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Hermeticism and Freemasonry
Posted: 07 February 2017 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I’ve heard conflicting things about freemasonry, and I’m wondering if I may get it cleared up…
So skimming over the history of freemasonry as I understood it, it came about in the UK during a time where there were alot of occult ideologies being spread about. The symbolism of the egyptian mysticism and greek influences seem to stem from this idea of hermeticism. Essentially hermeticism goes along the idea that you had greek philosophers studying at the mystery schools of Egypt, then passed along ideas from that, this vein of philosophy and science that is Hermeticism. So not so much a religion, but a philosophy of religion and the universe and such. Spawned alchemy, rosicrucian orders, golden dawn ect…
So a couple years back, being interested in all of this I sent an email to the closest lodge, kind of asking what’s up and alluded to Newton’s translation of the emerald tablet, basically the core foundation of the philosphy, and was told that Freemasonry is not a religion….
So, is the organization hermetic or not, or is it something that is the underpinning of the organization, but just isn’t really taught?

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Posted: 07 February 2017 10:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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First, welcome to the forum and thank you for your interest in our Fraternity. Freemasonry began as a guild of men who were educated and studied the sciences of the day, especially geometry. They were employed in the construction of the great castles and cathedrals of Europe. They were much more than simple workers in stone, they were the architects and designers of these massive and impressive buildings.

The “free” part of the name referred to the ability of the members of the Craft to travel from job to job. In the middle ages, a person normally could not travel from the town they lived in without permission from the local ruler. Freemasons were not under such restrictions. When the job was completed they moved on to the next job site.

Because these skilled laborers would often find themselves in strange land with unfamiliar customs and religious practices, they were instructed in rules of behavior and morality as part of their training. These rules were codified in a document now know as the Regius Poem which is a copy of an older document. The Regius Poem was dated 1459. This is the source of Freemasonry’s “Ancient Landmarks”, the rules we can never change.

These men were held in such high esteem that others wished to learn the lessons of morality they were taught. The Craft agreed and accepted into their ranks “Speculative” Masons who were taught the moral lessons but never worked stone. Today, we are almost all Speculative Masons and the “Operative” Masons among us are there because they are good men.

So, to answer your question, no. We are not a school of philosophy or a religion. We are a Fraternity of good men trying to become better men with the help of our brethren both ancient and modern teaching us. Because our Ancient Landmarks demand it, no person can be made a Mason who is not a man with a belief in the Supreme Being and a good reputation.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 07 February 2017 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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It would be impossible to deny that Freemasonry has not been influenced by Hermeticism. Consider the number of very influential men who embraced that philosophy - including Newton (who was not, so far as anyone can tell, a Mason). These were men who helped shape their society, the society in which Freemasonry also developed and matured. It would seem almost inconceivable that there were not men with both interests. Such men moved in similar circles, after all - the Royal Society being but one example. So, even at second-hand, Hermeticism had to have made a mark.

Yet the two are not the same and neither is derived from the other. At most (and I will admit that I am by no means an expert on Hermeticism) they share some parallel beliefs. So do Christianity and Islam, if it comes to that.

Nor is Freemasonry a religion. We do not promise salvation, have no special sacred text, do not offer sacraments, etc. Religious, yes, in terms of a belief in a deity and the saying of prayers during our ceremonies, but not a religion.

As to Newton, although some - perhaps rightly - call him the most influential man of all time, in some ways he would be regarded these days as a bit of a kook. In addition to his staggering achievements in mathematics, physics, etc, he spent a lot of time with alchemy, numerology, Biblical divination, etc - things we would nowadays regard as checkout-aisle trash.

Hope that helps. Thanks for the question.

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Bro. Bob
Zetland Lodge No. 83
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
Passed 26 May 1979
Raised 18 October 1979

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Posted: 08 February 2017 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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The bottom line is that no one really know how Freemasonry started, and although John has given what is the generally accepted birth. It is not however the only possibility and there are a number of other possible causes and it is down to the individual to decide which sits the best for them. Personally I’m of the same inclination as John, but recognise that others have different ideas.

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Richard
Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Provincial Grand Treasurer (Royal Arch)
Member of Craft, Royal Arch, Ancient & Accepted Rite, Mark, Royal Ark Mariner, Knight Templar, Knight Templar Priest, Order of Secret Monitor, Royal Order of Scotland
UGLE.

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Posted: 08 February 2017 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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I will throw in a perspective from the other side.  I would say that yes, Hermeticism can be part of it.  It will depend on the individual mason.  The individual mason can choose to explore the esoteric side or he can explore other areas.  The esoteric side may not be actively pursued by all masons or all lodges, but there are groups that do concentrate on it.

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St. Georges Lodge #6
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Posted: 08 February 2017 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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No Freemasonry is not “hermetic” it is based on simple symbolism derived from the Builder’s Art, however, there is a an Order of Hermetic Martinists who only accept Master Masons as members.

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Mike Martin
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