From Kabbalistic Psychology to Universal Virtues: Wisdom, Strength, Beauty
I had the unique opportunity to study the Freemason rituals, and it is this enriching experience that I wish to share with you. These rituals offer a fascinating perspective on human psychology, revealing how ancient traditions can illuminate our modern understanding of the mind.
The Masonic rituals begin with three significant words pronounced by the main officers of the lodge: wisdom, strength, and beauty. These concepts are not merely symbolic but also functional, playing a key role in the structure and closure of the meetings. The closing, in turn, concludes with three other equally powerful words: peace, love, and joy.
This parallel led me to explore Kabbalistic psychology, particularly the system of the sephirot. Represented by the Tree of Life, the sephirot are ten energetic centers that symbolize divine and human qualities. Each sephira reflects a facet of our psychological organization, with individual variations in terms of strength and expression. For astrology enthusiasts, it is interesting to note that these energy centers correspond to the planets.
In the Tree of Life, we find three pillars representing different psychological aspects: the pillar of rigor, that of compassion, and the central pillar. These pillars directly resonate with the key words of the Masonic rituals. Wisdom is associated with Chokhmah on the pillar of compassion, strength with Gevurah on the pillar of rigor, and beauty with Tipheret on the central pillar. Each of the sephirot allows for the attainment of peace, love, and joy, respectively.
Wisdom and Peace
In the universe of Freemason rituals, peace, brought forth by wisdom, manifests as a symbolically significant state. This notion of peace is found in various forms across many cultures. For instance, it is embodied in the great peace of the Chinese, characterized by social harmony and deep serenity in the governance of the empire. In ancient Egypt, the concept of peace guides towards an ideal city, as described in the Book of the Dead. This notion of peace also finds resonance in the Hebrew Shekinah, the peace of Christ, symbolizing a state of spiritual contemplation, and in Hindu Shanti, a quest for inner peace. It also represents, in a more abstract manner, pacification as the extinction of passionate fires, or even sacrificial death.
Strength and Love
Love, emanating from strength, has various symbolic meanings. Often considered the son of Aphrodite and Hermes, Plato describes it in The Banquet as having a dual nature. Depending on whether it originates from Aphrodite Pandemos, goddess of raw desire, or Aphrodite Ourania, goddess of ethereal loves, its essence changes. Love, in its broadest sense, is perceived as the union of opposites, the coincidentia contrarium. This fundamental force, libido, drives action and self-realization. It actualizes through contact with others, through material, sensitive, and spiritual exchanges. Love strives to overcome antagonisms, to integrate and unify diverse forces. It is symbolized by the Chinese Yin and Yang binary. From a cosmic perspective, after the initial explosion of being into multiple forms, love becomes the driving force of the return to unity, marking the transition from the unconscious unity of primal chaos to the conscious unity of definitive order. The libido, illuminated by consciousness, transforms into a spiritual force propelling moral and mystical progress. However, when perverted, love can become a principle of division and death, destroying the value of the other for selfish ends, instead of mutually enriching the parties involved.
Beauty and Joy
Joy, the offspring of beauty, is intimately linked to expression and creativity. Symbolized by laughter, it influences both sickness and healing. Joy is considered a universal remedy, creating a space where speech can exist freely. It is linked to the ability to express oneself, to break free from the circle of preconceived words and thoughts. Joy is the inherent capacity of man to invent himself, to dance a life round that opens up new possibilities and breathes new life. It is the force that allows breaking the chains of confinement, to free oneself from constraints and to fully blossom. In this dance of joy, each step is an exploration, each movement an act of creation, constantly renewing life and its wonders.
However, for these qualities to fully manifest in our lives, a transformation is often necessary, involving self-knowledge and the pursuit of a balance between strength and clemency.
This article offers a window into how Freemason rituals and Kabbalah can enrich our understanding of human psychology. If you wish to learn more or discuss these fascinating concepts, please feel free to contact me.