While researching Albert Pike’s book, Morals and Dogma (1871), I discovered something relevant to Freemasonry today, which may enlighten my Brethren about the topic of homosexuality as it related to the ancient mysteries. But first let me make just a few comments.
I only bring this topic up because two Grand Lodges in the United States, Tennessee and Georgia, are taking a stance against men who are homosexual. To my knowledge, it has been pretty well understood that such issues were to be kept private; well, I guess some Grand Lodges no longer adhere to the doctrine of no religion and no politics in Freemasonry.
You see, the no religion no politics ideal has served the Craft well, at least when it has been adhered to and applied. Some Masons think that this policy is only meant to be used between Brothers in a Lodge room; not so I am afraid. The no religion no politics ideal also means that we should not succumb to the political will and religious doctrine of popular opinion. Freemasonry is not a political or religious body; as such, we should stop acting like one, and instead start acting like an institution of higher learning, which teaches benevolent tolerance and good will towards all men and women, but especially those who are being persecuted.
In any event, Pike and his book Morals and Dogma have also suffered greatly the past 30 to 40 years. Instead of defending his book, the broader Craft simply dismissed it, something many Masons now believe was the wrong decision. You see, the broader Craft succumbed to political and religious pressures in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and because of this negativity, Freemasons entering the Craft demonstrated little to no interest in Pike’s book. This resulted in an abundance of copies of Morals and Dogma throughout the nation, which the Scottish Rite (SJ) mistook as a sign that the book was too difficult to understand. Pike’s book was replaced with another book in 1988; a book many Masons felt was necessary at the time to keep his ideas alive. Nevertheless, as popular as this book was and still is, it did not stop the overall decline in broader Craft numbers. It is obvious now however the broader Craft should have simply defended Pike instead of turning its back on him. I say this, because the recent release of Albert Pike’s book Morals and Dogma (annotated version) by the Scottish Rite (SJ) has led to a surge in interest in his work. History has certainly redeemed Pike, and now the Craft is seeing an overall increase as a result.
In any event, Pike wrote his views in Morals and Dogma during a time of incredible political turmoil; and despite the fact that only a few hundred copies were initially published, he had to have known that wider distribution would occur after his death. So he hid his more controversial views in allegory and archaic language, much like our own Masonic lessons do, which will be explained below.
Case in point. Pike mentioned something very profound, which will certainly upset some people! He wrote, “For the union of Nature with herself is a chaste marriage, of which the union of man and woman was a natural image.” To learn more about this particular quote, please go to my other blog Pikequotes. So what was Pike trying to communicate to us? One must first define what “union of Nature” is. Well, a clue can be seen in the second half of the sentence, when he wrote, “the union of man and woman was a natural image.” Therefore, the union between a man and woman is acceptable, right. OK, that is how most people might interpret this segment as well? That would mean that the “union of Nature” is a “chaste marriage,” or some type of union as well. At first, I was taken back, because I know the meaning of chaste is to be pure, like perhaps a virgin, or at least I thought. Well, I looked up the word chaste and discovered there were four definitions; they are, “Not having sex, morally pure or decent, not sinful, and simple or plain.” So I have to ask the question, how could a “natural image,” which is the union of a man and a woman, be good, and a “union of nature” or a “chaste marriage” also be good? WOW, to say the least. So what was Pike saying, and what distinction can be made between a “natural image” and a “chaste marriage,” both of which are pure and not sinful?
Well, if he mentioned the union of man and woman in the later part of the sentence, he must have been referring to natural acts (unions) in the first part of the sentence, like man and man, and woman and woman, in union, which, as he wrote, is a “chaste marriage.” Therefore, the act of sex between man and man, or woman and woman, would be morally pure and decent, not sinful and simple or plain. However, with that said, he also mentioned that the union between man and woman is the natural image; this is because it creates life, i.e. a child. Needless to say, this takes some time to gather ones head around, only because western civilization has been taught that homosexuality of not chaste, whereas Pike is stating that such a union is a “chaste marriage,” but not a “natural image,” only because this type of union does not create offspring. This is the only difference between the two unions; although, it must be said again, both unions are pure and good.
Furthermore, right after the above post, the following night, I posted another lesson from Pike, which mentioned the “orgies of Phœnicia.” And as most people know, orgies (Orgia) were the union of sexes simultaneously in a ritual act, and was often used in the ancient world on a wedding night. You see, Pike could have easily left out these points, but he chose to include them; therefore, by extension he was attempting to tell us something. Something that each person must conclude for ourselves. So, in the beginning of his lesson he wrote about a union of nature being a chaste marriage, and at the end he wrote about the orgies of Phœnicia; does one really think Pike was only discussing the union between male and female? I don’t. But again, it is up to each Mason to interpret and decide for himself, that is what allegory is all about. And this is how Masonry has been operating regarding the topic of homosexuality, at least until recently.
So many people have written that Pike was a man of his time; but honestly, he was a man well ahead of his time, which can be proven by his above claim about a union of nature being a chaste marriage. Once again, it must be repeated, Pike was a man well ahead of his time with regard to issues that we are just now starting to address. I think the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and Georgia need to reread Pike? Like I have said before, no wonder some Freemason’s had tried to cleanse the Craft of Pike’s book Morals and Dogma some thirty years ago. Well, I have news for those Masons who continue wage war against the ancient teachings of the Craft, and continue to allow outside political and religious influences to govern Freemasonry. A growing number of Masons now want Pike brought back into Masonic discussions and instruction to remind us of our ancient historical roots and doctrines, and as a guide to future behavior (Morals) and beliefs (Dogma) for all Masons of every Order. Only time will tell if this internal civil war will continue at the cost and to the dismay of the Brethren.
So Mote It Be!!!