The usages and customs among Freemasons have ever borne an affinity with those of the ancient Egyptians. Their philosophers, unwilling to expose their mysteries to vulgar eyes, concealed their peculiar tenets of polity and philosophy under certain hierorogryphical figures or by signs and symbols, which they communicated to their Magi alone, who were bound never to reveal them.
We hear the words in the very first degree of our Craft. However, how many of us pursue this further and come to realise that it is upon the foundations laid down centuries ago that we now practice our mysteries?
What were these "usages", what were these customs? Whence came these philosophers or Magi? Do they originate from the loose term "the Mystery Schools of Ancient Egypt?
As the glorious sun rises in the E to open and illumine the day, so stands the WM in the E…..
Could our peculiar tenets of polity and philosophy derive from Aknaton, the heretic Sun King who attempted to break away from the oppressive rites of the priesthood of Ammon, the Dark God, and substitute the worship of the Sun Disc asRepresentative of a One, living God thus becoming the first monotheist in recorded history?
To attempt to understand this primitive thinking (I use this word in the sense of original or first off) we must cast off our 20th century thinking.
We must forget our lives governed so severely by the clock that we travel in automobiles on bitumen surfaces so that our bare feet no longer touch the bare earth through the concrete canyons between our skyscrapers, forever bustling along to our next appointment.
Let us return to an era when our activity was governed by the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, and when we could lie upon our backs at night and spend hours contemplating the stars.
As Ancient Egyptians we see animal forms depicted in the heavens at night We see the sun born in the east progress in majesty at the full height of his power and die in the west, only to be reborn the next day.
In due course we observe the seed germinate, become a full-grown plant. We see the flower unfold, we see it die. We see the seed germinate again, a new plant is formed. It has been reborn, resurrected, reincarnated in its own species.
We observe that life is a series of never ending cycles. If plant life can be reborn, why not us perhaps on this earth, perhaps in a spiritual realm?
Our first sense of completion has arrived. Some of our fellows with a studious turn of mind record and collect these thoughts they are inscribed on stone and later papyrus and stored in the first library. 'The custodians of these observations of ours study these thoughts interrelate them and ponder. Our first philosophers are coming into being, the Magi, or Wise Men".
However, what is our material situation at this stage?
We are no different from men and women who are destined to follow us.



We possess the same basic instincts hope, fear, joy a zest for living on this mortal plane. Physical death is no problem for us. We know our ‘ba’ (our soul) will endure. Later generations will discover our tomb paintings, observe our stylised art and some will conclude that we are forever posturing in religious poses. Not so.
We have our proportion of thinkers, upper, lower and middle class. We have our Divine Pharaoh or kings. We also have our proportion of good men, thieves, murderers, rapists, and prostitutes. We are different however, in one significant way. Our Magi have started to ponder certain external questions. Why are we here on this earth? Where did we come from? Where are we going when our term on earth is over? 
We also groan under taxes!
Our Magi tell us that in the beginning was Ptah (spell).
This Great architect of our earth issued a Word, and our earth was formed from a primordial egg, which nestled among the lotus.
We live in "nomes", very similar to the latter. "City-states" of Europe.
Our religion at this stage was animism... that is we believed that the protective quality of. The gods we perceived inhabited statues or other earthly objects. Our statue developed in the form of the body of a man with the head of our god. The jackal did a good job cleaning up the remains of organic life after death. Corpses of man and animals were cleared away. Why not the head of a jackal on the body or a man to represent the god ofdeath...we called him Anubis.
The baboon seemed wise... why not superimpose his head, as he was later to be the scribe, or recorder at the Hall of Judgement when the heart of a man was weighed against the feather of "Maat" or 'Truth’ after death. We call him Thoth.
From the multiplicity of Nomes, scattered along the length of our Nile River, came the representations of many of such gods, crocodiles, cats, cows etc.
All this proved very confusing to the Egyptologists of succeeding generations:
It was also quite confusing to us.
So it was "that our Keri-Hebs, or Priests, or Magi decided that a unified theology was needed to guide our lives along right thinking paths. (And also to control us, and later to gather much of the fruits of our labour.)
Along came Osiris, avery wise and kindly king, who taught us the art of sowing and reaping crops, of the secrets of irrigation of the alluvial soil that was periodically dumped on our fields by the inundation of the Nile.
And many other things of nature.
His sister/wife was Isis. From their union came their son, Horus.
Thus was formed the first trinity of father, mother and son.
However, all was not well. The brother of Osiris was man called Seth.




He was jealous and displeased, at the adulation of Osiris by the people, and resolved to kill him and displace him.
Accordjng1y, he gave a banquet, the centrepiece of which was a box shaped in the form of a man. After the usual eating and much drinking, Seth introduced this party game. Great rewards were available to him whose body fitted the box exactly.
Everyone tried, but because it was made to the exact measurements of Osiris, his was the only body that fitted exactly.
As soon as he was trapped in the box, Osiris found the lid placed on and very soundly secured. Seth caused this box to be cast upon the waters, where it floated along for a while, finally becoming lodged in a tree.
However, Seth had not counted on the love of Isis. She set out in search of the box, found it and returned with it.
When Seth heard of this he retrieved the body, and in a. rage, completely dismembered it and scattered the parts al1 over Egypt. Perhaps an Initiatory organisation to follow us may use the dismemberment as a basis for the infliction of penalties for infidelity.
Once again, Seth had not taken into consideration the love and tenacity of Isis. She retrieved the parts, gathered them together again, fluttered her wings over them, and breathed life into the dead form.
Osiris had become god... both of the living, and though resurrection, of the dead.
Horus then set about avenging Osiris. He engaged Seth in combat, defeated and slew him. He lost an eye in the process.

I have presented this very brief theology of Egypt of the day in an attempt to lure your minds back to that era. How does all this pertain to our Craft?
We make extensive use of symbolism, much of which is derived from the "Papyrus of Ani", better known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, not to be confused wit the "Bardo Thedol" the Tibetan bookof the Dead.
As the symbolism of masonry is scattered and diverse through the teachings of our ceremonies, I have found my self-incapable of presenting its origins in consecutive form. Symbols and teachings will be brought forward and I leave it to you to ponder weather they enhance your understanding of the Craft or not.
We find Osiris in hierglyphical form sitting on his throne. This has one arm shorter than the other and is a true "square". We also see an illustration called vignette of a figure with left foot extended treading on the body of the serpent of evi1, with spear poised to strike and kill him. The point within the circle is also depicted, along with the All Seeing Eye (of Horus). You will also find the triangle, representing trinity. Also the cube, representing stability, the four columns supporting the sky (we still refer to the "four corners of the earth". Should you look, you will find so much of Craft Freemasonry depicted.




We also find Osiris Ani pleading that his head not be severed from his body, nor his bowels destroyed.  This is merely illustrative. Let us now proceed to the application of the symbols as they come to us from the Mystery Schools.
Traditionally, those schools of thought were inaugurated by the Pharaoh Thutmose III in his private apartments, and carried on by successive Grand Masters such as Akhnaton. The teachings were "secret" in as much as they could only be obtained following "initiation "of good and trusted men after a long period of probation.
The Mysteries studied the eternal mysteries of birth, life, death and resurrection or reincarnation. Why kept from the minds of the general populace? For the same reason that our Lord warned us not to cast our pearls before swine. That these pearls of wisdom should not be trampled in the mire, but beheld by those who understood the beauty and truth inherent in them. Indeed, our own ceremonies impress us that we come into existence poor, naked, blind, afflicted.
We traverse through our existence trying to learn the "hidden mysteries of nature and science, (God); then follow the death of our old ideas and we rise in the light of greater knowledge and awareness all this propounded and ceremonially carried out centuries ago.
I have referred to Akhnaton as the Sun King, the first monotheist. He is also the first to discover that progress is made by evolution, not revolution. His attempts to break the stranglehold of the priests of Ammon failed in his own lifetime.
The deities that became known as Ra, Aammon Ra, etc, were symbolised by the sun. Akhnaton took this a step further. The Sun Disk became the symbol of a One God, whose rays influenced the earth with life. The heart of the period shows his rays descending on the Pharaoh, at the end of which is depicted the crux anasta. The Ankh, the cross of life.
God is: One and Alone, and there is none Other with Him,
God is the One. The One Who has made all things.
God is a Spirit, a. hidden Spirit, the Spirit of Spirits,
The Great Spirit of Egypt,
The Divine Spirit,
God is from the Beginning, and has existed from the Beginning.

This is part of Akhnarton's  "Hymn to Aton", as translated by Budge.
Sound familiar Look up the lO4th Psalm of David. However those lines were inscribed over 3000 years ago.
I Find I have entered deeper waters than I had intended and find myself in danger of submersing you in ancient theology. I should now like to discuss the origin of our symbolism.
Let us start with the snake or serpent.



This reptile has certainly turned a full circle.
Initially with its baleful and menacing eyes, his elusiveness and ability to disappear so easily in so many ways plus his ability to maim and even kill, he was made the representative of evil. Later, when the ancients discovered shed skins, he assumed the power of obtaining a new body, and acquired curative and healing powers. As such he is found on the medical healing symbol, the caduceus, to this day; his: body representing the psychic parasympathetic nervous system entwined around the upright mortal spinal column. Finally, with his tail in his mouth he becomes the circle and an emblem of eternity.
The falcon soared on outstretched wings over the lands of Egypt. He represented Horus who lost his eye in combat with Seth. From his great height he could observe all, and we now have the All Seeing Eye of God. In another esoteric school of the) Rosy Cross this represents the Eye of Conscience our inner conscience which wemorta1s cannot deceive. The Egyptian "Ba" which is the soul of God within us has always been represented with wings. The God-Conciseness of God descending in the form of a Dove upon the Master Jesus Christ after His baptism.
So the eagle also became the symbol of God, which we use. “I bare you on eagles wings and brought you unto myself.
Our Rose-Croix order also draws on the successors of the ancients, the mystics, Gnostics and the Alchemists.
We pray that we "may be able to separate the precious metal from the dross"
This is an alchemical term for the separation or the gold of' the soul from the dross accumulated in our human body of thought.
The circles of the world’s existence also comes from mystical thesis, referring to God's creation in six periods and the ultimate that we know not. :
The rose has always been an emblem of secrecy and silence. It also represents the Soul and it buds, unfolds and comes into its prime in this mortal existence, emitting its perfume before dying and returning whence it came.
As ancient man arose at dawn, turned toward the rising sun, stretched out his arms to accept the warmth of his rays, he looked behind him.
He saw the shadow of' his own body upon the earth, and probably thought of the fleeting time remaining to him and the sufferings he must go through before his so-called "death". 
Would it not be fitting if he should visualise the rose of his soul blooming upon the cross, which is his for this life?
My purpose tonight has been to try to provide a little insight and recognition for those who have preceded us and bequeathed to us the philosophy of' this, our Order of Rose-Croix.
May we not fail to pass the teachings on unsullied to those who follow us?




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