Hi, I would like to take the opportunity of this thread to ask a few questions to the masons posting here.
First I want to point to the fact that I am at least a bit familiar with freemasonry and its history (read a few books, visited a few museums and
lodges during open doors day).
Personally I consider Freemasonry as an initiation-focused organization, trying to teach its members about ethics, philosophy, spirituality and
self-improvement through symbolism and rituals. As such I consider it globally beneficial for society (when it doesn't become a breeding ground for
some kind of "corporatist" closed mindset which is unfortunately a natural evolution of many organizations) but not the only valid path to become a
better and wiser person. Just one among many.
There is no denying that the western initiation tradition (freemasonry included) is heavily inspired and influenced by the ancient branches of occult
teachings from all around the Mediterranean Sea (Jewish Kabbalah, Egyptian and Chaldean occultism, western magical traditions like Hermeticism,
Theurgy etc...). This is usually not a problem for most people where I live (Europe) as we know our historical roots, their intertwined influences
through religions, arts and cultures, so we don't view all that as something "Satanic" like the Church did during the dark ages (which are over today
hopefully), but more like ancient traditions our modern societies are still influenced by.
As such, European masons have usually no problem admitting their connection to (and even interest in) these ancient occult traditions, especially
since Catholic faith is prevalent and Catholics know the relationship between Christian faith and older traditions.
I also think it's not the same situation in the US since the Christian faith there is much more dominated by fundamentalist currents, and all the
problems related to that (bigotry, superstition and a disconnection from the realities of modern societies). This also one of the reasons why most
anti-masonic literature is mainly coming from the US today, and from Christians in particular (when not coming from fundamentalist Muslims).
My questions are thus the following:
What is the official position of the Masonic organizations in the US regarding their esoteric occult roots? Do they recognized them or try to distance
themselves from it, fearing to be labelled as a satanic cult by fundamentalist Christians?
What is the personal relationship of most masons (in general, and yourself in particular) to these occult traditions and teachings? Indifference?
Curiosity? Interest? Involvement? Are they seen as purely symbolic or to be used for practical purposes too?
I know the second question is personal, but in this day I believe we stopped burning witches and actually it's even quite popular to call yourself a
pagan or a wiccan in the US. So I don't think there is any danger in telling anonymously on the web whether you once read Eliphas Levi or Aleister
Crowley (or not)
Thanks in advance for any masons who will honestly answer my inquiries, it will I'm sure help me and others dispel a few misconceptions about who
masons are and what they believe in!
PS: I have personally been initiated at least three times during my life, in different contexts and traditions (but never as a mason); as a kid, as
student, and the most powerful as a young adult. I can thus understand and recognize the meaning and benefits of initiations when done right, and the
reason why they were/are so important for societies all around the globe. As such I can only be glad that Masons in the US keep this tradition alive,
especially in a country where the individual is glorified, often to an unhealthy extent.
edit on 5-12-2014 by JUhrman because: (no reason