The Birth of Freemasonry

Solomons Temple2

Solomon’s Temple

When we look into the history of the Freemasons, one has to ask, how far back does there history go, and how they came into existence.  Their history goes back some 3,000 years; their history comes from the writing’s of Chronicler’s and the Bible.

Solomon’s Temple was built by King Solomon, King Hiram and Hiram Abiff, between 960-953BC, using Phoenician craftsmen.  The inner walls were lined with gold, and marble blocks and fine emeralds adorned the temple.

Freemason lodge rooms are based on the designs of Solomon’s Temple.

Shishak, the King of Egypt, attacked and ransacked Solomon’s Temple, in the early years of Reheboam’s reign, as King of Israel.  In 586BC King Nebuchadnezzar led Babylonian forces, in the total destruction of the temple.  The Hebrew people were taken to Babylon, to start a new chapter in their lives as slaves.  In 536BC, Zerubbabel and his people built the second temple, which was completed by 515BC.

Emperor Diocletian executes the stonemasons Claudius, Castorius, Sempornians, Nicostratus and Simplicius their apprentice for refusal to carve their pagan God; Aescuplapius.  Some years later, Severus, Severianus, Carpophorus and Victorius were executed for refusal to pay homage to the pagan God; Aescuplapius… and in 290Bs these four became known as the “Four Crowned Martyrs” patron Saints of the Operative Craft.

An interesting thought… “Freemasonry” is also referred to as the “Craft.”

At the time of Christ, there existed in Palestine three religious sects; Essenes, Pharisees and Sadducees.

The Essenes, observed strict rules with a high moral code, and a secret ceremony of initiation, with similarities to that of the craft.  Historians have put forward, that Jesus Christ was a member of the Essenes.

Persian rule of the area, gave way to Greek rule, then Roman.  Herod the Great, ruler of Israel, came under Roman rule from 47BC.  In 20BC, the second temple was enlarged with courts and walls, taking eighty-three years to complete.

The Jews revolted against the Romans in 70AD, and the Roman General; Titus (Caesar) besieged the city of Jerusalem.  That very same year, the second temple was destroyed by fire.

Upon the fall of the Roman Empire, many stonemasons migrated to the island of Como, to preserve their art.  They later emerged as the Comocine Builders who constructed many Cathedrals of the middle ages.

In 691, a shrine was built on the site; “Dome of the Rock.”  By 715AD the Al-Aqsa mosque was built alongside, and two earthquakes later destroyed, and rebuilt by 1035.

Prince Edwin son of King Athelstan of the House of Wessex, called and presided over a meeting of Masons at York in 926AD.

In the year 1118, the Knights Templar were formed at the site of the old Solomon’s Temple, by the first Grand Master of the Order; Hugues de Payens.  Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master was burnt at the stake on trumped up charges of heresy in 1314.

An Act, “The Statute of Labourers” is passed in 1350, regulating workmans wages.  The words “Mason and Freestone” appear in its writings.

In 1360, the Crown calls for 568 Masons to attend Windsor Castle, to undertake building work.

In 1370, The York Minster Mason’s Ordinance is passed.  It is written in Middle English and contains the words “Mason” and “Masoun.”

In 1375 the Masons Company of London is represented at the Court of Common Council.  In 1376 the Freemason and Mason Company of London comes into existence, as a craft Guild.  The first known use of the word “Freemason” is recorded in the City of London Book dated 9th August.  The word is later stricken off and replaced with the word; Mason.

In 1429 “Masons of the Lodge” is mentioned in the records of Canterbury Cathedral.

In 1463 the Worshipful Company of Masons of the City of London builds its first meeting house.

In 1471 Robert Stowell is appointed Master of Masons at Westminster Abbey.

In 1487 the word “Freemason” appears for the first time in the Statues of England.

In 1491 a municipal law is passed at St.Giles in Edinburgh, establishing the conditions of employment of Master Masons and co-workers.

In 1584 William Schaw, became Master of the Works in Scotland, and went on to issue two sets of rules; regulating the Masons of Scotland in 1598, and giving the Lodge of Kilwinning supervisory powers over Lodges of West Scotland in 1599.  It used the term “Fellow of the Craft.”

Sir Robert Moray, a Scot by birth, in the employ of the French, was born in 1609 and educated at St.Andrews University.  He served with the Scots Guards of Louis XIII in 1633, and acted as a spy for Cardinal Richelieu.

In 1638 Richelieu promoted Robert Moray to Lieutenant-Colonel in Louis elite Scots Guards and dispatched him to Scotland.  His orders were to recruit Scots, and he chose to assist fellow Scots in their dispute against Charles and England.

In 1640, Sir Robert Moray was made a Scottish Mason, and on the 20trh May 1641 initiated into Freemasonry whilst garrisoned in Newcastle.

Sir Robert Moray, he who was in the employ of the French, a military man at heart, had another side to him.  He was one of the original founders of the Royal Society in 1660, and its first president.

In 1617 Ellis Ashmole was born at Litchfield in England.  A famous historian, who was iniated as an English Mason on the 16th October 1646, and went on to create the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.

In 1656 John Aubrey began writing “A Natural History of Wiltshire” in which he states that the fraternity of Free-Masons are known to one another by certain signs and watch words.

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Resources:
The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
Secret History of Freemasonry
The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight
Born in Blood by John Robinson

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Freemasons: The Royal Society

Freemason Symbol

England was ruled by the Royal House of the Stuarts, and was going through political and social changes, as King Charles I was beheaded for his beliefs in 1649.

It was a time in history, that saw the emergence of the Masonic Royal Society of Sciences and the Arts.

It all started back in 1567, when Sir Thomas Gresham was one of the General Warden’s of Masons.

Gresham College was founded in 1579, at the bequest of Sir Thomas Gresham, as laid down in his will.  He even went to the point of listing what subjects were to be taught: Astronomy – Divinity – Geometry – Medicine and Music.

A group of learned men, thinker’s of their time, with an interest in experimental philosophy, met formally at Gresham College in Bishopgate, starting around 1645.  These learned men called themselves “The Invisible College” attending lectures and discussions of mutual interests, to one and all.

In its early days, the proceedings of the Invisible College were cloaked in secrecy.  Personal safety demanded that any discussions of an esoteric, moral or scientific nature, should take place underground.

The Royal Society was founded in 1660, by the freemasons, and its members and presidents included the likes of:

  • Robert Boyle assisted by Robert Hooke, who explored the properties of a vacuum, and gave his name to the gas law of volume and pressure.
  • William Petty, the father of modern statistics.
  • Laurence Rooke, a geometrician who worked on methods for determining longitude at sea.
  • Christopher Wren, Professor of Astronomy and prominent architect.

John Desaguliers was nominated to the post of “Curator of Experiments” in 1712, by Sir Isaac Newton, and was the first to demonstrate the existence of the atom.

Sir John Desaguliers became Grand Master of the Freemasons in 1719, and shaped the form of 18th century Freemasonry.

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Chartres Cathedral: The Last Judgement

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral

The Gothic styled cathedral’s originated in 12th century France, during the Knights Templar era.  The Knights Templar, God’s warriors, were formed to protect pilgrims on route to Jerusalem.

This order was formed in 1118, and consisted of nine knights, and became one of the richest and most powerful orders, with the backing of the Pope.  They would build hundreds of Gothic Cathedral’s across Europe, and many still stand to this very day.  These cathedrals with their twin towers faced towards the west, resembling the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem with its two pillars of Jachin and Boaz.

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement

When a visitor steps across the threshold and enters the cathedral he would be confronted by “The Last Judgement” displayed at the tympanum.  Here, Jesus is surrounded by four beasts of the Apocalypse, the same beasts as mentioned in John’s Revelations, equated with the four apostles; Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

The four beasts of the Apocalypse have astrological significance:

  • The beast, with human face is Aquarius (Mathew).
  • The lion is Leo (Mark).
  • The ox is Taurus (Luke).
  • The eagle is Aquila (John).

The zodiac sign Aquila is often replaced with Scorpio.

According to Christian art expressions, Christ is portrayed inside a Vesica Pisces along with four zodiac signs, and his head surrounded by a halo depicting the Sun.  As for the image of Jesus inside the Vesica Pisces, contains at each corner one of the signs of the Apocalypse: Aquarius – Scorpio – Taurus – Leo.

The French Gothic Cathedral of Chartres is one of the oldest Cathedral’s and is aligned to the summer solstice.  At the time of the summer solstice, the sun would shine through the “Saint Apollinaire” window, depicting the Roman sun god; Apollo.

Located within the cathedral, one can find a zodiac, but the practice of astrology is regarded as an act of paganism.  The zodiac connects the signs of Aquarius, Scorpio, Taurus and Leo.

It is believed the four signs of the Apocalypse rise before the sun during the Great Celestial Conjunction at the time of the solstices or equinoxes.  They be the symbols of the true Galactic Cross, determined where the ecliptic and Milky Way cross.

The zodiac within Chartres Cathedral consists of two semi-circles, that intersect forming a Vesica Pisces, an ancient symbol to represent Christ.  Vertically depicted, represents fertility and birth.  Symbolism refers to rebirth.

When Vesica Pisces aligns with Pisces-Virgo axis within the zodiac, Vesica Pisces appears to be associated with Pisces (Christ – the fisherman) and Virgo (Mary – the virgin mother).

The symbolism found within Chartres Cathedral, puts forward the Christian doctrine of End Times, and is not the rebirth of Christ, but rebirth of the Sun!

Chartres Cathedral: Black Madonna

Chartres Cathedral - Black Madonna

Chartres Cathedral – Black Madonna

The Black Madonna statue in Chartres Cathedral, France represents the pagan Egyptian goddess; Isis.  In her arms she’s not holding Jesus, but her conceived son, the Sun God; Horus.  Isis, just like Mary Magdalene was a virgin who gave birth to a son on the 25th December.

The event took place, four days after the winter solstice on the 21st, at the moment of the rebirth of the Sun.

Mary stands between two pillars of the Temple of Solomon inside a Vesica Pisces.  At the top the “All seeing eye of Horus,” is depicted.  The tracing board symbolizes the birth of the solar deity Horus at the Milky Way.

In the Freemasons tracing board, Mary’s Immaculate Conception is depicted.  She’s placed inside a Vesica Pisces in between the two pillars of the Temple of Solomon, with the All seeing eye of Horus watching over her.

The Virgin Mary in Chartrers is placed on a pillar in a Vesica Pisces shaped cavity.  The origin of this custom to place the virgin mother on a pillar in Christian traditions stems from the legend of ‘Our Lady on the pillar.’  The legend relates to the appearance of the virgin mother to the apostle James in the early days of Christianity on top of a column or pillar carried by angels.

In Masonic traditions this pillar represents the Milky Way.  The symbolism of placing the ‘Black Madonna’ with Jesus on a pillar must therefore be equated with the Sun (Horus) on the Milky Way.

Chartrtes Cathedral is well known for the Black Madonna veneration.  The Black Madonna however has nothing to do with Mary Magdalene.  In reality she represents the pagan Egyptian mother goddess.  In her arms she not holding Jesus, but the immaculate conceived son, the Sun God Horus!  Isis like Mary was a virgin who gave birth to a son on the 25th December.  Four days after Winter Solstice, at the moment of rebirth of the Sun in the annual cycle after the Sun has died on the cross of the zodiac at Winter Solstice.

Chartres Cathedral: Zodiac Window

Chartres Cathedral - Zodiac Window

The Zodiac Window

In the ambulatory stained glass window in Chartres Cathedral, France, one will notice it contains the twelve signs of the zodiac.  On the top is a four leaf clover, representing the cross and Christ between the Greek letters; Alpha and Omega. Christ’s birth is represented by alpha and the second coming by omega.  The zodiac letters alpha and omega mark the beginning and the end, of a time cycle.

Chartres - Scorpio

Scorpio within Zodiac Window

The four signs (Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio) that are associated with the Galactic Cross are depicted similar to Christ in a four leaf clover.  All of the other signs of the zodiac are depicted in ordinary circles.  In this zodiac, Taurus of the Galactic Cross (Aquarius, Scorpio, Leo and Taurus) has been replaced by the sign Gemini.  The summer solstice of June 21st takes place during the last day of Gemini (May 22nd – June 21st).  By exchanging Taurus with Gemini, whereas Gemini must be associated with the summer solstice Sun, the summer Solstice Sun is placed on the Galactic Cross!

Chartres Cathedral: The Labyrinth

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

Labyrinth

As one gazes upon the beauty of the Gothic styled Chartres Cathedral, built in 12th century France.  One asks what mysteries, what holy designs, will one find?

Located within, upon the stone floor, is an ancient styled Labyrinth, which would have been used by monks for contemplation.

So what is a Labyrinth?

A Labyrinth is a path representing our spiritual journey, with many a twist or a turn, and the walker would find themselves, uncertain where the path was taking them, yet they were never lost.

The Labyrinth has the hand of God, gently guiding us, even though we feel lost or confused, we are being led forward.

As one walks the path to the centre, one walks the way of the world, asking as we walk step by step for God’s forgiveness, for our wrongdoings, and seeking to make amends for our acts.

Upon reaching the centre, it is for us to open ourselves to the love of God, before taking the path back, seeking to follow in the ways of Christ.

The walk of the Labyrinth, gives the walker a chance to seek out how to resolve problems in their lives.  Seeking guidance, times of personal bereavement, or just to walk hand in hand with God.

In its simplest form, a Labyrinth is a path of medication.  You just simply walk it, and allow the mind to be at peace, as the body takes over.

One could describe the Labyrinth, as having three paths:

  • Symbolic path of purgation.
  • Illumination, opening ourselves to the Divine in the centre.
  • Union, is our return path taking the benefits of what we have received, back into our lives.

During the time of the Crusades, Labyrinths were built to provide an alternative, as not everyone could make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The centre of the Labyrinth represented the Holy City of Jerusalem, and became the substituted goal of the journey, for pilgrims.

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth:

The Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, measures forty-two feet in diameter and was built between (1215-1235).  13th century churchmen instructed builders of Chartres, that numbers and symbols were to be used in its design.  The significance of which is drawn from Ancient Greek thoughts; Plato and St.Augustine reflections on the divine order of creation.

The path is laid out in eleven concentric circles intricately woven into a sacred geometric pattern.  It is then surrounded by twenty-eight semi-circular lunations per quadrant, creating a third of the year’s lunar calendar around the Labyrinth’s perimeter.

Knights Templar: Portugal

Tomar - Portugal

Scotland appears to have been Freemasonic homeland; Portugal on the other hand represented the Templar’s commercial base, a source of revenue and headquarters.  Portugal is a country that had been founded by the Templar’s.

In 1128, the order of the Knights Templar settled in Portugal, and gradually took over the country’s military and commercial strength.

In that same year Teresa of Portugal endowed upon the knights, the region of Fonte Arcada, granting them many privileges.  In return the Templar’s supported her expansion of her then weak country.

In 1160, a Knights Templar castle was constructed in Tomar, and became the orders headquarters in Portugal.

King Alfonso of Portugal corresponded with Saint Bernard, welcoming his monastic order with open arms.  Monasteries and churches sprung up across the land, along with estates under Cistercian control.

In 1294, the initiative of the Templar’s, led to the signing of the “Treaty of Windsor,” between England and Portugal, and aimed at bestowing military power on both countries.

The anti-Templar movement which had grown in France had little effect in Portugal.

The order of the Knights Templar had been officially dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312, and its knights, servants and monks considered outlaws.

King Denis of Portugal exonerated the Templar’s and with pressure and opposition to the order from France, came up with a plan which would be of benefit to both parties; King and Templar’s.

A plan was conceived; the order of the Knights Templar would disappear and be re-established under a new name affiliated to the Portuguese monarchy.  Templar assets could not fall into church hands, and they could continue to exist.

So it was the order of the “Knights Templar” faded into the distant past, and rose again as the “Order of Christ.”

The former Knights Templar now known as the Order of Christ could continue carrying out their illegal activities under the protection of the King of Portugal, no longer abiding by church rules.

Templar’s found a more liberal environment in Spain and Portugal under the Order of Christ, and the order received its official recognition in 1319 by Pope John XII, out of his desire to win the Templar’s back to the church.

The church was unwilling to lose the Templar’s who represented a major military, financial and logistical power.

In 1415, Prince Henry the navigator led his forces, in the conquest of Ceuta, in a creation of a Portuguese empire, which stretched out far beyond their coastline.  In 1417 he became Grand Master of the Order of Christ until 1460, undertaking works of evangelism for the Pope and Church.  Henry went on to colonise the Azores and Madeira islands, building two gothic cloisters in the Convent of Tomar during his time as grand master.

By 1492, the order was suffering from declining membership, based on its rules of poverty – chastity – obedience, and things had to change for survival.  Pope Alexander VI commuted vows of celibacy to conjugal chastity, and was withdrawn in 1496.  Poverty was withdrawn in 1505 by order of Pope Julius II.

The order was showing signs of becoming less monastic and more secular.  Brother Antonius of Lisbon, attempted a reform, which brought an end to a religious life among its knights.  Under these changes, the order became an organisation.  Its aim was to achieve commercial and political success, and to redraft the laws of the church in a manner compatible with capitalism.

It was about this time, a new society without religious image, but serving the same function was created.  This new organization had its roots in England, and had taken the name; Freemasonry.  Freemasons represented a most influential power which would survive to the present day.

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