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Serial Lesson 14

From Course IV, Ancient Masonry, Chapter 9

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:   The Keystone of Psychic Development is Proper Electrification     The Keystone of Attainment is Proper Cooperation Between Husband and Wife     The Keystone as Applied to Natal Astrology     Wages and the Astral World     Past Master Degree    Most Excellent Master Degree    Royal Master Degree

Birth Charts:  Jessie Woodson James Chart    King of Hobos (Jeff Davis) Chart

Chapter 9

Mark Master Mason

THE FOURTH DEGREE of Masonry, to be consistent with the science of numbers which associates four with Realization, relates to the realization and utilization of the powers and functions conferred by the first three degrees. Thus does the fourth Major Arcanum of the tarot (see Course 6, The Sacred Tarot, Chapter 4 - Serial Lesson 24) become a commentary, in the language of symbolical pictograph, on the Mark Master degree of Ancient Masonry.

The divine Tetragrammaton of the kabalists summarizes all potencies in a word of four letters. Astrologically, all celestial influences are synthesized in the fourfold form of the sphinx. And in Ancient Masonry the whole of essential Masonic doctrines are compressed within the first four degrees; additional degrees being merely an elaboration of what in its essence may be found in Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason and Mark Master degrees; Mark Master denoting that the soul has reached maturity and is at the period of its fruition.

To open the Mark Master lodge eight officers are necessary and ten usually are present, corresponding to the seven planets of man’s sevenfold constitution, plus the three upper-octave orbs, or overseers. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are truly overseers in the sense that when injustice and tyranny become rampant on earth, the factors within the unconscious minds of men take a hand and bring, through revolution, a change; and in the sense that it is through utilizing the high-frequency electromagnetic radiations of the nervous system which are ruled by these planets that ESP and other inner plane activities of the soul can effectively be directed, and through which the inner plane intelligence of man can reach and effectively direct the physical brain. Uranus prominent in the birth chart gives facility in using the Inspirational System of mental activity, Neptune prominent in the birth chart gives facility in using Feeling ESP, and Pluto prominent in the birth chart gives facility in employing the Inner Plane System of mental activity. Through these upper-octave faculties man can acquire information and power to direct his own life and destiny which can be acquired in no other way.

The Junior Overseer is located at the South Gate, to indicate the illumination given by the type of Intellectual ESP conferred by the electromagnetic radiations of the nervous system ruled by Uranus; even as at noon, which is the Sun’s south point, the illumination is greatest.

The Senior Overseer is placed at the West Gate, to indicate the receptive quality given by the electromagnetic field of the nervous system ruled by Neptune, which makes of it a receiving set to pick up, radio fashion, the astral vibrations radiated by objects, thoughts and conditions.

The Master Overseer is stationed at the East Gate, to indicate the new life, the conscious inner plane life, bestowed by the highest of all electromagnetic radiations of the nervous system, ruled by Pluto, which when properly active in the individual life can be compared to a rising sun revivifying a slumbering world.

The candidate is represented as having passed initiation on all three planes and returned to his body. Four raps signify the accomplishment resulting from this action on three planes, and the cable-tow is wound four times around his body to represent his realization of the complete union between soul and ego. To indicate that after his travels upon the higher planes he has now returned to physical life, the Senior Warden reads the following passage of Scripture: “Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary, which looketh toward the East, and it was shut, and the Lord said unto me: Son of man, mark well,” etc.

The Mark Master’s sign, the Heave-over, is made by interlacing the fingers of both hands, holding them down in front opposite the right hip and then bringing them to the left side of the neck as if to throw a weight over the left shoulder. The E.A. degree, represented by the First Major Arcanum of the tarot, corresponds to the planet Mercury. The F.C. degree, represented by the Second Major Arcanum, corresponds to the sign Virgo. The Master Mason degree, represented by the Third Major Arcanum of the tarot, corresponds to the sign Libra. The Mark Master degree, represented by the Fourth Major Arcanum, corresponds to the sign Scorpio; thus this Heave-over, alluding to the rejection of the Keystone, refers to the sign Scorpio.

The ten locked fingers represent the union of man and woman, and the front of the right hip symbolizes the constructive power of Scorpio, which by most is discarded, or used negatively in Venusian pleasures as indicated by the left side of the neck.

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The Keystone of Psychic Development is Proper Electrification

Any control of the thoughts and emotions, by which alone the character and the fortune attracted into the life can be improved, ESP or inner plane work of any kind accomplished, or domestic felicity advanced, depends upon proper electrification; and proper electrification is closely related to the activities of the region ruled by Scorpio, which symbolically are thrown on the rubbish heap in the heave-over.

Love as a mental condition is very real. But to feel love there must be appropriate electrical energies in the nervous system. While we occupy physical bodies we feel with the nerves, and that which gives rise to the feeling is the electric charges which they generate and whose impulses flow to some central station in the brain.

Love is of various kinds and on various levels of expression. The feeling of affection for children, for instance, seems to depend much upon the electrical energies generated through the secretions of the back pituitary gland; and the more refined type of love seems linked with the electrical energies generated through the secretions of the thyroid glands. But for the sake of this illustration let us consider the more common phase of attraction between the sexes.

Man and wife may mentally and spiritually love each other devotedly, but the feeling of physical attraction commonly is subject to wax and wane. Loyalty, devotion and willingness to self-sacrifice may well be constant; but the more physical attraction and responsiveness are largely dependent upon the electrical condition at the time. In spite of willing to do so, neither can have any real passion, or even strong feeling of physical attraction toward the other, if through overwork, illness, or too much sex indulgence, that one is electrically depleted. Feeling depends upon the electrical energies present, and if these are absent and cannot be generated, the feeling cannot be coaxed or willed into existence.

While other glands are involved in lesser degree, it is chiefly the function of the secretions of the gonad glands to develop in the nervous system those particular electrical energies which give the feeling of physical attraction toward the love object. When the high-tension electrical energies are expended there is a lowering of potential, and the feeling which persists, due to the strong lower potential electrical energies present, is of different quality. If harmonious, it may sustain a tender love which is far above mere passion. If the thoughts at the time have been conditioned to consider all expression of sex sinful, or if for a variety of reasons there is inharmony or thoughts of defilement, the low potential electrical energies present will bring and sustain a feeling of degradation. But in any case the violent expenditure of electrical energies which have been generated largely through the action of the secretions of the gonads on the nervous system, for the time being markedly lowers the electrical potential.

Depending upon the health of the individual, the activity of his gonad glands and other factors, in a shorter or longer time the electrical potential due to gonad activity normally rises to a point where it exerts considerable tension; in other words, to a point in which the feeling of physical attraction for the loved one again is quite strong.

Now electrical energy in the nervous system is capable of being diverted, much as the electrical currents flowing over the ordinary power lines are; and those generated through the action of the secretions of the gonads on the nervous system are not only capable of being diverted into different systems of mental activity, but also are capable of being stepped up or stepped down markedly in voltage. They, therefore, are capable of quite a wide range of use to give additional power to the electrical energies developed by the action of other endocrine glands.

It might seem from this that a celibate life is of decided advantage in that it provides electrical energies of high voltage and power which can be used for the production of psychic phenomena, for building up vitality, to use in cerebral thinking, or for such other purposes as require energy. And this is the general idea behind the Oriental training which decrees that a neophyte must renounce marriage and live a celibate life. But here we are confronted with three factors which are subject to a widely variable personal equation.

1. The electrical power normally generated in the nervous system through the action of the gonad secretions by a person who has Mars inconspicuous in his birth chart and Venus in conjunction with Saturn is but a small fraction of the electrical power generated by the action of these secretions by a person who has Mars conjunction Venus and both very prominent in his birth chart. Those who do creative work of any kind have active gonad secretions; and it is likely that some creative artists generate daily, in spite of marital excess, more electrical energy of this kind than most other people do even when they live celibate lives.

2. Ordinarily a gland, muscle or nerve which is called upon to do no work tends to reduce its activity, perhaps even atrophy. While under normal conditions of abstinence no such deterioration is likely to take place, the question remains whether or not gonad secretion which is given no opportunity to function normally will continue as well to assist in the development of electrical power in the nervous system as if not too frequently it were called into normal play.

3. The electrical power that can be handled successfully by the nervous system when generated, varies markedly with different persons; and anyone can only handle so much successfully. When the lighting system in your home gets an overload of electric current, there is a fuse which melts and cuts the current off so it will not burn down the house. Now some people put a one cent piece, which will not melt, in the fuse box when a fuse has been blown, and because while they have it there no unusually heavy electrical load is present, no damage occurs. But when an unusually heavy current comes in under such circumstances, there is usually a fire or other catastrophe. And the individual who normally generates much electrical power under the influence of the secretions of his gonad glands, and who through trying to awaken his kundalini or by rhythmic breathing intensifies this current, and at the same times lives a life of enforced celibacy, suffers much damage. He generates more electricity than he can handle and it causes disaster.

That which is related to sex becomes a very delicate subject of discussion, too delicate to go into the details as the importance of the matter warrants. Yet the individual who employs everyday common sense, instead of being led astray by fantastic mysticism or by the opposite extreme, sensualism, will solve its problems without much difficulty. He can do this more readily than anyone can lay down hard and fast rules for him, because he is in a position to observe the actual effect in terms of the volume and potential of electrical energy present as the result of variations in conduct.

Not only do hard and fast rules that work for one person often fail to work well for another, but usually there is a periodic variation of gonad activity during the month, which differs widely in intensity with different persons, so that at one period even though the thoughts are turned exclusively to cerebral pursuits, the electrical power present may be far more than at another period even when the thoughts are not especially guarded.

The condition of electrification to be sought, and to which the sex activity or lack of sex activity may contribute or from which it may detract, is that in which there is not so much electrical power within the nervous system as to place the individual under a strain of pressure, but in which there is ample to do whatever work is at the time required of it. And of course it is understood that this sex factor is only one of a number of things which may assist or detract from thus acquiring the proper electrical power.

Emotion cannot be felt in the absence of electrical energies, and to sustain a Mood there must be available adequate electrical power which can be used for this purpose. Yet, because there is so much nonsense written and talked about sex and the kundalini, I believe I should again emphasize that while electrical energies generated through the action of the gonad secretions are capable of being diverted into widely different channels, or sublimated so that their voltage and trend support noble aspirations and the highest phases of love, it is quite possible to develop more electrical power than can be diverted, or used in a constructive way.

The second sign is made by dropping the right hand again to the region of Scorpio, clenching the last two fingers, and leaving the thumb and first two fingers open. It refers to the method of carrying the keystone, represents the male trinity, and indicates symbolically this process of proper electrification.

The hand is next raised to the right ear and the open thumb and two fingers passed with a circular motion about the ear. This signifies that after proper electrification the electromagnetic energies are used to reinforce astral vibrations which enable the individual to exercise Intellectual ESP and thus receive information from the inner plane. The ear indicates the reception of such information.

The hand is then dropped partially down, the palm open and in a horizontal position, and the left is lifted up and brought down edgewise upon the wrist of the right. This alludes to the penalty of having both the ear and the right hand cut off, meaning that if the wages are not properly received, that is, if they are received negatively instead of through ESP, that the ability to receive anything of value, or to execute anything meritorious, will be cut off.

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The Keystone of Attainment is Proper Cooperation Between Husband and Wife

The third sign is made by extending the right arm in front with the hand clenched except the thumb and two fingers. It indicates the method of receiving wages, and the importance of positive virility. The keystone which the builders rejected is neither oblong nor square, but is composed of both straight and curved—masculine and feminine—lines. It is taken successively by the candidate to the three overseers, who note its singular beauty and form, but finally reject it because it has not the mark of any craft upon it.

It was formed by Hiram Abiff, the divine soul, to be the keystone of the temple; but upon his death was lost, and when later rediscovered and presented to the overseers it was not recognized, but was cast out among the rubbish. It has the mark of no particular craft upon it because it belongs to all souls, and each must be found worthy before he can place his astrological signature upon it. In its highest aspect it is the union of soul mates by which they are enabled to receive the wages of immortality.

On planes less high the keystone refers to proper union, the knowledge of which, as indicated in reference to electrification, for ages has been lost to mankind, and now rediscovered is in danger of being rejected by the overseers; that is by the occultists, mystics and spiritual aspirants; as was the case in the past.

But before the temple is completed a search is made by the Craft for the missing keystone; for the temple cannot be finished without it. It is found amid the rubbish and brought to the Master, who reprimands the overseers, and reads the following passage from the Scripture, which clearly designates its nature: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving him that receiveth it.” That is, by united regeneration man becomes renewed, or given a new name, even as by soul union man becomes man no longer, but an angel.

The keystone is said to be 4 x 6 inches dimensions, representing 24 hours, or the circumference of united night and day. About its circumference is a circle of 8 letters, given as H-T-W-S-S-T-K-S, the initials of Hiram Tyrian, Widow’s Son, sent to King Solomon. This refers to the return of the divine soul to its source, and may be rendered: He That Was Slain Soars to Kindred Spirit. In humanity it also refers to regeneration supplanting generation.

Within this circle of letters every Mark Mason must place his own private mark, which, of course, is his astrological signature. Thus the 8 letters represent the 8 planets—in addition to Sun and Moon, that are not planets and signify masculine and feminine—which circle the heavens daily.

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The Keystone as Applied to Natal Astrology

Thus is indicated that one diurnal rotation of the earth measures out to man the astrological energies to be released during one year of life, and that this is the keystone of timing and indicating the major events which are attracted into an individual’s life.

The progressed aspects calculated by this day-year system are not merely symbolic; for that which is symbolic only may reveal information of value, but it does not exert a definite and positive force such as progressed aspects do.

Horary astrology certainly to a large extent is only symbolic, and by its aid information of value may be acquired. But horary astrology is a method of divination and thus in a different category than natal astrology, which I am convinced maps actual energies which have an impact upon the person whose birth-chart and progressed aspects are under consideration. No doubt, as there are many methods of divination by using cards and numbers, there are various systems of astrological divination which can be used, even in connection with the birth chart, through which considerable information can be obtained about that which will happen to the individual in the future. Having tried some of these methods out, I feel confident such is the case. But I am even more firmly convinced that the progressed aspects employed in the Hermetic System are something more than divinatory clues, and actually map invisible forces radiated by the planets which have a definite effect upon man.

I have progressed the charts of many people who knew nothing about astrology and asked them how they felt in reference to various matters as compared to the way they felt about the same matters at other periods in their lives. I have found invariably that at the time a certain strong progressed aspect was operative that the trend of their thoughts and their feelings about the things represented by the houses of their charts affected by the aspect had changed markedly in the direction indicated by the progressed aspect.

Almost any astrologer of experience upon learning of the outstanding conditions and events in another person’s life, yet without knowing the birth chart, can correctly tell the person that a certain specified planet is being heavily aspected by progression at the time. Each planet has its own characteristic manner of affecting events. I have witnessed this picking of the planet responsible for an event, before the birth chart has been seen or the progressed aspects calculated, innumerable times, and later verified when the progressed aspects were worked out.

On many occasions I have had students, who had not taken the trouble to work up their progressions, or who as yet did not know how to do so, remark that they felt the vibrations of Mars, or Venus, or Uranus, or Saturn; and on working up the progressed aspects I have found that there actually was a progressed aspect to the mentioned planet then operative. And students who know they are coming under a progressed aspect, and keep on the lookout to discern when they first feel it, sometimes feel it distinctly when it is a full one degree from perfect, and sometimes feel it only when within half a degree or less from perfect. Many students report that they always can feel the distinctive influence of any of the planets when it is making a strong progressed aspect. They can name the planet to which they are thus most strongly responding.

More evidence could be cited to indicate that the day-year progressed aspects at the time they are operative exert a well defined and plainly felt force upon the individual. But as many who read this can feel what planet is making a strong progressed aspect in their charts, when they have for a time neglected to look up their progressions, let us consider how that which takes place in one day after birth can spread its influence over 365 days of life.

Now I realize that when I again mention Einstein and Relativity that many will feel I am treading upon highly debatable ground. And in so far as Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is concerned, which deals with curved space in relation to gravitation this is true. But in regard to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, which was first propounded in 1905, and whose implications alone, I believe, explain the action of progressed aspects, extension of consciousness, ESP and inner plane properties in general, it has now become almost unanimously accepted by those best qualified to prove or disprove it. To quote from an article by H.P. Robertson, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematical Physics, Princeton University, which appeared in the June 1939 issue of Scientific American Magazine:

In view of these developments one may say that at present the special theory of relativity is one of the most thoroughly accepted and most firmly established doctrines of modern physics. It has permeated the fields of mechanics, electromagnetism (including optics) and atomic physics; while it may appear desirable to have further direct checks on the validity of its mechanical aspects, a deviation from the predicted effects would constitute a most puzzling—and, at least temporarily, distressing—jolt for modern physics.

An essential factor in the special theory of relativity, which has now become so completely accepted in scientific circles, is the interrelationship between velocity and time. It is held that there is no such thing as absolute time, but that as velocity increases, time slows down, until, at the velocity of light time comes to a standstill. Conversely, as time speeds up, velocity slows down until at the time speed with which we are familiar, objects tend to move at the velocity physical things are observed to do.

Nor is this just a theory, as the experiments of Dr. Herbert E. Ives, mentioned in chapter 5 (Serial Leson 10), demonstrate. He reported that observing the Doppler shift in an oncoming hydrogen beam, and at the same time the shift due to the recession of the same beam, shows that, as relativity predicts, a moving clock keeps slower time than one standing still.

If at the velocity of light time stands still, within a single moment of such slow time an infinite number of events could happen. And in a realm, or condition, where velocities were not so great as light, but are greater than that of ordinary physical objects, a large number of events can happen in a single moment of this slower time. In our dreams, for instance, and to some people when they are on the verge of dying, there are numerous experiences which in ordinary time would require days or years, compressed into a few minutes of the slower time of this borderline state of consciousness.

When our consciousness moves from this borderline realm where velocities are far greater than those of physical life, to the realm of physical existence where velocities are much slower, the events which in our dream took but a few moments to happen, spread out in this faster time of normal life to occupy a period which seems to us days, or months or years.

To take another illustration, suppose we walked from Los Angeles to San Francisco at the rate of 25 miles per day, and pass through 30 towns on the way. At this velocity it would take us 18 days to see the 30 towns. But by airplane we can make the trip in 3 hours, seeing the 30 towns. That is, in three hours’ movement at airplane velocities we can see as many towns as in 18 days at walking velocities. The amount of experience to be had in a given interval of time—3 hours, for instance—is relative to the velocity with which such events are passed.

According to relativity, as velocities increase there is a definite slowing down of time, the exact amount being determined by the Lorentz transformation. Similarly, as velocities slow down there is a definite speeding up of time, the exact amount being determined by the Lorentz transformation.

We have already seen that a dream, or near death state of consciousness may have a velocity, in so far as the number of events witnessed within a few moments of this slower time of the boundary-line state, such that these same events happening on the physical plane would require days or months to take place. That is, in the boundary-line region between the physical world and the realm having velocities greater than that of light, time so slows down that when brought up into physical consciousness it is similar to bringing all the things witnessed in a 3-hour airplane flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco up into a consciousness that knows no faster velocities than walking, in which time is speedier and movement proportionally slower, so that it requires 18 days for the same amount of experience.

Material science has now proved that the nerve currents are electrical in nature and that man has an electromagnetic form. Electromagnetic waves when radiated move with the velocity of light; but electric currents traveling over wires or over nerves move much slower. In other words, in man’s electromagnetic form are velocities greater than those of ordinary physical substance, but which are not as great as the 186,173 miles per second that light travels.

From what already has been said it will be apparent that if a clock slows down relative to the velocity it acquires, as consciousness attains higher and higher velocities it will be able to have more and more experiences within the space of four minutes of this slowed down time. At a certain velocity, which is well within the limit of what can be expected to occur in man’s electromagnetic form, the ratio of the number of experiences in four minutes of slower time, to the number of experiences in the faster time of external life, would be 365 to 1.

Bear in mind that in the one interval of the slower time of the high velocity region as many events can transpire (remember the airplane trip to San Francisco) as in 365 similar intervals (remember the walking trip to San Francisco) of the faster time of the ordinary objective world. The slower the time, the more numerous the events that can happen in any given interval, but as time is speeded up to the tempo of ordinary physical existence, it takes more intervals of this physical time to accommodate a given number of experiences.

In case the ratio between the electromagnetic region of man’s body and his physical were 365 to one, the occurrences that took place in a little less than four minutes of this slower boundary-line time, when expressed in the faster time of the external world would occupy a duration of twenty-four hours, and what took place in 24 hours in the time of the boundary region, when externalized on the physical plane would take 365 days of the ordinary faster time; that is, what took place in one day in the boundary region, when externalized would take place in one year of the faster physical time.

Under such circumstances, just as a dream occupying less than four minutes when brought into objective consciousness may represent a whole day of physical existence, so changes brought about in a portion of the finer body at a certain velocity level, by planetary movement during one day, when transformed into the faster time of objective existence, occupy 365 days, or one year of this faster objective time. This represents the time-velocity transformation of energies released by the day-year progressions.

I am confident that the forces thus released by day-year progressions are no more symbolic than is the radiation of high-velocity particles from radioactive matter which takes place in the laboratory of the physicist, and to measure the mass of which he must apply the same relativity transformation I have indicated. These radiations are invisible to the unaided physical eye, but even as do planetary forces, they are capable of producing powerful effects on man.

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Wages and the Astral World

At the building of the Temple it was the custom of the craft to assemble at the sixth hour of the sixth day of the week to receive their wages. The members of the lodge, therefore, march two and two to the window where they are paid. As the sixth day is Friday, ruled by Venus, and the sixth planetary hour of Friday is the hour of Mars, they typify these two planets, corresponding to the astral body and animal soul of man. The attraction of these two planets for one another is greater than that between other planets, and it is in the astral world while man possesses an astral body and an animal soul that he receives the reward of his deeds upon earth. The wages are paid by the Senior Warden, or divine soul, who gives each worthy craft a penny. When the candidate puts his hand through the lattice window, it is held fast and the order given to cut it off. This signifies that the soul may incur the penalty of being held captive in the astral world by not knowing how to receive wages, not being able to raise the vibrations of Venus and Mars to the spiritual plane, as typified by the circular coin. The hand being cut off symbolizes that the result is a loss of executive power.

The pass grip is made by grasping the fingers as though to assist another, and refers to the assistance given to each other by the workmen as they climbed the steep banks of the river Joppa when bringing timber from Lebanon. It symbolizes the mutual assistance that may be given in reaching the astral plane, Joppa. Joppa, therefore, is the password.

The true grip is made by passing from the pass grip to the Mark Master’s grip, which is given by locking the little fingers of the right hand, turning the backs of the hands together and touching the thumbs. It is called Siroc, or Mark Well; symbolizing that the lower passions and desires have all been conquered and that the spiritual bodies unite in a mutual use of the will. The little finger is ruled by Mercury, emblem of the spiritual body, and the thumbs signify will. The neophyte should Mark Well, therefore, that as he climbs the height of occultism all passion will have gradually to be overcome to enable the soul to direct its will without the aid of passional excitement.

The candidate is received into the Mark Master degree upon the edge of the indenting chisel. This represents vivid formulation of the object to be attained and the constant application of the will to that attainment. He is finally instructed how to receive his wages, and receives a penny. At this the others murmur and throw their coins upon the floor, protesting that one inexperienced should not receive the same wages as an accomplished workman. But the justice of so paying is supported by a passage of Scripture, and the craft are at last satisfied. Thus in life some must toil long and laboriously to become worthy of receiving a spiritual reward, while others make attainment almost immediately, which apparently is an injustice. But time and opportunity, in the course of divine providence, are meted out to all, and only the foolish question divine justice.

A brother in asking a favor pledges his Mark, and so resembles Hiram Abiff, the divine soul, who seeks sustenance from Solomon, the ego, in order to accomplish his destiny. The divine soul receives succor only as it pledges its immortal nature to work in harmony with the universal will. It is symbolized by the Moon seeking the beneficence of the Sun’s rays. For a similar reason, a brother receiving a pledge and granting a favor is like King Solomon, who was renowned for his beneficence. He resembles the Sun which sheds its rays upon the Moon, and he is like the ego which sustains and inspires the soul.

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5. Past Master Degree

A Master Mason cannot preside over a Master Mason Lodge until he has taken the Past Master degree. It has to do with man’s intellectual and religious qualifications, and much light is shed upon it by the Fifth Major Arcanum of the tarot, to which it corresponds. This Arcanum, ruled by the planet Jupiter, represents the hierophant, prince of occult science, who by his knowledge and goodness is enabled to exercise authority and command obedience. Man rules over the four elements of nature by virtue of his intellect. This is expressed by the number five.

The Past Master Lodge is opened by the same officers, and the lodge room is the same, as in the E.A. degree. It typifies man in his normal physical state. The only difference is that they all wear hats. This symbolizes their knowledge concerning union; for the head in the hat astrologically represents the sun and moon conjoined.

The step is made by placing the heel of the right foot against the toe of the left to form a right angle. It symbolizes mental union. The first sign is made by placing the thumb of the clenched right hand to the lips, and means the Will to keep Silent regarding knowledge that would prove dangerous to others. The dieugard is made by drawing the right hand from the left side of the neck down diagonally across the breast. It signifies the transference of negative affections into positive aspirations.

The grip of a Past Master is made by first taking the Lion’s grip, and then as they say, “from grip to span,” slipping their right hands so as to catch each other by the wrist, grasping each other by the right elbow with the left hand. It refers to the interplay of forces between those who have lived together a spiritual life and understand the inner laws.

The other feature of this degree is the abdication of the Master in favor of the candidate. The candidate attempts to conduct the Lodge, but is made the target of witty remarks, the Lodge breaking up in confusion. It is meant to teach the folly of attempting prematurely to control the inhabitants of the astral realm. The elementals that the neophyte attempts to force into his service will turn and rend him unless he has undergone the necessary preparatory training.

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6. Most Excellent Master Degree

“When the Temple of Jerusalem was finished, those who had proved themselves worthy by their virtue, skill, and fidelity, were installed as Most Excellent Masters.”

This degree is founded upon the Sixth Major Arcanum of the tarot, ruled by Venus and pictured as Temptation. The degree represents the trials surmounted, as indicated by the significance of the Scripture read by the Master: “He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor swore deceitfully. He shall receive the blessings from the Lord,” etc.

In opening the Lodge the brethren gather round the altar and kneel on the left knee with their arms crossed and holding hands so that each gives his right-hand brother his left hand and his left-hand brother his right hand. When the scriptural reading is over they lift their hands up and down six times while the Master counts: “One, Two, Three; One, Two, Three.” This is called balancing, and refers to the wavering of the soul between good and evil, and to the extreme tendencies that produce disastrous reactions. This also signifies the sexes in antagonism, as well as loss of equilibrium. The crossed arms represent inversion, but more particularly the crossroads where the neophyte must decide whether he will follow the path of black magic or the path of magic that is white.

After balancing, the brethren lift their hands, now free, above their heads rolling up their eyes in an attitude of astonishment. This indicates that they have been confronted by temptation. They then turn to the right extending their arms, afterwards permitting them to fall nerveless at their sides. It indicates they have yielded to temptation. This sign is said to represent the Queen of Sheba on first viewing Solomon’s Temple. It really indicates that man progresses by alternately yielding to and struggling with his animal desires, and that not without repeated effort is the final victory won.

The candidate is received into this degree upon the keystone, which as applied to man is the fundamentals of sex. The password is Raboni, signifying to overcome. The sign is made by placing the two hands, one on each breast, the fingers meeting at the center, and jerking them apart violently. It refers to antagonism that may arise between man and woman, and to triumph over temptation of a sexual nature by the aid of the aspirations. The grip is given by grasping the other’s hand and pressing with the thumb the base of the third finger where it joins the hand. This is the Sun finger of palmistry, and presides over worldly honors. The grip signifies the Will to resist the temptation to use psychic powers for temporal advantage. As the candidate receives the grip the Master places the inside of his right foot inside the candidate’s right foot and whispers the word, Raboni. This symbolizes that the candidate must understand the necessity for resisting temptation.

Next, an arch is brought out supported by two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, each about five feet high. It consists of ten blocks, five on either side, with a mortice between for the reception of the keystone. The keystone, symbol of union, is placed into the arch between the five blocks representing man and the five symbolizing woman; and is driven down by six raps of the gavel, indicating the use of the Will in overcoming the temptation to abuse the sacred function denoted by the keystone.

The brethren then march around and hang their jewels, sashes, aprons, etc., on the arch to denote their willingness to make sacrifices that the marriage relation may be perfect. The ark, which has been carried around by four brethren, is then brought forward and placed on the altar and a pot of incense is placed on the ark. The symbol of the ark, as well as that of incense, was explained in chapter 7 (Serial Lesson 12). The four brethren carrying it typify the four quadrants of the heavens, and thus represent a cycle of time in which sought for results are realized.

In closing the Most Excellent Master Lodge, all kneel around the altar while the Master reads out of the Bible, then they balance six times, arise and balance six more, and give the signs from this degree downward to indicate complete mastery of the knowledge received in the past, and that they have finally overcome all indecision, and have surmounted all temptation by obedience to the Law.

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8. Royal Master Degree

This degree corresponds to the sign Capricorn, and to the Eighth Major Arcanum of the tarot, the significance of which is Justice and Equilibrium.

At the building of the Temple, King Solomon, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff decided to award the most skillful and faithful of the Master Masons by imparting to them the Omnific Word. But they took a solemn oath not to impart the Word until the completion of the Temple, and then only when all three were present. As this Omnific word is the immortal union of soul mates, it is at once apparent that it can only be imparted in the presence of the ego, divine soul, and spiritual body; for if the divine soul, corresponding to Hiram Abiff, be slain, its union with its mate is impossible. Furthermore, it can only be imparted at the completion of the Temple; for man must have completed the construction of his spiritual body before this permanent union can take place.

The candidate impersonates Adoniram, a worthy Master, who symbolizes the twin soul of Hiram Abiff. As Hiram is leaving his sanctuary he is accosted by Adoniram who asks him at what time he shall receive the Omnific Word. Hiram answers: “My worthy friend, it is uncertain when, or whether, you will receive it at all; for the Omnific Word cannot be given until the Temple is completed, and then only by the free consent of the three Grand Masters.” Adoniram then asks how he can expect to receive it if one of the three should be removed by death. Hiram answers by tapping the floor three times with his foot, saying: “When I die, they will bury it there.”

Thus is imparted the knowledge that in case one of the twin souls sins against his immortal nature and sinks into the Lower-Pluto realm, Pluto ruling the eighth birth-chart house, it will be long ere the other receives the Word. Yet all things being possible in the accomplishment of divine justice, a new monad is budded to take the place of the prodigal, and is sent on its pilgrimage through the three planes alluded to by the taps on the floor. Thus the word is buried between the three planes, but will be recovered at the end of the new monad’s cycle of involution and evolution. Justice will finally be meted out unto all.

The Master, representing Hiram Abiff, tapping the floor three times asks the candidate, “Do you know about this?” The candidate replies, referring to the Omnific Word of soul union, “I know something about it.” He is then asked what he knows about it, and replies that he knows something of the beginning of it, at the same time tapping the floor three times with his toe. That is, as impersonating one of the twin souls, he knows they were together at the beginning of the cyclic pilgrimage. Asked what was the beginning he answers that it is Alpha, and that the end is Omega. And truly the separation of the twin souls is the beginning of their career, and the reunion is the end of the cycle in which manhood is attained. The next cycle is that of the angel.

Separation and reunion closes the great orbit of the Cycle of Necessity. Reunion is the tree of life, the reward of the faithful, as indicated by the Master reading from the Bible the following: “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in at the gate of the city.”

The grip of this degree is given by each taking his left wrist with his right hand, and with his left hand taking hold of the other’s right wrist, forming a square seat. It typifies inertia and stability resulting from forces in equilibrium. The Word is given by letting the left hand fall to the side, placing the right toe to the other’s right heel, making a triangle, and saying, “Alas, poor Hiram!” This indicates dissolution, and refers to the disintegration of the wicked by the Lower-Pluto forces. The feet forming the triangle refer to understanding that the three parts of man’s spiritual being must be present before union of soul mates is possible. The dieugard is made by placing the forefinger of the right hand to the lips. It enjoins silence concerning such sacred things in the presence of the profane.

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Birth Charts

Jessie Woodson James

September 5, 1847, midnight between
4th and 5th 94W21, 39N27
Data from William B. McElvaney

1851, father went to California and died: Mercury opposition Saturn p.

1861, 1865, Confederate guerrilla: Mars sextile Jupiter r, Sun sesquisquare Mars.

1866, started to lead bandit band active 15 years; Sun sesquisquare Mars p, Venus inconjunct Mars p, (Mars sextile Jupiter r all 15 years).

1873, July 21, first train robbery: Mercury opp. Uranus p.

1882, April 3, treacherously shot in back of head and killed by member of own gang, Robert Ford: Sun opposition Uranus p.

King of Hobos (Jeff Davis)Chart

August 22, 1883, 10:00 p.m. 84W30, 39N
Data from him personally

1896, ran away form home, sold papers in New York: Mars semisquare Venus r, Mercury square Mars p, Mars semisquare Neptune r.

1908, charter member, Hobo Fellowship of America: Sun conjunction Uranus p, Venus conjunction Uranus r.

1934, hobo king Lazarowitz abdicated in his favor: Venus semisextile Uranus p, Sun semisextile Mercury r.

1936, great publicity and gain in membership: Sun trine Neptune r.

1937, April big convention in St. Louis, proclaimed king, given diamond pin, claimed over a million in his Itinerant Migratory Worker’s Union, including 40,000 hobettes: Sun semisextile Uranus r.

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