is it required to be initiated to learn the mysteries?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Marcius, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Marcius

    Marcius Registered User

    i study the teachings of manly p hall and through studying, he emphasis that one does not need to be physically apart of any lodge or initated to be a true mason. how can one learn the mysteries without being apart of a lodge? how and where do i start this journey towards the mysteries?
  2. tom268

    tom268 Registered User

    Freemasonry is built as an initiatoric system, in which the presentation of symbols and allegories have to be experienced firsthand. The difference is like reading about love or experiencing it. Maybe Manly P. Hall has reached a state of self-enlightenment - maybe not. To be a wellknown esoteric writer does not guarantee for real wisdom and insight. From the quoted statement, I would doubt his knowledge about masonry.
  3. Tony Siciliano

    Tony Siciliano Premium Member


    I contend that one could not truly learn the mysteries without first experiencing the initiatic process. I'm reminded of an old quote from a sitcom. One guy was from the country, and he said he liked hearing Jimi Hendrix. The other guy (from the inner city) told him, "You can't hear Jimi! You can listen to Jimi... but you can't hear Jimi...” The mysteries are quite the same. You can read about them all you want, but you'll never be able to truly understand them.

    Contact or stop by a local Masonic Lodge and talk to the brethren there.
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  4. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

    The answer depends entirely on how you define "the mysteries".

    I am more than humble enough to admit that there are lots of folks who are more "enlightened" than I will ever be, and most of them are not Freemasons, so clearly we can not claim to have a lock on "enlightenment". Nor do we have an exclusive on "morality" (if that's part of your definition of "the mysteries"). Indeed, one often cited description of Freemasonry is "... a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Note that it's "a" system, not "the" system. Again, better minds than mine have long propounded the same moral truths that we discover through our labors in the Craft, so clearly there are many paths to such knowledge.
    What the non-Mason can not have is the particular experience of gaining enlightenment via our "peculiar" allegories and symbols. I believe that it can be argued that the journey is part of the deal, no matter what path you choose. You definitely don't get the same thing from reading a book (or web site) that you get in Lodge. One of those "better minds than mine" once told me that what you get out of Freemasonry is directly proportional to what you put into it. It's kind of tough to put anything back into a book, but the opportunities to contribute to Freemasonry's goals are many. For some, it's philanthropy, for others it's ritual work, or maybe just hands-on labor - maintaining the Lodge building or preparing the meal on meeting nights. The point is that you need to be engaged in the give and take to get the stuff that really matters. It matters not if it's Freemasonry or some other "mystery school" - you can't just read about it. You have to live it.
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  5. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

    If you don't want to join a Lodge and learn the mysteries, simply do the Work.

    What is the Work? You might want to join the Lodge to find that out.
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  6. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

    Information is different than experience. The beauty of this, for me, is the holistic process. It would feel hollow in comparison I would think if not done orally and the way it is intended. The fellowship, the brotherhood, its an essential component.

    Leave as many mysteries as you can, it gives gravity to the process. And to others I think is a sign you value and uphold the tradition.

    Think of it as a valuable lesson in integrity, doing it the intended way, in my opinion.
  7. MikeMay

    MikeMay Premium Member

    How can one know if one is learning the "real" and "actual" mysteries if one isn't part of a lodge? True, we can learn much by reading...but like anything else, we need the interaction with our brothers because there is more to the Mysteries than just the light which is imparted to us...and while I have learned much by reading, I have learned far more from the interaction with my brothers!
  8. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

    But then again reading about being a father is not exactly like being a father now is it? I equate this when I hear parents claim home schooling denies a child from interaction. (mind you, this is from the same parents that drive their children to school to avoid that interaction). You would be denying yourself the true Masonic Experience, the methodologies behind the Mystic Tie.
  9. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

    Basically what everyone is saying is you can learn the material without the fraternity, but without the fellowship, the mentor/mentee relationship, and the experience of the actual floor-work it will be a hollow shell of what it should be...
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  10. Brad_g

    Brad_g Registered User

    I'm only a (new) EA, so don't feel qualified to say too much. But I should say that I found some of MPH's talks and books/extracts thought provoking and that is of most value in my personal 'journey' and development.

    I think wider reading has much merit and nobody has a monopoly on philosophy, however I think my more experienced brothers' posts are very true - there is no substitution for the experiential aspect (I feel I can say this having only had a small glimpse into freemasonry).

    Best of luck on your decision!
  11. Brother Jason Eddy

    Brother Jason Eddy Registered User

    I would turn your question around. If you enjoy the teachings of MPH and seek to start a journey towards "the mysteries", then why would you not want to join a Lodge?
    Derek Harvey likes this.
  12. AnthonyBolding

    AnthonyBolding Registered User

    You can't learn what masonry is to you without being a part of it.
  13. K.S.

    K.S. Registered User

    HAHA! ---Can I just wear the ring and not join a lodge? ......(sorry, i couldn't help it). To me, It seems obvious, as has been stated already. If one would like to learn the mysteries of Freemasonry, one would simply have to petition and join a lodge. True enough, the information is on the net if you look hard enough, but how are you going to know what to believe, ...if you don't know what to believe? "Mind bottling isn't it? -like when your trapped in a bottle" --Will Farrell.
  14. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    All good advice.

    I've read the last several posts on this string with total interest. It's good to know that one is not out there alone. Too many members of the brotherhood seldom get this far on their journeys.

    Though you won't get all the mysteries through the first three degrees, you will (if studious) absorb mysteries as old as man himself. And maybe older. Travel onward through our mystic orders and you will get closer. A curious mind and a strong belief in who you are will take you much, much farther.

    Fear and ignorance are the chains of mankind. They are the true enemies of all good men.

    The curious nature and desire to complete the mystic tie is indeed seeded in all mankind. Those who have the courage to seek light are the truly blessed. I have no doubt the above brethren are counted among them.

    Though we will never achieve true knowledge of the compasses in this physical world of the square, we can get closer and closer with hard work and light. Remember, it's during those most uncomfortable moments that we are most close. Thus, he who does not experience initiation has no hope of true light.

    Onward brethren! There are miles to go before we sleep.

    May the GOAT bless and keep you all.
    Derek Harvey likes this.
  15. calo

    calo Registered User


    A large majority of men join (or want to join) based on their interpretations of what they think the Craft is. More often than not, they can live their idea of this life with out setting foot in a Masonic lodge, ever.

    Initiation into any mystery tradition, occult or otherwise, is essential to begin experiencing and formulating a change in consciousness. It is not meant to be used as a learning process.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
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  16. scialytic

    scialytic Premium Member

    That has got to be the coolest signature block ever: "It will serve you well to listen to guys like Cliff Porter." That is pretty friggin' awesome...

    As has been said before, life and Masonry are truly a personal journey. If you still visit this site, I would encourage you to look into the Craft further. If you decide to hang out on the sidelines and read books, etc. it isn't going to do any harm--on the contrary--it will probably make you a better man. That being said, there are plenty of Brothers that never pick up a Masonic book after they are initiated...again, it is your Journey and you choose your path (to some extent).

    However, it appears that you have an interest in the deeper experience of the Craft (judging by your inquiry). The books will be the tip of the iceberg. If you want to explore deeper, it is necessary to experience it (whether you believe in the change of consciousness or not) and because being Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason also opens up many other doors for you, which would otherwise remain closed (and unseen by you in your current state). Though the three degrees have been published and exposed in great detail...there are many mysteries that you will not be able to find details about; should you desire to explore the deeper parts of the iceberg.

    Just sayin'...
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  17. Star Mztyk

    Star Mztyk Registered User

    Wonderful comments here...and I would love to offer one more. My Dad is now nearly 84 ....his next pin is a 70 year Mason. He had an A Certificate before I was born....and that said....this is what he told me.

    As a child I would ask him if certain freinds of the family were Masons. His reply to some enquiry ...Well he has never been initiated into a lodge....but he is a True Mason.

    I was taught early in life that a personality that somehow ascribes tools of building as Moral guides was a natural Mason.....rare as the rarest flower ....but a True anomaly as such.

    Modern Masonry is seeing more EAs who become Masons and never follow suit. I think it is because of the ignorance of the Teachers who can not use the tools themselves...much less understand the double entendre.
  18. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    I don't necessarily disagree with that! :sneaky2:

    There's a challenge to many who should pay the heed.

    And we're wondering what's wrong with masonry.

    Gentlemen, do we not speak of initiates?

    How many know words only?

    There's another slap on the noggin' boys ... I sincerely hope!

    I can honestly say I have run across very few candidates who do not respond to the meaning behind the words.

    If this hits home, score that last shot as a knockdown and consider taking an eight-count,

    Here's a hammer blow!

    Why don't we instructors consider taking some of our own advice:

    Don't get lazy on your esoteric work!

    Remember brethren, it's not what we know but what we impart.

    And ... if you don't know, me thinks, you might ought to get with a good instructor.

    Of course, just sayin'
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  19. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

    The power of initiation is the power of the shared experience and rite of passage. Both are exceedingly valuable and part of the mystery. So, one does need this rite of passage to have experienced it and Hall, as much as I respect him, missed the boat on that specific point. In being a HUGE fan of Halls, I believe what he was writing about was that a man does not need Masonry to live by a moral code. But, to understand the power and mystery of initiation, one needs the shared experience of initiation. For this, there is no imitation or self initiation that would have any real value at a psychological level.
  20. calo

    calo Registered User

    By instructor, do you mean the one teaching the catechism? If so, I don't completely agree with your last statement and I'll tell you why.
    In my lodge, we aren't short on A, B & C certificate holders. None of whom (that I know of) teach esoterica.

    Now, I have two schools of thought on why I'm cool with that:

    Uno; Because the second most important part of the newly initiated/passed/raised is to learn the work. The first being understanding the symbolism and regrettably, not every Mason sees it this way. They just want to learn the work, make paw-paw proud and join the line. Lame.
    That being said, let them learn the work and move on.

    Dos: If you are interested in esoterica and you aren't learning from your instructor(s), Don't sweat it. You can take the opportunity to spend time with well informed brethren, thus forming bonds of a specific nature with other members. Nice.

    Either way, they always come back to "what does this mean?", sooner or later.

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