Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Mysticism of Masonry: The Key to the correct interpretation of Masonic Symbolism, one harmonious with both the Ancient Osirian Teachings and those of the New Dispensation by R Swinburne Clymer:
Image: Princeton Antiques & Books
Most of the text in this book consists of extracts from other authors, including Masonic mainstays such as Mackey, Oliver, Buck, Pike, and Yarker, along with more obscure sources, like New Light from the Great Pyramid by Parsons. Clymer’s own writing only appears in very rare paragraphs of his own, and in relatively common bracketed comments inserted into the long quotes. But the reader is also given pause to about Manisis, the “Master Interpreter of the New Dispensation,” whose platitudinous declamations regarding “Jehovah Adonai the Father of Light” are sprinkled through the book. Was Manisis perhaps the illuminated alter-ego of Clymer?
Much of the book presents a sweeping survey of Masonic pre-history, with an eye to the author’s own esoteric agenda, much after the manner of Leadbeater’s Glimpses of Masonic History. Clymer’s narrative begins with special attention to the obscure and short-lived African Master Builders (1767-1786), whom A.E. Waite supposes to have been responsible for the Crata Repoa.
Clymer is best-known in the esoteric field as a Rosicrucian organizer working under authority descending through the great XIXth century American occult master Paschal Beverly Randolph. Clymer’s remarks on Masonic symbolism in The Mysticism of Masonry reflect an inheritance of Randolph’s doctrines of sex-mysticism, from his reference in the opening pages to “virile manhood capable of reproduction of the species and consequently still in possession of the Elixir Vitae through which only Spiritual Initiation and Conscious Immortalization finally may be attained,” to a much later explanation of “the symbolization of bringing forth a perfect Soul through the medium of the Double Drill between the male and female and representative of the raising of the two serpents (sex forces of the two actors) to the plane of heaven—or spirituality.” Writing such in 1907, Clymer was neither the first nor the last to claim that such readings of Masonic symbolism constitute “the Key” to its correct interpretation. [via]
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