We now read Pike’s views on man’s understanding of the word “light;” or man’s search for light, which is God. And than he relates this search to that of Masonry when he wrote, “Masonry is a search after Light. That search leads us directly back, as you see, to the Kabalah. In that ancient and little understood medley of absurdity and philosophy, the Initiate will find the source of many doctrines; and may in time come to understand the Hermetic philosophers, the Alchemists, all the Anti-papal Thinkers of the Middle Ages, and Emanuel Swedenborg.” Ever wonder why Masonry keeps bringing up these ancient doctrinal writings, or pre-Christian beliefs? Well, Pike helps us better understand these beliefs within his next lesson. Enjoy my friends:
In these later days, in laboring to escape from all material ideas in regard to Deity, we have so refined away our notions of GOD, as to have no idea of Him at all. In struggling to regard Him as a pure immaterial Spirit, we have made the word Spirit synonymous with nothing, and can only say that He is a Somewhat, with certain attributes, such as Power, Wisdom, and Intelligence. To compare Him to LIGHT, would now be deemed not only unphilosophical, but the equivalent of Atheism; and we find it necessary to excuse and pity the ancients for their inadequate and gross ideas of Deity, expressed in considering Him as the Light-Principle, the invisible essence or substance from which visible Light flows.
Yet our own holy writings continually speak of Him as Light; and therefore the Tsabeans and the Kabala may well be pardoned for doing the same; especially since they did not regard Him as the visible Light known to us, but as the Primordial Ether-Ocean from which light flows.
Before the creation, did the Deity dwell alone in the Darkness, or in the Light? Did the Light co-exist with Him, or was it created, after an eternity of darkness? and if it co-existed, was it an effluence from Him, filling all space as He also filled it, He and the Light at the same time filling the same place and every place?
MILTON says, expressing the Hebraic doctrine:
“Hail, Holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born,
Or of th’ Eternal, co-eternal beam!
May I express thee unblamed, since God is Light.
And never but in unapproached Light
Dwelt from Eternity; dwelt then in Thee,
Bright effluence of bright Essence uncreate.”
“The LIGHT,” says the Book Omschim, or Introduction to the Kabala, “Supremest of all things, and most Lofty, and Limitless, and styled INFINITE, can be attained unto by no cogitation or speculation; and its VERY SELF is evidently withdrawn and removed beyond all intellection. It WAS, before all things whatever, produced, created, formed, and made by Emanation; and in it was neither Time, Head, or Beginning; since it always existed, and remains forever, without commencement or end.”
“Before the Emanations flowed forth, and created things were created, the Supreme Light was infinitely extended, and filled the whole WHERE; so that with reference to Light no vacuum could be affirmed, nor any unoccupied space; but the ALL was filled with that Light of the Infinite, thus extended, whereto in every regard was no end, inasmuch as nothing was, except that extended Light, which, with a certain single and simple equality, was everywhere like unto itself.”
AINSOPH is called Light, says the Introduction to the Sohar, because it is impossible to express it by any other word.
To conceive of God as an actuality, and not as a mere non-substance or name, which involved non-existence, the Kabala, like the Egyptians, imagined Him to be “a most occult Light,” AUR; not our material and visible Light, but the Substance out of which Light flows, the fire, as relative to its heat and flame. Of this Light or Ether, the Sun was to the Tsabeans the only manifestation or out-shining, and as such it was worshipped, and not as the type of dominion and power. God was the Phōs Noēton, the Light cognizable only by the Intellect, the Light-Principle, the Light-Ether, from which souls emanate, and to which they return.
Light, Fire, and Flame, with the Phœnicians, were the sons of Kronos. They are the Trinity in the Chaldæan Oracles, the AOR of the Deity, manifested in flame, that issues out of the invisible Fire.
In the first three Persian Amshaspands, Lords of LIGHT, FIRE, and SPLENDOR, we recognize the AOR, ZOHAR, and ZAYO, Light, Splendor, and Brightness, of the Kabalah. The first of these is termed AOR MUPALA, Wonderful or Hidden Light, unrevealed, undisplayed–which is KETHER, the first Emanation or Sephirah, the Will of Deity: the second is NESTAR, Concealed–which is HAKEMAH, the second Sephirah, or the Intellectual Potence of the Deity: and the third is METANOTSATS, coruscating–which is BINAH, the third Sephirah, or the intellectual producing capacity. In other words, they are THE VERY SUBSTANCE of light, in the Deity: Fire, which is that light, limited and furnished with attributes, so that it can be revealed, but yet remains unrevealed, and its splendor or out-shining, or the light that goes out from the fire.
Masonry is a search after Light. That search leads us directly back, as you see, to the Kabalah. In that ancient and little understood medley of absurdity and philosophy, the Initiate will find the source of many doctrines; and may in time come to understand the Hermetic philosophers, the Alchemists, all the Anti-papal Thinkers of the Middle Ages, and Emanuel Swedenborg.
The Hansavati Rich, a celebrated Sanscrit Stanza, says: “He is Hansa (the Sun), dwelling in light; Vasu, the atmosphere dwelling in the firmament; the invoker of the gods (Agni), dwelling on the altar (i.e., the altar fire); the guest (of the worshipper), dwelling in the house (the domestic fire); the dweller amongst men (as consciousness); the dweller in the most excellent orb, (the Sun); the dweller in truth; the dweller in the sky (the air); born in the waters, in the rays of light, in the verity (of manifestation), in the Eastern mountains; the Truth (itself).”
“In the beginning,” says a Sanscrit hymn, “arose the Source of golden light. He was the only born Lord of all that is. He established the earth and the sky. Who is the God to Whom we shall offer our sacrifice?”
“He who gives life, He who gives strength; Whose blessing all the bright gods desire; Whose shadow is immortality; Whose shadow is death; Who is the God, etc?”
“He through Whom the sky is bright and the earth for us; He through Whom the Heaven was established, nay, the highest Heaven; He who measured out the light in the air; Who is the God, etc?”
“He to Whom the Heaven and earth, standing firm by His will, look up trembling inwardly; He over Whom the rising sun shines forth; Who is the God, etc?”
“Wherever the mighty water-clouds went, where they placed the seed and lit the fire, thence arose He Who is the only life of the bright gods; Who is the God, etc?” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 740-742).
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