Is it possible that there really is a Lost Word?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by Pointwithinacircle3, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Pointwithinacircle3

    Pointwithinacircle3 Registered User

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    Many of the Masons that I talk to think that what we have, as Masons, is a Lost Word. Like, we have a the Square, the Compasses, the Alter, and the Lost Word. While every Lodge has a physical Square, compasses, and Alter, the Lost Word is different, it is something we don't have. As I understand it all four of the items mentioned, Square, Compasses, Alter, and Lost Word, have a symbolic meaning in Masonry. And yet the Lost Word remains unique. For most symbols in Freemasonry we have the thing, the name for the thing, and we have it's symbolic meaning. For the Lost Word we have the name of the thing and it's symbolic meaning, but not the thing itself. How did we lose such an important piece of our Masonic heritage? Can it be recovered?

    I realize that by this point many of you are thinking "I went through a degree where they told me the Lost Word". I know, I went through that degree too. And yet I am unsatisfied with the explanation I was given. If the Lost Word was a simple verbal utterance that was known by three people, why was it lost when one of them died? Perhaps the ritual was insufficiently explained to me, but the explanation I was given does not stand up to logical examination.

    I hope we will have an interesting discussion about the nature of the Lost Word. It will almost surely assist me in my search.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  2. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    First, it's an altar, not an alter. Just a little nit picking.

    The lost word is allegory. What we lost was not a word, and what we are searching for as Masons is not a word. What was lost was lost long before the building of The Temple. Even what is "found" in the York and Scottish Rite degrees is further allegory (evidenced by the fact that the words recovered are different from each other.)

    I'm going to "copy and paste" an article I wrote a couple of years ago for the Grand Lodge newspaper:



    Oftentimes, I’ll hear (or read) the assertion that a Mason’s masonic journey is not complete until he takes the Holy Royal Arch degree, and therein finds “the lost word.” After all, ever since we became Master Masons, we have been told that we are traveling in search of “that which was lost.” We are told that this word is what was lost, and that once we recover it, our masonic journey is complete. After all, are we not then eligible to receive a Master’s Wages? Surely, that means we have mastered Masonry!

    I’m certain that you’ve all heard the statement that Freemasonry is “a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” Yet, often, we see Masons seemingly forgetting that our lessons are allegory. They treat the symbol as being what is important, rather than what is symbolized.

    Allegory is a story that is told to teach a concealed lesson. In other words, the real meaning is not in the story that is being told, but is beneath the surface, requiring some thought to understand. The story of our masonic quest is just such an allegory. If you think about it, there are contradictions in the basic story that should alert you that something else is going on. I have to be very careful here to not talk about things that should not be revealed outside of a tyled lodge, so I’ll have to use references that allude to things we should all know about the ritual. So, consider the idea that something is always revealed in the presence of three people. One of those people is suddenly no longer with us, resulting in that something being lost, despite the fact that the other two people, who clearly knew the same thing, are still around.

    This clearly makes little sense. In fact, in some European systems, the word is not “lost,” but was substituted for out of fear that the true word had become compromised. So, we must consider that the entire story is allegory, a metaphor for something that actually was lost, and for which a true Freemason should be spending his life trying to recover. What is it that the allegory is really trying to tell us?

    As a Mason moves into the “high degrees” in quest of completing the story, he finds among the additional moral lessons a revealing of “the lost word.” In the Royal Arch of the York Rite, a word is revealed that is said to be the goal of the Masonic quest. However, this word, like the original story of the loss, is allegorical; symbolic of something concealed. It really is just another clue to that which was lost, that which we are in search of in Masonry. The search has not ended; we have merely arrived at another signpost with a sort of symbolic arrow pointing the way for our continued travels.

    When I took the Scottish Rite degrees, I was confused by discovering that there was not just one word revealed to me as I went through the degrees, but several! Rather than clarifying anything for me, this left me more befuddled than I had been upon entering the Rite. I had been given “the lost word” in the 13th Degree (Royal Arch of Solomon.) Then, as I continued, I was presented with the “true word” in the 18th Degree (Knight Rose Croix.) I was immediately troubled by this, yet couldn’t seem to find a source to clarify this for me. Before I could even begin processing this, along came the 32nd Degree (Master of the Royal Secret,) in which I received the “sacred word.” Woe was me. Further complicating my situation was that I became aware that the “lost word” recovered in the York Rite was different than the one recovered in the Scottish Rite. How was I to ever complete my journey if I couldn’t understand what it was I was looking for? We were seeking a “lost word,” not “lost words.” Which of these was the treasure?

    Well, brethren, I have since learned what had been alluded to on numerous prior occasions, that the masonic journey is one of discovery; of study, analysis, synthesis, and thought about what I had been given. Subsequent years of reading Masonic literature put bits and pieces of the story in place for me. Stones in my personal Masonic structure, if you will. I now understand that these “words” are just further symbols to help me understand what it is that was lost, and that we are supposed to be in search of. The York Rite word is apparently a compound word, made up of syllables from important words in several ancient faith traditions. Pike, in his revisions of the Scottish Rite degrees, took it a step further, giving several clues by separate words that are themselves clearly from three different major faith traditions.

    I now understand that what we are seeking is that which was the original loss, the loss incurred in the fall from Eden. The “words” are all reminders of what we are seeking; they are not themselves the goal. They point us to what we should be trying to learn and to recover by the lessons in the degrees. When I was given these words, I had not completed the journey at all. I had just been given yet another starting point for the life-long journey toward recovering “that which was lost.”

    Coming to understand this also gave me the answer to questions that I often see online about why men who are atheists cannot become Masons. It is more than the usual answer, that the obligation would not be binding on someone who doesn’t have a belief. Much more than that, the journey, the quest of Masonry is to recover something that an atheist would not believe ever existed, much less was ever lost.

    I hope that, in my attempt to not talk about aspects of Masonic ritual and teachings that should not be revealed outside of a tyled lodge, I have been clear enough to reveal my thoughts to you. This is my interpretation of the lessons, allegory, and symbolism involved in our search. I’ve thought long and hard about how to write about this without offending others who might think my conclusions are full of hot air. As Illustrious Brother Albert Pike said at the beginning of Morals and Dogma, “Everyone is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound.”
     
  3. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    When I went through Holy Royal Arch there were two sets of words: Sumerian and Jewish. Abraham was from Sumer.

    Both sets of words seem to me to be substitutes but the physical mode used in reciting may be the oldest part of Freemasonry.
     
  4. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    How? We stopped supporting the development of Mastery. It's that simple.

    Do the Work of developing Mastery, become the Word and stop bestowing "Master" titles upon Ruffians.

    Because in the YR you are given "A lost word"; you were not given "THE lost master's word".

    Don't believe me? Ask yourself the following: Does what you were given enable and empower you to Travel, Work, Earn, Contribute and Support and do so MASTERFULLY and without the aid of others? If it doesn't, you don't have it. If it does, you are The Master's Word.

    SEE FURTHER LIGHT ON THIS HERE:

    https://buildinghiram.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-lost-masters-word-acid-test.html
    https://buildinghiram.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-brother-asks-what-was-lost.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  5. LK600

    LK600 Premium Member

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    Brother, Through my own studies and thoughts, I am very much in agreement with you. I think one of the difficulties we face as Mason's (a reflection of people in general),we as a whole do not spend a substantive amount of time exploring spiritual and philosophical areas of ourselves, nor the world in general. Many Lodge's propagate the same issues.

    The Lost Word is not something that can ever be given, only received.
     
  6. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    When I took my Scottish Rite degrees I learned more than one lost word. I'm told that the York Rite degrees teach yet another one.

    Unfortunately those attempt to take a symbolic myth and take it literally. The events of the third degree teach symbolic, poetic and moral truth but the events themselves never happened. There is no "the rest of the story" in the sense of literal events that actually happened.

    Consider that the "word" is the presence of Hiram and the ability of speak with him. Masonry remembers him because of his sacrifice.

    Now let's move this concept forward. Because "the rest of the story" is a never ending saga not some actual events. The word that is lost is all of the previous generations of Brothers who built before us. Some became martyrs. Others lived and died setting examples of how to live in their own eras.

    Look at the Square and Compasses on the altar. Look at the hand on that altar and follow that hand back to the person. It's not just you. It's all of us going back into the mythical past. Notice that I had earlier suggested that the lost word was Hiram. Then I suggested that the lost word was all previous generations. Now I just suggested that the lost word is the lost origins of our order, as we do know we did not originate at the building of the physical temple.

    We are speculative Masons. Operative Masons were able to trace their origins to builders of physical temples but their actual history had been lost in the distant past. Rather than tracing to a physical temple, we trace to that house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.

    Regaining a lot connection to the divine. One layer at a time starting with the memory of a martyr. Building on dead apostles. Oops, I added a word there. I mean building on the dead of previous generations. I think I recognize this story from somewhere else ...
     
  7. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Great post Brother !
     
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  8. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Agreed.
    Agreed.
     
  9. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    If there was 3 , and 1 was killed, I'm pretty sure the other 2 knew the word.
     
  10. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    The key to the puzzle is not the substitute word but the geometric means of saying it and the original target.
     
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  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Excellent conclusion, if one assumes

    1) the other two were humans and not allegorical characters representing something not human
    and
    2) the one was killed rather than simply removed from the equation until rediscovered and replaced.​
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  12. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    The key is recognizing it is not a geometric puzzle.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  13. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    That depends on tradition. What if three actully where needed.
     
  14. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Needed for what?
     
  15. Pointwithinacircle3

    Pointwithinacircle3 Registered User

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    Removed, Rediscovered, and Replaced. Now that right there is some beautiful allegory.
     
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  16. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >Needed for what?

    Needed for the geometry of the invocation
     
  17. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    To say the word.
    There is a word that has not been truly spoken since the temple was destroyed, instead substitutes are used. ;)
     
  18. Pointwithinacircle3

    Pointwithinacircle3 Registered User

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    I have thoughts on the geometry. Above you used the term "original target", I'm still pondering that one.
     
  19. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >Above you used the term "original target", I'm still pondering that one.

    The substitute words identify the three practitioners and not their target
     
  20. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Nice, except for the simple fact that there are countless masters who have existed since then, all of who manifested the master's word without saying a word by using the three. The word in question can't be said though... ...and when you know why, it makes perfect sense.
     

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