Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rite of The Black Eagle Part 2 of 3

From our first article, the candidate was roughly handled and was accused of murder, and may had to have been executed for no other reason, then for a blood letting.  The candidate now enters into the second degree where he is more instructed than ceremonial, and learns of the Hermetic Parables.

The Officers and the general arrangements are identical in the second as in the first, during the opening the members are referred to as Princes who dwell in the Zodiac, they are reminded to be precise in their work of developing the three kingdoms of Nature.

The Candidate is now places in the West and has to express a desire to progress his education in the Order of the Black Eagle.  At this time the candidate is shown the method of moving from East to West by the steps of the four elements, and takes the Pledge of the Degree on his knees before the throne of the Master.

Grade Symbolism:

The lecture of this degree explains more about the degree that the candidate just went through, here are the six main points explained upon the trestleboard.

(1)It depicts the Chapter itself in the form of an oblong square, the greater extension being from East to West, because the sun never leaves the tropics and because antique science never left the poles.

(2) The grand circle in the centre of the diagram represents the Zodiac and its twelve signs encompass a dead body, being that of the Master-Builder, whom the "Great Work must bring back to life".  This is effected by the divine virtues of a Pentacle which vitalises dead matter.

(3) The sun signifies the end and object of the Rosy Cross attained in the Quest for that Sun of Life which insures the happiness of man in the present world and also in the world to come.

(4) The Blazing Star represents that stage of the work when the Matter assumes color.

(5) The fire on the alter signifies the elementary fire which purifies the three kingdoms of nature

Hermetic Parables

In the second place, the Master proposes such an instruction of the Candidate that he shall discover by his own efforts the principle of the life hidden in the heart of the matter known under the name of Alkahest (1), being a spirit of the four elements extracted from the three kingdoms of Nature.  But in the catechism which follows the heads of the consideration are these:

(1) That the Brethren must accompany the Sun in its journey through the twelve Houses of Heaven

(2) These Houses are governed by twelve sacred names
Blessed Raymond Lully
Doctor Illuminatus
Writer, poet theologian, mystic, mathematician,  martyr

(3) The twelve spirits operate therein by the will of the Supreme Being

(4) That the power of the Divine Name inscribed on the Grand Pentacle is that which moves the Universe, and hose who can pronounce it kabalistically shall have at their disposition the forces which dwell in the four elements, and will possess all virtues possible to man

(5) The Knights of the Black Eagle are called Brethren of the Rose-Cross in commemoration of the Rose Nobles made by their Brother Raymond Lully(2), a great Mason (note this is the ritual, not my personal view), the coins in question having a Rose on one side and a Cross on the other

(6) The work upon base metals for their transmutation into gold is performed by the Balance of Solomon, the use of which has been made known to many ancient and modern philosophers

(7)  Solomon made use of the squares of 5=25, the square of 3=9,, the square of 2=4, the cube of 2=8 and the square of 4=16, the numbers in question being said to represent weights

(8)  Whomever is initiated in the Kabalistic Art must be like unto the Maser-Builder, who chose death rather than betray the secrets committed to his charge

Closing the Chapter

When the chapter is closed in the Second Degree, the Master asks whether the work has progressed and the Matter has assumed form.  He is told that the elements are joined, the seven planets are shut up within the Sanctuary and are covered with a white veil.

(1:  Alkahest is a hypothetical universal solvent, having he power to dissolve every other substance, including gold.  It was much sought after by alchemists for what they they thought would be its invaluable medicinal qualities.  The name is believed to have been invented by Paracelsus from Switzerland.  Paracelesus' own recipe was based on caustic lime, alcohol, and carbonate of potash.  He believed that this element was the philosophers stone.  Interesting enough, Philalethes specifies that Alkahest dissolves only composed material into their constituent, elemental, parts.)

(2:  Raymond Lully (1232 - 1315) was a Majorcan writer, philosopher, logician and Fransciscan tertiary.  He wrote the first major work of Catalan literature.  Manuscripts have pointed to his centuries earlier election theory, and is considered a pioneer of computation theory.  He was a member of the Franciscan Order, he is honored as a martyr, he was beatified in 1857 by Pope Pius IX and his feast day was assigned to 30 June and is celebrated by the Third Order of Saint Francis.  Raymond Lully also had a strong mystical side, instanced in his work The Book of the Lover and the Beloved, written in order to illuminate weary, sterile souls.  He was also interested in, and wrote about astrology.  A synthesis of Lully's work was made by his disciple Thomas Le Myesier, in his Electorium.  In the early modern period Bernard de Lavinheta connected Lully with contemporary hermeticism.)

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