Page from French Bible Moralisee (c 1235-1245),
British Library, showing Christ as the Great Architect, designing the
universe with the compass of the Freemason.
The real secrets of Masonry, as indeed of the grand ever-persisting Arcane Science, have never, according to H.P.B., been written down. They are not in any book, however, ancient, descriptive, explanatory or erudite. Our first extract uses the phrase “mouth to ear and the word at low breath”, indicating the process of the transmission of arcane secrets from an Initiate, a knower, to his qualified pupil or successor.
It seems that the real secrets of Occultism are not like those of modern magic. The accomplished conjuror, by being accepted into the Magic Circle, can be shown how the most baffling tricks are performed. Nature is not like that. Her secrets are only for him who “infiltrates” her by not only becoming wholly receptive to her and discovering her modus operandi but becoming possessed actively of her powers. This entails acquiring mastery over and perfecting all our human principles, faculties and powers, until our comprehension of, and attunement to, Nature is fully operative.
As is said in the literature, the secrets are not communicable until the would-be magician, or adept, can fully respond. At another level this is what was meant by Jesus saying, “He that has ears to hear let him hear”or “he who has eyes to see let him see”.
In the enactment of the rites of the Mysteries – and real Masonry – these faculties were developed. Now, according to H.P.B.’s and the Masters’ statements in Isis Unveiled, these secrets and what is termed the “lost word” are in fact lost, at least to modern Masonry. A few chosen brethren are apparently exceptions to this even now but it seems they are of the East, not the West.
Then other statements are made in the extracts. The Eastern Brothers have access by psychic means to many secrets. Ancient and modern Freemasonry are an obligatory study with every Eastern Occultist.
An interesting example of the way the Eastern Adepts know the Masonic secrets is the publication in Isis Unveiled of several of the ciphers of the Jesuits and others.
This Masonic commandment, “mouth to ear, and the word at low breath”, is an inheritance from the Tanaïm and the old Pagan Mysteries. Its modern use must certainly be due to the indiscretion of some renegade kabalist, though the “word” itself is but a “substitute” for the “lost word”, and is a comparatively modern invention, as we will further show. The real sentence has remained forever in the sole possession of the adepts of various countries of the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Only a limited number among the chiefs of the Templars, and some Rosicrucians of the seventeenth century, always in close relations with Arabian alchemists and initiates, could really boast of its possession. From the seventh to the fifteenth centuries there was no one who could claim it in Europe; and although there had been alchemists before the days of Paracelsus, he was the first who had passed through the true initiation, that last ceremony which conferred on the adept the power of travelling toward the “burning bush” over holy ground, and to “burn the golden calf in the fire, grind it to powder, and strow it upon the water.” verily, then, this magic water, and the “lost word”, resuscitated more than one of the pre-Mosaic Adonirams, Gedaliahs, and Hiram Abiffs. The real word now substituted by Mac Benac and Mah was used ages before its pseudo-magical effect was tried on the “widow’s sons” of the last two centuries. [I.U.II, 349]
But now that so many of the most important secrets of Masonry have been divulged by friend and foe, may we not say, without suspicion of malice or ill-feeling, that since the sad catastrophe of the Templars, no “Lodge” in Europe, still less in America, has ever known anything worth concealing. Reluctant to be misunderstood, we say no Lodge, leaving a few chosen brethren entirely out of question. The frantic denunciations of the Craft by Catholic and Protestant writers appear simply ridiculous, as also the affirmation of the Abbé Barruel that everything “betrays our Freemasons as the descendants of those proscribed Knights” Templars of 1314. The Memoirs of Jacobinism by this Abbé, an eye-witness to the horrors of the first Revolution, is devoted in great measure to the Rosicrucians and other Masonic fraternities. The fact alone that he traces the modern Masons to the Templars, and points them out as secret assassins, trained to political murder, shows how little he knew of them but how ardently he desired, at the same time, to find in these societies convenient scape-goats for the crimes and sins of another secret society which, since its existence, has harbored more than one dangerous political assassin – the Society of Jesus. [I.U.II, 371-2]
That we may not be accused of vain boasting, we shall give the keys to several of the secret ciphers of the most exclusive and important of the so-called higher Masonic degrees. If we mistake not, these have never before been revealed to the outside world (except that of the Royal Arch Masons, in 1830), but have been most jealously guarded within the various orders. We are under neither promise, obligation, nor oath, and therefore violate no confidence. Our purpose is not to gratify an idle curiosity; we wish merely to show Masons and the affiliates of all other Western societies – the Company of Jesus included – that it is impossible for them to be secure in the possession of any secrets that it is worth an Eastern Brotherhood’s while to discover. Inferentially, it may also show them that if the latter can lift the masks of European societies, they are nevertheless successful in wearing their own visors; for, if any one thing is universally acknowledged, it is that the real secrets of not a single surviving ancient brotherhood are in possession of the profane.
Some of these ciphers were used by the Jesuits in their secret correspondence at the time of the Jacobin conspiracy, and when Masonry (the alleged successor to the Temple) was employed by the Church for political purposes. [Note: These ciphers are reproduced in full on pp 395-7 I.U.II] [I.U.II, 394]
We might, if we chose, give the cipher alphabets with their keys, of another method of the Royal Arch Masons, strongly resembling a certain Hindu character; of the G ∴ El ∴ of the Mystic City; of a well-known form of the Devanagari script of the (French) Sages of the Pyramids; and of the Sublime Master of the Great Work, and others. But we refrain; only, be it understood, for the reason that some of these alone of all the side branches of the original Blue Lodge Freemasonry, contain the promise of a useful future. As for the rest, they may and will go to the ash-heap of time. High Masons will understand what we mean. [I.U.II, 398]
Such high Masons need not be told, though Craftsmen in general do, that the time has come to remodel Masonry, and restore those ancient landmarks, borrowed from the early sodalities, which the eighteenth century founders of speculative Freemasonry meant to have incorporated in the fraternity. There are no longer any secrets left unpublished; the Order is degenerating into a convenience for selfish men to use, and bad men to debase. [I.U.II, 377]
The real secrets of symbolic Masonry are lost, as Ragon, by the way, proves very well. [C.W.XI, 181]
But, if there are a few Masons who, from study of kabalistic and other rare works, and coming in personal communication with “Brothers from the far-away East, have learned something of esoteric Masonry, it is not the case with the hundreds of American Lodges. [I.U.II, 375-6]
The Temple was the last European secret organization which, as a body, had in its possession some of the mysteries of the East. True, there were in the past century (and perhaps still are) isolated “Brothers” faithfully and secretly working under the direction of Eastern Brotherhoods. But these, when they did belong to European societies, invariably joined them for objects unknown to the Fraternity, though at the same time for the benefit of the latter. It is through them that modern Masons have all they know of importance; and the similarity now found between the Speculative Rites of antiquity, the mysteries of the Essenes, Gnostics, and the Hindus, and the highest and oldest of the Masonic degrees well prove the fact. If these mysterious brothers became possessed of the secrets of the societies, they could never reciprocate the confidence, though in their hands these secrets were safer, perhaps, than in the keeping of European Masons. When certain of the latter were found worthy of becoming affiliates of the Orient, they were secretly instructed and initiated, but the others were none the wiser for that. [I.U.II, 380]
Certain brethren in England have said from mouth to ear that the destruction was the result of a shameful pact between certain Masons and the Church. An aged “brother,” a great Kabbalist, has just died here, whose grandfather, a renowned Mason, was an intimate friend of Count Saint-Germain, when the latter was sent, it is said, by Louis XV, to England, in 1760, to negotiate peace between the two countries. The Count Saint-Germain left in the hands of this Mason certain documents relating to the history of Masonry, and containing the key to more than one misunderstood mystery. He did so on the conditions that these documents would become the secret heritage of all those descendants of the Kabbalists who became Masons. These papers, however, were of value to but two Masons: the father and the son who has just died, and they will be of no use to anyone else in Europe. Before his death, the previous documents were left with an Oriental (a Hindu) who was commissioned to transmit them to a certain person who would come to Amritsar, City of Immortality, to claim them. It is also told, confidentially, that the famous founder of the Lodge of Trinosophists, J.M. Ragon, was also initiated into many secrets by an Oriental, in Belgium, and some say that he knew Saint-Germain in his youth. This might perhaps explain why the author of the Tuileur général de la Franc-Maçonnerie, or Manuel de l’Initié, affirmed that Elias Ashmole was the real founder of modern Masonry. No one knew better than Ragon the extent of the loss of Masonic secrets, as he himself says:
“It is of the very essence and nature of the Mason to seek light wherever he thinks he can find it,” proclaims the circular of the Grand Orient of France. “In the meanwhile,” he adds, “they give the Masons the glorious title of children of light, and they leave them enveloped in darkness!” [C.W.XI, 184]
So long as the American and English Masons will reject the “Creative Principle” of the “Grand Orient” of France they will remain in the dark. [C.W.XIV, 40 fn]
J.M. Ragon, a Belgian by birth, and a Mason, knew more about Occultism than any other non-initiated writer. For fifty years he studied the ancient Mysteries wherever he could find accounts of them. In 1805, he founded at Paris the Brotherhood of Les Trinosophes, in which lodge he delivered for years lectures on Ancient and Modern Initiation (in 1818 and again in 1841), which were published, and now are lost. Then he became the writer-in-chief of Hermes, a masonic paper. His best works were La Maçonnerie Occulte and the Fastes Initiatiques. After his death, in 1862, a number of his MSS. remained in the possession of the Grand Orient of France. A high Mason told the writer that Ragon had corresponded for years with two Orientalists in Syria and Egypt, one of whom is a Kopt gentleman. [C.W.XIV, 296 fn]
We have no wish to make a pretence of exposing secrets long since hawked about the world by perjured Masons. Everything vital, whether in symbolical representations, rites, or passwords, as used in modern Freemasonry, is known in the Eastern fraternities; though there seems to be no intercourse or connection between them. If Medea is described by Ovid as having “arm, breast, and knee made bare, left foot slipshod;” and Virgil, speaking of Dido, show this “Queen herself . . . now resolute on death, having one foot bare, etc.,” why doubt that there are in the East real “Patriarchs of the sacred Vedas”, explaining the esotericism of pure Hindu theology and Brahmanism quite as thoroughly as European “Patriarchs”. [I.U.II, 376]
Rabbi Shimon ben-Yohai, the compiler of the Zohar, never imparted the most important points of his doctrine otherwise than orally, and to a very limited number of disciples. Therefore, without the final initiation into the Merkabah, the study of the Kabalah will be ever incomplete, and the Merkabah can be taught only “in darkness, in a deserted place, and after many and terrific trials.” Since the death of that great Jewish Initiate this hidden doctrine has remained, for the outside world, an inviolate secret.[C.W.XIV, 38]
The books by H.P. Blavatsky from which passages have been extracted are:
1. I.U. ISIS UNVEILED, Vols I and II, all editions same pagination.
2. S.D. THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vols I and II
3. S.D. THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol III, only in the 1897 edition (this material is in C.W.XII)
34. C.W. THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY
Another book which readers might care to read for much information about the craft from a Masonic point of view is:–
5. THE FREEMASON’S GUIDE AND COMPENDIUM by Bernard E. Jones, (George G. Harrop)
First published 2003 by The Theosophical Publishing House, London.
Available from: The Theosophical Society in England, 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA
Theosophical Society in England, Bookshop link