Brother Gage takes a looks at the entered apprentice degree in Masonry. He explains that everything a Mason will encounter in the future is simply an elaboration of this degree, both within and without the fraternity. He talks at length on the concept of symbolism and how it relates to Freemasonry. He also walks us through the entered apprentice degree a bit and speaks of specific symbolism the candidate encounters within the first degree.
Prominent theosophist leader, writer, and publisher William Q. Judge outlines the 13 major points of what define the Rosicrucian movement, from selflessly working for the greater good of humanity to the importance of the four powers of the sphinx.
Originally published in 1919, Masonic scholar William Harvey, using a lot of biblical citations, writes about the history and symbolism of the pair of pillars, Jachin and Boaz, that stood in the first Temple in Jerusalem. They were either copper, brass, or bronze and were decorated with globes, network, and pomegranates.
Brother Mackey discusses this rich and elaborate mythology within masonry, the inclusion into our mysteries of which is based off of a single mention in the Book of Kings. The explores the symbolism of advancement from a lower to a higher place, the movement from darkness to light and other such masonic allegories associated with the winding staircase. He also discusses the porch, the number of steps, Pythagoras, and more.
Dating to 1899, Brother Ward offers this masonic sermon. He examines God's role in a mason's life. He makes a connection between the passage, "[L]et there be light" in the book of Genesis and the "more light" that Freemasons seek. He ties in morality with this light and discusses charity at some length. He also discusses how darkness may cause a mason to fail at achieving a moral life and emphasizes the importance of the Bible in a mason's life.
Thomas Milton Stewart (1866-1945) was a physician from Ohio, as well as a prolific, although rather unknown, writer of Freemasonry, Theosophy, and philosophy. This particular piece was originally an oration given by Brother Stewart, on the occasion of December 29, 1909, at the Pike Centennial Anniversary, in Wheeling, West Virginia. He speaks about the concept of True Initiates or Masters of Wisdom.
Brother Mackey outlines a brief history of why we, as Freemasons, consider operative and speculative masonry to be interconnected even though on the surface they don't appear to be. He discusses symbolism being handed down by generations of priests as well as the erection of King Solomon's temple and our role in all of it.
Originally published in 1879, this essay begins with a quick overview of the beginnings of the Theosophical Society. The author quickly moves on to discuss theosophy's place in the religions of the world, with greater attention being paid to Buddhism. He also spends time on reincarnation and karma as two principle aspects of theosophy. There is also discussion of the Great White Brotherhood, as Blavatsky would have called it - or, more simply, the adepts or ascended masters.
"I am blown away by this..."
Brother McCurdy briefly explains the origins of Cryptic Masonry, as well as how it relates to the royal arch degrees. He talks about Cryptic Masonry as a modern extension of Ancient Craft Masonry and how it ties in with the blue lodge degrees. Although short, this is a lovely, introspective, and philosophical piece.
Dr. Franz Hartmann was a notable Freemason and prolific writer of his day, as well as a member of several esoteric organizations, such as the Theosophical Society and a nonmasonic Templar Order. Here, he discusses the concept of the philosopher's stone, as studied by the Rosicrucians, and how it relates to alchemy. He talks about the incorruptible body, spiritual development, and the alchemical concept of base metal.
Leadbeater discusses the use and acquisition of psychic powers, although this is not a how-to or an instructional article. He is writing from a philosophical standpoint, addressing students of theosophy who may be experiencing psychic changes through the course of their education and meditations. He cautions students against forcing their psychic will upon others, even if they are doing so with positive intentions and with the other individual's best interests at heart.
Originally published in 1889, prominent theosophist and writer William Q. Judge addresses what he sees as failings in the Theosophical Society. He wants members to put their focus outward, toward humanity, instead of focusing, selfishly, on their own fates in life and after. He quotes from the Upanishads, discusses the astral light, and talks about karma, manvantara, and the theosophical concept of the Devachan (where souls go after death), among other things.
Leadbeater writes on the subject of meditation. He makes a distinction between meditation and contemplation, asserting that not everyone is suited to do either. He talks about using the ascended masters as sources of guidance and inspiration during attempts at meditation. He also discusses the benefits and pitfalls of collective meditation by a group of people. This is not a how-to guide, but a philosophical examination for the practitioner, as related to Theosophy in particular.
Annie Besant was a writer, lecturer, prominent Theosophist and women's rights activist of her time. She was a frequent contributor to various Theosophical publications of her day. This piece by her is a short lecture she gave in 1891, on the topic of Universal Brotherhood, altruism, and their importance to both, the Theosophy movement in general and members of the Theosophical Society, in particular.
Leadbeater examines Christianity from a Theosophical standpoint and explains why the two actually are compatible, n spite of what many Christian theologians assert. He provides an alternative and metaphysical approach to Christian history and gives advice to students of Theosophy on related topics.
Leadbeater writes about the subject of occultism, attempting to reclaim the term from the reputation of being strictly related to practitioners of the dark arts. He writes that the occultist needs to extend his consciousness and his five senses in order to be in better touch with the world we live in.
"What a waste"
Theosophist W. T. Hanson writes about the identity of the artist, almost as a philosophical concept rather than the traditional role that we are familiar with. Hanson explains, that any individual may be an artist, not simply those creating paintings and sculpture. Hanson stresses the importance of living one's life altruistically rather than for financial gain.
C. W. Leadbeater here writes about the concept of time, a popular topic of philosophical introspection at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. He imagines a reality where time is neither static nor linear, in spite of how we perceive it. He then ties all of this in with an individual's spirituality. This was originally a published edition of a lecture of his from 1913.
Robert Crosbie was a writer, philosopher, publisher and perhaps most notably the founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists. Here he discusses his views on Clairvoyance, with particular attention being paid to differentiate noble intentions from selfish ones, while using this ability. Crosbie focuses on altruism, as the preferred motive for its use.
J. D. Buck was a prominent theosophist, an influential Freemason, as well as a writer on both subjects. In this particular piece from 1897, he writes about the importance of self-discipline and how it's tied in with the concept of power. He writes about controlling one's feelings and conquering one's passions in order to achieve and maintain the ability of self-mastery. He also talks about universal brotherhood, a concept important to theosophists and Freemasons alike.