Marlon S. Honeywell, FPS-Life
The significance of harmony is emphasized in several facets of speculative masonry, including allegories, signs, symbols, and obligations. Further, it has been postulated that employing the concept of equilibrium during life’s experiences may be the secret to learning how to construct an internal, immortal temple and to entering the revered gates of the Pardes. Purposely concealed from those unwilling to accept ultimate truth, mystic and earthly clues exist, which support the fact that balance is requisite for spiritual enlightenment and cognitive transformation. As such, this manuscript is written to delineate a few examples which support harmony as the strength of all institutions, since it appears to be divinely present in every aspect of existence.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marlon S. Honeywell is a professor of pharmacy practice at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. During his professional tenure, Honorable Brother Honeywell presented numerous podium and poster sessions at pharmacy symposiums and published more than 50 manuscripts in peer-reviewed pharmacy journals. Additionally, he contributed textbook chapters to Remington: the Science and Practice of Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy: Principles and Practice. He also contributes to a bimonthly column, The Diagnostic Spotlight, in US Pharmacist, which highlights innovative diagnostic devices for at-home and office use.
Honorable Brother Honeywell was appointed as President of the M.W. Walter Gulley, Jr. Masonic University and Grand Instructor for the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of Florida. He also serves as Grand Minister of State and Overseer of the Works for the Florida Council of Deliberation.
It is here in my dreams that I stand upon the precipice of an unsurmountable mountain of uncertainty, marveling at the exquisite gates of the Pardes,1,2 and wondering whether my earthly inadequacies and previous misguided deeds render me inadmissible. Recapitulation of my previous spiritual and physical dissonance composes a story of one who is unworthy and who stands with a substitute password, anxiously knocking at the door and patiently awaiting an answer. Central to this perspective were unseasoned views and behaviors, which were exercised prior to practicing the tenets within masonic obligations and to eventually experiencing a period of enlightenment. For instance, one of my older perceptions was a conviction that the world and people therein should be appraised as slightly flawed and that most would be unwilling to ponder and enact methods for self-improvement. In hind site, acceptance of this theory is analogous to favoring the masonic symbolism of the square without considering the spirituality of the compass and akin to describing an impeccable and marvelous view of the world with jaundiced eyes.3,4 More importantly, choosing to alter such conventionalism and antiquated thinking is germane to metaphysical enlightenment as the Bible proclaims and an old Chinese proverb concurs that a man’s thoughts eventually transform into actions.5,6
While envisioning access to the orchard of wisdom and to the Sephorit2, my dream inevitably fast forwards to a time when I am standing adjacent to the Worshipful Master in Mt. Olive Lodge #5 (Tallahassee, FL) and in possession of a blue staff topped with a radiant, silver sun within a compass and square. I vividly recall hearing the Worshipful Master ask the Senior Warden about his station and duty. The Senior Warden responded with several verses which terminate with the phrase, ‘Harmony, the strength of all institutions, most especially this of ours.’
Evaluation of this dream encourages an attempt to ascertain whether the latter portion occurred because study of speculative masonry, particularly the Middle Chamber, ensures that initiates inherently recognize the presence of opposing forces and the urgency of establishing harmony within one’s life.3,4 Further analysis also inspires a hypothesis that the relevance of harmony is intentionally inculcated in masonic rituals and symbols and that pertinent hints of such are in plain sight, acknowledged only by those who are willing to affirm ultimate truth.
Could it really be that simple? Is it probable that the secret to life and the real watchword for the Pardes1,2 has been in plain view all of this time? Is it really that simple?
Ancient Craft Masonry is replete with references to harmony and equilibrium.3,4,7,8 Though generally described as an agreement or concord9, in the Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide, Arturo DeHoyos, Grand Historian and Archivist for the Supreme Council, defined harmony as the neutralization of two opposing forces.8 To this end, included in this manuscript are a few examples which illustrate the supernatural presence of balance; and scrutiny may aid in comprehending the rationale for its deliberate inclusion in fraternal literature and ceremonies.
Composed from scriptures in the Book of Genesis when the Grand Architect created the universe, the Sephorit or Tree of Life is found in the Kabbalah and typically illustrated using ten spheres.2,10 The spheres are a visual representation of the Divine emanations or speech which caused the unfolding of Creation. Also notably incorporated in this mystical Jewish symbol are three vertical columns: the two outer columns represent opposite forces (i.e. justice and mercy or male and female) and the middle column embodies the result of combining adverse forces or equilibrium. Though the Sephorit exists in several phases and illustrations, contemplation of its intrinsic wisdom encourages adepts to adore harmony and to practice activities which promote its accomplishment. The Sephorit may be viewed in FIGURE 1.
Richard Cassaro, renowned masonic author and symbolist, contends that some architecture in antiquity and many state and federal buildings have structurally embedded references to harmony.11 For example, built by operative masons between the 12th and 16th centuries, several gothic cathedrals have entrances consisting of three vertical doors. Remarkably hidden from the profane, the symbolism of the two outer entrances denotes the presence of contrasting forces within the world and the middle door - which is slightly larger - portrays the necessity of attaining balance. Moreover, entry to these architectural marvels should serve as a constant reminder that equilibrium is one of the laws of nature and it shall forever govern spiritual aptitude and affect our earthly existence. An image of the entrance into a gothic cathedral may be seen in FIGURE 2.
The laws of physics confirm that the earth's magnetic field serves to deflect solar winds, whose charged particles would otherwise strip away the protective ozone layer and allow harmful ultraviolet radiation into the atmosphere. The magnetic field is comprised of two constituents: a solid inner core made primarily of iron and a liquid outer core which includes nickel, iron, and other metals. Continuous rotation of the earth and the Coriolis force cause the inner solid core to spin on an easterly course and the outer liquid core to rotate in the opposite direction.12 What is more, the opposite flow of the solid and liquid cores eventually harmonizes to generate a powerful, magnetic field, which protects the entire planet from the toxic rays of the sun.
Painted by Leonard da Vinci in the 15th century, The Last Supper shows the final meal shared between Jesus of Nazareth and his twelve disciples.13 In the portrait, Da Vinci sketches the confusion that occurred when Jesus announced that he would soon be betrayed by one in his midst. Though Da Vinci could have detailed the apostles’ reactions in a number of ways, he chose to depict them in four equidistant triads: Intermingled within each triad are three disciples – two of which imply the presence of conflicting forces, while the middle disciple exemplifies harmony. Additionally, though commonly overlooked, there are three windows behind Jesus, which bear close resemblance to the size and connotation of the entrance of gothic cathedrals. These windows also visually portray the gravity of and need for symmetry.11 An image of The Last Supper may be seen in FIGURE 3.
The fleur-de-lys is a decorative symbol that appeared on countless European coat of arms and flags over the centuries. It is especially associated with the French monarchy in a historical context and continues to appear in the official crest of the King of Spain. Developed by the Egyptians or Babylonians, the fleur-de-lys emblazoned the French explorer's flag when Nouvelle Orleans was founded in 1717; beautified Mardi Gras Ball invitations in the 1820's; edged silver brooches in the 1890's; decorated marble facades in the 1920's; and now graces the football helmets of the New Orleans Saints.14 Symbolically, the Fleur-de-lys appears to possess three leaves, two on the outer corners and one in the middle, which illustrate opposing forces and balance, respectively. The Fleur De Lys may be seen in FIGURE 4.
Though discredited by some, the Gaia proposition, developed by James Lovelock, explains the stability of nature based upon the fact that its ecology acts in a coordinated system.15 Lovelock purports that control of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, predator and prey existence, salt in the ocean, and global surface temperature are examples of a self-regulated homeostatic process on earth. According to the principle, all life forms are in constant balance because they exist as a part of a single, living planetary being called Gaia.16
In 2006, Rachelle Farrell, acclaimed musician and artist, dedicated a song to the Gaia principle on her third album, Individuality: Can I Be Me?.17 A stark conservationist of the environment, Farrell’s lyrics gives credence to nature’s resources and promises better relations between man and the macrocosm.
In the King James version of the Bible, several scriptures allude to the importance of balance in life.18 A few of the more relevant verses to this article include:
- Ecclesiastes 7:16: Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise; Why should you ruin yourself?
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under the heaven – A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing; a time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
- Proverbs 11:1: A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but just weight is his delight.
- Matthew 20:16: So the first shall be last, and the last shall be first; for many are called but few are chosen.
Since the bible cites explicit examples of how equilibrium must be achieved, we should govern ourselves accordingly;3,4 and study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman needeth not be ashamed, rightfully dividing the word of truth.18
Emotion and Logic
Ancient Greek philosophers believed emotion to be an irrational phenomenon that interfered with higher-order thinking and reason. In Phaedrus, Plato described emotion and reason as two horses which pull us in opposite directions.19
Emotion has a long history of being construed as a psychological manifestation which disturbs rational thought and behavior.20 Since emotion has powerful leverage on daily decisions, overcoming this traditional model requires one to learn how to balance rationality with feeling or “the head” with “the heart.”21 Though difficult at times, balancing logic with emotion generally requires self-control, an appropriate amount of time for clear and concise thought, a lack of ego, and management of social pressures.22, 23, 24
Known as Thoth, the Egyptian deity who kept Divine records and served as a mediator, Hermes Trismegistus confirmed that all philosophy in the universe is based upon seven cosmic laws. It is even believed that Hermes transcribed these laws on Emerald tablets so that man would be aware of and follow them.25 Most of his sacred rules are based upon the principle of balance. Case in point, the Principle of Cause and Effect or Karma, states that each cause has an effect and each effect has a cause. In essence, each action, positive or negative, requires energy and that same energy must be balanced and return to it’s original source.
Though a plethora of other examples exist, the illustrations above were strategically chosen to focus on the fact that harmony is omnipresent and a celestial component of the universe. It is for these reasons that I assert that, from time immemorial, sages and builders alike embraced equanimity and reinforced the consequences of an unbalanced life through their work. Further, in an effort to inform future generations, symbols associated with balance were encrypted intentionally in paintings, architecture, and literature, decipherable only by those who choose to humble themselves, pray or meditate, and study nature, science, literature, history, and spirituality. Therefore, after much internal debate and numerous assessments of my dream, remembering the importance of balance and carefully employing calculated thought and actions should enable one to interpret covert Masonic clues and to discover the one true password for entrance into the Pardes.2,3,4,8,10,11,18,25 Finally, to provide a sensible and simple synopsis of the universality of balance, consider one last question: How may joy and happiness be appreciated without having first experienced some form of pain?
So Mote It Be.
- Berlin A. The Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion. Second edition. University Press. New York. Page 552
- Cooper D. The Mystic Kabbalah. Audiobook. 2011.
- Duncan MC. Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor of Freemasonry. 1866. Pg 15, 80-100.
- MWUGL of Florida Ritual. MWUGL of Florida. 2013.
- Holy Bible. King James version. holybible.com. Accessed November 6, 2015.
- Watch Your Words. Chinese Proverb. quoteinvestigator.com. Accessed November 7, 2015.
- Steinmetz G. Freemasonry: Its Hidden Meaning. MaCoy Publishing. Richmond, Virginia.
- DeHoyos A. Scottish Rite Ritual and Monitor. Supreme Council. 2008.
- Definition of harmony. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/harmony. Accessed November 8, 2015.
- Matt D. The Essential Kaballah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism. Harper Collins Publishers. 2009
- Cassaro R. Written in Stone. deepertruth.com. Accessed August 15, 2013
- org. What causes the Earth’s magnetic field? http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=64. Accessed November 9, 2015
- Da Vinci L. The Last Supper. http://arthistory.about.com/cs/leonardo/a/last_supper.htm. Accessed November 9, 2015
- The Fleur-D-Lys. https://fleurdorleans.com/catalog/thehistory.php. Accessed November 10, 2015.
- Lovelock, J.E. Gaia as seen through the atmosphere. Atmospheric Environment. 1972. 6 (8): 579–580.
- Lovelock, James. The Vanishing Face of Gaia. Basic Books, 2009, p. 163
- Ferrell R. Individuality: Can I be Me? Allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/album/individuality-can-i-be-me-mw0000614496. Accessed November 1, 2015
- The Bible. King James Version. kingjamesbibleonline.org. Accessed November 5, 2015.
- Phaedrus. Classics.mit.edu/Plato/Phaedrus.html. Accessed November 3, 2015.
- Panksepp J. Affective neuroscience: The foundations of human and animal emotions. 1998. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Lou J and Rongjun Y. Follow the heart or head? The interactive influence model of emotion and cognition. Front Psychol. 2015. 6: 573.
- Funderberg D, Rand D., and Dreber A. Slow to anger and fast to forgive: Cooperation I an uncertain world. Econ. Rev. 2012. 102; 720-749.
- Baumeister R. Bratslavsky E., and Muraven M et al. Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource. Pers Soc Psychol. 1998; 74(5) 1252-65
- Akerlof G. Social distance and social decisions. Econometrica. 1997. 65; 1005-1027.
- The Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus. sacred-texts.com/alc/emerald.htm. Accessed August 15, 2015.
- Google images. google.com. Accessed November 10, 2015.
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