Origins of Masonry?

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by TCShelton, Oct 1, 2008.

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What do you believe to be the origins of Masonry?

  1. Knights Templar

    22 vote(s)
    20.2%
  2. Stone Masons

    58 vote(s)
    53.2%
  3. Other

    29 vote(s)
    26.6%
  1. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    What do you guys believe to be the origins of Masonry?
     
  2. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    after hearing brent morris talk... i'm going with "other" because it's just too many different sources.

    Dionysus and Sun God come to mind (for origin of ritual and some of the lessons).

    we also get a lot of stuff from the bible, the great light in masonry. so, one would have to look at the origin of a lot of the work in there to find our deepest roots.
     
  3. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I know it was founded by a very influential and powerful group of people, that is about the only way it would stick this long and become so popular. Seeing both stone Masons and Knights templars were both a powerful gang who knows which it was? My guess neither one they are just patsies for the real truth.
     
  4. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    huh? i don't think masonry has lasted so long because of "who started it."

    Grand Lodge would claim that it is the precepts set forth in the Great Light of Masonry (bible, or holy book of your choice) have kept us going.

    out of the presentation:

    that's just what the monitor says (did that from memory, btw :) ), and admittedly probably isn't the only reason it is still going, but i'm sure it has something to do with it.

    what i was trying to get at earlier was that if we want to look at the "true" origins of freemasonry, a lot of ritual is derived from worship of the Sun God and Dionysus.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2008
  5. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Staff Member

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    Heh, I am going with "Ancient" Stone Masons.

    After all it was the EA's, FC's, and MM's who built KST and well.... having traveled the path of the York Rite to the Order of the Temple, you can't exactly have one without the other.
     
  6. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    I have to go with Other. I think there are a few groups that have come together over the centuries that have contributed to our origins.
     
  7. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    bustin' bricks.
     
  8. vanderson78102

    vanderson78102 Registered User

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    I think it was a mixture of several groups, including the templars and stone masons.
     
  9. Ratchet

    Ratchet Registered User

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    I agree with Brother Vanderson that stone masons & the Templars figure into our origins. One thought that occurred to me was who built the castles for the Templars in the Holy Land & elsewhere ??? Could that possibly how the 2 groups originally got together ??? When the persecution of the Templars began and they headed off to the British Isles were they welcomed & taken care with no questions asked due to a previous association?? Some food for thought !!!!
     
    Warrior1256 likes this.
  10. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    I lean towards the fact that the Templars went 100% extinct long before speculative masonry was invented in the 17th century. However, gentlemen of the British Isles, looking for diversion and playing into the spirit of the times, artificially inserted a Templar pseudo-lineage after the fact. It's a pretty little tale that the Knights Templar managed to survive underground and utterly unknown for centuries, but it's as reliable a fable as the stuff about "Priori du Zion" (which is an acknowledged hoax). I would say that the origin of Freemasonry is far more prosaic. An influential craft guild started admitting members who were not practitioners of that craft, probably on the basis of wealth and local influence. This is like awarding "honorary" degrees in hope of getting a large donation. Eventually, as practical masonry declined, the speculative members dominated. Once it became a purely speculative, it took off as a subcultural group.
     
  11. CajunTinMan

    CajunTinMan Registered User

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    Although I do agree with you about how Freemasonry began. We must remember that it did not begin in the 1700s. That is when it was organized under a Grand Lodge. It is quiet possible that it existed in some form or fashion in a time when the Templars were around.
     
  12. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    First, the 17th century is NOT the 1700s. The 1700s is the EIGHTEENTH century. Speculative Freemasonry has no record of existence before the 17th century. Second, it might also be "quiet possible" that Freemasonry was actually founded by three-headed Select Masters from Planet Zarquahr, in cooperation with the Invisible Pink Unicorns. There is equal reliable evidence for that as for an alleged "Templar" connection.
     
  13. CajunTinMan

    CajunTinMan Registered User

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    No offence Brother but there are records of speciulative Masonry befor the 17th century. And yes I missquated 1700s. July 31, 1599: Lodge of Edinburgh No. 1 has records to prove its long time existence as the Oldest Masonic Lodge of record. Just an example of one. And I did not say that I believed that there was a Templar connection. I don't. But there no way of ruling it out either no matter how passionate you might feel about it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  14. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    Several Masonic writers have placed the origin in the Garden of Eden, and designated the fig leaf as the first Masonic apron. One farseeing writer gives his imagination full scope, and 'looks beyond our little earth and declares his belief that Free Masonry existed among the earlier planets before the earth was in a condition for occupancy by man. But coming down out of aerial space, out of the realms of wild fancy, and carefully tracing up the stream of ancient history, we find that Egypt, instead of the mythical garden, Mars, or Saturn, is undoubtedly the source of the stream.-- Moses Redding, The Illustrated of Freemasonry (1908 ed.)1
    Brother Redding was no where near the first author to associate Freemasonry with Egypt, but he states it with such authority, it provides evidence of the confidence which existed at one time linking the Craft with the Cradle of Civilization.2
    In 1902 Brother Norman Fredrick DeClifford squarely links the Fraternity with Ancient Egypt. Moreover, he provides a lineage of sorts in which Masonry comes to us from the ancient builders and philosophers of Egypt, through the Coptic Christians and into Freemasonry complete and replete with Gnostic overtones.3
    Brother De Clifford quotes Pike, extensively and we find this linkage to Egyptian and Gnosticism in Morals and Dogma page 274, “How completely the Temple of Solomon was symbolic, is manifest, not only from the continual reproduction in it of the sacred numbers and of astrological symbols in the histor- ical descriptions of it; but also, and yet more, from the de- tails of the imaginary reconstructed edifice, seen by Ezekiel in his vision. The Apocalypse completes the demonstration, and shows the kabalistic meanings of the whole. The Symbola Architectonica are found on the most ancient edifices; and these mathematical figures and instruments, adopted by the Templars, and identical with those on the gnostic seals and abraxae, connect their dogma with the Chaldaic, Syriac, and Egyptian Oriental philosophy. The secret Pythagorean doc- trines of numbers were preserved by the monks of Thibet, by the Hierophants of Egypt.â€4
    What drove our ancient Brothers to look for the origins of the Craft in Masonry, something so utterly condemned as fanciful thinking by todays rank and file Masonic scholars. The argument is that although we can not prove or state with certainty the origins of Masonry, we can say with absolute certainty that it did not come from Egypt, it did not come from the Templars and it did not come from any other fanciful or colorful origins agreed upon by Masonic historians of the 19th century. In short, Masonry drove them there.5 Discounting the verbal tradition because it lacked a footnote had not yet become an art form to elevate one from speculative to distinguished.
    The Cooke Manuscript is part of a group of documents often referred to as the Gothic Constitutions and in Coil’s Encylopedia of Freemasonry a date range of the 1400’s is given in regards to its origins. Examining this ancient document we find6:
    Elders of Masons before our times had these charges in writing as we have them now in our Charges of the story of Euclid, and as we have seen them written both in Latin and in French. But it is only reasonable that we should tell you how Euclid came to the knowledge of Geometry, as stated in the Bible and in other histories. In the XlIth chapter of Genesis it is told how Abraham came to the land of Canaan and our Lord appeared unto him and said, "I will give this land to thy seed." But a great famine reigned in that land and Abraham took Sarah, his wife, with him and made a journey into Egypt to abide there whilst the famine lasted. And Abraham, so
    says the chronicle, was as a wise man and a learned. And he knew all the seven sciences and taught the Egyptians the science of Geometry. And this worthy clerk Euclid was his pupil and learned of him. And he first gave it the name of Geometry ; although it was practiced before his time, it had not acquired the name of Geometry. But it is said by Isodoras in the 5th Book and first Chapter of Ethomolegiarum that Euclid was one of the first founders of Geometry and gave it that name.
    For in his time, the river of Egypt which is called the Nile so overflowed the land that no man could dwell therein. Then the worthy clerk Euclid taught them to make great walls and ditches to keep back the water, and by Geometry he measured the land and parceled it out into sections and caused every man to enclose his own portion with walls and ditches and thus it became a country abounding in all kinds of produce, and of young people and of men and women : so that the youthful population increased so much as to render earning a livelihood difficult. And the lords of the country drew together and took counsel how they might help their children who had no competent livelihood in order to provide for themselves and their children, for they had so many. And at the council amongst them was this worthy Clerk Euclid and when he saw that all of them could devise no remedy in the matter be said to them "Lay your orders upon your sons and I will teach them a science by which they may live as gentlemen, under the condition that they shall be sworn to me to uphold the regulations that I shall lay upon them." And both they and the king of the country and all the lords agreed thereto with one consent.
    It is but reasonable that every man should agree to that which tended to profit himself ; and so they took their sons to Euclid to be ruled by him and he taught them the Craft of Masonry and gave it the name of Geometry on account of the parcelling out of the ground which he had taught the people at the time of making the walls and ditches, as aforesaid, to keep out the water. And Isodoris says in Ethomologies that Euclid called the craft Geometry.
    And there this worthy clerk Euclid gave it a name and taught it to the lord’s sons of that land whom he had as pupils.
    And he gave them a charge. That they should call each other Fellow and no otherwise, they being all of one craft and of the same gentle birth, lords' sons. And also that the most skilful should be governor of the work and should be called master ; and other charges besides, which are written in the Book of Charges. And so they worked for the lords of the land and built cities and towns, castles and temples and lords' palaces.
    During the time that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt they learned the craft of Masonry. And after they were driven out of Egypt they came into the promised land, which is now called Jerusalem, and they occupied that land and the charges were observed there. And [at] the making of Solomon’s Temple which king David began, King David loved masons well, and gave them [wages] nearly as they are now. And at the making of the Temple in Solomon’s time, as stated in the Bible in the third book of Kings and the fifth chapter, Solomon held four score thousand masons at work. And the son of the king of Type was his master mason. And in other chronicles and in old books of masonry, it is said that Solomon confirmed the charges that David his father had given to masons. And Solomon himself taught them their usages differing but slightly from the customs now in use.
    And from thence this worthy science was brought into France and into many other regions.â€
    And thus, the Cooke Manuscript would explain a Biblical transmission of Geometry, synonymous with Freemasonry, from the creation of man in Genesis, up through Egypt, and into Europe.
    I will surrender early and provide that I am not going to propose that Freemasonry arrived in tact from Egypt. We still should ask why as far back as Halliwell manuscript in the 1300’s we have Freemasonry associated with Egypt.7 The Halliwell poem translated into modern English, reads in part, “The cleark Euclid on this wise it found this Craft of Geometry in Egypt land. In Egypt he taught it full wide.†The poem continues and provides that the Craft came to England in the time of King Athelstane which would have been in the time of the 9th century and leading into the 10th. The fact that Euclid, later associated with Pythagoras, is mentioned is an important to note as we expand on our understanding of how Egypt found its way to Freemasonry.
    It has become common to debunk the Egyptian and Masonic connection. Mainstream books written for large audiences, to include the profane, such as Worshipful Brother Brent Morris’ The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry provides, “...some have speculated they originated with the pharaohs in Egypt. These theories (built with virtually no factual evidence) provide a romantic epic that ends with the modern fraternity of Freemasonry.â€8 Yet, just as Brother Morris does here, many modern scholars stop after declaring the tale romantic, fancy, or just plain false. Of the origins of the Craft or why the earliest Masonic documents ever written consistently mention Egypt is left for you to decide. Brother Morris does not, but many take the tact that our ancient Brothers were, well ancient, and somehow dumber than the giant brained Masons of today and since they were dumber and research was more difficult, we can’t blame them for their fancy stories, but we should make sure not to believe them.
    It has always confounded me that we accept the idea that Masonry uses allegory to teach, but somehow we fail to search for the allegory in other aspects of the Craft as if somehow Masonry is not a suitable key for unlocking the secrets of Masonry.
    I do not subscribe to the idea that our founders, whoever they may have been, nor any of our more ancient Brothers were liars, were stupid, or simple. The idea that we look upon the builders of our great edifice and feel that because we have Google we are somehow more enlightened, smells terribly similar to observing teenagers so utterly certain of themselves and their incredible intellect and maturity in the presence of their parents.
    So let’s operate from a new hypothesis. Our ancient founders were capable of using allegory in both ritual and manuscript to teach, enlighten and veil. This would make the repeated references to Egypt, Euclid, Pythagoras and Geometry important points in unraveling an important Masonic truth, maybe even unlocking keys to understanding our origin or purpose.
    We need travel a slippery slope, at least briefly, for our investigation to have any meaning. The slope I am referring to is the discussion Masonic philosophy. It can quickly lead to a discussion of what Masonry is to a particular person. I will address both of these elements first. It has been said that Masonry is not definable or difficult to define at a minimum.9 I disagree. If you name your dog Masonry, your dog is still on Masonry. You can slap the title Masonic on a building where men meet, pay bills, bicker, and vie for perceived powers in a volunteer Fraternity and it is still not Masonry. As I have previously stated, you can slap a bumper sticker on a Buick that says Masonry, and the Buick is not Masonry.
    Masonry does a superb job of defining itself, it is simply that so many its members do not study its rituals, charges and usages that it a secret of sorts hidden in plain view. If a deeply held personal belief came to you while you were a Mason, maybe the philosophies of Masonry assisted you in coming to this belief, does not mean the deeply held belief is part and parcel of Masonic philosophy. If the idea does not exist in the ritual, even veiled, it is a personal idea that come to you as part of the deeply moving Masonic experience, but the two should be separated.
    Allowing me some latitude to here for a refutation of what will be my critics, we have the common statement that being judgmental is “un-Masonic.†Not true and not provable using Masonic lore, ritual and charge. Too the contrary, the actual ritual and charges of Masonry call for much judgement and discernment on the side of the Mason. You are cautioned not to let men into Masonry, some admonitions to the Worshipful or Past Master plead to keep good men out in error versus the error of letting a single good man in. It is likely that our ancient Brethren took this so much more seriously than us, other orders fashioned after Freemasonry made it part of their obligations and admonitions that no person should be turned away.10
    Examination of the rituals and charges allows for some vague enough generalizations concerning our philosophies that we might begin upon our journey from a singular point of agreement.
    In Masonry we find11 12 13:
    • Dualism. There is hardly a symbol in Masonry that does not possess some level of dualistic properties. The obvious include the Masonic pavement, the pillars, the globes one being celestial and the other terrestrial, the square and compasses when taken together, the deacons, the lesser lights with one being the sun the other being the moon their astrological being dual with the third being material, the preparation of the candidate with their knees and chest being singular and then dual, the due guards all alluded to dualism (the first being parallel but opposite, next being perpendicular and the third reconciled parallel lines. The graves of Hiram Abiff are dual. In the old Noachite Masonry we have pillars older than those of King Solomon’s temple storing the wisdom of Hermes that are dual. The separation of light and dark as the spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters. The list could continue.
    • Light. The symbol of advanced knowledge attained by initiation or the spiritual experience and the light of knowledge attained by study. This includes teachings which purport to know the true name of God. Light can also be taken to mean self actualization or awareness, enlightenment.
    • The Temple. The building of a perfect architectural entity in scope and beauty. This is also taken as a symbol of the man and of humankind. Spiritual attainment and moral living can better befit a man in this life and the next.
    • Raising. From the Craft degrees of the Symbolic Lodge to the more chivalric degrees to of the Swedish Rite, there is always a form of elevation of the candidate from one level of understanding to the next, eventually culminating in a great truth. For Craft Masonry, the Brother is now considered sublime.
    • Astronomy/Astrology. The positioning of the officers is based on the rising and setting sun, the master of the lodge is associated with the sun and moon, the candidate circumabulates the altar mimicking the rotation of a planet around the sun, the globes adorning the pillars are
    provided as astrological, the diurnal rotation of the earth upon its own access is mentioned in
    ritual in the Americas and Europe.
    • Godhead. Deity is revered as a creator. In someways Masonry is almost pantheistic. It is
    likely that, especially the Christian Brother might read a word like pantheistic and be revolted believing I have said something I have not. Its important to understand definitions. Pantheism is nothing more than a recognition of God and Nature united. Take for instance the defintion of Geometry given in from Ahiman Rezon in the 1800‘s:
    “The symmetry, beauty, and order displayed in the various parts of the animate and inanimate creation, is a pleasing and delightful theme, and naturally leads to the source whence the whole is derived. When we bring within the focus of the eye the variegated carpet of the terrestrial theater, and survey the progress of the vegetative system, our admiration is justly excited. Every plant which grows, every flowering shrub which breathes its sweets, affords instruction and delight. When we extend our views to the animal creation, and contemplate the varied clothing of every species, we are equally struck with astonishment. And when we trace the lines of geometry drawn by the Divine pencil in the beautiful plumage of the feathered tribe, how exalted is our conception of the heavenly work! The admirable structure of plants and animals, and the infinite number of fibers and vessels which run through the whole, with the apt disposition of one part to another, is a perpetual subject of study to the geometrician, who, while he adverts to the changes which all undergo in their progress to maturity, is lost in rapture and veneration of the Great Cause which governs the system.
    When he descends into the bowels of the earth, and explores the kingdom of ores, minerals, and fossils, he finds the same instances of Divine Wisdom and Goodness displayed in their formation and structure: every gem and pebble proclaims the handiwork of an Almighty Creator.
    When he surveys the watery elements, and directs his attention to the wonders of the deep, with all the inhabitants of the mighty ocean, he perceives emblems of the same supreme intelligence. The scales of the largest fish, as well as the penciled shell of the minutest bivalve, equally yield a theme for his contemplation, on which he fondly dwells, while the symmetry of their formation, and the delicacy of their tints, evince the wisdom of the Divine Artist.
    When he exalts his view to the more noble and elevated parts of Nature, and surveys the celestial orbs, how much greater is his astonishment! If, on the principles of geometry and true philosophy, he contemplate the sun, the moon, the stars, and the whole concave of heaven, his pride will be humbled, while he is lost in awful admiration of the Maker. The immense magnitude of those bodies, the regularity and velocity of their motions, and the inconceivable extent of space through which they move, are equally wonderful and incomprehensible, so as to baffle his most daring conceptions, while he labors in considering the immensity of the theme!â€
    It would be difficult to write a more precise definition for pantheism than that found in our own Masonic writings concerning Geometry, which is repeatedly declared, synonymous with Masonry.
    When we examine the Egyptian mystical tradition, with a focus upon Osirus. The Egyptian tradition as written by Jim Loy in black with my commentary in red14:
    “When Ra (the sun) reigned as king of Egypt, Thoth (Djehuty) Hermes prophesied that Ra's wife Nut would have a son who would reign as king (Note the similarity in the Christian tradtion. This will prove important later). Ra cursed Nut and said, "Nut will give birth to no son on any day of any year, nor at night time either." Ra's curse could not be broken, but Thoth had a clever plan. He went to the moon god Khonsu (Note the dichotomy of the sun and the moon here) and offered to play him a game of Senet. Khonsu was a great gambler, and bet some of his own moonlight. Thoth defeated Khonsu over and over, until he had won five days from Khonsu. Thoth fit those five days between the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new year, the year having 360 days(We see here another astrological correspondence). And so here were five days that were not part of any year. Nut gave birth to five children on those five days, Osiris on the first day, Harmachis on the second day, Set on the third, Isis on the fourth, and Nephthys on the fifth (We witness here part of creation).
    When Osiris was born, a man of Thebes named Pamyles heard a voice telling him to spread the word that Osiris the good and great king, and savior of mankind, had been born Similar in story to that of the Magi, and unto us a King is Born). And so Pamyles spread the word, and Nut entrusted the baby Osiris to Pamyles, to raise and educate, with the help of Thoth We see here in Pamyles the origins of the word panic and what this translates to is instinct. So, Osiris was raised by intuition and wisdom in Pamyles and Hermes). The five children grew up, and Osiris married Isis, and Set married Nephthys.
    Eventually, Ra ascended into the heavens to sail across the sky every day, and Osiris sat on the throne, and ruled Egypt as a good and wise king, and Egypt flourished under his rule, and the people (who had previously lived like wild animals) became civilized (learning to use the inundation to replenish the land). And the people worshipped Osiris (Under Osiris or the higher nature of man, the world or man himself flourished. In other words, when we are moral our lives are better).
    Osiris left Egypt, to teach the people of other lands (to spread light), and Isis ruled in his place (Duality at its best. The female aspect which is wisdom, can rule equally with intellect). Set plotted to steal Osiris' throne, but Isis prevented this (Set is the bad guy here in the Western sense. Set is our primal nature, and seeks to overthrow the intellect of Osiris, but is stopped by wisdom, the subtle nature of the subconscious which knows only the truth). Set became the leader of 72 wicked men (The number 72 represented the earth or the material in ancient numerological practices. Ironically it is also the number of disciples sent out in Luke 10:1. This is likely to say that the Word or Logos was spreading over the earth or within the material. In this story it represents the conqoring of the intellect by the material, primal or base. This is why there were 72 languages created at the Tower of Babel, this is another representation of our being subjected to the material. In Masonry this happens both in the Chamber of Reflection, the first burial of Hiram away from the temple and the inundation of the Noachite traditions) along with Aso the evil queen of Ethiopia. He secretly learned the measurements of the body of Osiris, and had a beautiful wooden chest made that was exactly the right size to hold Osiris (for Masons just as the Fellowcrafts learned Hiram’s habits and movements, or just as the Romans has learned
    where and when Jesus would be for his arrest). Then he invited Osiris to a great feast (a Last Supper). Everyone at the feast admired the wooden chest, and desired to own it. Set said that the chest would belong to whoever it fit best. Each person at the feast lay down in the chest, but it fit none of them. When Osiris lay down in the chest, Set and his conspirators, closed the lid, nailed it shut, poured molten lead (the basest of metals, the lowest of low) over it to seal the cracks, and threw it into the Nile. And so Osiris died in the 28th year of his reign.
    The chest floated into the Great Green, the sea north of Egypt, and came ashore at Byblos. There it was flung by the waves into a tamarisk bush (which is the same as the crown of thorns worn by Jesus of Nazareth). The bush quickly grew into a mighty tree which enclosed the wooden chest. The king of Syria marveled at the tree, and had it cut down and made into a pillar which supported the roof of his palace.
    Meanwhile, Set ruled as king of Egypt; it was a time of great trouble in Egypt (What’s this confusion in the temple?) Isis was stricken with grief, and put on the apparel of mourning, and cut off a lock of her hair (counting ringlets of hair with death/time behind here weeping over a broken column). Then she went in search of her husband's body, as he had to be buried so that Osiris could go to the Duat, the land of the dead. Eventually, some children told Isis that they had seen the chest floating in the Nile. But Isis was delayed while she gave birth to Horus, the son of Osiris, in Buto on the island of Chemmis. Set learned of the birth of Horus, and plotted to kill him. Isis hid the island, making it move from place to place, and went in search of Osiris' body.
    Isis tracked the chest to Byblos. At Byblos, she talked to the queen's maid servants, and braided their hair. The queen was delighted by the wonderful braided hair which smelled of sweet perfume, and invited Isis to the palace. She took care of a baby prince, although she did not suckle the child, but allowed him to suck her thumb. She placed the child in a fire. The queen seeing this, ran to her child and pulled him from the fire, thereby denying him immortality (denied initiation because you must first be renovated by fire or to die to be reborn). Isis revealed who she was, and asked the king for the pillar which contained the wooden chest. The pillar was split open and Isis took the wooden chest which contained the body of Osiris. The remainder of the pillar was placed in a temple, and for many ages travelers came to Byblos to see it.
    Isis took the wooden chest back to Egypt and hid it in a secret place. Then she returned to her son in Buto. One day Set, while out hunting by moonlight, discovered the chest, opened it, and cut Osiris' body into 14 pieces, which he scattered throughout the land. The crocodiles would not touch the pieces of Osiris, as they feared Isis. Isis, in a boat made of papyrus reeds, searched the land, and buried each piece of Osiris, and a temple was built by men at each place where a piece of Osiris was buried (A symbol that temples represent that divine spark within us, and that the world was given light at this time, but partially). And thirteen different cities claimed to be the burial place of Osiris. Isis found all but one piece, which had been eaten by a fish in the Nile. And this kind of fish has been accursed ever since. But Osiris entered the Duat, the netherworld, and he rules as its good and just king.
    Set still ruled Egypt. As a child, Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis and rightful heir to the throne, was killed by Set in the form of a scorpion, but Thoth brought him back to life (death not longer held its grip, the material was overcome by wisdom), as his destiny as ruler of Egypt, and
    avenger of the crime against his father, had not yet been fulfilled. Horus grew to be a strong and brave warrior. Osiris appeared to Horus in a vision, and urged him to overthrown Set.
    The armies of Horus fought the armies of Set, and defeated them. Set was forced to flee. The final battle was fought at Edfu, where Horus lost an eye (just as the “fall†or the Lost Word, this is the knowledge of the entire self. We are whole, but lack the vision to know it). But Horus killed Set and cut his body into pieces. And Horus ruled as the good and just king of Egypt.â€
    When we examine the Egyptian story we find1516:
    • Dualism. This is expressed in many ways, but most dramatically in the relationship of the two Brothers Set and Osiris. Truly good and evil, light and dark. Both equally capable of ruling.
    • Light. Literally children of the Sun, and associated with the light of day, peace, happiness and bounty.
    • The Temple. Represented by the building of temples where ever Osiris was in the earth.
    • Raising. Osiris, much like Hiram is interred in a hasty grave of earth and later reinterred in a proper burial, allowing his son (the sun) to rule the earth as a union of intellect of Osiris, the
    Beauty of Isis with the Wisdom of Hermes.
    • Astronomy/Astrology. Quite literally the story of the seasons with the summer, Scorpio, the
    submersion of Osiris, the inundation from the Nile, sprinkling of Osiris throughout the land
    which is the planting of crops.
    • Godhead. Again, God and Nature are synonymous.
    So within Hermeticism we find dualism, light, the temple mythos, the raising or elevation, astrological correspondences, and the Godhead in a pantheistic manner. And so within Gnosticism we find dualism, light, the temple mythos, the raising or elevation, astrological correspondences, and the Godhead in a pantheistic manner.
    The Egyptian mythology is so similar to the Masonic mythology, it is easy to see how our Brethren, given the wording in the Gothic Constitutions, would link the two directly. But there has never been found, a direct link. Moreover, no one has yet suggested a reasonable transitory agent.
    In order to grasp how this occurred we must examine two different transitional mechanisms. First, the philosophies. What mechanism delivered an Egyptian philosophy to a group of medieval Christians? Second, is who would have given this philosophy a voice? I suggest that the reason the answer is difficult to obtain is because its multi-dimensional. It is also difficult for our current Western predominately Christian membership to hear.
    The two-fold mechanism that delivered the philosophies to Europe were the Gnostic Christians and Hermeticism. Christian Gnosticism is nothing more than Hermeticism with Christian symbols overlaying the intact Hermetic belief systems. Hermeticism is Hellenized Egyptian mythology. This is to say that Hermeticism is Egyptian mythologies couched in Greek terms, which are much more “acceptable†to the Western culture as Greece heavily influenced much of what the West believes to be true about itself.17
    Heremeticsm could be said to have “come first†and through the Hellanization process, owing itself heavily to Alexander the Great who melded the two cultures, Christian Gnosticism was born. Some believe Gnostic Christianity was the first Christianity until the mythologies
    were misunderstood or manipulated by individuals with mercenary motives. When the literalist Church is given to study, the literalist church’s response to the Gnostics might prove strong evidence that they were accurate in at least part of their assessments.18 19
    Let’s reconnoiter the Gnostics and other early Christian Heresies and then examine the introduction of the more “pure†Hermetic philosophies in Europe.
    One of the oldest recognitions of schism in what would become the Christian church was that of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus. Even in the canonical story, John doubts if he was correct in choosing Jesus as a successor. The story also provides that John had is own apostles that remained loyal only to John the Baptist and never embraced the Jesus. This was a completely separate sect and schism from the Jesus cult. It would eventually give birth to a group of Gnostics who found affinity with John the Baptist and formed a Johanite tradition in his name. It is predominately a Gnostic heresy.20 21 22
    In the first century we have Valentinus who would give birth to Valentinian Gnosticism. Valentinus taught that there was a Bythos. The Bythos is the primal being almost a collective consciousness. This primal state of being was the first thing, the true beginning of all things. The creator or creative force. Through silence and introspection this Bythos came into the material through the process of emanation. The first emanations were the aeons. The first series of beings were the aeons. One of these aeons, Sophia (wisdom), fell into error (the material) and man was a product of that error. Although a product of error, man is the highest being of the lowest world and posses some of the divine Sophia within him. He exist in both the spiritual and material nature. The goal of Valentinian philosophy is recognition of your true state and then raising yourself to exist in a state where the spiritual part of man rules his thoughts and actions.23
    Valentinus was clearly a dualist and much more Platonic theme is found in the Gnosticism of Valentinus.
    Other heresies would lend themselves to the overall Gnostic tradition. Sabellius had a following in the second century and his form of heresy is often referred to as Sabellianism. This heresy lent to the Cathar Heresy the definition of God as a mode and never doomed the material dualism of the human. Our fate is based purely on our human form, God being pure spirit, can never truly be debase as the material human.24
    Arianism, not Aryans', is named named after a third century priest in Alexandria (the Egyptian connection) named Arius. Arius found enough of a following that much of his heresy is still found in bit and pieces through Italy and Christian churches throughout Africa.25
    In the heart of Europe we find Pelagianism was fifth century, and was widespread throughout Europe and provided that man was responsible for his own actions and, therefore, his own salvation.26 These philosophies would continue and gain different levels of support through Europe and parts of Asia. The logical extensions of Hellenized Egyptianism continuing via Hermeticism and giving birth to the more comfortable symbolism of Christianity, or continuing as the original Christian tradition by its founders. We find the Bogomils, the Paulicians, the Cathars and many other groups of varying degrees of success providing a continuous vein of the Egyptian tradition in an unbreakable line from the first century A.D. 27
    As all things ebb and flow, so does Gnosticism. On of those major ebbs occurred by direct result of Catholicism.28
    The Catholic Church holds a unique, but unenviable role of being the only religion to create a special section of the religion to hurt, harm and kill its own members for more than a 1000 years. Although the real power of the Inquisition existed for about 100 years. The height of their horror and barbarianism culminated in the Albigensian Crusades in which some estimate more than 2,000,000 people were murdered by the church.29
    The last known professed Cathar was in Switzerland in 1321, just a little more than decade after the suppression of the Templars by the church.30 We should not underestimate what this eradication of the heresies represent. It was a direct attack upon the oldest known Christian tradition, because that tradition was Egyptian in flavor and did not provide the power platform desired by the victorious literalist who sought to establish a world order of suppressive leaders with permission by God to wretch horrors upon its people.
    After more than 100 years past, the memory of the heresies has faded, and a brief window of opportunity opened. Enter the powerful Medici family of Florence.
    The Medici family owes the beginning of its fame to Cosimo de' Medici who lived between 1389 to 1464. With work that started with Cosimo, the Medici family created one of Europe's most politically powerful families. They produced four popes and were Europe’s largest force in banking after the Templars had been suppressed. Some have tried to implicate the Medici’s in a larger Templar conspiracy. It has been supposed that their connection with Hermeticism and banking make them prime candidates for the generators of the Templar tradition. The scope of this paper is not to uncover or cover another Templar conspiracy, but the Medici family does play a primary role in the introduction of Hermeticism back into the European current and, in some ways, the Catholic faith. They also provide a vital link to the rituals and practices found in Masonry.31 32
    Introducing the Corpus Hermeticum.
    With the Cathar heresy believed extant, it was likely believed that the days of Egyptian influenced religion was a thing of the past. The war upon Gnosticism was won, and the literalist had gained control. Enter the Medici family. An avid book book collector with a voracious appetite for knowledge, Cosimo Medici had the means to feed his intellectual additions. So it was in 1460 when a monk named Leonardo de Candia Pistoia delivered the long lost Corpus Hermeticum to the court of the Cosimo Medici who had the Byzantine works translated into Latin and in doing so; sowed the first seeds of the Renaissance.33
    The philosophies that today drive Masonry, or should, were the same that drove the Renaissance. The ideas of man as an individual with rights, the ideas of reason and public education, the ideas that man can attain a relationship with God and neglect an intermediary, the idea that man can read his own Holy Book, the idea that each person should choose their path to God, or not, and be respected for it, are all ideas whose soul had been absent from Europe, or at least very, very underground; until the Corpus Hermeticum. With the power of the Medici family behind it, the Platonic Egyptian thought of the Corpus found favor with the Church and Hermes, a central figure in the Hermeticum, can found in many paintings and frescos pictured along side Christian saints and biblical characters. Equally respected to men such as Moses, and even pictured elevated above him.
    Proving that the Medici family ushered in a philosophy similar in nature to the philosophies of Freemasonry is not convincing evidence that the philosophies somehow made there way into Freemasonry by the same means.
    Enter the Druze.
    The Druze remain a bit of a mystery even today. A secretive religion and nationality that practices initiation in a degreed system, so private that you must be born a Druze to receive the initiation. A Druze who marries outside of the Druze is stripped of this titles; none of their children are considered Druze and are never entitled to the initiation into their mysteries.34
    I had heard of the Druze only in passing when I learned that the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction and Mother Council of the World had removed the Druze from their 25th degree. Masonic scholar Rex Hutchens believed the degree should be a Sufi degree. I am assuming that is because the Sufi’s seemed a likely candidate because their rituals are so similar to Masonry and so little is known of the Druze. I am no longer certain the correct decision was made here and I shall elaborate.
    I know that the common Masonic scholarly culture is to read some persons book, who read a book, who read a book, and so on. I am going to break tradition with this article just a bit and share a personal experience which is, in large part, part of how I came to my hypothesis.
    In July of 2011 I traveled to Lebanon with Brother Timothy Hogan for the purpose of speaking with Masons in that country. Unexpectedly we learned that a large number of Freemasons in the country. Masonry is somewhat underground in Lebanon because of the tenuous relationships with competing political groups such as Hezbollah. When coming from a Masonic culture where men will haggle for hours over a one dollar per capita increase, it was strange to sit in lodge with men who were quite willing to die to be a Freemason as they traveled regularly to Syria and where they could be killed for their Masonic activities. In a country constantly torn by war, to see Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Druze hand in hand around the altar of Freemasonry, the power of the Craft is palpable.
    It was during this trip I learned of the Druze. Because Masonry is so controversial and many of these Brothers were company, political, or religious leaders they asked that their identities remained private. I respect that as we are taught as Masons in the Scottish Rite, “To Will, to Dare, to Know, to Be Silent.†So without divulging that which I should not, I will share what I learned and what was told to me.
    After speaking to “The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry†I joined with a group of Lebanese and Syrian Brothers to share food and fellowship. An older gentlemen of olive complected skin came up to me and said, “So much of what you teach is Druze.†He explained that he was Druze and provided that many members in attendance were likewise Druze. I asked if the Druze was religion was comfortable with so many of its adherents being Freemasons. The man responded, “Freemasonry is the religion of the Druze.†He laughed and said that there was a verbal tradition that the Druze gave Freemasonry to the world so that the uninitiated could have access to glimpse the Druze great truths. He also provided he did not believe the tradition, but it was a tradition nonetheless.
    After this I was able to speak with several Druze and learned the following:
    • They have three ancient grand masters which are Moses, Jethro (father-in-law of Moses), and Pythagoras.
    • They revere two brazen pillars cast hollow. One pillar contains the contracts of all the Druze souls. They sign a contract with God to only incarnate as a Druze. The other pillar contains the wisdom of the liberal arts and sciences and the history of the universe.
    • They circumambulate the altar in the same way Freemasons do, being tried at several stations during initiation.
    • They pick their holy spots on the highest hills and lowest valleys.
    • They pick a place adjacent to a grave of one of their sheiks for their spots of worship (Hiram’s grave being relocated adjacent to the temple).
    • They have grips, tokens and words for identification purposes.
    • The blazing star is the symbol of their faith.
    • They teach you that you must adhere to the religion of the land you are in.
    • They teach you must support and submit to the authority of the country you are in.
    The last two entries on this list might escape a Masons attention as being in close association with Freemasonry until we read Anderson’s Constitutions parts I and II:35
    I. Concerning God and Religion
    A Mason is oblig’d by his Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain'd at a perpetual Distance.
    II Of the Civil Magistrates Supreme and Subordinate
    A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots an Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer’d the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish’d in Time of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State he is not to be countenanced in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as any unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though the Loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown hi Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being, they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.
    The similarities in thought, idea and practice are striking.
    “Freemasonry is the Religion of the Druze†he had said. So similar in ritual, action, and philosophy that the Druze have a tradition that they gave Freemasonry to the profane world. But how might that transmission occur and how might it affect Freemasonry?
    Once again, the Medeci family.
    We have already established that the Medici family re-introduced the Egytian philosophies back into European culture via the Corpus Hermeticum. More than that, they assisted in having the teachings incorporated and excepted by the Catholic church with Hermes
    appearing as a common image within the cathedrals themselves and seeding the papal legacy with four popes.
    In 1618 a man named Emir Fakhr-al-Din ibn Maan was the prince of Lebanon. Fearing his growing power and popularity the Ottomans orchestrated an army of more than 50,000 troops to invade Lebanon. Fakr-al-Din when into exile in Tuscony with none other than Cosimo II of the Medici family.36
    Fakhr-al-Din was a Druze and represents the most public display of world power the Druze have ever gained. His relationship with the Medici family, with whom he stayed his entire time in exile, is proof and evidence of an existing relationship with the very same family that seeded the Renaissance with the translation of the Egyptian philosophies of the Hermeticum, which are in such exactitude to the underlying perennial philosophies of Egypt and the Freemasons as to be difficult to differential the two with a truly academic dissection.
    So as at the time that the Operative Masons likely began to shift to some degree of allowing profanes into their ranks you have the introduction of Hellenized Egyptian philosophy in the form of the Corpus Hermeticum introduced into the European culture via the Medici family. That same family uses the philosophies to infuse the church with Hermetic teachings and produces four popes. The Popes of the Medici family contain some very Gnostic overtones in their actions, although by office, held the Catholic tradition. For instance, the first Medici pope was Leo X who was born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici. Although he did not condone his nemesis at the time, who was Martin Luther, he took the very Gnostic step of reforming the Roman university. Writings indicate that he improved their grounds and halls, elevated the saleries of the teachers. He also worked to bring the greatest of minds from all over the world. Interestingly, he recruited men to teach the Greek arts and sciences for the purpose of creating a Greek printing press. The language of much of the Gnostic writings that ended up spread throughout the Britons via Spain in the same years. He also appointed poets, philosophers and Gnostic writers to positions within the university and within the church.37
    Pope Clement VII, the second Medici pope, commissioned the painting of Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.38
    The last judgement is notably contains Hellenized Egyptian iconography and can be described as very Hermetic. The Christ appears as the solar center of the universe and it compared to imagery of Apollo. The god Apollo is strongly associated with Hermes in Greek mythology and it is from Apollo that Hermes receives his golden rod for the guiding of the herds, reminiscent of the Christian iconography of Christ as a Shepard.
    The very same family, the Medici family that brought Europe Hermes, would bring them very Gnostic popes, and would likewise be strong alliances with the secret religion of the Druze, so much so, they offered, what might be the world’s most power Druze ever, asylum for his entire stay in Europe.
    The Medici family, the most powerful bankers in Europe after the fall of the Templars would introduce Hermeticism into Europe and into the church and would be in close alliance with a group whose traditions and rituals are so close to Speculative Freemasonry as to be considered inseparable by members of the very same tradition.
    It is my hypothesis then that the Egyptian philosophies and references to Masonry arrived into Europe by the Medici family via the Druze. That a religious and political agenda was at play to inclucate a tolerant and knowledge based philosophy to overcome the ignorance of the Dark Ages. The mechanism for the philosophy was Hellanized Egyptian philosophy in the form of Hermeticism. The mechanism for the rights and rituals were the Druze who already had a system in place to avoid detection by groups such as the inquisition, to blend into a culture, to adopt the religion and tradition of any particular society, all the while have systems of initiation and recognition to assist one in the journey from darkness to light.
    The missing link is a tri-fold formula of Hermeticism, the Medici’s and the Druze.
    1 Moses Redding, The Illustrated History of Freemasonry (New York: Redding & Co. 1908)
    2 Moses Redding, The Illustrated History of Freemasonry (New York: Redding & Co. 1908) 7, 23, 147
    3 Norman Frederick de Clifford, Egypt the Cradle of Ancient Masonry (Philadephia: Lincoln Publishing Company 1902)
    4 Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma (Charleston: The Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States 1878) 274
    5 Michael Poll, Ancient Manuscripts of the Freemasons: The Transformation from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry (New Orleans: Cornerstone Book Publishers 2009)
    6 Michael Poll, Ancient Manuscripts of the Freemasons: The Transformation from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry (New Orleans: Cornerstone Book Publishers 2009)53
    7 Michael Poll, Ancient Manuscripts of the Freemasons: The Transformation from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry (New Orleans: Cornerstone Book Publishers 2009) 27
    8 S. Brent Morris, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry (New York: Alpha Books 2006)192
    9 Albert Gallatin Mackey, The History of Freemasonry, Vol. III (New York: The Masonic History Company 1900) 830
    10 Dion Fortune, The Esoteric Orders and Their Work (London: Rider & Co. 1928)
    11 Daniel Sickles, General Ahiman Rezon (New York: Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Co. 1868)
    12 Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma (Charleston: The Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States 1878)
    13 Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages (San Francisco: H.S. Crocker Company 1928)
    14 Jim Loy, “The Story of Osiris,†www.jimloy.com, 2002 <http://www.jimloy.com/egypt/osiris.htm>
    15 Jim Loy, “The Story of Osiris,†www.jimloy.com, 2002 <http://www.jimloy.com/egypt/osiris.htm>
    16 E.A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead (London: trans. 1895)
    17 Harold R. Willoughby, Pagan Regeneration(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1929)
    18 John Michael Greer, “An Introduction to the Corpus Hermeticum,†Sacred Text, http://www.sacred- texts.com/chr/herm/h-intro.htm
    19 Graham Handcock and Robert Buval, The Master Game: Unmasking The Secret Rulers Of The World (New York: The Disinformation Company 2011)
    20 Judith Mann, The Trail of Gnosis: A Lucid Exploration of Gnostic Traditions (Seattle: CreateSpace 2008)
    21 New American Standard Bible, John 1:35-42, John 3:22-4:3, Matthew 9:14-17 and Mark 2:18-22 Matthew 11:2-19, and Luke 7:18-29
    22 Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma (Charleston: The Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States 1878)
    
    23 George Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (London: Theosophical Publishing Society 1900)
    24 Karl Rudolf Hagenbach, Compendium of the History of doctrines, Vol. I (Edinburgh: T & T Clark 1850)
    25 Robert A. Baker, A Summary of Christian History, (Nashville: B & H Academic 2005)
    26 Gustav Friedrick Wiggars, An Historical Hresentation of Augustinism and Pelagianism from the Original Sources (New York: Gould, Newman & Saxton 1840)
    27 Graham Handcock and Robert Buval, The Master Game: Unmasking The Secret Rulers Of The World (New York: The Disinformation Company 2011)
    28 W.A. Silby, The History of the Albigensian Crusade: Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay's `Historia Albigensis' (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer 2002)
    29 Graham Handcock and Robert Buval, The Master Game: Unmasking The Secret Rulers Of The World (New York: The Disinformation Company 2011)
    30 Stephen O’Shea, “The Perfect Heresy, Brian’s Website ,<http://www.briancreese.co.uk/cathars.htm>
    31 Graham Handcock and Robert Buval, The Master Game: Unmasking The Secret Rulers Of The World (New York: The Disinformation Company 2011)
    32 Christopher Hibbert, The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall (New York: William Morrow Paperbacks 1999)
    33 Graham Handcock and Robert Buval, The Master Game: Unmasking The Secret Rulers Of The World (New York: The Disinformation Company 2011)
    34 Sahar Muaskasa, Comprehensive Bibliogrpahy of the Druze Religion (New York: Druze Research & Publications Institute 2004)
    35 Michael Poll, Ancient Manuscripts of the Freemasons: The Transformation from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry (New Orleans: Cornerstone Book Publishers 2009)
    36 Philip Hitti, Origins of the Druze People and Religion (New York: Columbia University Press 1928)
    37 Christopher Hibbert, The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall (New York: William Morrow Paperbacks 1999)
    38 Christopher Hibbert, The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall (New York: William Morrow Paperbacks 1999)
    
     
  15. CajunTinMan

    CajunTinMan Registered User

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    Hummm next time maybe try putting some thought into your answer Brother Porter. Just kidding. Thank you for a very enlighting response.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  16. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    My mistake on the dates, then. There is no way of ruling out Amazons from Planet Galoooooooomaziggits, either. Therefore, it is as reasonable to accept as an alleged "Templar" origin.
     
  17. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    The oldest known Christian tradition is not Gnosticism. It is Not Arianism. It is not any of the vile heresies. The heresies were suppressed specifically because they disagreed with the oldest Christian tradition. Anyone who insists that the heresies are "the oldest known Christian tradition" is explicitly denying my faith and explicitly stating that my faith is a lie. There is no other possible interpretation. If it is Masonic dogma that Gnosticism is the "oldest known Christian tradition", then it is Masonic doctrine that my faith is false. The two beliefs are utterly incompatible.

    I find it amusing that the essay says "Our ancient founders were capable of using allegory in both ritual and manuscript to teach, enlighten and veil." but then it throws allegory away and insists upon a literal, anti-allegorical understanding.
     
  18. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    The oldest provable Christianity would be what we call Gnostic if we are using Christian writings....the oldest are in fact Gnostic.
     
  19. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    You are claiming my religion is false, then?
     
  20. hunterd640

    hunterd640 Registered User

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    I am not a member of either brotherhood, but I can tell y'all that Freemason's have been around, well before the Knights Templar were founded in the 11th Century.
     

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