This webpage -- and all others that start with http://bessel.org/russo/ -- were written entirely by Jason C. Russo 32°, as his personal summary of the book, Morals and Dogma, written by Albert Pike in the 1800s. The credit for the content of these summaries belongs exclusively to Bro. Russo, and compliments, comments, and questions can be emailed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
COMPREHENSIONS OF THE MORALS AND DOGMA OF ALBERT PIKE
BY JASON C.
In this Chapter Albert Pike seeks to make profound distinctions and a separation of ideas and philosophy from the York Rite. While Pike endeavors to apply a more ancient and philosophical resonance to the York symbols of the Entered Apprentice degree—Pike is resigned to their utilization as a foundation steeped in tradition.
His contempt for the York Rite is self evident in the manner by which he makes reference to the York work. While he often quotes where the objects of the York Rite can be found, he makes allegorical references to the symbols of the Entered Apprentice and derogatory connotations in a way that is clearly evident for the Judeo-Christian whose foundations are steeped within the sacred books of their religion.
shall not repeat the explanations of these symbols given by the York Rite. You may read them in its printed monitors.
They are declared to allude to the self-improvement of the individual
craftsman,--a continuation of the same superficial interpretation.” (Pike p.5)
would be a waste of time to comment upon this.” (In reference to the York symbol of a point within a circle, bordered by
two parallel lines representing the Holy Saints John and the book of law resting
above the symbol) (Pike p.17)
Pike’s foundations for his views on Masonry can be understood by his personal religious and political views—views which are plainly self evident in his text. While reading his work, Albert Pike is neither Jew nor Christian; Muslim or Hindu. His belief in a supreme creator is beyond question though he has made Masonry as a philosophy his religion.
have no other concern for your religious creed.” (Pike p.11)
Masonry, which is Morality and Philosophy, must not cease to do its
duty…Contemplation should lead to action…. Then Philosophy becomes
p.20, bold mine)
Pike’s religious views extend past his negative views of the “superficial interpretations” we make, but he has also questioned the divine inspiration and divine preservation of the Holy Scriptures.
make their translations of it forthwith, hasty, incorrect, full of faults,
omissions, and misreadings…from each translation a party is born; and from
each misreading, a faction. Each
party believes or pretends that it has the only true text, and each faction
believes or pretends that it alone possesses the light.” (Pike
liberty and the Arbitrary Dogmas of a Church that thinks for its votaries, and
whose Pontiff claims to be infallible, and the decretals of its Councils to
constitute a gospel.” (Pike
find in the Blazing Star of five points an allusion to the Divine Providence, is
also fanciful…” (Pike
Despite the disagreements I have with Albert Pike’s religious dogma which he has inculcated into Scottish Rite Masonry, his works do have many profound and philosophical insights of use to us while divorcing ourselves from his religious interpretations of the pagans and polytheists. The political philosophies of Albert Pike are central and agreeable to all men and have been interwoven into the Scottish Rite ritual, so much so it would be a disservice to make any attempt to divorce ourselves from them. For this reason, despite the discussion of politics in Lodge to be a Masonic offense, the discussion of basic foundations of the politic belonging to the human psyche and humanity as a whole is of no particular country, no particular party and can cause no dissention to any man who adheres to the tenets of our Masonic institution.
Contemporary works such as Clausen’s Commentaries On Morals And Dogma, by Henry C. Clausen 33°, and A Bridge To Light by Rex H. Hutchens 33° and foreword by C. Fred Kleinknecht 33°, have done much to offer a synopsis of the degrees, provide summary and commentary—but both neglect the symbolisms and philosophies of Pike’s work. Many have found Pike’s work to be too difficult to read in the first place, let alone to extrapolate useful symbolism while detaching itself from pagan explanation.
Freemasonry of both the York and Scottish bodies are speculative, as such the works of Pike are his own speculations and interpretations. That we utilize some of his work is not a blanket agreement with his ideals, philosophies, religion, or dogma. Rather, he is credited to some profound interpretations, and had preserved the Scottish Rite to become what it is today. The Anti-Masonic movement has frequently utilized Pike’s work as a means of lambasting our craft as a pagan form of religion—this unfair generalization is presupposed on the idea Pike’s Morals and Dogma is the basis for every individual Mason’s religious belief system. Not true.
While being presented the degrees of the Scottish Rite, I was disturbed by much of what the ritual contained. Upon reading, A Bridge To Light, I was dissatisfied with the simple synopsis of each degree for not explaining the harsh and blasphemous statements found within the ritual. Despite Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma no longer being circulated, I found it necessary to delve into his work and remove from it that which is profound, that which is divine, and that which is universal. Perhaps in the near future the ritual may be revised to remove some of the disturbing aspects which would have many Masons questioning their conscience and belief system at hearing the words of Pike.
The Entered Apprentice Degree according to Pike is based upon the rule of Force, its use, application, and confinement towards the accomplishment of will. The Force of the people is likened in the same manner to the force of steam, when collected and confined can move turbines of great ships or locomotives. That same steam is wasted on the open air if not utilized for a more noble purpose.
The Force of the masses in the form of human will is regulated by an individual’s intellect for good or evil purposes. Thought too is Force and the philosophy behind thought is likened to an energy directing force to produce permanent results. The motor behind thought, intellect and philosophy are Truth and Love. When the Power of G-d is applied to this equation with the benefit of his supreme wisdom, Harmony is created.
These forces can be used for good or ill by human kind and in the form of nations and states. There are great forces found beneath the foundations of societies, especially in large cities where people are huddled together in great concrete masses. Pike describes these evil forces thusly,
There are immense forces in the
great caverns of evil beneath society; in the hideous degradation, squalor,
wretchedness and destitution, vices and crimes that reek and simmer in the
darkness in the populace below the people, of great cities.
There disinterestedness vanishes, every one howls, searches, gropes and
gnaws for himself. Ideas are
ignored, and of progress there is no thought. (Pike
At this point Pike introduces the first allegorical symbol of the
Scottish Rite—the two mothers of society.
Both step-mothers and represent Ignorance and Misery, who are led by the
figure Want, leading them in pursuit of their personal desires and satisfaction
of their own cravings at the expense of society.
These figures are the nemesis we must fight through use of force--Force
employed by the use of the Common Gavel, or Hammer by which we strike our blows
to aid our noble cause as outlined by the Twenty-Four Inch Gauge or Ruler.
This same Force can be abused for the powers of evil and tyranny that
forge and mold a society into their own fascist designs of despotism. The Force of the people used or abused sustains tyrannical
governments by the evil Rule. Passive
obedience to oppressive governments feed subjugation whereby the people are
enyoked and enslaved, reducing the thought of liberty by force of immoral law
and force of arms. The great
strength produced by the villainous tyrant produces only great weakness of the
It is only through eternal vigilance we must utilize the Hammer and Rule
to combat the villainous tyrants—employing the same tools to different ends.
Society must be reminded on a continual basis of the propensity towards
evil, the likelihood of the tyrant to come to power.
The force of the despot is utilized to misdirect the power and force of
the people and enslave them to further burden them with unjust laws and
“The sight of a single dungeon of tyranny is worth
more, to dispel illusions, and create a holy hatred of despotism, and to direct
FORCE aright, than the most eloquent volumes.” (Pike
Therefore the Force of the people in action is embodied by the Gavel, and
confined within the boundaries of Law and Order embodied by the Twenty-Four-Inch
Gauge, which is still divided into three equal parts and is emblematical
of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity and are thus explained—“Liberty
regulated by law; equality of rights in the eye of the law; brotherhood with is
duties and obligations as well as benefits.” (Pike p.5)
The rough Ashlar is given the embodiment of the populace as a whole in a
state of anarchy. The Perfect
Ashlar or cubical stone is a perfect form of harmony in perfect symmetry and fit
for efficient and moral use. The
three-faced cube is likened to a symbol of perfection which is produced by
Force, acted upon by the Rule and hammered in accordance with the Twenty-Four
Inch Gauge. The three faces of the cube seen are expressed as Vitality, Sprit
and Intellect—and are the embodiment of government ruled in accordance with
the harmony of moral law. The three
faces not seen on the three-faced cube are expressed as Liberty, Equality and
Fraternity as represented in the three bodies of the twenty-four-inch
gauge--which was integral to the use in creation of it.
Pike ascribes the definition of a Lodge to that described by the York
Rite, but makes additional commentary with reference to the Lodge of King
Solomon’s Temple, which is supported by the three great columns of Wisdom,
Strength and Beauty. In accordance
with Pikes definitions, Strength is synonymous with Force. These three columns are continued to be representatives of
the three-stationed officers of the Lodge, Master and Wardens.
These three concepts of construction are the symbols of perfection in
every construction high or low and nothing can withstand the test of time
without Wisdom, Force, and Beauty.
The Two columns at the entrance of the Lodge, which stood in the porch of
the Temple of Solomon are described in the biblical references in First and
Second Kings and also by Jeremiah. The
right column where the tools of the Entered Apprentice are kept was named Jachin
and the left Boaz, as rendered in the English language from its original Hebrew.
The name Jachin translates from its original Hebrew into English and
means “He that strengthens.”
The name Boaz is translated means, Strong,
Strength, Power, Might, Refuge, Source of Strength, a Fort.
We are next directed to the Dimensions of a Lodge as
described in the York Ritual which are unlimited and continuing in each
direction with the ultimate hope of attaining a heavenly hope through the use of
the Ladder which Jacob envisioned connecting earth to heaven, and by which the
angels traversed the distance between the two. Pike’s contempt for the York degrees tosses out the object
of the principal three rounds of Faith in G-d, Hope in Immortality and Charity
to all mankind, and supplants these with seven rungs.
The Greater and lesser lights of the Lodge remain unchanged by Pike, who
provides no additional commentary.
The Three Great Lights, or the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses are also
the furniture of the Lodge and held indispensable.
The Book of Sacred Law upon which the candidate takes his sacred oath
should be that of his particular faith, thus making the oath more meaningful and
provide a personal application to the candidate.
Pike describes the square and compasses as follows;
The Square is a right angle, formed by two right lines.
It is adapted only to a plane surface, and belongs only to geometry,
earth-measurement, that trigonometry which deals only with planes, and with the
earth, which the ancient supposed to be a plane.
The Compass describes circles, and deals with spherical trigonometry, the
science of the spheres and heavens. The
former, therefore, is an emblem of that concerns the earth and the body; the
latter of what concerns the heavens and the soul.” (Pike
The three lesser lights or as Pike referred to them as
the Sublime Lights, are explained to be the Sun, Moon and Worshipful Master.
Pike is quick to note the York bodies have neglected to adequately
explain their symbolism and is quick to provide his own.
The Sun is the symbol of light and life and the regenerative power of
G-d, as the Great Architect of the Universe is the cause of all life and light. Pike fails to adequately provide guidance concerning the moon
in a manner besides being the passive force of nature. Though as G-d directs the Sun to provide light and life, he
also utilizes the moon to provide light in the evenings, and regulate the oceans
and the wind with authority—the invisible forces of nature.
The Master of the Lodge dispenses light and authority to the Brethren
through his Wardens.
The Ornaments of the Lodge are the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tassel,
and the Blazing Star. The Mosaic
Pavement does indeed represent the forces of good and evil, Michael and Satan,
but cannot represent the floor of King Solomon’s Temple as is indicated by
York Ritual; the floor of King Solomon’s Temple was covered with planks of
fir. The border and tassels of this pavement are not given any thought by Pike
and he asserts they are fanciful and arbitrary if alluded to.
However, this reasoning I believe to be flawed.
The ornate border of this pavement is the law of G-d, which will shield
us from the Holy battle being fought between good and evil--which provides a
border for us to maintain or place amidst the divine.
The Tasselated corners are reminisce of the fringed tassles of the
Tzitzit, which was commanded by G-d that every four-cornered garment possess.
As we are to clothe ourselves with the law of G-d, it would stand to
reason the requirement to fringe the corners with tassels or Tzitzit as
commanded by G-d.
“And the Lord spoke unto Moses saying, “Speak unto
the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their
generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the
fringe each corner a thread of blue. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that
ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them;
and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye
used to go astray; that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy
unto your G-d. I the Lord am your
G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your G-d: I am the Lord
your G-d.”” Numbers
Pike continues to question the validity of the Blazing Star to represent
Divine Providence and goes so far as to call this fanciful. However, for those who possess belief and faith in the
Eternal G-d, the Grand and Supreme Architect of the Universe—he is our Blazing
Star, the light that guides our path in the night, our zenith in the heavens for
whom there is none higher. The
Blazing Star is a symbol that benefits the true believer who strives to attain a
hope in the resurrection and find a place with the Eternal G-d amidst the
Above the Master in the East is found the letter “G” or Hebrew Yod, and in French Lodges the letter “D” for Deity.
This use of the first letter in the ineffable name or in the title G-d
representing his divine presence and symbolizing the ineffable name of G-d in
whom we place our trust.
There are six jewels in the lodge, three of which are moveable and three
immovable. Originally the Plumb or
Rectitude of Conduct, Level or Equality and Square or Morality, were considered
the moveable jewels of the lodge because the three-stationed officers changed on
a regular basis and were not permanent. This view has since changed, because a
Master Mason’s Lodge cannot be opened without these three-stationed officers
being present--they are then fixed and immoveable aspects of the craft; without
them no work could be performed. The immoveable jewels, now the moveable jewels
are the Rough Ashlar, the Cubical Stone or Perfect Ashlar, and the
In a begrudged fashion, Pike provides the definition of the York Rite
which there is represented in every well-governed Lodge a point within a circle,
bordered by two-parallel lines with the book of constitutions or book of sacred
law resting above. The point which
represents the individual, the circle or outline of his conduct between the two
Patron Saints of Freemasonry, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.
In this manner as we traverse this circular path we can ever find
ourselves touching upon each of the Saints John and the book of law—thus may
we keep ourselves within due bounds upon the Precepts of Masonry.
Pike speculates that in Ancient Lodges the two parallel lines likely
represented the two columns of Jachin and Boaz.
“The Justice and Mercy of G-d are
in equilibrium, and the result is Harmony, because a single and perfect Wisdom
presides over both.”
At this point Pike has defined the moral laws of Freemasonry and alludes
to these being Masonry’s Ten Moral Laws and are thus provided:
Our G-d is the Supreme and Eternal G-d, the Grand Architect of the
Universe; he is the Omnipotent Immutable Wisdom and it shall be our endeavor to
adore, revere and love him.
It shall be your
eternal endeavor to do good, it shall be a pleasure unto you and not because it
is your duty. You shall endeavor to
befriend the wise man, for the soul is immortal—do nothing to degrade it!
It is your duty
to battle immorality and vice. You
shall treat all in the manner in which you desire to be treated.
Do not become haughty when blessed with fortune—utilize wisdom in all
You shall honor
your parents, respect the elderly and infirmed, provide instruction and guidance
to the youth. You shall always
defend the children among you, they are innocent to evil and have G-d’s
You shall honor
the covenant of marriage and cherish all those within your household.
You must be patriotic to your country and obey all its moral laws.
should be like a brother to you—he is to be your second self and treat him
accordingly, remain by his side in the event of misfortune—for your own
fortunes are not guaranteed.
Do not trifle
yourself with the insincere friend who will abuse your kind offices and flee
when you are distressed. Do not
give your self to excess in drink or gluttony—remain tempered and grounded.
Do not allow your actions to haunt your future endeavors.
You shall not
allow passion and desires to rule your life—they are fruitless endeavors that
lead to sin. Learn well from the
mistakes of others and avoid the pitfalls of their footsteps.
You shall be contemptuous of those who violate the moral law.
endeavor to listen, learn and act positively. Forgive the transgressions of others and repay evil with acts
of kindness. If found occupying a
position of authority you shall not abuse the strength or superiority that has
been entrusted unto you.
to be a student of G-d and man, that you may better know the hearts of men and
thereby transmute your own heart to good use. Strive to attain virtue; be just and upright and avoid the
idleness that leads to sin.
This above all—Love one another.
are the moral laws of Masonry, which we have taken upon ourselves by our
obligations to assist in elevating the moral and intellectual level of society.
By employing these precepts we should ever strive to battle the denizens
of evil and the groping and wretchedness of large cities who feed the embodiment
of Want which leads Ignorance and Misery after their own vices in feeding their
desires at humanity’s expense.
are admonished to be brave in this battle as a war is being fought against
life’s misfortunes, poverty, isolation and abandonment.
We are the warriors on this earth who are protected by the laws of G-d
and reminded by the tassels of his garment that we may accomplish his will on
earth towards our fellow man.
“The Mason should struggle in the same manner, and with the same
bravery, sginst those invasions of necessity and baseness, which come to nations
as well as t o men. He should meet
them too, foot to foot, even in the darkness, and protest against the national
wrongs and follies; against usurpation and the first inroads of …Tyranny.
There is no more sovereign eloquence than the truth in indignation.
It is more difficult for a people to keep than to gain their
freedom…..The Mason should be the priest and soldier of that Right.”
matter what transpires a Mason must possess faith in Justice and the Eternal
Wisdom of G-d; for it is with hope in our Grand and Great Architect of the
Universe we may find hope in eternal salvation, knowing the G-d of vengeance
will hear our cries as he had heard the cries of Able’s blood seeking justice
upon his brother Cain.
may we ever embody the three great tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
These principles clothe our suit of armor in our battles against the vices and
errors of humanity. It is our
endeavor to let this kindness be the rule and guide of our relationships and
affections towards all mankind—though it is our eternal obligation to extend
these virtues to our brethren first and foremost.
We should ever endeavor to relieve those distressed and the victim of the
ills of society and humanity for in truth we accomplish all things, and in truth
we approach the house not made with hands for our place as living stones for
that spiritual building.
four Cardinal Virtues we should ever possess—Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence
and Justice. In Prudence we must
engender the principles of Sagacity, Fore-thought, Fore-sight, and careful
Circumspection. We must display
temperance with our words and council, carefully balance our financial budgets
that we may avoid the pitfalls of misfortune.
With Fortitude we must be brave of heart, bold and courageous, undismayed
and undaunted in the face of calamity. Justice
we must ever seek, pursue and enforce—for Justice is the force of God’s
wisdom in correction of earthly error.
This concludes the Chapter on the Entered Apprentice. I have transmuted my own gleanings from Pike’s work and
have made some notable inclusions, providing my own speculations in areas of
disagreement with Pike’s philosophy. It
is my hope and endeavor my understandings and gleanings from this work will
assist fellow brothers who were disturbed by the pagan applications of Pike’s
work. As in all things Masonry is
speculative—and as such we should each endeavor to make conclusions and
applications for the benefit of our personal lives in the application of the
tenets herein contained.
Copyright © 1998-2015 by Paul M. Bessel - all rights reserved
If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions about this website, please feel free to send an email message to me: paulb'at'bessel.org
To see an index of other webpages with similar information, please feel free to click on the following: http://bessel.org/webindex.htm
Please note that I no longer am updating the webpages about Freemasonry. I still maintain my memberships but otherwise I am not active.