In the Light of a Theory and History of Freemasory -Part II

(...) Relatively to the Initiatic modes and in a very skimpy and simplified way, we may say that two types– Royal and Priestly – exists and within them several subcategories. The Royal Initiation applies itself to the action and the Priestly (initiation) to the contemplation. Naturally, the Royal Initiation is conducted through operational mechanisms – we may call them actions. Being part of the Royal type, the Masonic Initiation has an operating support, in a general sense, the art of the construction and, in a restricted sense, the art of cutting the stone.

This is the true Initiatic affiliation of Freemasonry that, as in all modalities of the Royal Initiation, is non-detachable from an operating basis, being it either the maneuvering in the war, in case of Knighthood and Royalty, either the melt of the metals, in the case of the metallurgy, etc.

The “operating" basis functions as a manifestation, in the material world, of the spiritual experiences of the user. For example, in the specific case of Freemasonry, the exercise of cutting the stone supplies to the mason, by direct analogy, the conscience of its own spiritual exercise that is doing, simultaneously.

In the Masonic ceremonial and on the existing rituals, this analogy is referred to the symbolic and ethical discourses, replacements of the spiritual actions, impossible to communicate directly by the use of words. Naturally, these references are about the “operative” Freemasonry. With the shift from operative to “speculative” freemasonry, the question of cutting the stone or building a construction is not, really, the issue.

The opening of the Initiation to the liberal professions of the middle-class introduced a new sort of analogical substitutions: the stone now identified with the speculative Freemason and its allegoric laboring corresponded to the personal improvement and the building under construction become the construction of the universal Temple of Humanity.

The British Freemasonry still uses the term Domatic, which in the Scotland of the XVI Century referred to the Operative Freemason, the one that worked the stone, differently than the Geomatic – the Gentleman who was a Freemason. As anyone can perceive, there is a clear allusion, here, to the Lost Word and to the Word of Substitution, in the myth of Hiram, equally applicable to the loss of the operativity, here replaced by the speculative path (of freemasonry) as a requirement for the survival of the Order and, especially, of its rich Initiatic legacy.

Another issue that is related to the history of the Freemasonry allows also some commentary. It is obvious that every historical inquiry has its value and represents an important deed, open to enhancement with innovative and well justified facts, the memory and the knowledge of the Order.

Specially it is urgent to recount the cyclical crises on Freemasonry, every time some freemasons cede to the appeal of profanization of the Temple, by religious or political reasons, by material interests or pure vanity; a profanization that always happened – by reasons external to Freemasonry – when the profane conceptions overshadowed the Initiatic wisdom.

The knowledge and the comprehension of the past errors lessen the margin of errors in the upcoming future. However, such studies should be kept within the strict domain of the history, not taking into its field of analysis issues that History does not have a vocation, capacity or competence to lead with.

By example, the assertion that we hear, frequently, that Adam was the first freemason, would ridicularize any attempt to write a historical essay, refuting or even supporting such assertion. Notwithstanding, Adam is a symbol of Manhood and in it there are, potentially, all the potential of Humanity, from its beginning to its extinction, passing by its peak and decline.

Naturally, in that mythic character, in which under a symbolic perspective all the human experiences are reunited, will fit, for sure, the Masonic experience. For those who believe, by the way with all the credit, that Adam has been a historical character, to avow its Masonic condition may configure a joke. However I don’t believe that, for a educated Brother, any tangle confusion exists between the allegoric or symbolic dimension and the literal and historical dimension of all things.

It doesn’t exist, never existed, and will not exist anything that can be defined as a "philosophical initiation". However, as semantics are unstable, we may argue that the “love to knowledge” is an intimate part of the Initiation process; but is not of that type of philosophy that we discuss here. The circumstance that various philosophers of the Classical Antiquity – Plato and, in particular, Pythagoras – exteriorize Initiatic concerns in their philosophy, does not imply the existence of philosophical schools of thought, directly connected to the Initiation, in itself.

This eventual condition of initiated has to be separated from the philosophical exercise. By one side, they (the practitioners of philosophy) have to be initiated; by another side, they elaborate their philosophy. This happens because the analytical and logical method involved in what we may appoint as philosophing is only based in abstract reasoning, and has nothing to do with the synthetic mode of the Initiatic process in which reason, intuition and other elements congregate into a unit that René Guénon, so well, has defined as pure intelligence. That modality of intelligence is the only competent to be transformed into the key of access to the Metaphysical purity, structural basis of all Initiations.

Eques Peregrinus

To be continued