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Serial Lesson 17

From Course IV, Ancient Masonry, Chapter 12

Original Copyright 1939, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2010, The Church of Light

To purchase the print book Ancient Masonry click here


Subheadings:   That Which Determines Control    Secret Master     Perfect Master     Intimate Secretary     Provost and Judge     Intendant of the Building    Master of Elect Nine     Masters Elect of Fifteen     Sublime Knights Elected     Grand Master Architect    Knights of the Ninth Arch    Degree of Perfection

Birth Charts:  Homer S. Cummings Chart    John Hales Hammond Jr. Chart

Chapter 12

Ineffable Degrees

OF THE EMBLEMS belonging to the Master’s degree, the naked heart symbolizes conscience, and indicates that on the inner planes the motive of any action can never be concealed, and that every impulse is laid bare.

The three steps on the Master’s carpet symbolize the three steps in the sun’s annual journey; its fall from summer into winter over the autumnal cross, its encasement in the tomb of winter at the southern solstice, and its final resurrection into a new summer by way of the vernal cross. In the cycle of the soul this represents the soul’s descent into the mineral realm, its evolution through lower forms of life up to the state of man, and from man, by way of the equinox of regeneration, evolving into the still higher state of angelhood.

The sword pointing to the naked heart signifies remorse for past misdeeds; true repentance followed by penance. It exemplifies the truth that every mistake must be atoned for, and every debt of conscience paid to the last farthing before the spiritual plane is reached. Evil done on earth pursues the soul, as signified by the sword, into the astral. In this realm the conscience is laid bare, as signified by the naked heart, and atonement made through suffering and purification.

The hourglass is an emblem showing the point where angel and animal meet in the soul and body of man; the up-pointing trine indicating the sands of time through which, in evolving from the animal to the human, there were developed the required initiative and selfish propensities. The down-pointing trine represents not the selfish acquiring of material things denoted by the sand accumulating below; but the evolution of man to angel, which requires giving to society, not receiving from it, well symbolized by the sand of this trine flowing freely away from it.

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That Which Determines Control

As the degrees upward from those of the cross, representing transition of the activities to the inner plane, repeatedly refer to ability to control the energies thus contacted and to ability to prevent control by entities thus contacted, this seems to be the place to set forth the principles on which rest such control.

To contact through the inner plane anything belonging to any realm the vibrations must be raised or lowered until they are similar to the vibrations of that which is to be contacted. When such contact is made, the similarity of the vibrations affords opportunity for the exchange of energies. The energy flow is always from the highest potential to the lower potential. This potential difference between individuals and between persons and objects is well illustrated by the Contact Potential Difference between metals discovered by Volta:

“Volta found that when pieces of two different metals, otherwise insulated, are brought into contact, they acquire opposite charges and maintain a difference of electrical potential even while still touching. This potential difference he found to be characteristic of the given pair of metals. Thus when the metals are iron and copper, the iron has a potential about 0.15 volts higher than the copper, while for tin and iron the difference is 0.31 volts, tin being the higher. Volta listed a series of several metals, viz., zinc, lead, tin, iron, copper, silver, gold, such that when any two are put in contact, the one first named is at the higher potential.”

I have quoted this principle of Contact Potential Difference from a standard work on electricity because it operates in all action of the mind and is an outstanding factor in ESP and in every variety of psychic phenomena. When we say, for instance, that one person is positive and another is negative, it implies that the one has a high potential and the other has a low potential. Yet, as illustrated by Volta’s discovery, such positiveness and negativeness are not absolute, but relative. Iron is in this sense positive to copper, but is negative to tin; and a person who is positive to one individual may be negative to another individual.

In reference to mental and psychic phenomena of all kinds, it is customary to state that the positive controls the negative. In the sense with which positive and negative are thus used this signifies that a higher potential, or voltage, is able to overcome a lower potential, or voltage, and direct whatever action takes place.

From this it will be seen that a positive individual is one who habitually has so high a potential that he strongly resists control from any outside force, and a negative individual is one who habitually has so low a potential that he is easily controlled by outside forces. Also it will be plain from this that a negative thought is one which tends to lower the individual’s potential, and a positive thought is one which tends to raise his potential. Fear, worry and anxiety arise from thoughts that rapidly lower the electrical potential of the body, and if intense and persistent enough, after a time can lower the potential differences in the body sufficiently that death results.

The vitality and life of the human body depend upon differences in electrical potential between different organs. The brain has the highest potential—otherwise it could not control the movements—and the liver has the lowest. But when through negative thinking over a long period, or through fatigue, shock, or loss of sleep, the electrical energies are exhausted to a point where there is no difference of potential between the brain and the liver, the body is dead.

In the nervous system there is a continual competition between electrical energies of different potentials, the highest potential always being successful in exercising control over the movements. And there is ever a similar competition between the potentials mobilized by the different thoughts which strive to get attention. The thought having the highest potential at the moment gets the attention.

These competitions between electrical energies of different potentials are mentioned to introduce the principle with which we are here concerned, that when on the inner plane we contact closely another individual, a condition, or a thought form, there is a similar competition between astral potentials. Whether through hypersensitivity of the nervous system, or through extension of consciousness, we make a close contact with something on the inner plane, some part of us has tuned in on it. In the case of hypersensitivity we have used the electromagnetic energies of the nervous system, or some portion of it, to tune after the manner of a receiving set. In the case of extension of consciousness we have used the electromagnetic energies to give the faculties of the unconscious mind an activity which places them in contact with that to be apprehended. In either instance we have tuned the astral energies associated with our nerves or associated with our intellects to the object, thought form, personality, or whatnot about which we seek information.

If we acquire the information through hypersensitivity, this means that the astral energies associated with the nerve currents of our nervous system or some part of it have a lower potential, even though temporarily of the same vibratory frequency and vibratory modulation, than the astral energy being radiated by that which is contacted. For the reason the energy it radiates is thus of higher potential, we FEEL it distinctly.

On the other hand if the astral energies associated with the nerve currents and radiated from our nervous system have a higher potential than the vibrations tuned in on, the astral vibratory rates radiated by that which is contacted fail to move in on the electrical currents carried by the nervous system, and they are not felt by any portion of it. There is a competition between the vibrations radiated by that which is tuned in on and the vibrations of the individual who has thus tuned himself to these same vibratory rates.

An individual who has tuned in on something else either as a receiving set or to make an examination by the faculties of the unconscious mind, is as closely in contact with it on the inner plane through this similarity of vibratory rates as are two things on the external plane when they physically touch each other, and the energies as readily flow from the one to the other. The direction of flow of the astral energies when such contact is made is from high potential to low potential.

In Extension of Consciousness properly accomplished, the potential of the individual making the contact is at all times kept higher than the potential of that which is contacted. He does not, therefore, “take on” the condition which he contacts. Instead of being like the individual who, witnessing another in a serious accident sympathetically feels the other’s pain, and thus is partially incapacitated from effective action, he is like the skilled surgeon on the scene who has trained himself not to respond sympathetically to the patient’s pain, but to keep his intellect alert examining the condition and directing action in the most effective way.

In acquiring information through the positive method of Extension of Consciousness, the individual can recognize sound, colors, thoughts, even the feel of things. But in thus using the senses of the astral body he employs them from the standpoint of intellect, and does not permit energy from that which he contacts to flow to himself. Instead, through his own higher potential, the energy used in the examination is furnished by himself.

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Secret Master

The Secret Master degree is based upon the Fourteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot, which symbolizes regeneration and the application of the Master’s Word. The latter was recovered in the Seventh, or Royal Arch degree. Astrologically the Secret Master degree corresponds to the zodiacal sign Taurus where, after the resurrection on the cross of Aries, the sun fecundates the earth and brings forth the succulent verdure of spring. It is the positive rays of the sun mingled with the negative nature of Taurus, where the moon is exalted, that regenerates the whole world.

A Secret Master Lodge is said to represent the Sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple, the astral plane, which adjoins the Sanctum Sanctorum, or world of spirit. It is hung with black sprinkled with white tears to symbolize the realm of purification entered into after the resurrection from the wintry tomb of Aries. It is lighted by nine candelabra of nine lights each. The nine candelabra represent the nine decanates the sun passes through in its regeneration from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice. The eighty-one lights symbolize the eighty-one days it takes the moon to thrice circle the zodiac, each time being born to new life, to represent the life of the soul and its transition on all three planes. The Master is dressed as King Solomon, and sits before a triangular table to signify his actions on these three planes of life. He is dressed in royal robes to symbolize his authority, and holds in his hand a scepter, symbol of his virile power. A large ribbon of blue indicates knowledge gained through experiences with matter, winter, or Saturn. It extends from the right shoulder to the left hip, indicating knowledge of sex energy; and at the hip is suspended a golden triangle, signifying that this energy may be used on all three planes to gain illumination.

The second officer is Adoniram, representing Pluto and the soul mate of Hiram Abiff. He is clothed in black robe and cap to indicate mourning, and decorated with a white ribbon bordered with black, to indicate the dawning light of hope for immortality. The ribbon has a black rosette on it, representing the autumnal equinox and the triumph of material forces. Also suspended from it is an ivory key, a spiritual key, with the letter Z engraved upon it. Z is a double 7, a union of a positive 7, or physically perfect man, with a negative 7, or physically perfect woman. It is the union of two open trines, an open trine meaning energy expended. But in this union there is compensation, and the energies are directed along the highest lines possible to embodied man, regenerate forces being used for a definite purpose.

The other brethren wear black robes and caps, white aprons with black strings, and white gloves. They represent the union of positive and negative zodiacal signs, the apron strings indicating the equinox. The flap of the apron is blue, denoting knowledge of sex gained through experience. Upon the flap is a golden eye, symbol of spiritual wisdom.

Adoniram, asked if he is a Secret Master, replies, “I have passed from the square to the compass; I have seen the tomb of our respectful Master Hiram Abiff, and shed tears at the same.” This symbolizes the moon as well as the sun passing through the rains of winter and crossing the vernal equinox. The winter union with the sun is signified by the square and that of summer by the compass. To the soul the tomb of the missing mate is the material world where both must sojourn, usually separated by its barriers, a cause for mourning. But there is also cause for hope as indicated by Hiram saying, “The dawn of day has driven away darkness, and the great light begins to shine in the lodge.” This is the dawn of resurrection, or in physical life illumination through regeneration. The Master raps seven times to signify that the brethren are perfect physical men, and says, “If the great light is a token of the dawn of day, and we are all Secret Masters, it is time to begin our labors.” The labor refers to the work of the sun in summer preparing the crops for harvest, and to the work on the astral plane of assisting others less progressed, the assistance being rendered by those who have entered into regeneration; and it refers to the even more strenuous labor performed in that region by those who have consciously passed through the tomb of death.

The candidate when admitted is led to the altar and kneels on his right knee, symbolizing his desire to render positive service. His head is bound, and fastened to his forehead by the bandage is a square, symbolizing the duties and obligations that still bind him to those yet struggling in the throes of matter. In his right hand is a great light, signifying his intention to labor spreading knowledge. On the altar is a crown of laurel and olive leaves, indicating his double victory, that of strife and that of love. The words are Shaddai, Adonai, and Juha, mystically signifying, Praise be to the Lord of the new Light. The password is Zizon, signifying a double triumph; that over the physical and that over the inner nature. The sign is given by placing the two forefingers of the right hand on the lips, indicating silence concerning the mysteries of both planes. The token is given by crossing the legs as the hands join in the Lion’s grip. The crossed legs symbolize the solstitial cross, and the grip indicates the power of the sun in Leo by which he raises the moon from the winter signs to be united with him in the regenerate signs of summer. It represents the power of the purified soul to find and rescue its lost mate from the bondage of matter.

In closing, Adoniram is asked his duty, and replies that it is to guard the furniture of the Sanctorum, consisting of the altar of incense, the two tables of shew-bread and the golden candlesticks. The tables of shew-bread signify the result of experiences with good and evil which is assimilated by man’s spiritual nature. The candlesticks are placed five on the north and five on the south of the holy place, and thus symbolize man and woman. The age of Adoniram is stated to be three times twenty-seven, meaning the twenty-seven days it takes the moon to complete its circle of life around the zodiac, three times around symbolizing the soul’s progress through three planes. The special emblem of the Secret Master degree is a triangle in which are the Hebrew letters Jod-He-Vau-He surrounded by light. This is the Master’s Word as revealed to Enoch, applicable alike on all three planes. It is the secret of uniting positive and negative forces to produce the spiral of life.

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Perfect Master

The Perfect Master degree is based upon the Twentieth Major Arcanum of the tarot, symbolizing the day of judgment and corresponding astrologically to the moon. The lodge is hung with green tapestry—the color of the moon—on eight columns, four on each side at equal distances, symbolizing perfect equilibrium, and justice received. There are sixteen lights placed at the cardinal points to represent the three signs and the presiding ruler of each zodiacal quarter. A pyramid stands in the north with open compass upon it, symbolizing the earth as an epitome of the universe under the direction of stellar law. The pyramid is the most stable form. The base is typical of the square of matter and the sides represent the four zodiacal triplicities meeting in a common point. Its most important significance is that of the earth being the womb of the universe from which is born, after its period of gestation, the Son of God. The pyramid at the north symbolizes the earth under law, but as yet uninhabited by intelligent life. Another pyramid in the south has a blazing star upon it to represent gestation completed and the earth being delivered of its child, Man, who rules the world while in it, and when born into the realm above may become a god. A table stands before the canopy covered with black to typify the plane of death.

The assistants are decorated with a green ribbon about the neck from which is hung a compass extended to 60 degrees, symbolizing by the green ribbon, love received, and by the compass, harmonious union. The brethren wear black caps and robes, indicative of having passed the tomb of materialism, aprons of white leather with green flaps, signifying the reception of the reward for purity. Upon the apron is embroidered a square stone surrounded by three circles with the letter J in the center, symbolizing the earth surrounded by Mundane Houses, Zodiacal Signs, and Constellations, through all of which penetrates the divine fire, or J. The hour being four, the time when the sun at the equinox enters the first house of the horoscope, or house of life, it is time for the brethren to go to work, or enter upon the duties of the new life beyond matter.

The candidate has a green cord placed about his neck which is finally withdrawn by the Master to symbolize the moon passing out of the spring sign Taurus to a more elevated station, and man ready to be raised to a love higher than that of earth, and to an immortal work signified by the sprig of cassia placed in his left hand. The first sign is given by placing the palm of the left hand upon the right temple and stepping back with the right foot and again bringing it to its first position. It refers to the constructive use of virile energy in recovering the lost spiritual state. The second sign is made by raising the hands and eyes upward and letting the hands fall crossed in front, at the same time dropping the eyes downward, meaning the fall into temptation, from spirit into matter, or the sun across the autumnal equinox. The password is Acacia, symbolizing immortality. The token is that of a Mark Master, given on the five points of fellowship as explained in that degree. The Mysterious word is Je-Vau, meaning divine fire in union. The candidate approaches the East by four times four steps, from a pair of compasses extended from an angle of seven degrees to that of sixty degrees. The four times four refers to traversing the zodiacal circle, twelve signs ruled by the lords of the four seasons, corresponding to the sixteen Court Cards of the tarot. From seven degrees refers to perfect physical manhood, and sixty degrees refers to perfect union.

The tomb of Hiram was of black and white marble, good and evil experiences on earth. It was entered between the two pillars, winter and summer, supporting a stone surrounded by three circles, already explained. The heart of Hiram was enclosed in a golden urn, symbol of spiritual affection. It was pierced by a sword to indicate the afflictions befalling those who attempt to realize their spiritual ideals of affection on earth, and the resurrection of those ideals beyond matter; the sword representing transition over the cross of Aries. It is the action of a luminary in Leo, the heart; in Scorpio, the urn; and in Aries, the sword. On the tomb was engraved the letter J, the virile Hebrew Jod. To the side of the urn was fastened a triangular stone on which were the letters J M B, surrounded by a wreath of cassia. The urn was placed upon the top of an obelisk erected on the tomb, symbolizing the solstitial colure, the foot resting on the tomb of winter, and the top, or summer solstice, being the highest point of heaven where the luminary passing through the tomb will finally be elevated. J is Jachin from which the soul falls. B is Boaz, the winter signs, or material realm where it falls, and M (see Course 6, The Sacred Tarot) is Aries where resurrection takes place. The triangular stone represents the experience of body, soul, and ego with material conditions, and the wreath of cassia surrounding the letters denoting the pilgrimage indicates that immortality has been attained. Hiram, the moon, returning to its home in Cancer, the summer solstice, is greeted by Solomon, the sun, who says with joy in his heart, “It is accomplished and complete.” The special emblem of this degree is a coffin with a five-point star on the lid, and leaning over it a sprig of cassia. It signifies man enshrouded in the tomb of earth being promised immortal life in other realms.

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Intimate Secretary

The Intimate Secretary degree is based upon the Eighteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot, symbolizing false friends and deception. It corresponds astrologically to the sign Cancer. The Lodge is hung with black spangles with white tears to represent the realm of purification after death. There is a triangular table on which is a scroll and crossed swords, representing the record inscribed in the astral light of man’s struggles on all three planes of endeavor. The Masters wear long blue robes and caps, symbol of wisdom gained through experience; their aprons are bordered with red, the white symbolizing purity, and the red symbolizing passion of purpose. On the apron is a scroll, and a golden triangle with the letters A P P in its corners. The letter A of the tarot symbolizes will, and P symbolizes hope. The scroll and lettered triangle signify spiritual effort on all three planes is sustained by will and two hopes; hope of future life, and hope of future love. All are recorded in the book of life. They also wear a red ribbon with a golden triangle suspended from it, meaning energy to be used on three planes. Their gloves are white, bordered with red, signifying purity and energy in execution. On the Bible is laid a triple triangle, symbolizing the law of perfect coordination between body, soul, and ego on all three planes.

The candidate in this degree takes the part of a spy who listens at the veil, is captured and condemned by Hiram King of Tyre, and is freed by the intercession of Solomon. Astrologically it symbolizes the moon separating from the sun and passing into the captivity of opposite zodiacal signs and finally being rescued from them by its return to the sun. It represents the soul of man after death, in the twilight realms of the astral, undergoing judgment for deeds done in the flesh and being found worthy after some purification to enter more spiritual realms because of the strength of its rapport with the ego.

The first sign is made by closing the right hand and drawing it from the left shoulder to the right hip. It refers to the fall of man through the destructive use of sex. It is also the fall of the sun into winter. The second sign is made by crossing the arms in front and holding them up so the thumbs touch opposite temples, speaking the mysterious word Je-Vau. It refers to constructive use of virile powers in union; astrologically the resurrection of the sun on the vernal cross, the mysterious word signifying its subsequent union with the moon. The grip is given by joining the right hands and turning them downward thrice, saying one of these words at each turn: Berith, Nedir, Shelmoth. These words symbolize the autumnal equinox, the winter solstice, or lowest point, and the vernal equinox, respectively; and each turn of the hands signifies the union of the sun and moon after the sun passes these points. It signifies man and woman united in indulgence, in proper generation, and in regeneration. The password is Joabert, and the response is Terbel. Joabert is the listener, or the soul seeking to be conscious of the inner voice. Terbel is the guard of the inner realms, the dweller on the threshold.

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Provost and Judge

The degree of Provost and Judge is based upon the Seventeenth Major Arcanum of the tarot, symbolizing the star of hope, and corresponding astrologically to the sign Gemini. The lodge is hung with red tapestries to represent the energies actuating life. There are five candelabra of five lights each, four being at the corners of the room and the other being in the center. The number five is the symbol of man. Each of the candelabra at the corners symbolizes man evolving through the zodiacal quarter corresponding to one of the four kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, animal, and man; and the candelabrum in the center represents man after his transit to the realm of purification where he recapitulates his past evolution and passes judgment upon his conduct. In the east is an illuminated transparent triangle in which is a circle around which are the letters J A I N, with a blazing star in the center on which are three J’s. The triangle represents infinite Life, Light, and Love, the source of all being. The circle is the zodiac, and the letters symbolize the divine influx from above as transmitted through each zodiacal quadrant. J represents the divine fire in Leo, A represents the will in Scorpio, I represents intelligence in Aquarius, and N represents regenerate energy in Taurus. The blazing star in the center is man, the focus of universal forces, retaining a portion for his own use, reflecting the finer essence above, and refracting the grosser portions of the One Life Principle below, as symbolized by the three J’s.

The brethren wear black robes and caps to symbolize their passage through the tomb of death; white aprons trimmed with red to symbolize purity sustained by virile energy; with a red and a white rosette on the apron to signify regeneration and translation to spiritual life; and a pocket in which to carry plans, the ideas formulated and vitalized in union. On the flap is a golden key, and another is suspended from a red collar. The red collar is symbol of ardent affections, and the golden key signifies astrological knowledge. The hour is said to be break of day; 8, 2, and 7; meaning the entrance into a new life in higher realms has started through 8, Judgment; 2, with the aid of Esoteric Science; and 7, Victory over all temptations. They all combine in seventeen, the Star of Hope for future joy (see Course 6, The Sacred Tarot).

The candidate is led to the southwest corner of the lodge where the sun sinks in winter at the close of day, and is there instructed to kneel and pronounce the word Beroke, meaning to descend. The Master then says “Kumi,” meaning to rise, signifying a new epoch begun even as the sun rises at break of day. The first sign is to place the first two fingers of the right hand to the side of the nose with the thumb under the chin, symbolizing the will to use the energy of Mars, signified by the chin; to vitalize the etheric body, signified by the Jupiter finger; in the process of breathing, indicated by the nose. The physical body is also to be considered in this process as the finger of Saturn is used as well as that of Jupiter. The second sign is like the first except that one finger only is used, signifying the use of Mars energy to vitalize the etheric body. The token is given by clenching the three first fingers over the thumb and interlacing the little fingers. It means that will is to be subjected to science, as Mercury rules the little finger and also rules science. The password is Tito, the first to draw plans for the workmen. This signifies the formulative power of the intellect. The candidate having given the password and signs is presented with a key to a small ebony box which contains the plans for building the temple, and a key for opening an ebony box containing all the temple keys. The ebony box is man’s physical constitution, containing a correspondence to the universe. It is unlocked by practical astrology. The ivory box is man’s spiritual constitution and soul, containing the keys to all spiritual mysteries. It is unlocked by the spiritual astrology so carefully preserved in Masonry.

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Intendant of the Building

This degree is based upon the Nineteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot. It symbolizes reunion and corresponds to the zodiacal sign Leo. The lodge is lighted with three candelabra with nine lights each, the symbolism of which has already been explained. In addition there are five candles in the east to indicate man rising into another sphere of influence.

The brethren wear white aprons lined with red and bordered with green, symbolizing purity, energy, and receptive capacity. On the apron is a star with nine points, symbolizing wisdom gained under planetary influence; a sprig of cassia, representing immortality; and a balance, emblem of justice. On the corners of the triangular flap are the letters B A J, symbolizing occult science illumined by divine fire, directed by will. The collar is of red to indicate affectional energy, and from it is suspended a golden trine with the letters J A B in the corners, and in the center three J’s. The three J’s represent the divine fire penetrating the three worlds. On the reverse of the triangle the three J’s are in the corners and G is in the center, indicating the divine fire used in generation. As used on the first side they indicate that the divine fire aids the will to remove the veil of Isis.

In this degree, a chief of the five orders of architecture is selected to fill the vacant place of Hiram Abiff. The five orders of architecture are: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. The first four represent the zodiacal quarters and their correspondences. The composite, a combination of the others, symbolizes man. The true soul mate being lost, a worthy substitute is selected to assist in the work. The obligation is taken while the candidate lies prostrate, and he is lifted under a sprig of cassia by the Lion’s grip. The signs and passwords all refer to the separation of sun and moon, of man and woman, to the sorrowful descent into the winter signs, or matter; and to the reascent to spiritual realms, reunion, and consequent immortality. In the closing lecture the Senior Warden says: “I have made the five steps of exactness; I have penetrated the inmost part of the temple; and I have seen the great light, in the middle of which were three mysterious letters.” The five steps of exactness refer to evolution through four kingdoms and the entering of the fifth, the kingdom of regenerate man. It also indicates the successive subjugation of the five physical senses leading to illumination and the use of the creative energy to explore the three planes, as signified by the three J’s.

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Master of Elect Nine

This degree is based upon the Sixteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot, symbolizing catastrophe. It corresponds astrologically to the planet Mars. Solomon had appointed nine Masters to go to the spot where it had been learned one of the assassins of Hiram Abiff was concealed. Mars, one of the nine planets, represented by Joabert, steals ahead of the others and discovers the murderer asleep with a poinard at his feet. This is the equinox at the foot of Pisces. Mars takes the poinard and stabs him first in the head, Aries, and then in the heart, Leo. He then cuts off the villain’s head and taking it in one hand and the bloody knife in the other returns to Solomon’s home. The place of sunrise, Jubulum, is killed by the vernal cross, wielded by Mars. He is first stabbed in the head to indicate the sun rising in Aries, and later in the heart, in Leo, to which the sun returns. Cutting off the head signified that the rising sun has passed out of Aries. Its influence in the sign of the head has been cut off, and he passes to the rightful place of Solomon, in Leo. The sign is made by striking toward the companion’s forehead as if stabbing, and the companion placing his hand to the spot as if feeling of a wound; then striking at the companion’s heart crying Nekum, and the companion answering by placing his hand on his breast and saying Necar. These words mean Vengeance, and Vengeance Is Taken. The jewel of the order is a gold-handled dagger with a silver blade. The handle and blade symbolize the summer and winter signs, and the guard symbolizes the equinox.

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Masters Elect of Fifteen

The degree Masters Elect of Fifteen is based upon the Fifteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot. It symbolizes the fate of the evil, and corresponds astrologically to the planet Saturn. The two other assassins of Hiram Abiff were not captured and punished with the first. Through one of his Intendants, Solomon learned that two persons answering their description had come to the country of Cheth and were working in the quarries. Cheth is the eighth Hebrew letter and presides over the Eighth Major Arcanum of the tarot, which symbolizes justice and corresponds to the sign Capricorn, the home of Saturn. Capricorn is the winter sign that symbolizes crystallization and has rule over quarries.

In front of each of the two officers that symbolize the sun and moon, one in the east and one in the west, is a candelabrum of five lights; one candelabrum to represent man and one candelabrum to represent woman. The brethren wear white aprons on which is pictured a square city, a form of birth chart still used by Raphael in his annual ephemeris. It has three gates, and over each a human head impaled on a spire. These represent the three visible angles of the heavens, or assassins. Jubulum was captured in the preceding degree in a cave, that is, in Capricorn, stabbed with the vernal cross at the foot of Pisces, decapitated by passing into Taurus; and finally this representative of the Ascendant at sunrise returns to Leo carried by the strength of regenerate Mars. In the present degree, Jubela and Jubelo, Midheaven and Descendant, are captured in Capricorn and are carried from this region of crystallization into the warm months of summer, or Jerusalem. Their heads are cut off as they pass from Aries; and as they pass the summer solstice into Cancer, which rules the belly, their bodies are cut open. The sign of the degree is to place the point of a poinard under the chin and draw it downward to the waist, speaking the word Zerbul. It symbolizes the passage of the sun from Aries across the solstitial cross to the sign Libra.

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Sublime Knights Elected

This degree is based upon the Twenty-second Major Arcanum of the tarot, symbolizing the foolish man. It corresponds astrologically to the planet Pluto. Solomon rewarded twelve of the Masters for their efforts to apprehend the assassins of Hiram Abiff by conferring upon them this degree and giving them command over the Twelve Tribes of Israel. They represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. The zodiacal circle crossed by equinox and solstice is the symbol of the world. By removing the circle, or spiritual portion of the symbol, we have the cross of earth in its most material aspect. If the upper bar of the cross be removed the result is the Tau Cross, or English T, emblem of the Lower-Pluto influence, the primitive phallic symbol of creative energy directed to material ends. The lower bar, or vertical line, indicates the sun in Capricorn at the winter solstice. It represents man spending his energies for material advantage, the worldly wise and spiritually foolish. By reversing the T so that the lower bar is missing we have a representation of the sun at the summer solstice as it enters Cancer, the emblem of the Upper-Pluto influence, signifying the virile energies directed to spiritual construction. And herein lies the paradox of the twenty-second card of the tarot, a card few students have understood; for the man that to the worldly may seem foolish may really have reversed the Tau, come under the Upper-Pluto influence, and being a true sage ignores the things that many spend their energies to obtain.

The candidate in this degree is required to swallow a piece of the heart of Hiram Abiff which is presented to him on a trowel by the Master. He is told that he may swallow it without injury if he is a faithful Mason but that it will not remain in the body of one perjured. This heart is the zodiacal sign Leo, symbol of affection, through the power of which Hiram is again united to Solomon. The trowel is an instrument used to bind together. Its form represents two souls occupying one form and overshadowed by a common ego. The candidate partaking of the heart on the trowel symbolically enacts the permanent reunion of soul mates; the reward of the spiritually wise, whose efforts are denoted by the reversed T. Astrologically it is the reunion of the sun and moon in Leo, which is the sign that rules the house of love in a natural chart.

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Grand Master Architect

This degree is said to have been founded by King Solomon as a school of architects where deserving craftsmen might receive proper instruction. These Grand Master Architects are men who have mastered the various occult and lucidic sciences and have been found worthy to serve as Masters to struggling neophytes. The Chapter is decorated with white hangings, sprinkled with red flames, symbolizing purity combined with fiery enthusiasm. The five orders of architecture are present, symbolizing man who contains within himself the zodiacal quarters corresponding to the four kingdoms of elemental life. Man’s rightful place is that of Master Architect directing the four elemental realms of life in their work of cosmic construction. The apron is stone colored, to indicate work to be done upon earth, and has a star on it to signify man as the chief of that work. The jewel is a gold medal with the five orders of architecture, a star, and a case of mathematical instruments, on each side. It symbolizes man measuring planetary angles and positions in the zodiac, and utilizing his knowledge of astrological cycles, forces and angles to direct the elementals in their work of assisting evolutionary progress.

The candidate makes a tour of the room, which represents the zodiac, and draws an exact plan of it to illustrate his ability to compute astrological positions and map the heavens. There is a star in the north with seven other stars around it to represent the Polar Star, the “Rock of Ages,” about which swings the septenary of naked-eye planets. It is called the guiding star of the order; for it is symbolical of the immutability of divine law, and is the axis of all mundane reckoning. The Chapter is said to be opened on the first instant, the first hour, the first day, the first year, when Solomon commenced the Temple. This is according to the prescribed rules of astrology; as a chart of the heavens for the instant commencing an enterprise indicates its future success or failure, even as a chart of the instant of physical birth reveals a child’s physical destiny.

The sign is made by sliding the right hand into the palm of the left, clenching the fingers of the right hand and tracing a plan with the thumb in the other’s left hand, looking at him as if taking dictation. It refers to man and woman united and taking advantage of astrological conditions to promote their interests. It indicates that from their knowledge of astrology they are able to formulate a plan of mutual effort. The token is given by interlacing the fingers of the right hand with those of the brother’s left and placing the free hand on the hip. The united hands are at a level with the head. It indicates united transmutation from Scorpio to Aries, or the sun resurrected with the moon on the vernal equinox.

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Knights of the Ninth Arch

This degree revolves around a vision of Enoch in which he saw the letters of the Ineffable Name engraved upon a triangular plate of gold which was lowered into the bowels of the earth to the ninth arch. Later he and Methuselah built a temple underground of nine arches and deposited a facsimile of the plate on a pedestal of white in the ninth arch. He also built two pillars on a high mountain nearby; one of brass to withstand water, and the other of marble to withstand fire. On the marble pillar he traced hieroglyphics disclosing the whereabouts of the golden plate; and on the pillar of brass he engraved the principles of geometry, or Masonry. This was before the flood.

In clearing away the rubbish to rebuild the temple the vault is discovered and the plate recovered in the same manner as the vault and Ark of the Covenant were found in the Royal Arch degree. This ninth arch is the lowest grade of actual adeptship, where the mysterious laws are fully revealed to the worthy neophyte. Enoch was the perfect man, representing the natural adepts of the golden age. Methuselah was his son who lived to great age, symbolizing those who through subsequent ages have been found worthy custodians of ancient wisdom and who have proceeded with the work outlined by the Ancient Masons. The Ineffable Name in the lowest grade of adeptship is represented as mounted on a white marble pedestal to indicate that understanding while in the body depends upon purity. The pillar of marble on the high mountain is the physical means adopted by the Magi to preserve their knowledge for posterity such as monuments, sacred allegories, hieroglyphics, and the tarot. This marble pillar is said to have been destroyed by the flood, but a portion is extant as we find in the next degree. The pillar of brass was not destroyed; for it represents the records left in the astral world where is preserved all the wisdom of ancient days. The floods of religious emotionalism and sensualism may destroy the material records of the past, assisted by physical floods due to climatic changes, but neither are effectual to efface the records left by Enoch, the early spiritual adepts, on the brazen astral column.

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Degree of Perfection

The degree of perfection is based upon the Twenty-first Major Arcanum of the tarot. This pictures the Crown of the Magi, symbolizing the accomplishment of the great work and corresponding astrologically to the sun. The lodge is represented as a subterranean vault hung with red curtains. It symbolizes the earth from which the adept is departing, the red indicating generated energy. A part of Enoch’s marble pillar, found among the ruins, is placed in the west. The pillar of Beauty, or astral records, the Burning Bush, or divine fire, and the triangle of Enoch with the sacred Jod-He-Vau-He engraved upon it are in the east. When the members are not at work the lodge is lighted by the Burning Bush, and when they are at work they are lighted by twenty-four lights. Three are in the north to represent the monad’s evolution through the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms; five are in the south to indicate that man is a fruit of material evolution; seven are in the west to symbolize man arriving at physical perfection through the application of the subjective laws of union; and nine are in the east to represent man’s wisdom before he is permitted to enter the ninth arch. These twenty-four lights correspond to the twenty-four hours in which the earth completes one rotation on its axis and symbolize all the experiences necessary to man upon the physical earth. Also before each of the officers is a triangular white table, symbolizing the spiritual plane to which the adept is translated.

For the same reason, that is, because it is meant to symbolize the voluntary completion of earthly experience, there can be only twenty-seven working members in a Grand Lodge of Perfection. These twenty-seven represent the twenty-seven days it takes the moon, symbol of the soul, to make a complete transit of zodiacal experience. The work of this degree is a recapitulation of preceding degrees, even as the adept ready to leave the physical plane goes carefully over his past, tabulating experiences for future reference. Here for the first time the candidate receives the true pronunciation of the Word as revealed to Enoch; for Enoch, representing the children of the golden age, walked with God and was not. That is, he was translated consciously without the process of death as we know it. In the golden age when the cycle of life had been run tradition records that there was a gradual voluntary dissolution by which the soul liberated itself from the body and passed consciously to a higher realm. In those days there were neither phantoms nor shades in our earth’s electromagnetic sphere. The adept who succeeds in accomplishing the great work while in the flesh understands the law governing translation and is able to pass to his future work in the spiritual world even as did Enoch, without being hampered by death or being detained in the astral worlds for experience and purification.

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Birth Charts

Homer S. Cummings Chart


April 30, 1870, 00:10 a.m. L.M.T. 87W30, 41N45
Data from him personally


1900-1925, Democratic National Committeeman: Mercury semisextile Pluto r, ruler of 10th; Jupiter semisquare Uranus p.

1924, worked for McAdoo’s nomination, gained Al Smith’s enmity: Venus sextile Uranus p, Sun semisquare Pluto r.

1925, deprived of leadership because McAdoo lost: Sun semisquare Pluto r.

1932, seconded Roosevelt nomination: Sun sextile Sun r.

1933, Walsh died, as his assistant became U.S. Attorney General: Sun sextile Sun r, Mercury semisextile Uranus r.

John Hales Hammond Jr. Chart


April 13, 1888, 4:15 a.m. P.S.T. 122W24, 37N47
Data from him personally


1911, operated his radio controlled 24-foot boat in Gloucester Harbor: Sun conjunction Moon r, Mars conjunction Uranus p.

1914, developed a wireless controlled torpedo; also maneuvered old battleship Iowa with no one aboard: Mercury conjunction Moon r.

1930, many new inventions (total by 1938, over 600 inventions); Sun conjunction Pluto p, Mercury trine Mars r.

1933, on his own yacht, studies fading and static: Sun semisquare Sun r.

1936, father dies, patents radio controlled torpedo: Mars conjunction Uranus p, Mercury semisquare Moon r.

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