Amorcs First Temple Degree Initiation Illustrated the Abridged Version With Commentary
AMORC’S FIRST TEMPLE DEGREE INITIATION ILLUSTRATED THE ABRIDGED VERSION With Commentary by Pierre S. Freeman Copyright © 2013 by Pierre S. Freeman Smashwords Edition All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. Please do not participate in or encourage the piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. About the cover photograph: Death points accusingly at the terrified kneeling Neophyte while the other Neophytes stand, facing Death. The beautiful Colombe tries to intervene, asking for mercy for the doomed Neophyte. The High Priestess and the Master give their silent but solemn approval of the Event. CAPTION: “Hearken unto me, O Neophytes, because like light, life and love, night and day, I am always with you. Be warned!”
CONTENTS Introduction Opening the Door Entering the Antechamber The Terror of the Threshold Colombe Death Takes No Holidays Passing the Threshold - Finally Stations of the Temple The Fourth Point Lighting the Doric Candle Stand The Law of Amra The High Priestess Steps Up Final Moments
Introduction In AMORC Unmasked, I discussed some of the key initiations in AMORC, but I didn't really talk about the details that take place in the Temple. The following is an accurate summary of the ritual (with some commentary, of course), revealing another side of the profoundly complex ordering of events in the Temple, more so to give a sense of solemnity and authority to the hierarchy of AMORC. The first and most important thing to do in the most conventional and simplest form of hypnosis is to establish authority- and, quite frankly, the monographs and other written claims of AMORC could use a little shaping up with aid of a little live theater, just in case the literary power of suggestion is not enough. Therefore, the lucky candidates for deeper layerings of Mind Control can get more live action programming through their experience in the Temple. I don’t want my readers to think I am against ritual, per se. Rituals like this, no doubt borrowed from Masonic and Templar rituals throughout the Ages, recapitulates certain processes that relate to the purification of the personality and the physical body. They also serve as a kind of encapsulation of a theory of cosmology that speaks of various planes of existence. And despite their abuse, they preserve elements of a very high and sacred science involving the transformation of man. As this is the abridged version, I want to note I talk more about the real purpose that might lie outside the AMORC initiation in the complete version. So, in a way, this version is a kind of teaser.
OPENING THE DOOR This first ritual starts off with a bang (well, maybe just a loud knock- or a few knock locks). The First Temple Ritual begins when witnesses are called to enter, making their required Salutation to the East before they take their designated seats. To add to the initial drama, a gong is struck by the outer Guardian, who then remains in the Antechamber as the procedure unfolds. A serious ritual of an esoteric order may involve various consciousness-transforming activities, but it is also symbolic.
A Neophyte in the world of consciousness is someone who has not experienced a dramatic, long-lasting state of consciousness. In the terms we will use here referring to what we would call real esoteric knowledge, he is trapped in his lower personality and separated from his essential Self which is one with Cosmic Consciousness (as referred to the Rosicrucians) or, in the language of mysticism, being one with God. Now, the Deputy Master can proceed to the Reception Room, leading the supplicants out in single file back to the Antechamber. Before they enter, the Deputy Master must knock on the door three times, loud and slow, as befitting a ceremonial gesture, which echoes of the Masonic and Templar rituals throughout the ages. The Conductor then knocks three times with a parallel ambiance of drama, opening the door to the candidates, still outside the Antechamber. He then loudly asks who is approaching the Temple? The Deputy
Masters responds that it is he, the Deputy Master that is approaching. But why is he approaching? Why has he given the sign (three loud knocks) indicating his wish to approach the Temple? - all of this spoken in the flowery language of AMORCESE ritual. Well, it seems that the Deputy Master has somehow stumbled on some humble newbies (Neophytes) seeking the Greater Light- but, in fact, about to plunged into a sea of subtle Mind Control.
ENTERING THE ANTECHAMBER Having professed that he has found some Neophytes who seek the Greater Light, the Conductor asks if they are truly worthy of that Light? The Deputy replies in an affirmative way but also affirms that must be “tried and tested.” He is then asked if, indeed, they are ready to prove their sincerity. Again, the Deputy replies affirmatively, adding that they have also asked for guidance as they move forward in their quest. There are dangers when actually performing various types of esoteric exercises. I should know- because the exercises I experienced through AMORC basically led to advanced state of mind control programming and robbed me of my ‘free will.’ Now the entry into this Sacred Place, largely funded by the momentous and generally successful advertising recruiting and membership retention plan that has kept them more or less solvent over the years, has begun. After they enter, the Deputy Master will retreat to his Southeastern position in the Temple, having past his charges over to the Conductor, who arranges the Candidates in on or to rows, making sure they face the door to the Threshold chamber. Now, the Conductor turns his back to the door and unsheathes his sword, directing its point to the floor, then facing the candidates. He then addresses the Candidates, perhaps in a stentorian, dramatic voice, making sure that they understand that their sincerity and ardent seeking has led them to this sacred place, the Antechamber of the Temple. Now, these lucky sheep, who will get a good fleecing over the years of their membership, no doubt have their heads bent slightly in gratitude, while they are told they now stand on the Threshold of Illumination, which they shall shortly cross now raising their Celestial Status with the Cosmic to the level of Initiate. While I am cynical about all aspects of the Order, I do realize that much of its teaching is kind of a perverse imitation of greater teachings and therefore has a certain ring of authenticity. Having knocked on the door of Universal Wisdom, it is quite possible that at some point the door will swing open- and if one is not worthy, then one will step into a distortion of consciousness that can be violent and dangerous to one’s very survival. The question in my mind now, is the Order worthy of the sincere Initiate- as well as is the Initiate worthy of the Order?
The Conductor draws his ritualistic sword, warning the candidates that the a great trial awaits them beyond the door (extensive and prolonged mind control, the transformation of their characters into pawns of the Rosicrucian Order, a rich variety of hallucinatory experiences?) The trial is called the Terror of the Threshold which guards the sacred entrance to the Holy of Holies. There they will meet Death (the death of their own personalities into what is technically called by exit counselors, ‘cult personalities?). Death, by the way, is generally played by a male, a frater according to the instructionsbut a woman, a soror can play the part- but her voice must be full-throated, dynamic, deep and forceful- probably not like Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black, where Pitt plays Death, but in a softer, totally unsuitable way,
THE TERROR OF THE THRESHOLD After much formality and solemnity, the sheep to be sheared enter the Threshold Chamber in single file following the Herald. The Herald follows the Torchbearer with the Conductor that last in line. Inside, the Torchbearer takes care not to shed too much light on Colombe and Death while facing himself before the Holy Cross. It is imperative that the Ritual moves forward without breaking the endearing but entranced state of the subjects. The Inner Guardian who is positioned next to the Torchbearer, behind the Neophytes, now fully complements the sheep on their sheen, praising the perfection of their praiseworthy positioning on the Path of the Pendulum which crosses the wide river that separates birth from death. Of course, Death is not a matter to be taken lightly by anyone- and, although AMORC plays with the idea of the confrontation with Death, the ritual itself is sort of like a party game that you play at Halloween. Then the Inner Guardian asks them to open their souls to the flood of warmth and light flowing into them from the Rosy Cross before them. Now they must be prepared to fully absorb the “seemingly strange and inexplicable phenomena” that occur at the key moments of life and death, an enigma shortly to be unraveled in this sacred ceremony. Is the Inner Guardian talking here of the phenomena that reveal themselves in Near Death Experiences? The Herald now turns to the Inner Guardian and asks that the sheep enter more firmly into the shearing room, called the Temple, where they will be stripped of their ignorant meanderings and revealed the glorious mysteries of Life and Death. And, as if they have not heard enough of this long and solemn prelude to the unraveling of these mysteries, the Inner Guardian tries to prepare them for the terror they must now unabashedly face. The Herald then embellishes a bit on the solemnity of the moment, driving the point home about the coming terror they will face at the threshold. Soon they will be facing, Colombe, the voice of their conscience.
COLOMBE Now, before entering into the Master’s Temple, the initiates must listen to the voice of their conscience as embodied in Colombe, a female figure garbed in brilliant white. In the so-called esoteric tradition as promoted by AMORC, the girl must be under eighteen and a virgin. The word, “colombe” is a French word, meaning, “dove.” The dove, specifically a white dove, is a traditional symbol of the Holy Spirit, which is why, I imagine, the Colombe in this initiation is dressed in white, which is often a symbol of purity. According to AMORC’s Rosicrucian Manual, written by H. Spencer Lewis, “Colombes must be less than 14 years of age, when appointed to office, and not younger than 10 years of age. Each must serve until 16 years of age, during which time she must retain her virtue (remaining unmarried).” Colombe, fairly obviously, typifies conscience. Conscience is a sensitivity to the moral quality or quality of righteousness inherent in higher level experiences consistent with the Shekinah or Divine Presence.
The essence of the esoteric Christian theory of manifestation, as I understand it, is It sometimes is better to be completely off the Spiritual Path if one does not understand the role of Conscience with Consciousness. Part of my growth professionally and personally after my exit from my career was the fact that I stepped aside from a lot of the false ideas I was talked and mobilized a much simpler and sensible concept of manifestation grounded in the realities of the physical universe as I knew it. This meant applying to schools, focusing diligent on my schoolwork and then applying for jobs consistent with my proven talents in mathematics which I demonstrated in engineering school in Haiti before I got sucked into a religious cult.
As the voice of their conscience and the Guardian of their soul, they must listen to her profession: “I am Light! I am Life! I am Love!” Her voice is the one that leads the initiate away from temptation. She is the one who pleads for their Salvation. She is the one that stands beside the Rose Cross, the “symbol of nobility, strength and glory.” Finally, she is the one who demands a vow of each initiate to heed her voice forevermore. If I were taken this ritual in isolation of what I know about the manifestos and the actual application of these esoteric ideas in AMORC, I would say that this component of the ritual is very perfect. Taking a firm commitment to realize that the Light that embodies Love and Eternal Life embodies goodness, mercy, compassion and justice and seeking that firmly seeking that Light very much embodies what the true Initiate must do. If the disciples refuse to answer in the affirmative when asked or say, “No!” they are escorted back to the Reception Room by the Outer Guardian. There, they must wait until after the end of Part I of the initiation. This is a matter that must be reported in writing to the Grand Master. The Seeker After Truth must always try to use both reason and conscience to interpret the writings and teachings of others. Some of those who fail to do so wind up in a religious cult- like me. Those remaining Neophytes in the ritual- and most do remain- now listen to the slow and deep refrains of Death. Death also tries to impress the initiates with an affirmation of his sameness to Light, Life and Love, as he is also omnipresent at any time in the human experience, just as Colombe. He claims that any betrayal of the purity of the symbol, the Rose Cross- will lead to that defiler of the tradition to be held forever as a prisoner of Death himself. Hmmm… I was a prisoner of AMORC for twenty-four years. And, for that reason, because I stayed and served AMORC, was I not a prisoner of Death as well? Perhaps. Perhaps that was part of my problem. But, then, again, to what degree was that my fault? For who is the real betrayer of the Rosicrucian tradition? AMORC or its prisoner? The Prisoner thinks he is honoring an ancient tradition. But what is AMORC honoring by its substitution of mind control for the elements of true initiation? What does the Imperator and those who stand besides him really honor? And to whom do they actually belong?
DEATH TAKES NO HOLIDAYS After giving the candidates a clear warning, Death steps forward and looks at them for a few seconds then returns to his place. Personally, I think it is a bit of stretch to think that anyone is actually scared by all this. Were you ever scared when you visited a Halloween haunted house put on by fifth graders? Guess what? It might be more terrifying that this ritual.
Nonetheless, the Inner Guardian thinks what they heard is really ‘terrifying’ and consoles them by telling them that if they take Colombe, the Voice of Conscience, as their guide and the Holy Order of AMORC as their protector- the Rosy Cross will stand between them and the Threshold of Terror. Then, letting them know if they keep the faith, they can now enter the Sacred Temple. But if fear or disobedience to their promise rears its ugly head, they can say sayonara to meeting the Greater Light in this lifetime- and they will have to reincarnate in some other time to have that great privilege.
If one is seeking after Truth, it would be so nice to find an Order that helped you find authentic answers. What I found was an Order that hypnotized me so much so that I could easily have positive hallucinatory experiences, black outs and spontaneous, uncontrollable experiences of lashing out with cursing and profanity. I didn’t find out anything conclusive about the Afterlife, although I wish I could have.. Now, then, the Conductor gives the fearful or ambivalent ones a way out by opening the door to the Antechamber on the West Side of the Lodge. If no one decides to leave, he now closes it. Now, the Outer Guardian returns to his seat but does not pass through the Threshold Chamber. The Inner Guardian, however, stands beside the Threshold door, which can open into the Temple. The Herald then addresses the Inner Guardian clearly stating that the Neophytes, who have experienced these great trials, are now ready to enter the Temple. Following the protocol, the Medalist must be told to alert the Master of the Temple and state that the instructions of the Outer Guardian have been received. Now the Inner Guardian swings the door to Threshold Chamber open, standing next to it as all the officers rise together. The Herald then enters into the temple, moves forward to speak to the Medalist in a voice that all the candidates can hear. He tells the Medalist that the Neophytes have now been prepared to enter the Temple. The Medalist says, “It shall be done!” And, boy, will it ever! Many will now pass into a lifetime of make believe silliness. And, if you think that is an arrogant statement, remember I spend twenty-four years of my life involved in it. Mix silliness with the magic potion of mind control- and you may have a match that will last for years.
PASSING THE THRESHOLD- FINALLY! Now the moment is at hand! The new brood of Neophytes will be salted into the fertile ground inside the Holy Temple. Before that, though, here is a quick back and forth from some of the Holy Custodians of the Temple Rituals. The Masters asks if they are ready and the Medalist says their souls were purified (a little by Colombe, a little by facing Death) and now they ask to enter the sanctified halls of the Temple, And now the Master asks the Medalist if the Guardian of the Threshold can vouch for their worthiness? The Medalist, who is apparently uncertain, checks with the Herald- who asks the Guardian of the Threshold if they are worthy. The inner Guardian says- finally- yep, these guys are ready.
The Officers all reply: “So Mote It Be!” With rituals like these, you could spend half your life stepping in from one room to another- but yet these few extra steps probably provide a powerful upgrade in Neophyte self-esteem. So perhaps it is worth it after all. To make things even better, the eager Neophytes are formally granted permission by the Master as special Music subtly expands the grandeur of the moment as they enter the temple.
Now, the Herald and Inner Guardian happily retreat to their stations where they dutifully stand as they keenly follow the Neophytes’ single file shuffle across the Threshold, led by first, the Torchbearer with a lighted torch and then by the Conductor. As they cross the Threshold, they are asked for the password. Each then intones, MEN-KHEPER-RA. If they forget it, the Inner Guardian reminds them. After all, they have just taken a total bath in purity, supercharged by the sweet, all-consuming goodness of Colombe. What does it matter if they forget a couple of words and let all this wonderful pomp and circumstance dwindle because of a moment of Neophyte forgetfulness? Now seated, the lucky Neophytes are led by the Conductor to the seats in the Northwest. When finished, he stands facing them. The Torchbearer takes a position to the West of them followed by Colombe who retreats to her station and Death at his place in the Northwest. Now, the door is closed to the Threshold chamber by the Inner Guardian. The music stops as all officers are seated- with the exception of the Master, the Conductor and Torchbearer.
STATIONS OF THE TEMPLE Now, these happy souls are told to rise by the Conductor who says he will now guide them through the stations of the Temple. On the North is the dismal darkness where superstition and ignorance prevails. Terror reigns in the dismal North and there is a strange sense of evil in the air, ever-tempting the unlucky Northerner to submit to some inappropriate action.
The smart Neophyte will, though trapped in the North, head, with the Matre’s help, towards a more enlightened realm, the Golden Eventide of the West. (Does this remind you of the Wizard of Oz? I forget if Frank Baum was one of the Elect. Probably not-
because wasn’t there a wicked witch of the West. Shouldn’t she be of the West?) At any rate, the perambulatory music accompanies the Neophytes journey to the Wonderful Western Station. There, in the West, another step towards the Greater Light unfolds in the Golden Twilight that now surrounds them. This is a place of rest, a place to recall the comfort of the womb, the motherly love that nurtures the child until adulthood. This will be the place they will come back to at the end of their earthly journey. Here the Matre reminds them of the sweetness of earthly transition. When she bows her head along with the Torchbearer and Conductor, it is important that the Neophytes are not led to follow, although they might. During the silence, the Technician will strike seven chimes exactly five seconds apart. She then waves them on their way with a resounding, but somewhat enigmatic “Cromaat!” followed by an echoing cry of all the officers, who give a resounding double, “Cromaat!” Now the Neophytes are on the March again with music serenading their every step. The Torchbearer leads the Conductor who leads the Neophytes single-file on their exhausting promenade to the next station. There, they meet the Chaplain who bids them welcome to the warmth and light of the South, where one can study the laws of God and manifestation. He reminds the Neophytes they need to find the Great Lost Word, which can only be found, by the worthy seeker after Truth.
THE FOURTH POINT Now, having visited the chilling North, experienced the golden twilight of the West and the scintillating warmth of the South, the travellers have finally (ritualistically, at least) arrived at the fourth point, the mysterious East, home of the Greater Light. Now, despite the fact that the East is the abode of this wondrous light, the Neophytes have to wait a bit because the Symbolic Dawn, symbol of the illumination of Ra, the Egyptian Sun God, has not yet come. When a messenger is sent by the Master, each of the initiates must cross the outer portal, having overcome the fear of the Terror of the Threshold. The Torchbearer now responds, saying that, having carried the Torch on this long (possibly the whole of twenty minutes) journey from the North to the East, he is now ready to light the sacred flame which properly resides in the Doric stand, symbolizing that the Light is ever present in the temple and the goal is to keep the Light alive in one’s heart. Needless to say, that one can look at the whole perambulation around the Earth, which corresponds to the Temple, as a spiritual journey through the body, which even in the Gospels, equates the temple with the body.
LIGHTING THE DORIC CANDLE STAND In the Rosicrucian ritual, after the journey around the temple, it is actually Colombe, symbolizing the purified conscience, who takes a candle with the flame on the torch of the Torchbearer and, with that flame, proceeds to light the Doric candle, signifying the permanent light within the soul, the sacred attachment of the Little Light within to the Greater Light without, without which we cannot be fully human. The Torchbearer now goes to the East, places his torch in its own stand and snuff it out. The flame of the Torch, is, therefore, no longer needed. It has its permanent place, glowing, perhaps in the human heart or the abode of human consciousness purified of greed, needless anger, selfishness, lust, gluttony- and all the other ways human consciousness misses the mark. Why is the Torch no longer needed? In my mind, it is because, after many trials and many activities, the soul is now ready to carry the Divine Presence as a natural fact of one’s daily experience and the goal now is to maintain that Divine Unity within oneself. Now, in the ritual the Master indicates that the flame symbolizes the goal of the initiatory quest and the Love that would be found in “this place for meditation and prayer.” It is said that where the flame is not present, one must depart as fast as possible one would from the “fangs of a serpent.” The true test of a Spiritual Order is whether or not it truly guides on to a place of permanent consciousness of the Divine Presence known in the Christian mystery teachings as “The Kingdom of God” whereby it is said to “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and all else will be granted unto you.” In other words, seek the Consciousness of God which contains the root of righteousness (as symbolized by the Colombe, the conscience of Man) and you will receive all that is necessary to your happiness, freedom and peace of mind. But this is not so easy- and you must judge an organization by its fruits. And my experience of this so-called spiritual Order- led to an unyielding and unconscious addiction to teachings that produced no such thing as an inwardly glowing consciousnessbut rather a disturbing change in personality, relentless depression and disappointment and the realization that sacred symbols and sacred rituals were being used to financially endow a small financial empire, fueled by people wishing and paying to become powerful masters of telepathy, telekinesis, remote control over other people’s actions and physical well-being and even the regulators of the fate of nations. Is this the flame that should be ignited in the souls of an initiate?
THE LAW OF AMRA The flame having been lit, the Conductor now speaks to Master, asking him how shall these Neophytes prove to the Threshold’s Guardian their worthiness of re-entering the holy Temple at the mysterious time of Dawn The Master, no doubt having absolutely no interest in the Conductor’s perspective at all (maybe he thinks that the Conductor failed to carefully memorize his speech or was drunk when got to the Temple in the late afternoon), immediately pronounces the Candidates worthy. He tells them that “by the law of AMRA” (I believe that is the law governing the AMORC collection box whose whereabouts all of these candidates will be frequently visiting, at least on a monthly basis)…. By the law of AMRA, they have, indeed, managed to make it through a twenty or thirty minute perambulation of a temple which is a surrogate for the Planet Earth which is probably a symbolic representation of the human body, on its various planes, in which light, represented by the Sun, travels through its four decidingly distinct quadrants. Several of the candidates say, AMRA twice and even three times as they cross the Threshold, their syncopated steps harmonizing with the loose change jangling in the deep pockets of their neophytic robes.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS STEPS UP Crossing the Threshold after perambulating around the Earth was tough, but the Candidates are still attentive as they follow the Conductor in single file to the station of the High Priestess. As they walk, they find they are striding to the wondrous Rosicrucian music that has often guided their way. The Conductor now, according to his mood and the precise number of Neophytes, now arranges them in one or two rows in front of the High Priestess. Now, the Music dramatically stops. The High Priestess looks at each of them and instructs them now to meditate on all they have learned during their journey around the four corners of the Earth. Despite the fact that this has actually been a rather short perambulation, apparently meditating on each mystically-endowed quadrant will be enough to prepare them for the revelations they will receive that will actually transform them into Initiates of the Order. Now, gazing at them intently with even more symbolic concentration, she tells them she must now invoke the blessings of God to help them on their journey to the Greater Light. She now shows them a physical gesture, a sign of supplication- crossing her arms by placing her left hand on the her right shoulder and her right hand on her left shoulder- and asking them to bow their heads. She then prays to the “God of our Heats, God of our Realization” to bless the Neophytes before her and inspire them during their meditations so that they can become aware of the divine Presence within them. When they leave the Temple, she asks that their souls be at peace and their hearts vibrate with loyalty to the Order. She then assures God that the Neophytes will be sufficiently frightened by the Terror of the Threshold and warmed by the spiritual bonds that unite them to all members of the order, that they will keep quiet about everything until they all return to the Temple. She closes with a hearty, “Cromaat!” which is then echoed by all the officers of Order present that day.
FINAL MOMENTS The High Priestess then tells the Neophytes that they must drop their hands and face the East. [In the sacred instructions for this ritual, it alerts the Conductor that, if any of the candidates (or all of them) don’t know how to face East, he will show them. For instance, he might look at them sternly and point, “This is the East. Face there!”] The Master, probably making sure that all the Neophytes have head the final instructions, tells them that they have concluded Part One of the First Degree Initiation of the Temple of the Rose Cross. He then repeats what the High Priestess has said- to meditate on what they have learned and get ready for some new stuff.
Now, they begin their final perambulation out of the Temple, passing through the Threshold Chamber as they follow the Conductor during their last moments. When they have gone far enough, the High Priestess sits down, obviously a bit tired by dousing so much concentrated, good vibrations over the humble innocents that had just stood before her. As they move towards the door, it is opened by the Inner Guardian who, after they leave, will close it behind them. As the Music plays, the Conductor now takes them to the Reception room and tells them they can remain there between Part I of the Initiation they have just experienced and the Second Part to come. Now the Outer Guardian closes the Temple Door and watches as the Inner Guardian opens the Threshold Chamber and the officers march out in an established order- Master,
Colombe, Matre, South and North officers and\ Death. The Inner Guardian is the last to leave, his last effort being to snuff out the flame on the Doric stand, which seemed pretty much to qualify as a rather short-lived eternal flame. The Technician then extinguishes the light in the vestal urn and the symbols on the lectern and any cool lighting that might have been used, ending the last strands of the ritual as the Temple goes into Sleep Mode.