Saturday, June 21, 2014

Freemasons: Amnesiac Saint John's Men

Once upon a time, in an ancient kingdom, Freemasons knew who and what they were. That was before the grey, amnesia inducing fog of fish fries and Grand Lodge hegemony made Freemasons forget why they really existed. We probably shouldn't speak in Masonic contexts of the Lost Word, but the Lost Purpose.

What they were, and what we should still be, according to all those knowledgable sources, are Saint John's men. As Tobias Churton, in his book "The Mysteries of John the Baptist: His Legacy in Gnosticism, Paganism, and Freemasonry" notes,
"There are in the world two principle groups of people for whom John the Baptist has significant spiritual meaning, though in the case of Freemasons, I should say a group for whom John ought to have spiritual meaning; Masons have mostly forgotten why they were once "St. John's men." The problem is, that while all of those sources go on to tell us about Saint John in relation to various Orders, and obscure and venerable middle eastern religions, they never get around to offering more than incidents and accidents when it comes to Freemasonry and the Saints John.

In looking for something to post in honor of Saint John's Day, I found that there really is very little available that isn't repetitive or simplistic, that isn't directly related to Freemasonry. So, I found myself turning to Ars Quatuor Corantorum. I found that for the most part, that august journal shed more heat than light on this topic.

In France, and by extension, Haiti, Saint John's Day is celebrated with bonfires. That however, reflects little more than that they continue what is a general practice in Celtic and some formerly Celtic countries.

Whether such practices played a ritualistic role in operative Freemasonry in Scotland is thus far unknown to me. Perhaps it is a topic some masons in Scotland might be motivated to take up. It is one of the many fascinating questions I continue to be plagued with.

And so I continue my search. I just don't find the legends of Templars and Hospitallers informed enough to provide much satisfaction. In any case, I'm more interested in what that association translated into in terms of ritual and content. Until then, hints and allegations will have to suffice, and I will have to continue to look for the angels in the architecture.

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