Thursday, January 31, 2008


SWEDENBORG, Rite of. This rite was established by Emanuel Swedenborg, the eminent philosopher, who was born at Stockholm, January 29, 1688, and died at London, March 29, 1772. His rite was composed of eight degrees divided into two Temples. The first Temple contained the degrees of Apprentice, Fellow-Craft, Master and Elect. The doctrines of these degrees related to the creation of man, his disobedience and punishment, and the penalties inflicted on the body and soul; all of which is represented in the initiation. The second Temple comprises the degrees of Companion Cohen, Master Cohen, Grand Architect and Knight Commander, and Kadosh. The enlightened Mason will find much of the elements of Freemasonry in the writings of Swedenborg, who, for forty-eight years of his life, devoted himself to the cultivation of science, and produced a great number of works, in which he broached many novel and ingenious theories in theology, which obtained for him a remarkable celebrity in several parts of the world. The Marquis de Thome, in 1783, taking up the system that had been adopted in the Lodge of Avignon, in 1960, modified it to suit his own views, and instituted what afterward became known as the Rite of Swedenborg. (Source: Robert Macoy, A DICTIONARY OF FREEMASONRY, p. 365-66)

"Theosophy" (from the Greek for divine wisdom) in the wider sense refers to various systems of mystic gnosis reflected in Buddhism, Neoplatonism, to various systems of the mystic gnosis reflected in Buddhism, Neoplatonism, mystery religions, and the speculative mysticism of such philosophers as Jacob Boehme, Emanuel Swedenborg, and Vladimir Soloviev. In the narrower sense, Theosophy is a pseudoreligious movement founded on November 17, 1875, in New York City by an eccentric Russian expatriate named Elena Blavatsky (1831-91). (Source: Maria Carlson, "Fashionable Occultism", published in THE OCCULT IN RUSSIAN AND SOVIET CULTURE, Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, Editor, p. 139)

Whilst the conquests of religion in asia were thus disputed, a great spirit of unrest was agitating Europe; the Christian faith seemed on the point of being extinguished, though on every side there was a rumour of new revelations and miracles. A man who had a definite position in science and in the world otherwise, namely, Emmanuel Swedenborg, was astonishing Sweden by his visions, and Germany was swarming with new illuminati. Dissident mysticism conspired to replace the mysteries of hierarchic religion by mysteries of anarchy; a catastrophe was in preparation and was imminent. Swedenborg, the most sincere and the mildest among the prophets of false illuminism, was not for this less dangerous than the others. As a fact, the pretence that all men are called to communicate immediately with heaven replaces regular religious instruction and progressive initiation by every divagation of enthusiasm, by all excesses of imagination and dream. The intelligent illuminati felt that religion was a great need of humanity and hence must never be destroyed; not only religion itself but the fanaticism which it carries along with it as a fatal consequence of enthusiasm inspired by ignorance, were, however, to be used as arms for the overthrow of hierarchic Church authority, they recognising that from the war of fanaticism there would issue a new hierarchy, of which they hoped to be founders and chiefs. "You shall be as gods, knowing all without having the trouble of learning anything; you shall be as kings, possessing everything without the trouble of acquiring anything." Such, in a summary form, are the promises of the revolutionary spirit to envious multitudes. The revolutionary spirit is the spirit of death; it is the old serpent of Genesis... (Source: Eliphas Levi, THE HISTORY OF MAGIC, Translated by A. E. Waite, p. 290)

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