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Archive for Mystery Schools

Book Review – The Meaning of Masonry

The Meaning of Masonry – W.L. Wilmshurst momwilmhurst

My father gave me this book as a gift right before I got my First Degree in the Blue Lodge. The author does a very good job of covering some of the deeper aspects of the Craft within Freemasonry as well as very good commentary on some of the historical background of the degrees and Rites.

The real value in this piece, is the abstraction of the Degree initiations and their respective symbolism and philosophy. While there are many, many books on masonic symbolism (see series on Symbol), this book does a very good job of tying the core Blue Lodge journey together with the articles and symbols (example: a very good section on the Apron) associated with each degree through the Royal Arch. The author’s writing style is very natural and flowing and a sense of quiet reverence and respect is felt when reading it. There is mention and commentary on the further degrees and Rites as well as a refreshing dive into the mystical heritage (Mystery Schools) and alchemical tenets of the Order.

While the original publishing is relatively dated ( 1927; my copy is a 1980 revised edition), the content is no less applicable today as it was then. In many cases, the tempo and subject matter are better suited than most of the more recent published works, for the newest generation of Brethren joining for esoteric reasons, rather than purely fraternal or political ones. As I mentioned earlier, this book does have sentimental value to me ( my father and many family members are active in Freemasonry, Eastern Star etc ), but I genuinely see this work as a solid addition to any personal Masonic library… Knife and Fork Masons included 😉


Symbol – The Universal Language – Part I

The use of symbols and the symbolic transmission of knowledge is an incredibly important tool and essential aspect of initiatic, esoteric and Inner traditions. Symbols have been used extensively and with great effectiveness since long before our current, accepted, world history record. I’d like to examine symbols, their role and relationship to mind, human mental development and the nature of consciousness in a small, three part series. Let’s get started. So, what is symbol? The word symbol is defined as a thing that represents something else by association. It can be seen as a type of universal language as it does not require specific words to be understood. In the context of initiatic and esoteric orders and teachings, symbol may take on the light of a basic moral truth, principle or lesson. Symbols exist naturally in nature and esoterically within the mind of mankind.

It is in the comprehension and understanding of symbol, that new ideas are brought forth. As we explore the workings of symbol, we will begin to piece together a holistic picture; an understanding that draws from sources ancient and revered, as well as examine key principles of initiation and consciousness itself.

Symbols are often understood at disparate depths of thought between individuals, which is an interesting point in itself and worth noting. The initiatic traditions foster evolving change and growth, through successive initiations and through the private works of the intiates themselves. It is also important to note that all initiations are ultimately personal and private. Symbols take on new meaning and combine to form complex understanding and knowledge within the minds of prepared students and initiates on the path, as they progress. Deeper or advanced meaning to symbolism has existed since the dawning of the initiatic tradition and it is in these deeper meanings that the nature of spirit and mind unfolds.

As I began to think about this series and the role of symbol, especially in regards to initiatic orders and students of philosophy and esoteric teachings, it made sense for me to draw from my background in Egyptian esoteric studies and hieroglyphics. We will pick up tomorrow with the symbolic message of the Egyptian temples and the many interpretive levels of symbols in that context. If you choose to, reflect on the symbolic nature of hieroglyphics and why an advanced culture would elect to pass their knowledge on, for future cultures, using this method of information delivery and why these symbols (hieroglyphics) can represent many things to many people.

To Be Continued.

Symbol – The Universal Language – Part II

Symbol – The Universal Language – Part III

Book Review – The Initiatory Process in Ancient Egypt

The Initiatory Process in Ancient Egypt – Max Guilmot, PhD., F.R.C.


This is the first of many book reviews that will be appearing on this forum . During  the past decade, I’ve amassed a fairly respectable collection of esoteric volumes and have decided to review most of them to some extent. At only 35 pages, this book is one of the shortest reads in my collection, but does have praiseworthy qualities.

Max Guilmot was a Rosicrucian and Belgian Egyptologist. His insight into the initiatory process in Middle/Old Kingdom Egypt is evident within the first few pages. The key concepts that are conveyed in this piece rather well are that of the rites and initiations done in life and the Raising of the Dead in Temple context; the final Temple degree initiation. While the Regeneration (reintegration) topic is set in the Osirion, rather than the Great Pyramid, it is clear that the experience of transition was being fulfilled while living. The negative confessions of Ma’at and the preparations of the journey are fairly well visited in this piece. I must note that this piece must be read in a traditional esoteric interpretive way… much reading “between the lines” is required to truly understand the authors intentions and knowledge he intended to impart.

To see the Book of the Dead, (Book of the Coming Forth of Day, Book of What is in the Duat) played out as an intitiatory Rite, the true Rite of Passage, is a welcome change. A quick note: the Book of what is in the Duat, can also be interpreted as: the Book of what is in the Bardo, or even the Book of what is in the Intermediate Gap, for those with a background in Tibetan Buddhism. While that parallel has not been publicly authored before to my knowledge, it is apparent to me that access to that conscious state is a shared teaching between those Mystical branches. For those of you that choose to do so, this rarely documented relationship is an excellent topic for mediation.