MASONIC INITIATION  by W.L. Wilmshurst

Chapter II

THE GRAND LODGE ABOVE

Express reference is made in the Order rituals to the existence of a Grand
Lodge Above, having its Grand Master and Officers. Doubtless the allusion
is often regarded as but a pious sentiment expressing the belief that,
after their death, worthy Masons combine to constitute such a Lodge or
assembly in the heavens.

With such a belief no one would wish to interfere, but there are good
grounds for suggesting that the reference was intended to carry a quite
different meaning. It is meant to testify to the fact, which forms part of
the long stream of esoteric tradition throughout the ages, that a supernal
Masonic Assembly not only exists, ' but that it preceded, in point of time
and constitution, the Masonic Order on earth. Had it not so existed and
preceded the terrestrial Order, that Order itself would not have existed ;
for the hypothesis is that the latter is the shadow and projection upon the
physical world of a corresponding hierarchical Order in the superphysical.
In other words, the Masonic Order on earth is the reflex and effect, not
the , generating cause, of the Grand Lodge Above. The latter is not
necessarily recruited from the former, since death of the body does not
constitute per se a title to admission to the Grand Lodge Above, which,
according to the tradition, possesses its own qualifications and passports
for admission ; but neither, according to the same tradition, does life in
the earthly body preclude the duly qualified Mason from reception into, and
conscious co-operation with, the Supernal Lodge, while he is still in the
flesh .

A certain resemblance will be noticed between this doctrine and the
corresponding theological one of the complementary relations between the
Church Militant on earth and the Church Triumphant in the heavens, the
doctrine of the Communion possible between all Saints upon whichever side
of the veil . Neither in the case of the Church nor of Masonry does the
claim imply, what is obviously not the fact, that every member of either
community has actual knowledge or first-hand experience of the truth of
this doctrine. But it does imply that there have been, and still are,
members possessing it.

Farther on in these pages more will be said of the Grand Lodge Above, and
in a way which perhaps will suggest to the reflective reader a fuller idea
than one can convey upon such a subject than by expository methods . It is
a theme deserving of larger consideration than the Craft accords it, and
one about which no little literary evidence is available for those with
sufficient interest to look for it . One such important piece of evidence
shall be mentioned here.

It consists of a remarkable series of communications of the highest
spiritual value and instructiveness to every Brother seeking to realize the
spiritual essence of the Masonic system, issued by a saintly man and
advanced initiate, Karl von Eckartshausen, to a group of pupils in the
secret science in Germany, at roughly about the same period as that in
which the English Masonic Order was becoming established . The synchronism
is not without significance and, in conjunction with other evidences (which
exigencies of space prevent being now adduced) of spiritual activity at
work at that time behind the events of public history, points to efforts to
put forward a great movement for human enlightenment ; a movement conceived
from behind the veil by the Grand Lodge Above, and projected into the world
through some of its members in the flesh .

The communications or letters deal with the subject of the need for human
regeneration and the rationale of Initiation. In the first of them, the
author asserts that "the great and true work of building the Temple
consists solely in destroying this miserable Adamic hut and in erecting in
its place a divine temple ; this means, in other words, to develop in us
the interior sensorium or the organ to receive God. After this process, the
metaphysical and incorruptible principle rules over the terrestrial, and
man begins to live, not any longer in the principle of self-love, but in
the spirit and in the truth, of which he is the Temple. The most exalted
aim of religion is the intimate union of man with God ; this union is
possible here below, but it can only take place by the opening of our inner
sensorium, which enables our hearts to become receptive of God. Therein are
those great mysteries of which human philosophy does not dream, the key to
which is not to be found in scholastic science ." He then proceeds to state
that "a more advanced school has always existed to which the deposition of
all spiritual science has been confided, which has continued from the first
day of creation to the present time. Its members are scattered all over the
world, but they have always been united by one spirit and one truth . They
have had but one science, a single source of truth, one Lord, one Doctor,
one Master, in whom resides substantially the whole Divine plentitude, who
also alone initiates them into the high mysteries of Nature and the
Spiritual World ."

In the second letter it is explained (I compress the substance) that :
"This community possesses a school in which all who thirst for knowledge
are instructed by the Spirit of Wisdom itself, and all the mysteries of God
and of Nature are preserved therein for the children of light . It is
thence that all truths penetrate into the world. It is the most hidden of
communities ; it possesses members gathered from many Orders. From all time
there has been an exterior school based on this interior one, of which it
is but the outer expression. The community has been engaged from the
earliest ages in building the grand Temple for the regeneration of
humanity, by which the kingdom of God will become manifest. It consists in
the communion of those who have most capacity for light. It has three
Degrees, and these are conferred on suitable candidates still in the flesh
. The first is inspirationally imparted. The second opens up the human
rational intellectuality and understanding, and ensures interior
illumination . The third and highest is the entire opening of the inner
sensorium, by which the inner man attains objective vision of real and
metaphysical verities ."

The instruction goes on to explain that this Society does not resemble
temporal organizations that meet at certain times and elect their own
officers. It knows none of these formalities, but proceeds in other ways.
The Divine Power is always present . The Master of it himself does not
invariably know all the members, but the moment a member's presence or
services are needed he can be found. If a member is called to office, he
presents himself among the others without presumption, and is received by
them without jealousy . If it be necessary that members should meet, they
find and recognize each other with perfect certainty. No disguise,
hypocrisy, or dissimulation, can hide their true characteristics . No one
member can choose another ; unanimous choice is required. All men are
called to join this hidden community ; the called may be chosen, if they
become ripe for entrance . Any one can look for entrance ; any man who is
within can teach another to seek it, but only he who is ripe can arrive
inside. Worldly intelligence seeks this Sanctuary in vain ; all is
undecipherable to the unprepared ; he can see nothing, read nothing, in its
interior. He who is ripe is joined to the chain, perhaps often where he
thought least likely, and at a point of which he knew nothing himself.
Seeking to become ripe should be the effort of him who loves wisdom. But
there are methods by which ripeness is attained, for in this holy communion
is the primitive storehouse of the most ancient and original science of the
human race, with the primitive mysteries also of all science. It is the
unique and illuminated Community which possesses the key to all mystery,
which knows the centre and source of nature and creation . It unites
superior power to its own, and includes members from more than one world.
It is the Society whose members form a theocratic republic, which one day
will be the Regent Mother of the whole world. Upon this description of the
Grand Lodge Above,

by one who, even in the days of his flesh, claims to have been a member of
it, it is not proposed here to descant. That it may provoke surprise and
doubt as to its veraciousness in those to whom such ideas may now come for
the first time, is probable . This must be hazarded in giving voice to
those ideas here, and the subject left to such responsiveness as may come
from the heart of the individual reader ; for obviously no proof can either
here be offered or given to even the most sympathetic querist upon a matter
which in its nature is incapable of verification otherwise than by direct
personal experience.

But with an earnest counsel to accept its accuracy and to seek confirmation
of it in the only way in which such confirmation is possible, it must be
left to the deep and protracted reflection of those to whom the idea of the
existence of a Grand Lodge in the heavens, watching over the Masonic Israel
on earth and superintending its development, is at least a matter of
probability and a subject for faith . They will at least perceive in the
description of it given above, that the Masonic Order faithfully
reproduces, in point of form and hierarchical progression, its alleged
supernal prototype ; and if they recognize that invisible things are in
some measure knowable by perceiving things that are made, the contemplation
of their own three-graded Order, with its ascending sequence of Grand
Lodges of districts, provinces, and finally of the nation, will perhaps
help them on to the conception of an unseen Grander Lodge beyond all
these,-one to membership of which any duly qualified Brother may hope to be
called to take progressive Initiations no longer ceremonial and symbolic,
but as facts of spiritual experience-at the hands of the Universal Master
and Initiator, whose officers are still Brethren of our own, though risen
to the stature of holy angels.

 

 

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