Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Rite of the Black Eagle Part 3 of 3

As we finish up our series on the Rite of the Black Eagle, it is interesting to note that the drama of the first portion is similar to the second.  The preamble if you will for the candidate before he is to receive the final degree is interesting in the twists that the Order took over some of the fundamentals that we were taught in the Webb ritual later here in America.  As stated in Part 1, the degree crumbles with more Kabbalahism, intertwines with Alchemy and Masonic fundamentals.

The Synagogue in Leiden, Netherlands
The Mason is told before the drama of the third grade begins that as they have been proceeding from grade to grade within the Order of Knights of the Black Eagle that the work must be other raising edifices to the True God or the practice of moral virtues.  It is a recreation of the philosophy which was known and practiced by Solomon, who would from time to time initiate selected few men into Kabbalastic secrets.  This was the first Masons of old that later would transfer their knowledge to Brethren in later ages in types and hieroglyphs.  The Order of Black Knights possess the keys to this knowledge as transmitted by a Rabbinical doctor named Naamuth, who was chief of the synagogue of Leiden in Holland.

The drama for the third degree is somewhat subservient to that of the first in the fact that the candidate has to simulate the death of a Mason.  The candidate is then hoodwinked and is forced to touch the dead body laid fully out with his hand.  As in so many Masonic Rites, the candidate is
Cow Heart
then taken on a series of circumambulations during which time, the man who is was playing dead moves and a cow or bull heart is put in his place.  Then the candidate is required to stab the heart in an attempt to prove his fortitude.

The candidate is then led to the door of the Chapter, bearing the heart on a dagger, which grants him access as proof of his bravery.  Once in the Chapter the candidate is then required to take a pledge and is then entrusted and clothes with the insignia of the Grade.

The candidate is then taught that he must dwell month to month in each of the Houses of Heaven(1), awaiting the beneficent visitation of the life-giving Star of Day (Most likely a reference to Venus).  The candidate is then given instruction and directly asked to perform work on himself, after completion of this task, the candidate is explained the four elements of matter which is to be regarded as dead.  It is represented by the dead body of the Master-Builder, destroyed by the ruffians.  The philosophical work is the restoration to life, by means of the Tree of Life signified by the branch of acacia.  Among the tools mentioned as belonging to the art and essential there unto are the before-mentioned Balance of Solomon and Kabbalistic Pentacle, comprising all celestial virtues, being a copy of that which was carried by the Jewish King, the Master-Builder and other Master Masons of a far-off time.

The South Side of Mount Hebron
(Photo from 
At this point the candidate is then directed his attention to the region of the setting sun and to the mystical Mount Hebron.  The candidate is then reminded of the two pillars of speculative masonry are said to be raised thereon.  That which signifies strength represents the matter of the work, while that which corresponds with beauty typifies the work accomplished.

The candidate is reminded that the degree of Entered Apprentice is comparable to the beginning of the work; in the Fellowcraft degree the mason sees the beauty of the elementary matter, and he becomes a Master Mason when he has designed upon his tracing board the fixed path of the Sun.

The Black Eagle appears to denote the fixed state of the matter, which in itself is formless.  When form is impressed thereon it assumes various colors in successive stages, until a brilliant sun is manifested, representing the changing matter into gold.  The successive stages are illustrated to the candidate are the Houses of Heaven (mentioned earlier), through which the formless matter must be passed, that it may attain form and beauty.  The birth of the sun, or the fulfillment of the term of the work, represented by the Blazing Star, and it is said that the Morning Star which heralds the birth of the Sun is accompanied by the silver freshness of the moon.

The rough ashlar represents the matter in its chaotic state and the Perfect Ashlar, is the same matter when the perfect form of gold has been impressed thereon.

Alchemical Propositions:

The candidate is then instructed by the catechism that is attached to this grade:

1 - It is explained that gold is not metal, physically speaking, seeing that is all spirit and is an emblem of divinity because it is incapable of corruption

2 - It is produced by an intimate alliance of the six metals, Lead, Tin, Iron, Copper, Mercury and Silver, each of which contains a seed.

3 - Raymund Lully was one of those great philosphers who accomplished the marriage of the spouse with these six virgins, and the Messiah was begotten therefrom.

4 - As regards the Alkahest referred to in the Second Grade it is composed by effecting an alliance between the four simple elements extracted from the three kingdoms of nature.

The Three Kingdoms of Nature

(1 - This is in reference to the 12 houses of Heaven, first written about in 1659 by the late Sir George Wharton, to learn more Click Here)

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