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Freemasonry and Occultism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.freemasonry
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Freemasonry and Occultism
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 07:14:03 GMT

333 wrote:
> David Richardson wrote:
> # 2) The only reference I could find to "Hermetic masonry" was a book of
> # the same name by Frank C. Higgins.  I couldn't find any reference to
> # it from any masonic resource. [This book aslo seems to have been
> # published farily recently (~10 years ago) so I doubt its had any
> # influence on the fraternity. (Brothers, correct me if I'm wrong.)]
> it isn't from masonic sources so much as from Scottish Rite-related
> quasi-masons like the GD, OTO, etc.

 Don't you mean "Scottish Rite-*DERIVED*" rather than
"related"? That is, there is no "relation" from the
Freemasonic point of view, only from those who claim to be

> # 3) The only "Hermetic" organization I could find that trys to connect
> # itself to masonry, was the "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn(R)"
> # which claims to have masonic elements (amoung other things) in its
> # "system of magic" [sic]. It is NOT part of, or connected in any way,
> # to Freemasonry.
> all the same, some of these occultists have and continue to think
> of what they're doing as somehow related to and/or even what they
> call an "improvement" on Freemasonry perhaps comparable to how the
> some might see the Scottish Rite degrees as an elaboration on the
> Three Degrees of Freemasonry.

The O.T.O  -- under its founder, Theodor Reuss and also
under the leadership of Aleister Crowley -- certainly did
purport to "rectify" Masonry and used its rituals
extensively as a basis for ritual work. 

> # 4) Though many books on the [tarot] claim a masonic connection,
> I haven't noticed that many and I've got a decent library with
> some of the basics. pseudo-masonry generates quasi-masonic
> theories. some of these have been left behind as Freemasons
> object to the connection and the secrecy inherent to masonry
> is mistaken for and/or confused with the secrecy of quasi-
> masonic and non-masonic groups/traditions (the OTO no longer
> claims to make masons, for example).

Do Arthur Edward Waite and/or Paul Foster Case refer to
Freemasonic elements in the Tarot? I would guess them to do
so, but don't have their books here by me to check. 

> # all the
> # connections that I've seen are speculative at best. The origins of the
> # tarrot are unknown,
> they're fairly well-known, really. it was a divinatory device
> constructed out of a European card game called Tarocchi. one
> might compare what was done with Four Seasons/Chaturanga or
> Four-Handed Chess in the construction of "Enochian Chess".
> the connections with freemasonry (if any) were probably given
> their origin in sources like Eliphas Levi, who fabricated
> quite a bit his salon pieces.

Thank you, siva. It is about 100 years too late to claim
that "the origins of Tarot are unknown." 

> # and though many theories exist, most of them (like
> # the masonic connection theories) don't agree.
> when overlooking the deceptions it isn't difficult to construct
> a fairly reliable history of the occult tarot beyond the games.

 Again, i agree; those who hold to a "throy of Tarot" are
just deluding themselves as to the origin of the cards,
which is historically well documented. 

> # Yes, one can see
> # symbolism in some of the cards that appear to be obviously masonic
> # (like on the high priestess card) 

I do not believe that the High Priestess card is Masonic in
its major points -- EXCEPT IN THE WAITE-SMITH DECK and those
decks that followed upon Waite's and Smith's designs, such
as the Case/BOTA deck and so forth. Waite was a Freemason.
He added Freemasonic symbolism to the cards. 

> # you have to keep in mind that either
> # one could have borrowed from the other, or each could have come upon
> # the use of those symbol(s) from another origin, not related to the
> # other. -- Of course, all that doesn't matter much, as you're trying
> # (in part) to connect the tarrot the this mysterious "hermetic
> # masonry".
> the construction of occult tarot reflected off of Freemasonry,
> which preceded it. quasi-masons used masonic imagery and symbols,
> at times, for their own purposes. 

As did Masonic arot designers, such as Waite.

> it is also possible that they
> were effectively drawing from similar sources at times (i.e.
> the Torah or some other scripture). there is some real overlap
> between the occult and Freemasonic communities, also.
> # If you believe you're justified in posting this to alt.freemasonry,
> # please explain to me why....
> distinguishing the actualities of the connections between
> occultism and Freemasonry is at times valuable, though it
> can stir up more dust than clarify the confusion stoked
> by occultists who have stakes in deception or who have
> unfortunately been so deceived by their sources.

I agree. I think this is on-topic in alt.freemasonry. 

> at one time groups like the OTO (and even the GD?) claimed to
> be founded on or even to *make* masons, basing their initiation
> rites, to a certain extent, on Freemasonic, or at least Scottish
> Rite initiations (influenced, as was Albert Pike, by Eliphas
> Levi, whom he plagiarized in his "Morals and Dogma").
> untangling the confusion amongst all these things is also
> difficult because there is some measure of competition between
> occultists who maintain that Freemasonry has "Lost its Keys"
> (i.e. the association-schema for its initiation rites and
> the wisdom implied therein) in order to supplant or extend
> from rational and conventional knowledge like the Liberal Arts
> toward Neoplatonic religious philosophy they find more
> important or more valuable.

The typical occult initiatic order claim that "Freemasonry
has lost its keys" is almost a cliche at this point and is a
sad reflection of Masonic "wanna-bes" in my opinion. 

> additional discussion welcomed in cross-post as long as it
> touches on actual differences between Freemasonry and the
> occult counterfeits or some kind of infusion of Freemasonic
> morality or structural resemblance into occult initiatic orders.
> 333

cat yronwode 

Freemasonry for Women -------

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