A talk I presented

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A talk I presented

Postby middlepillar » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:15 am

The Metropolitan Study Group gives its members the opportunity to deliver papers for the enjoymant and interest of it members outside of a formal College setting, this is a paper/talk I presented a couple of years ago. I hope you enjoy it!

Masonry, Rosicrucianism and Martinism
Independent or linked?

A Personal view by RW Frater Chris Hatton

I will start this talk with a quote; ‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’-
Albert Einstein. The reason I have started with this quote is that my talk is a very personal view or interpretation of this subject and is researched entirely by my own practical experiences. I am not a scholar nor do I have any such wish to be considered one, I do however believe that Freemasonry is a Science and as such we all need to have some ability to think, learn and come up with our own answers to the many teachings or lessons it gives, this talk is the result of my own personal journey, I have considerable experience of the 3 subjects in the title and practical experience of everything I discuss within this paper, I do not ask you to agree with everything I say, it is my wish that you take it in and make of it what you will!

This is a very short paper that I wrote soon after I joined Freemasonry; From the time I was initiated I have always seen Freemasonry as a type of 'filter' system. ‘To make good men better’. Whether we came out of the old trade guilds or through the Ancient Knight Templars or The Rosicrucians to me has always been irrelevant, we are as an organisation at a point where we are and we know certain things so let’s use what we have. Some of our wisest Philosophers/Adepts from back then must have figuratively licked their lips at what Freemasonry had to offer and I believe they grabbed it and moulded the rough ashlar that it was then and produced this 'system'.

Now we have in Freemasonry (our Freemasonry anyway) thousands of Divine believing men who obviously have strong morals. So where better place to start than in an organisation that has a basis of what you are looking for anyway, why waste your time checking everyone out when you have something that has done it for you? So I believe Freemasonry was and is used as a path to finding spiritual regeneration/reintegration, but its not as simple as that and the path is very long, I also believe that not all are meant to find it, and those who do not want to take the journey are just as right for Masonry as anyone else, we all have an individual journey and where we go is in our hands only. A piece of advice I was given is this; never try to open a door if it does not feel right, if you enter before you are ready that door will remain closed for ever.

So in conclusion, I believe Freemasonry was and is used as a way to spiritual regeneration. I do not think everyone will find it and possibly a lot are not that bothered anyway, and this in itself is not wrong.

We should all look to ourselves for guidance on our journey (if it feels right it is right!)

As I have already stated this was a very short paper that I wrote many years ago certainly before I had discovered the various Orders I have since joined. And I have put it in to show or demonstrate the journey I have been on since writing these brief lines I have always had them in mind whenever I have joined or been initiated into another Order.
I personally believe that Freemasonry has pretty much lost all semblance of what it was originally all about, we are told in The First piece of work we are given to learn that Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, if indeed this is what Freemasonry is or was intended to be then I feel that however important Charity is to each of us personally, it was never meant to be the foundation stone that it has become today.

I am not here today to criticise an organisation that I love, however I have to admit I am disappointed in the lack of thought that people show towards the ritual that is in place, that along with UGLE changing certain parts of the ritual for politically correct reasons has basically left us with a shell or maybe a ‘smell’ or ‘whiff’ of what it really offers.

At this point I offer a simple demonstration of what I mean, we are all Master Masons, as Fellowcraft’s we are told to make The Liberal Arts & Sciences our future Study that you may be better enabled to discharge your duty as a Mason and estimate the wonderful works of The Almighty. At the beginning of The Ceremony of Raising The WM will give a Password leading of the Degree of Master Mason this is T***lc**n, he I am sure you remember was The first Artificer in Metals, you will then be instructed in the import of the word which the majority of WM’s will state as Worldly Possession’s this is totally incorrect! There is no s it is Worldly Possession. I’ll leave you to think about that for a few moments, one letter but what a difference in meaning!

Do we honestly think our forefathers were talking about possessions such as a sofa, car or jewellery? Or were they talking about being in possession of what you have learnt in the 2nd Degree? I know what I think!

If we now think historically at the way things have changed and maybe look at a couple that particularly resonate with me I would like to examine practical and ritualistic practices common within all 3 Orders, which all of us here today as Rosicrucians should see immediately but members who are in the Craft only will most likely have difficulty with, I am not necessarily saying this conclusively links the 3 Orders however it is something that they have in common, and I have to say along with many other Orders. None of these three Orders work in anything but a ‘consecrated’ Temple, as Rosicrucians we are used to Forming the Mystic Circle and this provides us with the working space to perform our ritual, we follow this with a prayer asking INRI to assist us, a simple invocation, it is a cleansing, request for assistance and a preparation for what is to follow, in Martinism we have perhaps a deeper cleansing and invocation, I cannot really discuss more because so many here are not members and it would not be correct. You unfortunately will have to take my word for it! So we now move to Freemasonry, Invocation? I can imagine the faces on so many Freemasons were I to tell them they have been involved in an invocation! However this is exactly what happens when we open every Lodge we go to. We first check all are qualified to be in the Temple, we then prepare ourselves for what is to follow by forming the Lodge and answering The WM’s questions, all Officers are in place and everything is set, then The WM (or Chaplain) utters the words ‘The Lodge being duly formed let us INVOKE the assistance of The GAOTU etc etc’…. Every Freemason hears those words at every meeting, I often wonder what their expressions would turn to if one of God’s Archangels answered our Invocation and deigned to assist us! The sad thing for me is simply that so many recite these words, listen to them yet rarely take in the actual meaning. If we turn our minds to the mid 1600’s we would have Lodges being set up by The Tyler, not like today but possibly in the top room of a Pub, he would have been a senior member in the Lodge, one of the first things he would of done is light a sanctuary lamp (Candle) after saying a prayer this light would remain lit while he arranged everything else right until after the opening of The Lodge, only being snuffed after the WM’s light had been lit. All light for the Temple would have been taken from this lamp (Candle). There is a residue of this ritual displayed in some Emulation Lodges where The 3 Lights in the East, South & West are lit by the DC and Deacons in turn. In a Rosicrucian College we use our lights as part of our ritual arranging them as per which Grade we are performing, a very important part of the symbolism of the Grade is to have them properly arranged, and in Martinism we practice a similar ritual to that used by our ancient brothers as already described, a sanctuary lamp is used where all other light is taken from.

Masonically this was actually all part of Tyling the Lodge, The Tyler would then take his place outside the door. Let us think, 1650, The religious beliefs of that time were pretty much 95% Christian and nothing else I would say pretty much what we would consider ‘High’ Church today, it is my strong belief that we cannot fail to understand or see the connection that the invocation and Tyling that was carried out in 1650 was not just to keep off Physical Cowan’s and Intruders to Freemasonry but spiritual ones as well! Something that we as Rosicrucians should understand and something that all Martinists will understand.

We could of course spend the entire lecture talking about things like this but this will have to be for another time.

I would like to now muse about the beginning of our Masonic (SRIA) Rosicrucianism in particular those founders who were also leading lights in Freemasonry, William Hughan and Robert Wentworth Little. Nowhere can one find out a definitive answer to this question; Why? A simple question, yet many opinions have been proffered, it could well be a natural expansion in the quest for knowledge, a simple hijacking of a system they found interesting or perhaps something deeper, when one asks why? Then one can just as easily say why not? Again at this point we could spend a long time discussing the beginning of the SRIA but we do not have the time, what we do know that these two are at the hub of the beginning of The SRIA, it is my belief that they would of recognised the Mystic Path was a lot stronger or potentially stronger than it was in Freemasonry, even though Masonic rituals had not been significantly altered, the Christian element excluded, I do think that the invisible system of filtration had begun to falter and our early founders could see that.

I am now going to introduce a very well-known character into this talk, Arthur Edward Waite, I am sure many if not all of you have heard of this exceptional Freemason and Author, Waite had an exceptional knowledge of The Hermetic Science and ‘Esoteric’ philosophical Orders, he was a renowned expert on The Occult and a prolific author, my reason for introducing you to him is that it is my belief that along with Westcott, Waite was well attuned to The secret tradition within
Freemasonry, he was a member of The Golden Dawn but (and without getting to controversial) was not happy with the theurgic elements within that particular system. He left The GD and It was Waite’s idea to Create an extremely mystical order along the lines of The GD but taking the theurgy out and replacing it with Mysticism, The Fellowship of The Rosy Cross was therefore created exploring and implementing the philosophical ‘way of the heart’. In Arthur Edward Waite’s opinion the FRC was and is the most important ‘system’ and the only way of achieving the ultimate goal of reintegration with God.
The door to this great work (or a lot of the inspiration) was undoubtedly the work and Philosophy of Louis Claude de St Martin 1743-1803 and this is where the final part of the title of my talk makes its entrance!

Martinism; Martinism is a form of an initiatic esoteric or mystical Christianity that regards Jesus Christ as The Repairer and aims for the reintegration of man to attain an idealised state. Such a state aimed for is that in the Garden of Eden before the Fall of Man as described in the Holy Bible (Genesis 3, 1 – 6).
However Martinism has a history that is so rich and interwoven with Masonry and Rosicrucianism that we need to understand its history. In this way we will clearly be able to see why these three Orders are inextricably linked.


Although The Martinism that is being practised today within such groups as The Hermetic Order of Martinist’s is based on the philosophy of Louis Claude de St Martin, we would not have this without the assistance of Martinez de Pasqually 1727-1774 nor Jean Baptiste Willermoz 1730-1824. Together with Louis Claude these three men are known as The three Grand Masters of Martinism.

I will give you some names which may or may not be familiar.

The Ordre des Chevaliers Macons Elus Coens de l’ Univers, otherwise known as The Order of The Elect Kohen, meaning The Order of Elect Priests.

The Chevalier Bienifiscent de Cite Sainte, otherwise known as The Knights Beneficent of The Holy City, more easily described either as CBCS or KBHC and still also identified as The Rectified Scottish Rite.

Why? Simply because it is by knowing the history of these Orders you will understand the inextricable link I have earlier claimed.

The Elus Kohen was Martinez de Pasqualez Masonic Order that was practised throughout certain parts of Europe through the 18th Century, Willermoz re wrote the original ceremonies to make them more structured under Pasqualez’s direction/ permission. Willermoz later became involved with The Strict Observance, this Order became The Chevalier Beneficent de Cite Sainte, his ritual being identical to that which is still used today within The KBHC, it is my belief that all of you that have been received into A SMSA Lodge have actually experienced your first Martinist ceremony! It is important to note The CBCS ceremony is older than that of The Royal Order of Scotland and is the oldest unchanged Christian Masonic Ceremony in existence.

Basically we now have The Elus Kohen, superseded by The CBCS which in turn has been replaced by Martinism, the difference being that The CBCS is still running as a mainstream Masonic Order. Remember how I spoke of Waite leaving The GD and forming The Fellowship? Waite felt The GD had reached its full potential, he also did not like the Theurgic work involved with The GD. I will not comment further on The GD because I know and respect many of its current membership. And I believe it is a valid system for those wishing to use it. However by the same principal you may see that Martinism is or has replaced The CBCS (We have in The UK several CBCS Priories, obviously most know The Great Priory of England but there is also The original Priory in England which works under The Waite Charter as well as other Martinist CBCS Great Priories that are non masonic although all relevant to this discussion). If we follow this line of thought we then have to bring back the Fellowship of The Rosy Cross as perhaps being the true successor to Martinism! Again Why? Simply because with Waite and Westcott you must add Gerard Encausse 1865-1916, Gerard Encausse most commonly known as Papus is known as The Father of Modern Martinism, although I have stated Martinism is Louis Claude de St Martin, St Martin never wrote any Order, he was known as The Unknown Philosopher, he was an aristocrat that lived through the French Revolution and perhaps one of the modern wonders is how did he not lose his head? But that is another thought, and not relevant to my talk here. St Martin’s work and Philosophy inspired Papus to create the Martinist order based on St Martin’s belief that the way to Spiritual Reintegration was through the heart, known as ‘the way of the heart’.

We now have possibly the three most influential and philosophical men all personally aware of each other all in direct communication with each other sharing their life’s work. Papus made Waite and Westcott Martinist’s, Waite was a member of SRIA but never went further than Zelator, and I believe Papus was a member of Waite’s Fellowship even if it was only in an honorary capacity.

There are many paths within Esoteric Masonry, I personally believe we should try as many as feel right to us individually, it one is a true seeker of light or knowledge one never stops looking and learning.

Without wishing to be controversial it is perhaps the greatest achievement of the Rosicrucian movement that they recognised the alchemical nature of Freemasonry and for whatever reason back in the 19th Century started this relationship with Freemasonry, Freemasons should at least not be frightened to see that the allegory or symbolism of Freemasonry is a Spiritual alchemic process, turning good mundane men (lead) into the spiritually aware Master Mason (Gold). The SRIA takes that concept and instructs us far more precisely in this process and I have to say that refinement continues within HOM and then into The FRC.

This could be the end of my talk but I feel that some interpretation of The Rose Croix needs to be given, in nearly all deeply esoteric orders The Mysterious Rose Croix appears, or if you like Rosy Cross, Reaux Croix, whatever name you use it is there at the heart of things. It is my thought and belief that The Reaux Croix as I shall refer to it is basically the symbol of perfect reintegration, it is the symbol of The Christos within every one of us and as individuals it is only when one can be at ease with the concept of Christ within us can we truly reach the end of our esoteric journey.
There is nothing more easy than to come to the gate of truth; there is nothing more difficult than to enter it. This applies to most of the wise of this world. 'Louis Claude de St Martin'
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Re: A talk I presented

Postby Paterson Burns » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:10 am

Thank you for sharing this part of yourself Brother.
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Re: A talk I presented

Postby russellholland » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:32 am

A good talk!

‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’


This is not entirely true, but serves as a valuable starting point. What then is the role of speculation in Masonry? If there is no experience against which to test the speculation, it may be a futile exercise.

we are told to make The Liberal Arts & Sciences our future Study that you may be better enabled to discharge your duty as a Mason


I have never seen a brother take that seriously, and yet the liberal arts and sciences are an effective entry to the hidden mysteries of nature and science. Equally, I hardly recall meeting a brother who recognised that the hidden mysteries of nature and science are the easiest entry to Masonic Science


The first Artificer in Metals, you will then be instructed in the import of the word which the majority of WM’s will state as Worldly Possession’s this is totally incorrect! There is no s it is Worldly Possession.


It is good to think more clearly about the meaning of the pw. As I recall the god of the Kenites was TC whom they regarded as cloven-hoofed. Traditionally he taught humanity the use of metals in war and the use of make-up on women. These may be better passed by on the way to the genuine secrets.

The 3 famous FC ruffians are thought by some to have been overly attached to their worldly possession of psychic powers, which powers needed to be abandoned before entering the Temple. Unwilling to give up those powers they may have attempted a violent access to the genuine secrets.

The Lodge being duly formed let us INVOKE the assistance of The GAOTU


The effectiveness of the invocation is much greater if the Master actually intends the inflow of energy from on high, and if the harmony of the lodge is complete.


muse about the beginning of our Masonic (SRIA) Rosicrucianism


It may be of use to note that the Rose of Sharon only appears in the Old Testament with the King James translation (the root of the hebrew word means a poisonous bulb) within a year or two of the Rosicrucians announcing their existence. How could a new group have had such influence as to change the Bible so that they might appear Christian?

And why is the rose so important as a spiritual entry?

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Re: A talk I presented

Postby Saracen1970 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:00 pm

A brilliant Paper Brother Middlepiller, I enjoyed reading this immensely.
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Re: A talk I presented

Postby The Uninitiated » Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:40 pm

middlepillar wrote:I will start this talk with a quote; ‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’ - Albert Einstein.


Far be it for me to disagree with Einstein, but I consider this quote to be only half right... indeed, there are TWO sources of knowledge: experience and education

  • Experience is learning from your own mistakes
  • Education is learning from the mistakes of others

But a great paper, thank you for sharing!
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Re: A talk I presented

Postby middlepillar » Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:01 am

The Uninitiated wrote:
middlepillar wrote:I will start this talk with a quote; ‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’ - Albert Einstein.


Far be it for me to disagree with Einstein, but I consider this quote to be only half right... indeed, there are TWO sources of knowledge: experience and education

  • Experience is learning from your own mistakes
  • Education is learning from the mistakes of others

But a great paper, thank you for sharing!


Unitiated, you are quite right to disagree with Einstiein! I am glad you enjoyed the paper
There is nothing more easy than to come to the gate of truth; there is nothing more difficult than to enter it. This applies to most of the wise of this world. 'Louis Claude de St Martin'
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Re: A talk I presented

Postby Eckywan » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:35 am

Just a silly aside.....

Edinburgh masonic club ..... is about to be rebuilt a few yards from its present position

Should the new EMC be known as E=MC2 or perhaps EMC squared

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Re: A talk I presented

Postby The Uninitiated » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:27 am

Holy thread resurrection, Batman...

middlepillar wrote:Unitiated, you are quite right to disagree with Einstiein! I am glad you enjoyed the paper


Slow on the uptake, as ever, I've just put two and two together, and linked a very informative conversation at a Festive Board in Croydon last weekend with the author of this piece!

So, thanks again!
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Re: A talk I presented

Postby Peter Dowling » Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:04 pm

The only source of knowledge is experience.’

I agree with this . The difference between knowledge and experience is that, with knowledge , you know that if you hit your thumb with a hammer it will hurt. Experience is doing it.
We can also learn to swim or ride a bicycle by reading a book but you need to experience it to learn properly.
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