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What Masonry means to people

Their thoughts on the Meaning of Masonry

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Turning The Hiram Key

Find out what Masonry means to Robert by reading his latest book, Turning The Hiram Key.

- Robert's own thoughts about his new book
- The official launch website
- Get hold of a signed copy
By Rooski
There are two ways to view the "secrecy". One is to imagine a group, worldwide, that shares ritualistic acts and beliefs (or visions) and that non-members are not privvy to the details. The other way is to understand the brotherhood and its close relationships, and how they will consider themselves first when it comes to assisting success in any form. This is no different than preferring to speak to someone you know versus someone you do not, should you not be comfortable socializing at all.

Because of the second way, the brotherly "leg up" that is seemingly historically present, and can be at low levels or very high societal levels, the less educated people (regarding masonry) fear there is collaboration in dark circles. This is close minded but a natural logical thought process.

As far as I am concerned, the more educated the general masses could be, the less conspiritorial they may view the craft and its members. On the other hand, those who do not choose to use some of their capacity to reason and learn, and do not bother to seek the truth, can stay in the dark to forever imagine the ghosts and goblins lurking around every corner of the movie screen.

I am not yet a mason, but I have been open minded about the group because my grandfather was one and I know he was a good person.
By Louise
Have women been invited into Masonry yet? I would be very interested in joining.
By kicksex
I am not a Freemason and I believe that Freemasonry should remain as secret as it is. It is not as if members are not being accepted or people are being kept from finding out the basics of the Craft. The same path is there if one wishes to follow. If Freemasonry was as open as Christianity or other religions I feel that peoples responses to it would be highly illogical as what is contained in the higher degrees is only meant for an adept who has gone through the previous degrees. Revealing all of it to everybody (neophytes) would cause an illogical response as well as ruining a beautiful stream of knowledge that has managed to stay intact longer than most religions have. Build on!
By Boreades
Re Should Freemasonry be secret, or should we be more open about it?
More open, definitely. I appreciate much of the so-called secrecy served a very good reason in centuries past when expressing any beliefs that differed from church dogma could drastically shorten your life expectancy. But times have changed, and the need for religious tolerance seems much more important now.

Re Is a member of your family a Freemason, and how do you feel about that?
None that I know of.

Re. If you are a Mason, what does Masonic ritual mean to you?
Yes, but only a FC. The ritual is still new and confusing.

Re. How did you feel when you were made a Mason?
Slightly confused. Clearly much of the degree ceremony is symbolic and veiled in allegory, but it takes time to learn the meaning. Also slightly frustrated that progress seems slow. Maybe the mentoring scheme will help.

Re. And what role has Masonic ritual played in your life since?
I've not been a mason for long enough to be sure yet. My reading of books on freemasonary (like Robert's) has shown me there are many similarities between spiritual and personal development via freemasonry and other methods such as Yoga and Bhuddism. These are more accessable to most people. Also, via the internet we have the opportunity for more communication between the varied paths and methods for spiritual and personal development.

Re. Do you feel it is something which can not, or perhaps should not, be put into words?
I agree we should try and verbalise what it means.

Re. Do you think Freemasonry benefits society?
Yes, definitely through charitable works, and the spiritual and personal development of individual masons in society at large.
By Peter Piper 1000
I joined Freemasonry, not knowing anything about it, because I trusted the friend who proposed me and who said it was worthwhile and he was sure that I would enjoy it.
When I became a Mason I felt that I had found something for which I had searched for years; spirituality without the elements of conventional religions that I find difficult to accept. I do feel, however, that Freemasonry has lost it's way a little, since many of us think that brotherly love and charitable works are what it's all about, whereas I think that the ritual is the most important part.
Freemasonry has become a way of life and has made my life much the richer and more enjoyable.
After 6 years, and going through the chair, I am still struggling to fully understand what I think and feel. It's as if it's almost within grasp yet still just out of reach and certainly very difficult to express.
I am coming to believe that true understanding of Freemasonry is probably not something that you can pass on to others but is something that they have to find for themselves.
The writings of Walter Leslie Wilmshurst are incredibly informative, helpful and thought provoking and I thank you for making them available.
If only I had known more about the Craft I would have joined years ago and I think that we should be more open and enable others to realise how beneficial it could be to join.

By mike
As a mason, I feel the craft should not be "secret" but should remain private. In the tradition here we may talk about almost anything except modes of recognition, ritual and what happens in lodge. The ritual brings a feeling of community to a group of men, who otherwise might have very little in common. It allows those of us who are more comfortable being on the fringes of a group to feel like they can have a connection to others, and as though they already belong if they choose to. As a loner, I have constantly felt ostracized, as a mason, I have a group of people who welcome me. Like the college fraternity, which based it self on freemasonry, only more accepting.
By GA Mason
Should Freemasonry be secret, or should we be more open about it?
Yes. And no. It should be kept secret as a means of establishing how committed someone is. If you *think* you know all there is to know, why bother? The mystery of the journey adds to the pleasure of the discoveries. Having said that, letting folks know that we use building as an allegory to making better men should be shared. Do we care that the profane are told what the 24 inch gauge teaches us? Keep the modes of recognition secret, but the other stuff is what we're about.

Is a member of your family a Freemason, and how do you feel about that?
Yes, and I like him very much :)

If you are a Mason, what does Masonic ritual mean to you?
Much more than I thought it would. I'm not a joiner, I'm not a follower. I'm contrarian, often irreverent. The ritual is a form of meditation for me. Learning a lecture helps me to "take the lodge with me" - I don't have to be present in lodge to be reminded of the lessons. More than this, it centers me and makes me more receptive to listening to the lessons from above and within. I feel closer to God when I review the lectures and they help me to cover the full three miles if I do them while jogging.

How did you feel when you were made a Mason?
I didn't know I was one. I thought that I needed to do my Master's chatechism in order to be a full MM. I didn't realize until the next meeting that I was fully made and it was an odd sort of recognition. I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. I was thrilled though - it felt like I was now free to begin the journey.

And what role has Masonic ritual played in your life since?
See above. I love learning lectures and searching beyond words for their deeper meaning.

Do you feel it is something which can not, or perhaps should not, be put into words?
By 'it' you mean the role of ritual in my day to day life? I have no issue with describing that role to those not in the Craft. The feeling from this is similar to prayer, meditation, or concentration on a hobby. People find different ways to achieve that feeling of centered-ness and balance. Mine is ritual, but sometimes it's prayer and sometimes it's meditation.

Do you think Freemasonry benefits society?
Sure. Philanthropy aside, having good men reflect upon their life performance so far, make a pledge to be better, and offer encouragement and reproof to others who are doing the same makes for a great system of improvement. When the members of a society are better people then the society itself is better off.
By Charlie
I'm not apart of the Craft. But I have read the book of Hiram and enjoyed it, but why didn't talk about Hassan-i-Sabbah the old man of the mountain in Alumut modern day Iraq, the assassins creed (not the game) they had 9 degrees of initiation, all secret. They came from nizari isma'ilis of Islam. The Knights Templar especially, with their system of Grand Masters, and their degrees of initiation, bear the strongest analogy to the Eastern Ismailis. Students took an oath to keep secret what was to be revealed to them along with secret signals. We know the Knights Templar were in contact and even feared them, The Crusaders had been in the Holy Land for about 30 years when the assassins decided that they could usefully form an alliance with them aimed against Baghdad, and the city of Tyre was promised to them if successful, which they were not. We know this because of the Mongols hordes under Halaku lieutenant of Chinghiz. I liked the openess of your book even adding certain financial points stopping conspiracy theorists thinking your making us read misinformation. I 100% agree with you simplifying rituals is even taking us away from the Light! It reminds me of them Illumunati because they were infiltrating Freemasonary at that time. Please feel free to contact me for further discussion if your times warrants it. But your Craft must remain secret and not corrupted.

By yarrow
I was very moved by the contents of "Turning the Hiram Key" There is a great deal of criticism and fantasy written about Masonry and I wanted to find out the truth as near as I could.
As we travel through life and learn via our mistakes about pride, humiliation and all those human traits we strive to change it can sometimes take almost a life time.
The true principles behind Masonry which were outlined in the book were a wonderful guide to the kind of balanced person one could aspire to be.
I'm sure like all hierachal bodies on this earth some members may create other obstacles we humans need to deal with, however as an aid to controling ones own life I found it meaningful and deep.
I have always been fasinated by esoteric literature and symbolism as a way to help man live a balanced and fulfilling life. For me this book answered so many unspoken thoughts about the real connection between one human being and another and the dynamic force we call the I AM.

I am not a Mason. I am not a man. However, this book touched a deep place in my heart and I felt connected to the ancient spiritual philosophy it upholds.
By Frederic the benighted traveller
Hello, a few weeks ago I asked in a previous contribution how a man like you, Robert, could be admitted to the United Grand Lodge of England, which states that belief in God is an essential requirement, while, reading « Turning the Hiram Key », I have the impression that you do not follow any institutionalised religion or belong to any Church, and that your conception of the Divine is quite close to mine: a vision of God seen as an ordering principle that is present within the Universe and gives meaning to it and our lives within it. When you talk about initiation as an identification process with the divine, you name it “the God Experience”, or, at other places in your book, the “Cosmic experience”, which re-enforces my feeling that you identify God with the Cosmos itself (i.e. the Universe as illuminated by the light of the Principle, in other words by God).
I went on to argue that I do not understand why “regular” Grand Lodges should not recognize and co-operate with “non regular” or “adogmatic”, as they like to style themselves, Obediences such as they are in the majority in continental European Masonry, which do not prescribe any reference to God, although they (claim to) attach a great importance to the spiritual dimension and to leave all brethren free to follow any religion if they so wish (at least I thought so when I joined one of these Grand Lodges).
Well, now I do understand why. In fact, in the non regular obedience I joined a few months ago, rabid atheism is, if not an explicit official philosophy, clearly the predominant politically correct way of thinking, with secularism being identified with atheism. Some atheists claim that it is possible for an atheist to develop a form of spiritually. This may be true in some cases, but certainly not in the case of radically materialistic atheism. Those radical materialists reduce mental and spiritual processes to physical, electrical or chemical contacts between brain cells. These physical phenomena certainly constitute the wiring or hardware that are the material basis of these processes, but the processes themselves operate on a completely different level – just as a tree is rooted in the ground but rises toward the sky – just as a Mozart symphony cannot be reduced to the wave lengths and acoustic frequency figures of the sounds it is made of. Such absolute materialism is a negation of any spirituality. It is also totalitarian – witness the way writers of many articles in the official bulletin of the Grand Lodge I had joined called any person who holds any religious beliefs “reactionary bigots”. Witness the way my mild expression of dissent with such rabid views only met with vituperation, sarcasm, and even slanderous personal innuendoes. Needless to say, I resigned from that Grand Lodge, explaining that, although I do not practise any institutionalised religion and do not recognise myself as a member of any church, I do believe in God, Whom I see as a principle rather than as a personalised God (Whom you can picture, Whose life story you can tell) such as He is presented to us by most religions. Without such an illuminating principle the world obviously does not make sense, so this principle is divine - It is God, and I believe in Him. Now I think I understand, and agree with what James Anderson had in mind when he wrote that a Free-Mason cannot be a stupid atheist. I still have not lost all hope of embarking on a genuine Masonix quest.

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