Tag Archives: crata repoa

Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians by Manly P Hall from the Philosophical Research Society:

Manly P Hall's Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians from the Philosophical Research Society

 

There are two sections to this volume, each of distinct significance. The first is Hall’s essay “Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians,” which is principally an analysis of the Osiris legend. Forgiving some references to Atlantean civilization, the analysis is sober and comprehensive, but the most worthwhile part is Hall’s own proposed interpretation, which constitutes the few final pages of the essay. The topic of Freemasonry only arises in this final passage, which uses Masonry as a more contemporary illustration of an initiatory institution, in order to clarify Hall’s remarks about the Egyptian priesthood. Interestingly, he fails to draw the obvious parallel between Osiris and H.A., and thus to re-integrate the allegory within Freemasonry proper.

The second part of the book is a publication of the “Crata Repoa,” an 18th Century manuscript purporting to detail the initiatory system of ancient Egypt. “Crata Repoa” first appeared anonymously in German in the late 18th century, drawing on a wide range of classical sources for its details. Some of those sources were sympathetic to the ancient mysteries, but others were certainly hostile. Given the strict laws of secrecy that surrounded the classical rites, we can only assume that the best-informed and most sympathetic accounts from antiquity were never disclosed. The English text published by Hall is based on John Yarker’s translation from the French of Anton Bailleul, who published his version in 1778.

“Crata Repoa” is presented as a rite divided into seven grades, plus an initial preparation, which suggests correspondences to the classical planets and/or the esoteric anatomy of the sat chakras. It was certainly first composed by someone with knowledge of Masonic initiation, and its sequence reflects features of certain Masonic rites, which it may have influenced in its turn. In addition to the text of “Crata Repoa,” Hall includes his own commentary in a grade-by-grade format, and he appends “The Initiation of Plato.” The latter piece is a scripted drama, clearly based on “Crata Repoa,” written by Charles and Auguste Beaumont, and translated by John Yarker.

The historical value of “Crata Repoa” with respect to the ancient schools of initiation is questionable at best. What it does present is a vivid, and perhaps influential, picture of initiatory ideals as contemplated during the period in which Masonic rituals were assuming their modern form in Europe. [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Mysticism of Masonry

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:

R Swinburne Clymer's The Mysticism of Masonry from Philosophical Publishing
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]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.