Mark Master Mason
HE FOURTH DEGREE of Masonry, to be consistent with the science
of numbers which associates four with Realization, relates to the
realization and utilization of the powers and functions conferred bythe first three degrees. Thus does the fourth Major Arcanum of the tarot (see Course
6, The Sacred Tarot, Chapter 4) become a commentary, in the language of
symbolical pictograph, on the Mark Master degree of Ancient Masonry.
The divine Tetragrammaton of the kabalists summarizes all potencies in a word of
four letters. Astrologically, all celestial influences are synthesized in the four-fold
form of the sphinx. And in Ancient Masonry the whole of essential Masonic
doctrines are compressed within the first four degrees; additional degrees being
merely an elaboration of what in its essence may be found in Entered Apprentice,
Fellowcraft, Master Mason and Mark Master degrees; Mark Master denoting that the
soul has reached maturity and is at the period of its fruition.
To open the Mark Master lodge eight officers are necessary and ten usually are
present, corresponding to the seven planets of man’s seven-fold constitution, plus the
three upper-octave orbs, or overseers. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are truly overseers
in the sense that when injustice and tyranny become rampant on earth, the factors
within the unconscious minds of men take a hand and bring, through revolution, a
change; and in the sense that it is through utilizing the high-frequency
electromagnetic radiations of the nervous system which are ruled by these planets
that ESP and other inner plane activities of the soul can effectively be directed, and
through which the inner plane intelligence of man can reach and effectively direct the
physical brain. Uranus prominent in the birth-chart gives facility in using the
Inspirational System of mental activity, Neptune prominent in the birth-chart gives
facility in using Feeling ESP, and Pluto prominent in the birth-chart gives facility in
employing the Inner Plane System of mental activity. Through these upper-octave
faculties man can acquire information and power to direct his own life and destiny
which can be acquired in no other way.
The Junior Overseer is located at the South Gate, to indicate the illumination given
by the type of Intellectual ESP conferred by the electromagnetic radiations of the
nervous system ruled by Uranus; even as at noon, which is the Sun’s south point, the
illumination is greatest.
The Senior Overseer is placed at the West Gate, to indicate the receptive quality
given by the electro-magnetic field of the nervous system ruled by Neptune, which
makes of it a receiving set to pick up, radio fashion, the astral vibrations radiated by
objects, thoughts and conditions.
The Master Overseer is stationed at the East Gate, to indicate the new life, the
conscious inner plane life, bestowed by the highest of all electromagnetic radiations
of the nervous system, ruled by Pluto, which when properly active in the individual
life can be compared to a rising sun revivifying a slumbering world.
The candidate is represented as having passed initiation on all three planes and
returned to his body. Four raps signify the accomplishment resulting from this action
on three planes, and the cable-tow is wound four times around his body to represent
his realization of the complete union between soul and ego. To indicate that after his
travels upon the higher planes he has now returned to physical life, the Senior
Warden reads the following passage of Scripture: “Then he brought me back the way
of the gate of the outward sanctuary, which looketh toward the East, and it was shut,
and the Lord said unto me: Son of man, mark well,” etc.
The Mark Master’s sign, the Heave-over, is made by interlacing the fingers of both
hands, holding them down in front opposite the right hip and then bringing them to
the left side of the neck as if to throw a weight over the left shoulder. The E.A. degree,
represented by the First Major Arcanum of the tarot, corresponds to the planet
Mercury. The F.C. degree, represented by the Second Major Arcanum, corresponds
to the sign Virgo. The Master Mason degree, represented by the Third Major
Arcanum of the tarot, corresponds to the sign Libra. The Mark Master degree,
represented by the Fourth Major Arcanum, corresponds to the sign Scorpio; thus this
Heave-over, alluding to the rejection of the Keystone, refers to the sign Scorpio.
The ten locked fingers represent the union of man and woman, and the front of the
right hip symbolizes the constructive power of Scorpio, which by most is discarded,
or used negatively in Venusian pleasures as indicated by the left side of the neck.
The Keystone of Psychic Development is Proper Electrification
-Any control of the thoughts and emotions, by which alone the character and the
fortune attracted into the life can be improved, ESP or inner plane work of any kind
accomplished, or domestic felicity advanced, depends upon proper electrification;
and proper electrification is closely related to the activities of the region ruled by
Scorpio, which symbolically are thrown on the rubbish heap in the heave-over.
Love as a mental condition is very real. But to feel love there must be appropriate
electrical energies in the nervous system. While we occupy physical bodies we feel
with the nerves, and that which gives rise to the feeling is the electric charges which
they generate and whose impulses flow to some central station in the brain.
Love is of various kinds and on various levels of expression. The feeling of affection
for children, for instance, seems to depend much upon the electrical energies
generated through the secretions of the back pituitary gland; and the more refined
type of love seems linked with the electrical energies generated through the
secretions of the thyroid glands. But for the sake of this illustration let us consider the
more common phase of attraction between the sexes.
Man and wife may mentally and spiritually love each other devotedly, but the feeling
of physical attraction commonly is subject to wax and wane. Loyalty, devotion and
willingness to self-sacrifice may well be constant; but the more physical attraction
and responsiveness are largely dependent upon the electrical condition at the time. In
spite of willing to do so, neither can have any real passion, or even strong feeling of
physical attraction toward the other, if through overwork, illness, or too much sex
indulgence, that one is electrically depleted. Feeling depends upon the electrical
energies present, and if these are absent and cannot be generated, the feeling cannot
be coaxed or willed into existence.
While other glands are involved in lesser degree, it is chiefly the function of the
secretions of the gonad glands to develop in the nervous system those particular
electrical energies which give the feeling of physical attraction toward the love
object. When the high-tension electrical energies are expended there is a lowering of
potential, and the feeling which persists, due to the strong lower potential electrical
energies present, is of different quality. If harmonious, it may sustain a tender love
which is far above mere passion. If the thoughts at the time have been conditioned to
consider all expression of sex sinful, or if for a variety of reasons there is inharmony
or thoughts of defilement, the low potential electrical energies present will bring and
sustain a feeling of degradation. But in any case the violent expenditure of electrical
energies which have been generated largely through the action of the secretions of
the gonads on the nervous system, for the time being markedly lowers the electrical
Depending upon the health of the individual, the activity of his gonad glands and
other factors, in a shorter or longer time the electrical potential due to gonad activity
normally rises to a point where it exerts considerable tension; in other words, to a
point in which the feeling of physical attraction for the loved one again is quite
Now electrical energy in the nervous system is capable of being diverted, much as the
electrical currents flowing over the ordinary power lines are; and those generated
through the action of the secretions of the gonads on the nervous system are not only
capable of being diverted into different systems of mental activity, but also are
capable of being stepped up or stepped down markedly in voltage. They, therefore,
are capable of quite a wide range of use to give additional power to the electrical
energies developed by the action of other endocrine glands.
It might seem from this that a celibate life is of decided advantage in that it provides
electrical energies of high voltage and power which can be used for the production of
psychic phenomena, for building up vitality, to use in cerebral thinking, or for such
other purposes as require energy. And this is the general idea behind the Oriental
training which decrees that a neophyte must renounce marriage and live a celibate
life. But here we are confronted with three factors which are subject to a widely
variable personal equation.
1. The electrical power normally generated in the nervous system through the action
of the gonad secretions by a person who has Mars inconspicuous in his birth-chart
and Venus in conjunction with Saturn is but a small fraction of the electrical power
generated by the action of these secretions by a person who has Mars conjunction
Venus and both very prominent in his birth-chart. Those who do creative work of any
kind have active gonad secretions; and it is likely that some creative artists generate
daily, in spite of marital excess, more electrical energy of this kind than most other
people do even when they live celibate lives.
2. Ordinarily a gland, muscle or nerve which is called upon to do no work tends to
reduce its activity, perhaps even atrophy. While under normal conditions of
abstinence no such deterioration is likely to take place, the question remains whether
or not gonad secretion which is given no opportunity to function normally will
continue as well to assist in the development of electrical power in the nervous
system as if not too frequently it were called into normal play.
3.The electrical power that can be handled successfully by the nervous systemwhen generated, varies markedly with different persons; and anyone can only handle
so much successfully. When the lighting system in your home gets an overload of
electric current, there is a fuse which melts and cuts the current off so it will not burn
down the house. Now some people put a one cent piece, which will not melt, in the
fuse box when a fuse has been blown, and because while they have it there no
unusually heavy electrical load is present, no damage occurs. But when an unusually
heavy current comes in under such circumstances, there is usually a fire or other
catastrophe. And the individual who normally generates much electrical power
under the influence of the secretions of his gonad glands, and who through trying to
awaken his kundalini or by rhythmic breathing intensifies this current, and at the
same times lives a life of enforced celibacy, suffers much damage. He generates
more electricity than he can handle and it causes disaster.
That which is related to sex becomes a very delicate subject of discussion, too
delicate to go into the details as the importance of the matter warrants. Yet the
individual who employs everyday common sense, instead of being led astray by
fantastic mysticism or by the opposite extreme, sensualism, will solve its problems
without much difficulty. He can do this more readily than anyone can lay down hard
and fast rules for him, because he is in a position to observe the actual effect in terms
of the volume and potential of electrical energy present as the result of variations in
Not only do hard and fast rules that work for one person often fail to work well for
another, but usually there is a periodic variation of gonad activity during the month,
which differs widely in intensity with different persons, so that at one period even
though the thoughts are turned exclusively to cerebral pursuits, the electrical power
present may be far more than at another period even when the thoughts are not
The condition of electrification to be sought, and to which the sex activity or lack of
sex activity may contribute or from which it may detract, is that in which there is not
so much electrical power within the nervous system as to place the individual under a
strain of pressure, but in which there is ample to do whatever work is at the time
required of it. And of course it is understood that this sex factor is only one of a
number of things which may assist or detract from thus acquiring the proper
Emotion cannot be felt in the absence of electrical energies, and to sustain a Mood
there must be available adequate electrical power which can be used for this purpose.
Yet, because there is so much nonsense written and talked about sex and the
kundalini, I believe I should again emphasize that while electrical energies generated
through the action of the gonad secretions are capable of being diverted into widely
different channels, or sublimated so that their voltage and trend support noble
aspirations and the highest phases of love, it is quite possible to develop more
electrical power than can be diverted, or used in a constructive way.
The second sign is made by dropping the right hand again to the region of Scorpio,
clenching the last two fingers, and leaving the thumb and first two fingers open. It
refers to the method of carrying the keystone, represents the male trinity, and
indicates symbolically this process of proper electrification.
The hand is next raised to the right ear and the open thumb and two fingers passed
with a circular motion about the ear. This signifies that after proper electrification the
electromagnetic energies are used to reinforce astral vibrations which enable the
individual to exercise Intellectual ESP and thus receive information from the inner
plane. The ear indicates the reception of such information.
The hand is then dropped partially down, the palm open and in a horizontal position,
and the left is lifted up and brought down edgewise upon the wrist of the right. This
alludes to the penalty of having both the ear and the right hand cut off, meaning that if
the wages are not properly received, that is, if they are received negatively instead of
through ESP, that the ability to receive anything of value, or to execute anything
meritorious, will be cut off.
The Keystone of Attainment is Proper Cooperation Between Husband and Wife
–The third sign is made by extending the right arm in front with the hand clenched
except the thumb and two fingers. It indicates the method of receiving wages, and the
importance of positive virility. The keystone which the builders rejected isneither oblong nor square, but is composed of both straight and curved–masculine
and feminine–lines. It is taken successively by the candidate to the three overseers,
who note its singular beauty and form, but finally reject it because it has not the mark
of any craft upon it.
It was formed by Hiram Abiff, the divine soul, to be the keystone of the temple; but
upon his death was lost, and when later rediscovered and presented to the overseers it
was not recognized, but was cast out among the rubbish. It has the mark of no
particular craft upon it because it belongs to all souls, and each must be found worthy
before he can place his astrological signature upon it. In its highest aspect it is the
union of soul mates by which they are enabled to receive the wages of immortality.
On planes less high the keystone refers to proper union, the knowledge of which, as
indicated in reference to electrification, for ages has been lost to mankind, and now
rediscovered is in danger of being rejected by the overseers; that is by the occultists,
mystics and spiritual aspirants; as was the case in the past.
But before the temple is completed a search is made by the Craft for the missing
keystone; for the temple cannot be finished without it. It is found amid the rubbish
and brought to the Master, who reprimands the overseers, and reads the following
passage from the Scripture, which clearly designates its nature: “To him that
overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone,
and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving him that
receiveth it.” That is, by united regeneration man becomes renewed, or given a new
name, even as by soul union man becomes man no longer, but an angel.
The keystone is said to be 4 x 6 inches dimensions, representing 24 hours, or the
circumference of united night and day. About its circumference is a circle of 8 letters,
given as H-T-W-S-S-T-K-S, the initials of Hiram Tyrian, Widow’s Son, sent to King
Solomon. This refers to the return of the divine soul to its source, and may be
rendered: He That Was Slain Soars to Kindred Spirit. In humanity it also refers to
regeneration supplanting generation.
Within this circle of letters every Mark Mason must place his own private mark,
which, of course, is his astrological signature. Thus the 8 letters represent the 8
planets–in addition to Sun and Moon, that are not planets and signify masculine and
feminine–which circle the heavens daily.
The Keystone as Applied to Natal Astrology
–Thus is indicated that one diurnal rotation of the earth measures out to man the
astrological energies to be released during one year of life, and that this is the
keystone of timing and indicating the major events which are attracted into an
The progressed aspects calculated by this day-year system are not merely symbolic;
for that which is symbolic only may reveal information of value, but it does not exert
a definite and positive force such as progressed aspects do.
Horary astrology certainly to a large extent is only symbolic, and by its aid
information of value may be acquired. But horary astrology is a method of divination
and thus in a different category than natal astrology, which I am convinced maps
actual energies which have an impact upon the person whose birth-chart and
progressed aspects are under consideration. No doubt, as there are many methods of
divination by using cards and numbers, there are various systems of astrological
divination which can be used, even in connection with the birth-chart, through which
considerable information can be obtained about that which will happen to the
individual in the future. Having tried some of these methods out, I feel confident such
is the case. But I am even more firmly convinced that the progressed aspects
employed in the Hermetic System are something more than divinatory clues, and
actually map invisible forces radiated by the planets which have a definite effect
I have progressed the charts of many people who knew nothing about astrology and
asked them how they felt in reference to various matters as compared to the way they
felt about the same matters at other periods in their lives. I have found invariably that
at the time a certain strong progressed aspect was operative that the trend of their
thoughts and their feelings about the things represented by the houses of their charts
affected by the aspect had changed markedly in the direction indicated by the
Almost any astrologer of experience upon learning of the outstanding conditions and
events in another person’s life, yet without knowing the birth-chart, can correctly tell
the person that a certain specified planet is being heavily aspected by progression at
the time. Each planet has its own characteristic manner of affecting events. I have
witnessed this picking of the planet responsible for an event, before the birth-chart
has been seen or the progressed aspects calculated, innumerable times, and later
verified when the progressed aspects were worked out.
On many occasions I have had students, who had not taken the trouble to work up
their progressions, or who as yet did not know how to do so, remark that they felt the
vibrations of Mars, or Venus, or Uranus, or Saturn; and on working up the progressed
aspects I have found that there actually was a progressed aspect to the mentioned
planet then operative. And students who know they are coming under a progressed
aspect, and keep on the lookout to discern when they first feel it, sometimes feel it
distinctly when it is a full one degree from perfect, and sometimes feel it only when
within half a degree or less from perfect. Many students report that they always can
feel the distinctive influence of any of the planets when it is making a strong
progressed aspect. They can name the planet to which they are thus most strongly
More evidence could be cited to indicate that the day-year progressed aspects at the
time they are operative exert a well defined and plainly felt force upon the individual.
But as many who read this can feel what planet is making a strong progressed aspect
in their charts, when they have for a time neglected to look up their progressions, let
us consider how that which takes place in one day after birth can spread its influence
over 36514days of life.
Now I realize that when I again mention Einstein and Relativity that many will feel I
am treading upon highly debatable ground. And in so far as Einstein’s General
Theory of Relativity is concerned, which deals with curved space in relation to
gravitation this is true. But in regard to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity,
which was first propounded in 1905, and whose implications alone, I believe, explain
the action of progressed aspects, extension of consciousness, ESP and inner plane
properties in general, it has now become almost unanimously accepted by those best
qualified to prove or disprove it. To quote from an article by H.P. Robertson, Ph.D.,
Professor of Mathematical Physics, Princeton University, which appeared in the
June, 1939, issue of Scientific American Magazine:
In view of these developments one may say that at present the special theory of
relativity is one of the most thoroughly accepted and most firmly established
doctrines of modern physics. It has permeated the fields of mechanics,
electromagnetism (including optics) and atomic physics; while it may appear
desirable to have further direct checks on the validity of its mechanical aspects, a
deviation from the predicted effects would constitute a most puzzling–and, at least
temporarily, distressing–jolt for modern physics.
An essential factor in the special theory of relativity, which has now become so
completely accepted in scientific circles, is the inter-relationship between velocity
and time. It is held that there is no such thing as absolute time, but that as velocity
increases, time slows down, until, at the velocity of light time comes to a standstill.
Conversely, as time speeds up, velocity slows down until at the time speed with
which we are familiar, objects tend to move at the velocity physical things are
observed to do.
Nor is this just a theory, as the experiments of Dr. Herbert E. Ives, mentioned in
chapter 5, demonstrate. He reported that observing the Doppler shift in an oncoming
hydrogen beam, and at the same time the shift due to the recession of the same beam,
shows that, as relativity predicts, a moving clock keeps slower time than one
If at the velocity of light time stands still, within a single moment of such slow time
an infinite number of events could happen. And in a realm, or condition, where
velocities were not so great as light, but are greater than that of ordinary physical
objects, a large number of events can happen in a single moment of this slower time.
In our dreams, for instance, and to some people when they are on the verge of dying,
there are numerous experiences which in ordinary time would require days or years,
compressed into a few minutes of the slower time of this borderline state of
When our consciousness moves from this borderline realm where velocities are far
greater than those of physical life, to the realm of physical existence where velocities
are much slower, the events which in our dream took but a few moments to happen,
spread out in this faster time of normal life to occupy a period which seems to us days,
or months or years.
To take another illustration, suppose we walked from Los Angeles to San Francisco
at the rate of 25 miles per day, and pass through 30 towns on the way. At this velocity
it would take us 18 days to see the 30 towns. But by airplane we can make the trip in 3
hours, seeing the 30 towns. That is, in three hours’ movement at airplane velocities
we can see as many towns as in 18 days at walking velocities. The amount of
experience to be had in a given interval of time–3 hours, for instance–is relative to
the velocity with which such events are passed.
According to relativity, as velocities increase there is a definite slowing down of
time, the exact amount being determined by the Lorentz transformation. Similarly,
as velocities slow down there is a definite speeding up of time, the exact amount
being determined by the Lorentz transformation.
We have already seen that a dream, or near death state of consciousness may have a
velocity, in so far as the number of events witnessed within a few moments of this
slower time of the boundary-line state, such that these same events happening on the
physical plane would require days or months to take place. That is, in the
boundary-line region between the physical world and the realm having velocities
greater than that of light, time so slows down that when brought up into physical
consciousness it is similar to bringing all the things witnessed in a 3 hour airplane
flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco up into a consciousness that knows no
faster velocities than walking, in which time is speedier and movement
proportionally slower, so that it requires 18 days for the same amount of experience.
Material science has now proved that the nerve currents are electrical in nature and
that man has an electromagnetic form. Electromagnetic waves when radiated move
with the velocity of light; but electric currents traveling over wires or over nerves
move much slower. In other words, in man’s electromagnetic form are velocities
greater than those of ordinary physical substance, but which are not as great as the
186,173 miles per second that light travels.
From what already has been said it will be apparent that if a clock slows down
relative to the velocity it acquires, as consciousness attains higher and higher
velocities it will be able to have more and more experiences within the space of four
minutes of this slowed down time. At a certain velocity, which is well within the limit
of what can be expected to occur in man’s electromagnetic form, the ratio of the
number of experiences in four minutes of slower time, to the number of experiences
in the faster time of external life, would be 365¼ to 1.
Bear in mind that in the one interval of the slower time of the high velocity region as
many events can transpire (remember the airplane trip to San Francisco) as in 365¼similar intervals (remember the walking trip to San Francisco) of the faster time of
the ordinary objective world.
The slower the time, the more numerous the events that
can happen in any given interval, but as time is speeded up to the tempo of ordinary
physical existence, it takes more intervals of this physical time to accommodate a
given number of experiences.In case the ratio between the electromagnetic region of man’s body and his physical
were 365¼ to one, the occurrences that took place in a little less than four minutes ofthis slower boundary-line time, when expressed in the faster time of the external
world would occupy a duration of twenty-four hours, and what took place in 24 hours
in the time of the boundary region, when externalized on the physical plane would
take 365¼ days of the ordinary faster time; that is, what took place in one day in theboundary region, when externalized would take place in one year of the faster
Under such circumstances, just as a dream occupying less than four minutes when
brought into objective consciousness may represent a whole day of physical
existence, so changes brought about in a portion of the finer body at a certain velocity
level, by planetary movement during one day, when transformed into the faster time
of objective existence, occupy 365¼ days, or one year of this faster objective time.This represents the time-velocity transformation of energies released by the day-year
I am confident that the forces thus released by day-year progressions are no more
symbolic than is the radiation of high-velocity particles from radioactive matter
which takes place in the laboratory of the physicist, and to measure the mass of which
he must apply the same relativity transformation I have indicated. These radiations
are invisible to the unaided physical eye, but even as do planetary forces, they are
capable of producing powerful effects on man.
Wages and the Astral World
–At the building of the Temple it was the custom of the craft to assemble at the sixth
hour of the sixth day of the week to receive their wages. The members of the lodge,
therefore, march two and two to the window where they are paid. As the sixth day is
Friday, ruled by Venus, and the sixth planetary hour of Friday is the hour of Mars,
they typify these two planets, corresponding to the astral body and animal soul of
man. The attraction of these two planets for one another is greater than that between
other planets, and it is in the astral world while man possesses an astral body and an
animal soul that he receives the reward of his deeds upon earth. The wages are paid
by the Senior Warden, or divine soul, who gives each worthy craft a penny. When the
candidate puts his hand through the lattice window, it is held fast and the order given
to cut it off. This signifies that the soul may incur the penalty of being held captive in
the astral world by not knowing how to receive wages, not being able to raise the
vibrations of Venus and Mars to the spiritual plane, as typified by the circular coin.
The hand being cut off symbolizes that the result is a loss of executive power.
The pass grip is made by grasping the fingers as though to assist another, and refers to
the assistance given to each other by the workmen as they climbed the steep banks of
the river Joppa when bringing timber from Lebanon. It symbolizes the mutual
assistance that may be given in reaching the astral plane, Joppa. Joppa, therefore, is
The true grip is made by passing from the passgrip to the Mark Master’s grip, which
is given by locking the little fingers of the right hand, turning the backs of the hands
together and touching the thumbs. It is called Siroc, or Mark Well; symbolizing that
the lower passions and desires have all been conquered and that the spiritual bodies
unite in a mutual use of the will. The little finger is ruled by Mercury, emblem of the
spiritual body, and the thumbs signify will. The neophyte should Mark Well,
therefore, that as he climbs the height of occultism all passion will have gradually to
be overcome to enable the soul to direct its will without the aid of passional
The candidate is received into the Mark Master degree upon the edge of the indenting
chisel. This represents vivid formulation of the object to be attained and the constant
application of the will to that attainment. He is finally instructed how to receive his
wages, and receives a penny. At this the others murmur and throw their coins upon
the floor, protesting that one inexperienced should not receive the same wages as an
accomplished workman. But the justice of so paying is supported by a passage of
Scripture, and the craft are at last satisfied. Thus in life some must toil long and
laboriously to become worthy of receiving a spiritual reward, while others make
attainment almost immediately, which apparently is an injustice. But time and
opportunity, in the course of divine providence, are meted out to all, and only the
foolish question divine justice.
A brother in asking a favor pledges his Mark, and so resembles Hiram Abiff, the
divine soul, who seeks sustenance from Solomon, the ego, in order to accomplish his
destiny. The divine soul receives succor only as it pledges its immortal nature to
work in harmony with the universal will. It is symbolized by the Moon seeking the
beneficence of the Sun’s rays. For a similar reason, a brother receiving a pledge and
granting a favor is like King Solomon, who was renowned for his beneficence. He
resembles the Sun which sheds its rays upon the Moon, and he is like the ego which
sustains and inspires the soul.
5. Past Master Degree
–A Master Mason cannot preside over a Master Mason Lodge until he has taken the
Past Master degree. It has to do with man’s intellectual and religious qualifications,
and much light is shed upon it by the Fifth Major Arcanum of the tarot, to which it
corresponds. This Arcanum, ruled by the planet Jupiter, represents the hierophant,
prince of occult science, who by his knowledge and goodness is enabled to exercise
authority and command obedience. Man rules over the four elements of nature by
virtue of his intellect. This is expressed by the number five.
The Past Master Lodge is opened by the same officers, and the lodgeroom is the
same, as in the E.A. degree. It typifies man in his normal physical state. The only
difference is that they all wear hats. This symbolizes their knowledge concerning
union; for the head in the hat astrologically represents the sun and moon conjoined.
The step is made by placing the heel of the right foot against the toe of the left to form
a right angle. It symbolizes mental union. The first sign is made by placing the thumb
of the clenched right hand to the lips, and means the Will to keep Silent regarding
knowledge that would prove dangerous to others. The dieugard is made by drawing
the right hand from the left side of the neck down diagonally across the breast. It
signifies the transference of negative affections into positive aspirations.
The grip of a Past Master is made by first taking the Lion’s grip, and then as they say,
“from grip to span,” slipping their right hands so as to catch each other by the wrist,
grasping each other by the right elbow with the left hand. It refers to the interplay of
forces between those who have lived together a spiritual life and understand the inner
The other feature of this degree is the abdication of the Master in favor of the
candidate. The candidate attempts to conduct the Lodge, but is made the target of
witty remarks, the Lodge breaking up in confusion. It is meant to teach the folly of
attempting prematurely to control the inhabitants of the astral realm. The elementals
that the neophyte attempts to force into his service will turn and rend him unless he
has undergone the necessary preparatory training.
6. Most Excellent Master Degree
“–When the Temple of Jerusalem was finished, those who had proved themselves
worthy by their virtue, skill, and fidelity, were installed as Most Excellent Masters.
“This degree is founded upon the Sixth Major Arcanum of the tarot, ruled by Venus
and pictured as Temptation. The degree represents the trials surmounted, as
indicated by the significance of the Scripture read by the Master: “He that hath clean
hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor swore
deceitfully. He shall receive the blessings from the Lord,” etc.
In opening the Lodge the brethren gather round the altar and kneel on the left knee
with their arms crossed and holding hands so that each gives his right hand brother
his left hand and his left hand brother his right hand. When the scriptural reading is
over they lift their hands up and down six times while the Master counts: “One, Two,
Three; One, Two, Three.” This is called balancing, and refers to the wavering of the
soul between good and evil, and to the extreme tendencies that produce disastrous
reactions. This also signifies the sexes in antagonism, as well as loss of equilibrium.
The crossed arms represent inversion, but more particularly the cross-roads where
the neophyte must decide whether he will follow the path of black magic or the path
of magic that is white.
After balancing, the brethren lift their hands, now free, above their heads rolling up
their eyes in an attitude of astonishment. This indicates that they have been
confronted by temptation. They then turn to the right extending their arms,
afterwards permitting them to fall nerveless at their sides. It indicates they have
yielded to temptation. This sign is said to represent the Queen of Sheba on first
viewing Solomon’s Temple. It really indicates that man progresses by alternately
yielding to and struggling with his animal desires, and that not without repeated
effort is the final victory won.
The candidate is received into this degree upon the keystone, which as applied to man
is the fundamentals of sex. The password is Raboni, signifying to overcome. The
sign is made by placing the two hands, one on each breast, the fingers meeting at the
center, and jerking them apart violently. It refers to antagonism that may arise
between man and woman, and to triumph over temptation of a sexual nature by the
aid of the aspirations. The grip is given by grasping the other’s hand and pressing
with the thumb the base of the third finger where it joins the hand. This is the Sun
finger of palmistry, and presides over worldly honors. The grip signifies the Will to
resist the temptation to use psychic powers for temporal advantage. As the candidate
receives the grip the Master places the inside of his right foot inside the candidate’s
right foot and whispers the word, Raboni. This symbolizes that the candidate must
understand the necessity for resisting temptation.
Next, an arch is brought out supported by two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, each about
five feet high. It consists of ten blocks, five on either side, with a mortice between for
the reception of the keystone. The keystone, symbol of union, is placed into the arch
between the five blocks representing man and the five symbolizing woman; and is
driven down by six raps of the gavel, indicating the use of the Will in overcoming the
temptation to abuse the sacred function denoted by the keystone.
The brethren then march around and hang their jewels, sashes, aprons, etc., on the
arch to denote their willingness to make sacrifices that the marriage relation may be
perfect. The ark, which has been carried around by four brethren, is then brought
forward and placed on the altar and a pot of incense is placed on the ark. The symbol
of the ark, as well as that of incense, was explained in chapter 7. The four brethren
carrying it typify the four quadrants of the heavens, and thus represent a cycle of time
in which sought for results are realized.
In closing the Most Excellent Master Lodge, all kneel around the altar while the
Master reads out of the Bible, then they balance six times, arise and balance six more,
and give the signs from this degree downward to indicate complete mastery of the
knowledge received in the past, and that they have finally overcome all indecision,
and have surmounted all temptation by obedience to the Law.
8. Royal Master Degree
–This degree corresponds to the sign Capricorn, and to the Eighth Major Arcanum
of the tarot, the significance of which is Justice and Equilibrium.
At the building of the Temple, King Solomon, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff
decided to award the most skillful and faithful of the Master Masons by imparting to
them the Omnific Word. But they took a solemn oath not to impart the Word until the
completion of the Temple, and then only when all three were present. As this
Omnific word is the immortal union of soul-mates, it is at once apparent that it can
only be imparted in the presence of the ego, divine soul, and spiritual body; for if the
divine soul, corresponding to Hiram Abiff, be slain, its union with its mate is
impossible. Furthermore, it can only be imparted at the completion of the Temple;
for man must have completed the construction of his spiritual body before this
permanent union can take place.
The candidate impersonates Adoniram, a worthy Master, who symbolizes the twin
soul of Hiram Abiff. As Hiram is leaving his sanctuary he is accosted by Adoniram
who asks him at what time he shall receive the Omnific Word. Hiram answers: “My
worthy friend, it is uncertain when, or whether, you will receive it at all; for the
Omnific Word cannot be given until the Temple is completed, and then only by the
free consent of the three Grand Masters.” Adoniram then asks how he can expect to
receive it if one of the three should be removed by death. Hiram answers by tapping
the floor three times with his foot, saying: “When I die, they will bury it there.
“Thus is imparted the knowledge that in case one of the twin souls sins against his
immortal nature and sinks into the Lower-Pluto realm, Pluto ruling the eighth
birth-chart house, it will be long ere the other receives the Word. Yet all things being
possible in the accomplishment of divine justice, a new monad is budded to take the
place of the prodigal, and is sent on its pilgrimage through the three planes alluded to
by the taps on the floor. Thus the word is buried between the three planes, but will be
recovered at the end of the new monad’s cycle of involution and evolution. Justice
will finally be meted out unto all.
The Master, representing Hiram Abiff, tapping the floor three times asks the
candidate, “Do you know about this?” The candidate replies, referring to the Omnific
Word of soul union, “I know something about it.” He is then asked what he knows
about it, and replies that he knows something of the beginning of it, at the same time
tapping the floor three times with his toe. That is, as impersonating one of the twin
souls, he knows they were together at the beginning of the cyclic pilgrimage. Asked
what was the beginning he answers that it is Alpha, and that the end is Omega. And
truly the separation of the twin souls is the beginning of their career, and the reunion
is the end of the cycle in which manhood is attained. The next cycle is that of the
angel.Separation and reunion closes the great orbit of the Cycle of Necessity. Reunion is
the tree of life, the reward of the faithful, as indicated by the Master reading from the
Bible the following: “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give
every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and
the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they
may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in at the gate of the city.
“The grip of this degree is given by each taking his left wrist with his right hand, and
with his left hand taking hold of the other’s right wrist, forming a square seat. It
typifies inertia and stability resulting from forces in equilibrium. The Word is given
by letting the left hand fall to the side, placing the right toe to the other’s right heel,
making a triangle, and saying, “Alas, poor Hiram!” This indicates dissolution, and
refers to the disintegration of the wicked by the Lower-Pluto forces. The feet forming
the triangle refer to understanding that the three parts of man’s spiritual being must
be present before union of soul mates is possible. The dieugard is made by placing the
forefinger of the right hand to the lips. It enjoins silence concerning such sacred
things in the presence of the profane.