Originally posted by JoshNorton
I would never give a Masonic handshake to someone who I
didn't already know was a Mason.
Originally posted by GreatOwl
But a secret handshake is only useful if you can't recognize a brother on sight.
I always wondered if there was indeed a way for two strangers to recognize each other as fraternal brothers without that physical contact of the
I know the "ring" is a popular symbol. This goes back to antient days, even back to the time of Solomon. As the Jewish historian Josephus records,
there was a priest by the name of Eleazar who was able to cast out demons by showing them a "ring". The demons possessing the men obviously
"recognized" that ring on sight, and took that as a warning that Eleazar "knew" enough about them to cause them to worry about their own safety,
so they would flee at the sight of that "ring".
Josephus, in speaking of the wisdom of Solomon, says that he had that skill by which demons are expelled; and that he left behind him the manner of
using exorcisms, by which they are cast out; and that those arts were known among his countrymen down to his own time; and then gives us the following
relation: "I have seen a certain man of my own country whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacs, in the presence of
Vespasian, his sons, his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring, that had a root of one
of those sorts mentioned by Solomon, to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and, when the man fell
down, immediately he adjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations that he had composed.
And when Eleazar would persuade the spectators that he had such power, he set at a little distance a cup of water, and commanded the demon, as he went
out of the man, to overturn it; and, when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon were showed very manifestly." Joseph. Antiq. book viii. cap.
2, sect. 5. Whiston's edition.
There mere fact that the demons took instructions from the priest just because he showed them his "ring", is truly fantastical. But, does suggest
that both the Priest and the demons had common knowledge, and a shared understanding, of the meaning behind that "ring".
No scientist could explain how a "ring" could cure a person of some apparent mental disease today, simply by displaying that "ring".
Only in Freemasonry, can we find any logical explanation for this historical episode which took place in our ancient past. For we see, just as masons
"recognize" each other by displaying a "ring", those demons and priest of old must have similarly "recognized" each other by virtue of a similar
sort of "ring."
So, as puzzling as the story from Josephus sounds, it's just that men typically look in the wrong direction for answers. We tend to think that the
"ring" had some sort of mystical power. Whereas, in fact, it had no power at all. All the power came from the common shared "secret knowledge"
that both the Priest and demons had, and the "ring" was just a form of "communication
" between members of this old sect, that they knew how
to find each other when they wanted. All Eleazar the Priest was saying to the demons, was "I know who you guys are, where you meet, the location of
your temple or lodge, and how to find you, so you better quit possessing these men, or else!"
In another part of the Histories, Josephus tells us that Eleazar was "a giant of a man", i.e. physically huge, so that he would be no one to mess
with in the flesh. In the same way night clubs employ physically large men today to play the role of "bouncer", Eleazar would have been like the
"bouncer" of the lodge, the one that kept and enforced the discipline in the sect.
The "ring" as a form of recognition.
That must have come down through thousands of years as a standard mode of recognition within secret orders, even Freemasonry uses it today.
The more we find out about Freemasons mode of recognition, practices, and rituals, etc.., the more sense all of this history written about by the old