C.W. Leadbeater (1847-1934) was a highly developed clairvoyant and the author of over thirty books on the spiritual life and on the psychic
nature of man.
He unfolded and perfected his psychic faculties under the guidance of his adept teacher and in 1893 commenced his work of
clairvoyant investigation which he carried on until his death.
It is once more my privilege to usher into the world, for the helping of the thoughtful, another volume of the series on the hidden side of things
written by Bishop Charles W. Leadbeater. True Mason that he is, he is ever trying to spread the Light which he has received, so that it may chase
away the darkness of Chaos. To look for the Light, to see the Light, to follow the Light, were duties familiar to all Egyptian Masons, though the
darkness in that Ancient Land never approached the density which shrouds the West today.
This book will be welcomed by all Freemasons who feel the beauty of their ancient Rite, and desire to add knowledge to their zeal.
The inner History of Masonry is left aside for the present, and the apprentice is led by a trustworthy guide through the labyrinth which protects
the central Shrine from careless and idle inquirers. Places that were obscure become illuminated; dark allusions are changed to crystal clarity;
walls which seemed solid melt away; confidence replaces doubt; glimpses of the goal are caught through rifts in the clouds; and the earth-born
mists vanish before the rays of the rising sun. Instead of fragments of half-understood traditions, confused and uninterpreted, we find in our
hands a splendid science and a reservoir of power which we can use for the uplifting of the world. we no longer ask: “What is the Great Work?”
We see “that it is nothing less than a concerted effort to carry out the duty that is laid upon us, as those who possess the Light, to spread that
Light abroad through the World, and actually to become fellow-labourers with T.G.A.O.T.U. in His great Plan for the evolution of our Brn”.
The detailed explanations of the ceremonies are profoundly interesting and illuminative, and I commend them very heartily to all true
Freemasons. Our V…I…Brother has added a heavy debt of gratitude by this book to the many we already owe him. Let us be honest debtors.
First Edition The Masonic fellowship differs from all other societies in that candidates for membership have to join it blind-fold, and
cannot receive much information about it until they actually enter its ranks. Even then the majority of Masons usually obtain only the most
general idea of the meaning of its ceremonies, and seldom penetrate further than an elementary moral interpretation of its principal symbols. In
this book it is my object, while preserving due secrecy upon those matters which must be kept secret, to explain something of the deeper
meaning and purpose of Free-masonary, in the hope of arousing among the Brn. A more profound reverence for that of which they are the
custodians and a fuller understanding of the mysteries of the Craft.
Although the book is primarily intended for the instruction of members of the Co-Masonic Order, whose desire, as is expressed in
their ritual, is to pour the waters of esoteric knowledge into the Masonic vessels, I hope nevertheless that it may appeal to a wider circle, and
may perhaps be of use of to some of those many Brn. In the masculine Craft who are seeking for a deeper interpretation of Masonic symbolism
than is given in the majority of their Lodges, showing them that in the ritual which they know and love so well are enshrined splendid ideals and
deep spiritual teachings which are of the most absorbing interest to the student of the inner side of life.
Before we can gain this fuller understanding we must have at least some slight acquaintance with certain facts concerning the world in
which we live-a world less than half of which we see or understand. Indeed, undignified as the statement sounds, it is quite true that our position
resembles very closely that of a caterpillar feeding upon a leaf, whose vision and perception extend but very little beyond the leaf upon which he
crawls. How difficult it would be for such a caterpillar to transcend his limitations, to take a wider view, to understand that his leaf is part of a
huge tree with millions of such leaves, a tree with a life of its own-a life outlasting a thousand generations of lives such as his; and that tree in
turn only a unit in a vast forest of dimensions incalculable to his tiny brain! And if by some unusual development one caterpillar did catch a
glimpse of the great world around him and tried to explain his vision to his fellows, how those other caterpillars would disbelieve and ridicule
him, how they would adjure him to waste no time on such unprofitable imaginings, but to realize that the one purpose of life is to find a good
position on a succulent calf, and to assimilate as much of it as he can !
When later on he becomes a butterfly, his view widens, and he comes into touch with a beauty, a glory and a poetry in life of which he
had no conception before. It is the same world, and yet so different, merely because he can see more of it, and move about in it in a new way.
Every caterpillar is a potential butterfly; and we have the advantage over these creatures in that we can anticipate the butterfly stage, and so learn
much more about our world, come much nearer to the truth, enjoy life much more, and do much more good. We should study the hidden side of
everyday life, for in that way we shall get so much more out of it. The same truth applies to higher things-to religion, for example. Religion has
always spoken to mankind of unseen things above-not only far away in the future, but close around us here and now. Our life and what we can
make of it largely depend upon how real these unseen things are to us. Whatever we do, we should think always of the unseen consequences of
our action. Some of us know how useful that knowledge has been to us in our Church Services; and it is just the same in Freemasonry.
Though this vast inner world is unseen by most of us, it is not therefore invisible. As I wrote in The Science of the Sacraments:
It is by the use of those perfectly natural but super-normal faculties that much of the information given in this book has been obtained.
Anyone who, having developed such sight, watches a Masonic ceremony, will see that a very great deal more is being done than is expressed in
the mere words of the ritual, beautiful and dignified as they often are. Of course, I fully understand that all this may well seem fantastically
impossible to those who have not studied the subject at first hand; I can but affirm that this is a clear and definite reality to me, and that by long
and careful research, extending over more than forty years, I am absolutely certain of the existence and reliability of this method of
It is no new discovery, for it was known to the wise men of old; but, like so much else of the ancient wisdom, it has been forgotten
during the darkness of the early Middle Ages, and its value is only gradually being rediscovered; so to many it appears unfamiliar and incredible.
We have only to remember how utterly inconceivable the wireless telegraph, the telephone, the aeroplane or even the automobile would have
seemed to our great-grandfathers, in order to realize that we should be foolish to reject an idea merely because we have never heard of it before.
Only a few years ago the powers of research put at our disposal by the invention and development of the spectroscope were as far beyond
popular thought as those of clairvoyance are now. That by it we could discover the chemical constitution and measure the movements of stars
thoughts of millions of miles away might well have been regarded as the baseless fabric of a dream. May not other discoveries be
Men of high scientific attainments, such as Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crookes, Professor Lombroso, M. Camille Flammarion, Dr
Gustave Geley and Professor Myers, who have taken the trouble to inquire into this matter of inner sight, have convinced themselves that this
faculty exists; so if there be those among the Brn. To whom this claim seems ridiculous, I would ask them notwithstanding to read on and see
whether the knowledge obtained by a means which is strange to them does not nevertheless supply for obscure or incomprehensible points in
our ritual an explanation which commends itself to their reason and common sense. That which gives them a better grasp of the meaning
underlying the mysteries of our Craft, and thereby increases their veneration and love for it, cannot be unworthy or absurd. Any student who
wishes to know more of this fascinating subject may be referred to a little book entitled Clairvoyance, which I wrote some years ago.
I should like strongly to recommend for the perusal of my Brn. Of the Craft two books by Wor. Bro. W.L. Wilmshurst-The Meaning
of Masonry and The Masonic Initiation; I have myself read them with great delight and profit, and have gathered many gems from their pages.
I desire to offer my heartiest thanks to the Vev. Herbrand Williams, M.C., B.A., for his kindness in placing at my disposal his vast
stores of Masonic erudition, and for many arduous months of patient and painstaking research; also to the Rev. E. Warner and Mrs. M.R. St. John
for the careful drawing of the illustrations, and to Professor Ernest Wood for his untiring assistance and co-operation in every department of the
work, without which the production of the book would not have been possible.
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