From times immemorial

Logghe_MiskendeThere is this Flemish Freemason, who writes about Freemasonry and heathenry. There is a problem though. His books are not for the general public…

In his public books such as De Graal (1997) and in articles and lectures that found their way to the internet, he sometimes refers to the Northern European roots of Freemasonry, but in 2010 he published a book solely dedicated to the subject: From Times Immemorial, de miskende wortels van de Vrijmetselarij. This book is published privately and only sold to regular Freemasons. Also, just as most of his writings, the book is in Dutch (sometimes he publishes in French). For many years I have hoped to bump into this book, since it looks as if it contains a wealth of information about our subject. So far, no luck.

When looking for the book, I usually end up at the “folder” on a website called “Docslide”. This used to be a PDF with the cover, the text on the back and a table of contents. When I visit that ‘folder’ now, the PDF is gone and the text can be read in a text field. That -of course-, makes it possible to copy the text, so I decided to translate that text so you too can have an idea of what the book is about.

From times immemorial … The disregarded roots of Freemasonry
Koenraad Logghe
Fons Macionica – 2010

The research into the origin of a complex phenomenon such as Freemasonry requires much courage and perseverance: courage to leave the common paths and to return to the sources themselves; Perseverance to tirelessly dig, even in places that are not so obvious or that are principally avoided by some investigators.

With From times immemorial, we use ancient sources to interpret symbols and usuages, and influences from historical currents, to attempt to follow the steady transformation of the Brotherhood. All of this is done in principally from an intercontextual perspective which sometimes gives illuminating viewpoints.

Our journey follows the winding path, from the old Norse mystery bonds, the so-called gildi, which in Christian times transform into warrior guilds and later into crafts guilds. These Brotherhoods will lay the foundation for the deployment of powerful cities. We must not lose sight of their role in religious processions and mystery plays. With the instruction within the building order and the chapter schools, a number of parallel initiation traditions develop: these of the bursarii, vaganti and golliaarden. Meanwhile brave knights follow the path to the Christian mystery center, Jerusalem. In the wake of the Knights Templar, builders also attracts travel there. The confrontation with the Middle Eastern culture jumpstarts  the epic narrative tradition. In the courts, histories about chevaliers errants are circulating and the quest for the Holy Grail is initiated. The dissemination of these stories is mainly the work of the trouvère or minnesänger [troubadours]. The Fidele d’Amore connect rose and cross with the Knight Templar. Thus the mystery lines lace up. With the appearance of the Rosicrucian manifests in the 17th century, Freemasons, members of the Royal Society, and Rosicrucians were named in one breath. What do they have in common? This is the fascinating course that must provide insight into the structure, rules and rituals of the Freemasonry.

The table of content is massive. Probably there is no index, but also this will give you an idea of the content of the book.

Foreword; Introduction;

History; Ex oriente lux; Ex occidente lux; Naimus Grecus and Charles, of royal blood; The Northern European gildi; The religion of the North; The three pillars of Indo-European religion; Priests and architects; The mystery tradition; Resumé;

The various types of guilds; About the Building Guilds; The traditional concept ‘craft’; Misconceptions about the operative builders; Resumé;

Specific characteristics of building guilds; The word Lodge; Old and respectable; The Grand Lodge; The word Freemason; The Master of Construction; The Worshipfull Master; The pallirer; No bondman; A man of honor, good name and fame; The filiation; The Landmarks; The rights and duties within the Lodge; Charity; Circle and square; The dimensions of the Lodge; The cornerstone; The degrees; The prayer; Initiation and Raising; The qualifications; The women; Under the open sky; The three smaller lights; The all-seeing eye; Hill and valley;  The meetings; The morning talks; Time of sessions; The mosaic floor; The knotted cord around the tableau [tracing board]; The columns; Thor’s jewels; The movable and immovable jewels; The three windows; The North; The symbols of the Law; Stopping profane conversations; Are the builders satisfied; The word salvation (hail, heilagr); The secret; The punishment; The clothes; The shoe; Brothers in one big family; Wearing weapons; The greeting; The oath; The kiss; The knocks; The handclap; The numbers; The three points ; The steps; The three pillars; Circumulation or roundabout; The journeys; The test; The cry; The drink or toast; The three drinks; The mallet; The staff; The blue degrees; The materials; Compas and square; Light and fire; The water; The relics; The Rose; The marks; The St. John’s Fire;

The initiation in the Entered Apprentice degree; The age of the candidate; The deliberation; Clothes of the candidate; The limping of the candidate; The blindfold; The knocking at the temple gate; The circumambulations of the temple;
Noise at the circumambulation; Emptying the cup; The punishment for breaking the oath; The three taps with the swords; The apron; The aprons knot; The tieing of the apron; The sign of the first degree; The Three Steps of the Entered Apprentice; The new name;

Promotion to Fellowcraft; The Flaming Star; The letter G; Crossing a river; The winding stairs; The sign of the second degree;

The raising to the Master’s degree; The enigma of the third degree; Older more important versions; Mystery plays in the Middle Ages; The grave of Hiram Abiff; The steps over the grave of Hiram; The myth of Hiram in relation to the ritual; The contract with the devil; The widow’s son; The five points of fellowship; The Scottish Master and Andreas-Knight;

Influences back and forth; The Benedictine Order; The regula; The Burschenschaften;  Christianity and monastic orders; The universitas general; Deposit cornum; Further progress of the full membership; The Mensur; Other traditions; The table lodge;
The stories around the Grail;  Parzival – der reine Tor; Parizval – the Knight in becoming; The quest of the Grail; Knighthood and Temple Knights; Nordic warriors brotherhoods; The Persian fravašis; Knightship; The spiritual legacy of the Knights Templar; The name Melkitsedek; King of Salem; The consummation of the mystical marriage; Christ and Solomon; Resume;
The Hermetic Tradition; Ars memoriae; Hermes: reviled and glorified; The grave: The true temple of Gnosis; Quotes for illustration;
The Rosicrucians; Influence or not; The essence of the Rosicrucianity; Rosicrucianity before the Rosicrucians; The Rosicrucian writings; Individuals who brought spiritual humus; A higher degree of Masonry; The Masonic grade of Rose-Croix; An alchemical Rosicrucian ritual;

Closing remarks; Bibliography.

Now that is a list of subjects that (supposedly) have Masonic and heathen connections, right? It is not for nothing that the book is almost 500 pages on A4 format!

Closing remarks

We will not break any pots stating that Freemasonry is particularly complex. First of all, it frames a broader movement of mystery traditions that are scattered all over the surface of the earth and which all spring from the Primordial Tradition which is beyond time and space and can sprout like a flowering shoot at any moment of history or at any place in this world.

Such a green shoot we saw blossoming in the far North, as the particularly resilient gildi that formed the core of the pre-Christian religion of Northern Europe. This initiatory organisation was at the root of the oral Divine law that was instituted everywhere and continued in the administrative sphere in the thing system. At the things, after some ritual acts, justice was spoken according to well-defined formulas. The participants in the law were nobles, of good name and reputation. They maintained community peace in order to perpetuate the order established by the Gods and counter the chaotic forces or giants. But eventually the final battle will be launched, after the God of Fire or Divine Inspiration, Balder, is slain, and darkness will have set in.

We have established that a lot of the medieval legal customs go back to these gildi and were also found in the Bauhütten and the Lodges of Masons. This can be explained in two ways: on the one hand because the these craft organisations were the heirs of the gildi, or on the other hand because as guilds they also behaved as courts and thereby indirectly adopted the old gildi customs. We further noted that the Building Guilds derived their origin from Carolus secundus, or Charlemagne, and that it was precisely this ruler that was after the old gildi. To get rid of them, he instituted imitations of the gildi, who would then embody Christian virtues. Perhaps as a result, the ancient Gods had disappeared from the battlefield, but the customs and structures remained. Furthermore, we noticed that with the invasions of Northern Europe by the Scandinavian troops, the ancient gildi would assume a different capacity, that of warrior organizations, and later, once established in the conquered territories, possibly transformed themselves into craft guilds. Furthermore, we notice that for a while the guilds fulfilled these different functions together: the religious, the warrior and the craft aspect.

In the early Middle Ages, as a result of their office, the building guilds were under the strong influence of the organisationally strong monastic orders, more specifically the Benedictines and the Cistercians. This will undoubtedly have influenced some of their customs in terms of content. And just as in those days the crafts were completely involved in religious events, we also see the guild members acting as extras in processions and mystery plays. From these mystery plays, a number of ritual acts, internal to the organisation, may have subsequently undergone more detailed development. A number of (historical) developments occur early on in Europe, which also influence these initiatory organisations. One of these is undoubtedly the institution of the Crusades. In the wake of the noble troops, artisans move along to raise fortresses, houses of worship and hospitals. The confrontation with other cultures must have been penetrating. In addition, it is certainly not impossible that initiates from other, hostile regions may have been influenced by a number of issues related to the building order. More and more Middle Eastern legends circulated during the Middle Ages. They would initially modify the originally Western mythical images and later completely supplant them. It is possible that from these times the chivalric forms of expression of Freemasonry received an initial impulse. On the other hand, in Europe the quest-stories of the chevaliers errants and the initiatory novels of the powerful Knightly Orders flourished. It shows that exchange must have taken place between the various organizations, whether they were of religious, chivalric or craft origin. It cannot be ruled out that already at that time (14th century) the influence of the Rosicrucians – though not under this name – was making itself felt within several initiatory organizations. With the end of the Crusades, the civilization of society, and the disappearance of the Orders of Knights, a strange time is dawning. Europe is sliding or towards religious wars that will eventually result in the final secularization of the Empire. The ordination orders that still exist are doing everything they can to prevent that. What disappears ends up in the beds of the still existing organizations. Thus Freemasonry becomes a kind of mixing vessel in which other movements crystallize. This is the case for the legacy of the Orders of Knights, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism and Alchemy. In addition, this is facilitated by the dissemination of writings through the art of printing which allows for a spiritual revolution in Europe.

The many waters through which Freemasonry has trudged indicate the difficult path it has taken. In the process it has held fast to its foundational structures, and perhaps that is what has saved it from destruction. The interpretation of these structures at times threatened to derail, but this was readjusted by vigilant Brothers with the necessary firmness and rigor. Thus she was able to preserve what others lost. So she is not, as some Brothers sometimes suggest, an empty down to be filled. Rather, she must be seen as the guardian of a treasure that can protect the Western world from excessive superficiality and purely economic, one-dimensional thinking. The Empire, which the initiates once dreamed of, can only become a reality if it does not start from and is not founded on pure materialism, but if it is grounded in what unites and lifts us to a higher plane and unites us. It is from that metaphysical unity that the Western world can regain its strength and rise as a phoenix regenerated tut the grave it has now become. May the Divine breath animate us….

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *