Why is the north a place of darkness?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by pointwithinacircle2, May 15, 2015.

  1. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    One of the greatest mysteries for me personally is why do Masons consider the north a place of darkness? Most of the Masons I have asked this question have referred to the explanation given in the ritual. When I tried to press them further I quickly discovered that they had no ideas other than quoting the ritual. What do you think? is there another reason why the north is traditionally a place of darkness?

    Further, Symbolically, what does the north represent? What does the symbol of darkness teach us?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
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  2. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Is not the North the entrance to a higher temple?

    Aspects may become apparent in the dark of the 3rd.
     
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  3. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    In the northern hemisphere, sunlight doesn't come in to north facing windows.
     
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  4. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    If you go far enough north the sun does not set in the summer.
     
  5. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    There is an interesting legend of a Temple workman whose name was Cavelum. He was kinsman of King Solomon and was the house of David; thus he had high status among the other workmen. In the process of inspection of work in progress on the north wall of the Temple at a place where the north gate was to be, Hiram Abif accidentally dislodged a stone. It fell and struck Cavelum, who was killed. Hiram Abif was so overcome by grief that he ordered the north gate sealed and closed forever. (5)

    This legend was once used as the basis for a degree called Fellow Craft Mark. Dr. Albert Mackey has stated that this was an early trace of the present Mark Master degree.

    http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artfeb02/OLD LEGENDS OF HIRAM ABIFF.HTM
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  6. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Some orders place a chair in the north - for the hidden master
     
  7. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Are those Recognized Masonic Blue Lodge Orders?
     
  8. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    OES is recognized but not a blue lodge order.
     
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  9. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    It rather depends who is doing the recognising.
     
  10. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Okay, then narrow it down: Those Recognized Blue Lodges Orders that are within the sphere Recognized by at least one of the three GLs of Scotland, England and Ireland.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  11. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I think point of the thread is about the nature of the North in the temple rather than an account of inter-GL politics.

    Some orders using quite recognizable rituals, allocate a role to the North, even to placing an empty chair.

    As I have said: "Aspects may become apparent in the dark of the 3rd."

    I have seen on two occasions, a non-physical form appear in the chair.

    And I know a brother, who as an apprentice, improperly leaning an elbow on the chair, had the elbow pushed off twice in the space of a minute, while the chair was physically empty and no brother was nearby. That brother still remembered the event 30 years later.

    So, is the North the entrance to a higher temple?
     
  12. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    All hallucinations aside, you made a claim:
    You have yet to give example of the Recognized Freemasonic Blue Lodge Order.
     
  13. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    My take -

    There are a number of conundrums to be found in Masonry and this is one of them. We exclude women yet teach equal treatment for everyone. We exclude atheists yet teach free practice of religious choice. We are openly elitist but teach equality.

    The literal reason as taught in the lecture comes from astronomy. The Sun traces the ecliptic across the sky every year. It is never at median once north or south of the ecliptic. Our civilization is the northern one.

    The first step of symbolic reason is Masonry dates from the era of solar worship. Since the Sun does not illuminate the spot it is dark. So far simple with no conundrum.

    The second step is the reference to the seat in the north being reserved for the divine. As the divine is the source for the light. I find this to be the starting point of the conundrum. There is a cluster of ideas in play. Veiled in allegory with concealment as a teaching method. Hiram Abiff being dead and thus dark. The original Masters Word being lost and thus dark. Other religions teaching other ways yet also starting from the divine and thus the path but not the source being dark. These are the kind of secrets that can be shouted from the rooftops and still they remain secret.

    The third step is the English pun of sun and son. Probably as we do not discuss sectarian religion in lodge I wonder if the word dark is a sense shifting play on silence. Masonry originated in a time and place when forced changes of religion were recent history and people existed who publicly followed the public way still secretly followed the way then out of favor. Lodges were an asylum for those who would keep their private ways secret. These are the kinds of secrets where people die when they are revealed.

    That's what I think about when I ponder the topic. What do you think about when you ponder the topic? Symbols are supposed to very slightly different meanings to every person while all centered around a point and all limited in range. Bringing us of course to the symbol of the Entered Apprentice.
     
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  14. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    Not saying that I agree with it, but if one were to subscribe to the Templar connection, the church controlled continent of Europe to the North would be seen an unenlightened compared to some of the gnostic traditions being adopted by the Templars in Jerusalem and thus considered dark.
     
  15. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    A good post - not quoted in full to save space.

    The elitism of English-based Freemasonry is well-known as you have stated, and hardly needs any comment except to note that the GAOTU is more inclusive than the UGLE.

    >. The Sun traces the ecliptic across the sky every year. It is never at median once north or south of the ecliptic.

    This is a good observation, but the status of the North is not related to the strange proposition in the 1st degree questions about the sun at its meridian. The meridian context is really the result of the ancient practice of the 3rd degree when the candidate "trod the bounds of death" and was taken out of the body and out of the planet and saw the sun in its full strength even though the ritual was at night. On returning to the body the newly raised brother had no fear of death.

    >Since the Sun does not illuminate the spot it is dark.

    Except at midsummer when the sun never sets at the North Pole. I suggest another aspect of North is required.

    >the English pun of sun and son

    Etymologically they are the same word.


    >Symbols are supposed to very slightly different meanings to every person while all centered around a point and all limited in range.

    If Masonry is a Science, then it should be possible to use what is veiled as "the working tools" in what is veiled as a "moral" sense to determine what is true (to the GAOTU).
     
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  16. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Really?

    sun (n.) [​IMG]
    Old English sunne "sun," from Proto-Germanic *sunnon (cognates: Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old High German sunna, Middle Dutch sonne, Dutch zon, German Sonne, Gothic sunno "the sun"), from PIE *s(u)wen- (cognates: Avestan xueng "sun," Old Irish fur-sunnud "lighting up"), alternative form of root *saewel- "to shine; sun" (see Sol).

    Old English sunne was feminine (as generally in Germanic), and the fem. pronoun was used in English until 16c.; since then masc. has prevailed. The empire on which the sun never sets (1630) originally was the Spanish, later the British. To have one's place in the sun (1680s) is from Pascal's "Pensées"; the German imperial foreign policy sense (1897) is from a speech by von Bülow.

    son (n.) [​IMG]
    Old English sunu "son, descendant," from Proto-Germanic *sunuz (cognates: Old Saxon and Old Frisian sunu, Old Norse sonr, Danish søn, Swedish son, Middle Dutch sone, Dutch zoon, Old High German sunu, German Sohn, Gothic sunus "son"). The Germanic words are from PIE *su(e)-nu- "son" (cognates: Sanskrit sunus, Greek huios, Avestan hunush, Armenian ustr, Lithuanian sunus, Old Church Slavonic synu, Russian and Polish syn "son"), a derived noun from root *seue- (1) "to give birth" (cognates: Sanskrit sauti "gives birth," Old Irish suth "birth, offspring").
     
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  17. Zaden

    Zaden Registered User

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    Henry Corbin's The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism has some detailed discussion of the "darkness" of the North, the search for the Orient and the Midnight Sun that make for quite interesting lines of thought for meditation. Both the differences and the, perhaps obscured, similarities.
     
  18. Levelhead

    Levelhead Premium Member

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    The answer is in the EA lecture.


    Sent from Mossy Oak Swamp Bottom.
     
  19. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Am I to understand from your answer that you believe that the wording in the EA lecture is not an allegory, not symbolic, and that nothing can be learned for examining the concept?
     
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  20. Levelhead

    Levelhead Premium Member

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    Brother with all due respect. Your question was "Why is the north a place of darkness"

    Well im not one to judge or ponder on your knowledge. But to give you an exact answer to this question.... The exact answer is in the EA lecture.

    Most people dont realize how informative the lecture is until they hear it numerous times from the sidelines.

    Its just heard and not impressed in your mind especially the day your are initiated. There is too many over whelming thoughts to even listen and let the words sink in as the new candidate is in a state of awe. Mind taken over by the thoughts of the past hours events.


    Sent from Mossy Oak Swamp Bottom.
     
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