Page from French Bible Moralisee (c 1235-1245),
British Library, showing Christ as the Great Architect, designing the
universe with the compass of the Freemason.
The universe is a system in balance proceeding by cycles and alternations. For every progressive movement there will be a retrograde one. An outpouring of truth is soon followed by obstruction, a natural inertia, resisting change. Many movements like the present theosophical one have tried to advance human knowledge along the road to appreciation of the processes of Nature which include the spiritual growth of humankind. There is, so to speak, an outflow followed immediately by an ebb.
In the case of the Ancient Wisdom, the ebb has always been represented by entrenched ideas: an attempt to preserve the status quo of dogma; the awful inertia of real ignorance and superstition; false belief systems and so on.
In our story of the origins and the coming into being of the modern Masonic movement whose roots were in the pristine truths of Nature’s working where these became known outside the confines of truly secret brotherhoods, the knowledge was immediately desecrated by subtraction and substitution.
In our present era the reactive element has been established religion, particularly the Christian and its representatives, some of whom have become very powerful, as for example the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).
Whenever their doctrines, for the most part superstitious, were in jeopardy at the hands of any organization with sufficient recognition by the general public, the opposition had to and did move in to render ineffective the activities and teachings of the new body. Wherever possible such a movement was infiltrated and offending doctrines removed or changed to make them agreeable to the established ones of the Church.
In Masonry initially the teachings regarding the origins of the universe rested first in the indefinable, unthinkable Absolute, and secondly in the impersonal but manifest One All from which all that was to be came forth in due season according to the universal processes. This cut across completely the Church’s dogmatic view of a creator God, an entity to whom prayers and supplications could be offered. Such a personal God became an obligatory belief for all Masons by the machinations of the Church and the Jesuits.
Another area of attack was that of freedom, especially freedom of thought. All real truths require freedom in which to flourish and they are directly opposed to the belief systems of dogma. The one represents real knowledge of the processes of Nature and the other the knowledge of scriptural authority.
And here again, our friends the Jesuits have to be mentioned, for the above rite [of Initiation] is of their making. To give one instance of their success in throwing dust into the eyes of ordinary individuals to prevent their seeing the truths of Occultism, we will point out what they did in what is now called Freemasonry.
This Brotherhood does possess a considerable portion of the symbolism, formulae, and ritual of Occultism, handed down from time immemorial from the primitive Initiations. To render this Brotherhood a mere harmless negation, the Jesuits sent some of their most able emissaries into the Order, who first made the simple brethren believe that the true secret was lost with Hiram Abiff; and then induced them to put this belief into their formularies. They then invented specious but spurious higher degrees, pretending to give further light upon this lost secret, to lead the candidate on and amuse him with forms borrowed from the real thing, but containing no substance, and all artfully contrived to lead the aspiring Neophyte to nowhere. And yet men of good sense and abilities, in other respects, will meet at intervals, and with solemn face, zeal and earnestness, go through the mockery of revealing “substituted secrets” instead of the real things.
If the reader turns to a very remarkable and very useful work called The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia, art. “Rosicrucianism”, he will find its author, a high and learned Mason, showing what the Jesuits have done to destroy Masonry. Speaking of the period when the existence of this mysterious Brotherhood (of which many pretend to know “something” if not a good deal, and know in fact nothing) was first made known, he says:
There was a dread among the great masses of society in byegone days of the unseen – a dread, as recent events and phenomena show very clearly, not yet overcome in its entirety. Hence students of Nature and mind were forced into an obscurity not altogether unwelcome. ... The Kabalistic reveries of a Johann Reuchlin led to the fiery action of a Luther, and the patient labours of Trittenheim produced the modern system of diplomatic cipher writing. ... It is very worthy of remark, that one particular century, and that in which the Rosicrucians first showed themselves, is distinguished in history as the era in which most of these efforts at throwing off the trammels of the past (Popery and Ecclesiasticism) occurred. Hence the opposition of the losing party, and their virulence against anything mysterious or unknown. They freely organised pseudo-Rosicrucian and Masonic societies in return, ... and these societies were instructed to irregularly entrap the weaker brethren of the True and Invisible Order, and then triumphantly betray anything they might be so inconsiderate as to communicate to the superiors of these transitory and unmeaning associations. Every wile was adopted by the authorities fighting in self-defence against the progress of truth, to engage, by persuasion, interest or terror, such as might be cajoled into receiving the Pope as Master – when gained, as many converts to that faith know, but dare not own, they are treated with neglect, and left to fight the battle of life as best they may, not even being admitted to the knowledge of such miserable aporrheta as the Romish faith considers itself entitled to withhold.
It would be as well perhaps, if the Jesuits contented themselves with making dupes of Freemasons, and converting that order into a mere convivial Benefit-Club, which allures members by the prospect of refined Banquets in the Societies of Princes, statesmen and eloquent orators in speech and song. Their lethal plottings, however, have a much wider scope, and embrace a minuteness of detail and care of which the world in general has no idea. Everything must be done by them to bring the mass of mankind again to the state of passive ignorance and superstition which, they well know is the only one which can help them to the consummation of their purpose of Universal Despotism. [C.W.XIV, 265-6]
Our Masonic readers, of whom very respectable numbers are scattered throughout India, ought to be on the lookout for recent publications against their Fraternity. We find quite an interesting little libel upon their organization quietly running through the columns of the Roman Catholic Tablet in its November issue of 1881. ... [C.W.IV, 55-60]
As far as we are concerned, disciples of the Masters of the Orient as we are, we have nothing to do with modern Masonry. The real secrets of symbolic Masonry are lost, as Ragon, by the way, proves very well. The keystone, the central stone of the arch built by the first royal dynasties of Initiates – ten times prehistoric – has been shaken loose since the closing of the latest mysteries. The task of destruction, or rather of strangulation and suffocation begun by the Caesars, has finally been completed, in Europe, by the Fathers of the Church. Imported again, since those days, from the sanctuaries of the Far East, the sacred stone was cracked and finally broken into a thousand pieces.
Upon whom shall we lay the blame for this crime?
Is it upon the Freemasons, especially the Templars, persecuted, assassinated, violently despoiled of their annals and their written statutes? Is it upon the Church which, after appropriating to itself the dogma and rituals of primitive Masonry, was bent upon making its travestied rites pass for the only TRUTH, and decided to stifle the latter?
Whichever it may be, it is no longer the Masons who have the whole truth, whether we cast the blame on Rome or the insect Shermah*of Solomon’s famous temple, which modern Masonry claims as the basis and origin of the Order. [*According to a Jewish tradition, the stones which were used to build Solomon’s temple (an allegorical symbol taken literally and made into an actual edifice) were not chiselled or polished by human hands, but by a worm called Samis, created by God for this express purpose. These stones were miraculously transported to the location where the temple was to be erected, and cemented afterwards by the angels who built Solomon’s temple. The Masons introduced the Worm Samis into their legendary history and call it the “insect Shermah.”]
For tens of thousands of years, the genealogical tree of the sacred Science which all races had in common, remained identical, as the temple of this science is ONE and is built on the unshakable rock of primeval truth. But the Masons of the last two centuries have preferred to detach themselves from it. Once more, and this time in practice, rather than in theory, they shattered the cube, which then broke into twelve parts. They rejected the real stone for the false, and whatever they did with the former one – their corner-stone – it was not according to the spirit which quickens, but according to the dead letter which kills.
Is it again the Worm Samis (alias “insect Shermah”) – whose traces on the rejected stone led the “builders of the Temple” into error – which gnawed at the same structure? What was done then, was done knowingly. The builders surely knew the sum total by heart, i.e., the thirteen lines of five faces.
What does it matter? As for ourselves – faithful disciples of the Orient – we prefer, instead of all these stories, one that has nothing to do with any of the other mummeries of masonic degrees.
We will keep to the eben Shetiyyah (which has a different name in Sanskrit), the perfect cube which, while containing the delta or triangle, replaces the name of the Kabbalistic Tetragrammaton by the symbol of the incommunicable name.
We willingly leave to the Masons their “insect”, hoping meanwhile for their sake that modern symbology, which advances with such rapid strides, does not discover the identity of the Worm Shermah-Sami with Hiram-Abif – which would be rather embarrassing.
However, on second thoughts, this discovery would not be without its useful side, nor would it be without great charm. The idea of a worm being at the head of Masonic genealogy, and the Architect of the first Masonic temple, would also make of this worm the “father Adam” of the Masons, and would endear the “Widow’s Sons” even more to Darwinists. This would bring them closer to modern Science which seeks natural proofs to strengthen the theory of Haekelian evolution. What would it matter to them, once that they have lost the secret of their true origin? [C.W.XI, 181-3]
There never was an Occult Society, however open and sincere, that has not felt the hand of the Jesuit trying to pull it down by every secret means....
But all efforts of the greatest craft are doomed to failure on the day they are discovered. [C.W.XIV, 267]
And are those of Jesuitism, then, so much cleaner? “Our adversaries, numerous and formidable.” that sentence says all. Who these so formidable enemies are, is useless to inquire. They are the Roman Catholics, and some of the Reformed Presbyterians. To read what the two factions respectively write, we may well ask which adversary is the more afraid of the other. But, what shall it profit any one to organize against a fraternity that does not even dare to have a belief of its own for fear of giving offense? And pray, how, if Masonic oaths mean anything and Masonic penalties are regarded as more than burlesque, can any adversaries, numerous or few, feeble or strong, know what goes on inside the lodge, or penetrate beyond that “brother terrible, or the tiler, who guards, with a drawn sword, the portals of the lodge? Is, then, this “brother terrible” no more formidable than Offenbach’s General Boum, with his smoking pistol, jingling spurs, and towering panache? Of what use the millions of men that make up this great fraternity, the world over, if they cannot be so cemented together as to bid defiance to all adversaries? Can it be that the “mystic tie” is but a rope of sand, and Masonry but a toy to feed the vanity of a few leaders who rejoice in ribbons and regalia? Is its authority as false as its antiquity? It seems so, indeed; and yet, as “even the fleas have smaller fleas to bite ‘em,” there are Catholic alarmists, even here, who pretend to fear Masonry! [I.U.II, 377-8]
The books by H.P. Blavatsky from which passages have been extracted are:
1. I.U. ISIS UNVEILED, Vols I and II, all editions same pagination.
2. S.D. THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vols I and II
3. S.D. THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol III, only in the 1897 edition (this material is in C.W.XII)
34. C.W. THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY
Another book which readers might care to read for much information about the craft from a Masonic point of view is:–
5. THE FREEMASON’S GUIDE AND COMPENDIUM by Bernard E. Jones, (George G. Harrop)
First published 2003 by The Theosophical Publishing House, London.
Available from: The Theosophical Society in England, 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA
Theosophical Society in England, Bookshop link