Thursday, June 14, 2012

Edict From Masonic Grand Lodge of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory

See below from Australia, it appears as the Grand Master has directly defined what is considered 'esoteric' within the confines of his definition of Freemasonry. He also outlines what is not "esoteric" as "occultism, sorcery, alchemy, astrology, profane mysticism, transcendentalism, supernaturalism, druidism, rosicrucianism, satanism or any concept or movement related to any of these." The argument for this edit was that there were certain lines and teachings occurring that were about as closely related to Freemasonry as I am related to the president of the United States.

Charges are that certain Freemasons were using the term 'esoteric' as a way to teach/preach non-mainstream religious tendencies and as a recruitment tool within the order. The glaring issue is that of course this stifles any discussions of the above and how Freemasonry works and is inspired by them. Rosicrucianism for instance is still a topic of debate and its influence on Freemasonry (some believe it was the foundation, others deny that as its foundation on faith, hope and charity). The issue with this edict is that stifles these types of debates, academic research, etc.

 On the other hand the use of Freemasonry as a recruiting tactic for some cult should be addressed as it has the potential to bring serious shame to our order. I don't believe that this edict was the right approach to curb illegal recruitment, but will cause stagnation in the spiritual growth of a Freemason, no matter path it may take him.


-Bro Vick

 GRAND MASTER'S EDICT ANNOUNCED AT THE GRAND COMMUNICATION - 13th JUNE, 2012 On 12 May 2010 the Board of Management passed a resolution stating the principles governing esoteric research. These principles are central to the practice of Regular Freemasonry. In order that there be no doubt that they bind every brother and Lodge in this jurisdiction I have decided to make them the subject of a Grand Master's edict. At my request the Board of Management has rescinded its resolution so that it may be substituted with the following edict which takes effect immediately.

 1. Authorised, official Masonic Education and Instruction is only 'Regular' when applied to Free and Accepted or Speculative Masonry (Regular Freemasonry).

 2. Because of the widely divergent interpretations which can be placed upon it, I am concerned about the unqualified use of the word "esoteric", or any of its derivatives or extensions, within Regular Freemasonry. Such use needs to be avoided as it has been and can be misconstrued to the detriment of the Craft.

 3. I encourage all Masons to make daily progress in the acquisition of Masonic knowledge. Speculation and discussion within the Landmarks of the Order are to be commended.

 4. Within Regular Freemasonry, interpretive discussion and exposition concern only the progressive acquisition of Masonic knowledge towards an understanding of the secrets and mysteries of the Craft, promoting the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. To avoid any misapprehension, such regular discussion and exposition shall be described as "speculative" and the term "esoteric" shall not be applied.

5. Regular Freemasonry does not permit within it any form of esotericism which encompasses or tends towards – occultism, sorcery, alchemy, astrology, profane mysticism, transcendentalism, supernaturalism, druidism, rosicrucianism, satanism or any concept or movement related to any of these. The presentation, endorsement and/or promotion of such subjects in any Lodge holding under the UGL of NSW and ACT whether the Lodge be open, adjourned, at refreshment or closed or at any connected or associated Lodge function should be deemed irregular and is strictly forbidden.

 6. Any breach of this Edict constitutes serious unmasonic conduct and shall be treated accordingly.

 7. The Grand Master from time to time may grant dispensations to permit the presentation of papers on esotericism which would otherwise constitute a breach of this edict. A dispensation may be granted on such terms and conditions as the Grand Master may impose. An application for a dispensation must be made to the Grand Master in writing through the Grand Secretary. Normally it will only be granted if the proposed paper is a genuine and proper piece of masonic research.


Magpie Mason said...

Having had some time to digest this news, I'm looking more closely at what this edict states, and what it does NOT state.

The grand master is governing the Craft lodges, and not interfering with Masonic Rosicrucians or any appendant or concordant group. He does not prohibit activities independent of Freemasonry.

The edict prohibits sorcery, satanism, and the like in the lodge. We don't object to that, do we? It prohibits alchemy and rosicrucianism in the lodge. Is that really so problematic? I don't think a ban is necessary, but I can't say it deprives Masons of urgent or fundamental Masonic knowledge. Others listed in Item 5 sound reasonable to me. I don't want Freemasonry confused in the mix of New Age activities.

I work in Masonic education because I believe Masons ought to be educated about Masonry. There is a lot to learn in Freemasonry. A lodge that focuses on Masonic learning will not run out of material to cover any time soon. Maybe that is better than having programs on transcendentalism in the lodge.

There is a group on Facebook called "Esoteric Masons" or something like that. It has some useful information; it has some less-than-useful information; it also has Masons advertising their availability for Masonry's invitational orders. It has a lot of talk, some of it plagiarized, about rosicrucians and other topics. What is missing usually is a mention of Freemasonry. I think there is esoterica to Freemasonry, and maybe this grand master wants that explored before lodges diversify their activities by going off topic.

That said, I doubt there is some frantic need for this edict. Are the lodges in New South Wales hives of satanist astrologers or something?

I'd encourage the brethren to follow the model of Canonbury and Rose Circle, and host conferences that explore other avenues of esoteric study, independently of the Craft so they may enjoy full freedom. It can't be too difficult to find an accessible venue where Masons can spend a Saturday learning about, say, the similarities of symbols in Masonry and Alchemy; or Masonry and Tarot. If there's a demand for that, someone will show up. If it is organized professionally, maybe the event would qualify for the dispensation that is offered.

Keeping calm, and carrying on,


FD2L said...

I honestly believe that there is more to this edict than what we know, and could either be an over reaction to public perception or cult recruitment within the craft, in Australia. Some brethren have taken the edict as that these subjects cannot be broached in any forum. I think this has part to do with over reaction, and fear of reprisal.

You are correct that the emphasis is on Blue Lodges, but people can always take these things too far. Masonic charges are far too easy to file, far too hard to remove.

Regarding Satanism, I have grown weary of the term as it is over used and is over emotional.

-Bro Vick

FD2L said...

Also, thanks for commenting, you are the first person with a legit comment in forever, didn't know if anyone was still reading this blog. :)