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

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posted on Sep, 20 2011 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by TheLoneArcher
 

I do love the study of numbers, and rather partial to 5. Nine is also interesting too as the Egyptians consider it to be the eternal number.




posted on Sep, 21 2011 @ 03:53 PM
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Originally posted by Saurus

Hi CIA Gypsy

Sorry I took so long to your request here. I finally have a bit of time, so here goes...

As you suggest, many things in Freemasonry happens in threes - three principle officers, three risings, three Masonic principles, three steps to the pedestal.

This, however, is not unique to Freemasonry, but is found in almost all mystery schools, and has massive significance in all esoteric and occult societies, and some of the reasons are given below...

In religion:
Trinities in religion are extremely common - the Trinity of Christianity, Thrice great Hermes, Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Egyptian triad of Osiris, Isis and Horus etc. The triangle has ever been a symbol of the Almighty for this reason. The ancient Brahmins acknowledged the triple essence of the deity. The Egyptian mysteries took their oaths on the sacred delta (equilateral triangle) and referred to the sacred delta as symbolic of the Triune deity.

In Christianity:
Christianity is no different - there are three great virtues in Christianity - faith, hope and charity (love), three crosses at the crucifixion. Peter denied Jesus three times. Resurrection after three days. Three appearances of Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection. There are hundreds of triads in the Bible.

Three as a symbol:
The number three is the first number that, as written, has a beginning, middle and end - an important implication in mystery schools where symbolism plays a part.

In folklore:
Sayings like "Third time lucky", three cheers, Genies grant three wishes in Arabic lore, three riddles in fairy tales. The list is endless.

In mythology:
Three graces, three fates, three furies.

In alchemy:
Three is the number of basic substances - sulphur, salt and quicksilver.

I could go on all day, but from the examples I have provided, it should be clear that the number three has a deep association with every type of discipline - it is rich in symbolism, deeply ingrained into mythology and religious thought.

In any mystery school which draws on symbolism from ancient times, it does not make sense to omit the significance of 'three'. It can mean so many different things to so many people, which makes it a prime candidate to be used in ritual.

Please let me know if you would like even more info...



Saurus,

Actually, this is exactly what I expected and was looking for... I am no stranger to the mystery schools.
Thus my comment that "nothing of sacred significance happens in a vacuum." I was simply looking for confirmation from a Mason that the same "truth" holds with masonry on their degrees.



posted on Sep, 21 2011 @ 07:24 PM
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Originally posted by KSigMason
reply to post by TheLoneArcher
 

I do love the study of numbers, and rather partial to 5. Nine is also interesting too as the Egyptians consider it to be the eternal number.


Better yet is Gematria, the study of numbers inherent in words.

Think of the word HAND

H = 8
A = 1
N = 14
D = 4

These are the bones in your hand.

Near the wrist, there are 8 bones, in two rows of 4 each that are fused together. That's the letter H.
Notice the shape of the letter H, each vertical bar represents one row of 4 bones fused, next to the other row of 4 bones fused.

Next row up comes the base bone of the tumb A =1, and the four base bones for the fingers in the palm D = 4,

and finally the bones in the upper fingers 12 (3 x 4) + upper thumb 2 = 14 = N.

"A" is the only "vowel" in the word HAND, and represents the "WILL", N is the fingers we use to "discriminate" with, to select things, to chose this and avoid that, to make judgments, to say yea or nay, so has two arms, one pointing up and the other pointing down.

And "D" is the center of the palm which is straight near the wrist base bones and curves near the base of the fingers like the letter itself.

Follow the sequence of the letters H-A-N-D....this represents the hand "clasping" as the fingers N curl in and approach the palm D, thus characteristic the action of the hand is encoded in the sequence of the letters HAND.





Neat huh? Who ever thought that HAND was really the bones of the hand in detail with the clasping action of the hand encoded in the numbers of the letters and the shapes of the letters?

Of course, the total number of bones in the hand is H+A+N+D = 8+1+14+4 = 27 , the cube of 3.

edit on 21-9-2011 by DRAZIW because: spell
edit on 21-9-2011 by DRAZIW because: text



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 10:07 PM
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Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
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:

The key to Masonry lies in the number 3.



You said that nothing can't exist without something but what's interesting is that something can exist without nothing.

As to the #3, look at their symbol. It is comprised of three things and the reason is because the physical can be tied into 3 everywhere, since 3 is the Greatest Number of the Universe (note the use of "of" and not "in").

Ribbit
edit on 4-10-2011 by ButtUglyToad because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 8 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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It is said the antient philosophers believed that "3" was the first real number.

The number zero, some claim, was introduced by the Greeks, and the Egyptians didn't have a concept of zero. But, actually, this idea is in error. The Egyptians represented nothing by nothing. That was purity to them. While the Greeks introduced a symbol, an existant thing, for nothing. That, the Egyptians would have considered a corrupt idea. The Egyptians did conceptualize the idea of nothing, they just refused to represent nothing by a symbol of something. The closest they came, was the symbol of a musical instrument, that represented "balance", "harmony", etc..which was used to indicate the "zero level" on the nile in markings.

Beyond the idea of 0, the early numbers 1,2,3, produced much debate.

1 is not a number, it was argued, because if there were just one thing in the universe, there would be no counting possible.

2 is yet not a number, it was argued, because it was just the first thing possible after one, and didn't represent a plurality of things sufficient to merit the counting and the application of the term "number."

3 is the first true number, by contrast, because it symbolized a true plurality, as he first real indication of the presence of a "number" of things being existent.

So, then, the philosophers argued, number begins with "3".

Whatever the case, 3 is a divine number, the pattern of the universe is based first on the smaller numbers, and only to a lesser degree on the higher numbers.

The perimeter of a circle is nearly measured by 3 of it's diameters, and the little bit left over divides the diameter 7 times almost. Thus became the order of the numbers in design [ 3, 7, 15, 1, ... ].

Measuring that circumference, using the straight line diameter segment, came to be called "squaring the circle", or more precisely "rectifying the circle", since "squaring the circle" is oft used for the alternate problem of constructing the square with same "area" as the circle, the latter often distinguished by the special phrase "quadrature of the circle" instead.

One goes from being "whole" -- as in the circle -- to being composed of "a body with sides and parts" -- as in the square.

So the idea of squaring the circle becomes a metaphor for the design of man; who is then seen to consist of 3 parts, and 7 parts, etc...in turn, at different levels of being.

Even man's moral condition is given a geometric construction along the same pattern again. He is divided into three poisonous pastures "Delusion, Anger, Greed", that require moral rectification to overcome. This the antient philosophers connected with geometry, once again, by proposing three impossible problems:




The Three Problems of Antiquity:

1) Squaring the Circle -- Delusion

2) Trisecting the Angle -- Anger

3) Doubling the Cube -- Greed




These three "geometric" problems, were intended to teach "moral principles". As geometry was seen to be the key to morality.

The solutions to these problems, if and when found, was supposed to have resulted in the seeker becoming upright in his morals. For if he could understand these problems, and how to solve them, his intellect must have advanced him beyond the bestial nature that is part of man.

In fact, the third problem "doubling the cube", often called the "Delian Problem", was given by the Oracle at Delphi specifically to solve man's moral problems of the times. The men sought the cure for a plague, and were given this problem to solve, by which intent the Oracle was suggesting that by geometry man could solve and correct his moral situation, which would result in the removal of the plague. [ If we remember that famine, pestilence, plague, etc.. are the Biblical curses for "greed"..we see the universal theme here]

The cube to be doubled was the altar of sacrifice, and by doubling the size of the altar they were supposed to understand they needed to double their sacrifices, to be more charitable towards others and less selfish and greedy. This problem is solved in the Great Pyramid of Giza by the Egyptians.

Similarly, the second problem "trisecting the angle" was also a geometric way of teaching man about dividing pie into equal measures, so that no man would feel cheated and become angry that his portion was lesser while others received greater portions etc..the same problem being symbolized by the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd today...those protesters are "trisecting the angle" in effect with their sit-ins and marches. This problem is also solved in the Great Pyramid of Giza by the Egyptians, but is very hard for even modern mathematicians to find out how the Egyptians did it.

The first problem "squaring the circle" has been the darling of geometric problems continuously for centuries past, with many a deluded individual believing he had found the solution and writing a tome on his "discovery". This too is solved by The Great Pyramid of Giza by the Egyptians.










edit on 8-10-2011 by DRAZIW because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 9 2011 @ 01:45 AM
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BECAUSE, when the sun its air born water at 33 degrees, a rainbow is born

its a Fibonacci number

its the mysteries of the universe



posted on Oct, 9 2011 @ 09:50 AM
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Originally posted by DRAZIW
The number zero, some claim, was introduced by the Greeks, and the Egyptians didn't have a concept of zero. But, actually, this idea is in error. The Egyptians represented nothing by nothing. That was purity to them. While the Greeks introduced a symbol, an existant thing, for nothing. That, the Egyptians would have considered a corrupt idea. The Egyptians did conceptualize the idea of nothing, they just refused to represent nothing by a symbol of something. The closest they came, was the symbol of a musical instrument, that represented "balance", "harmony", etc..which was used to indicate the "zero level" on the nile in markings.
Actually, the Greeks didn't have a symbol for zero either. From what we've been able to determine, the earliest representation was in India, and the 0 as we know it was actually a circle drawn around nothing, to call attention to that which it represented. source



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by CIAGypsy
driley, Masonic Light, or Saurus,

Good input.


Anyway, I wanted to ask another question. You rather articulately stated that any degrees beyond 3 are simply conferred by a side Masonic organization such as Scottish rite, York Rite, etc... It would seem to me that each of those organizations offers a maximum degree that is a multiple of 3 in some manner (12, 18, 33, 99, etc...). Is this on purpose? Maybe because there are 3 points to the compass/square? Or is this simply a coincidence?

:-)

Thanks!

G.


I would say that, where it can be found, it is a coincidence. For example, the Rite of Memphis actually had 97 degrees, which is not a multiple of 3. And strictly speaking, the York Rite also consists of the three blue lodge degrees, as well as the degree of Super Excellent Master (not always included in the list). This means the York Rite has a total of 13 degrees instead of 12. If you count the four chair degrees (Actual Past Master, Order of High Priesthood, Order of the Silver Trowel, and Knight Crusader of the Cross or Preceptor) we have a total 16.

On the Scottish Rite side, it originally had a total of 25 degrees, but 8 more were eventually added from a separate rite that had gone defunct. Because of all the changes that Masonry has gone through over the centuries, I don't personally think that the number of the degrees in the different systems have a significant symbolic meaning. They all evolved over time, and throughout history have had various numbers.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 01:00 PM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light

Originally posted by CIAGypsy
driley, Masonic Light, or Saurus,

Good input.


Anyway, I wanted to ask another question. You rather articulately stated that any degrees beyond 3 are simply conferred by a side Masonic organization such as Scottish rite, York Rite, etc... It would seem to me that each of those organizations offers a maximum degree that is a multiple of 3 in some manner (12, 18, 33, 99, etc...). Is this on purpose? Maybe because there are 3 points to the compass/square? Or is this simply a coincidence?

:-)

Thanks!

G.


I would say that, where it can be found, it is a coincidence. For example, the Rite of Memphis actually had 97 degrees, which is not a multiple of 3. And strictly speaking, the York Rite also consists of the three blue lodge degrees, as well as the degree of Super Excellent Master (not always included in the list). This means the York Rite has a total of 13 degrees instead of 12. If you count the four chair degrees (Actual Past Master, Order of High Priesthood, Order of the Silver Trowel, and Knight Crusader of the Cross or Preceptor) we have a total 16.

On the Scottish Rite side, it originally had a total of 25 degrees, but 8 more were eventually added from a separate rite that had gone defunct. Because of all the changes that Masonry has gone through over the centuries, I don't personally think that the number of the degrees in the different systems have a significant symbolic meaning. They all evolved over time, and throughout history have had various numbers.


looking primarily at the house of temple, there are uses of 33 in the architecture purposely put there by the builders. But knowing that the building houses the Scottish Rite council, and the highest degree in that order is 33, it only makes sense. Just as there are numerous references to 3 in a blue lodge.



posted on Oct, 31 2011 @ 04:06 PM
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The number 3 represents cooperation.

Three is the minimum number of members you can have in a group without any member comprising a majority.



posted on Nov, 3 2011 @ 05:14 AM
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reply to post by czqjtohypmdu
 


???

If you have two people you also don't have a majority.



posted on Nov, 7 2011 @ 08:21 PM
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reply to post by Saurus
 


There is rarely a perfect duality across space and time. One side always weighs against the other.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 12:49 AM
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As a long time Mason, I love threads like these...



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 12:51 AM
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Maybe the 33rd degreee isn't the highest, it's only the highest that the public actively know about.

It's not a very good secret organization that allows non members to find out about all their secrets.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 05:33 AM
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Originally posted by babybunnies
Maybe the 33rd degreee isn't the highest, it's only the highest that the public actively know about.

It's not a very good secret organization that allows non members to find out about all their secrets.

I totally agree. It seems only the non masons know about the "higher degrees". And I have yet to figure out how exactly they "know" since nobody can actually offer any proof, other than they just "know".

Bunnies, if you ever get invited to a non-masons meeting and they tell you all the things we aren't supposed to know, please video tape the meeting for me. thanks.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 09:03 AM
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Originally posted by babybunnies
Maybe the 33rd degreee isn't the highest, it's only the highest that the public actively know about.

It's not a very good secret organization that allows non members to find out about all their secrets.


The number of degrees are not secret. Each Masonic Rite has its own set number of degrees.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 10:35 AM
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reply to post by babybunnies
 

The 33rd is the highest degree in the Scottish Rite, but it is not the only Rite in Freemasonry nor is it some kind of supreme authority. There is far too much disinformation or misconception by non-Masons.
edit on 20-7-2012 by KSigMason because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 21 2012 @ 10:09 AM
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In my honest opinion... I believe the idea of 33 comes about from their experience(s).
It is best describe as "I Froze"



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 06:04 PM
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reply to post by Saurus
 


very well said, that just about puts it into perspective ...there are only 3 degrees in Freemasonry , however joining chapter sometimes infers the 4th but as you say 3 it is .



posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan
 


33rd degree is not the highest observed Masonic level.

After one has gone through a blue lodge to York right or Scottish rite they can then pursue the Knights Templar, the Shriners, and Malta.





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