The Mystery Religions of the Ancients – part 5

[The framework of this Lecture is from Chapters 3 & 4 of MYSTIC MASONRY (1897) by J.D. Buck, but has been revised and expanded with the teachings of Gnosis, especially chapters 6-9 of The Gnostic and Esoteric Mysteries of Freemasonry, Lucifer and the Great Work]

.: Click HERE to listen to this lecture :.

Symbolism concealing the “SECRET DOCTRINE”.

There is no fact in history more easily and completely demonstrable than the existence of the Secret Doctrine in all ages among all people, and of Adepts or Masters who were familiar with its teachings, and more or less capable of expounding its principles. It is equally demonstrable that this Secret Doctrine was the real foundation of every great Religion known to man; and that only the initiated knew the real doctrines…

Furthermore, the Sacred Books of all religions, including those of the Jews and the Christians, were and are no more than parables and allegories of the real Secret Doctrine, transcribed for the ignorant and superstitious masses.

All commentaries written on these Sacred Books, whether on those of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets of Judaism, the Gospels of the Gnostics and Christians, or those written on the Sacred Books of the East all either make more confusion when written by one ignorant of the Secret Doctrine, or, when written by initiates, further elaborate the parables and allegories.

The Secret Doctrine is the Primitive Wisdom Religion (it is the Esoteric Knowledge). This Doctrine is everywhere and at all times essentially the same; only the outer gloss, the parables and allegories concealing it differ among different people. Underlying this Secret Doctrine was a profound philosophy of the creation or progressive development of the Universe and of the human being.

The Symbolic Teaching of the Mysteries

In ancient times, long before the Egpytian Empire even began to flourish, there existed an ancient type of Mystery School Ritual or Occult Masonry which was beautifully symbolic.

“Those rituals differed so greatly from those that currently exist in the world, that it would be impossible for the modern mason to admit that they were masonic. The colors black and white were combined on their clothing to represent the struggle between spirit and matter. The symbols and the tools of work were used inverted, to represent the drama that is projected into the centuries: the descent of spirit toward matter. So they surprisingly had inverted scepters, inverted chalice etc., everything was inverted.

Life was at this time descending towards matter, and it was necessary then to give symbolic expression to this. The sacred processions were grandiose. They made the great mysteries and the supreme descent of Spirit towards matter understandable. This was a magnificent event that was awaited through the course of the centuries. It was awaited with as much yearning as is today the return of the human being to the superior worlds.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 31 of Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor

“God made Himself man in order to deify man. Heaven united itself with earth to transform earth into heaven. But in order that these divine transformations can take place, an entire change, a complete and absolute overturning and upsetting of our being, is necessary. This change, this upsetting, is called re-birth. To be born, simply means to enter into a world in which the senses dominate, in which wisdom and love languish in the bonds of individuality.

To be re-born means to return to a world where the spirit of wisdom and love governs, and where animal-man obeys. The re-birth is triple; first, the re-birth of our intelligence or understanding; second, of our heart and of our will; and, finally, the re-birth of our entire being. The first and second kinds are called the spiritual, and the third the corporeal rebirth.

Many pious men, seekers after God, have been regenerated in the mind and will, but few have known the corporeal rebirth. This last has been attained to but by few men, and those to whom it has been given have only received it so that they might serve as agents of God, in accordance with great and grand objects and intentions, and to bring humanity nearer to felicity or great happiness.

It is now necessary, my dear brothers, to lay before you the true order of rebirth. God, who is all strength, wisdom, and love, works eternally in order and in harmony. He who will not receive the spiritual life, he who is not born anew from the Lord, can not enter into heaven. Man is engendered through his parents in original sin, that is to say, he enters into the natural life and not the spiritual. The spiritual life consists in loving God above everything, and your neighbor as yourself. In this double-love consists the principle of the new life.”

-Paraphrase from LETTER VI in The Cloud upon the Sanctuary by Karl von Eckhartshausen

The Philosophical Death of the Masters

“Initiation means death and rebirth into another life : occupy yourselves with learning the truth…”

-Paraphrase from Ch. 9 of Masonic Orthodoxy (1853) by J.M. Ragon

The Philosophical Death of the Masters is the Death of the Ego. This is something very serious and must be understood, so that we can know the meaning of the symbolism of Death which is present in all the Mystery schools.

This is a subject which Gnostic Psychology explores in depth, but, at this point, let us say that the “Ego” as it is understood in Gnostic Psychology is used to describe all of the subjective likes & dislikes, desires, aversions, opinions, beliefs, etc., that we carry within. Due to the Ego, we lack Objectivity, Continuity of Purpose and generally miss out on all true opportunities in Life.

The Ego keeps us in a ‘dream’, it filters our perception of reality so that we do not see thing as they truly are. As a result, we are trapped in a way of thinking, feeling and acting which only leads us to more suffering and pain (Buddhism emphasizes this concept very clearly). In order to end this confusing mess, we must find the cause.

“Our present life is the effect of our past life; it is a continuation of our past life, it is the effect of a former cause. Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause. Every cause transforms itself into an effect; every effect was converted from a cause. Our present life is the cause of our future life. The cause of our future life will be this present life with all of its errors and miseries.

To continue the way we are means to postpone our errors and pain. Therefore, what we must do is die from instant to instant in order for us not to continue the way we are. It is better ‘to be’ than to continue.”

“The “I”, the ego, is constituted by thousands of little “I’s”, which only wish to satisfy their desires and to create karma.”

The “I” is the origin of error and of its consequence, which is pain. Thus, as long as the “I” exists, pain and error will continue to exist.”

-from Ch. 4 of The Dissolution of the “I” (1965) by Samael Aun Weor

So the “Philosophical Death” is the psychological death of oneself, to die to all the causes of our pain and suffering, to end with our Subjective way of Being in order to seek for Authentic Objectivity. This process of ‘Dying’ occurs when we change our perspective on life, and this leads to a change in our Level of Being, and then we will begin to see that the causes of our present life exist within ourselves.

And as we address these causes begins, then new effects are produced and our life is changed step by step into something different, into something more profound, into something with Authentic Value. So all of this is related to our Psychology, our way of Thinking, Feeling and Acting, our Internal State: our Attitude or Perspective on Life.

Initiation is Life Itself

The Main thing that we need to understand about initiation, is that:

“INITIATION is your life itself, it is profoundly internal and profoundly individual.”

-paraphrase from Ch.4 of Manual of Practical Magic (PDF) (1954) by Samael Aun Weor

“Those who resolve to lay the heavy cross of Initiation upon their shoulders will find themselves persecuted and even hated by those spiritualist brethren who live talking daily about initiation.”

-from Ch.21 (Section 8) of The Major Mysteries (1956) by Samael Aun Weor

“In this day and age, the Masonic Lodge grants its degrees based on money and social status. Many people sell initiations. Many people are bestowed with initiations. All of this is exploitation and black magic.

Authentic degrees and authentic white initiations are received in the consciousness. These initiatic ceremonies are performed within the superior worlds. They are intimate experiences of the consciousness. They must not be revealed, nor spoken about. No one can grant initiations to anyone. Initiation is attained through life itself.

In this day and age, everybody wants to be a master. We say that there is only one master, the internal Christ of every human being who comes to the world. Only HE is the Master…”

-paraphrase of Ch.21 (Section 7) of The Major Mysteries (1956) by Samael Aun Weor

Understanding the Path of Initiation

As we mentioned in previous classes, all the ancient mystery schools tested their Initiates before allowing them to enter into their studies of the Esoteric side of Religion. In the past these tests were performed physically.

“In the solitude of those Mysterious Sanctuaries the Neophytes were submitted to the 4 Initiatic Ordeals. The ordeals of Fire, of Air, of Water and of Earth always defined the different purifications of the neophytes. The Neophytes are submitted to the 4 Initiatic Ordeals which are verified in the Internal Worlds.

Man is still not king of Nature, but he is called to be so after the order of Melchizedek. The disciple must be tested in the 4 Elements, in order to examine him he is submitted to ordeals in the 49 Regions of Thought. These ordeals are for all men and women.”

-from Ch. 26 of Tarot & Kabalah by Samael Aun Weor

“In the ancient Egypt of the pharaohs these four trials had to be faced in the physical world. Now candidates have to pass these four trials in the supra-sensitive worlds.

Ordeal of fire: This ordeal is to prove the serenity and sweetness of the candidate. The wrathful and angry inevitably fail this trial. The candidate is persecuted, insulted, wronged, etc. Many are those who react violently and return to the physical body having failed completely. The victorious are received in the Chamber of the Children and are welcomed with delightful music.

Ordeal of air: Those who despair because they lose something or someone, those who fear poverty,
those who are not willing to lose what they most love, fail in the ordeal of air. The candidate is thrown into the depths of a precipice. The weak cry out and return terrified to the physical body. The victorious are received in the Chamber of the Children with celebration and feasting.

Ordeal of water: The great trial of the water is really terrible. The candidate is thrown into the ocean and believes himself to be drowning. Those who do not know how to adapt to the various social conditions of life, those who do not know how to live among the poor, those who after being shipwrecked in the ocean of life reject struggle and prefer to die; they, the weak inevitably fail in the trial of the water. The victorious are received in the Chamber of the Children with cosmic festivities.

Ordeal of earth: We must learn to take advantage of the worst adversities. The worst adversities bring us the best opportunities. We should learn to smile before all adversities, this is the Law. Those who succumb to pain before the adversities of existence, can not victoriously pass the trial of the earth. In the superior worlds the candidate finds himself between two enormous mountains that menacingly close in on him. If the candidate screams with horror, he returns to the physical body, having failed. If he is serene, then he is victorious and is received in the Chamber of the Children with great festivity and immense happiness.”

-from Ch. 19 of Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor

The Plan of the Church, Temple, or Lodge, which is the Tabernacle of the Human Soul

In all the Ancient Mystery Schools, the real Temple is the Tabernacle of the Human Soul. And in Freemasonry this Temple is symbolized by the Masonic Lodge.

Gnostic Kabalah teaches that the Soul (the vehicle of the Spirit) must be created, that we do not have a Soul unless we manufacture it and that, right now, instead of the Soul, what we have are the 3 Rebels or 3 Traitors (Desire, the Mind and Ill-Will).

What we do have is the Seed of the Soul or the ‘Essence’, the ‘building materials’ which we must use to manufacture the Soul. And this is the symbolism of the Rough Stone which must be converted into the Perfect Stone (the Cubic Stone with its 9 corners).

We mentioned the symbolism of Arcanum 9 in the previous class, but now let’s look at some of the deeper symbolism it contains. In Gnostic Kabalah, there are 10 Sephiroth or Spheres which are often referred to as the different aspects of God, but the ‘Tree of Life’ is also a model or diagram of the Universe and of Man. Beneath the 10th Sephiroth (Malkuth) or the Kingdom, which corresponds to the Material or Physical world we live in, is what is called the Klipoth.

Klipoth is the inverse of the 9 superior sephiroth, but that lack the ‘light’ or divine aspect that the superior aspects contain. The Sephiroth of Klipoth are often referred to as “cortices” or “shells” because they are hollow or empty compared to the Superior Sephiroth of the Tree of Life.

“Kabalists call sin a cortex: the bark, they say, is formed as an outgrowth that shrivels on the exterior through the sap which clots instead of circulating; so the bark dries and falls off.

Similarly, the man who is called to cooperate with God’s work, and to complete himself by perfecting himself through the act of his liberty, if he instead lets himself clot in the divine sap which must serve to develop his faculties for the greater good, then that man accomplishes a retrograde process, he degenerates, and falls down like dead bark.

But, according to the kabalists, nothing leads to evil in nature, evil is always absorbed by good; the dead bark may still be useful by being picked up by the farmer who burns them and warms himself through their heat, then he makes from their ash a nutritive manure for the tree, or better, in putrefying themselves at the foot of the tree, they nourish it and return to the sap through the roots.

In the ideas of the Kabalah, the eternal fire which must burn the wicked is then the regenerative fire that purifies them, and through these painful, but necessary, transformations, makes them serve for the general utility of the good, and eternally renders them to the good which must triumph.

God, they say, is absolute good, and there can only be two absolutes: evil is the error which will be absorbed by the truth; it is the bark that, whether putrefied or burned, returns to the sap, and contributes anew to universal life.”

-from Eliphas Levi’s to his student Mrs. Hutchinson

Masonry and the Vault of Secrets

In a Masonic Catechism from 1785 we have the following exchange, where the “Most Venerable” asks the Apprentice a series of questions:

“Question: My Brother, where do you come from?
Answer: Most Venerable, [I come] from the Lodge of St. John.

Q. What is done at the Lodge of St. John?
A. Temples are raised to virtue, and vaults are dug for vices.

[Footnote explains:] Among the [Mystery Schools of the] Ancients, the Initiates were purified before being admitted into the lesser Mysteries. In the early days of Christianity, no Proselyte was made [a member of the Mysteries] until after they were baptized. When these new initiates came into the Lodge, they were asked this same question, understanding that their response, (‘I come from the lodge of St. John’) explicitly means: ‘I just came from being purified by the waters of Baptism’. Remember that it was St. John who instituted the Sacrament of Baptism, which is the great art of conquering one’s passions and of the practicing of virtues.”

-paraphrase from ‘CATÉCHISME DES APPRENTIFS’ in
“RECUEIL PRÉCIEUX DE LA MAÇONNERIE ADONHIRAMITE”

[PRECIOUS COLLECT OF ADONHIRAMITE MASONRY] (1789)
by Louis Guillemain de Saint-Victor

‘Temples are raised to virtue’ makes sense, but why are ‘vaults dug for vices’? (from the second answer above)

In a Masonic Encyclopedia, we learn of the re-building of the Temple of Jerusalem which occurred at a later time after it had been destroyed by a conquering army:

As a symbol, the Secret Vault does not present itself in the primary degrees of Masonry. It is found only in the high degrees … where it plays an important part. [Here are some extracts] of the Masonic legend of this vault:

“The foundations of the Temple were opened, and cleared from the accumulation of rubbish, that a level might be procured for the commencement of the building. While engaged in excavations for this purpose, three fortunate sojourners are said to have discovered our ancient stone of foundation, which had been deposited in the secret crypt by Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, to prevent the communication of ineffable secrets to profane or unworthy persons. …The secret vault had been built by Solomon as a secure depository for certain secrets would inevitably have been lost without something like this being done for their preservation…”

The vault was, therefore, in the ancient mysteries, symbolic of the grave; for initiation was symbolic of death, where alone Divine Truth is to be found. The Masons have adopted the same idea. They teach that death is but the beginning of life; that if the first or evanescent temple of our transitory life is on the surface, we must descend into the secret vault of death before we can find that sacred deposit of truth which is to adorn our second temple of eternal life.”

-paraphrase from Vault, Secret in “An encyclopedia of freemasonry and its kindred sciences” (1874)
by Albert Gallatin Mackey

So from this we can see that

  1. the Secret Vault (or Crypt) is where the Foundational Stone is found [the Corner Stone, or the Cubic Stone of Yesod], along with ‘certain secrets’;
  2. and in the Ancient Mysteries, the Vault was symbolic of the grave and death, which is related with Initiation.

Therefore we have 3 things that are interrelated:

  1. the Vault, Crypt, or Grave
  2. the Ancient Stone of the Foundation, or Cubic Stone of Yesod
  3. and Initiation

But how is all of this related to the ‘vices’ mentioned by the Apprentice? In order to understand this we must remember what has already been said about the significance of the number 9 and the esoteric principle: “we must descend in order to ascend”.

[see more information about this in ‘The Cubic Stone and the Initiatic Path’ from Part 4]

The Work upon Oneself

Something that seems confusing, and is often misunderstood, is the work on oneself. If we wish to get rid of our vices and replace them with virtues, then we have to first become aware of the vices.

In Gnosis, this self-awareness is achieved through what is called Self-Study and:

“The chief method of self-study is self-observation.”

-from Ch. 6 of In Search of the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky

By studying oneself, one is able to discover the defects or vices and observe them before they are acted upon. If we act on them, then we are the defect or vice that we have carried out, we effectively become it since we did it. But if we study ourselves and see the vice come up (in our thinking and feeling) but we don’t act on it, we don’t carry it out, then we have begun the process of becoming a better person.

So in order to be a better person, we have to stop doing the things that are making us a worse person. Samael Aun Weor explains this concept very well when he says:

“In order to start being someone we are not, we have to stop being the person that we are.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 1.44 ‘THE MENTAL STOMACH’ in Revolution of the Dialectic

Another way of saying this is: that in order to be a different person, we have to die to the person we are. This is why the symbol of death is used: the grave, the crypt, etc. The process of becoming a better person by discovering our vices is symbolically represented as descending into “the Abyss” or “the Well of the Abyss” or “the Deep Well of the Universe”. This is why it is said that “In order to ascend one must descend.”

In order to become better we must first discover what is making us what we presently are, and this is a process of confronting ourselves and who we really are. And of this is clearly related to the Level of Being [see more information about this in ‘The Level of Being’ from Part 1]. All the topics of Self-Study are covered in detail in the field of Gnostic Psychology. Gnostic Psychology is ‘the study of principles, laws and facts related to the individual’s radical and definitive transformation’.

We must descend into ourselves, submerge ourselves in the profound Study of who and what we are. This will lead us to some deep truths about ourselves. It will allow us to know ourselves as we really are… (“Know yourself and you will know the Universe and its Gods…”). But, of course, we must know how to do all of this CONSCIOUSLY, that is: with profound Awareness. Remember that in Gnosis Consciousness is ‘a very particular kind of apprehension of inner knowledge which is totally independent of mental activity’.

Our Consciousness is presently trapped in our vices, passions and defects. It is asleep, or dreaming, about who and what we are. So, we must work in order to awaken it, and Gnosis has scientific methods to achieve that goal. When we practice the techniques and the methods, then we get some inner knowledge, which is related to our own personal psychological states. This is why studying Gnostic Psychology is so helpful, not only for understanding the knowledge we receive, but also for the techniques it has to Awaken the Consciousness.

If we apply the techniques of Gnostic Psychology (studying and observing ourselves), then we will discover that throughout the day we spend an enormous amount of time unaware of the present moment. During this time, we are either ‘thinking’ about the past or the future, what was, what could have been, what will or could potentially be, etc. “If I had done this, then things would have been different now” or “I am so glad I did that, wasn’t that a good time?” We wish, we recount, we dwell (on both the good and the bad), all while forgetting that the power to make life whatever we want it to be: is right NOW.

As we have said, the Level of Being is directly related to the present moment and if we want to change who we are: we can only do it now (not in some remote past or in some distant future). Therefore in order to Awaken our Consciousness, we must start by become aware of ourselves here and now. If we go into the abyss, without the esoteric technique of Self-Observation, then we are going to get stuck there and we will not be able to escape.

The sacred truth, the secrets, which are found in the vault are about ourselves and our own particular psychology. This is why Masonry says: ‘we must descend into the secret vault of death before we can find that sacred deposit of truth’. Once we discover, confront and admit the truth of what we are, about our vices, passions and defects, then we can stop doing them, kill them and DIE to these things in order to become a better person.

This is how Death is related to the Vault and to Initiation. And, as we have already said, Initiation is related to the number 9.

“The Initiate has to descend to the 9 Submerged Spheres in order to later attain the 9 Heavens…”

(from Ch. 9 of Tarot & Kabalah)

In the Bible (Ephesians 4:9-10) it says:


“Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”

If we look at the illustration of the Vault (which can be found in many Masonic Manuals), we will discover something very interesting: it too contains 9 levels. If we study Dante’s Divine Comedy then we will also see that 9 hells are described. This 9 indicates the individual work that we must all do if we really want to know ourselves.

But we do have a helper, our own personal trainer in this work. It is our Coach or Trainer, who tests us in the Work on ourselves… An often misunderstood character who personifies our defects… and goes by the name of Lucifer.

Lucifer: our Psychological Trainer

“Religious Esotericism does not teach any kind of atheism, except in the sense implied by the Sanskrit word NASTIKA: meaning that there is to be no admission of idols, included in this is the anthropomorphic God of the ignorant (the idea of a celestial dictator, sitting up there on his throne of tyranny, throwing thunderbolts against our sad human anthill). Esotericism does teach about a LOGOS or collective “CREATOR” of the universe, an DEMIURGE architect.

This DEMIURGE is not a personal Deity as many wrongly suppose, but only the collective of the DHYAN CHOHANS, Angels, Archangels and the rest of the forces. GOD IS GODS. It is written with characters of fire in the resplendent Book of Life, that God is the Army of the Voice, the Great Word, The Verb.

…We can and must radically eliminate all the passions, vices, or subjective psychic aggregates which we have inside; however, we will never be able to dissolve the shadow of the intimate Logos within ourselves.

LUCIFER is the antithesis of the Creator Demiurge, its living shadow projected into the profound depths of the MICRO-COSMOS-MAN. LUCIFER is the Guardian of the Door and of the keys to the Sanctuary, so that only those anointed and possessing the secret of Hermes can enter it.”

-paraphrase from Ch.2 “Religion” in The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor

“Each one of us has our own PARTICULAR LUCIFER. In the Egypt of the Pharaohs, the Midday Sun, the Sacred Absolute Sun, was always symbolized by Osiris while his Shadow, his Reflection, his Lucifer, was allegorized by TYPHON [aka SET]. In the Sacred Temples of the old Egypt of the Pharaohs, when the neophyte was at the point of suffering the ordeals of Initiation, a Master drew near to him and quietly murmured into his ear this mysterious phrase: “REMEMBER THAT OSIRIS IS A BLACK GOD”.

Obviously this is the specific color of darkness and of the cumaean shadows; it is the color of the Devil, who was always offered black roses, and it is also the color of Primitive Chaos where all the elements and seeds of life are totally mixed and disordered ; the symbol of the Earth Element, of the Night and of the radical Death of all the Psychic Aggregates which in their conjunction constitute the Ego, the Myself.

We need with maximum and unpostponable urgency to “WHITEN THE DEVIL”, and this is only possible by fighting against ourselves, by dissolving that ensemble of Psychic Aggregates which form the “I”, the Myself, the Oneself. Only by dying within ourselves can we ‘Whiten the brass’ and contemplate the Midnight Sun (the Father). This means overcoming temptations and eliminating each and every one of the Inhuman Elements that we carry within (Anger, Greed, Lust, Envy, Pride, Laziness, Gluttony etc., etc., etc.).”

-paraphrase from Ch.15 of The Initiatic Path in the Arcana of the Tarot and Kabalah by Samael Aun Weor

“When we have dissolved the Ego, the “myself”, we will discover with mystical astonishment that there is something which is not possible to dissolve, and that “something” is hated by the people of all the religions. This “something” is the biblical Satan (we know the role that the Devil has played in the Old Testament), and we must comprehend what Satan is.

That Devil, which scares us so much, is less harmful than we are led to believe… But all the religious people think that Satan is very harmful, and if we pronounced ourselves in favor of Satan, they declare us to be “satanists”, “black magicians”, “sorcerers”, “witches”, “damn people”, etc. However, you should remember that Satan is the shadow of the Eternal one.

We can dissolve the Ego, reduce it to dust, but Satan we cannot dissolve because it is the shadow of the Eternal one. If we go on a terrace, we protect our own shadow, (we protect it from the light of the Sun). So, too, does the Eternal one project its shadow in each of us. Remember that each one of us has a Divine Spark, Virginal, Ineffable (which is our intimate Logoi, our Seity). It projects its shadow into our psyche, and that shadow is indeed Satan, Mephistopheles, or Lucifer.

Satan, the shadow of the Eternal in each of us, must be transformed into Lucifer. Lucifer is the “Giver of Light”, the “Star of the Morning”, and also the “Vespertine Star”. We must, then, transform the Devil into Lucifer. When we see our own Devil (in the superior worlds of Cosmic Consciousness), we comprehend the necessity to transform it.

But here is what is spectacular : to transform, to convert that black shadow, that Devil into Lucifer, and this becomes possible when we eliminate the animal Ego, when we destroy the “inhuman elements” that we carry inside. Then that shadow of the Eternal can dress itself in the Tunic of Glory and convert itself into an Archangel of Light.

So: it is necessary to turn the Devil into Lucifer, to modify that black and tenebrous aspect of the shadow of the Eternal, to whiten it in order to make it pure, and perfect; to embellish it, through the dissolution of the animal Ego.”

-paraphrase of RIGORES DE LA ÉTICA SUPERIOR
[RIGORS OF THE SUPERIOR ETHIC]
from pages 194-195 of EL QUINTO EVANGELIO
(given in The Gnostic and Esoteric Mysteries of Freemasonry, Lucifer and the Great Work)

“LUCIFER IS ONLY THE SHADOW OF GOD, the Shadow of the Intimate Logos within ourselves; or better said, our Profound Inner Logos, the Intimate Christ, projects its Shadow within us; and that Shadow is useful, we need it…

If you read the “Divine Comedy” by Dante, you will see how Virgil and Dante descended on the Stairs of Lucifer. Each hair of Lucifer’s body seemed like a beam , by which they went down and also up, until arriving at the top, where “The Golgotha” [where Jesus was Crucified] is; this is symbolic: “Lucifer is the stairs to go down. Lucifer is stairs to go up”…

The Christ disguises himself as Lucifer in order to serve as stairs for us and to get us out of the Abyss, carrying us to the Light. Therefore, we must look at Lucifer from a new point of view.

-paraphrase of EL AUTÉNTICO SIMBOLISMO DE LA NAVIDAD
[THE AUTHENTIC SYMBOLISM OF CHRISTMAS]
from page 65 of EL QUINTO EVANGELIO
(given in The Gnostic and Esoteric Mysteries of Freemasonry, Lucifer and the Great Work)

“LUCIFER is the Spirit of the Spiritual Illumination of Humanity and of the Freedom of Choice and, metaphysically, the torch of humanity; the LOGOS in his superior aspect, and the adversary in his inferior aspect; the Divine and chained PROMETHEUS; the active and centrifugal energy of the universe; fire, light, life, struggle, effort, consciousness, liberty, independence, etc., etc., etc.

The Sword and the Scale of Cosmic Justice are entrusted to LUCIFER, because he is the standard of weight, measure and number. Inside each one of us, LUCIFER is the reflection of the Intimate LOGOS, shadow of the Lord projected onto the depth of our Being… So, Lucifer is the “Divine Daimon” of Socrates, our special trainer in the Psychological Gymnasium of Life…”

-paraphrase from Ch.46 “The Eleventh Labor of Hercules”
in The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor

Lucifer trains us by testing us through temptation. If we fall into temptation, then we fail the test, but if we triumph over temptation, then we pass. As we pass more and more tests, we climb up the ladder or staircase of Lucifer, converting the Shadow of God into an Archangel of Light.

“By the stairs of Lucifer one must descend, and one must ascend…”

-from Ch. 9 of Tarot & Kabalah

Each test is an individual aspect of ourselves which is called an Ego and some Egos are stronger than others… As we convert our vices into virtues, we become better and better people.

There is a very interesting Poem called Psychomachia [“Contest of the Soul”] written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (around AD 410) which helps us to understand the conversion of Vices into Virtues. It describes the battle of good virtues and evil vices and helped popularize the Christian concept of the 7 deadly sins and the 7 heavenly virtues.

VIRTUE VICE
  • Chastity (proper sexual conduct)
  • Temperance (self-control)
  • Charity (generosity)
  • Diligence
  • Patience
  • Kindness (being caring)
  • Humility (being humble)
Lust
Gluttony
Greed/Covetousness
Sloth/Laziness
Wrath/Anger
Envy
Pride (vanity and shame)

[see more information about the Seven Virtues of Christianity]

As we eliminate our Egos of Lust, Gluttony or Greed, etc., they are replaced with a virtue of Chastity, Temperance or Generosity, etc. This is the purpose of the Esoteric work and the Initiatic Knowledge: to kill the defect, vice, passion or traitor and build a Temple to Virtuousness.

This Temple is the House for God, our Soul. It is something that we must create by changing our Level of Being and no one else can do this for us. This is the Mystery of why we have Free-Will, so that we can choose to get closer to God, or not, we don’t have to, it is our choice…

Esoteric Initiatic Symbolism

The object set before the candidate for initiation is the search for the Lost Word, which entitled them to receive a Master’s wages. The wages of the real Master were the revelations and internal experiences which flow from the possession of Virtues. The Esoteric Knowledge is of value only when one comprehends how to apply it. This is, in part, the symbolic meaning of “knowing the Master’s word” and “knowing how to pronounce the Word.”

“Each degree of the [Masonic] order possesses a word which expresses intelligence. There is only one word, but this word is pronounced in three different ways.

    1. One manner is for the apprentice … and is explained by work.
    2. Another manner is for the companions … and is explained by study.
    3. And yet another manner is for the masters … and is explained by wisdom.”

-paraphrase from Eliphas Levi’s History of Magic, Ch.7 of Book 5

The concept and the principal of all initiations is that knowledge is unfolded by degrees in an orderly, systematic manner, step by step, as the person’s ability to comprehend opens up more and more. The result is not a possession, but a growth, a progressive development of the Consciousness.

To change one’s Being is to apply the Knowledge so that a progressive change or transformation of the original structure converts the candidate into a better and better person. Real Knowledge (or the growth of Wisdom in us) is an Eternal Becoming; a progressive transformation into the likeness of the Supreme Being.

Now lets continue our Masonic Catechism from the late 1700’s:

“Q. What do you come here to do?
A. Vanquish my passions, submit my willpower, and to make new progress in Masonry.

Q. Why [did] you [want] to be received [as a] Mason?
A. Because I was in darkness and I desired to know the light.

Q. What does this light signify?
A. The knowledge and all virtues together, symbol of the great Architect of the Universe.

Q. Are you [an] Apprentice?
A. I believe I am.

Q. If you believe it, why do you not say yes?
A. This is because Masonry is an assembly of all the virtues, there is no good Mason who claims that they are perfect, and especially an Apprentice of whom the feelings are not yet certain.

Q. What is the work of the Apprentice?
A. To polish and smooth the brute stone.

Q. What is the word?
A. Féix-Féax.

Q. What do these two words mean?
A. Academy or School of virtue.

Q. What is this school?
A. Masonry.

Q. What do you understand Masonry [to be]?
A. I understand it [to be] the study of sciences and the practice of virtues.

Q. What are the greatest duties of a Mason?
A. They are to fulfill that of the state where Providence has placed them, to flee vice and to practice virtue.

Q. Was nothing more given to you when receiving you [as a] Mason?
A. They gave me a white apron and the gloves of a man and a woman [both] of the same color.

Q. What does the apron mean?
A. It is the symbol of the work; its whiteness shows us the candor of our morals, and the equality which must prevail between us.

Q. Why have you been given white gloves?
A. To teach me that a Mason must never dip his hands in iniquity.

Q. Why have you been given women’s gloves?
A. To show the Recipient that he must esteem and cherish his wife and that he cannot forget her for [even] a moment without being unjust.

-combination of and paraphrase from CATÉCHISME DES APPRENTIFS in
“RECUEIL PRÉCIEUX DE LA MAÇONNERIE ADONHIRAMITE” (1785)
and from CATÉCHISME D’APPRENTIE in
“MANUEL DES FRANCHES-MAÇONNES” (1787)
by Louis Guillemain de Saint-Victor

[Click here for full English translation of these Catechisms]

The Esoteric Significance of the Three Traitors

The decapitation of the “three traitors” requires work, study and understanding. The three traitors are within ourselves, they are our: Negative Emotions, Negative Thoughts and Negative Intentions & Actions. By eliminating them: we perfect ourselves.

Jesus explains this in the Bible by saying:

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

– Matthew 16:24

We need to learn what it means to “deny ourselves”, to “take up the cross” and to “follow the Christ”. In this way, we will achieve the sanctity that is required to become Better Human Beings.

What is Religion for, if it is not:
• to become better people?
• to end suffering?
• and to make us comprehend why we are on this planet?

This is what the Ancient Mysteries taught, the path: to purity, to sanctification, to perfection. This is how we “Christify” ourselves.

All the Religions of the world have always taught the same Religious Principles (although the Religious Forms have changed based on the culture and the time period). And this is why (mentioned in the second class) St. Augustine said:

“For what is now called the Christian religion existed even among the ancients and was not lacking from the beginning of the human race until ‘Christ came in the flesh’. From that time, true religion, which already existed, began to be called christian.

…For this reason, I said: ‘In our times, this is the Christian religion,’ not because it did not exist in Former times, but because it had received this name in later times…”

-from Ch.12 of The Retractions (427) by St. Augustine

“The greatest thing that Christ did was to make the ancient doctrine public on the roads of Jerusalem.”

– paraphrase from Ch.1 in The Book of the Virgin of Carmel by Samael Aun Weor

This Ancient Doctrine is the Esoteric Knowledge, the teaching which must be applied to ourselves in order to see its effect. And its results depend on its application. The starting point of this Path is to recognize who we are and what we are. What are we doing with our energy?, with our thoughts, feelings and actions? If we really want to change, to transform ourselves, then we have to become serious.

If we are serious, then we will recognize
• our lack of continuity,
• our lack of inner stability
• and lack of continuous purpose.

We are inconsistent and we lack Spiritual Objectivity. We need to be serious about what we want out of life,
because when we die, we will look back and say: ‘What did I really do with my life?’ If our present answer does not satisfy us, then lets take advantage of the time we have to change our direction.

Remember (quoting from the third class) that:

“To revive the Christ within ourselves is only possible by decapitating the three traitors…”

-paraphrase from Ch. 4 of Samael Aun Weor’s Mountain of Juratena
(given in The Gnostic and Esoteric Mysteries of Freemasonry, Lucifer and the Great Work)

The three Traitors exist within ourselves. We must eliminate them from our thoughts feelings and actions.

“THE OBJECTIVE OF OUR STUDIES IS TO STOP BEING DEMONS.

1: JUDAS IS THE DEMON OF DESIRE. He is a terribly perverse demon; which is what the whole world has [within themselves]; and all [of us] are demons. To stop being so corresponds to the Initiatic Mysteries. We have to begin by recognising that we are demons.

2: PILATE IS THE DEMON OF THE MIND. He is the one who always washes his hands and continues on washing them.

3: CAIAPHAS IS THE DEMON OF ILL-WILL. He who does not do the Will of the Father is disobedient. THE WILL OF THE FATHER MUST BE DONE, HERE, AND IN THE INTERNAL WORLDS.

The Will of the Father is done:

IF THERE IS RIGHT THOUGHT.
IF THERE IS RIGHT FEELING.
IF THERE IS RIGHT ACTION.

If we do something “crooked” or wrong, it is not the Will of the Father. We must totally eliminate the Ego, so that there does not remain a single Subjective Element within, and be of Pure Spirit in order to attain this, one must pay and the price of this is life itself.

[Note: This is why it is said that ‘Initiation is life itself’]

The vanities of the world must be forgotten, and one must dedicate one self to the Great Work; to work and work and work until attaining it.”

-paraphrase from Ch. 44 of Tarot & Kabalah by Samael Aun Weor

Conclusion

“The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force”

– Matthew 11:12

This is an ethical force, a spiritual courage, and the first great battle is for the conquest of self,

“Man know thyself, and you will know the Universe and its Gods…”

This battle for oneself is the battle to conquer that part of us that worships time, matter, idea and sensation, that (when worshiping the idols of the flesh) is blind to the truths of the eternal spirit. It is the battle against the Ego, the battle to free ourselves from psychological slavery. Whosoever conquers these battles will become a Master.

– = Thank you! = –