My friend, Death

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    by DAN ŞTEFĂNESCU
    Secretary, STEAUA DUNĂRII Lodge, no. 5, Bucharest


    If we wish to find out sooner, and we do not have patience, sacred secrets remain in mystery, as Hiram kept the mysteries entrusted to him, by the constructors from the beginning.

    These mysteries transmitted from generation to generation, are old knowledge that can be assimilated only if the person is ready to receive them. Just like before agriculture the soil must be prepared, so in our Guild, knowledge comes normally, naturally with the passing of time.

    It is common knowledge that the fort Jiayuguan in the Great Wall of China was built by Yi Kaizhan, who ordered 99.999 bricks for the constructions. Having been derided by the others, he then ordered one extra brick. It is still there to this day, as an excess, on the Xiwong gate. And yet we find it difficult today, with computers, to calculate precisely.

    It is perhaps a very hard thing to accept for workers nowadays to give your life so easily for a mystery considered perhaps so small, as Hiram did. Why did he choose death, instead of preserving his right to life?

    Let's not forget the historical conditions in which these events took place, let's not forget the religious and intellectual baggage that the respective actors enjoyed. Let's remember that even in our days there are numerous religions that embrace the cult of reincarnation, of love of one's neighbor.
    Let's remember that there are peoples who rejoice when a member passes into the other realm. Is it true? Is our material existence only an exercise in raising our conscience, ennobling our spirit? On Earth, as in Heaven?

    It is clear to everybody that we are born and we die naked, with no material baggage. Then, let's remember what Jesus taught: Blessed are the poor... Esotericism is the basic current that gathers us here in this Guild, without which we are at the mercy of arrogant, degrading mercantilism which is at the root of all the evils on earth.

    The Esoterism that, behold, all noble and wise spirits have shown, of which I only want to remember Jesus, Mohammed, Bhudha, all makers of miracles. I have always asked myself why (in olden times) the old would withdraw into the mountains? Why would they become anchorites? Why gather in reclusive monasteries? Did they reach that state of understanding the Great Architect?
    Society today guards us from the wisdoms of the ancient civilizations. Is not the secret of Life and Death hidden in the darkness of time? We are educated to stay away from what we do not know, to laugh or to fear.

    "Most historians of masonry - says Goblet d'Alviella - have been satisfied to seek the origins of the legend of Hiram in the mysteries of ancient religions. I would even go further, in those deep strata of human nature, called not without reason primitive (maybe mystical) because that is where are to be found in statu nascendi and pure, all the factors that, in civilized peoples characterize the systems of abstract thought. I speak of those who live outside of civilization and who, in certain respects, represent if not mankind in its primordial state, then at least a state of spirit through which each man has passed in one stage or another of his evolution.

    In all parts of the world, populations living in the state of nature celebrate the true mysteries admission to which is given only by initiation. These rituals contain almost always depicted scences of adventures in the realm of souls. The dramatic element most often seen expresses death followed by resurrection."

    About death, much has ben written in universal literature and more will yet be written. Accounts of a creature in black just before death we find also in the old cultures. The Greeks have Thanatos, personification of death, who leads the dead to Hades. However, Greek myths mention also other beings, like Hermes, how is considered a messenger of death.

    A similar legend we see with the Finnish Skolt Lapps. It is abou the so-called "Master over Birth and Death". This legend proves that everywhere in the world there are representations of a leader of spirits, who appears to the dying in their last hour, at the moment of the separation of spirit from body and that leads the souls in the empire of the dead. Thus, Egyptians have Anubius, a dog-headed character, and the German mythology has "die Walküren", spirits that gather the fallen warriors from the battlefield, taking them to Walhalla.

    The Celts have for their leader of spirits Ogma, and for the Christians comes the archangel Michael or the giant Christofor and at the gate of heaven the soul is expected by Saint Peter.

    Still, this man in black, be he death or the reaper, he shows himself not only to take souls, but also to warn. The relatively recognized activity in England of spiritual mediums has led to the following discovery: whoever has come into contact with deceased persons from his family has realized that the image created by religion of the "world beyond" and the so-called "heaven" is a pure invention. For the dead tell, without exceptions, that they have already lived more times or that they are preparing for a new reincarnation. We are speaking, then, about reincarnation, a new birth. Religions like Buddhism have admitted this principle, and have a completely different representation of death, taking its position in relation to it.

    In the Christian antiquity and early Middle Ages, there were no plastic representations of death. Only toward the end of the millennium did the first examples of personification of death arise. Thus, the art of the highest epoque of the Middle Ages called through the so-called memento mori images to the acceptance of the idea that life is passing.

    Lang explains it thus: Memento Mori represents the preparation for the death and at once the warning to live a humble life, so that you may be ready to die at any moment.

    In his book The Black Man has come, Jan Van Helsing describes the "Memento Mori" letters popularized starting at the end of the XVIIth century and into the XIXth century especially in Austria and southern Germany as folding brass plates or lithographies with verse. It is also in this book that we have the description of a extra-sensorial séance of a medium with Death, who defines itself thus:

    I accompany you and lead you from the beginning to the end of your life. Still, I am responsible not only for the course of your life, but of what follows after. I help the soul free itself of the body, as I help it to enter the body.(A saying had it that Un Birth is the first step to death a.n.) I am not the man with the scythe, I am the transformer of light, of energy, which means that I do not bring death, I do not bring demise. I transform energy. I take the energy of life - the soul - from the body, from matter. I take the energy of breath, of life, I transform it and I change it, so that it can continue to exist as a superior instance, at a higher frequency. It is a transformation. I am a transformer, from niht into day, from shadow into light. This is the change. Death is the passing, the changing of frequency, as the functioning mechanism of life requires the modification of frequency. That is my role... It is good to know however that I do not like the name of angel of death - angel of transformation is more dear to me, as there is no death practically, but only a transformation of energy...

    So death does NOT exist, and in the history of the old peoples we only find it in rituals. Similar rituals of "symbolic death" survive in the receiving of orders ceremony for priests.

    That is why Death becomes my friend. Thus, Hiram knew that he had nothing to lose, but to the contrary, through the supreme gesture he would obtain a spiritual ennobling, that he will accede to the passing of time, because only what is ashes returns to ashes and dust to dust.

    Thassilo de Scheffer expresses best perhaps the very essence of the mysteries and of the symbols: "All mysteries, however different they are to one another after society, religion, or historical epoque, have characteristics that, because they are found again and again constantly, seem to be a part of the very nature of these secret cults. This is not only about practices and about symbols, but about the special relation with the Divinity and, to express ourselves thus, with the embodiment of it. Because the mysteries influence man through symbols, representations and mystical practices, and teaching has only a limited role. It is not by hearing words, but by seeing that man comes back to himself and is ready to receive the influence of the mysteries. The most grave error of modern thought was to imagine that all was solved when the symbol was considered the end of the road, when, in reality, it is only a beginning: it opens the Realm of Divinity".

    According to Ragon, the candidate dies thrice: with body, with soul, and with mind represented by neck, heart, and brain. The entire ceremony is meant to make us understand that the lie, ignorance, and ambition are the three scourges that lead to unraveling and misery in the world of men.

    The rituals tell us that the three Fellowcrafts represent Ignorance, Hipocrisy, and Fanaticism. In fact, the three fellowcrafts free Hiram of the slavery of body, of feeling and ideas that describe the lay world. Hiram comes back to life in the divine world, and really becomes a Master.
     

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