Master of modern occultism, Lon Milo DuQuette, (author of Enochian Vision Magick and The Magick of Aleister Crowley ) introduces the newest Weiser Books Collection The Magical Antiquarian Curiosity Shoppe. Culled from material long unavailable to the general public, DuQuette curates this essential new digital library with the eye of a scholar and the insight of an initiate.
The Lodge Master of the Lodge is called Sister Angelcake. Her second in command is Sister Gossip, and the Most Refulgent Pincushion is called Sister Busybody. Sister Masons is as incorrect and 19th century as it gets. because that's exactly what it was supposed to be. If nothing else, this 'Burlesque Degree' shows us how far things have come since great-grandma was a "Mason's Lady."
Since 1972, Edred Thorsson has been dedicated to the esoteric and esoteric study of the Indo-European, Celtic and Teutonic traditions. He studied Old Irish, Middle Welsh and Indo-European religion and culture at major universities in Germany and in the United States. The Fraternitas Saturni is a Thelemite order which has shaped the modern occult scene in Germany since its foundation in 1928. This volume presents the history and doctrines of that order. Appendices include the texts of many actual rites performed by the FS as. More >>>
Note that, unfortunately, not all my books can be downloaded or ordered on CD due to the restrictions of copyright. However, most of the books on this site do not have copyright restrictions. If you find any copyright violation, please contact me at email@example.com . I am very attentive to the issue of copyright and try to avoid any violations, but on the other hand to help all fans of magic to get access to information.
Since 1972, Edred Thorsson has been dedicated to the esoteric and esoteric study of the Indo-European, Celtic and Teutonic traditions. He studied Old Irish, Middle Welsh and Indo-European religion and culture at major universities in Germany and in the United States.
The Fraternitas Saturni is a Thelemite order which has shaped the modern occult scene in Germany since its foundation in 1928. This volume presents the history and doctrines of that order. Appendices include the texts of many actual rites performed by the FS as well as historical documents relating to Aleister Crowley's relations with the FS. This order is especially well-known for its use of sexual magic. This book was originally published in the early 1990s by Llewellyn under the title Fire and Ice. xii
Stephen Edred Flowers (born May 5, 1953 ), commonly known as Stephen E. Flowers, and also by the pen-names Edred Thorsson, and Darban-i-Den, is a former American professor, scholar, runologist, runosophist, go?i and proponent of occultism, Odianism, esoteric runosophy, Germanic mysticism, Asatru, and Mazdaism, being instrumental in the early establishment of the Germanic Neopagan movement in North America and has also been very active in Left-Hand Path occult organizations. He has over three dozen published books and hundreds of published papers and translations on a disparate range of subjects. Flowers advocates "Esoteric Runology and runosophy " and "Odianism " (occultist aspects of Germanic Neopaganism ).
In 1989, Flowers was expelled from the Odinic Rite (OR ) following his Open Letter to the Leadership of the Asatru/Odinist/Troth Movement wherein he detailed his involvement with the Temple of Set. Thorsson later responded in full to this condemnation by the OR.
Sweyn Plowright, a former member of the Rune Gild who resigned from the organization in 2000, has referred to the philosophy of Flowers as being "neo-Satanic " and antinomian. As with others, he has propagated the belief that Flowers writings on Runes and Germanic Native Faith (Asatru/Odinism ) is polluted with Setian/Satanic philosophy and ideals. Flowers has responded to these accusations, as have others. Flowers has also stated that he is ". not a Satanist but may be characterized as a practitioner of the left-hand path based on purely indigenous Indo-European models."
He has also been criticized by Freya Aswynn.
In addition to being a prolific writer, Flowers is known for translating obscure texts and manuscripts written in Icelandic, Old Norse and German into English, making many of them available to a wider range of readers.
As of September 20, 2012, Flowers' publishing house, Runa-Raven Press, ceased operations due to "damage done to the business in 2011. " Flowers was sued by friend and business partner, Waldo Thompson.
Partial Stephen Edred Flowers bibliography:
A Primer of Rune Magic, 1975 (unpublished)
- Rebirth and Rites of Transformation in the Saga of Sigur?r Sigmundarson (M.A. degree thesis, 1979 ). This was later released on a limited basis within the Rune-Gild under the title Sigur?r, Rebirth and Initiation in 1985. It was later republished as Sigur?r: Rebirth and the Rites of - Transformation, Lodestar, copyright 2015 (preface refers to "2011 " edition and written January 13, 2011. Not published until 2015 due to the destruction of Runa-Raven Press ).
- Runes and Magic: Magical Formulaic Elements in the Elder Runic Tradition, May 1984 (Flowers' Ph.D doctoral dissertation paper ). Republished in hardback by Peter Lang Publishing, December 31, 1986, ISBN 0-8204-0333-4 (250 copies of this work were printed in a prohibitively expensive edition ). - Revised and expanded in a third edition on May 1, 2011 (Amazon details ), by Lodestar, but preface is to the Second Edition, dated February 2009, and copyright 2014. Maybe not published until 2014 due to the destruction of Runa-Raven Press. ISBN 1-8859-7232-6.
- Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, Red Wheel/Weiser, 1984 ISBN 0-87728-548-9
- Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology, Red Wheel/Weiser, 1987 ISBN 0-87728-667-1
At The Well of Wyrd, Red Wheel/Weiser, 1988; reprinted and re-titled Runecaster's Handbook: The Well of Wyrd, 1999 ISBN 1-57863-136-X
- The Truth about Teutonic Magic, Llewellyn, 1989 (Teutonic Magick Series)
- Rune Might: Secret Practices of the German Rune Magicians, Llewellyn (Teutonic Magick Series ), 1989, 1990 (corrected edition ). Runa-Raven Press, 2004 (Revised and Expanded Second Edition ).
- A Book of Troth, Llewellyn, 1989, 1992 (Teutonic Magick Series ). Runa-Raven Yrmin-Edition 2003 ISBN 0-87542-777-4
(ed./trans.) The Galdrabok: An Icelandic Grimoire, Red Wheel/Weiser, September 1989, ISBN 0-87728-685-X; Revised translation by Runa-Raven Press, 2005 as "Galdrabok: An Icelandic Book of Magic ", ISBN 1885972431 (this second edition includes a completely revised translation and the explanatory notes have been doubled. The text consists of a substantial topical introduction that covers the history, theory and practice if magic in Iceland in the medieval and early modern periods. This is followed by the translation of the Galdrabok itself with copious explanatory notes. There are also a number of appendices which contains magical material from other Icelandic books of magic (galdrab?kur ) as well as spells from other Germanic areas. - This is the hardcore traditional bedrock upon which the 2016 book "Icelandic Magic: The Mystery and Power of the Galdrabok Grimoire " by Flowers and published by Inner Traditions is based.)
- Fire and Ice: Magical Teachings of Germany's Greatest Secret Occult Order, Llewellyn (Teutonic Magick Series ) 1990, 1995. Reprinted & retitled The - Fraternitas Saturni - or Brotherhood of Saturn: An Introduction to its History, Philosophy, and Rituals, Runa-Raven Press, 2006
(ed./trans.) The Secret of the Runes by Guido von List, Destiny Books (Inner Traditions ), 1988. ISBN 0-89281-207-9
- The Nine Doors of Midgard, Llewellyn (Teutonic Magick Series ) 1991, ISBN 0-87542-781-2. Reprinted & retitled as The Nine Doors of Midgard: A - Curriculum of Rune-Work, Runa-Raven Press, 1997 (second revised edition ), 2003 ISBN 1-885972-23-7.
- Northern Magic: Mysteries of the Norse, Germans & English, Llewellyn, 1992. Reprinted & retitled Northern Magic: Rune Mysteries and Shamanism, Llewellyn, 1998 ISBN 1-56718-709-9
- Book of Ogham: The Celtic Tree Oracle, Llewellyn, 1992 ISBN 0-9754278-4-9
(ed./trans.) Rune-Magic by Siegfried Adolf Kummer, Runa-Raven Press, 1993. ISBN 1-885972-00-8
- Green Runa - The Runemaster's Notebook: Shorter Works of Edred Thorsson, Volume I (1978-1985 ), Runa-Raven Press, 1993. Second improved and expanded edition 1996. ISBN 1-885972-03-2
- Rune-Song Book & CD, Runa-Raven Press, 1993.
- An Introduction to the Germanic Tradition, Runa-Raven Press, 1994
- Black Runa - Being the Shorter Works of Stephen Edred Flowers: Produced for the Order of the Trapezoid of the Temple of Set (1985-1989 ), Runa-Raven Press, 1995
- Carnal Alchemy: A Sado-Magical Exploration of Pleasure, Pain and Self-Transformation, Runa-Raven Press, 1995, 2001. Republished in 2013 by Inner Traditions as Carnal Alchemy: Sado-Magical Techniques for Pleasure, Pain and Self-Transformation. (with Crystal Dawn Flowers)
- Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris, Red Wheel/Weiser, 1995 ISBN 0-87728-828-3
- Runarmal I - The Runa Talks: Summer 1991ev, Runa-Raven Press, 1996
(ed./trans.) The Invincible by Guido von List, Runa-Raven Press, 1996
- Lords of the Left-Hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent, Runa-Raven Press, 1997. Republished as "Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices & Spiritual Heresies - From the Cult of Set to the Church of Satan ", Inner Traditions, 2012
- Johannes Bureus and Adalruna: Being a Study Toward the Delineation of the Historical Movement Toward the Northern Dawn Vol. 1, Runa-Raven Press, 1998
- (ed./trans. ) Ibn Fadlan's Travel Report As it Concerns the Scandinavian Rus: Introduction and Commentary, Runa-Raven Press, 1998
- Witchdom of the True: A Study of the Vana-Troth and the Practice of Seidr, Runa-Raven Press, 1998
- (ed./trans. ) A Concise Edition of Old English Runic Inscriptions, Runa-Raven Press; Reprint edition, 1999
- Wendish Mythology: Divinities and Religious Traditions of the Western Slavs, Runa-Raven Press, 1999. Republished by Lodestar, May 5, 2015.
- Studia Germanica, Volume I, Runa-Raven Press, 2000
- (ed./trans. ) Strange Tales by Hanns Heinz Ewers, Runa-Raven Press, 2000
- Blue Runa: Edred's Shorter Works Vol. III (1988-1994 ), Runa-Raven Press, 2001
- Red Runa: Shorter Works Vol. IV (1987-2001 ), Runa-Raven Press, 2001
- (ed./trans. ) The Secret King: Karl Maria Wiligut - Himmler's Lord of the Runes, Dominion/Runa-Raven Press, 2001 (ed. trans. and introduced. - Limited and hand numbered ) ISBN 1-885972-21-0 (Clothbound hardcover ). Paperback edition of original hardcover print, Dominion/Runa-Raven Press, 2001. Updated, retitled and republished as, The Secret King: The Myth and Reality of Nazi Occultism, Feral House, 2007. (with Michael Moynihan)
- True Brothers: A Guide to the Practice of Asatru in Prison, Runa-Raven Press, 2002, 2010. Lodestar, 2015.
- (ed./trans. ) The Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski, Runa-Raven Press, 2002
- (ed./trans. ) The Rune-Poems, Vol I: Introduction, Texts, Translations and Glossary, Runa-Raven Press, 2002. ISBN 1-885972-19-9
- A Source-Book of Seid (with James Chisholm ), Runa-Raven Press, 2002.
- (ed./trans. ) The EDDA as Key to the Coming Age by Peryt Shou, Runa-Raven Press, 2004
- (ed./trans. ) The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk: Esoteric and Exoteric by Guido von List, Runa-Raven Press, 2005
- The Magian Tarok: The Key Linking the Mithraic, Greek, Roman Hebrew and Runic Traditions with that of the Tarot, Runa-Raven Press, 2006. Lodestar, 2015
- Symbel: A Journal of Early Germanic Studies, Issue 1 (Fall 2006 ), The Woodharrow Institute for Germanic and Runic Studies, 2006
- Mainstays from Rune-Kevels, Volume 1 (1993-1998 ), Runa-Raven Press, 2006
- The Northern Dawn - A History of the Reawakening of the Germanic Spirit, Volume 1: From the Twilight of the Gods to the Sun at Midnight, Runa-Raven Press, 2006 (preface 2003 ).
- History of the Rune-Gild, Volume III: The Reawakening of the Gild (1980-2005 ), Smithville, Texas: Rune-Gild, 2007
- The Mysteries of the Goths, Runa-Raven Press, 2007 (Limited numbered and signed first edition of 500. Bound in purple with silver ink ).
- Freemasonry and the Germanic Tradition, Runa-Raven Press, 2008
- (ed./trans. ) The Practice of the Ancient Turkish Freemasons by Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Runa-Raven Press, March 3, 2011. Republished and retitled as Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons: The Islamic Teachings at the Heart of Alchemy, Inner Traditions, January 17, 2013.
- ALU, An Advanced Guide to Operative Runology, Red Wheel/Weiser, Dec 19, 2012
- The Good Religion: The Occidental Temple of the Wise Lord, Lodestar, March 20, 2014
- Runarmal II. Essays Out of Time, Lodestar, September 20, 2014
- Icelandic Magic: The Mystery and Power of the Galdrabok Grimoire, Inner Traditions, January 22, 2016
Other published works:
- Revival of Germanic Religion in Contemporary Anglo-Saxon American Culture, Mankind Quarterly 21:3 (1981 ), pp. 279-294.
- Toward an Archaic Germanic Psychology, Journal of Indo-European Studies 11:1-2 (1983 ), pp. 117-138
- (ed./trans. ) Religious Sculpture in Roman Germania and Adjacent Regions by Peter Buchholz, Journal of Indo-European Studies, 12: 1-2 (1984 ), 31-75
- The Way of Wodan, Gnosis, 9 (Fall 1988 ), 30-35
- FringeWare Review Magazine Issue #3, 27 January 1994: The Secret of the Gothick God of Darkness or October 31, 1994 in Fringeware Review #6(66).
- Utgard Magazine of Northern Traditions, Issue #3, September 1998, published by Skergard. The Secret of the Gothick God of Darkness. (alternative link)
- Runa Journal: Exploring Northern European Myth, Mystery and Magic, Rune-Gild, London. Edited by Ian Read
- Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition Volume I: The Idea of Integral Culture: A model for a Revolt Against the Modern World, 2002 ISBN 0-9720292-0-6
- Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition Volume II: The First Northern Renaissance: The Reawakening of the Germanic Spirit in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries in Germany, Sweden and England, 2004 ISBN 0-9720292-1-4
- (ed./trans. ) On Magical Runes by Magnus Olsen, Symbel (1: 2006 ), pp. 27-47
Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition Volume III: The Spear of Destiny, 2007 ISBN 0-9720292-3-0
This paper presents a viewpoint which supports that esotericism is a legitimate element of the Craft and exists by design, and that Freemasonry is the inheritor of a great wealth of secret knowledge which has been encoded in our rituals, symbols, and traditions. It argues that many Blue Lodges are not equipped to Mentor the new Mason who expresses esoteric interests in the Craft. This paper also presents a description of what constitutes Esoteric Masonic practice, identifies reading materials (a topical list) for esoteric study, and provides a suggested curriculum (linked to the topical reading lists)which provides the new Esoteric Mason with a thorough course of study.
The body of Freemasonry is comprised of many types of individuals whose Masonic pursuits vary according to that individual’s personality and interests. Freemasonry has been very aptly been compared to a complex tapestry composed of many colorful overlapping individual threads which taken as a whole form a larger picture. Brother Mason Pratt developed [I] a list of different “Brands” of Freemasons based upon behavioral characteristics which included: “Socialite”, “Historian”, Ritualist”, “Philosopher”, “Masonic Law”, “Symbolism”, and “Collector”. I would add to this list the brands “Charitable” and “Fiduciary”. I suspect that most of us can think of Brothers in our own Lodge who fit one of these diverse profiles.
Esoteric Freemasons usually fit into one or more of these “Brand” categories, although “Historian”, “Ritualist”, “Symbolism”, and “Philosopher” are the most common. Every initiated Freemason however is a potential Esoteric Mason, since all Freemasons seek illumination (light) through the initiation process. It is this quest for light revealed through the comprehension of hidden spiritual knowledge which distinguishes the Esoteric Freemason and defines Esoteric Masonry.
Esoteric Freemasonry is not for everyone, not even for everyone who receives the gift of illumination. This is in no way a reflection upon the character or works of Masons who for various reasons find themselves disinclined to pursue the esoteric path. Unfortunately, there are many Masons who pronounce that there simply is no esoteric content at all to be had in Freemasonry, even though Masonic Ritual is ripe with evidence to the contrary. Brother Robert G. Davis eloquently echoed this sentiment when he wrote [II].
“We all know Masons who believe with all their heart there is nothing spiritual about the rituals of Masonry. There are those who claim there is nothing to learn beyond the ritual words. There are even more who are appalled when it is suggested that Kabalistic, Alchemical, or Hermetic associations might be made from a study of the Degrees of Masonry. Never mind that every aspirant is told before he receives the very first Degree that Masonry is a course of hieroglyphic instruction taught by allegories.”
Some Grand Lodges openly discount esotericism and consider esoteric Masonic pursuits to be the substance of “Fringe Freemasonry”. “Fringe Masonry” is actually a term which is legitimately reserved [III] for specific non-masonic organizations which usually have been founded by individuals who may also happen to be Freemasons, and which explore exclusively esoteric and mystical topics. These organizations typically have a system of progressive degrees, and are often structured in a manner which reflects a Masonic influence. Examples include the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD) and the Ordo Templi Orientis. The National Heritage Museum maintains [IV] a small collection of occult texts which are accurately classified under the heading of “Fringe Masonry”. It should be noted that the term “fringe” as applied to these organizations does not imply that their tradition or curriculum is bogus, or without merit; in modern times we would more accurately use the term “quasi-Masonic” in lieu of the word “fringe”.
It is difficult to determine the extent to which attempts to disavow the esoteric nature of the Craft stem from ignorance and which are an ongoing reaction to the Anti-Masonic movements [V] of the early 1800’s. It is interesting to consider that over the past three centuries, the reputation of worldwide Freemasonry has suffered the greatest blows from allegations of Treason [VI] in England which culminated in the “The Unlawful Societies Act of 1799”, allegations of murder associated with the Morgan Affair [VII] (United States, 1826), and perceived challenges to the authority of the Church resulting in Pope Leo XIII issuing a Papal Encyclical [VIII] known as the Humanum Genus in 1884. Note that unless one considers the Templar persecution [IX] (for which charges of heresy have since been refuted [X] ) specific allegations of occultism have never played a significant role in inflicting lasting damage or discredit to the Craft. Even in today’s world of internet access such misinformation has not been effective in spite of a seemingly endless stream of sensational allegations of “occultism” levied by critics of the Order; this is because for the most part, these allegations are so fantastic as to be laughable, and are on the whole obvious as nonsensical rants of the ignorant.
The truth is that Esoteric Freemasonry is a growing trend. The reasons for this are numerous; however the two most common are that men coming into the Craft are in search of a type of spiritual experience which they find lacking in their current religious and secular paths; and that the Dan Brown series of novels and films have piqued their interest in esotericism; these men believe that Freemasonry is the path to greater esoteric knowledge. Sadly, they often go away disappointed.
This paper will present a viewpoint which purports that esotericism is a legitimate element of the Craft and exists by design, and that Freemasonry is the inheritor of a great wealth of secret knowledge which has been encoded in our rituals, symbols, and traditions. It will also present a description of what constitutes Esoteric Masonic practice and will identify some useful resources for esoteric study.
“Esoteric” is a term which literally means “hidden”. Although it is synonymous with the term “occult” it is currently the preferred term used when discussing the arcane meanings present in Masonic ritual and symbolism. This is in large part because of the negative connotations which the word “occult” has acquired in connection with scary Hollywood movies and inept journalistic reporting of gruesome pseudo-occult crimes which could more properly be characterized as “bizarre” or “deranged” than as truly “occult”. That which the truly occult hides is knowledge; usually knowledge considered sacred or knowledge maintained secret because it could result in the persecution of those who possess it. I will not belabor this point further other than to point out that history is filled with examples of persons persecuted for holding beliefs which are contrary to the beliefs and interests of those in authority (or even suspected of holding such beliefs).
Freemasonry is often described [XI] as “a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”. An allegory can be simply described as a story with two meanings; in the New Testament of the Christian Bible for example allegory, or parable, was used extensively by Christ. In Freemasonry we expand the definition of allegory to include metaphoric content which exists in our ritual, our tradition, and our symbolism.
Regarding the veiled content and deeper meaning of our Ritual, Brother W.L. Wilmhurst wrote [XII].
"Our teaching is purposefully veiled in allegory and symbol and its deeper import does not appear upon the surface of the ritual itself. This is partly in correspondence with human life itself and the world we live in, which are themselves but allegories and symbols of another life and the veils of another world ."
Consequently we generally consider the esoteric aspects of Freemasonry to be those hidden elements of our exoteric (open) practices which allude to deeper and usually mystical meanings. In the course of discovering and interpreting these deeper meanings, we engage in educated speculation (i.e. we formulate a thesis). For a single given esoteric element we may legitimately find several different meanings, or find similarities between the meanings of several apparently unrelated esoteric elements. In our speculation we bring to bear arcane knowledge accumulated from our degree work, from historical accounts, and from esoteric sources. It is important to understand that “speculation” is not the same as “conjecture”. Speculation is often exhausting and frustrating work; but it is also a labor of love which we willingly undertake in the search for “illumination”.
The experience of “illumination” is a bit like many other spiritual experiences in life; it can be sensed but cannot be fully described or explained, and defies all attempts to do so. Artists over the ages have attempted to no avail to use music, paintings, sculpture and other non-verbal media to convey the essence of the mystical experience of illumination. Carl Jung, a pioneer in the science of psychoanalysis spent considerable time exploring the nature of the mystical experience [XIII]. His efforts resulted in the development of a complex theory which identifies a part of our minds known as the “Collective Unconscious” from which he believes spiritual experience originates. One would likely conclude that the experience of illumination is in this category.
One of the absolutes which Esoteric Freemasons agree upon is that Freemasonry is an “Initiatic” tradition, meaning that we follow a system of ritualistic initiation. The process of initiation in the degrees of Freemasonry serves to enhance the initiate’s ability to receive the epiphany of illumination; some would even argue that initiation is absolutely necessary for such illumination to properly manifest. If queried, most Freemasons will recall with great reverence that single moment when they received the incredible gift of enlightenment. This said, not all Freemasons respond to initiation. There are many reasons for this; for example the ritual of initiation may have been poorly or inadequately performed, or the individual (or the observing Brothers) may not have been adequately prepared for the initiation. Often times the spiritual state of the initiate may have been such that he was not yet ready.
The true mark of an Esoteric Freemason however, is not that he has received illumination, but rather by what he chooses to do once he has received it. Illumination itself is a cosmic “spark” which alerts the initiate to the fact that there is more to the universe than meets the eye if only he searches to find it. Obviously if he fails to search for this hidden knowledge the entire experience of illumination is for naught.
During the Fellowcraft degree, the Candidate is admonished to further study the “Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences” [XIV]. which are the Quadrivium (the four roads) and the Trivium (the three roads). The Quadivium is comprised of the subjects of Arithmetic (number in itself), Geometry (number in space), Music (number in time), and Astronomy (number in space and time). The Trivium includes the subjects of Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic. These subjects once were considered the standard curriculum for an educated man, and even today remain the core requirements for a degree from many highly regarded Liberal Arts Colleges. As important as the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences may be in developing a rational mindset, they do not necessarily provide the optimum foundation for successful esoteric study; for this, supplemental education is required.
Optimally, this supplemental work is achieved by self-study under the guidance of a knowledgeable mentor who offers the occasional hint when the initiate wanders off the correct path. This is rarely the case however since many Lodges cannot offer such a mentor, tending to offer instead an instructor who is proficient in interpreting the ritual Codex, assist the Candidate in memorization tasks, and who offers the Initiate only the literal (exoteric) meanings of what may actually allude to very profound esoteric concepts. Often the instructor will discount any questions as to the esoteric content present in ritual. Consequently, self-education and undertaking the solitary research are required to reach a basic understanding of the mysteries and are a critical component in the process of enlightenment. This work should be undertaken with only minimum guidance from others. Said otherwise, when the answers are freely given, they are seldom appreciated as much as those which are acquired by one’s own effort.
Where then does the hapless newly illuminated Brother start in his quest to expand his knowledge and gain more light. For the Master Mason, perhaps the best place to begin is by seeking membership in the Scottish Rite or the York Rite, or preferably both. These organizations expose the new Master Mason to even greater Esoteric content, and do so under somewhat lesser veil than is encountered in the Blue Lodge. It is rare to find a truly well-educated and prepared Esoteric Mason who is not a member of one or both of these Organizations. This having been said, the responsibility for illumination remains that of the individual and there will rarely be any easy answers which do not require self-study.
The primary sources for self-study are found in the literature, history, and traditions of the ancient mystery schools especially those related to the Hermetic Arts and Sciences, and the Kabala. While the majority of the written works associated with these subjects can generally be found in a public library or are available online at no cost, there are a number of general references which every Esoteric Mason should acquire and which should form the heart of his personal library. Appendix 1 of this paper lists the recommended texts.
I will also include in this category of permanent reference materials which belong in one’s personal library a copy of the VSL which is most significant to you. For those choosing the Hebrew Torah, I would suggest that the esoteric commentary to the Torah known as the Zohar should also be acquired. While there are many versions of the sefer-ha-Zohar, that which I suggest is the Pritzger Edition [XV]. currently available in 6 volumes (12 are scheduled). From those selecting the Koran, I would recommend that the excellent translation by Toby Mayer [XVI] entitled “Keys to Arcana: Shahrastani's Esoteric Commentary on the Qur'an ” should be selected to accompany the VSL. For the Christian Bible, one of the better known reference works such as Strong’s Concordance [XVII] should be acquired along with one of the many available commentaries on Biblical esotericism. In the case of the Christian Bible, the reader may also wish to invest in copies of one or more of the “Gnostic Gospels” (the Gospel of Thomas or Gospel of Mary are both good choices). Additionally, I would recommend the excellent Esoteric Commentary [XVIII] on Biblical Symbolism written by Harriet Tuttle Bartlett. I will mention in passing that if you are a religious fundamentalist and a staunch believer in the literal (as opposed to the metaphoric) meaning of the VSL, and refuse to consider the influence of ancient (including “pagan” and mythical) traditions upon modern religion, you will probably struggle with Esoteric Masonry. An open mind is in itself a valuable resource for a student, regardless of the subject matter being studied. Remember that we possess a free will and are at liberty to reject that which is in conflict with our core beliefs, or alternately to modify our belief systems as we see fit. My own experience has been that challenging my beliefs results in strengthening my understanding.
To heighten one’s understanding of the basis for Esoteric Masonry, it is helpful to have a general knowledge of the history, traditions, and philosophies which formed the broader current of the mystery tradition upon which Masonic Esotericism is based. Consequently a reading list which might be considered background literature has been provided as Appendix 2 of this paper. The provided list is somewhat lengthy, and there is a bit of overlap in topic between several of the listed materials. This is intentional as attempts have been made to facilitate comparative reading study methods. Comparative reading is the technique in which the same topic or concept is studied using multiple texts; usually the different explanations of a topic given in multiple texts will, when taken together, provide a far more complete understanding than will the study of only one source.
There are also a number of specific texts which should be read with the aim of acquainting the Esoteric Mason with more specifically focused materials which are core to an understanding of the individual arts and sciences which collectively comprise the mystery traditions. These texts span a broad range of subjects which include Alchemy, Astrology, The Tarot, Kabala, Numerology, and other such topics. A brief reading list of such is provided as Appendix 3 of this paper, organized according to topic. As these resources are examined and comprehended, it is useful to simultaneously review the content of Masonic Ritual; during this review many previously hidden clues will no doubt be revealed. Unfamiliar terms and concepts encountered during this activity can be clarified either by consulting one of the recommended reference texts (Appendix 1).
It is also suggested that the new Esoteric Mason should seek out and join one or more of the internet forums or newsgroups dedicated to Esoteric Masonic content. Two excellent examples of such groups are the Sanctum Sanctorum Education Foundation [XIX] and the Facebook Group “Esoterically Inclined Freemasons ”; be aware that many of these groups are tyled and require verification of Masonic membership and grade. Not only do these online resources provide an opportunity to communicate with like-minded seekers of light, they also provide additional resources for study which would otherwise be unavailable, and provide access to members with advanced knowledge. These include internet websites such as Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry [XX] which provides the very latest in scholarly work on Masonic topics, including those which are decidedly Esoteric and the website of the Rose Circle Research Foundation [XXI] an organization which frequently sponsors formal lectures by prominent authorities on Esoteric topics and maintains a library of related scholarly works.
For those who desire not only a more structured, but also a more rigorous course of study, there are select Colleges and Universities which offer high level coursework and advanced degrees in Esoteric studies. Some of these programs are available as online courses of study. These programs include:
There are also established Esoteric curricula provided for members of Organizations such as “Builders of the Adytum [XXII] ” (BOTA) founded by Brother Paul Foster Case which are reasonably priced and paced for optimum comprehension.
No doubt the Esoteric Mason who converses with like-minded Brethren in the more popular internet forums will receive additional recommendations.
For those unable to avail themselves of internet resources, or unable to pursue structured educational programs, but who feel they would benefit from a written curriculum of self-study, I offer a topical study outline (Table 1) which is indexed to the two reading lists provided in the Appendices. This outline provides a brief curriculum composed of thirty-eight texts selected from the reading lists (Appendix 2 and 3), the study of which will provide the student with an excellent grasp of the principles upon which Esoteric Masonry is based. Depending upon one’s reading speed and comprehension this curriculum can be completed in about eighteen months or less.
Note that while the reading lists identify specific versions of each text, more modern and less costly versions of the same texts are often available and are perfectly satisfactory substitutes. In many cases electronic versions are available for use with the Kindle and similar electronic e-book readers at no cost whatsoever. Note also that text list index numbers in Table 1 separated by commas are intended to signify opportunities for comparative reading. If the reader prefers to eschew comparative study the first text listed in the series is that which is best recommended.
Table 1 - Topical Study Outline Indexed to the Reading Lists
This outline is not in and of itself complete, and the reader will no doubt find that others will have a different view of the subject matter, order of study, and specific resources which are best. The important thing is that when the Individual finds a topic which with which he finds particular fascination or which is difficult to understand, that he supplements his studies with other similar titles from the reading list. If sufficient interest is shown, the Author is willing to lead a weekly (or bi-weekly, or monthly) internet group discussion based upon this curriculum.
I strongly caution the reader to avoid so called “New Age” materials, which while entertaining, have not withstood the scrutiny of time. Such materials were obviously not available when those who framed our ritual were so engaged; consequently they will do little to assist the Freemason in his task of examination of our traditions.
Esoteric Practice is meant to convey those arcane activities and techniques such as meditation, skrying, and invocation which are described by much of the Esoteric literature. While such practices are an important part of experiencing esotericism, a word of caution is certainly due. Unless you have received detailed written or personal instruction by qualified Mentors experienced in these practices, it may be wise to wait until such instruction becomes available. The most common problem with new students of Esotericism is the tendency to work beyond their own level of capability. While this rarely results in any true harm, it severely reduces the effectiveness gained by learning the correct form of these activities. One of my favorite quips is that “there is nothing more dangerous than two karate lessons, and a pitcher of beer.”. Be patient; when beginning, experiment within your absolute range of knowledge only. Be aware that your own perception of your capability may not accurately reflect the reality of the situation. If you have questions about performing an activity, ask someone more knowledgeable than yourself before you start.
I hope that it is evident that Esotericism is both a valuable and valid part of Freemasonry. True understanding of our ritual and tradition is the key to its preservation. I also hope that this modest guide will serve the many new Masons who begin their Esoteric Journey.
Appendix 1 – List of General Reference Texts
Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (Ed.), Faivre, Antoine; Van Den Broek, Roelof; Brach & Jean-Pierre (Collaborators). (2005). Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism. (2 Vols.). Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN-10: 9004141871; ISBN-13: 978-9004141872.
Macoy, Robert. (1989). A Dictionary of Freemasonry. New York: Gramercy Books. ISBN: 0-517-069213-9.
Mackey, Albert G. (1917). Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences. Philadelphia: McClure Publishing Company
Waite, Arthur Edward. (1970). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and of Cognate Instituted Mysteries: Their Rites Literature and History. New York: Wings Books. ISBN: 0-517-19148-2.
Mackey, Albert G. (2004). Lexicon of Freemasonry. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN: 0-7607-6003-9.
Kaplan, Stuart R. (2006). The Encyclopedia of Tarot. (4 Vols.). United States Games Systems. ISBN-10: 157281540X; ISBN-13: 978-1572815407.
Knight, Gareth. (1993). A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism. (2 Vols.). 1993. Samuel Weiser Inc.
Skinner, Stephen (2006). The Complete Magician's Tables (Tabularum Magicarum). Singapore: Golden Hoard Press.
Richardson, Alan. (2008). The Magician's Tables: A Complete Book of Correspondences. Godsfield Press. ISBN-10: 1841812358; ISBN-13: 9781841812359.
Appendix 2 – Reading List of Texts for General Background Study
Wilmhurst, W.L. (1999). The Meaning of Masonry. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN: 0-7607-1092-9.
The Three Initiates. (1908). The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece. Chicago: The Yogi Publication Company.
Tillyard, E.M.W. (1944).The Elizabethan World Picture: A Study of the Idea of Order in the Age of Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton. New York: The MacMillan Company.
Pike, Albert. (1905). Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Charleston: Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.
Hugo, T.W. (1923). Digest-Index of Morals and Dogma of Albert Pike. Charleston: Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.
Clausen, Henry. (1974). Clausen’s Commentaries On Morals and Dogma. Charleston: Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States
Jung, Carl G. (1964). Man and His Symbols. London: Aldus Books Ltd. LCCN: 64-18631
Churchton, Tobias. (2002). The Golden Builders: Alchemists, Rosicrucians, and the First Freemasons. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN-13: 978-0-7601-7610-0. ISBN-10: 0-7607-7610-5.
Bromwell, Henry P.H. (1909). Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry: Being a Dissertation of the Lost Knowledges of the Lodge. Denver: The H.P.H. Bromwell Masonic Publishing Company.
Blatavsky, H.P. (1930). Isis Unveiled: A Master Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology. London: Rider & Company.
Fortune, Dion. (1967). Sane Occultism. London: Aquarian Press
Hall, Manly P. (1936). Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabalistic, and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society.
Regardie, Israel. (1946). The Romance of Metaphysics: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Psychology of Modern Metaphysics. Chicago: Aries Press.
Frazer, James George. (1947). The Golden Bough: A Study In Magic And Religion: A detailed examination of the forms of occult practice across the world and the ages. Supernatural Beliefs and Mysticism. Magic Spells & Practice. Ancient Deities. Witches & Witchcraft. Fairies. Demons. Human Sacrifice. the Druids. etc. etc. New York: MacMillan Company.
Lomas, Robert. (2004). Freemasonry and the Birth of Modern Science. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN: 0-7607-5431-4.
MacNulty, W. Kirk. (2006). Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance. London: Thames & Hudson Company, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0-500-51302-6. ISBN-10: 0-500-51302-3.
De Hoyos, Arturo & Morris, S. Brent. (2007). Committed to the Flames: The History and Rituals of a Secret Masonic Rite. Lewis Masonic Publications Ltd. ISBN-10: 0853182930; ISBN-13: 9780853182931.
Skinner, Stephen. (2006). Sacred Geometry: Deciphering the Codes. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-1-4027-4129-6. ISBN-10: 1-4027-4129-4.
Yarker, John. (1909). The Arcane Schools: A Review of Their Origin and Antiquity with a General History of Freemasonry and Its Relation to the Theosophic, Scientific, and Philosophic Mysteries. William Taft.
Atwood, Mary Ann. (1976). A Suggestive Inquiry into Hermetic Mystery. Yoga Publication Society. ISBN-10: 0911662642; ISBN-13: 978-0911662641.
Blavatsky, H.P. (1921). The Secret Doctrine: Religion and Philosophy. (Vols. 1-3 & Index). London: Theosophical Publishing.
Boehme, Jacob.(1911). The Forty Questions of the Soul and The Clavis. (John Sparrow, Trans.). London: John M. Watkins. Facsimile Edition Sure Fire Press, 1993
Leadbeater, C.W. (1923). The Monad & Other Essays Upon The Higher Consciousness. American Theosophical Society.
Mead, G.R.S. (1906). Thrice Greatest Hermes: Studies in Hellenistic Theosophy and Gnosis: Being a Translation of the Extant Sermons and Fragments of the Trismegistic Literature With Prolegomena Commentaries and Notes. (3 Vols.). London, Benares: Theosophical Publishing Company.
Pike, Albert. The Book of Words: Sephir H’Debarim.(1999).Washington, DC. The Scotish Rite Research Society.
Plummer, George Winslow. (1918). A Masonic Compendium to the Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East: Being a Digest of all Allusions to the Antiquity, Archaeology, and Ceremonial. with a Guide to Masonic Research. New York: Masonic Publishing Company.
Thorndike, Lynn. (2005). The Place of Magic in the Intellectual History of Europe. (Joel Radcliffe, Ed.) Seattle, Washington: Ars Obscura Press. ISBN: 0-9623780-9-7.
van den Broek, R. & Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (Eds.) (1997). Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times. State University of New York Press. ISBN-10: 079143611X; ISBN-13: 978-0791436110.
Appendix 3 - Topical Reading List
[I] Pratt, Mason. (2006-2010). The Different Types of Freemasons. in Edward J. Wildblood Jr. Vermont Lodge of Research #110. Retrieved April 21, 2012 from http://www.vermontlodgeofresearch.com/Publications/Official/Different%20Types%20of%20Freemasons.pdf.
[II] Davis, Robert G. The Path of the Esotericists Among Us. in Essays of Robert G. Davis. April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2012 from http://robertgdavis.blogspot.com/2010/04/path-of-esotericists-among-us.html.
[III] Bransgrove, Stanley J. Toward a Fraternal History of Marin County: A Survey of Secret Societies being a General History of Various Fraternities and Their Specific Impact in Marin. Retrieved April 22, 2012 from http://mill-valley.freemasonry.biz/marin-fraternities-01.htm.
[IV] Fringe Freemasonry. National Heritage Museum. Retrieved April 22, 2012 from http://nationalheritagemuseum.typepad.com/library_and_archives/fringe-freemasonry/.
[V] Palmer, John C. (1925). Morgan and anti-Masonry. in The Little Masonic Library, Vol. 7. Richmond, Va. Masonic Service Association of the United States. Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Company, Inc.
[VI] Presscott, Andrew. (2000). The Unlawful Societies Act of 1799. in the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism, University of Sheffield. Retrieved April 20, 2012 from http://freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk/index.php?lang=0&type=page&level0=243&level1=387&level2=393&op=746.
[VII] Huntington, Pope Catlin. (1886). The True History Regarding Alleged Connections of the Order of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons with the Abduction and Murder of William Morgan in Western New York in 1826. New York: M.W Hazen. Available: Baylor University, Poage Library, Gallery II. Call no. HS525 .H8 1886.
[VIII] Humanum Genus: Encyclical of Pope Leo XII on Freemasonry. Retrieved April 23, 2012 from Vatican Website at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18840420_humanum-genus_en.html
[IX] Barber, Malcolm. (2006). The Trial of the Templars. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[X] Burkeman, Oliver. The Guardian. "Knights get an apology from the Vatican 700 years too late", 11 October 2007.Retrieved April 23, 2012 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2188125,00.html.
[XI] Reilly, Gerald. (2007). Freemasonry: A Peculiar System of Morality?. In Candide’s Column, Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry. Retrieved April 17, 2012 from http://freemasons-freemasonry.com/column 1207.html.
[XII] Wilmhurst, W.L. (1999). The Meaning of Masonry. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN: 0-7607-1092-9.
[XIII] Jung, Carl Gustav. (1969). The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. in Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 8.Gerhard Adker (trans.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
[XIV] Marcus, Richard D. (1997-2010). A Stroll Through the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences. in Masonic World. Retrieved April 22, 2012 from http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artjan02/marcus/sevenliberalartsandsciences.htm.
[XV] Matt, Daniel (trans.).(2003 - 2011). The Zohar: Pritzker Edition. 6 Vols. Stanford University Press.
[XVI] Mayer, Toby (Trans). Arabic/English. (2009). Keys to Arcana: Shahrastani's Esoteric Commentary on the Qur'an. Oxford University Press. ISBN-10:199533652; ISBN-13:9780199533657.
[XVII] Strong, James. (1991). The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Classic Edition. Thomas Nelson. ISBN-10: 078526096X: ISBN-13: 978-0785260967.
[XVIII] Bartlett, Harriet Tuttle. (2009). An Esoteric Reading of Biblical Symbolism. Bibliolife. ISBN-10: 110304740X; ISBN-13: 9781103047406.
[XIX] Sanctum Sanctorum Education Foundation. http://www.thesanctumsanctorum.com/.
[XX] Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry. Bruno Gazzo (Ed.). http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/.
[XXI] Rose Circle Research Foundation. http://www.rosecircle.org.
[XXII] Builders of the Adytum. http://www.bota.org.
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