also refer to the religious and philosophical scriptures of India that reached its spiritual and temporal prime when Europe was still in the ice age. Races, however, come and go when they have fulfilled their purpose. The Indian civilization, after many centuries of spiritual supremacy, collapsed, and the torch passed to Egypt, but many traces of its importance have reached us. The Egyptian civilization and knowledge of the Divine science irradiated upon its neighbors such as Chaldea, Persia, Greece, and Asia Minore. The Greek and the Palestinian civilizations mainly concern us. As the Bible tells us, Moses was an initiate of the Egyptian mysteries and wisdom. Philo adds that Moses learned music, geometry, arithmetic, hieroglyphics, and all the known arts and sciences of that time. In other words, he was a Master Mason and this made him the leader of the Hebrew people. He also formulated for them the religious system and rules of life as described in the Pentateuch. His teaching was recorded in the Old Testament, and was followed by the Gospels of the New Testament that describe the teaching of the Supreme Grand Master, who is also known as the Light of the World and its Savior.
At the same time the Greek School of Mysteries was growing up from the Orphic religion and reached its top in Delphi, and later on in Athens during the Periclean age. The Greek civilization was the heir of the precedent Indian and Egyptian schools, although it followed a different path. Most wise Greek, like Pytagoras and others, traveled to Egypt to be initiated in the old mysteries, wisdom, and secret doctrine. At the Nativity, or birth of the Great Master, it is known that Magi, or Initiates, came to see Him after seeing His star in the East.
In the Greek school, the Mysteries and the “Royal Art” took the form of a quest for philosophy, for the wisdom, for the Sophia and, in the Hebrew and Christian schools, it took the form of a quest for the Lost World. The end was the same – to recover “that which was lost”- but the approach was different, and finally the two methods melted into one. The Greek approach was mainly intellectual, whereas the Christian approach was through the affections and the adoration of the heart as well as devotion. Philosophic wisdom and the sense of Beauty were the pillars of the Greek system, but they had not yet integrated the third one, that of the Strength of the Supreme Virtue of Love that pours from a pure and perfect heart.
The quest for wisdom in Greece was for more that mere information on our place in the universe. The knowledge acquired was allowed to influence and adapt the way of living of the people to the disclosed truths, since only then was the knowledge transmuted into wisdom. To be able to do this one must be initiated into certain truths, about the soul’s own nature, history, destiny and potentiality. Only then was man ready to discover still deeper truths.
Nobody can learn spiritual science -as taught by the Masons, the Ancients and others- without submitting himself to its processes, and without having a personal and practical experience with them. It is the reason why a Master Mason is still called a “Master of Arts and Sciences”, since he is assumed to have assimilated the art of living according to the rules of the theoretical scientific gnosis. Real Masonic knowledge cannot be achieved by theoretical studies although their usefulness is without doubt, but practical personal experience is absolutely required too. Masonic knowledge is not for dilettante.
The Ancient Mysteries involve much more that a notional philosophy; they also require a philosophic method of living or, better, of dying (as Plutarch said, “to be initiated is to die”). The Ancients made a distinction between the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries. The Lesser or more elementary instructions were taught to the junior candidates, so that they could purify and adapt their life to the truths disclosed. The Greater Mysteries were those related to the development of consciousness within the soul of those who follow the prescribed rules of life. The Lesser Mysteries can be compared to the Greater, as the Craft degrees compare to the Holy Royal Arch.
We will only study one Mystery-system, that is the Eleusinian that existed in Greece for many centuries. “Eleusis” means light, and it was the focus-point of religion and philosophy for the Greek civilization. Initiation into the Mysteries of Eleusis meant a quest for light by the aspirant in more or less the same way as the Masons do. It does not only mean the quest for secret information, or any other matter of worldly interest but, above all, the opening up of the candidate’s intellectual and spiritual nature in the Light of the Divine world to raise him in the consciousness of God. That is unknown to the ordinary and un-initiated man who only knows the outer world and things perceptible by his natural faculties, and is blind to the Spirit of God. Initiation transforms a natural man into a spiritual one through a change of his consciousness that makes a new man out of him. The removal of the symbol of the Divine Presence from the ceiling to the floor of the Masonic Lodge shows that the Vital and Immortal Principle in man can be brought down from his remote psychological region into his physical organism, and function there through his body and brain. The name “Lewis” is traditionally associated with the Craft. Lewis is a modern transformation of the word Eleusis, and of other Greek and Latin names associated with Light. It also means “the son of a Mason” in the sense that it refers to the mystical birth of the Divine Light in oneself. The Divine Principle and the Divine Wisdom are brought to birth and to function within the organism of the natural man who becomes their parent. With this Divine Light within him, the natural man can deals easily with the difficulties and the problems that the non-initiated cannot copes with.
Long ago, when the Mysteries flourished, most educated man entered them in the same way that man enter universities now. It was the recognized source of instruction in the culture of the human soul, and its education in the science of itself and its divine nature. Candidates were graded according to their moral efficiency, and their spiritual or intellectual stature. For years they underwent disciplinary intellectual exercises and bodily asceticism; appropriate tests and ordeals determined their fitness to proceed in the upper stages of their initiation. Only the qualified candidates could proceed to learn the closely guarded secrets. Their education was less practical and utilitarian that it is now and was directed to cultivate the “four cardinal virtues” and the “seven liberal arts and sciences”. They formed the base required to participate in the higher order of life to which initiation led the successful candidates. Virtues were not mere abstractions and ethical sentiments, but implied positive valor and virility of soul. Temperance meant complete control of the passional nature under every circumstances; Fortitude was defined as the courage that no adversity could deflect from the aim in view; Prudence was the forward-seeing faculty of the sage and Justice implied unswerving righteousness of thought and action. The “Arts and Sciences” were called “liberal” because they tended to liberate the soul from defects and illusions that otherwise would enslave it. Grammar, Logic and rhetoric were considered by the Ancients as disciplines of the moral nature that eliminated the irrational tendencies of the human beings. Geometry and Arithmetic were sciences of transcendental space and numeration, the comprehension of which provides the key to the physical problems. Astronomy required no telescope as it dealt, not with the stars in the sky, but with the science of metaphysics and the understanding of the forces determining the destiny of individuals, nations, and the race. Music, or harmony, was not a vocal or instrumental art, but it meant the living practice of philosophy, the adjustment of human life with God, until the personal soul became united with Him.
The mind was trained to acquire domination over the passions and to detach itself from the impressions and attractions of the senses, to destroy the illusions and false imaginations brought forward by its own light and to qualify it for a higher method of cognition and for the reception of supersensual truth and the light of the divine world. The idealism of Greek architecture and sculpture was to elevate the imagination beyond the visible level, and to adapt the mind to apprehend ultra-physical form of beauty. Wrestling and racing were regarded as the type of battles the soul does against the fleshy desires, and the winner’s crown of laurel or olive was the symbol of wisdom and illumination as the spirit conquers the flesh. Every intellectual and physical interest was made subservient to the idea of separating the soul from material bondage, and was of a purifying nature that should clean the thoughts and desires of the candidate and make him clean, within and without, as the modern candidate to the Craft is dressed in white. The inward purity of heart and mind, with the possession of the four cardinal virtues, was, and still is, essential for the candidate initiate. Those few who succeeded to Master the Lesser Mysteries were normally admitted to initiation in the Greater Mysteries, but those who failed were not. As the Gospels say, “Many are called but few are chosen”.
Humility is a required condition from the aspirants. The world at large believes that the wisdom into which the Mysteries and initiation admit a man is foolish, as it is the opposite of the usual standards. The candidate must be ready for that complete and voluntary self-denial that may lead to the negation of everything he held for true until then. He must accept to “become a fool for the kingdom of heaven’s sake”, and to suffer adversity, ridicule, and insult from others. This was one of the reason for the Masonic secrecy since the world’s wisdom and that of initiation are at the opposite of each other, and this justifies that any contact between the two are to be avoided. Silence and secrecy are therefore necessary but humility is indispensable. The public was admitted to participate in some of the processions of the Lesser Mysteries where the sacred emblems and Eucharistic vessels were carried on the back of an ass. It is also said that Greek philosophers always had an ass at their side when teaching their students. This will also help to understand the symbolic significance of the Christian Master riding into Jerusalem on an ass.
Myths were generally used in the Mysteries to instruct, enlarge and purify the imagination. They expressed either in doctrinal form, or by spectacular representation, the truths of the Divine world and of the soul’s history. The modern mind is not very receptive to this method of teaching that does not deal with demonstrable facts, but enunciates the eternal principles underlying those facts. Facts tend to congest the mind and to paralyze the imagination, whereas principles stimulate and illuminate it, and unable the mind to interpret the facts and adjust them to their proper relation. Greek mythologists used fables to express cosmic and philosophic truths in order to inform the initiates and to hide them from the ignorant. Myth making was a science used to instruct candidates in the fundamental truths of life.
Masonry follows the traditional method of instruction by myths. The Craft Degrees teach two myths: the building of King Solomon’s Temple and the death and burial of Hiram Abif. The Royal Arch has a third myth dealing with the return from captivity after the destruction of the first Temple, the beginning of the reconstruction of the second, and a certain discovery.
The building of King Solomon’s Temple, based in large part on the Hebrew Scriptures, is the story of the erection of a stone and mortar structure by three Asiatic notables. The first had the original idea, the second supplied the material, and the third was the architect and chief of work. The first two were kings of small nations, whereas the third was a common man, a “widow’s son”. Of course, the construction of a Temple more than two thousand years ago is of no interest to the modern man, but the story is not intended as the record of a historical fact, but as a myth containing philosophical truths concerning eternal principles. If it is interpreted correctly, then it will reveal important truths. The quasi-historical story of the building of the Temple is a philosophical instruction concerning the structure of the human soul. That temple is not made of bricks and mortar, but of incorruptible raw materials used by the Creator to make the human organism. Jerusalem, the city where it is said that it was built, is not the capital of Palestine, but the eternal “city of peace” in the heavens. Its builders were not three men from Asia, but the Divine energy seen in its three principles (Wisdom, Strength and beauty) which, as “pillars of His work”, form the metaphysical basis of all created things. In modern terms these three metaphysical principles can be defined as Life-Essence (the spirit of Wisdom), incorruptible Matter (the mould or vehicle that gives it form and Strength) and the intellectual principle or Logos binding the first two together in an intelligent and functional whole (Beauty). Originally, the human soul was divinely made of these three principles on these three pillars in the heaven-world. These three pillars “also allude to Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre; and Hiram Abif”. These names personify the indissociable triadic constituents of the Divine Unity. Their names are inscribed on the central symbolic altar of the Royal Arch Degree as evidence of the divine construction of the human soul. However, the temple of the soul has now been destroyed and thrown down from its previous eminence and grandeur, and Humanity is not a united organism anymore, but is shattered in many parts. It has lost consciousness of the genuine secrets of its origin and nature, and its only knowledge comes from what its senses collect in the outer world. The Temple can however be rebuilt, and each Mason’s soul becomes one more new stone of the restored temple in the heavens.
Solomon personifies the primordial Life-Essence, or Divine Wisdom, that is the basis of our being. Hiram, the King of Tyre, brings the kingly assistance, form and fixity required in the shape of “building material”. The word Tyre has nothing to do with the port of this name. In Hebrew Tyre means “rock”, and the strength, compactness and durability associated with rock, while in Greek the same word appears as Turos and in Latin as Terra, earth, and Durus, implying form, hardness, consistency and durability. “King of Tyre” can be interpreted as the cosmic principle that gives solidity and form to the spiritual and formless Life-Essence, or to a cup intended to hold liquid. Hiram Abif (“the teacher from the Father”), the widow’s son, personifies the active intellectual principle or Logos; he is the Christ principle immanent in every soul. Hiram Abif is not a king but a “window’s son”, a Gnostic symbol referring to the Divine Motherhood or Sophia. Only those children who have rejoined, or are trying to rejoin, their mother can be called the “widow’s son”.
The temple of the human soul, originally composed of the three principles in good proportion, is now destroyed as its three pillars are degraded. Wisdom (Gnosis) has fallen and replaced by speculative opinion; Strength (divine dynamic energy) has been replaced by the frailty of the flesh; Beauty has been replaced by ugliness and imperfection. Man is now a ruined temple over which is written “Ishabod! Ishabod! The glory is departed!” Man is now disconnected from his Vital and immortal Principle; he is a prisoner to his lower temporal nature. To save and free himself he must rebuilt his temple, making it possible for Deity to reenter into himself to stay.
To be “installed in the chair of King Solomon” means that one has recovered the lost Wisdom, and the revival within oneself of the Divine Life-Essence that is the basis of our being. With Wisdom one also recovers Strength and Beauty since the Three Pillars stand united. Not to revive the Divine-Essence during our stay on this earth is to miss a big opportunity, since this will not occur after death that is a stage of refreshment and rest where no recovery is possible. Initiation was created to teach the science that allows us to reach this Divine State that lift the human soul to a new life-basis from which salvation is possible. As the Ancient Mysteries taught, the soul that does not begin this work in this world will not be able to do it in the next one and will remain in a kind of a limbo until it is drawn again in the eternal process of life. There are many levels of superphysical life or, as the Gospels say, “in my Fathers’ house are many mansions”, and that means that there are many resting-places whose occupants are graduated in hierarchical order according to their spiritual level. This is in contradiction with the ideals of equality and uniformity of the modern world that has lost all sense of the hierarchical principle. Masonry believes in this graduation, not only in the after-life, but also in its organization. As an example it is known that above the Craft Lodges, there are the Provincial Grand Lodges, followed by the Grand Lodge of the nation. Above these are the Royal Arch Chapter, with, above again, the Provincial and Grand Chapters. The symbolic clothing and the Masonic Apron worn by these officers reflect their hierarchical ranking.
Beside the Greek Elusinian system of Ancient Mysteries that has been described here there are, of course, many others such as the Egyptian, Samothracian, Chaldean, Mithraic, Gnostic, and others still. In their time and places, they were the authoritative centers of religion and philosophy in the larger sense of these words. All these systems avoided to divulge the deeper truths, and the description of the initiation process that remained secret. Very few people are fit to receive initiation even after long and rigorous preparation, and even less are able to impart it.
The Mysteries, as pubic institutions, ceased to exist in the sixth century when the Roman Authorities under Justinian ordered their dissolution, and prohibited the teaching of the secret doctrine and philosophy. Justinian wanted to impose an official state-religion through the Empire. After the Roman Empire declined, a strong Roman Catholic Church emerged from it that did its best to eliminate any rival religion or philosophy and, at the same time, claimed supremacy and jurisdiction in temporal matter. From the Masonic point of view, the attitude of the Catholic Church that, not only claimed authority on spiritual matters, but also on temporal power and secular possessions, as it has done in the past and still does now, can only leads to neutralization of its spiritual qualifications as it becomes infected with its material possessions. The result has been to transform what may have been the greatest spiritual institution in the world into a materialistic organization exercising a spiritual tyranny on man that has driven million of people out of religion. Masonry believes that the Roman Catholic Church has failed as a leading Church due to its avidity for secular power and material possessions. It has also led to the appearance of the Protestant Churches, and the chaos of the numerous and disunited sects that characterize the Christian world today. This is a pity as Christianity was intended to be a system of initiation on a universal scale and to take over, and amplify, all previous religious teachings that were offered only to a restricted public in the Ancient Mysteries. Christianity came, not to destroy the religions of the past, but to fulfill a need for a universal religion open to all the people of every races and culture.
By convention, the members of the Craft avoid to mention the Christian Master in their Lodge in order not to offend the non-Christians. For the same reason, they only read and make reference to the Old Testament. This is unwarranted as the “Greater Light”, to which the members are to be aware from their entrance in the Craft, is the totality of the Sacred law that includes the New Testament. Both New and Old Testaments are part of the Masonic instructions, and both constitute the record of the Mysteries in their supreme form and content. The Gospels, like the Masonic Degrees, are a record of preparation and illumination, leading up to the ordeal of death, followed by a raising from the death and the attainment of Mastership. They include the process of initiation carried to the highest level. The New Testament is full of passages in Masonic terminology, and it is a pity that it is not used, as it should, in the modern Craft. It is like a builder refusing to use and install a major Corner Stone. They would learn that the Grand Master, Hiram Abif, is a figure of the Grand Master and Savior of the World, the Divine Architect, by whom all things were made. Moreover, the Christian Scriptures also tell all human “how they should build” and reconstruct their own fallen nature, and that the method to use involves the cross as a working tool and one that culminate in a death and a raising from the dead. Those who attain their initiation and Mastership by that method become part of the household of God and are built into an eternal spiritual temple, not made by hand, but located in the heavens, and of which “Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone”.
Modern Masonry, as the Ancient Mysteries cannot be fully understood without reference to their relation to the Christian doctrine in which the Old Religions conflued. Taking into consideration the time, place and ways of expression, both are teaching the same truths and the necessity of regeneration, and there cannot be a diversity of doctrine. St Augustine went as far as to proclaim that there has only been one religion in the world since the beginning of time, and that that religion began to be called Christian after Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. As a result one can say that both the Roman Catholic Church and Masonry, despite their differences, have many points in common. Both declare that no alteration or innovation of their doctrine is admissible, and that it is unlawful to deviate from the ancient landmarks. In other words, Christian and Masonic doctrines are identical in intention though different in method. The Christians say “Via Crucis”, the Masons “Via Lucis”; the former teaches through the ear and the latter through the eye (by passing the candidate through symbolic rites that he is assumed to translate from ceremonial form into subjective experience) yet the two ways are one. Initially, the Christian teaching was not uniform as it is now. It was a graduated method, similar to the Masonic system of degrees, conferred on the base of merit, advancement and ability. There were also three initiatory degrees, like in the Craft; those who succeeded were known as Catechumens (implying rebirth and purification of the heart), Leiturgoi (illumination of the intelligence) and Priests or Presbyters (death into sin and a new birth into righteousness).
When Christianity became a world religion, and the Church a world power, its doctrine became more materialistic. Instead of becoming a unifying force, its association with “worldly possessions” made it a disintegrative one, and abuses led to schisms and sectarianism. Regeneration, as a science, is now well outside the scope of orthodox religions as the Christian Master saying “You must be born again” is completely ignored. Orthodox religions can produce “good” men, but they cannot produce anymore divinized men endued with the qualities of Mastership, as they are ignorant of the traditional wisdom and of the methods to acquire it.
The Wisdom and the traditional methods of the Mysteries have not completely disappeared despite the efforts of the orthodox religions to destroy them. Since the suppression of the Mysteries in the sixth century, their traditions and teaching continued in secret; the present Masonic system takes its origin within them. The Masonic doctrine was compiled by a group of men, well aware of the old tradition and secret science, two or three centuries ago as an elementary expression of the ancient doctrine and initiatory methods. They remained anonymous, and we have no way to identify them, as is normal from true initiates. They did a very good job and were faithful, at least in outline and main principles, to the ancient teaching and perfecting rites of the philosophic Mysteries. Their system of Speculative Masonry was created as “an experiment upon the mind of the age” and to show, at least to the most mature minority of the people of their time of darkness and materialism, an evidence of the doctrine of regeneration. If this is true, it can be said that their aim has been falsified by the development of the worldwide Masonic organization with its vast membership, full of good intentions and ideals, ready to perform social work, but failing to see the true and original purpose of promoting the science of human regeneration. However, the Masonic system, even if it does not fulfill its main aim, is of great benefit to a few individuals that are able to profit from the teaching to witness, to preserve, and to keep alive the light of the perpetual Mysteries. Like the light of the Master Mason that never goes off, the light of the Ancient Mysteries never goes out either, and God, and the way to reach Him, are not left without witness. Masonry is a small light, but a true one, able to guide a few members in the right direction. Most members of the Craft do not see the light and do not even know of its existence. They do not understand the meaning of initiation and are happy with moving among the symbols, simulacra and substitutes secrets of the Mysteries without comprehending them, and without trying to translate them into reality. The Craft mainly pursues social and philanthropic ends foreign to its real purpose, and even acts as a provider of personal distinction, forgetting that it should deals mainly with the science of regeneration. It can not be said that the present system is useless. It is true that very few of its members are real initiates but, at least, they have a notion and a limited desire to see the light, and this is a good thing. With time it is hoped that the true aim of the Order will come back to the forefront, and that the old tradition will come back to its full grandeur once more. The approach of the ancient temples of the mysteries were lined with statues of the Gods to habituate the neophytes to the spiritual concepts and divine attributes to which these statues were supposed to give a visible form. Within the temple, on the contrary, there was no statue or image, as the mind of the initiates did not need this kind of help anymore. As an old Masonic teacher said, “Get knowledge, get wisdom”. Understanding depends on the gift of the Supernal Light, but this too depends on our desire for it. If wisdom today is widowed, all masons are actually, or potentially, the widow’s sons, and she will be justified by her children who seek her out and who labor for her. It depends on the Craft itself whether it will become the true follower of the Ancient Mysteries and Wisdom-teaching. If it fails to do so it will disappear, as so many religions of the past did. (3)