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PHALLISM IN FREEMASONRY: FACT OR FALLACY? or A REFUTATION OF THEODOR REUSS P.D.

Newman, 32 Valley of Corinth, Orient of MS In the 1912 Jubilee edition of Oriflamme , the official journal of the Ordo Templi Orientis German fringe Mason Theodor Reuss declared that the KEY which opens up all Masonic[]secrets [is] the teaching of sexual magic, and this teaching explains without exception[]all the symbolism of FREEMASONRY In the paragraphs which follow I will demonstrate that, while phallic symbols may very well be present within the Craft, their function therein is in no way connected to or indicative of the bizarre idea of sexual magic. Rather, I propose that the presence of phallic symbolism within Freemasonry, if it is indeed present at all, exists for the sole purpose of exemplifying the potentiality for spiritual rebirth or regeneration within the Craft. This, I believe, is accomplished via the ritual motif of death and resurrection which, it has been widely suggested, is embodied in the dramatic portion of the Master Mason Degree. Before we enter into any particulars, it will be helpful to provide a definition of the term phallism as it was used and understood by the scholars who are responsible for perpetuating the notion that phallic symbolism can be found within Freemasonry in the first place. Rosicrucian scholar Hargrave Jennings first defined phallism as the adoration of the generative organs as symbols of the creative powers of nature. From this it is made clear that the term phallism refers not to the veneration of the gross, material reproductive anatomy, but rather to

that of which it is but a symbol namely, the generative or creative principle in nature and Deity; that mysterious and inexhaustible fountain of life from which all things proceed. It should also be noted that the term phallism can be somewhat misleading as it is not limited to the description of the reproductive anatomy of the male, but is also inclusive of that of the female. We will therefore be exploring within the Craft examples of the alleged occurrence of both the phallus as well as the cteis. Let us turn our attention then to a few of the aforementioned scholars who have taken part in perpetuating the notion that phallic symbols are actually present within Freemasonry. For starters, we will begin with French occultist and Freemason Eliphas Levi, who once made the statement that the letter G which is suspended over the head of the Worshipful Master in the east of the Lodge signifies []GENERATION. Drawing from this claim, Gen. Albert Pike, 33 added that the generative principle [is] represented by the letter G,[]the meaning whereof is Generation. As explained above,the term Generation is meant to imply the generative or creative principle in nature and Deity. However, we can already begin to see how easily one might interpret statements like those above as being references instead to the generative principle in man, i.e., the reproductive organs. Another such example comes from British Freemason and Spiritualist J.S.M. Ward, who takes a candidly phallic approach in his interpretation of the Common Gavel and Level when he says in The Entered Apprentices Handbook that [the Worshipful Master] represents the male aspect of the Deity, as is shown by the tau crosses, called levels, on his apron, and by the use of his gavel, which represents the same emblem. In his Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods, Ward says further: the hammer or gavel, and the Tau, were originally the same, and this is a natural evolution of symbols, for the Tau Cross is evolved from the Phallus, and that is the symbol of God the Creator Ward was also apt to see a representation of the phallus in the two Masonic pillars, the same which were set in the portico of King Solomons temple, whose origin he tells us in The Fellowcrafts Handbook , undoubtedly was Phallic A further example can be found in Albert G. Mackeys Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry under his entry on Phallic Worship, wherein he asserts that the phallus, or, as it was called among the Orientalists, the Lingam, was a representation of the male principle only. To perfect the circle of generation, it is necessary to advance one step farther. Accordingly we find the Cteis of the Greeks, and the Yoni of the Indians, a symbol of the female generative principle of coextensive prevalence with the Phallus. He goes on to say that [t]he union of these two, as the generative and the producing principles of nature, in one compound figure, was the most usual mode of representation. And here, I think, we undoubtedly find the remote origin of the point within a circle, an ancient symbol which was first adopted by the old sun-worshippers[]and afterward modified in its signification and incorporated into the symbolism of Freemasonry.

To be fair, not all Masonic scholars are convinced of the presence of phallic symbolism within the Craft. Henry W. Coil, 33 was particularly revolted by the explanation on

thepart of Albert G. Mackey, 33 regarding the point within a circle, and he expressed as much in his Masonic Encyclopedia by saying that Mackeys interpretations were revolting to a Christian. See The Ritualist Coil exclaims, where [Mackey] treats of the Point within the Circle [as] a relic of Sun-worship or that part of it known as worship of the Phallus, the male generative organ, which necessitates that he search out the Cteis or female generative organand everything that stood upright in the lodge was a Phallus and whatever resembled a circle or hole was a Cteis! So, said he, the Point within the Circle combined the male and female principles or symbolized the hermaphroditism of GodObserve how remote the connection must be and with what difficulty the two alien ideas are brought together! Coils revulsion is perfectly understandable when one considers the wide-spread tendency in the West to view the genitals as something shameful or taboo, but according to many scholars, this sentiment was not shared by several of the more primitive cultures, nor is it shared by certain of our neighbors in the East. Quoting from amateur symbologist Gerald Massey, British Freemason A.E. Waite addresses this issue by gently reminding his readers that Nature is not ashamed of her own emblems. Returning again to the work of J.S.M. Ward, in this case The Master Masons Handbook , we find our first example of an allegation of the presence of the cteis within the Lodge: [The Compasses] combined with the Square form a lozenge, which is itself a symbol for the Vesica Piscis, emblem of the female principleand the symbol of birth and rebirth. Hence symbolically the Candidate passes through the vesica piscis. Similarly, in Wards Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods we read the following: Thus the Candidate is reminded that, as he must enter this material world through the vesica piscis, so he must enter the life of initiation by the same road Another prime example of the alleged presence of the female principle within the symbolism of the Craft can be found in Rollin C. Blackmers A Practical Explanation of the Work of Freemasonry , wherein he declares that [t]he lodge is a representation of King Solomon's Temple and the Temple was calculated to symbolize the maternal human body, wherein the candidate must enter to be born again. The uterus and vagina represent the porch of the Temple, the pillars of the porch represent the fallopian tubes, the network, the broad ligament with its accompanying blood vessels[]and the pomegranate, the ovary and its exuberant seeds, the ova cells." And it is perhaps with these latter interpretations that we come upon a more exalted explanation for the alleged presence of phallic symbolism within the Craft. The psychological import of the rebirth experience has been stressed by numerous prominent thinkers Academia 2013