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History of Baphomet: Alchemy, Templars

To: private email
From: george helmer 
Subject: Re: History of Baphomet: Alchemy, Templars (LONG)
Date: 	Thu, 02 Jul 1998 20:20:40 -0600

> Anyway, tyagi asks: How much did Pike plagiarize from Levi? Is Pike's
> plagiarism known among Masons?  Was Levi a reputable source on the
> Knights Templar -- or was he a fraud? What were Levi's sources? 

Pillars of Wisdom - The writings of Albert Pike by Rex R. Hutchens

page 265

Within Morals and Dogma, Pike relies heavily on the 
works of Levi. Thus, Pike has an excessive dependence 
on the concepts and vocabulary of a now generally 
discredited occult system: alchemy, magic, divination, 
and the presumed presence of a secret doctrine known 
only to a few. As well, Pike's almost total borrowing of the 
lecture of the 30th Degree from History of Magic 
perpetuates the theory of Templar-Masonic connections. 
Although Pike believes his readers will easily be able to 
separate "simple fact" from "audacious conjecture" (p. 
815), this is not easily accomplished - what is the 
difference between paragraphs which start with quotes 
and those that start with open square brackets?

page 322

The Sohar (Zohar elsewhere) or 'Book of Splendor', as 
explained by Eliphas Levi, was Pike's primary source on 
the Kabalah. Composed in the 13th century, most 
scholars consider it essentially an original manuscript 
written by Moses De Leon of Guadalajara, Spain, 
between A. D. 1275 and 1286. Pike says, "The Sohar, 
which is the Key of the Holy Books, opens also all the 
depths and lights, all the obscurities of the Ancient 
Mythologies and of the Sciences originally concealed in 
the Sanctuaries" (p. 843). But then he cautions:


Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle

by William L. Fox

page 74 - 75

Pike read in French the works of the occultist Eliphas 
Levi (Doctrine of Transcendental Magic, 1855; Key of the 
Grand Mysteries, 1861; and History of Magic, 1860). 
Early in his career, Pike had learned French so he could 
practice law in New Orleans. While Levi was a prolific 
author, his scholarship on ancient mystery religions was 
riddled with errors and infelicities. Pike's rituals and 
subsequent commentary on craft and Scottish Rite 
degrees in Morals and Dogma, however, show the heavy 
footprints of Levi. Pike covers much ground wearing 
Levi's boots.

Pike, nevertheless, read widely, seriously, and deeply in 
accomplishing the necessary overhaul of the rituals. 
When completed, it would gradually transform the Rite in 
several subtle ways. Unlike the York Rite with its 
emphasis on a precision that insists on exact words and 
the learning of complex march steps, Pike gave the 
Scottish Rite poetic license. He was more concerned with 
ideas than the exact words, more with being understood 
than perfecting the details.

One of those main ideas centered on duty, "a stern voice 
of the daughter of God." This fits Victorian culture with 
obvious ease, recalling Tennyson, Kipling, and other 
poets of the time who examined duty as a virtue. The 
ethical value of duty fitted Masonry in every respect, too, 
since obligations were taken by the initiate as part of 
each degree. But Pike's rituals moved the concept of 
duty way beyond that which is owed to a brother Mason

Pike made duty a social construct for Masonry to follow. 
This alteration of emphasis in the Scottish Rite rituals 
was a departure from Craft Masonry with its all-for-one 
and one-for-all sense that the lodge will take care of its 
own. This modification led, consequently, to a major 
transformation in American Freemasonry. Pike's rituals at 
some level provided the brotherhood with a social 
conscience; the Scottish Rite tread past traditional 
fraternal boundaries to become mindful of society as a 
whole. While it has seemed convenient to offer less 
noble reasons for the expansion of Masonic 
philanthropies in the twentieth century, such as the need 
for a more polished public image, it was Pike's idealism 
and gradual influence expressed in the degree work, as 
much as anything else, that served as an impetus for 
later fraternal outreach.

Pike, nevertheless, struggled in the challenge of setting 
the rituals and, therefore, the Rite on a new course. His 
preparation was laborious and rigorous: "After I had 
collected and read a hundred rare volumes upon 
religious antiquities, symbolism, the mysteries, the 
doctrines of the gnostics and the Hebrew and 
Alexandrian philosophy, the Blue degrees and many 
others, our Rite still remained as impenetrable enigmas 
to me at first. The monuments of Egypt with their 
hieroglyphics gave me no assistance."

Morals and Dogma, a work of some 861 pages, which 
was not published until 1871, was a logical companion to 
Pike's work on the Scottish Rite rituals. He never claimed 
it "to be an entirely original production." In fact, he noted 
in the preface that he had been "about equally Author 
and Compiler" and that he had "extracted quite half its 
contents from the works of the best writers and most 
philosophic or eloquent thinkers." His extractions were 
later criticized for not complying with the canons of 
scholarship in failing to acknowledge sources, but the 
demands for proper citation were not as strong then as 
they were subsequently.

Pike's Morals and Dogma is the work of synthesis, not 
analysis. The book traces many abstract ideas by 
jumping around from religion to religion, not in the 
interest of tight systematic coherence, but in trying to 
demonstrate by a common-sense method that all human 
experience is basically the same. Pike was a capacious 
thinker who revealed a preference in Morals and Dogma 
for intuition as a desirable starting point from which he 
searched for evidence of a great principle.


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