Page 22 - Montana Freemason Magazine March 2014
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Montana Freemason         March 2014	                                                   Volume 90 Number 1

willing to sacrifice his opinions and prejudices upon no truths, moral or religious. As to tricks played with
the altar of truth. He was a wide reader possessed of Numbers, they only show what freaks of absurdity, if
a critical faculty. A sensible person, his notions—at not insanity, the human intellect can indulge.” Albert
times lofty and idealistic—were nonetheless founded Pike, Jan. 25, 1887, to Brenton D. Babcock, in Mackey,
in reality. Profoundly interested in the nature of truth, An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1946), 2:775-76.
he studied archeology, anthropology, comparative Cf. M&D 25:122 (in de Hoyos’ Annotated Morals and
religion, and philosophy, realizing a harmony of Dogma, p. 530, note 50)
ideas (as opposed to syncretism) which helped him
appreciate the great quest of humanity and fostered “Pike dismissed the spiritualistic and occult
in him a tolerance of others’ beliefs. His grasp and notions some ascribed to Freemasonry, writing:
understanding of Masonic history was excellent, “The superiority of Freemasonry to every other
but not ‘complete’ (alas! nobody can claim this) order and association consists in its symbols... It
and, as we shall see, he too would err in some of has no secret knowledge of any kind. There was, in
his interpretations of Masonic symbols. But he did the ancient initiations, something like the modern
possess the greatest quality of a good investigator: he spiritualism; but there is nothing of this or of magic in
considered all available evidence, and dismissed his Freemasonry.” Pike, Lecture on Masonic Symbolism
own theories when verifiable data outweighed his (1875), in Hutchens, Pike’s Lecture on Masonic
notions, however dear and venerable.” (de Hoyos, Symbolism (2006) (in de Hoyos’ Annotated Morals
Esoterika, Introduction)                                    and Dogma, p.949, note 16)

   In Pike’s own words:                                        “I think that you couldn’t engage in a more
   “Then I proceeded to investigate for myself,             unprofitable study than Theosophy. What would
expending more than a thousand dollars in books             you think of a man who should devote his life to
wherein to study the ancient symbolism, to learn            writing about what Electricity essentially is? That is
what was taught in the old mysteries, and to find, if       the real meaning of the word Theosophy “Wisdom
I could, the origin and old meanings of the symbols         or knowledge in regard to the essentiality of God.”
of Masonry. Of course I made what I thought to be           It seems, however to be used in a wider sense, of
valuable discoveries, which turned out to be worthless;     “Spiritual knowledge or insight.” I have looked
I followed clues which led to nothing; I wasted time        through Madam Blavatsky’s “Isis,” and found it to be
in idle speculations about the astronomical meanings        a compilation (except so far as it contains her own
contained in the Hiramic legend; I formed crude             hallucinations), of extracts from writings well known
theories and abandoned them; I fell into many errors.       to me, and of no real value. When these people get
I put faith for a time in Bro. Rockwell’s fancies about     out of the realm of phenomena, physical and mental,
the Egyptian origin of the symbols; and at last told        of what we can have actual knowledge, they become
him I did not believe a word in it all; that he was, I      simply unintelligible, like Eliphas Levi, all of whose
believed, looking for Masonic origins too far away,         writings I have.
holding his head too high in the air and looking over
the truth that was right at his feet, if any where.” (de       “If they could really teach me anything beyond
Hoyos)                                                      what I can know without them, as to the world of
   Now, we should be very arrogant indeed to not            spirit or my own spirit, I should be glad to hear: but
take Pike at his own word above. However, these             I am satisfied that they really know no more about it
statements below should help to strengthen our case         than I do. I told Dr. Olcott once that I happen to know
that Pike was a man capable of evolving and becoming        something about the Veda, and there was nothing
wiser:                                                      mystical in it. Swedenborg and Iacob Behmen are
                                                            entirely unintelligible w/me, and Madame Blavatsky
                                                            a humbug.

   “...Pike later came to see the folly of “astronomical”      “Dr. Elliot Coues, here, is a High Priest of
speculations, and abandoned them completely.                Theosophy: and when I told him the other day that
In a letter to a friend, he wrote: “I think that no         the study of Spiritualism never did any one any good,
speculations are more barren than those in regard           he agreed with me. It is all visionary, like grasping at
to the astronomical character of the symbols of             unpalpable colours in the sky, or ether, - an attempt to
Masonry, except those about the Numbers and their           explore in word, mere indefinite shadows which the
combinations of the Kabalah. All that is said about         writer vainly endeavors to make into ideal.” Albert
Numbers in that lecture, if not mere jugglery, amounts      Pike letter to Harpin Davies, March 26, 1889, as quoted
to nothing... The astronomical explanations of them,        by Daniel Gardiner, in Plumbline, Vol. 20 No. 3.
Phaogwe e2v2er plausible, would only show that they taught
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