Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods

I have been reading up with J.S.M. Ward. John Sebastian Marlow Ward (1885–1949) was born in America, died on Cyprus, but lived in the UK most of his life. He was a very colorful person.

Ward was an avid writer, but it nowadays mostly known for his book about Freemasonry. He had an esoteric approach to Freemasonry and reading the Wikipedia article about him, I can see why. He was not only a Mason and a priest (which may explain his focus on Christianity), but also a “prophet and mystic”. His ideas were not always taken enthousiastically.

In the little books that I read recently, Ward frequently refers to a title that I had heard of, but I don’t think I ever read it: Freemasonry And The Ancient Gods from 1921 (all his Masonic books seem to be from the 1920’ies). Now that is a promising title!

The book proves to be available online, so let us see if ‘our’ Ancient Gods play a part in it too.

The table of contents isn’t too promising. There is a four page chapter about “Ancient Europe”. These four pages are mostly about Rome and Greece! So let us look a bit more specific.

Hits for “Edda”. None.

Hits for “Odin”. Two. Ward says that the Swastika was dedicated to Odin. Ehrm.

So what about this?

Twenty-first Degree: Patriarch Noachite f or Prussian Knights. [of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite] – This degree is also called “the Very Ancient Order of Noachites,” and we suddenly find ourselves transferred to the time of the building of the Tower of Babel. It has practically nothing in common with the Royal Ark Mariner, though sometimes it has been suggested that it has.

The Lodge is supposed to be held in the open, or at any rate open to the moon, for the meetings must be held at full moon, and the light of that luminary is the only one permitted. Whereas all other degrees in Freemasonry are solar, this degree alone is distinctly lunar in character. How far there is any primitive foundation for this degree it is difficult to say, but, in its present form, it dates probably from the eighteenth century, and is almost certainly Teutonic in origin.

p. 211

I added the emphasis. Does Ward say that the degree goes back to ancient or to 18th century “Teutonic origin”? When writing about the 27th degree of the same system, Ward speaks of the “Teutonic cross”, probably of the Teutonic Order of 12th century, so that is not too interesting.

That is as far as it seems to get. Even though other authors have referred to ancient Northwestern Europe, Ward’s “ancient Gods” seem to have been all but them.

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