MASONIC INITIATION  by W.L. Wilmshurst

Chapter II

THE "G"

Centrally, in the ceiling of each Lodge, is exhibited this striking symbol.
It is the emblem of the Divine Presence in the Lodge; it is also the
emblem of that Presence at the spiritual centre of the individual Mason.
Its correspondence in the Christian Church is the perpetual light burning
before the high altar.

In the First and Second Craft Degrees the symbol is visible in the heavens
of Lodge.  In the Third Degree it has become invisible, but its presence is
still manifested, being reflected in the small light in the East which, in
correspondence with the Divine Presence is as every Mason knows
inextinguishable even in one's darkest moments . In the Royal Arch Degree
it again becomes visible, but in another form and in another position-on
the floor of the Temple and at its centre, and in the form of a cubical
altar, a white stone, bearing the Sacred Name.  In the course of the
Degrees, therefore, it has come down from heaven to earth ; Spirit has
descended to the plane of purified Matter; the Divine and the human have
been brought together and made one.  God has become Man ; Man has been
unified with God, and has found the Divine Name written upon the altar of
his own heart .

In the significance of this symbol and its transpositions during the four
Degrees may, therefore, be discerned the whole purpose and end of
Initiation, the union of the personal soul with its Divine Principle.
Masonry has no other objective than this ; all other matters of interest
connected with it are but details subsidiary to this supreme achievement.

When the Lodge is opened, the mind and heart of every Brother composing it
should be deemed as also being opened to the "G" and all that it implies,
to the intent that those implications may eventually become realized facts
of experience . When the Lodge is closed, the memory of the "G" symbol and
its implications should be the chief one to be retained and pondered over
in the repository of the heart.

Further, great significance lies in the centrality of the "G." The Lodge is
grouped around it, not assembled immediately below it . It is as though
this Blazing Star or Glory in the centre burned with too fierce a light for
anything less pure and bright than itself to withstand the descent of its
direct rays ; and, accordingly, the floor of the Lodge is left open and
unoccupied ; and only at its extremities do the assembled Brethren sit,
removed from its direct rays . Directly beneath it lies the chequer-work
floor ; the symbol of the manifested creation, where the one White Light
from above becomes differentiated into perpetual duality and opposites of
light and darkness, good and evil, positive and negative, male and female,
as evidenced by the black and white squares, yet the whole held together in
a unity as is denoted by the symbolic skirt-work around the same .

The "G" therefore denotes the Universal Spirit of God, permeating and
unifying all things . It is a substitute for the Hebrew letter Yod, the
tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and out of which all the other letters
of that alphabet are constructed in correspondence with the truth that all
created things are modifications of the one primal Spirit . In the
Instruction-lecture of a Degree outside our present constitutions, the "G"
is explained as having a three-fold reference ; (i) the Glory of God, or
glory in the centre ; (2) Grandeur, or the greatness of perfection to which
man may become raised by initiation into union .with God at his centre ;
(3) Gom-El, a Hebrew word of praise for the Divine power and goodness in
designing that perfection and that union between the Creator and the
creature. There is also a Hebrew tradition that Gom-El was the word uttered
by Adam on first beholding the beauty of Eve and perceiving the ultimate
destiny of humanity.

The "G" had its equivalent in the Egyptian Mysteries in the solar symbol of
Ra, the spiritual Sun. In the great temple of the Greek Mysteries at
Delphi, where the Eleusinian initiations took place for seventeen
centuries, it was represented by the fifth letters of the Greek alphabet,
the E (or Eta) ; five being a numerical symbol of man in the Pythagorean
system, as evidenced by his five senses, the five-fold extension of his
hands and feet, and in accordance with considerations of a more abstruse
nature. Hence the five-pointed star (or pentagram) is also a symbol of man,
and expresses a variety of truths concerning him . In the rituals in the
Book of the Dead the candidate is described as a "keeper of five" ;
Operative fellow-craft Masons worked in batches of five, and a Speculative
fellow-craft Lodge to-day consists of five brethren ; all these allusions
having a deeper significance than can be explained here, but bearing upon
the present state of human evolutional development .

Plutarch records that the "E" was regarded as a symbol of the greatest
importance and instructiveness and was exhibited in three forms
(corresponding with our three Degrees), first in wood, afterwards in
bronze, and finally in gold.  The progression signified a corresponding
advance of the candidate's moral and spiritual nature under the discipline
of Initiation.  He is likened at first to soft. perishable wood; hardening
into the durability of bronze. ; which impure, alloyed metal finally
becomes sublimated into gold-the symbol of the attainment of purity, wisdom
and perfection to which Initiation leads.

Beyond this, however, the central symbol had another deep meaning. The
great Initiation-temples of antiquity, as also certain Christian Churches of
historic interest (such as those of Iona and Glastonbury, from which
Britain became Christianised), were erected at certain focal points of the
earth's surface known to the Initiates of the time as being magnetic
centres or nodal points of spiritual force peculiarly favourable for the
influx into this world of currents of Divine Power and for their
irradiation thence to surrounding regions . Each such place was called an
Omphalos, a navel, or mystical centre ; and the Temple at Delphi is related
to have been built where it was under divine guidance and for that purpose;
 and we know that it became the centre of light and religion to the then
civilized Western world for seventeen centuries.

This historical fact and this occult principle are now reproduced in
Masonry. Every Lodge, every place of Initiation, is in theory-though not
nowadays in practice-held at a centre or physical focus point selected as
being favourable both to the initiation of those who enter it and to the
spiritual advancement of the uninitiated popular world resident in its
vicinity. "A city set on a hill cannot be hid." , A Temple or Lodge of
Brethren intelligently performing its work is not only engaged in a work of
spiritual building as regards its own members; it is, though perhaps
unconsciously, at the same time, generating and throwing off vibrations of
spiritual energy to all around it ; its occult influence extends, and its
radiations are of efficacy, to a greater range than one dreams of.

If, then, the Lodge be a spiritual focus-point, the centre of the Lodge,
where the "G" is exhibited, is' its most vital and sacred point ; the point
at which Divine Energy may be thought of as concentrated and specially
powerful . And the reason will become clear for placing the candidate at
that point at a certain moment in the Ceremony .

Why is he then placed in the centre ? Previously he has been placed, not
there, but in certain more removed places in the Lodge ; in the N.E. or the
S.E. corners where the intensity of the central Light is theoretically less
powerful, where it is tempered and adjusted to his as yet unperfected
organism, and where charges and instruction appropriate to his then state
of advancement are imparted to him . But when directed to be placed in the
Lodge-centre, he is called upon to stand, as it were, in direct alignment
with the descending ray of the Supernal Light and to bear the stress of its
full current . The intensity of that current can only be borne and
withstood by one who is perfect in all his parts and in whom the sensual,
emotional, and mental natures have been purified, rectified and brought
into harmony and to an alignment corresponding with the physical and moral
erectness of a just and upright man ; an unpurified man would run the peril
of having his organism injured or shattered by a current of that fiery
Power, by which every soul must sooner or later be tested, but which
consumes everything not assimilable with itself. The three Hebrew
"children" (i.e., initiates) who withstood unscathed the fiery furnace into
which they were plunged, typify the truth here - testified to .

When, therefore, a candidate is placed in the centre of the Lodge, beneath
the "G" symbol, let those assembled around him try to realize the intention
of what is thereby implied. Let them reflect that at that important moment,
more perhaps than at any other in the ceremonies, it is possible for the
celestial Light to descend upon the duly prepared candidate, to flood his
heart and expand his mind, and so to open his understanding to the
instruction then communicated to him that he may realize the spirit as well
as hear the letter of it, whilst standing in that sacred position. And let
them at that moment silently and earnestly invoke the Light of the centre,
that it may then consciously arise in both him and them, so that what is
done ceremonially may become for them both, a great fact of spiritual
experience .

The point is emphasized here with earnestness, because the Masonic
procedure of placing the candidate in the centre of the Lodge at an
important stage of his progress not only perpetuates a traditional and
purposeful ancient practice, but also accords with what occurs in
Initiations of a much more advanced and real character than it is possible
to speak of here, as those who become duly qualified will one day come to
find. By understanding and being faithful in the small things of even an
elementary and ceremonial system, one becomes educated for and prepared to
be entrusted with greater ones when the time for acquiring them arrives.

 

 

         

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