Like so many things yet to be discovered within the ancient mysteries, Immortality holds so much potential for the worthy recipient. Have you ever wondered why Freemasonry has such an affinity for the ancient mysteries. This was no accident. Have you ever wondered why the Craft asks us to study the ancient gods and the lessons from the ancient secret societies? This again was no accident. There are in fact countless lessons for the serious student to ponder, reflect and perhaps some day even understand. Immortality is one such lesson; if not the greatest knowledge ever discovered.
Furthermore, as my research of Albert Pike and Eliphas Levi’s writings continue, I found that Postmodernism has worked its way into the Craft, and as a result, our pursuit for Immortality has diminished. But before I delve into specifics, let me first define Immortality, which means, “the ability to live forever or eternal life.” Did you notice how the word is used to define two separate ideas and yet is still defined singularly; the first being physical Immortality or Immortality of the flesh, and the second being an eternal life, i.e. an after life or life after death. Upon my first and second reading of Pike’s book Morals and Dogma (1871), I did not make a distinction between the two. In fact, like most people, I was trained to think they were both one in the same. Here is yet another explanation:
“Immortality is the indefinite continuation of a person’s existence, even after death. In common parlance, immortality is virtually indistinguishable from afterlife, but philosophically speaking, they are not identical. Afterlife is the continuation of existence after death, regardless of whether or not that continuation is indefinite. Immortality implies a never-ending existence, regardless of whether or not the body dies.”
Think about it for a moment, most people think Immortality means exclusively life after death, or Immortality of the soul; but more on that a little later. First, let us explore the possibility that man was meant to live an Immortal life if it was earned, and we have countless examples of Immortals to prove it. Here is a short list of several supporting ideas of Immorality, followed by prominent Immortal figures history has recorded:
- Christian theology holds that Adam and Eve lost physical immortality for themselves and all their descendants in the Fall of Man – this what what most people believe.
- In the New Testament, the Greek word traditionally translated “soul” (ψυχή) has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew, without reference to an immortal soul. ‘Soul’ may refer to the whole person, the self: ‘three thousand souls’ were converted in Acts 2:41 (see Acts 3:23).
- The Persian word for “immortal” is associated with the month “Amurdad”, meaning “deathless” in Persian, in the Iranian calendar (near the end of July). The month of Amurdad or Ameretat is celebrated in Persian culture as ancient Persians believed the “Angel of Immortality” won over the “Angel of Death” in this month.
- According to one Tibetan Buddhist teaching, Dzogchen, individuals can transform the physical body into an immortal body of light called the rainbow body.
- Immortality in ancient Greek religion originally always included an eternal union of body and soul as can be seen in Homer, Hesiod, and various other ancient texts.
- As late as 1952, the editorial staff of the Syntopicon found in their compilation of the Great Books of the Western World, that “The philosophical issue concerning immortality cannot be separated from issues concerning the existence and nature of man’s soul.”
- Biologically immortal species:
- Bacteria – Bacteria reproduce through binary fission. A parent bacterium splits itself into two identical daughter cells which eventually then split themselves in half. This process repeats, thus making the bacterium essentially immortal. A 2005 PLoS Biology paper suggests that after each division the daughter cells can be identified as the older and the younger, and the older is slightly smaller, weaker, and more likely to die than the younger.
- Turritopsis dohrnii, a jellyfish (phylum Cnidaria, class Hydrozoa, order Anthoathecata), after becoming a sexually mature adult, can transform itself back into a polyp using the cell conversion process of transdifferentiation. Turritopsis nutricula repeats this cycle, meaning that it may have an indefinite lifespan. Its immortal adaptation has allowed it to spread from its original habitat in the Caribbean to “all over the world”.
- Hydra is a genus belonging to the phylum Cnidaria, the class Hydrozoa and the order Anthomedusae. They are simple fresh-water predatory animals possessing radial symmetry.
- Bristlecone pines are speculated to be potentially immortal; the oldest known living specimen is over 5,000 years old.
- Physical trauma would remain as a threat to perpetual physical life, as an otherwise immortal person would still be subject to unforeseen accidents or catastrophes.
- The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first literary works, is primarily a quest of a hero seeking to become immortal.
- There are numerous symbols representing immortality.
- The ankh is an Egyptian symbol of life that holds connotations of immortality when depicted in the hands of the gods and pharaohs, who were seen as having control over the journey of life.
- The Möbius strip in the shape of a trefoil knot is another symbol of immortality. Most symbolic representations of infinity or the life cycle are often used to represent immortality depending on the context they are placed in.
- Other examples include the Ouroboros, the Chinese fungus of longevity, the ten kanji, the phoenix, the peacock in Christianity, and the colors amaranth (in Western culture) and peach (in Chinese culture).
- A list of known Immortals:
- Nicolas Flamel (Husband)
- Perenelle Flamel (Wife)
- Count of St. Germain (a member of several secret societies, i.e Masons)
- John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder (the same man)
- The Three Nephites
- The Wandering Jew
- King Arthur and the Grail Knights, Sir Galahad and Sir Perceval are considered immortals
- The crew of the Flying Dutchman
- Morgan le Fay
- Abaris the Hyperborean
- Joseph of Arimathea
- Mary (mother of Jesus)
- Roger Bacon (a Franciscan monk, a scientist, and an alchemist)
- Charles Fillmore
- Apollonius of Tyana
- The Secret Chiefs of the A.·.A.·.
- Annalee Skarin
- Xi Wang Mu
- Shou Xin
- Ge Xuan
- Nirartha and Betari
- Zhong Li-Quan
- Lu Dong-Bin
- Zhang Guo-Lao
- Cao Guo-Jiu
- Han Xian-Zi
- Li Tie Kuai
- He Xian Gu
- Lan Cai He
The above names are just a short list that I compiled for the benefit of the readers of this article; it is, however, not inclusive of all known Immortals, nor does it include the thousands upon thousands of Immortals who live among us today, but who have chosen not to reveal themselves. For you see, an aspect of Immortal behavior is modesty; as well, revealing one’s Immortality may in fact put that person in jeopardy, which history has proven time and time again to be a concern for any person seeking Immortality. Furthermore, like within our own Masonic teachings, we are taught never to reveal our secrets to the profane; no accident there I believe, but just another valuable lesson to consider.
Now that the ideals of Immortality have been established, let us turn our attention to several written lessons from Albert Pike’s book, Morals and Dogma (1871) and Eliphas Levi’s book, The History of Magic (1850), both of whom taught a path to Immortality. Again, this was something I did not consider until after reading several of Levi’s books and compared them to Pike’s writings. My hope is, once the significance of Freemasonry is understood, my brothers will turn from their worldly teachings (Postmodernism) and became strident students of the Craft, which has countless hidden secrets to unveil to every worthy student of the ancient mysteries. Let us first start with Levi:
Levi wrote about the allegorical story of Orpheus:
“It matters little to us otherwise whether one of the Argonauts was called Orpheus or not, for the poetic creator has done more than live; he lives in immortality for ever. The Orphic fable is a complete dogma, a revelation of priestly destinies, a new ideal form of the worship of beauty. The regeneration and redemption of love are indicated already therein (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1850, p, 137).
I underlined several key points to consider in the above quote. In short, Orpheus is a fable (story) about man’s potential to live forever – “he lives in immortality for ever.” This belief “is a complete dogma” (belief) or “a revelation of priestly destinies (potential);” and better yet, “a new ideal form of worship (sacred).” You see, as will become evident in time, in order to attain an Immortal state of existence, one must completely live and practice the principles of love – “The regeneration of redemption of love.” It should also be stressed that “Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called ‘Orphic’ mysteries,” which held that the human soul was divine and immortal, and through initiation rites man could commune as a god with God.
Levi wrote about attaining equilibrium, a necessary law within the mysteries:
“Being is substance and life; life manifests by movement; movement is perpetuated by equilibrium; equilibrium is therefore the law of immortality. Conscience is the awareness of equilibrium, which is equity and justice. All excess, when it is not mortal, is corrected by an opposite excess; it is the eternal law of reaction; but if excess subverts all equilibrium it is lost in the outer darkness and becomes eternal death” (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1850, p, 348).
Here we see that equilibrium is a necessary “law of immortality.” That all excess must be corrected, “All excess, when it is not mortal, is corrected by an opposite excess;” for “excess subverts all equilibrium… and becomes eternal death.”
Levi discusses Raymund Lully; why?
“He betook himself to prayer, and devoted his existence to good works; God granted him all graces save that of death, but of what profit are the others in the absence of that which should complete and crown them all? One day the Tree of Knowledge was shewn to him, laden with its luminous fruits; he understood being and its harmonies; he divined the Kabalah; he established the foundations and sketched the plan of an universal science, from which time he was saluted as the illuminated doctor. So did he obtain glory, that fatal recompense of toil which God, in His mercy, seldom confers upon great men till after their death, because it intoxicates and poisons the living. But Raymund Lully, who could not by death give place to the glory after, might have occasion to fear that it would perish before himself, and meanwhile it could seem to him only a derision of his immortal misfortune. He knew how to make gold, so that he might purchase the world and all its kingdoms, yet he could not assure to himself the humblest tomb. He was the pauper of immortality. Everywhere he went begging for death, and no one was able to give it him” (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1850, p, 389-390).
Here we read about the Immortal existence of Raymund Lully, a Franciscan alchemist. Levi told us, partially, how Lully was able to attain Immortality, which was through prayer and good works, “God granted him all graces save that of death.” He was able to attain something most people do not attain until after death – God “seldom confers upon great men till after their death.” But to him, he did not realize what he had asked for. You see, Lully eventually realized he wanted to die, but could not, “Everywhere he went begging for death, and no one was able to give it him.” In short, Lully considered such a blessing a misfortune. The lesson being, be careful what you ask for.
Levi discusses fatality, which means, “an occurrence of death by accident, in war, or from disease” or “helplessness in the face of fate.”
“So long as man is subject to the dictates of fatality, he is profane—that is to say, a man who must be excluded from the sanctuary of knowledge, because in his hands knowledge would become a terrible instrument of destruction. On the contrary, the man who is free, who governs by understanding the blind instincts of life, is essentially a preserver and repairer, for Nature is the domain of his power and the temple of his immortality. When the uninitiated seeks to do good the result is evil. On the other hand, the true initiate can never will to do evil; if he strikes it is to chastise and to cure. The breath of the uninitiated is deadly, that of the initiate is life-giving. He who is profane suffers that others may suffer also, but the initiate endures in order that others may be spared. He who is profane steeps his arrows in his own blood and poisons them; he who is initiated cures the most cruel wounds by a single drop of his blood” (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1850, p, 588-589).
In order to attain an Immortal state of physical existence, one must not allow himself to become a man of fate, which means, a helpless victim to death and the deeds associated with such thinking. In fact, Levi went so far as to say that a man who thinks that he will eventually die, is profane and not worthy enough to gain this initiated knowledge; I know, a powerful statement. Needless to say, this exercise could go on and on; I will, however, now switch to Pike, who was a student of Levi, to complete this important exercise.
Pike wrote that the acacia at the head of the grave is a sign of Immortality:
“The bush of acacia placed at the head of the grave of Khir-Om is an emblem of resurrection and immortality” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 471).
The pyramid is also a sign of Immortality:
“In the Quaternary we find the first solid figure, the universal symbol of immortality, the pyramid” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 464).
Dionusos was the healer, author of life and Immortality:
“It was said that Dionusos or Poseidon had preceded Apollo in the Oracular office; and Dionusos continued to be esteemed in Greek Theology as Healer and Saviour, Author of Life and Immortality” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 430).
The mysteries teach Immorality:
“The Mysteries were practised as a means of perfecting the soul, of making it to know its own dignity, of reminding it of its noble origin and immortality, and consequently of its relations with the Universe and the Deity” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 307).
Please remember not to read this quote from the singular perspective that Immortality simply means life after death; no, Immortality also means the continuation of your existence or current life.
Our ceremonies are intended to purify us into an Immortal state of existence:
“Human ceremonies are indeed but imperfect symbols; and the alternate baptisms in fire and water intended to purify us into immortality, are ever in this world interrupted at the moment of their anticipated completion” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 290).
Immortality must be earned:
“If we but eat and drink and sleep, and let everything go on around us as it pleases; or if we live but to amass wealth or gain office or wear titles, we might as well not have lived at all; nor have we any right to expect immortality” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 122-23).
Again, this exercise could go on and on. I will not reveal anything further on the topic of Immortality, for the fear that such knowledge may find its way into the hands of the profane. My intent is clear however, I only want to demonstrate again the worth and value of Freemasonry and its endless knowledge to the worthy student. I hope you found this knowledge helpful, and will seek further light within the mysteries and not our contemporary Postmodern world of delusions. You see, the simple act of Postmodern thinking is hindering anyone who desires an Immortal life, both physically (flesh) and spiritual (soul).
And on a personal level, I think the term Immortality was designed the way it is because most people will never earn a state of physical Immortality, but may gain a state for an Immortal soul; thereby fulfilling its dual mandate.
If you want to know more about Postmodernism’s devastating effect on the Craft, please consider reading these related articles that I have written in this past year:
So Mote It Be!!!