Secret History of Freemasons

By Jim Marrs Fom The Book Rule By Secracy

The ongoing connective tissue between the modern and ancient secret societies has been Freemasonry, which existed as a formidable force long before certain lodges became “Illuminized.”

During the late Middle Ages when any opposition to the Holy Roman Universal (Catholic) church was forced deep underground, among the only organized groups able to move freely throughout Europe were the guilds of stone masons, who maintained meeting halls or “lodges” in every major city.

The masons, who traced their own secret knowledge of architecture and building back to Egypt and beyond, were essential in the construction of Europe’s churches and cathedrals. They were the direct descendants of early guilds of masons which existed both in Egypt and Greece and utilized esoteric construction techniques in their craft. These techniques had been passed down through the sects and mystery schools and some continue to confound modern builders.

According to The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Freemasonry is the largest worldwide secret society and was spread largely by the advance of the British empire in the nineteenth century. There were even Masonic lodges established in China under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of England heginning in 1788. The infamous Chinese Triad Society began as a Masonic order, along with one called the Order of the Swastika, according to the author of A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. These Chinese Masons conducted identical rites, wore similar jeweled symbols and leather aprons. They referred to the deity as the “First Builder.”

There are several organizations that, while not officially Masonic, draw from the Masons. These include such social or “fun” organizations as Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners) and the Orders of the Eastern Star, DeMolay, Builders, and Rainbow. These groups are predominately American as British Masons are expressly forbidden to join such affiliates.

According to journalist George Johnson, “Early on, Masonry developed an aura of mystique. Its members possessed a power based not on royal or ecclesiastical authority but on knowledge, not only of stone cutting and mortaring but of the mysteries of ancient Greek geometers [experts in geometry].” Already possessing certain esoteric or secret knowledge, the Masons were an ideal vehicle for the covert distribution of anticlerical teachings.

The most famous of the Masonic symbols—the letter G inside a square and compass—in fact stands for geometry, according to Masonic historian Albert Mackey, who added that Masons have been taught that “Masonry and Geometry are synonymous terms” and “the geometrical symbols found in the ritual of modern Freemasonry may be considered as the debris of the geometrical secrets of the Medieval Mason, which are now admitted to be lost.” Occult geometry, sometimes called “sacred geometry,” long has utilized geometrical symbols such as the circle, the triangle, the pentagram, etc., as symbols for metaphysical and philosophical concepts.

Authors Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas had an interesting take on the well-known Masonic symbol of the square and compass, They claimed it originated as a stylized form of the ancient symbol for a king’s power—a pyramid with its base at the bottom representing earthly power—superimposed with a reversed pyramid representing the heavenly power of the priest. Together, these pyramids of power create the symbol which has come to be known as the Star of David. “It first came into popular use on a large number of Christian churches in the Middle Ages,” they wrote, “and the earliest examples were, we were amazed to find, on buildings erected by the Knights Templar. Its use in synagogues came very much later.”

One Masonic tradition claimed that Abraham, the patriarch of the Hebrews, taught the Egyptians special knowledge predating the Great Flood. Later, this knowledge—reported as the work of the legendary Hermes Trismegistus—was collected by the Greek philosopher Euclid, who studied the work under the name geometry. The Greeks and later Romans called this discipline architecture.

Critics of Freemasonry have claimed the prominent G stands for Gnosticism, a philosophy of Gnostic sects such as the Alumhrados, which was outlawed by the early church.

Authorities disagree as to the actual origin of Freemasonry but all acknowledge that it predates ancient Egypt. Masonic lore traces its origins back to the construction of the biblical Tower of Babel and King Solomon’s Temple of Jerusalem.  Writing in the nineteenth century, Mackey stated that the Masons of the Middle Ages derived their knowledge of building as well as organization from the “Architects of Lombardy.” This guild in northern Italy was the first to assume the name “Freemasons,” which has become the shortened name for the fraternal Order of Free and Accepted Masons. The term “Accepted” applied to later members who were not connected to the original stone masons. One paper on alchemy specifically mentioning “Freemason” can be dated to the 1450s.

Other Masonic scholars claim to historically date the order to Rome’s Collegium Fabrorum or College of Workmen, a group of builders and architects that became a prototype of the later guilds. Most writers trace Masonic secrets through those warrior-priests of the Crusades, the Knights Templar. One eighteenth century writer claimed modern Freemasonry was founded by Godfrey de Bouillon, leader of the First Crusade, which captured Jerusalem, and reportedly also the founder of the mysterious Priory of Sion.

The secrets of the origins of Freemasonry have been rightly held despite the publication of numerous books and literature on the subject. Walter Leslie Wilmshurst, a ranking Mason and author of The Meaning of Masonry, wrote, “The true, inner history of Masonry has never yet been given forth even to the Craft itself.” Many researchers believe that even most Masons themselves have lost sight of the organization’s true origin and purpose. “The overall picture is one of an organization that has forgotten its original meaning,” wrote rile authors of The Templar Revelation.

This allegation was echoed by the Masonic authors of The Hiram Key, Knight and Lomas, who wrote, “Not only are the origins of Freemasonry no longer known, but die ‘true secrets’ of the Order are admitted to have been lost, with ‘substituted secrets’ being used in their place in Masonic ceremony….”

Yet, following an exhaustive study of the Knights Templar, they concluded, “We now could be certain, without any shadow of a doubt, that the starting place for Freemasonry was the construction of Rosslyn Chapel in the mid-fifteenth century.” Rosslyn, near Edinburgh, Scotland, was built by the Saint-Clair family. The Saint-Clairs were close to the original Knights Templar and William Saint-Clair of Rosslyn became the first grand master of Scottish Freemasonry. Catherine de Saint-Clair was married to the first grand master of the Knights Templar.

Much of the confusion over Freemasonry’s origins and growth dates from the rift between the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant Church of England when many Masonic records were lost. Wars and revolutions took their toll on Masonic libraries in all nations.

King Henry VIII, in breaking with Rome, not only discontinued the church’s building programs in England, causing widespread unemployment, but looted the assets of the Masons under the guise of taxes and tribute. To survive, the lodges began opening their memberships to non-Masons. These outsider merchants, landowners, and others—many with Templar backgrounds—became known as “Speculative” Masons. They embraced a mystical and esoteric doctrine based on traditions predating Freemasonry and brought to the order by Knights Templar members fleeing persecution by the church.

By the time four London lodges formed a United Grand Lodge in 1717, Speculative Freemasonry completely dominated the original guild stonemasons or “Operative” Masons. It is primarily from Speculative Masonty that the order derived its esoteric knowledge.

Author Webster stated that the origins of Freemasonry cannot be traced to any one source, but that the order resulted from a combination of traditions that evolved and merged over a period of time. “Thus Operative Masonry may have descended from the Roman Collegia and through the operative masons of the Middle Ages, whilst Speculative Masonry may have derived from the [Hebrew] patriarchs and the mysteries of the pagans. But the source of inspiration which admits of no denial is the Jewish Cabala… . The fact remains that when the ritual and constitutions of Masonry were drawn up in 1717, although certain fragments of the ancient Egyptian and Pythagorean doctrines were retained, the Judaic version of the secret tradition was the one selected by the founders of the Grand Lodge on which to build up their system.”

Freemasonry continued to broaden its appeal. In 1720 Masonic lodges were established in France under the auspices of England’s United Grand Lodge. They formed a Grand Lodge in Paris in 1735.

These were distinct from the Scottish lodges which had been formed after Charles Stuart I fled England. Tensions between the two branches of French Masonry were heightened in 1746 with the exile of Charles Edward “Bonnie Prince Charlie” Stuart, the “Young Pretender” and his followers, who encouraged political use of the order.

It was during this time that the true lineage of Freemasonry became publicly known. In 1737 the tutor of Prince Charles Edward’s sons and Royal Society member Andrew Michael Ramsey delivered a speech to the Freemasons of Paris. In what became known as “Ramsey’s Oration,” he clearly stated that “our Order formed an intimate union with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem,” an order closely associated with the Knights Templar. Ramsey also said that Freemasonry was connected to the ancient mystery schools of the Greek goddess Diana and the Egyptian goddess Isis.

German Mason Baron Karl Gottlieb von Hund had joined the Frankfurt lodge and in 1751 he formed an extension of the Scottish Rite called the Order of the Strict Observance after its oath of unquestioning obedience to mysterious and unseen “superiors.” As previously described, this order ended with the fusion of the Illuminati and German Freemasonry during the Wilhelmsbad Convention.

Von Hund admitted carrying on the traditions of Knights Templar forced into exile in Scotland in the early 1300s. Order members proclaimed themselves “Knights of the Temple.” He claimed to be carrying out the orders of “unknown superiors” who were never identified or located. While some claimed these “superiors” were not human, most researchers believe they probably were Jacobite supporters of the Stuarts who died or lost faith following the defeat of the “Young Pretender.”

These superiors did provide von Hund with a list of names reported to have been ongoing grand masters of the Knights Templar, thought to have become extinct in the mid-1300s. A nearly identical list discovered recently was connected to the mysterious Priory of Sion headquartered in Rennes-le-Chateau in southern France, through an Austrian historian named Leo Schidlof, reportedly the author of genealogical lists entitled Dossiers secrets or secret files. ”Save for the spelling of a single surname, the list Hund produced agreed precisely with the one in the Dossiers secrets. In short, Hund had somehow obtained a list of Templar grand masters more accurate than any other known at the time,” wrote the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. They felt this provided strong support for the belief that both the Priory and Freemason Hund were directly tied to the Knights Templar.

After years of clashes with the Roman Catholic church, Freemasons in England—now under the Church of England—announced in 1723 that the organization would accept persons from all religions. Today there are an estimated six million Freemasons active in the world in nearly one hundred thousand lodges.

Freemasonry is formed into three basic lodge: the Blue Lodge, the beginning step which is divided into three stages or degrees; the York Rite, composed of ten more degrees; and the Scottish Rite with its total of thirty-two degrees of initiation. The invitation-only thirty-third degree represents the human head atop the thirty-three vertebrae of the back. This is the highest publicly known degree.

The vast majority of members look upon their affiliation with Freemasonry as little different from joining the Lion’s Club, the Optimists, or the chamber of commerce. And from their standpoint, this is true. Even Masonic literature makes clear that only those initiates who progress beyond thirty-third-degree status are educated in the group’s true goals and secrets.

This hierarchy is readily admitted by Masonic authors. “There has always existed an external, elementary, popular doctrine which has served for the instruction of the masses who are insufficiently prepared for deeper teaching,” wrote Mason Wilmshurst. “There has been an interior, advanced doctrine, a more secret knowledge, which has been reserved for riper minds and into which only proficient and properly prepared candidates, who voluntarily sought to participate in it, were initiated.”

The thirty-third-degree Mason Manly P. Hall wrote, “Freemasonry is a fraternity within a fraternity—an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect… the one visible and the other invisible. The visible society is a splendid camaraderie of ‘free and accepted’ men enjoined to devote themselves to ethical, educational, fraternal, patriotic and humanitarian concerns. The invisible society is a secret and most august fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of an … arcanum arcandrum [a sacred secret].”

Prominent nineteenth-century Mason Albert Pike admitted that Freemasonry has “two doctrines, one concealed and reserved for the Masters,… the other public. . . .” Past Provincial Grand Registrar Wilmshurst confirmed that the “first stage” or initial degrees of Masonry are “concerned merely with the surface-value of the doctrine” and that “beyond this stage the vast majority of Masons, it is to be feared, never passes.”

Even many high-ranking Masons are never brought into the innet circle of knowledge. In his memoirs, the famous Freemason Casanova wrote, “That those even who have occupied the Chair of the Master [Mason] for 50 years may yet be unacquainted with its Mysteries.”

Author Epperson made the interesting observation that every Mason will deny that there exists an inner and outer circle to the order because the “average Mason” is truly unaware of this system while the “Illuminated Mason” is pledged not to reveal it. “This second layer is protected by an oath of secrecy, which means that if you knew about its existence, you would be obligated by an oath not to tell anyone,” he explained.

The power structure of the order also caused concern among many researchers. “World Freemasonry is a massive pyramid of manipulation,” wrote conspiracy author Icke. “The pyramid structure allows the Elite, the few at the top of Freemasonry, to control the majority by misleading them and keeping them in the dark.”

This deception has been accomplished by providing both initiate Masons and the inquiring public alike with such a mass of contradictory and confusing information, traditions, and history that even Masonic scholars cannot agree on many issues. Author Mackey acknowledges that Masonic records are “replete with historical inaccuracies, with anachronisms, and even with absurdities.”

There was a reason for this obfuscation. “The growth [of Freemasonry] synchronizes with a corresponding defection of interest in orthodox religion and public worship,” noted Wilmshurst. “The simple principles of faith and the humanitarian ideals of Masonry are with some men taking the place of the theology offered in the various Churches.”

Though its leaders deny it to be a religion, Freemasonry nevertheless offered a substitute for religion. No wonder it had to be circumspect in its teachings. Up to within living memory, anyone speaking concepts popularly helieved to he sacrilegious or blasphemous risked serious community censure, bodily injury, or even death.

Wilmshurst explained that one seeking enlightenment “in the form of new enhanced consciousness and enlarged perceptive faculty . .. must be prepared to divest himself of all past preconceptions and thought-habits and, with childlike meekness and docility, surrender his mind to the reception of some perhaps novel and unexpected truths…”

Referring to the teachings of Masonry as “veiled” and “cryptic,” he wrote, “The meaning of Masonry … is a subject usually left entirely unexpounded and that accordingly remains largely unrealized by its members save such few as make it their private study….”

However, Wilmshurst gave some clues to the hidden history of Freemasonry when he wrote of a “Golden Age” when “men were once in conscious conversation with the unseen world and were shepherded, taught and guided by the ‘gods.’. . . ” He noted that humankind lost its way after a “fall” due to its attempt to gain the same knowledge as its creators, a concept comparable with the biblical “fail from grace.”

This “fall” of mankind, according to Wilmshurt writing in 1927, was not due to any individual transgression but to “some weakness or defect in the collective or group-soul of the Adamic race” so that “within the Divine counsels” it was decided that “humanity should be redeemed and restored to its pristine state,” a process which required “vast time-cycles for its achievement.” He added that this restoration also required “skilled scientific assistance” from “those ‘gods’ and angelic guardians of the erring race of whom all the ancient traditions and sacred writings tell.”

Masonic author Manly P. Hall demonstrated that Wilmshurst was not merely speaking allegorically, explaining, “In the remote past the gods walked wirh men and .. . they chose from among the sons of men the wisest and the truest.

“With these specially ordained and illumined sons they left the keys of their great wisdom. . . . They ordained these anointed and appointed ones to be priests or mediators between themselves—the gods—and that humanity which had not yet developed the eyes which permitted them to gaze into the face of Truth and live. . . . These illumined ones founded what we know as the Ancient Mysteries.”

So one inner Masonic secrer has to do with their awareness of prehistoric “gods” who left their knowledge to certain individuals, thus illuminizing them. This knowledge was passed down through ancient Mystery Schools to the founders of both the Jewish and Christian religions, whose traditions were learned by the Knights Templar and brought to the inner core of modern Freemasonry.

The transition from ancient secret societies to more modern secret organizations was invigorated by the introduction of this “Illuminized” Freemasonry in the late eighteenth century, itself a blending of elder esoteric lore with Cabalistic traditions. These secrets continue to lurk at the inner core of Freemasonry even as its unknowing millions of members enjoy its outward philanthropy and fellowship.

The diligent researcher can begin to understand these ancient secrets only after the most laborious and serious study—much is still not being told in a direct manner, as admitted by Masonic authors.

Another of the ancient secrets concerned the concept of reincarnation, which, apologized Wilmshurst, “will be novel and probably unacceptable to some readers.” He added, “We are merely recording what the Secret Doctrine teaches.”

It was this hidden and esoteric side of Freemasonry that prompted critics to charge the order as antireligious. “Accusations that the Freemasons have cultivated the occult sciences—particularly alchemy, astrology and ceremonial magic—have pursued the order throughout its history,” acknowledged the modern editors of Mackey’s book.

Within early Freemasonry were men called magicians—not the stage illusionists of today but men who took the name from the term Magi, or wise men. Until the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, magic was merely another name for science. These magicians seriously claimed to have the ancient knowledge of metal transmutation, matter manipulation, and eternal youth.

One of the most magical of these Masons was a person known as a “Wonderman,” who was thought to have lived for hundreds of years.


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