Tangents – Masonic Flavor

I found myself on a tangent this morning. One of those days where you get an e-mail that piques your interest, where you follow it for a while, and then find a link to something else, related, but different that piques your interest more, and so on and so on…

About.com has a HUGE volume of information and articles, which at times amaze me in their depth. What I found today was an insightful piece that talks about the symbols on the dollar bill as having a “Masonic Flavor” but not outright Masonic in nature.

What exactly does “Masonic Flavor” taste like, you may ask? Well, from the article, it describes the origins of the icons as Masonic and Rosicrucian in that

“The primary educational vehicle of the Rosicrucian’s and Freemasons was symbolism. Lacking the dogmatic belief system of religion, the Masons employed symbols as a teaching aid. Masonic historical legend is understood to be allegorical, and points to the ideas of the wisest of history as originators of its body of thought- King Solomon, Euclid, Pythagoras, and the architects who brought the Egyptian civilization out of the mud- all men who, to some degree, rejected the established superstitions of their day to pursue enlightenment through the natural order they observed in the universe.”

Why was this usage of symbolism so important? The article goes on to saying:

“The Rosicrucian ideal of reasoned enlightenment led to the rebirth of an old ideal- Democracy. Followers of this philosophy in the colonies included Masons like Thomas Jefferson [who was not a Freemaosn] and Ben Franklin (who at one time belonged to the same Lodge in Paris as Court de Gebelin, the inventor of the esoteric tarot), and sympathizers like Thomas Paine, who borrowed heavily from enlightenment philosophers in the formation of their new government.”

Further, it talks about other connections and parallels to the two fraternities. My take on it is that the ideas were in the air, and not some diabolic conspiracy that so many seem to believe existed. The ideas of the Renaissance and age of enlightenment gave birth to America and ultimately our Democracy today. Are these ideas out of some arcane? Probably not, but they are stepping-stones to the modern enlightenment we have today. Freemasonry, in part, contributed to those ideas and attitudes. Without it, I doubt we would be where we are today.

Maybe I am looking at Freemasonry in a different light these days. On another Blog, I found myself debating the meaning behind what Chris Hodapp said in his book “Freemasons for Dummies”. Hodapp said, in his book, that any connection between Freemasonry and the ancient mystery schools is “a load of crap”, which made me think more about those connections. Long story short is that I feel, there is not a linear connection between the lodge today and the ancient schools of Egypt, just as there is no linear connection between the small town church and Jesus on the hilltop sharing fish. The connection is their philosophy, and Freemasonry, I believe, shares that philosophy with the mystery schools of old.

I think this may be a longer post another day, but my tangent today took me down this road that made me think about where Freemasonry came from. I appreciate and praise Br. Hodapp’s work, but disagree with him, and think there is a broader history of Freemasonry that maybe we don’t want to acknowledge because of what we feel it represents. Maybe it’s just me going off on another tangent…that’s still geometry, right?

This is a great piece on the making of the Great Seal circa 1782

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~ by Greg on August 29, 2006.

One Response to “Tangents – Masonic Flavor”

  1. I was just trying to figure out whether Thomas Paine’s Origin is accurate. Any thoughts? I came accross your blog while searching and liked it.

    My name’s Sarah, I was reading Common Sense but was diverted –

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