Many things have been said about the Masonic rituals in the lodges, some of them not particularly friendly. The enemies of Freemasonry claim that these secret activities are nothing more than satanic rituals; therefore, every Mason who will depart for the Eternal East will find himself in a huge pot full of hot tar, with all the demons poking him to make sure he is done.
In such a case, my dearest and sole reader, it would be rather futile quitting smoking to avoid tar into our lungs, since we will be swimming in it for all eternity.
It would be very simple to give a credible answer to all these accusations made by every religious fanatic throughout the world, by inviting them into our lodges to witness by themselves our activities and realize that the virgins are not in danger of losing their most precious possession during one of our rituals.
However, my dearest and uninitiated friend, it is only natural to wonder why we, as Masons, are so protective of our secrets (which, by the way, are not secrets anymore, since all our rituals are readily available in the Internet) refusing to publish them, write them on video and show them in a reality show called “The Worshipful Brother”.
It all has to do, my friend, with what we call the “Masonic Collective Soul”.
There are brothers, much more eloquent and learned than myself, who would be capable of analyzing the philosophy behind this term in a way that you would either understand completely, or fall down awestruck, depending on the neural synapses you managed to develop since your mom was shaking the rattler in front of your eyes, wondering if you will react somehow, or she will have to send you to college after 17 years, cockeyed and drooling.
Your good friend (that is me) will attempt to analyze this term for you.
In the final game of the World Series, the coach of a team is priming his players in the locker room, so that they will come out on the field determined to bring the trophy back to Boston (fat chance!!). The same happens with the leader of a platoon in the eve of the battle, or the priest in your church. This is called “spiritual tuning”. It is the process of the spiritual and mental unification of a group of people into a solid set, whose powers are far greater that the collective powers of its constituents.
In the same manner and for the same objective, the Masonic Ritual foresees a procedure which aims into tuning the participants into a common target, which, in our case, is the elevation of the team on a higher spiritual level that will not include the everyday problems and worries of our lives. This spiritual tuning of many people into a common objective is called the “Collective Soul”.
It would be very simple (and exceptionally effortless) for me to stop at this point, having covered a large portion of your questions, my good friend. However, the logic I mentioned to you is based on philosophical principles, which sometimes transcend the ability of the oral or written Word to fully explain them, and they emanate from the symbolic and mystic level of the human experience. Therefore, please be patient and I will elaborate further.
Every esoteric teaching is based on myths and allegories, so that its student or its researcher will be capable of de-symbolizing its messages, since the logical part of our experience is not always capable of achieving that. In short, the myths and allegories constitute the dramatic string of a purely initiating procedure, which leads the researcher through complicated paths, to the explaining of cryptic messages and esoteric meanings.
The Old Testament, the Holy Quran, the teachings of Jesus Christ, the ancient Greek Dodekatheism and so many other philosophies and religious teachings, present to us a plethora of additional messages by de-symbolizing their narrative. As Orthodox Christians we should not forget that the real theological and philosophical stature of Christianity is based on the explanations given to us by the Holy Fathers, the de-symbolizing of the allegories of the teachings of Jesus and the Holy Drama and not to the dry narrative of a number of historically questionable events and scriptures.
Every newly initiated student who enters the Masonic Fraternity and participates in the workings of his lodge is tuned with the existing collective soul. He is led into the existing energy reserves of the Masonic Fraternity in a purely experiental way, he tunes himself into the universal rhythm in order to participate in turn to the advancement and evolution of this process, through his individual work within the Fraternity.
Although I have not a high regard for Paulo Coelho, I fully agree with one of his writings: “If you really desire something, the Universe conspires to the fulfillment of that desire”. This exactly happens when the spiritual energy of many different people are tuned into the realization of a single aim. The tuned mental energy is creating something called by some theories as a “mental entity”, which is a mental structure which is created by the repeated thoughts of an individual or a tuned group of people. Based on this theory, the collective soul is a mental/spiritual entity which is created by the collective meditation of many brothers, which becomes autonomous from the constituent minds and constitutes in turn a spiritual reservoir which affects everyone who will come close to it with his thoughts. It is, in short, the collective soul of our Fraternity.
A lot of the opening and closing rituals aim into collecting and re-distributing that mental energy to the participating brothers. I shall not elaborate further, since it is not my intention to bring out all aspects of our Ritual.
That means, my dear friend and reader, that even if all our Rituals are readily available in the Internet, they are as useful to the non-participants and the uninitiated people as a space shuttle manual would be useful to you to qualify as an astronaut. However, bringing an uninitiated or hostile person into our lodge, as a witness, would be equal to throwing a metal rod into a high-voltage substation.