Recently, I was speaking to a brother whom I befriended on r/freemasonry and discovered that he has written several Masonic pieces that have a more esoteric bent of Freemasonry. We thought that it would be cool for potential and new brothers to be exposed to the idea of an Esoteric Lodge, so we’ve created a new column called My Alchemical Romance: A Primer on Esoteric Freemasonry. This is by no means an exhaustive or thorough coverage of the topic, but hopefully it will provide a glimpse into a very interesting and appealing segment of the fraternity. As always, interested brethren are welcome to submit to this or any other contributor’s column or book review on Fresh From the Quarry. With that, I give you the first contributor and co-founder of this column: Bro. Bryan Godwin.
Bro. Bryan Godwin is the Emmy nominated owner and CEO of shade visual effects, the worlds leading invisible visual effects facility. As a serial entrepreneur and tech investor, he has built and managed teams and companies in the creative technology space for two decades. His newest venture, Viraxis Virtual Prototyping, is leading the way in rapid, virtual, prototyping and analytics using virtual reality and augmented reality to test consumer products, goods and services.
Bro. Bryan’s Masonic career began in 2012 at Culver City Foshay No. 467 where he now holds the office of Tyler. He is 32nd degree Scottish Rite mason, Cryptic Mason and active member of Santa Monica Bay Royal Arch Chapter #97. He is also a leading member of Culver City Foshay’s Esoterica committee, and he writes the monthly Esoterica column in CCF’s trestle board. Bro. Bryan, his wife Jennie and daughter Liberty live in Venice Beach California.
Birth and Initiation
Bro. Bryan Godwin
Culver City-Foshay Lodge No. 467, F&AM
Culver City, CA
Esotherica Group, July 2015
Initiatic traditions throughout the ages find many similarities in their content and themes. We see throughout initiatic systems and ancient Mystery Schools themes of birth, life, death and rebirth; often in that order. Initium, the Latin root of “initiation” means “beginning”. Initiatus, the participle from the verb initiare, refers to any act at the beginning or introduction of a thing. Freemasonry is widely known as an initiatic tradition of three stages, and as such we can draw many comparisons from our particular method of initiation and that of birth, a man’s entrance into the world, and one’s birth into the world of Freemasonry.
In life, we enter this world blind. We are transported from the small dark chamber of the womb and lead outward through a passage, from a place of darkness to a world of blinding light. We are for a brief moment bare, stripped of all material and mineral contrivances, unaware of our surroundings.
Once a child has passed through that portal into the world, he finds himself still dangerously tethered to the place whence he came by the umbilical cord. Even after entering the world, a child does not begin to fully survive on his own until he is loosed from that connection by the help of those around him, cutting the cord so a new life can begin. Only then can the child be embraced by his family, both literally and figuratively as a unique and individual person.
Very much in this way, a candidate for Freemasonry who is initiated into our brotherhood is brought from the darkness of his old life into the light of a moral and upright existence within the fraternity and the arms of his brothers. He takes an allegorical journey similar to a babe entering into this existence. Allegorically and symbolically the candidate is freed from his past and brought to a new world, full of new ideas, images and wonder.
This progression is no random set of steps or an accidental occurrence. The process of birth and entering into our world and reality is a very systematic progression that starts a soul on its path, whatever that may be. The processes of initiatic traditions are modeled after this progression to help trigger something within us, causing a sense memory of sorts to help “reset” our mind and spirit into a state similar to birth. When done correctly it causes an individual to be as open as possible to absorb new ideas, symbols and allegorical lessons to great effect. In Freemasonry our first step is to be initiated as an “Entered Apprentice,” alluding to our entrance into this new world.
All of mankind has been initiated into this physical world and can relate to the stages and steps outlined here. As Freemasons of course, we can find deeper esoteric parallels to each of these moments of birth to our own initiatic experience. Any Freemason examining and reflecting upon his first degree will find profound connections and similarities to the amazing mechanics and process of birth. By examining and reflecting upon birth we find the true fingerprints of the Architect of this world, created in his image, impossible to ignore, and worthy of all exploration and consideration.
Thank you Bro. Bryan Godwin for helping me put this new column together and providing a wonderful essay to set us in the right direction.
If you would like to be a contributor to My Alchemical Romance: A Primer on Esoteric Freemasonry, send me an email.
I hope you will.