"All of our souls evolutions are not ready for further knowledge, it is our place to provide the tools to be used but not to hammer on a stone that is not ready. This is unfortunately a solitary journey my friend, let us pray to meet a fellow traveler along the way to keep us company." - Vitriol Knight
I really appreciate the work that you do.I would prefer not to give my name in a public forum so Vitriol Knight would work for a handle. I am a esoteric Freemason of both the Scottish and the Ancient York rite, having been initiated in and performing initiations in many degrees and performed various roles of leadership.I wanted to layout my perspective so here it is.
Freemasonry is a vehicle through the ages, or a museum if you will. In a museum every worker and visitor has a part to play, the curator and workers in the museum do not always understand the intricacies or the nature of what they care for, likewise the visitors may come an go and stare in wonder at the images and devices that are only partly explained to them. The very keepers of the knowledge in fact are at times the most ignorant among us, due to obsessions with the material, they keep every item, memorize every word, and document every detail, this while knowing nothing of the inner truths behind the symbols and structure of the rites. While through different times FM has been overloaded with the ignorant, it is these that have protected and shielded the precious artifacts throughout the dark ages from which we are now, hopefully, ascending. Every candidate (who takes the time to go through all of the degrees) is given every piece of the puzzle, some are bewildered and go away in confusion, some continue on happy in ignorance which is the easier path, and some search and piece the puzzle together. Be not disheartened by the Freemasons who espouse that all is lost, or tell stories of corruption, they may in fact be right in regards to corruption, however, the workers may be corrupt (not in my experience entirely) but the knowledge is in the building.
Many candidates are simply refractory and cannot be reached by the light, it is not our place to force anything beyond the means of the vessel to contain it, for this reason we tell the entered apprentice that this instrument will be instantly removed in case of resistance.
I would like to share a masonic charge with you that is told to every freemason at every lodge:
The ways of Wisdom are beautiful and lead to pleasure, Knowledge is obtained by degrees and cannot everywhere be found. Wisdom seeks the secret shade, the lonely cell designed for contemplation, there enthroned she sits dispelling her sacred oracles, there we are to seek her and pursue the real bliss. Though the passage is difficult, the further we trace it the easier it becomes.
Freemasonry has kept, as a museum if you will, every broken shard, every relic, and every idea of ancient practices and “religion” through time for the contemplation of the candidate, this is why many of the degrees are of quite different nature, you will see Judaic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Essene, Qabbalistic, Vedic, Egyptian, Rosicrucian, Christian, Catholic, and many other elements in them. In the ages past these elements have been attacked and partially destroyed, freemasonry has provided the vehicle to sustain them, compile and document them, and hide them under the apron. It is not supposed that Freemasonry believes or espouses any of these specific parts, it simply has existed as a safe harbor through the ages. This leads many initiates to be confused, thinking that each one is independent from the other or that they are all intertwined, this is not quite the case, each part is of a greater whole and is provided for the initiate to see a glimpse behind the veil, to see the similarities and find the ultimate truth that the initiate already knows.
While I agree that the Scottish Rite branch is materialistic, has become ever present throughout masonry in North America, and has provided a form of secular, Freemasonry Lite 2.0; they are an appendant body and the museum has no regard to its present “loudest” occupants. Simultaneous with the supposed watering down of Freemasonry is a movement on the esoteric side from within (Traditional Observance), this is supported, maintained, and promoted, albeit quietly from the top down.
No Freemason initiate is lied to (at least not in the degrees or official lecture, what individuals do I don’t know), all of the ancient teachings are there if the initiate has the strength, and ability to find them. What I do see is that for the past two centuries, especially after the Morgan Affair, the mysteries had been re-veiled in the degrees and esoteric teachings had been discouraged, not so much to keep the initiate in the dark but for protection. Look through history, Freemasons have been persecuted time and again, we have held on to and protected what we carry for a very long time, we have come to far to risk losing it now due to some modern day (1700 +) inquisition. All of the previously mentioned sects and teachings have came under attack and been partially destroyed at one time or another, our inner secret, the hidden stone in all of Man (no gender reference) must be found, formed, and carried individually, this may take a millennia, until that happens Freemasonry in whatever form or size must continue.
Look what happened to Freemasons under Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, General Franko, you name it, and this is all recent history.
This leads to my second comment which is in regards to the oaths.
As an initiate you swear to support a brother, to keep secret the secrets of freemasonry etc. First off the secrets of Freemasonry are not the degrees or passwords, handshakes, etc. The secret is all encompassing and if you know the secret you probably couldn’t explain it well enough to expose it in a way to be understood, the secret can be shouted from the highest rooftop and still not be heard much less understood. The secret is but a brief glimpse behind the veil, cannot be explained in words, and takes a lifetime to achieve. You can have every glorious title, have been initiated into every rite and degree, and still not obtain the secret. Yet the secret can be obtained by every one of us, freemason or not, nothing is held back from us, we ourselves are the only agent blocking the way.
As for the penalties, never do we say that we will inflict these penalties upon a brother who betrays his oath, they are metaphorical. The penalty is self inflicted on the soul by the lower man inside who through blindness destroys. Also in past times, and probably in the future, if it had been known that a Hebrew, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian could sit together and communicate ideas, those penalties would have been inflicted upon that brother by the inquisition or any other number of destroyers.
All of our souls evolutions are not ready for further knowledge, it is our place to provide the tools to be used but not to hammer on a stone that is not ready. This is unfortunately a solitary journey my friend, let us pray to meet a fellow traveler along the way to keep us company.