The conference was closed by the sacred dance which I wrote about yesterday, and everyone was invited to participate in the Epagomenal Festival as well. I very much enjoyed the attitude at the festival — while it was kid-friendly, it wasn’t something just for the kids, and I received only cheerful invitations when I asked if the event booths were available for the adults to try as well. All in all, it was a truly lovely end to a fascinating and enjoyable weekend.
So, about the seminars! :)
I’ll have to write about the first Sunday presentation (Rosicrucian Principles & Scientific Discoveries) later, as the one on Fiat Lux is what came flooding out of my head as I sat here thinking and remembering.
The Fiat Lux presentation was quite interesting. Apparently there is a fear of Freemasonry as a group or cult which is attempting to establish a so-called New World Order — whereas they apparently see themselves as agents of the Enlightenment. The speculative premise of the speaker, who was himself a very high-ranking member in the Freemasons, is that this fear is unfounded, as the New World Order arrived with the establishment of the United States of America — a democracy ostensibly dedicated to justice, tolerance, freedom of thought and teaching — all of which are apparently also Freemason beliefs.
I was interested to hear those Enlightenment ideals, and democracy in action, were occurring in the various lodges as early as the very late 1500s. What a great way to train generations of men to think for themselves! In fact, over the years the very word “enlightened” has come to be synonymous with “civilized.”
If I’m understanding correctly, the Freemasons were originally actually artisans working with stone and buildings, who gathered as a guild and in their meetings expressed their (Hermetic?) beliefs in their gods and nature. Over generations, “gentlemen volunteers” were allowed to join as well, as non-laboring but financially supportive members, which helped evolve the democratically governed and almost franchise-like lodge system. Further, many of the ideas of the approaching Enlightenment (such as advancement by merit rather than birth, democracy rather than divine right, and the equality of man — although they still do not allow women to join) were freely discussed in all the lodges.
Over time, of course, Freemasonry became linked to high social status. Also, according to what I was told by someone at the conference, when the Freemasons achieve the order’s highest-possible rank, they’re invited to join the Rosicrucians. I was quite interested to hear it was Benjamin Franklin, in fact, who inducted Voltaire — what a fascinating meeting of the minds that must have been! I suspect it was the influence of remarkable men like those two which helped move the originally esoterically based Freemasons toward a more political, revolutionary bent. Nowadays, since there’s little need for violent revolution, the Freemasons are shifting back towards being a more esoterically based group.
However, apparently in the mid 1600s to the 1800s, revolution is what the Freemasons were known for — to their dismay. The speaker noted, however, that revolutions occur when there’s a need to utterly change society — most often when desperately needed socio-economic change has occurred, but the associated political modernization is lagging. In those situations it is frequently the citizenry that makes the change — by violently replacing the government.