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Is Freemasonry Esoteric?
Posted: 04 July 2019 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Is Freemasonry Esoteric?

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Posted: 04 July 2019 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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KIPTAI - 04 July 2019 04:08 AM

Is Freemasonry Esoteric?

Freemasonry is absolutely esoteric, the only issue is that some people misunderstand what the word actually means, please see below for clarification:

Prompted by an exchange in the “General” area I thought that a brief explanation from my own perspective might be useful to those who don’t really get it. From my own perspective I often worry because many who describe themselves as having an “esoteric bent” actually mean that they are drawn to the “mystical” and/or the “occult”. Unfortunately many treat these words as if they are the same thing but in actuality they are merely similar. A look at an old dictionary such as he 1828 Merriam Webster (as modern ones seem to homogenise all synonyms until they become generic) shows that these words are not the same.

ESO’TERIC, a. [Gr. interior, from within.] Private; an epithet applied to the private instructions and doctrines of Pythagoras; opposed to exoteric, or public.

MYS’TICAL, a. [L.mysticus.] Obscure; hid; secret. 1. Sacredly obscure or secret; remote from human comprehension. 2. Involving some secret meaning; allegorical; emblematical; as mystic dance; mystic Babylon.

OCCULT’, a. [L. occultus, occulo; ob and celo, to conceal.] Hidden from the eye or understanding; invisible; secret; unknown; undiscovered; undetected; as the occult qualities of matter. The occult sciences are magic, necromancy, &c. Occult lines, in geometry, are such as are drawn with the compasses or a pencil, and are scarcely visible.

So now that we understand that these phrases are not actually the same thing or interchangeable, to the point.

I suppose to understand the term ‘esoteric’ we have to understand that it is one side of a coin the other being ‘exoteric’. The exoteric nature of anything (including Freemasonry) is there for anybody who looks at a thing, it can be summed up as the “face value” of it. In Freemasonry the exoteric is the surface layer of teachings and rites taken at face value. These teachings are themselves made clear by merely having a dictionary understanding of the language and taking what is said as it is commonly used.

Esoteric Freemasonry means that we dig a bit deeper to see if there is a possible further understanding of the ritual and practices that lies beyond the surface. It is that which is not revealed until one has been taught how to find it and then one delves deeper into the meaning and significance of the words and actions.

How do I know this is right? Well it’s quite simple, during our Initiation we are presented with an esoteric lecture, it is called the working tools. Not only does it teach a particular moral lesson it is also our first lesson on how to look for the esoteric within the Rituals. We are visually and mentally presented with the implements of the builders trade and told what they meant (exoteric) to the builders that employed them, this is followed by what they mean to us as Speculative Masons, that is their esoteric (understood only by Free & Accepted Masons) meaning!

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Mike Martin
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Posted: 04 July 2019 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Mike Martin - 04 July 2019 08:01 AM
KIPTAI - 04 July 2019 04:08 AM

Is Freemasonry Esoteric?

Esoteric Freemasonry means that we dig a bit deeper to see if there is a possible further understanding of the ritual and practices that lies beyond the surface. It is that which is not revealed until one has been taught how to find it and then one delves deeper into the meaning and significance of the words and actions.

When you dig deeper to see if there is a possible further understanding
of the ritual and practices can it result to different interpretations and understanding among members?
Or it brings one common understanding and interpretation?
Can one interpret the same rituals and practices to better his religious beliefs?

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Posted: 05 July 2019 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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KIPTAI - 04 July 2019 09:41 AM

When you dig deeper to see if there is a possible further understanding
of the ritual and practices can it result to different interpretations and understanding among members? Or it brings one common understanding and interpretation?

Can one interpret the same rituals and practices to better his religious beliefs?

We believe in individual freedom of thought and it is of course possible that different Masons may interpret things differently. On the other hand, let’s pick another system of morality, religion. (I say ‘another’ as freemasonry is not a religion.) Be it Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Buddhism, all major religions seem to have different interpretations, different schools of thought within. Yet they share the same basic beliefs, have the same goals.

Freemasonry is complex enough that there is indeed room for individual interpretation, yet that would be within the context of an overarching system of meaning on which all Masons agree.

As to your second question, the short answer is both Yes and No. In the literal sense, No, for our ritual is not a religious one and shares little with any religion (unless you know of a religion using stone-worker tools in its own ritual and ceremonies).

On the other hand, Freemasonry encourages its members to worship in their own faith. It supports a man in making moral decisions, in leading a moral life, in treating all people fairly. To that extent and in that greater sense, then Yes.

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Bro. Bob
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
Passed 26 May 1979
Raised 18 October 1979
WM Zetland Lodge No. 83 - 2017

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