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ancient secret societies

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posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 09:36 PM
I came across this article while on another thread and I thought I'd post it here for future reference.

It was written, according to the link in 1927, so not ancient but it carries the common theme and is therefore insightful in that respect. Anyway should the discussion ever resurrect itself I wanted to make sure the article was to hand...I think it touches on some important points.

posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 12:37 PM
Anyone realize that at least a part of Freemasonry may have originated with seafarers of the middle-ages?

This is a thought that comes up when considering the titles of the different ranks on a ship back then...JW, SD, etc.

posted on Nov, 16 2008 @ 02:32 PM
reply to post by Skyfloating

Would you be referring to the Celts/Druids or the Viking/Norse peoples?

posted on Nov, 16 2008 @ 11:40 PM
Most seem to agree that there were Egyptian Mysteries, as Greco-Roman sources have thoroughly attested, but we know very little about what they were. In their exoteric manifestations, they reflected the ancient fertility rites that revolved around such things as the sun, the inundation of the Nile, and the death and resurrection of vegetation (as seen in Frazier's Golden Bough et al.).

Proclus (here quoted by Thomas Taylor in Iamblichus' On the Mysteries) gives us certain clues about the late Greco-Roman Mysteries that prove that whatever exactly went on with them, they were decidedly supernatural in character:

...that in the mysteries some one of the more imperfect daemons assumes the appearance of one that is more perfect, and draws down to himself souls that are not yet purified, and separates them from the Gods. Hence, in the most holy of the mysteries [i. e. in the Eleusinian mysteries], prior to the manifest presence of the God [who is invoked], certain terrene daemons present themselves to the view, disturbing those that are initiated, divulsing them from undefiled good, and exciting them to matter. On this account the Gods [in the Chaldean oracles] order us not to behold them, till we are guarded by the powers imparted by the mysteries.

The reference to the "Chaldean oracles" also hints that much of the Mysteries was indebted to the Babylonians, and here it becomes very difficult to discern who's been cribbing from whom. Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato have all been claimed at various times to have studied the secret wisdom of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and/or the Phoenicians, all with little proof of any of it.

[edit on 16-11-2008 by Eleleth]

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 09:46 AM
reply to post by interestedalways

Neither nor. Im talking more 14-16th Century and the titles different positions had on a ship.

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 09:47 AM
reply to post by Eleleth

Yes, I would also assume it goes back to Egypt.

posted on Nov, 20 2008 @ 03:14 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
Anyone realize that at least a part of Freemasonry may have originated with seafarers of the middle-ages?

This is a thought that comes up when considering the titles of the different ranks on a ship back then...JW, SD, etc.

Can you expand upon what the ranks are and how that correlates to Freemasonry? Operatively there is a connection to shipbuilding which can be most clearly seen around the 13th century.

posted on Nov, 22 2008 @ 07:19 PM

Originally posted by KilgoreTrout

Originally posted by Skyfloating
Anyone realize that at least a part of Freemasonry may have originated with seafarers of the middle-ages?

This is a thought that comes up when considering the titles of the different ranks on a ship back then...JW, SD, etc.

Can you expand upon what the ranks are and how that correlates to Freemasonry? Operatively there is a connection to shipbuilding which can be most clearly seen around the 13th century.

Ahh...I forgot my manners.

Can you please expand upon the correlation between the two?

Thank advance...hopefully

[edit on 22-11-2008 by KilgoreTrout]

posted on Nov, 22 2008 @ 07:21 PM
Ive hesitated expanding on it before I get more information on it. If I do, I will post it here.

posted on Nov, 22 2008 @ 07:32 PM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
Ive hesitated expanding on it before I get more information on it. If I do, I will post it here.

Oh don't hesitate, there is no fun in that! Can you at least explain, for my benefit, the 'JW' and the 'SD'? I'm not a seafarer or a freemason so I don't even know which the initials apply to..or is it both. Teasing helps no one

posted on Nov, 22 2008 @ 07:33 PM
I'll write you a U2U.

posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 11:21 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
I'll write you a U2U.

Not fair!

I want to know as well.

posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 12:02 PM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
Anyone realize that at least a part of Freemasonry may have originated with seafarers of the middle-ages?

This is a thought that comes up when considering the titles of the different ranks on a ship back then...JW, SD, etc.
I know nautical history naught, (though I have placed an inquiry with a friend who may be able to shed more light on the subject.) I do, however, have access to the Oxford English Dictionary online, so I can offer the following definitions (slightly edited for brevity).

warden, n
[a. OF. wardein, north-eastern var. of guarden, -ene: see GUARDIAN.
The word is current as a traditional designation of office; in other uses it is poet. or arch. In the legal uses the AF. form is gardein, and in many of them guardian is the preferred form in Eng. In Anglo-Latin rendered by custos.]
1. a. One who guards, protects, or defends; occas. a guardian angel: = GUARDIAN 1. Obs.
b. Astr. = GUARD n. 12. Cf. GUARDIAN 5.
2. a. One who has the care of something specified; a keeper. Obs. exc. poet.
b. One in charge of a division of an army. Obs.
c. Warden of the Peace = ‘Guardian of the Peace’: see GUARDIAN 1b.
d. A gatekeeper, porter, sentinel. Now rare.
3. The person invested with the control of the person and lands of an orphan heir during his minority; also, in wider sense, one who has the charge and oversight of young persons: = GUARDIAN 2. Obs.
4. a. A regent or viceroy appointed to rule a country in the king's absence or minority. Obs. exc. Hist.
b. The governor of a town, province or district; the commander of a fortress. Obs. exc. Hist. in the title Warden of the Marches.
5. In certain guilds, esp. in the Livery Companies of the City of London: A member of the governing body under the authority of the Master or the Prime Warden (the title varies in different companies).
6. a. The person having the direction or oversight of some work or enterprise. Obs.
b. Freemasonry. Either of two officers (called Senior and Junior Warden) in a symbolic lodge whose duty it is to assist the Worshipful Master.
7. a. The superintendent of a harbour, market, or the like.
b. Forming the second element in the designation of certain officials, as barrack-warden. fire-warden U.S.: see FIRE n. 5. fish-warden U.S., an official in charge of fisheries. game-warden, an officer having the superintendence of the game of a particular locality.
c. An air-raid warden.
8. a. A custodian of a building, esp. a temple or church. Obs.
b. The dean of a cathedral or collegiate church, or of a royal chapel. Obs.
9. a. = CHURCHWARDEN 1. There are regularly two, the rector's (or vicar's) warden and the parish (or people's) warden.
b. transf. Applied to an official with similar functions of a Jewish synagogue.
10. In the titles of officers holding positions of trust under the Crown. a. Warden of the Forest: see quot. 1706. Obs.
b. (Lord) Warden of the Cinque Ports: see CINQUE PORTS.
c. Warden of the Mint: until 1823 the title of the chief officer of the Mint.
d. (Lord) Warden of the Stannaries: an officer appointed by the Duke of Cornwall to preside over the mining parliaments of Cornwall.
e. In the titles of various offices of the royal household or the courts of law. (Mainly as the rendering of AF. gardein.) Obs.
f. Warden of the Standards: an officer of the Board of Trade having the custody of the standards of weight and measure. Obs.
11. a. The title given to the head or presiding officer of certain colleges and schools, hospitals, etc.
Usually = L. custos.
b. The superior of a Franciscan convent. Cf. GUARDIAN 4. Obs.
12. An officer to whose custody prisoners are committed; the governor of a prison, esp. in the old title Warden of the Fleet (Prison).
13. A member of a committee (of two or more persons) appointed to take charge of the repair and make regulations for the use of a bridge, a highway, etc. Cf. WAYWARDEN.
14. At Coventry, the title of two officers, chosen annually, charged with the collection of municipal rents. Obs.
15. U.S. (and earlier in colonial use). a. The officer who presides at ward-meetings or elections.
b. ‘In Connecticut boroughs, the chief executive officer of the municipal government; in a few Rhode Island towns, a judicial officer. In colonial times the name was sometimes used instead of fire-warden or fire-ward’ (Cent. Dict.).
16. Canada. The head of a county council.
17. Australia. The government official, with magisterial powers, in charge of a goldfield.
18. attrib. and Comb., as warden-angel (rare); also ‘of or pertaining to the warden-courts’, as warden-book, -clerk, -fee; warden-raid, nonce-use, a raid commanded by the Warden of the Marches in person. Also WARDEN-COURT.
I don't see any uses that are particularly sea-faring. Clearly 2, 5 and 6 are relevant. 7 is master of the harbor, but not one who would actually go out on a ship.

[edit on 11/23/2008 by JoshNorton]

posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 12:06 PM
Also from the OED

Steward, n
[OE. stíweard, stiweard, f. sti of uncertain meaning + weard keeper, WARD n.
The word is not found in any MS. earlier than the 11th c., and the form stiweard, though certainly the original, is recorded only in a late transcript. The first element is most probably OE. sti a house or some part of a house (cf. stiwita house-dweller); this is doubtless cogn. with stiu STY n. and stían to climb (STY v.), but there is no ground for the assumption that stiweard originally meant ‘keeper of the pig-sties’.
The Eng. title is quoted by Froissart in the OF. form estuard. The rare ON. stívarr is adopted from OE.
Since the 16th c. the definitions of the word have often been influenced by the supposed etymologies stead + ward and stow + ward.]
1. a. An official who controls the domestic affairs of a household, supervising the service of his master's table, directing the domestics, and regulating household expenditure; a major-domo. Obs. exc. Hist.
b. A member of a college who supervises the catering or presides at table.
c. A servant of a college who is charged with the duty of catering. Also, the head servant of a club or similar institution, who has control of the other servants.
d. An officer in a ship who, under the direction of the captain or the purser, keeps the stores and arranges for the serving of meals; now applied to any attendant who waits upon the passengers, often with defining word indicating rank or special function, as bath-, cabin-, deck-, table-steward; captain's steward, chief steward, paymaster's steward, etc.
In comic literature there are many allusions to the steward's function of attending to sea-sick passengers.
e. One employed on a train to serve meals, drinks, etc., to passengers and to attend to other needs. Also, one with similar duties on a motor coach or aeroplane.
2. As the title of an officer of a royal household. a. gen. Originally, an officer with similar functions to the ‘steward’ of an ordinary household (see sense 1). After the Norman Conquest, the title was the Eng. equivalent of the OF. seneschal, med.L. senescallus, dapifer, which, in England as on the Continent, had come to designate an office in the royal household held only by a great noble of the realm. Obs. exc. Hist.
b. (Lord) Steward of the King's Household. A peer whose nominal duty it is to control the King's household above stairs, and to preside at the Board of Green Cloth (see GREEN CLOTH). In early times he exercised important judicial functions.
3. a. (Lord High) Steward or Great Steward of England. Recorded since the 15th cent. as: The title of a high officer of state, the earlier senescallus Angliae. Since the accession of Henry IV this officer has been appointed only on the occasion of a coronation, at which he presides, or for the trial of a peer, which takes place in the Court of the Lord High Steward if Parliament be not sitting.
Originally this office seems to have carried little more than the privilege of waiting on the king's table, especially on state occasions. But it soon became hereditary in the earls of Leicester, and powers similar to those of the French seneschal were claimed for it by Simon de Montfort. This development was checked by the attainder of Simon, and the office finally fell in to the crown by the accession of its holder Henry IV.
b. (Lord High) Steward of Scotland. Hist. The first officer of the Scottish King in early times; he had control of the royal household, great administrative powers, and the privilege of leading the army into battle. The office, described as senescallatus Scotiae in a charter of Malcolm IV, 1158, fell in to the crown upon the accession of Robert the Steward as Robert II, whence the name of the royal house of Stuart; but the title was given to the heir-apparent until the Union. Great Steward of Scotland is now a title of the Prince of Wales.
4. A deputy-governor, vice-gerent. Obs.
5. a. One who manages the affairs of an estate on behalf of his employer.
b. steward of the manor: one who transacts the financial and legal business of a manor on behalf of the lord; he holds the manor-court in the lord's absence, and keeps a copy of its rolls, whence the name steward of copyhold. steward of the leet, steward of the hundred, steward of the haven-court, an official with similar functions in the leet, hundred, and haven courts.
c. The title of: The administrator, often with merely nominal duties, of certain estates of the Crown, as Steward of Blackburn Hundred, the Duchy of Lancaster. For Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, see CHILTERN 1.
d. In Scotland: A magistrate originally appointed by the king to administer the crown lands forming a STEWARTRY, q.v.; see quot. 1754. principal stewart, such an official as distinguished from the stewart-depute, to whom part of the duties were usually delegated. Obs. exc. Hist.
e. Steward of the High Peak: see quot. 1851.
6. fig. (From senses 1 and 5.) An administrator and dispenser of wealth, favours, etc.; esp. one regarded as the servant of God or of the people.
Partly after Biblical uses, in which the word represents Gr. , L. dispensator.
7. a. An officer in a gild, usually ranking next to the alderman; also Hist. often as a rendering of L. senescallus, ONF. eskevein: see SKEVIN.
b. In certain City companies: One of two or more officers, who are charged with the arrangements for the annual dinner. Cf. sense 10.
c. In various societies, the title of certain officers forming an executive committee. Cf. sense 10.
8. A corporation official, whose rank and duties vary widely in different muncipalities; often with a defining word, as capital steward, city steward, town steward.
9. high steward (see also 3). a. In the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the title (in academic Latin seneschallus) of a judicial officer, in whom is vested the jurisdiction belonging to the university in causes of treason and felony.
b. An official having at the inthronization of an archbishop ceremonial functions similar to those of the Lord High Steward at a coronation. Obs.
c. In certain English cities, a municipal title of dignity, usually borne by a nobleman or royal prince.
10. A person appointed to supervise the arrangements or maintain order at a race meeting, exhibition, dinner, ball, concert, public gathering, etc.
11. An overseer of workmen. In mod. use, the ‘underlooker’ of a colliery, ‘who receives his orders from the manager, and to whom the overmen and deputies report upon the state of the mine’ (Gresley Gloss. Coal-mining, 1883); also, in Scotland, the foreman of a workshop. Also occas. = shop steward s.v. SHOP n. 9d.
12. Among Methodists, a layman appointed to manage the financial affairs of a congregation (society or chapel steward) or of a circuit (circuit steward). Also book steward, the manager of the Book-room or publication department of the Wesleyan Methodist Society; poor steward, a person appointed in a congregation to administer the funds collected for the poor.
13. attrib. and Comb., as (sense 5d) steward-clerk; also steward boy, = house-boy s.v. HOUSE n.1 24; stewart-compt, Sc. the statement of the accounts of a stewartry; stewart-, steward-court, Sc. the court having jurisdiction within a stewartry; also attrib.; steward-depute, see 5d; steward's mate, the assistant of a ship's steward; steward's room, steward-room, see quots.; steward's table (see quot.).
Now, this entry DOES indicate a historical nautical use, but primarily in the sense that it had also been used as regards households. (Meanings 1, 7 and 11 seem appropriate to the Freemason position...)

posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 12:10 PM

deacon, n
[ad. L. diconus, a. Gr. servant, waiting man, messenger, whence spec. in Christian use, servant or minister of the church; an order of ministers in the church. The OE. diacon (deacon) was a learned form immed. from the L.; beside it there appears to have been a popular form *dcna (? from *dicna, *decna), whence 12th c. dæcne, deakne, and later dêkne, pl. deakn-en. From dêkne, deakne, came deken, deaken, whence under L. influence deacon. The early ME. diacne, dyakne was perhaps immed. a. OF. diacne, dyacne (12th c.; later diacre); it might also represent a semi-popular OE. *diacna: cf. ON. djákn, djákni. There were many intermediate forms of the word, from mixture of popular and learned types.]
1. Eccl. The name of an order of ministers or officers in the Christian church. a. In Apostolic times.
Their first appointment is traditionally held to be recorded in Acts vi. 1-6, where however the title does not occur, but only the cognate words (‘serve’) and (‘ministration’).
b. In Episcopal Churches, a member of the third order of the ministry, ranking below bishops and priests, and having the functions of assisting the priest in divine service, esp. in the celebration of the eucharist, and of visiting the sick, etc.
c. In the Presbyterian system, one of an order of officers appointed to attend to the secular affairs of the congregation, as distinguished from the elders, whose province is the spiritual. (But they do not always exist, at least under this name, their functions, when they are absent, being performed by the elders.) d. In Congregational churches, one of a body of officers elected to advise and assist the pastor, distribute the elements at the communion, administer the charities of the church, and attend to its secular affairs.
e. fig.
2. Applied to the Levites, as an order inferior to the priests in the Jewish Church: cf. BISHOP 2.
3. a. In Scotland, the president of an incorporated ‘craft’ or trade in any town; formerly ex officio a member of the town-council.
b. fig. A ‘master’ of his craft; a thoroughly capable man.
4. Freemasonry. Name of a particular inferior office in a lodge: see quot.
5. A set of eucharistic garments for a deacon.
6. A very young or aborted calf, or its hide. U.S. colloq.
7. Comb., as deacon-seat (U.S.), a long settee in a log-cabin, cut from a single log.
Again, nothing particularly nautical, but 1b, 3 and 4 seem closest in historical context.

Forgive the long quotes. I feel they are necessary to show the variety of meanings ascribed to these words, and that to distill my quoting to ONLY those areas relevant to Masonry would be overlooking the big picture.

[edit on 11/23/2008 by JoshNorton]

posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 12:18 PM
reply to post by Skyfloating

i will say that i dont know what society is the oldest but most all of them do have roots in ancient pagan particularly egyptian religions

posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 06:45 PM
reply to post by JoshNorton

I think it is perhaps more significant that the offices of Freemasonry correspond to the offices of the Anglo-catholic Church (among other heirarchal off-shot protestantisms). That fits in much more firmly with the way in which the Chapters (administrative overseers) of the European Cathedrals appear to have interacted with the operative masons circa 13th century onwards. At York Minster the relationship is fairly transparent but it is less blatantly expressed in most places, or, the evidence was lost during the destruction caused during the dissolution of the monastaries (most likely). I haven't personally visited all the the Cathedrals though so can't say what hidden rooms and doorways they may or may not have, strangely they don't tend to publicise them.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 05:02 AM
reply to post by JoshNorton

I missed this back when you posted it. Thanks for the elaboration. I was only pointing out the possibility of a nautical connection, by no means the probability.

The search for where these various words come from goes on...

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