June 26, 2011

Hiking With a Confederate Freemason Yogi.

Ouachita National Forest

Are you willing to write the favors done unto to you on marble, and the harms done in sand? ~Albert Pike

One of my favorite hiking/camping spots is Albert Pike, Arkansas. It is located in the Ouachita National forest—1.8 million acres of beautiful land in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.

I have gone there many times, but never really asked, “Who is Albert?”

Well, recently I learned that Albert Pike was a self-educated attorney, military officer, and Freemason. Pike could read, write, and speak 16 languages, including Hebrew, Greek, Sanskrit, and Latin! Pike was no ordinary Freemason. He is the only confederate officer honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, DC. This is due to his work as a Freemason scholar and philosopher.

Albert Pike was elected sovereign Grand Master of the southern jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite in 1859, a position he held until he died 32 years later in 1891. Pike is largely credited with further developing rites and rituals for the order. His two major works were, “Morals and Dogma” and “Magnum Opus (Great Work).”

Why am I telling you this? I do not know… I guess I was blown away by a man who was self-educated to the degree that he spoke 16 languages, negotiated numerous treaties with the native Americans, and was a highly regarded theologian and philosopher with the Scottish Rite order. Or perhaps I am puzzled by how such a brilliant man could have been a proponent of slavery and fought to preserve the institution. Albert Pike seems to share Thomas Jefferson’s enigmatic aura—a man of unparalleled brilliance, but a brilliance that often times doesn’t find expression within the context of his life.

Perhaps my fascination with Pike reached it’s peak when I came across the two before mentioned books. As I was reading through them I was taken back by the sophistication of Pike’s ideas. I was even a bit stunned that the Scottish Rite Freemasons subscribed to such a liberal theology. In his writings Pike seeks to arrive at a complete picture of God. A picture so complete that man shares in God’s Godness. Pike seeks to arrive at a theology and ritual that both describes and introduces the initiated to a non-dualistic experience of God. Reading his work, in a lot of ways, reminded me of Tibetan Buddhism’s more esoteric dimensions. But perhaps reminded me of the language of India’s ancient tradition of Yoga. Below is are some pretty amazing excerpts from the esoteric works of Albert Pike.

“The Duad is the origin of contrasts. It is the imperfect condition into which, according to Pythagoreans, a being falls, when he detaches himself from the Monad, or God…

The Monad was male because it’s actions produce no change in itself, but only out of itself. It represented the creative principle.

The Duad, for a contrary reason, was female, ever changing by addition, subtraction, or multiplication. It represents matter capable of form.

The union of the Monad and the Duad produces the Triad, signifying the world formed by the creative principle out of matter…

God is the author of everything that exists; the Eternal, the Supreme, the Living and Awful Being; from whom nothing in the universe is hidden. Make of him no idols or visible images; but rather worship him in the deep solitudes of sequestered forests; for he is invisible and fills the universe as it’s soul, and lives not in any temple!”

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