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THE LOST KEYS OF FREEMASONRY
or The Secret of Hiram Abiff
THE FELLOW CRAFT
MANLY P. HALL
Life manifests not only through action on the physical plane, but through human emotion 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 unfoldment 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 emergized 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 spiralds 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, Tubal-Cain, 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 unti l 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 trianglar cell of threefold negation which marks the early stage of individualization.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014