Bro. Jon Patrick Sage
The Masonic teachings encompass the entire Creation. The Mason’s Lodge represents the Sanctum Santorum, or the Holy of Holies. We, as Masons, are charged with acting in the character of a Master Mason. As such, the eventual result should be that the individual Mason’s heart is the dwelling place of Deity. Thus, we direct our steps according to the Light he there shall find and as he there shall find it.
From Darkness to Light, Finding the Deity
Although God was existent for any number of millennium prior, the point at which the physical World begins is when the Heavens and the Earth were void, and “darkness was upon the face of the deep ”. As the Spirit of God descended upon the darkness, He brought light into the Earthly realm. It is at this point of beginning that the concept of dark and light, good and evil, etc., begins to take shape. Thereafter, all else existing in this World are based upon one, or both of these notions.
At the very basic level of Creation, it becomes obvious that Newton’s Third Law is essential, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” . It must be a foregone conclusion that the First, and Second Laws of Dynamics would go into the formation of Nature, but it is the balance between good and evil, heavy and lightweight, light and dark, fast and slow- which gives our existence one which is able to commune with the Deity, while still firmly rooted in the mortal plane.
It may be presupposed by many that God is represented, and embodies light; but, in actuality, and strictly by definitions of words, terms and concepts of Nature and the Arts, this cannot be true. In the course of events, with darkness occurring first, it must be that darkness predates light. It is also true, according to the basic laws of light and by continuance color, that light (white) is the absence of dark (black). In the color spectrum, black is the pervasive force that is THE dominant color, because it absorbs all other colors. Just as the mosaic pavement is a representation of good and evil, checkered throughout our lives, the good and evil of humanity is just as prevalent and indeed, natural. White only becomes apparent in the absence of black/color. In reality, White is the absence of evil, and then of color ! But, make no mistake, there can be no righteousness (Light) without evil (Black); the two are interdependent upon the existence of the other. This is the vexing dilemma of the question: is God good? Or does God encompass everything, containing the good, and the bad? If the latter is true, how then is God truly righteous, if He also embodies darkness?
Perhaps the best exhibition of this is the concept of original sin. In Summa Theologica, Aquinas explained in the First Part of the Second Part, in Question 82 that “original sin is the absence of original justice”, hence; the figurative comparison to the aforementioned black preceding white. Although the white is more noticeable, and at times and in different ways and/or times, more appealing than black; there can be no white, without black. The darkness is THE pre-requisite for the light, just as the original sin, according to Aquinas, is the pre-requisite for life .
The darkness, coming before light, as it necessarily does, accomplishes another phenomena, which is still present, from time immemorial, on into the present day, and for all days following. We begin the process and conception of the term “regular”. Darkness to light, night to day; rotations – annual and diurnal, of the planet about itself and around the sun indicate and dictate the regular behavior of the planet, and of all things therein contained. These things, any and all of them, are necessarily fixed about the centre of the planet, according to the gravitational force(s) set forth by the rotation(s) of the planet. This rotation, dependent upon gravitational forces, gives rise to a continued rotation, which, according to the law of Nature, MUST occur. Therefore, this rotation, from West to East becomes known as regular, and/or regularly occurring, by necessity.
If these then, are the nature of the planets, namely, or our planet Earth; how can there be any difference, according to gravity, of the subjects existing on that planet. We can name these physical or spiritual; but, if a physical being exists on a physical plane, possessing a spiritual nature, it would be logical for the spiritual nature to co-exist within the physical. In this manner, we are spiritual beings who are housed in physical bodies. In the physical, we are male or female, young and old. We physically grow old and die, and while we are confined to this world as evidenced by our animated bodies, the spirit naturally goes along with the scheme. Yet, our spiritual bodies, once free from the physical, need not exhibit these constrictive traits. Indeed, at the point of exit, the spiritual becomes far from regular, inasmuch as we deem regular to be in this physical realm.
With this established, we may explore the regularity of the physical world, with certain supernatural features. First and foremost, we are ever traveling to the East, from the West, fixed about the centre of the planet, in an absolute course that exists and abides within the constraints of the time set out by our planet’s speed among the celestial bodies. This is the case whether we are speaking in Masonic terms or not. It is simply the mechanics of our natural world. Our planet cannot speed up, or slow down, according to its inertia, and we must assume that, barring any act of God, time and direction will continue to be regular, as in the First Law of Dynamics, as described by Newton .
Feminine and Masculine, Balance in Nature and in the Heavens
Next take into account the traits of masculine and feminine, and these also will fall into the grand scheme of the planet’s motion, and continuing with our theme- Darkness to Light. One fits into another, not in the sexual sense, but in the sense of one “belonging to”, or rather “begetting” the other. Male must always be dominant, and will overshadow and come before the female. Thus, Male would represent God; and ALL other things, though it may give preference and make allowance for the singularity of those other things, is representative of the Female, and thus- a pattern of belonging. As God abides in His heaven, there is also a place, such as the physical Creation (planet Earth), fit for the fallen Angels, who at one time, existed in a monophonic melody with God. That the fallen ones no longer exist in heaven, does not mean that there is no longer melody. If we look to musical theory to further explain methods of construction, Creation is now comprised of different melodies and strands of music, in a polyphonic composition . This new composition is made up of darkness and light, and where there was once but one melody, there is now the harmony of the Creation, many melodies, which make up the several parts of the Cantata of the Deity.
Just as is the case of different textures in a composition; soprano, tenor, alto, and bass, the Creation as it progressed also developed necessary differences and countermeasures – parallels, if you will, opposing forces which prove one another, and create the automatic continuum . As the angels fell, this created a rotation and movement in the realm that would in time contain the physical and mortal world; the world which would be drenched in original sin, and propelled by free will. Before a physical creation, a counterweight was not needed. Parallels were not needed in a purely spiritual setting. In the spiritual, monophonic sound of one melody between God and heavenly seraphs, there was no need for the light, or the darkness, there was simply – Heaven. However, when Lucifer, Latin for the “morning star” , rotating in and about the darkness, began his quest for Light, the spiraling effect quickly became the unheard of and un-needed parallel to God. This God, the Deity, was now balanced in the physical realm. But, as He was the pre-existing force in this new community, He must also remain dominant, all powerful, all encompassing, and therefore must remain as Darkness; thus, in a new and perfectly balanced universe, the timepiece of humanity and the search for enlightenment began.
The Square and the Master, Morality and Virtue
From the earliest mist of Creation, Masonry has persisted, and thrived within the clockwork of the World. The regularity of the Creation has been proven to compliment the blueprints of the Masonic Institution, and the divine attributes; imparted to our Craft, have shaped and made nearly perfect our ancient Order. The Fraternity is governed by the Laws of Nature, namely of the square, the most perfect of all the working tools. From the square, all other truths, moral and all else, gain traction and present themselves as testaments and examples of the Craft. All of our working tools has a purpose, but none is more perfect, or more useful, than the square.
Consisting of an angle of 90 degrees, or the fourth part of a circle, the square eventually circles any subject. Indeed, as a circle, the square is all encompassing. The square may be tried, and made true according to the centre of the Creation, as the true centre is always present in the Deity. Accordingly, though the angle may lost; that is to say also, the Word may be lost, with the eternal point within the circle, the square can be made true again. That certain point within a circle, the heart of Deity, is at times present in man, and is the centre of the Creation. As it follows, the square must be the chief working tool of the Creator himself. For these and other reasons, the square is also THE working tool of the Lodge, and is the Masonic symbol of the Master of the Lodge. The level and plumb are simply compliments of the square; yet, they cannot exist without it. However, the square can, and does, exist without the others; the square is the form and pattern of all others. Morality, tried and true against the Creation, is the basis which overshadows and supports all else.
The physical Creation, now begun, and spinning according to the square, and on the square, is by the Law of Nature moving from the West, and traveling to the East, towards light, i.e., knowledge/ Earthly knowledge. This MUST be the case. In an Earthly realm, the man is by his nature according to the original sin, always questing for Light. This Light is two, and even threefold.
- First, in the absence of Divine presence, all color is white, or as it were, Light (earthly/forbidden knowledge, as described as the Tree of Life).
- Secondly, in the earthly realm, there can be no darkness that will be seen, except it be foreshadowed by the Light, brought forth and represented by Lucifer, the bringer of Light in this world (Lucifer, although a different connation that “the Devil”, is still the bringer of Light and Knowledge in the Earthly realm).
- Lastly, by sheer force of nature, as if it were returning home, as it always will be, and also because the darkness begets the Light, the Light must always illuminate from the East – because earth is rotating and moving towards the East, and also by proxy, the Sun (representative of the Deity, piercing the darkness, illuminating our pathway towards the Heavens). Thus, Light is only visible when super-imposed against darkness.
Light is Knowledge
The Biblical text is very clear on what type of knowledge is of God, and what type is also against God. The language of the Scriptures conveys that anything “of this World” is inherently evil, and not of God. I Corinthians, 18-20 “18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise.19 For the wisdom of this b world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. ” We may look back into Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of knowledge of good and of evil, thou shalt not eat of eat: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. ”
God is shown as the existing darkness, founded as the universe. Lucifer, as the “Light bearer” , is present in the East, as represented by the rising Sun. To the Egyptians, the predominating God was Ra, but the God closely associated with the Sun was Horus. One of many Gods in Egyptian lore, it is important to note that Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis; Osiris had been at one time King of the Gods, and was murdered by Set, after which he descended into the Underworld, and only after being resurrected from the dead by Isis, was Horus given life, and eventually the Throne. Osiris, however, remained as keeper of the underworld, in its own right, a land of knowledge, and as such, Horus, representing the Sun, and the ultimate enlightenment, was the Son of the God of the Darkness.
Roman mythology continues to use the name of Lucifer as one of many Gods of enlightenment, as his name is translated “bearer of light”. It would be necessary and proper, that the Christian religion, and certainly the early Church, which only found true solidarity and order, based in Scripture, after the First Council at Nicaea in 325 A.D., should find any source of enlightenment, other than that which is of Christ, as evil and beguiling. Hence, the serpent as Lucifer offered the Tree of Life, in much the same way as Lucifer and also Horus, in the form of the rising Eastern Star (the Sun), offered Light as knowledge, and because they were of this World (along with their knowledge), were also considered to be evil and condemned by the Church.
Yet, the quest for Light binds us, teaches us, and balances us – In turn, the Creation is strengthened!
Balance from Light
We are inhabitants of this planet and are traveling, ever Eastward, always in the quest for Light. We guard against a breach in Fidelity, upholding our Obligation. The Light that is granted to us, through the mysteries of the Order, is represented by several objects and notions. Among many others, it is explained and represented by the Sun; by theVolume of Sacred Law; by Knowledge; and by God. In all of these symbolisms of Light, is also given a countermeasure, again- the balance which makes the square, and all else, true.
The Sun is balanced by the Moon. The planets of our Solar System and Galaxy perform their revolutions in concert with each other. Einstein’s theory of relativity depended upon each planet’s mass creating a field of gravitational pull in a certain area around it. Thus, each planet and celestial body is dependent upon the next for it to remain in a regular orbit and placement within the grand scheme. One body cannot remain in order without another, providing balance and regularity for the first, and then- by proxy; the second provides for the first and the third, and so one, and so forth. Thus, the entire galaxy is dependent upon nearly every particle within it for the entire structure to remain in place. Balance occurs within and about the tiniest atom, on up to the Sun, and out to the farthest comet that places its orbit about our Sun.
The Volume of Sacred Law, it may be said, is made whole and balanced by the Master of the Lodge. As Masons are taught to never block the Light emulating from the open Book on the Altar, it is the Master who is the intended target of that Light. A Master, through the Light of the V.S.L., is animated by it, gaining Wisdom from it. This may be comparable to Moses after he ventured to Sinai a second time, and was in the presence of God. The story is related in Exodus Chapter 34,“29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him” . The light that shone on Moses’ face was not light from within Moses! That light was the Light of God, which was reflected from Moses, and then made visible to the Israelites. In the same manner, the Master of the Lodge receives Light from the Sacred Law, and is then charged with disseminating that Light to the Craft, giving them good and wholesome instructions for their Labor.
Knowledge is balanced, and made greater by the presence of ignorance in the world. If it were not for the profane masses outside of the Lodge room, could the knowledge known of within those walls be of any great value? Of the many symbols representing knowledge residing within the Lodge, the Globes atop those mysterious Pillars remind us, as Masons, of two particular things. First, that by the use of the Globes, any problem or proposition is able to be solved. Secondly, that by their prominence within the Fellow Craft degree, we are taught to make use of them, and other portions of that degree, in the attainment of knowledge .
God, our greatest Strength, is balanced by Evil, which is our greatest detriment. Just as the Mosaic Pavement of the Lodge is representative of Good and Evil, so too must God be compared against Evil. Just as is the case with the others; without one part, there is no need for the second. God beget Evil, and accordingly, created the greatest and most lasting balance of the Universe. Without good and evil, all else stops- nothing can exist without God. God must not exist without evil.
Our Craft is the epitome of the whole of Creation, representative of Good, and Evil- both of which are present in our human lives, and fostered as a whole within the Earthly realm. Thus, the Kingdom of God, on Earth, and most likely in the Heavens, is tempered, and made good, by the presence of Evil.
We reverence the Three Great Lights, and all that they represent. When in Lodge assembled, the Three Great Lights are open, upon our Altar. The Master of the Lodge, as is common knowledge is said to derive strength and wisdom from the Greatest of these Lights, our V.S.L. However, a more plausible explanation, and reminiscent of Moses’ radiation, is that the Light from the V.S.L. is not absorbed by the Master, but is radiated unto the Craft, by the Master, not coincidentally- from the East. As the Sun (Deity) rises in the East… So rises the Worshipful Master in the East …
As the Egyptians and many other ancient people envisioned the Sun as the Deity, so do WE envision the Sun, the Eye of Providence, as the Deity. Whether Brethren call the Sun and/or Master of the Lodge as such, is of little concern- for they still are representative of that Deity.
When in Lodge assembled, the Master, according to his illumination, directs the activities of the Lodge; this is entirely representative of the Almighty, by His own illumination, directing the World at large. Although our Master is NOT, as the name implies, a “Worshipful Master”, meant to BE worshiped, he is very much so, an emblem of what should be worshiped. For a moment, envision the different things that a Master represents, at any given time.
- The representative of Light, who resides elevated, in the East
- The representation of knowledge and of wisdom
- The only Mason within that Lodge, worthy of a crown
- The representation of Morality, based upon the Square
- The leader/figurehead of a Lodge, while at Labor
The Master opens and closes the Lodge (as the Deity opens and closes the day), and during that period, He is the giver of all that there is to give. His instructions are what the Lodge chooses to follow, in order that they might receive their Wages. Of course, as in the accepted Theologies of the World, that choice to do the Work set forth, is always a choice, a reminder of the free will, and original sin. Those who choose not to progress in their Work and consequently in the Mystery, will be cast out with the others, known to those within the due bounds as the profane.
Thus, we do choose to sit in Lodge assembled. We do actively ask for, receive, and make good use of- the good Works and Morality that is communicated to us, via the Master, according to His Light from the V.S.L., always open, and piercing the darkness, within any regular and well governed Lodge.
Voluntarily, we do all of these things- and for what purpose? We receive NO Earthly Wages. We receive only as wages, those of a speculative Mason, which are meant to ultimately be passed along to others, in order that their walk may also, hopefully be within the Light. Worship: Courtesy of reverence paid to… Act of paying divine hone to a deity, religious reverence and homage… Obsequious respect of devotion… To pay divine honors to, to venerate .
While in Lodge Assembled, Masons worship at the Altar of Masonry. This is as natural as the day is long, and we should embrace this, for the good that is evidenced in our lives as a result of this Worship. While our Craft is not an organized theological church, we ARE a group animated by the poetry and religion of Masonry, and of the purest and most worthwhile directives of The Grand Architect of the Universe, laid down for us, in the Book of Life, the Volume of Sacred Law.
Brethren, the Volume of Sacred Law, amid the checkered pavement, and illuminated upon the Altar, is there by no accident. It must be an intentional expression of the delightful nature of our Profession! We are Masons, building and acting according to the Square, and hence; ultimately by the direction of the Almighty Father. Let us not deny this, but rather- accept the radiant Light from the East, defined by each of the Brethren as he understands that Light, using it for the betterment of our individual lives, and also of those lives around us.
So Mote It Be