By Robert Lomas
This follow-up book to “The Hiram Key” is interesting Masonic reading from the point of view of Masonic ritual. Brother Lomas describes in some detail the ceremonies of the three Blue Lodge degrees he received, however, as he states, a ruling by the United Grand Lodge of England does not preclude an English Mason from revealing some parts of their degree rituals. As he explains in the book, what is specifically forbidden by the UGLE is the revelation of methods of Masonic recognition, which ruling Lomas scrupulously adheres to.
Reading about the three degrees as experienced by Mr. Lomas in his lodge is interesting, particularly for the American Mason who will at once recognize both similarities and differences in the degree ritual as they are described. But this is only the lowest level of ritualistic consideration Mr. Lomas has for the reader. The higher, and far more interesting part of the book deals with how those Masons who become ritualists are effected by learning and taking part in degree work.
One section in the Prologue of Turning the Hiram Key is entitled, “The Masonic Path to Cosmic Consciousness.” This section with a few of the preceding paragraphs serve to introduce to the reader the famous British Masonic thinker and writer Walter Lesley Wilmshurst. Brother Wilmshurst might be familiar to some readers, but Lomas spends some quality time explaining who he was and why he was important to Masonry. According to WLW, achieving a form or type of cosmic consciousness IS the purpose for Masonic ritual. And lest you think Brother Wilmshurst is a product of the “Age of Aquarius”, his masterwork, “The Meaning of Masonry” was first delivered as a series of lectures to his lodge in the 1920s.
As Lomas points out, “Freemasonry is not a religion, but it is spiritual technique that is compatible with the belief systems of any religion as well as with the rational world view of science: to join, you must express a belief that there is order underpinning the behavior of the universe.” Whether that “underpinning” faith and belief is in God, Allah, Buddha, or the Great Architect of the Universe, it is something that every man who desires to be a Mason must express.
As the book progresses, the reader encounters sections entitled, “How does Ritual Work?”, “How does Symbolism Work?”, as well as a chapter dealing with Wilmhurst’s topic, “The Meaning of Masonry” wherein the reader finds sections on “The Mystical Mason”, and, “The Mystical Path to the Center.” Keep in mind that Brother Lomas is a physicist, so it would be difficult to label him an Aquarian.
This is a good book to read for anyone interested in getting a brief overview of English Masonic ritual; it is a great book to read for anyone interested in how Masonic ritual of any type makes a man better.
Review by Companion John Kerr