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Article # 247
The Lost Keys of Freemasonry-Chapter-4 and 5.

Author: Manly Palmer Hall    Posted on: Tuesday, May 22, 2007
General Article | 1 comments  | Post your comment

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[ Chapters 4 and 5 of The Lost Keys of Freemasonry are posted in this Article. The remaining portions will be posted in the next article.]


The Fellow Craft



Life manifests not only through action on the physical plane, but through human emotions and sentiment. This is the type of energy taken up by the student, when he starts his labors in the Fellow Craft. From youth with its smiling face, he passes on to the greater responsibilities of manhood.


On the second step of the temple stands a soldier dressed in shining armor, but his sword is sheathed and a book is in his hand. He is symbolic of strength, the energy of Mars and the wonderful step in spiritual enfoldment, which we know as Fellow Craft. Through each one of us course the fiery rays of human emotion, a great seething cauldron of power behind each expression of human energy. Like spirited horses chafing at the bit, like hounds eager for the chase, the emotional powers cannot be held in check, but break the walls of restraint and pour forth as fiery expressions of dynamic energy. This great principle of emotion we know as the second murderer of Hiram. Through the perversion of human emotions there comes into the world untold sorrow, which through reaction, manifests in the mental and physical bodies.


It is strange how divine powers may become perverted until each expression and urge becomes a ruffian and a murderer. The divine compassion of the gods manifests in this world of form very differently than in the realms of light. Divine compassion is energized by the same influxes as mortal passions and the lusts of earth. The spiritual light rays of Cosmos, the Fire Princes of the Dawn, which seethe and surge through the unregenerate man, are the impulses, which he perverts to murder and hate. The ceaseless power of Chaos, the seething pinwheel spirals of perpetual motion, whose majestic cadences are the music of the spheres, are energized by the same great power, that man uses to destroy the highest and best. The same mystic power that keeps the planets in their orbits around the solar body, the same energy that keeps each electron spinning and whirling, the same energy that is building the temple of God, is now a merciless slave driver which, unmastered and uncurbed, strikes the Compassionate One and sends him reeling backward into the darkness of his prison. Man does not listen to that little voice which speaks to him in ever loving, ever sorrowful tones. This voice speaks of the peace accompanying the constructive application of energy, which he must chain, if he would master the powers of creation. How long will it take King Hiram of  Tyre, the warrior on the second step, symbolic of the Fellow Craft of the Cosmic Lodge, to teach mankind the lessons of self-mastery? The teacher can do it only as he daily depicts the miseries, which are the result of uncurbed appetites. The strength of man was not given to be used destructively, but that he might build a temple worthy to be the dwelling place of the Great Architect of the universe. God is glorifying himself through the individualized portions of himself, and is slowly teaching these individualized portions to understand and glorify the whole.


The day has come when Fellow Craftsmen must know and apply their knowledge. The lost key to their grade is the mastery of emotion, which places the energy of the universe at their disposal. Man can only expect to be entrusted with great power by proving his ability to use it constructively and selflessly. When the Mason learns that the key to the warrior on the block is the proper application of the dynamo of living power, he has learned the mystery of his Craft. The seething energies of Lucifer are in his hands and before he may step onward and upward, he must prove his ability to properly apply energy. He must follow in the footsteps of his forefather, Tubalcain, who with the mighty strength of the war god hammered his sword into a plowshare. Incessant vigilance over thought, action, and desire is indispensable to those who wish to make progress in the unfolding of their own being, and the Fellow Craft's degree is the degree of transmutation. The hand that slays must lift the fallen, while the lips given to cursing must be taught to pray. The heart that hates must learn the mystery of compassion, as the result of a deeper and more perfect understanding of man's relation to his brother. The firm, kind hand of spirit must curb the flaming powers of emotion with an iron grip. In the realization and application of these principles lies the key of the Fellow Craft.


In this degree, the two points of the compass (one higher than the other), symbolize the heart and mind and with the expression of the higher emotions the heart point of the compass is liberated from the square, which is an instrument used to measure the block of matter and therefore symbolizes form.


A large percentage of the people of the world at the present time are passing through, spiritually, the degree of the Fellow Craft, with its five senses. The sense perceptions come under the control of the emotional energies, therefore the development of the senses is necessary to the constructive expression of the Fellow Craft power. Man must realize that all the powers, which his many years of need have earned for him  have come in order that through them he may liberate more fully the prisoner within his own being. As the Fellow Craft degree is the middle of the three, the spiritual duty of each member is to reach the point of poise or balance, which is always secured between extremes. The mastery of expression is also to be found in this degree. The keywords of the Fellow Craft may be briefly defined as compassion, poise, and transmutation.


In the Fellow Craft degree is concealed the dynamo of human life. The Fellow Craft is the worker with elemental fire, which it is his duty to transmute into spiritual light. The heart is the center of his activity and it is while in this degree that the human side of the nature with its constructive emotions should be brought out and emphasized. But all of these expressions of the human heart must become transmuted into the emotionless compassion of the gods, who despite the suffering of the moment, gaze down upon mankind and see that it is good.


When the candidate feels that he has reached a point where he is able to manifest every energizing current and fire flame in a constructive, balanced manner and has spiritually lifted the heart sentiments of the mystic out of the cube of matter, he may then expect that the degree of Master Mason is not far off, and so may look forward eagerly to the time of his spiritual ordination into the higher degree. He should now study himself and realize that he cannot receive promotion into the spiritual lodge until his heart is attuned to a superior, spiritual influx from the causal planes of consciousness.


The following requirements are necessary before the student can spiritually say that he is a member of the ancient and accepted rite of the Fellow Craft:

  1. The mastery of emotional outbreaks of all kinds, poise under trying conditions, kindness in the face of unkindness, and simplicity with its accompanying power. These points show that the seeker is worthy of being taught by a Fellow Craftsman.
  2.  The mastery of the animal energies, the curbing of passion and desire, and the control of the lower nature mark the faithful attempts on the part of the student to be worthy of the Fellow Craft.
  3.  The understanding and mastery of the creative forces, the consecration of them to the unfolding of the spiritual nature and a proper understanding of their physical application, are necessary steps at this stage of the student's growth.
  4. The transmutation of personal affection into impersonal compassion shows that the Fellow Craftsman truly understands  his duties and is living in a manner worthy of his order. Personalities cannot bind the true second degree member, for having raised one point of the compasses he now realizes that all personal manifestations are governed by impersonal principles.
  5. At this point the candidate consecrates the five senses to the study of human problems with the unfolding of sense centers as the motive; for he realizes that the five senses are keys, the proper application of which will give him material for spiritual transmutation, if he will apply to them the common divisor of analogy. The Entered Apprentice  may be termed a materialistic degree.


The Fellow Craft is religious and mystical, while the Master Mason is occult or philosophical. Each of these is a degree in the unfoldment of a connected life and intelligence, revealing in ever fuller expression the gradual liberation of the Master from the triangular cell of threefold negation, which marks the early stage of individualization.


The Master Mason



On the upper steps of spiritual unfoldment stands the Master Mason, who spiritually represents the graduate from the school of esoteric learning. In the ancient symbols he is represented as an old man leaning upon a staff, his long white beard upon his chest and his deep, piercing eyes sheltered by the brows of a philosopher. He is in truth old, not in years, but in wisdom and understanding, which are the only true measurement of age. Through years and lives of labor he has found the staff of life and truth upon which he leans. He no longer depends upon the words of others but upon the still voice that speaks from the heart of his own being. There is no more glorious position that a man may hold than that of a Master Builder, who has risen by labor through the degrees of human consciousness. Time is the differentiation of eternity devised by man to measure the passage of human events. On the spiritual planes of Nature it is the space or distance between the stages of spiritual growth and hence is not measurable by material means. Many a child comes into this world a Grand Master of the Masonic School, while many a revered and honored brother passes silently to rest without having gained admittance to its gate. The Master Mason is one whose life is full, pressed down and brimming over with the experience, he has gained in his slow pilgrimage up the winding stairs.


The Master Mason embodies the power of the human mind, that connecting link which binds heaven and earth together in an endless chain. His spiritual light is greater because he has evolved a higher vehicle for its expression. Above even constructive action and emotion soars the power of thought, which swiftly flies on wings to the source of Light. The mind is the highest form of his human expression and he passes into the great darkness of the inner room illuminated only by the fruits of reason. The glorious privileges of a Master Mason are in keeping with his greater knowledge and wisdom. From the student he has blossomed forth as the teacher, from the kingdom of those, who follow he has joined that little group, who must always lead the way. For him the Heavens have opened and the Great Light has bathed him in its radiance. The Prodigal Son, so long a wanderer in the regions of darkness, has returned again to his Father's house. The voice speaks from the Heavens, its power thrilling the Master until his own being seems filled with its divinity, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The ancients taught that the sun was not a source of light, life, or power, but a medium through which life and light were reflected into physical substance. The Master Mason is in truth a sun, a great reflector of light, who radiates through his organism, purified by ages of preparation, the glorious power, which is the light of the Lodge. He, in truth, has become the spokesman of the Most High. He stands between the glowing fire, light and the world. Through him passes Hydra, the great snake and from its month there pours to man the light of God. His symbol is the rising sun, for in him the globe of day has indeed risen in all its splendor from the darkness of the night, illuminating the immortal East with the first promise of approaching day.


With a sigh the Master lays aside his tools. For him the temple is nearing completion, the last stones are being placed and he slakes his lime with a vague regret as he sees dome and minaret rise through the power of his handiwork. The true Master does not long for rest and as he sees the days of his labor close, a sadness weighs upon his heart. Slowly the brothers of his Craft leave him, each going his respective way and climbing step by step, the Master stands alone on the pinnacle of the temple. One stone must yet be placed, but this he cannot find. Somewhere it lies concealed. In prayer he kneels, asking the powers that be to aid him in his search. The light of the sun shines upon him and bathes him in a splendor celestial. Suddenly a voice speaks from the Heavens, saying, "The temple is finished and in my faithful Master is found the missing stone."


Both points of the compasses are now lifted from under the square. The divine is liberated from its cube, heart and mind alike are liberated from the symbol of mortality, and as emotion and thought they unite for the glorification of the greatest and the highest. Then the Sun and Moon are united and the Hermetic Degree is consummated.


The Master Mason is afforded opportunities far beyond the reach of ordinary man, but he must not fail to realize that with every opportunity comes a cosmic responsibility. It is worse by far to know and not to do than never to have known at all. He realizes that the choice of avoiding responsibility is no longer his and that for him all problems must be met and solved. The only joy in the heart of the Master is the joy of seeing the fruits of his handiwork. It can be truly said of the Master that through suffering he has learned to be glad, through weeping he has learned to smile and through dying he has learned to live. The purification and probationship of his previous degrees have so spiritualized his being that he is in truth a glorious example of God's Plan for His children. The greatest sermon he can preach, the greatest lesson he can teach, is that of standing forth a living proof of the Eternal Plan. The Master Mason is not ordained. He is the natural product of cause and effect and none, but those who live the cause can produce the effect. The Master Mason, if he be truly a Master, is in communication with the unseen powers that move the destinies of life. As the Eldest Brother of the lodge, he is the spokesman for the spiritual hierarchies of his Craft. He no longer follows the direction of others, but on his own tracing board he lays out the plans, which his brothers are to follow. He realizes this and so lives that  every line and plan, which he gives out is inspired by the divine with in himself. His glorious opportunity to be a factor in the growth of others comes before all  else. At the seat of mercy he kneels, a faithful servant of the Highest within himself and worthy to be given control over the lives of others by having first controlled himself.


Much is said concerning the loss of the Master's Word and how the seekers go out to find it, but bring back only substitutes. The true Master knows that those who go out can never find the secret trust. He alone can find it, who goes within. The true Master Builder has never lost the Word, but has cherished it in the spiritual locket of his own being. From those who have the eyes to see, nothing is concealed. To those who have the right to know, all things are open books. The true Word of the three Grand Masters has never been concealed from those, who have the right to know it, nor has it ever been revealed to those who have not prepared a worthy shrine to contain it. The Master knows, for he is a Temple Builder. Within the setting of his own bodies, the Philosopher's Stone is placed, for in truth, it is the heart of the Phoenix, that strange bird which rises with renewed youth from the ashes of its burned body. When the Master's heart is as pure and white as the diamond that he wears, he will then become a living stone, the crown jewel in the diadem of his Craft.


The Word is found when the Master himself is ordained by the living hand of God, cleansed by living water, baptized by living fire, a Priest King after the Order of Melchizedek, who is above the law.


The great work of the Master Mason can be called the art of balance. To him is given the work of balancing the triangle that it may blaze forth with the glory of the Divine Degree. The triple energies of thought, desire, and action must be united in a harmonious blending of expression. He holds in his hands the triple keys. He wears the triple crown of the ancient Magus, for he is in truth the King of heaven, earth, and hell. Salt, sulphur, and mercury are the elements of his work and with the philosophical mercury he seeks to blend all powers to the glorifying of one end.


Behind the degree of Master Mason, there is another not known to earth. Far above him stretch other steps concealed by the blue veil, which divides the seen from the unseen. The true Brother knows this. Therefore he works with an end in view far above the concept of mortal mind. He seeks to be worthy to pass behind that veil and join that band who, unhonored and unsung, carry the responsibilities of human growth. His eyes are fixed forever on the Seven Stars which shine down from somewhere above the upper rung of  the ladder. With Hope, Faith, and Charity, he climbs the steps and whispering the Master's Word to the Keeper of the Gates, passes on behind the veil. It is then and then only, that a true Mason is born. Only behind this veil does the mystic student come into his own. The things, which we see around us are but forms, promises of a thing unnamed, symbols of a truth unknown. It is in the spiritual temple built without the voice of workmen or the sound of hammer, that the true initiation is given and there, robed in the simple lambskin of a purified body, the student becomes a Master Mason, chosen out of the world to be an active worker in the name of the Great Architect. It is there alone, unseen by mortal eyes, that the Greater Degrees are given and there the soul radiating the light of Spirit becomes a living; star in the blue canopy of the Masonic lodge.



Masonry is eternal truth, personified, idealized, and yet made simple. Eternal truth alone can serve it. Virtue is its priest, patience its warden, illumination its master. The world cannot know this, however, save when Masons in their daily life prove that it is so. Its truth is divine, and is not to be desecrated or defamed by the thoughtlessness of its keepers. Its temple is a holy place, to be entered in reverence. Material thoughts and material dissensions must be left without its gate. They may not enter. Only the pure of heart, regenerated and transmuted, may pass the sanctity of its veil. The schemer has no place in its ranks, nor the materialist in its shrine, for Masons walk on hallowed ground, sanctified by the veneration of ages. Let the tongue be stilled, let the heart be stilled, let the mind be stilled. In reverence and in the silence, stillness shall speak. The voice of stillness is the voice of the Creator. Show your light and your power to men, but before God what have you to offer, save in humility? Your robes, your tinsel, and your jewels mean naught to Him, until your own body and soul, gleaming with the radiance of perfection, become the living ornaments of your Lodge.


The Presence Of The Master

The Mason believes in the Great Architect, the living keystone of creation's plan, the Master of all Lodges, without whose spirit  there is no work. Let him never forget that the Master is near. Day and night let him feel the presence of the Supreme or  Overshadowing One. The All-Seeing Eye is upon him. Day and night this great Orb measures his depths, seeing into his innermost soul of souls, judging his life, reading his thoughts, measuring his aspirations, and rewarding his sincerity. To this All Seeing One he is accountable. To none other must he account. This Spirit passes with him out of the Lodge and measures the Mason in the world. This Spirit is with him when he buys and sells. It is with him in his home. By the light of day and by the darkness of night it judges him. It hears each thoughtless word. It is the silent witness to every transaction of life, the silent Partner of every man. By the jury of  his acts, each man is judged. Let every Mason know that his obligations include not only those within the narrow Lodge, bordered by walls of stone and brick, but those in the Great Lodge, walled only by the dome of  heaven. The Valley of Jehoshaphat waits for him, who is false to any creature, as surely as it waited for the breakers of the Cosmic oath.




Please peruse Article No.245. for the write up about the learned Author

Click Here To Post Your Comment

rbeyer wrote on Wednesday, March 25, 2009:

Subject: lost keys

very helpful to understand the meaning and goal of the first three degrees

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