Why is the 33rd degree the highest observed Masonic level?

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posted on May, 13 2010 @ 11:08 PM
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I am an avid fan of Manly Hall, and the majority of this postulation comes from his book, The Secret Teachings Of All Ages. I am not the master thread writer that you would see in some of my friends here, but I do hope that this is simple enough in presentation so as not to confuse.


Now, the number 3 is a very, very important number in mystical and esoteric circles. The trinity is something seen not only in Christianity. Ancient Sumerian beliefs held the trinity near and dear as well, with their association of Anu (the father), Enlil (the son, or the earth), and Enki (the holy spirit, or air).

Further, the number three is seen as an important number due to it being a prime number. As well, there is the strangely esoteric numerical system that goes thusly:

There can be nothing without something. Emptiness cannot be defined without something to juxtapose against. Therefore, 0 must have a 1. As well, one cannot discern itself without other. This is how you see yourself, observe yourself. It ties into eastern thought systems around how humanity, on a spiritual level, are 1, large, multifaceted piece of the Creator...but i digress.

So for 1 to exist, he must have another, or 2. This is epitomized in the concepts of the monad and duad, yin and yang, male and female. Numerologically speaking, then, 3 represents the Godhead (0+1+2). Of course, numerology is not always the language being spoken in any given text (as there is also esoteric allegory, which is what the rest of this post will deal with).

The number 33 is also considered an important number, and is often represented well in the concepts of Masonry. 33rd degree is the highest that the uninitiated can attain. Why is this? Because the secret of Christ. This was a core secret held by the Freemasons:


According to popular conception, Jesus was crucified during the thirty-third year of His life and in the third year of His ministry following His baptism. About A.D. 180, St. Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, one of the most eminent of the ante-Nicene theologians, wrote Against Heresies, an attack on the doctrines of the Gnostics. In this work Irenæus declared upon the authority of the Apostles themselves that Jesus lived to old age. To quote: "They, however, that they may establish their false opinion regarding that which is written, 'to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,' maintain that He preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month. [In speaking thus], they are forgetful of their own disadvantage, destroying His whole work, and robbing Him of that age which is both more necessary and more honourable than any other; that more advanced age, I mean, during which also as a teacher He excelled all others. For how could He have had His disciples, if He did not teach? And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a Master? For when He came to be baptised, He had not yet completed His thirtieth year, but was beginning to be about thirty years of age (for thus Luke, who has mentioned His years, has expressed it: 'Now Jesus was, as it were, beginning to be thirty years old,' when He came to receive baptism); and, (according to these men,) He preached only one year reckoning from His baptism. On completing His thirtieth year He suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means attained to advanced age. Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years, and that this extends onward to the fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which Our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, (affirming) that John conveyed to them that information. And he remained among them up to the time of Trajan. Some of them, moreover, saw not only John, but the other apostles also, and heard the very same account from them, and bear testimony as to the'(validity of) the statement. Whom then should we rather believe? Whether such men as these, or Ptolemæus, who never saw the apostles, and who never even in his dreams attained to the slightest trace of an apostle?"


www.sacred-texts.com...

This is the same book i referenced earlier, but in a web format for easier linking and reference.

There are multiple stories of Jesus that would date after the lifetime that he reportedly lived. Further, there are such glaring inconsistencies with the story of the Faith that, despite historical evidence of Jesus life, there is little left to believe that seems credible.

The key to Masonry lies in the number 3. This is the great secret that they leveraged against the church. This is what they discovered when the went to the holy land and spoke with the then existent Christian sects that were in far flung areas. Of course, there were other discoveries, but nothing like what they had discovered. A truth that would threaten the power of the greatest empire on Earth: Rome.

This is all encoded with the number 3 and 33. Jesus spent 3 years proselityzing after his baptism, whereupon he was killed at the age of 33. Once you reach 3rd degree, you become a Master Mason. Once you reach 33, you are presumed to have reached the top.

But beyond this lies the secret: that Jesus' years extend beyond 33. And if you look at the test, you see hints at this:

The initiate is brought in and placed in front of a bible, or a flag, and told to defile it. If they choose not to, they are told that they chose the right choice, of loyalty and righteousness, and they are announced as having succeeded. But if they choose to defile that which is sacred to them, they are told that their separation from worldly concerns makes them a remarkable individual and they are brought into the Masonic Mysteries. Others are told they succeeded, and they begin living with the burden of the knowledge that they will continue to gain.

At this point, the initiate will learn the true Mysteries of Masonry, which are basically the same as the Ancient Mysteries, with some loss of "fidelity" in understanding.

The question that i have left is, why 33? Why have Jesus "die" at 33? What is the mysterious symbology that dictates the need to kill the son of God at the age of 33, 3 years after he was baptized?




posted on May, 14 2010 @ 01:06 AM
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This is very interesting. I'm not usually one to give numerology a second glance... usually not even a first... but some numbers certainly do seem to hold profound significance to certain groups. You'll see 72 thrown around in holy texts & traditions all over the world, for example. It's a precessional number, as 72 is the number of years it takes for the 26,000 year cycle to move one degree exactly.

As for 33, I went looking and came across an interesting concept that links it back to geometry, which should come as no surprise. Picture the Star of David, or the six-sided star. You have three triangles on both sides, which combine to form a 33. Or it can be seen as two triangles, each with 3 sides, which when interlocked, become 33. The latter seems more appropriate, as the symbol represents the joining of two triangles.

It might be the entirely wrong path. Even if it's the right one, it still would beg the question of why that particular symbol?



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 02:21 AM
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3° is the highest degree in Freemasonry.

There are also additional orders which one may join once you are already a Master Mason.

Each of these has its own degree system.

For example, the Scottish Rite has 33°.
The Egyptian Rite of Memphis has 99°.
Knight Rose Croix has 18°.

It seems that since the Scottish Rite order is one of the most popular side orders in the USA, and many Masons in the States do join this order, many American non-Masons jump to the conclusion that Freemasonry has 33°. This is completely wrong. (Also note that outside of the USA, this order is rare.)

It's only the Scottish Rite Order that has 33°, and it is simply one of many, many existing Orders, each with their own numbering system. The Scottish rite has no more importance in Freemasonry than any other side order - it's just an additional order which 3° Masons may join.

Freemasonry itself has only 3 degrees.

[edit on 14/5/2010 by Saurus]



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 03:18 AM
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There are also 33 vertebrae in the spinal column-

It is said that energies rise up the spine, or create a circuit-

33 steps rising upward until the energy/person reaches a crown/enlightenment/ecstatic experience, etc.

I think M. Hall discusses this in his "Occult Anatomy of Man" book.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 03:21 AM
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The 33 degrees of the scottish rite have their origin in Sufi teaching.

In the Qur'an, there are 99 names (like attributes) for God.

The first 33 names can be attained through reason or philosophy.

The second 33 names can be learned from tradition and known through the collective experience of God's people.

The final 33 names for God can only be truly learnt through personal devotion and experience. They are intensely personal, and are acquired through prayer and personal study of the text. They cannot be taught or learnt from one person to another---they must be experienced, each man for himself.

Incidentally, according to semitic numerology, there should be a hundredth name. That name is never given, as it is the name God knows himself by---it is known only to him.

The numerical value of the letter kaf is 100, and it looks like "G" lying on its side. This is why lodges use a "G" in the center of the square and compasses. The goal is to address the Deity, "Not as we imagine him, but as he alone knows himself to be."



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 06:13 AM
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Isn't the tenth degree the highest? In Yorkshire anyway.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 06:52 AM
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From my research, I have concluded that 1 is the highest degree.

It's an inverse pyramid. You start out at 33rd degree, with the rest of the schmucks, and then you go up the pyramid until there's only 1 position, that position being held by

Queen Elizabeth II.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 07:46 AM
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reply to post by Son of Will
 


That is a very interesting thought. The symbology behind the Star of David is something i need to brush up on. Been a couple of years, and i don't normally dig too deeply into Jewish mysticism unless i need to (it is well covered already by others).

Thanks for posting.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 07:49 AM
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reply to post by Saurus
 




This is what i am getting at. The Scottish Rite is the successor of Knights Templars. The fact that they have a 33rd degree as their "highest level" being tied directly to the 33 years that Jesus is reported to have lived.

But why 33? 33 years, 33 degrees? What is the significance of this number? It seems as though there is a metaphorical death that is occuring, or an end to something. What is it?

This is the mystery that is the reason for this thread.

Thanks for posting. Good information shared there.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:02 AM
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reply to post by tovenar
 




Very interesting.

Is this the possible connection with the 33 years of Christ?

The number 33 has multiple esoteric meanings. This is one of many. Is it the significance?

I would be interested to hear your take on what the name of God is.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:15 AM
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reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan
 


Ah, but your thread title is misleading. The highest degree observed in Freemasonry is 3°.

The Scottish Rite, which has 33°, is a different Order (which Masons may or may not decide to join). It is not, strictly speaking, Freemasonry. This is where so many non-Masons go wrong...

If we consider all the different 'Masonic' orders, then the 99th degree of the Egyptian Rite is the Highest, not the 33° of the Scottish Rite.

Perhaps you should change the title to read "Why is the 33rd degree the highest observed level n the Scottish Rite?"

This would avoid a lot of confusion.



[edit on 14/5/2010 by Saurus]



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:24 AM
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Originally posted by 911stinks
From my research, I have concluded that 1 is the highest degree.

It's an inverse pyramid. You start out at 33rd degree, with the rest of the schmucks, and then you go up the pyramid until there's only 1 position, that position being held by

Queen Elizabeth II.


How is this possible, since Queen Elizabeth is female, and Freemasonry is a male-only organization?

The only site that makes this claim is FreemasonryWatch. I would suggest that you research more than one radical anti-Masonry site before making such outrageous claims.

[edit on 14/5/2010 by Saurus]



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:25 AM
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Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan




This is what i am getting at. The Scottish Rite is the successor of Knights Templars.


I don't know of any reason to consider the Scottish Rite more of a Templar successor than any other Rite. For example, the degree of Knight Templar is actually the highest in the York Rite, and is there the 12th degree.


The fact that they have a 33rd degree as their "highest level" being tied directly to the 33 years that Jesus is reported to have lived.


That particular symbolism is unlikely, considering the fact that 5 of the 11 founders of the Scottish Rite were Jewish. The Scottish Rite is a non-sectarian fraternity, and does not give prefence to Christianity or Christian symbolism.


But why 33? 33 years, 33 degrees? What is the significance of this number? It seems as though there is a metaphorical death that is occuring, or an end to something. What is it?


Actually, although there is plenty of deep symbolism in the Scottish Rite itself, there is very little in the actual number of degrees. The Scottish Rite of 33 degrees is simply the result of having combined the French Rite of Perfection (which consisted of 25 degrees) with the Philosophical Rite (which consisted of 8 degrees). If the French Rite had had 26 degrees, then today's Scottish Rite would have had 34 degrees.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:29 AM
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Originally posted by Saurus

Originally posted by 911stinks
From my research, I have concluded that 1 is the highest degree.

It's an inverse pyramid. You start out at 33rd degree, with the rest of the schmucks, and then you go up the pyramid until there's only 1 position, that position being held by

Queen Elizabeth II.


How is this possible, since Queen Elizabeth is female, and Freemasonry is a male-only organization?

The only site that makes this claim is FreemasonryWatch. I would suggest that you research more than one radical anti-Masonry site before making such outrageous claims.

[edit on 14/5/2010 by Saurus]


The Queen is the largest land owner on earth. She's been in power for 52 yrs.

She is the head of the Knights of Malta, a Masonic Organization. She had the rules changes, just so she could be the head goat rider.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:38 AM
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Originally posted by 911stinks

The Queen is the largest land owner on earth. She's been in power for 52 yrs.


That has nothing to do with Freemasonry.


She is the head of the Knights of Malta, a Masonic Organization.


There are two different organizations called Knights of Malta. The Masonic Knights of Malta are headed by Sir Knight William Koon, Grand Master of Knights Templar.

The Catholic Order of Knights of Malta, technically called the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, is headed by Matthew Festing, Grand Master of that order.

The queen of England is not a member of either of the Malta orders, and in fact, cannot become a member of either, as one must be a Mason to become a member of the Masonic Malta order, and Masonry is a male-only fraternity. And one must be Catholic to join the Catholic Malta order, whereas she's the head of the Anglican church.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:40 AM
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reply to post by Masonic Light
 



Perhaps i have misunderstood, but i had read that the Freemasons, after being "eradicated" went on to found the Scottish Rite. The 33rd degree concept coming into use at this time referenced the great secret they had about the Church.

But I would be completely shocked to learn that a Masonic group would just haphazardly combine rites without regard to the sacred numerology. There is purpose to almost everything that is done.

Lots of good information there. Thanks for sharing.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:41 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light

Originally posted by 911stinks

The Queen is the largest land owner on earth. She's been in power for 52 yrs.


That has nothing to do with Freemasonry.


She is the head of the Knights of Malta, a Masonic Organization.


There are two different organizations called Knights of Malta. The Masonic Knights of Malta are headed by Sir Knight William Koon, Grand Master of Knights Templar.

The Catholic Order of Knights of Malta, technically called the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, is headed by Matthew Festing, Grand Master of that order.

The queen of England is not a member of either of the Malta orders, and in fact, cannot become a member of either, as one must be a Mason to become a member of the Masonic Malta order, and Masonry is a male-only fraternity. And one must be Catholic to join the Catholic Malta order, whereas she's the head of the Anglican church.


Sorry, but how exactly do you know that. Are you privy to all the secrets of Freemasonry. I highly doubt it.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
reply to post by Masonic Light
 



Perhaps i have misunderstood, but i had read that the Freemasons, after being "eradicated" went on to found the Scottish Rite. The 33rd degree concept coming into use at this time referenced the great secret they had about the Church.

But I would be completely shocked to learn that a Masonic group would just haphazardly combine rites without regard to the sacred numerology. There is purpose to almost everything that is done.

Lots of good information there. Thanks for sharing.


Important numbers are 33, 22, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1 as far as degrees.

33 is a base number. Review pyramid dimensions. They match.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:44 AM
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I'd like to add to what Masonic Light is saying, and also add weight to the fact that the actual numbers of degrees are not at all important.

The same Knights Templar ritual that is found in the York Rite also exists as an independent Order in English Freemasonry. The order is open to any Christian Master Mason who is also a member of the Holy Royal Arch.

In this form, the Order is not the 12th degree - in fact, no degree system applies, although it is the same ritual.

In fact, I think the numbers of the degrees in Freemasonry are actually quite arbitrary.

[edit on 14/5/2010 by Saurus]



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 08:50 AM
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Infinity only has three states:

Breathe In, Breathe Out and the emptiness in between.






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