The Monistic Theory

by Nhân Tử Nguyễn Văn Thọ

TOC | Preface | Chapters: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19

Chapter 10

Freemasonry and the Monistic Theory


Freemasonry is a Secret Society. No one knows for sure when it makes its appearance in the West, but agrees that the modern history of Freemasonry begins on June 24, 1717, when the Grand Lodge of England, an association of lodges, was inaugurated. Grand Lodges were subsequently founded in other countries accepting Freemasonry. Anyhow, it evolves from the guilds of stonemasons and cathedral builders of the Middle Ages. Freemasonry is spread by the advance of the British Empire, and remains most popular in the British Island and in other countries originally within the Empire. Of the world estimated 5,900,000 Freemasons, 4,000,000 lives in the United States, and 1,000,000 live in the British Isles. There are now in the United States and Canada a total of 57 Grand Lodges.

Freemasonry has almost from its inception, encountered considerable opposition from organized religion, especially from the Roman Catholic Church and from various states. It is banned in the USSR, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Portugal, China, Indonesia, The United Arab Republic etc

Some of the greatest and most prominent men in the world have been Masons. Among these are Giuseppe Garibaldi, Louis Kossuth, The Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington.

Freemasonry contains many of the elements of a religion; its teachings enjoin morality, charity, and obedience to the laws of the land. For admission, the applicant is required to be an adult male, believing in the existence of a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul. In most lodges in most countries, Freemasons are divided into three major degrees - entered apprentice, fellow of the craft, and master mason... [1]

Freemasonry is the subjugation, said Albert Pike, of the Human that is in man by the Divine; the Conquest of the Appetites and Passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort, struggle, and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual... Every Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, from the first to the thirty-second, teaches by its ceremonial as well as by its instruction, that the noblest purpose of life and the highest duty of a man are to strive incessantly and vigorously to win the mastery of everything, of that which in him is spiritual and divine, over that which is material and sensual; so that in him also, as in the Universe which God governs, Harmony and Beauty may be the result of a just equilibrium. [2]

Masonry is a search after Light. That search leads us directly back, as you see, to the Kabalah. In that ancient and little understood medley of absurdity and philosophy, the Initiate will find the source of many doctrines; and may in time come to understand the Hermetic philosophers, the Alchemists, all the Anti-papal thinkers of the Middle Ages, and Emmanuel Swedenborg. [3]

It is for each individual Mason to discover the secret of Masonry, by reflection upon its symbols and a wise consideration and analysis of what is said and done in the work. Masonry does not inculcate her truths. She states them, once and briefly; or hints them, perhaps, darkly; or interposes a cloud between them and eyes that would be dazzled by them. "Seek, and ye shall find," knowledge and the truth.

The practical object of Masonry is the physical and moral amelioration and the intellectual and spiritual improvement of individuals and society...

It is the universal, eternal, immutable religion, such as God planted in the heart of universal humanity. No creed has ever been long-lived that was not built on this foundation. It is the base, and they are the superstructure. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." "is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?"...

The whole world is but one republic, of which each nation is a family, and every individual a child. Masonry, not in anywise derogating from the differing duties which the diversity of states requires, tends to create a new people, which composed of men of many nations and tongues, shall all be bound together by the bonds of science, morality and virtue... [4]

For the public, Freemasonry teaches an universal brotherhood.

Looking at it closely, we find its teachings rather complicated. There is a mixture of Rosicrucians, of Kabalah, of Alchemy, and of Astrology. It conveys the truth to its followers by means of symbols, but few can understand them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry. As an outsider to the Society, I try to understand it through the Monistic Theory:

The Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry explains the Theory of Emanation or the Monistic Theory as follows:

The Theory of Emanation has flourished in many Eastern Religions, especially in Brahmanism and in Parseeism. Afterward, Kabalah and Gnosticism have also accepted it. Philo and Plato have taught it.

This theory sustains that everything emanates from the Absolute. Therefore, in Brahmanism the Cosmic Soul, from which everything emerges, is equated with Brahma or God.

Gnostics sustain that everything come from a Spiritual Reality. Everything derives from it, from the high to the low, and the final salvation is that in the final state, everything will return to the purity of the Creator.

Philo teaches that the Absolute, or The Original Light has brought forth its rays to illuminate all the souls, in that case everything comes from the One. The Emanation Theory has been also accepted by Freemasonry, and all its grades often mentioned this theory common to The Kabalah, to Philo and to The Gnostics.

Albert Pike frequently mentions this Theory in his book. He said, for instance: "The source of our knowledge of the Kabbalistic doctrines, are the books of Jezirah and Sohar, the former drawn up in the second century, and the latter a little later; but containing materials much older than themselves. In their most characteristic elements, they go back to the time of the exile. In them, as in the teachings of Zoroaster, EVERYTHING THAT EXISTS EMANATED FROM A SOURCE OF INFINITE LIGHT. Before everything, existed the ANCIENTS OF DAYS, THE KING OF LIGHT; a title often given to the Creator in the Zend-Avesta and the code of Sabaeans. With the idea so expressed is connected the pantheism of India. The King of Light, The Ancient, is ALL THAT IS. He is not only the real cause of all Existences; he is Infinite (AINSOPH). He is HIMSELF; there is nothing in Him that we can call Thou.

In the Indian doctrine, not only is the Supreme Being the real cause of all, but he is the only real existence; all the rest is illusion. In the Kabalah, as in the Persian and Gnostic doctrines, He is the Supreme Being unknown to all, the "Unknown Father." The world is his revelation, and subsists only in Him. His attributes are reproduced there, with different modifications, and in different degrees, so that the Universe is His Holy Splendor: it is but His Mantle; but it must be revered in silence. ALL BEINGS HAVE EMANATED FROM THE SUPREME BEING; the nearer a being is to Him, the more perfect it is; the more remote in the scale, the less its purity. [5]

In another place, he writes about Gnosticism as follows: "Emanation from the Deity of all spiritual beings, progressive degeneration of these beings from emanation to emanation, redemption and return of all to the purity of the Creator; and after the re-establishment of the primitive harmony of all, a fortunate and truly divine condition of all, in the bosom of God; such were the fundamental teachings of Gnosticism...

Behold, it is said, the light, which emanates from an immense center of Light, that spreads everywhere its benevolent rays; so do the spirits of Light emanate from the Divine Light. Behold, all the springs which nourish, embellish, fertilize and purify the Earth; they emanate from one and the same ocean; so from the bosom of the Divinity emanate so many streams, which form and fill all the universe of intelligence. Behold numbers, which all emanate from one primitive number, all resemble it, all are composed of its essence, and still vary infinitely; and utterances, decomposable into so many syllables and elements, all contained in the primitive Word, and still infinitely various; so the world of Intelligence emanated from a Primitive Intelligence, and they all resemble it, and yet display an infinite variety of existences." [6]

The One and the Multiple can be represented by: The Center and The Circle, the Center being The One, the Universal Cause; The Circle outside being the Multiple, the Effects. [7]

Or by the Ouroboros, biting its tail, encircling the Greek word: EN TO PAN meaning that ALL IS ONE. The Ouroboros biting its tail, represents the Eternity. [8] 


The Ouroboros Serpent

The conception: FROM THE ONE, EVERYTHING EMITS is represented by this symbol:

a) Two interlaced Triangles representing two poles Yin and Yang, containing in themselves the Ineffable Name, written in the Enoch Alphabet: [9]

b) Or by a triangle having in its center an Eye, or the Hebrew name of Jehovah, Yod, He, Vau, He.

From it, we see many rays coming out. This convey the idea of Emanation. On the periphery, we see a circle of Clouds, meaning all beings. The whole picture is the scheme of The Being with all its multiple manifestations.

c) Or by “The hexagon formed by six triangles, whose apices converge to a point...This is a symbol of the universal creation, the six points crossing the central point; thus assimilating the hexagon to the older symbol of the point within a circle... [10]

The process of Emanation: One into Two, Two into Four is similar to that of the Yi Jing.

The Two or the Yin and the Yang is represented or by Two Columns in Salomon’s temple: Booz and Jakin; The Yin is The B (Booz), the Yang is the J (Jakin).

Or by 2 triangles diametrically opposed: One turning upward representing the Fire or the Yang, One turning downward representing the Water or the In.

These two triangles are frequently represented interlaced, meaning that all the changes in this world is due to their united forces.

The Four Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air is represented in this way:

We see that Air is Fire with an horizontal line, borrowed from Water, and Earth is Water with an horizontal line, borrowed from Fire. [11]

The idea that God resides in Man, and that the Initiate should radiates God around him is represented by a Pentagram, or a Blazing Star emitting rays around, and with a Majuscule G in it. The Pentagram represents a man, and the G is an abbreviation for God. [12]

As for the deification of man, or his union with God, Albert Pike, thus spoke: "When man's consciousness of his own intellectuality was mature, and he became convinced that the internal faculty of thought was something more subtle than even the most subtle elements, he transferred that new conception to the object of his worship, and deified a mental principle instead of a physical one. He in every case makes God after his own image; for do what we will, the highest efforts of human thought can conceive nothing higher than the supremacy of intellect; and so he ever comes back to some familiar type of exalted humanity. He at first deifies nature, and afterward himself.

The eternal aspiration of the religious sentiment in man is to become united with God... [13]

In this short study of Freemasonry, I try to demonstrate that it upholds the Theory of Emanation, and because of it, has many connections with all the Middle Age thinkers, such as, with Rosicrucians, with Kabalists, with Alchemists, with Philo, with Plato, with Pythagoras etc

Its tends to reach Harmony and Beauty which will results in a just equilibrium. It sustains the "Restitutio at integrum" of everything or Apocatastasis, which means that all things, after a cycle of ages, would return to their original condition, to their primitive purity.


[1] Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1979, Tome IV, Article Freemasonry, p. 302.

Britannica Junior, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Chicago. London. Toronto, Vol. VI, Article Freemasonry. pp. 201-202

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1929, Vol. 9, Article Freemasonry, pp. 732 -739.

Religious and Spiritual Groups in modern America, Robert S. Ellwood, Jr. Prentice-hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1973, p. 62-64.

[2] Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Freemasonry, pp. 854-855.

[3] Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Freemasonry, p. 741.

[4] Alber Pike, Morals and Dogma, 4 pp. 218-219.

[5] Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Freemasonry, pp. 266-267.

[6] Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Freemasonry, pp.248-249.

[7] Oswald Wirth, L'Apprenti, le Symbolisme, 1962, p. 192.

[8] The ancient symbol of Eternity was a serpent in the form of a circle, the tail being placed in the mouth. The simple circle, the figure which has neither beginning nor end, but returns continually into itself, was also a symbol of eternity.

Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. p. 340, vol. I, article Eternity.

Oswald Wirth, L'Apprenti, le Symbolisme, 1962, p. 192.

[9] Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, article Ineffable Name.

[10] Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasnry, Article Hexagon.

[11] Oswald Wirth, L'Apprenti, p. 209. Le Compagnon, p. 146 and p. 154.

[12] La lettre G, then has in Freemasonry the same force and signification that the letter Yod had among the Cabalists... In Freemasonry, it is given as the initial of the word God.

Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, at the letter G.

...L'Etoile flamboyante est l'emblème du génie qui élève aux grandes choses. C'est l'image du feu sacré qui embrasse l'âme de tout homme qui, resolument, sans vanité, sans basse ambition, voue sa vie à la gloire et au bonheur de l'humanité.

Initiatiquement, l'étoile flamboyante est l'image de l'homme évolué, doué de pouvoirs psychiques, different en cela, comme par le travail de son intélligence, des hommes qui n'ayant pas recu le don divin, sont figurés par le Pentagramme non illuminé. Mais l'initié a développé ses forces; il en a acquis de nouvelles en puisant dans le réservoir eternel qui est ouvert à tous ceux qui savent en trouver le chemin; aussi, maintenant que ses forces se sont décuplées dans cette frequentation presque divine, il rayonne sur ceux qui l'entourent, il l'attire vers sa lumière nocturne servant de guide aux voyageurs harrassés par la fatigue et la peur...

Henri Durville, La Science secrète, p. 415.

[13] Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, p. 652.

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