LODGE OF PERFECTION
(Holy Royal Arch of Enoch)
The symbolism of this degree is based on that of the Holy Royal Arch degree of orthodox Freemasonry. This is itself based on the Old Testament (Haggai II v. 1-9). The officers who operate the ritual (H., J. and Z.) are, then, Haggai, Joshua and Zerrubbabel.
The altar of this rite is a modified form of that of the Holy Royal Arch, and without some description of it both the opening of the Lodge of Perfection and its Mystical Lecture are incomprehensible.
The altar is in the form of a double cube (its top about sixteen inches square) and on it inscribed the double triangle of the Seal of Solomon (identical with the Shield of David found on the flag of Israel) within a circle. On this are placed, at random, the eight letters J, A, H, B, V, L, O and N; these represent the corresponding Hebrew letters. At the conclusion of the ‘picking’ incident (see opening) the altar looks like this:
By keeping this diagram in mind the Mystical Lecture is easily interpreted.
Senior Perfect Magician Present: Brethren, the Grand Orient honours us. A Lodge of Perfection is to be opened by … Member of the VIII°, a delegate of the Supreme Grand Council of the Sovereign Grand Inspectors General. Brethren, draw the Sword! Let us receive our august visitor beneath the Arch of Steel!
(Fanfare. Enter beneath arch VIII° preceded by Herald with trumpet and banner, and followed by two IV° with drawn swords. They take place by the altar. Fanfare.)
VIII°: Greeting and peace from the Supreme Grand Council and from the Grand Master Baphomet.
Senior Perfect Magician Present: Homage, welcome and all hail!
(All give hailing sign and repeat.)
Herald: v (Signifies one knock.)
J.: v Omnipotent.
H.: v Omniscient.
Z.: v Omnipresent. One unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, so cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love thee and worthily magnify thy Holy Name Aumn.
All: So mote it be.
Z.: Brethren, assist me to open a Lodge of Perfection.
What is the first care of every Perfect Magician? (P.M.)
H.: To see that the Lodge is properly tyled.
(To J.) See that the Lodge is properly tyled!
J.: (To Herald.) See that the Lodge is properly tyled!
Herald: (To Senior P.M.) See that the Lodge is properly tyled!
Senior P.M.: (Does so.) Bro. Herald, the Lodge is properly tyled.
Herald: Most excellent, the Lodge is properly tyled.
Z.: (To J.) The next care?
J.: To see that none but P.M.s are present.
See that none but P.M.s are present.
(Herald faces W.)
Herald: To order, brethren, as P.M.s.
(All give signs. Herald faces E.)
Most Excellent, all present are P.M.s.
Z.: (To Herald.) How many offices has the Lodge?
Herald: Four, Most Excellent.
(Herald turns and stands on guard with drawn sword.)
Z.: Brethren, to our holy work.
(Z. picks J.
H. picks A.
J. picks H.
Z. picks B.
H. picks V.
J. picks L.)
Z.: (Picks O.N.)
(They communicate the Word.)
(They form the T (left hand palm upwards to right hand of officer on right) and say in unison.)
Z.H.J.: We three
Do meet and agree,
In peace love and unity.
(The abbreviations following are interpreted as follows: r.w. = right wrist, r.h. = right hand, l.w. = left wrist, l.h. = left hand, r.t. = right toes, r.h. = right heel, l.t. = left toes, l.h. = left heal.)
(Wrists: Z. takes J.’s r.w. with r.h.
H. takes Z.’s r.w. with r.h.
J. takes H.’s r.w. with r.h.
Z. takes H.’s l.w. with l.h.
H. takes J.’s l.w. with l.h.
J. takes Z.’s l.w. with l.h.
Feet: Z. r.t. to H. r.h.
H. r.t. to J. l.h.
J. r.t. to Z. l.h.
Raise r.h’s: Z. Jah
The Secret Word to keep
And never to divulge the same
Till we three
Or such as we
Meet and agree.
(All give hailing sign.)
Herald: In the name of G.M.B. I declare this L. of P. duly opened (G.M.B. = Grand Master Baphomet; L. of P. = Lodge of Perfection.). vvvv
Exactly as in opening, but for prayer.
J.: v Omnipotent.
H.: v Omniscient.
Z.: v Omnipresent. One unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, with pure heart and tranquil mind we perfectly love Thee and worthily magnify thy Holy Name — Aumn.
All: So mote it be!
(Z.H.J. to altar.)
Z.: Brethren assist me etc., ( All exactly as in opening.)
1st care etc.,
2nd care etc.,
We three etc.,
(Z.H.J. destroy word.)
(Herald closes Volume of the Sacred Law. Z.H.J. to Thrones.)
Herald: In the name of the G.M.B. I declare this L. of P. closed vvvv
(Principles knock as in opening.)
Brethren, nothing now remains, etc.
TEMPLE DIAGRAM — EXALTATION
Without the Lodge proper
Comps. H. VIII° J. Comps.
Z.: (To Senior P.M.) You will retire from the Lodge, prepare the Candidates and knock as a Master Magician (M.M,) for admission. S.P.M. asks for signs, grip and word of M.M.
Senior P.M.: vvv
Herald: M.E.(Most Excellent) there is an alarm at the door.
Z.: See who wants admission.
Herald: (Opening.) Whom have you there?
S.P.M.: Three M.M. who desire to be made perfect.
(Closes and reports.)
Z.: Do you vouch that they are properly prepared?
Herald: I do.
Z.: Admit them in due form.
(They enter and salute (instructed by Senior Perfect Magician) with penal sign of III°. H. confronts them with drawn sword. J. and Herald may assist in this.)
H.: You will now kneel in humble supplication to be admitted to the secrets of this L. of P.
Z.: These are no M\M\
H. J. Herald: (Pricking their navels with sword.) Begone!
(S.P.M. retires with them and explains.
This whole ceremony is then repeated. The Candidates must explain aloud why they refuse to kneel.)
(The officers, not moving, sheath their swords. Herald precedes them to the Altar, where they stand.)
Z.: I have received authority to communicate to you and to confer upon you the degrees of L. of P. on receiving a simple obligation to keep inviolate its secrets. Are you willing to take it?
Cans.: We are.
(1. Can. take swords by blade hilt down.
2. Can. takes V.S.L. (Volume of the Sacred Law)
3. Can. takes T.)
Z.: Repeat your names at length and say after me: We A, B and C upon these sacred and sublime symbols most solemnly and sincerely swear never improperly to reveal any of the secrets of the degrees about to be communicated to us.
Which oath if we break, may our heads be severed from our bodies by the sword of Justice. Amen.
(Herald replaces symbols.)
Z.: I now proceed to give you by name the following degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.
Provost and Judge.
Intendant of the Buildings.
Elect of Nine.
Elect of Fifteen.
Grand Master Architect.
Companion of the Royal Arch of Enoch.
Scottish Knight of Perfection.
I now confer upon you by name the corresponding degrees of the Reduced Rite of Memphis or Ancient and Primitive Rite.
Knight of the Sacred Arch.
Knight of the Secret Vault.
of which the rituals are now open to you for study. They comprehend in themselves the absolute degrees of
Perfect Master of Balahate.
Knight of the Iris.
Knight of the Golden Fleece.
Grand Elect Mysophilote.
Knight of the Triangle.
Finally, I confer upon you, the corresponding degrees of the Oriental Rite of Mizram.
Master by Curiosity or Intimate Secretary.
Provost and Judge or Irish Master or Egyptian Knight.
English Master or Knight of Israel.
Elect of Nine.
Elect of the Unknown.
Elect of Fifteen.
and these degrees of the Scottish System:
Master of the Triple Tau.
Master of the Sacred Vault of James VI.
Master of St. Andrew.
With these degrees in Architecture.
Very Perfect Architect
and Sublime Scottish Architect of Heredom
Knight of the Sacred Arch
Grand Axe or Grand Ark
and Sublime Knight of Choice.
The secrets of these degrees are now open to you for study. I also confer upon you the S. of this degree, given by &c. It is the P.S. and refers &c.
Bro. Herald, I command you to proclaim that our brethren are duly exalted to the degree of a L. of P.
Herald: In the name of the G.M.B. and by order of the VISKGG, I proclaim our Brethren A, B & C Perfect Magicians.
(Fanfare. 2 and 3 returns. Her. goes to them.)
It is now useful to inform you that these degrees are never worked. But their secrets form intermediate steps between our third and fourth degrees, and it is therefore necessary to confer them formally upon you. The Lodge of Perfection is however a natural and necessary step in our sublime system; its secrets are important to every Master Magician; for they concern the Sacred and Mysterious Name of the True and Living God Most High.
You will therefore retire from the Lodge, and prepare yourselves under supervision for the most solemn moment of your lives.
(Done. The thrones of the 3 principals removed. All but Cans. enter the Lodge.)
The preparation is accompanied with these words:
Remove apron: ‘Thou canst not hide thy nakedness from the eye of the Lord.’
Hoodwink: ‘Thou must cover up thine eyes from before the glory of the Lord.’
Shoes off: ‘Take thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereunto thou approachest is holy ground.’
(Herald removes apron on Can. Blindfolds him, and firmly attaches a cable tow to each ankle. He is conducted to the West, where he gives F.P.O.F.)
Z.: v In the beginning was the Word.
H.: v And the Word was with God.
J.: v And the Word was God.
Z.: Are you a Perfect Magician?
Can.: I am that I am.
Z.: Give me the Word of a Perfect Magician.
Can.: It has not been communicated to me.
Z.: Before this can be done, it is necessary for you to hear the Law.
Brethren, do your duty.
(H. J. Her. form a triangle about Can.)
J.: (Recites the 10 commandments, fires and pulls c.t. off r.a.)
H.: (Recites ‘thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbour as thyself.’)
(Stabs Can. in the back and pulls c.t. off l.a. Can. falls into arms of Herald who is kneeling in front of him.)
H.: (Raising him.) Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
(Z. unveils word.)
Brother P.M., this is the grip of the P.M. Let the cords which have fettered his feet be removed.
Before I can communicate the Word, another obligation will be required of you.
Are you willing to take it?
Can. I am.
H.: It is upon this Law of Perfect Freedom, standing erect that you will swear. Support the V.S.L. with your l.h., cover it with your right, repeat your name at length and say after me:
I, …, in the presence of the Powers of the Word, and of this L. of P., duly constituted, consecrated, and congregated, of my own free will and accord do hereunder and hereon solemnly promise and swear that I will always hele, conceal, and never reveal any of the secrets or mysteries of this supreme degree to any one in the world unless it be a true, lawful, and perfect Magician, and not even to him, until after due trial, strict examination, and full conviction that he is worthy of that confidence or in the body of a Lodge of P.M.s. duly opened beneath the Vault of Heaven.
I further solemnly pledge myself never to pronounce that Solemn and Mysterious Name which may now for the first time be communicated to me, unless in the presence and with the assistance of two or more P.M.s.
All these points I solemnly swear to observe, without evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind under the penalty of having my skull sawn off and my brains exposed to the searing rays of the Sun. Amen.
You will seal this solemn oath 4 times with your lips on the V.S.L.
Brother P.M., at your initiation you were hoodwinked to find the light of earthly life, only to close in the 3° in the darkness of death.
You were raised, but only ‘in the son’; it is not the individual life of man, but the life of the race, which passes through the darkness of the 3°.
This is the first initiation to the life within, and you have not yet found light.
(All draw swords and point them at C. 3 principals, however, forming a pyramid above his head, as to utter the word. Z. is behind him.)
Let that blessing be bestowed upon the Candidate!
(An assistant lights the flashlight, and the hoodwink is for a moment lifted and replaced. All cry aloud: ‘Declare the Word!’ Principals, however, whisper it as taught.)
(Pause. Three return to the thrones, having veiled W. Pause.)
Z.: Declare the word.
H.: Declare the word.
J.: Declare the word.
Herald: (For Can.) The word has not been communicated to me.
J.: The Candidate, although restored to light, has not seen the Word. I demand his expulsion.
H.: The Candidate, although the Word was uttered in his hearing has not heard the word. I demand his expulsion.
Z.: It is in flame and glory that the word is first revealed.
Herald: (For Can.) I demand the communication of the word.
Z.: Do you agree?
H.: I agree.
J.: I agree.
Z.: I agree.
Let the Candidate be prepared for the communication of the Word.
Herald: I invest you with the Robe of Perfection. I reward you with this jewel; I decorate you with this ribbon and badge; and I arm you with this sword.
(3rd Veil withdrawn so that Can. may now see the Holy of Holies at leisure. The Veil should be drawn suddenly disclosing Z. seated in East. H. and J. resume their thrones. Herald remains with Can. to assist.)
The true and Living God Most High.
Z.: Brother …, as you seek to participate in the Light and Music of the Word, I call upon you to advance toward the sacred altar by seven steps, halting and bowing at the 3rd, 5th, and 7th. Advance with Holy awe, for be assured that at each step you will approach nearer to the Supreme and Mysterious name of The True and Living God Most High.
Z.: Let the Candidate be restored to light!
(H. and J. cross swords on his shoulders, and Z. gives accolade on head, while Herald removes H.W.)
Z. H. J.: We receive thee as a P.M. (They sheath swords.) and a Comp. of the H.R.A. of Enoch.
Z.: Brother, being arrived at perfection, you behold an altar, veiled.
Beneath this veil are three sacred symbols, a square, a circle, and a triangle. Upon these are three (3) and 8 letters, wherein are many mysteries concealed, while the whole forms the S. and M.N. of T.T.A.L.G.M.H. I now proceed to confer upon you the secrets of this degree.
First is the P.S. given by &c. It alludes to the p. of your o., and also to the shielding of the eyes from the brilliance of the WORD.
Second is the Reverential sign, or sign of adoration given by &c., as if overcome by adoration and ecstasy.
Third is the sign of admiration or thanksgiving, given by &c.
Fourth is the Monitorial sign, given by r.h. on h.; h-d on l.h. (right hand on heart, head on left hand) in allusion to the weariness of heart and brain which must suffer in our search for the Word.
Fifth is the Fiducial sign, given by &c., and sweeping the hand down and back, as if tearing down a veil.
Behold in silence and adore! Blessed are the eyes that have beheld the ineffable!
(Z. H. P. Communicate the Word as in opening.)
Listen in silence and adore! Blessed are the ears that have heard the Invisible!
You will now retire by seven steps, halting and bowing at the 3rd, 5th and 7th, after which you will take your seat in this L. of P. and attend to the Lecture.
(Lodge of Perfection)
THE MYSTICAL LECTURE
Brother Perfect Magician and Companion of the Holy Royal Arch of Enoch, in the third degree a word was communicated to you which if properly understood, should acquaint you thoroughly with the real secret of life, its true meaning. If you understand that word, you will be indeed able to say: ‘Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?’ not merely with triumph, but with contempt, such as may have been felt of old by a faithful knight who, dressed in the armour of his monarch, was slain in mistake for him.
If you have not understood that word, these expressions will appear strange to you. In either case, it is merely necessary that you should know that while the word of that degree sums up human nature, the word of this degree is the synthesis of the divine.
Man is the microcosm, a perfect mirror of that universe for which one name is God.
The word upon the altar is then a hieroglyph of the microcosm; and all its secrets are therein contained.
Accordingly, we find the word of a Minerval once more in the very centre of all, and you will recollect that this word ON means the Sun.
However, this is not all. ON in Hebrew is a most secret and holy name of God: its numerical value is 120, a number produced by multiplying together the first five numbers, or by adding together the first 15. This 15 again is produced by adding the first 5. There are many other important considerations to be made concerning this word and this number, which may safely be left to the ardours of your research. This Sun is in the midst of the 6 other letters of the word; and the general knowledge of correspondences which you have derived from the study of the books appointed for your instruction will at once show you that
J is Virgo the Virgin Moon
A is the Fool or Antic, the antique or ancient one Saturn
H is the letter of Aries the house of Mars
B is the letter of Mercury
V is the Hierophant or Pope, emblem of Jupiter
L is Libra the house of Venus
Such, my brother, are the letters taken singly. In combination we reach beyond the simple facts of nature to divine mysteries.
First of all, consider the descending triangle. It reads IHV, the first three letters of the ineffable name of four letters. They refer to Father, Mother, Son, as your earliest studies in the Qabalah acquainted you. You will compare this with the word of the 3°. It is further of the very greatest importance to remember that the three principal officers of the Royal Arch represent the three functions of Prophet, Priest, and King. Now in the Tarot J. is the Hermit, the ‘Prophet of the Eternal’; H. is the Emperor, and V. the Hierophant, Pope, or High Priest.
Now the left side of the Triangle L.J.A. = 41 = Ma the Mother, while A.I.L. means a stag, goat, or ram, from the curved horns of those animals, and therefore means the Father, and ‘the Beginning of Whirling Motion’. God, says Proclus, is he having a spiral force. The right side A.H.B. means ‘love’.
The base B.V.L. means ‘on high’.
In all, ‘the love of the supernal mother-father’.
You will further recognize in J.A.H. a name of God so sacred that the Hebrews dared not utter it, and dare not to this day. It represents the Father and Mother conjoined with the Microcosm represented by the letter A whose shape suggests the Pentagram, the star of the Microcosm contained in that conjunction. H.B.V. adds to 13 and thus expresses both Unity and Love, while V.L.J. is 46, a female slave, here referring to the unenlightened soul.
Combining all this into a single sentence, we read: the Most High by Love and Unity exalts the Daughter to the throne of the Mother. That is a pure rendering of the way of salvation by Samadhi or Union with God, in that particular image which you have studied in ‘The Vision and the Voice’. Taking the name by syllables, we find Jah as before ‘The Most High’. Bul means ‘Lord’ and also ‘on high’ in the Chaldean Language, while ON in Egyptian and Hebrew alike signifies the Sun, the Lord of all. Thus in three separate languages the Word testifies to the True and Living God Most High.
We shall now consider the word, taking two letters at a time from the angles of the triangle.
We saw that the descending triangle IHV expressed the human nature of God; the ascending triangle will illustrate His nature in itself.
AB is Father, BL Lord.
AL is Word or Logos, Son, BL Lord.
LB is Heart or Spirit, BL Lord.
vvvv (All rise.) Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world end. Amen.
(Sign of admiration.)
Thus my brother, does the Word of this degree declare the nature of the most Holy Trinity.
So much, perhaps, you were already aware of; for none can be more sensible than myself of the progress you have made; yet it may possibly have escaped you that these same letters can be read in a sense diametrically opposite to the first.
Thus, AB the Father, BA to come or go denies the permanence of the Father.
LA Not BL God. There is no God.
LB Heart, BL Lord. The Heart is Lord.
The first of these phrases would seem to emphasize the lesson of the 3°; the second, to make a statement contradicting the very word in which it occurs, surprising until you recollect the statement in The Vision and the Voice that above the Abyss a fact is only true in so far as it contradicts itself; while the third is another way of saying:
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law: and this:
The word of the Law is Thelema.
And this: Love is the Law, Love under Will.
Do not forget that the numeration of Thelema, as also that of Agape, Love or Charity in its best sense, is equivalent to that of the word of our 3°.
It is further of interest to observe that these letters ABL added to 33, the number of the years of the life of King Solomon’s Temple, and that of Jesus Christ. 33 is also the number of degrees in Freemasonry; and it has many other qualities, many of which you doubtless know already.
Note, too, that A is 1, B 2, L 30, as if to signify the whole course of the universe, the Unity, the Dyad, the Many and the Naught.
It is also pertinent to observe that J is the Wand, A the Pentagram or Pentacle, H the Cup, B the Crown, V the Sword, and L the Balances, while O and N symbolize other magical weapons of a still more secret and important character.
But it would be useless to continue an analysis of a Word which includes all things human and divine, and in which every secret is concealed. Is not the wealth of the Divine inexhaustible? Can the square define the Illimitable, or the Compasses circumscribe Him? Unbegotten in Eternity, beyond Time and Space, without quantity or quality, sublime, supreme, inaccessible, unknown, with what words shall we praise, or with what thoughts comprehend His Majesty? Utterance must profane Him, silence itself can but bear witness to Him. How shall we extol Him? In what shall we shadow forth His glory? Though your skull were smote off, and your brain exposed to the scorching rays of the sun, it were nothing to His manifestation to your mortal mind!
Let us remember the penalty of our obligation (gives sign), and if ever we should incautiously think of pronouncing that great name with lightness or irreverence, place our finger upon our lips, as it is written Seal up thy lips, lest thou speak it!