Freemasonry and the Roman Spirit

©Terry Boardman June 2002

Christ came to earth so that each one of us could find the meaning of our own being  – our relationship to the spiritual world – for ourselves in true spiritual freedom. With the Incarnation of Christ the age of spiritual elitism or spiritual aristocracy – the age of priests – came to an end; the seeds were planted for a spiritual democracy. Few lessons stand out more clearly from the way in which Christ dealt with the spiritual authorities in the Holy Land at that time. He referred to those would-be spiritual authorities, the Sadducees and Pharisees,  in no uncertain terms. He may have told Peter to feed His sheep, but this was no injunction to perpetuate priestly elitism in the form of a Roman Papacy, although the Bishops of Rome and the later authorities in the Vatican were to take it as such. His disciples, still uncomprehending, may have called Him “master” (Rabboni) but he called them brothers and said that human beings were to become as gods. The spiritual childhood of the mass of mankind was drawing to a close. However, it was to be a very long time – until the Reformation of the 16th century -  before this was realised in Europe.

The Irony
A great historical irony has taken place since the Incarnation, the kind of irony with which history is replete, though this has been one of the greatest of all such ironies. Many of the Gnostics and Manichaeans knew the secret that ultimately, evil is a former good turned bad, and that  evil can also be turned once again to the good. Despite the Incarnation and Christ’s union with mankind and the Earth, those who could not free themselves from the thinking of the  spiritual aristocracy of  priests and priest kings -  sought to maintain  dominance of that aristocracy in the Churches of Rome and Byzantium. Those who had justifiably been the shepherds of mankind prior to the Incarnation wished to remain the shepherds for all time; this is still the intention of the Vatican today. Consequently, they sought to repress those who, either out of a pre-Christian or out of a Christened Gnostic consciousness, wished to find their own path to the divine. This led to the persecutions of ‘the heretics’ and a centuries-long attempt to snuff out a Christian Gnosis based on the individual’s self-enlightenment. From Rudolf Steiner’s insights into the deeper structure of history and the evolution of consciousness, it is clear that this effort by the authoritarian forces of the past, doomed though it was in the long term, nevertheless played a vital role in the development of mankind, because without it, the European culture of the West would not have been able to develop a materialistic and scientific society. It would, like the non-European cultures, have remained focused on the spiritual and divine planes of existence Natural science would not therefore have developed and the modern world would not have  have developed its rich knowledge of the physical and material aspects of earthly life. This knowledge is essential to earthly man; it is part of the the total process of self-knowledge, but only insofar as we are physical beings. Since we are not merely physical  beings but also spiritual beings, physical knowledge must be complemented by spiritual knowledge. One of the most important keys for understanding the history of the modern age since 1500 is the thought that the age of natural scientific knowledge is being permeated with and complemented by spiritual scientific knowledge and indeed, if this process is somehow frustrated and blocked by those convinced materialists who believe that only natural science has validity, then human culture will increasingly be afflicted by sickness and death.

The Gnostic and Manichaean stream with its rich veins of  Near Eastern esoteric knowledge of spiritual illumination available to the individual was forced underground as a result of  repression by the established Church. Over the centuries it flowed on underground and metamophosed into the streams of the Bogomils and Cathars. With the Crusades, it returned to its roots in the Near East, was replenished and flowed back with renewed vigour into Europe in various forms,  for example, in the form of the Templars  and their later successors, the Freemasons as well as various later Protestant mystical sects. However, while the Bogomils and Cathars had few friends in high places and were rooted out and exterminated wherever they could be found, the more successful Templars and Freemasons managed to ensconce themselves within the very Establishment of Christendom. The Templars became the elite knights and bankers of Christian Europe, while Freemasonry was ultimately to become the private religion of  many in the social elites of 18th and 19th century Europe and America. After the brutal suppression  of the Templar Order throughout Europe by the French King Philip IV aided by his puppet,  Pope Clement V, the surviving Templars re-established themselves in Portugal, where they became the Order of Christ; in  Prussia, where they joined the Teutonic Knights; and especially in the Scotland of Robert the Bruce, where they married into Scottish aristocratic families and, led by the Sinclair family, later midwifed the birth of  modern Freemasonry.

And now comes the great irony. A significant part  – though not the whole – of this great stream of underground Gnostic esoteric life which had been  constantly persecuted by that ghost of the Roman Imperial spirit, the Vatican, and had been constantly struggling  against that spirit in innumerable ways, has itself, since the 18th century, metamorphosed into that same Roman spirit: anti-democratic, imperial and aristocratic. This transformation reached its apotheosis with the founding of the United States of America, or better named, the United States of Freemasonry. Such a nomenclature may seem like an exaggeration, but that was how the USA was in fact regarded by many Masons, especially in the period 1775-1830. [1] The momentous year 1776  – which incidentally also saw the publications of Adam Smith’s Weath of Nations, the first volume of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Friedrich von Klinger’s  Die Zwillinge (The Twins) and Sturm und Drang, as well as the founding of the Illuminati secret society  by the Jesuit-trained  Adam Weishaupt – witnessed  the foundation of a completely new kind of state, a self-conscious Utopia or Promised Land, forged and led by men who were either Freemasons or who were infomed by the spirit of Freemasonry, a spirit which, by the late 18th century, had become largely non-Christian and was predominantly Deist. The United States was self-consciously founded by Freemasons and non-Freemasons with a New Rome in mind. The early 18th century Freemasonic emphasis on brotherly love and gentility receded in favour of the patrician Roman concept of virtue, which was seen as the glue that would be able to hold together the  turbulent social forces of the insecure new Republic. Ancient Rome of course saw a continuous struggle between those within it who wished to maintain Rome’s republican heritage and those who looked back to an older monarchical heritage; these latter were the supporters of Roman imperialism, who backed the Emperor against the Senate. The republican tradition was the legitimate and modern historical direction for Rome; it was a step forward in social and political development, whereas the notion of the divine Caesars was a harking back to the past ages of Egypt, Persia, Babylon and the age of oriental despotism. A similar struggle between the imperial and aristocratic element on the one hand and the republican or democratic element on the other hand revealed itself very early on in the history of the United States in for example, the struggle between Thomas Jefferson  and Alexander Hamilton. Something of the same had been prefigured in the split that broke out within  Freemasonry itself in the 1750s, first in Britain, the homeland of Freemasonry, and soon spread to the colonies. The wealthier, more elitist gentlemen of post-1717 Freemasonry, identified with the Hanoverian successionm who became known as the Moderns were opposed by the upstart Antients, whose members often had Jacobite sympathies and were initially drawn more from lower social orders. By the time of the Revolution, the Antients had come to dominate American Freemasonry yet by 1820 they too had become elitists as American Freemasonry enjoyed its golden age of prestige and authority.

Right from the very beginning of the colonisation of North America by the British, there had been  this polarity. In Virginia the first royal colony was founded at Jamestown under the aegis of King James I, formerly James VI of Scotland (1603-25), who had himself brought the Templar heritage of Freemasonry south when he succeeded Elizabeth I as King of England. A highly complex character, a dualistic Geminian named by Steiner as the greatest occultist of his day, James attempted to make peace with Rome and the Catholic Powers, was severe with those he considered witches and Puritans, was responsible for the production of the King James Bible, refused to aid the Rosicrucian-inspired Frederick of the Palatinate, King of Bohemia, his own son-in-law, thus unintentinally provoking the 30 Years War, and held strongly to the mediaeval notion of the divine right of kings. Steiner saw James as a symptom of his age in that he had a foot in both the mediaeval and modern consciousnesses. In much of James’ life we do indeed see the symptoms of the ancient stream of Gnostic wisdom but his case, as with King Solomon (and James was often called the Solomon of his time), attached to a royal and imperial cause which had its roots in even earlier times. With the Crusades, however, the  Gnostic stream had bifurcated into an aristocratic and hierarchical, even priestly element – the Templars – and a more democratic element: the Cathars and those proto-Protestant groups that came after them, such as the Wyclifites, the Lollards, the Brothers of the Common Life, and others who became ever more radically democratic, culminating in the Levellers and Diggers of the English Civil War. James’ aristocratic Freemasonic stream put down roots in Virginia and the later southern states of the USA, while the more democratic Protestants arrived in the North on the Mayflower in 1620. Already in that year the seeds of the  American Civil War were planted, for the two streams – the one more modern, democratic, and egalitarian; the other ancient, oligarchic, hierarchical – were bound to clash, as they had in their homeland of England.

The result, in 1865,  was an inevitable victory for the forces of historical progress. Just as Roman imperialism was doomed to collapse under the weight of its own obsolescence and decadence, so too was Southern aristocracy. And yet within a  year, the ancient forces struck back, using the old weapons of clandestine manouevre the Gnostic underground  had been forced to rely on during their long centuries of suppression by the Vatican. In April 1866, Albert Pike, a leading member of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the USA was invited to the White House by President Andrew Johnson, “whereupon he was conferred the title of 32nd  degree Scottish Rite freemason.  Just a few months prior to that, Pike was hiding  in Canada, hunted by the U.S. Army for complicity in the Lincoln assassination. Johnson, however, soon pardoned him upon assuming office.” [2]. Both in Britain and in the USA in the 18th and 19th centuries, aristocratic, oligarchical and anti-democratic forces working within the hierarchical structure of Freemasonry ensconced themselves within the political establishments of those countries – to what end ? Study of the ideas of the leaders of  these forces  within Freemasonry   reveals that their dream, intention and plan  was to create out of Britain and America a New Rome, a new World Empire, a new uniformity of thought and lifestyle that would embrace the whole world. To this end, a new state, the United States of America, was established, the first  “world state”, made up of immigrants from all over the world rather than just from one ethnic community – a New Atlantis as intended  by the British Elizabethan occultist John Dee, adviser to the Virgin Queen, and by Francis Bacon, James I’s Chancellor, and ruled by a scientific priestly elite. This is how the Freemasons of the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary generations saw themselves. “Through Washington, Lafayette and other master mins and heroic brethren Freemasonry gave to this country the principles of civil and religious liberty, and has preserved those very ‘fundamental laws and principles’ which guarantee to all freedom and eqality.”[3]  The Masons suffered a major setback in the northern States of the Union when their movement fell from grace in the late 1820s and early 30s as a result of the populist Antimasonic campaign which even produced the USA’s first third political party, the Antimasonic Party. Although the aristocratic South was not as strongly affected by the antimasonic furore in the North, Masonry suffered a huge blow to its reputation in the USA; membership plummeted and did not revive until the 1850s. The insecurities of the Civil War and President Johnson did much to restore its fortunes, so that by the 1880s Freemasonry was once again at the  top of the American social pole. When the 22-story Chicago Masonic Temple was opened in 1894, it was the tallest building in the world and the most expensive.

The aristocratic and elitist social order of the 19th century received a severe setback in the cataclysm of the First World War; in Europe aristocracy could no longer flaunt itself in the way it had done before 1914. Alarmed by the victories of the Communists in Russia and elsewhere, aristocrats and hierarchs in European and American ‘democracies’ veiled themselves and retired from the limelight. So too did their accomplices and fellow travellers in the Freemasonic movement. Before 1914, Masonic processions and ceremonies in public were common throughout Europe and America. After 1918 they became less and less visible. The trappings of  pseudo-mediaevalism were less attractive in the harsh modernist atmosphere of the 1920s. The Craft became tremendously popular in the USA in the 1920s but was forced by the temper of the times to become increasingly secular. The Depression was a hammer blow to American Masonry just as the Antimasonic movement had been exactly a hundred years before. Masonry in the UK, where socialism in the 20s and 30s was a more real threat to middle class values,  hid its light under a large bushel of silence and invisibility which continued until the early 1980s when it was forced back into public scrutiny by critical expose books such as Stephen Knight’s The Brotherhood. In response the Masons, led by their Grand Master, the  Duke of Kent, were forced into damage limitation PR exercises. In the context of  the enormous social changes brought about by the First World War, the oligarchical forces which had been working through the higher echelons of Freemasonry sought new avenues by which they could influence events in a semi-clandestine way. There were the so-called ‘thinktanks’ and research institutes such as The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), founded 1919 on the back of The Round Table (1910) and the  American offshoot of the RIIA,  The Council On Foreign Relations (1921). Many more followed and are still with us. These organisations, such as the Bilderbergers (1954), the Trilateral Commission (1973), the New Atlantic Initiative (1996) and the like pretend to be non-conspiratorial and open to public scrutiny, but in fact, their networking and policy-influencing operations, more or less clandestine,  are elitist to the marrow. They are merely instruments of applying oligarchical leverage in a democratic age, when the more overtly ancient ceremonial forms of the secretive Freemasonic lodges arouse too much suspicion and are no longer deemed as effective.

The circle has thus been completed: from spiritual resistance to the first imperial Rome and its Papal successor, to spiritual inspiration of the second imperial Rome – this has been the path of one significant element of the stream that began with the Gnostics around the time of Christ, or perhaps, one could even say, of the stream that began with Cain’s struggle with Abel. The Order of the  Templars carried within it something truly noble in the spiritual sense, but it  was also infected by historical illegitimacy, a harking back to an essentially pre-Christian esotericism in an effort to combat what was seen as the Satanic spirit of Rome – the spirit of total control and unfreedom – the denial of the individual’s own path to God. The same is true of much in the New Age or neo-pagan movements of today, which,  in their ignorance of the esoteric essence of the Christian mystery, and appalled by the many crimes of the Christian churches over the centuries, throw the baby out with the bathwater, and reject all that is connected with Christianity as either deceitful or defunct.

How and why has this circle been closed ? Why have the modern successors of the original proponents of spiritual freedom become the architects of unfreedom in the crypto-totalitarian New World Order that is being created in  the 21st century ? As Rudolf Steiner said many times, this question can only be understood in the light of esoteric knowledge.

Unlike the life of Buddha, that of Jesus Christ was inextricably bound up with the question of evil. Right at the beginning of the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, Herod ordered a massacre of infants in an effort to destroy Jesus. Jesus had to confront the spiritual and political authorities of his day, Jewish and Roman. He was betrayed by a kiss from his own disciple, tortured and killed by the imperial power of Rome, and his name was later appropriated by a Roman Church that committed or endorsed frequent acts of torture, massacre and persecution. Christianity has thus passed through its own Crucifixion – something which can be seen as necessary in its own development since the Resurrection, which is the very essence of Christianity, could not occur without a death preceding it: no new life without a death beforehand. And that Resurrection had to follow  a violent death, not merely a death resulting from illness or age, as in the case of the Buddha who lay down and died at the the age of 80. Furthermore, Christ’s violent death was presaged by a betrayal by one of His own disciples. It was not merely a violent death, but one brought about by betrayal – the perversion of what was right. Christ was not merely murdered but executed – an execution sanctioned by the whole legal and political system of His day, including the pre-eminent ‘global’ superpower; all were involved; indeed a crowd of His own people, urged on by their spiritual leaders, called for His execution. The nature of evil is very much involved here: what was originally right and justified – the spiritual leadership of the people of Israel, the Republic of Rome (SPQR: the Senate and the People of Rome), the Temple in Jerusalem (Christ was arrested by the captains of the Temple – Luke Chapter 22:52) – all become perverted in an act of deceitful persecution and official murder.

The Temple and the Roman Imperial Spirit
The Jerusalem Temple and Imperial Rome: these are what have linked Freemasonry with the New Rome of the New World Order since the days of the Templars, who based their esotericism on the symbology  of the Temple of Solomon which they had  learned in the Crusades. Their very name was associated with the Temple, and many of Freemasonry’s rites too are based on the Temple of Solomon. The god-given esotericism of ancient Israel was thus conjoined with what was essentially an imperial Roman will to power. Today we see again an alliance between those forces that lead the Jewish people and those that lead the New Rome; indeed the State of Israel today, just as in Herod’s day, is a client state of an Imperial Rome, the only difference being that, unlike Herod’s kingdom,  without the aid of the New Rome, the modern State of Israel would very likely not have survived.

The support of the New Rome (USA) for modern Israel is based on several factors, two of which are of direct Gnostic origin. First, the elitist ‘neo-Gnostics’ (those ‘in the know’) who presume to guide America’s destiny are the heirs to those elitist Freemasonic leaders of 18th, 19th and 20th century America (from Benjamin Franklin and George Washington to 33rd degreee Masons Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt) whose traditions centred on the Temple of Solomon. Their interest is thus in the land of Israel and with the people of Israel – both of which are essentially pre-Christian Old Testament motivations. Second, the other, more democratic ‘Gnostics’, the fundamentalist American ‘Christians’, are heirs to the Puritan tradition of the Pilgrims, which ultimately goes back to what I have characterised as the  non-oligarchical stream of Gnosticism.[4] Those in this stream saw themselves in the New World as God’s Chosen People, just like the Israelites, removed by God from out of the land of perdition. They also believed, based on their misinterpretation of Biblical texts, and still believe, that they have a mission to help the Jews return to the Holy Land so that the Second Coming can take place. American support for Israel therefore comes both from the elite clubhouse and lodge, and also from the populist evangelical chapel.

There is a third factor at work in American support for Israel, or rather, for US remote control of Israel, which has deeper esoteric roots and is only understandable in the light of  esoteric knowledge. This is  that there will in the near future be an incarnation of the spiritual being known to Anthroposophers as Ahriman and to traditional Christians as Satan. The Russian writer and philosopher Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900) pointed to this over 100 years ago in his book “War, Progress and the End of History: Three Conversations” (1899). As described by Solovyov, this being will attempt to seduce mankind, will make himself Emperor of a New Roman Empire and will set up his capital in Jerusalem with the intention of surpassing Christ in the estimation of mankind. The ultimate aim of Ahriman/Satan is to persuade mankind that there is no spiritual world and indeed no individual spirit in Man; only the visible material world is real; only absorption in the mass has reality. As Bill Gates has put it: “A computer should only help one to have fun and have a nice life in a collective mind” [5]. This is one pole of spiritual life and experience, for materialism itself is a spiritual idea. The opposite pole  is represented by the being traditionally known as Lucifer (‘bringer of Light’). His temptation is to draw Man away from material  and social life altogether in a self-obsessed urge to transcend and deny earthly life; the luciferic spirit holds that only the spiritual life has validity. Between Lucifer, who, according to Rudolf Steiner, had a human incarnation in China c.3000 BC and Ahriman, who is shortly to appear in the West, stands the Christ, whose human Incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth occurred 2000 years ago. Christ is the Balance between the other two, the  principles of seduction. Just as He himself in the course of His life had to go through temptations by these two beings during the 40 days in the desert, so mankind has to undergo these same temptations in order to find its own balance, which is the Christ.

Why was it then that the stream of Middle Eastern esoteric wisdom,  which later metamorphosed into that of the Cathars, Templars and Freemasons, became historically retrograde and sought to preserve  an elitism and oligarchy similar to that of its old enemy, the Roman Catholic Church ? In a lecture of 4th November 1919, Rudolf Steiner said:

….when the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e. the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ - TMB] had taken place on earth, it was essentially the luciferic wisdom [stemming from Lucifer's incarnation in China in the 3rd millennium BC - TMB] through which it could be understood. The gnosis….was impregnated through and through with luciferic wisdom…..the significance of the incarnation of Christ was grasped because the power of the old  Lucifer incarnation still survived. This power did not actually fade from the human faculty of comprehension until the 4th century AD; and even then it had its aftermath, its ramifications.

 By this Steiner was referring to something he spoke about on many occasions, namely the closing of the doors of natural clairvoyant perception. Until about 3100 BC large numbers of human beings had natural clairvoyant perception as an inborn faculty; they could see into the spiritual world. In order for us to develop in freedom, however, this faculty had to disappear. From the 3rd millennium onwards, mankind gradually began to enter a state of darkness with respect to the spiritual world. Mystery centres and temples then began to appear in all cultures that maintained the connection with the spiritual world, but only for neophytes that were prepared to undergo the increasingly difficult training that was necessary to maintain the connection. An inevitable and indeed legitimate spiritual aristocracy came about. By the time of Christ’s Incarnation, most human beings, with the exception of a few,  had completely lost the faculty of clairoyant perception; even doubts about the very existence of God and the spiritual world had begun to develop in the more sophisticated and more urban cultures.

Moreover, Steiner discovered that three centuries after Christ, a colossal development took place in the spiritual world which had the effect of plunging mankind even further into spiritual darkness. The spiritual hierarchy of the Exusiai (four  ranks above mankind in  the 9 hierarchies of our solar system) who had been responsible for the formation and regulation of the  human thinking process gave this responsibility over to the hierarchical rank below them,  the Archai. The Exusiai belonged to the Second Triad of hierarchies, who were responsible for the forms and concepts of the natural and spiritual  worlds. Consequently, since they also regulated Man’s life of concepts, when a human being perceived something in the natural world, say, a tree, or saw something inwardly as a result of some spiritual training, for example, an angel or a demon, prior to the 4th century AD, he also simultaneously perceived its concept and knew what it was. Percept and concept were one. The Archai and the other beings of the Third Triad of hierarchies, the Archangels and Angels, had no such responsibility for the action of the natural and spiritual worlds; their work lay with human souls. They were closer to human beings than the Exusiai. Consequently, there occurred within human thinking a disjunction from the 4th century AD onwards between percepts and concepts. This was to give rise to endless confusion and ever increasing intellectual disagreement about both spiritual and natural matters. The age of theological controversies began. Theologians no longer knew or felt really sure who the Christ was, or the Father, or the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Sophia, nor did they understand how they related to each other. Vain attempts were made to fix their understanding in the  dogmas and anathemas of the many tempestuous Church Councils that were called. Real spiritual insight was replaced by dogma and based on authority and tradition. Meanwhile, outside the Church, the doors of spiritual perception went on closing inexorably as they had since the third millennium BC. In the 6th century AD the Emperor Justinian finally closed the last of the pagan Mystery schools (529). Even in Asia, the great temple centres of religious instruction in China, India, Tibet, Japan slowly – more slowly than in the West, because they were closer to the original luciferic inspiration – lost their light. By 1600 they too had run out of vision and become rigidified in dogma and moribund forms of tradition.

The Division of the Gnostics
It was as a result of this great change in human thinking about spiritual matters in the 4th century that the bifurcation in the original Gnostic stream had occurred by the time of the Crusades. The real meaning of the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ was lost. Many of the Templars, deeply affected by the remains of the old luciferic wisdom that they encountered in the teachings of the Sufis and the Ismailis and other such streams,  fell into a kind of monotheism or pantheism which took little account of the significance of Christ’s Incarnation and looked back to a syncretistic neo-Semitic religion more akin to Islam or Judaism. It was this that passed on to the Freemasons and which became the Supreme Being or Grand Architect of the Universe (GAOTU) deity of 18th century Freemasonry.. This was the  being against whom the visionary artist, poet and Christian esotericist William Blake railed so mightily and whom he lambasted as Urizen the cosmic lawgiver, the calculator, the weigher and measurer, for he perceived in this  Deist religion of  Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon (and of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and  Thomas Jefferson) a turning away from the being of Christ and thus from the very meaning of the Earth and of mankind’s existence on the Earth. Blake was one of those Gnostics who, like Jacob Boehme in Germany, struggled through in the spiritual darkness of the age to his own heartfelt conception of the Christ and a truly individual realisation of the cosmic significance of Christ and Christianity.  Many others in the Gnostic, Manichaean, Bogomil and Cathar streams and in the proto-Protestant movements of the Middle Ages managed the same lonely feat. They saw through to the new Christianity in their souls without harking back to pre-Christian religions. The Quakers, for instance, were not interested in disputing the meaning of this or that verse of the Old Testament as so many other Puritans were, nor were they concerned about the arcane geometric symbology of the Temple of Solomon like the Freemasons; rather, they sought direct communion with the divine in the silence of their hearts in this moment; not in lonesome meditation in cell or on mountaintop, but rather together with their fellows.

One more piece of spiritual research by Rudolf Steiner can be adduced here. He pointed out that whereas Lucifer had been the main source of temptation for mankind prior to the Incarnation of Christ, in the post-Christian centuries, up to our own day and looking forward to the incarnation of Ahriman himself, Ahriman replaces Lucifer as mankind’s main adversary. It was in the 9th century that Ahriman struck into human consciousness in an incisive  way. Ahriman always seeks to reduce the threefold element within Man to a dyad and to remove the mediating central heart element, rendering the human organism one merely of intelligence and will. It was no accident therefore, that at the 8th Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 869-70, the 11th Canon of the Council anathematised the teachings of Photius, former Patriarch of Constantinople, who it said, had been teaching the doctrine of “twin souls”, in which one of the “souls” was actually the individual human spirit. This was declared by the Council to be anathema. In the church of the Holy Spirit, Hagia Sophia, the human spirit was anathematised ! It was declared that the human being consisted only of two principles, not three, namely, the body and the soul, the soul being recognised vaguely as having certain “spiritual qualities”. This was a logical consequence of the theological confusion about the nature of the Trinity which arose as a result of the spiritual changes in the 4th century. In the same year, 869-70, the threefold European heritage of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious was reduced to two when the kingdom of Lotharingia (which stretched from modern Holland through Burgundy and Switzerland down to Rome) between the domains of Charles of France and Ludwig the German was abolished following its invasion by Charles and Ludwig. Exactly1000 years later, in 1869-70, the First Vatican Council was held, which proclaimed the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope when he pronounce ex cathedra;  the Kingdom of Italy was founded and the Pope’s temporal rule ended; and the Franco-Prussian War began, that led to the creation of the German Empire in 1871.

After the onset of Ahrimanic influence into Western consciousness in the 9th century, Ahrimanic thoughts made ever greater headway within the culture of Christendom. Many of those  drawn either to a luciferic consciousness or who were struggling to find their own mystical way to Christ were siphoned off by the Church into monastic orders or, if they were too radical, were persecuted as heretics. The appearance of materialistic figures such as  Roger Bacon, Siger of Brabant and Philip IV of France in the 13th century testified to the growing power of ahrimanic thoughts. Ahriman was at this time preparing for his own incarnation in the West. He needed a global vehicle for this just as he had inspired much in the materialist culture of republican and imperial Rome, the superpower of the day. The foundations for his political vehicle  were laid in the British colonies in North America, established in the reign of the first Freemason King James I, which became the Freemason-led United States. One of the characteristics of American Freemasonry, particularly in the decades following  the Revolution, was that it was less concerned with arcane esoteric secrets and more with fostering natural science and social networking amongst the many businessmen and merchants who made up the bulk of prominent Masons. Ahriman had managed to insinuate his thoughts into the desiccated husk of Gnostic Semitic wisdom that was Freemasonry and he was able over the next two centuries to turn it to his own purposes. This was  especially the case after the Protestant Hanoverians came to power in Britain in 1714, and the first  Freemasonic Grand Lodge was established in London in 1717 that was overtly pro-Hanoverian and anti-Jacobite. British Freemasonry directed from London became ever more identified with the monarchy and aristocracy from the late 1720s onwards. An excellent and well-researched book that details the extent of  esoteric Masonic influence in 18th and 19th cent America is “The Secret Zodiacs of Washington DC – Was The City of Stars Planned by Masons?” by David Ovason (London: Century 1999), published in the USA as  ” The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.” (HarperCollins).

At the time of Christ’s first Incarnation, He was met by ahrimanic thoughts working through  the materialism of the Roman Empire; these represented Ahriman’s only partially successful  attempt to manipulate the final socio-cultural manifestation of the ancient Luciferic wisdom of the East. Today, in the globalised New World Order dominated by the USA, Ahriman comes into his own in his own era. The Freemasonic inspiration of the USA was based on Semitic gnostic wisdom from the pre-Christian luciferic era, and luciferic forces still try to insinuate themselves into this modern polity in various ways but they are no longer in pole position; this is Ahriman’s epoch and he will drive it as fast and as hard as he can, for his time in the 5th Post-Atlantean epoch (1413-3573) is short. The Second Coming of Christ (“in the clouds”) has been with us since the 1930s and will apparently – according to Rudolf Steiner – last until the end of this 5th Epoch [6]. Once more the Christ, this time not working through a man on a limited piece of  the physical plane but through an angel on the global etheric plane of the biosphere, is confronted by ahrimanic forces working predominantly through the  materialist culture of the superpower of the age, and indeed shortly by Ahriman himself in his own incarnation. As Judas betrayed Christ to the oligarchical priests of the Temple and ultimately to the Romans, so the Freemasons and their more modern successors in the lobby groups and thinktanks, public and clandestine, have betrayed their  Gnostic roots and original impulse to individual freedom and have allied themselves with the conservative and oligarchical forces of established religion (the Church of England and American denominations) and imperial power politics: what once was good turns into its opposite. The opponent of the Old Rome has become the New Rome.

Our epoch will has witnessed and will continue to witness a titanic struggle between spiritual idealism and materialism. The republican Roman spirit with its polity based on the civic life and mores of the individual was originally a legitimate historical impulse but it became perverted by the imperial and theocratic ghosts of the previous Egypto-Babylonian epoch. Out of this perversion emerged Byzantium and the Papacy: would-be Roman Empires, both of which became increasingly decadent after the first millennium of their existence. Eventually, in the Refomation, the gnostic will to individual spiritual freedom, only partly christianised, burst through the papal chains repressing it.  When the unchristianised  gnostic underground surfaced  in the shape of the English Freemasonic movement after 1717 and identified itself with the British Protestant Hanoverians, the Papacy saw in Freemasonry a powerful spiritual rival and moved decisively against it; the first papal bull against Freemasonry charged in 1738. A tremendous battle spiritual tehn ensued behind the scenes of European developments. The Jesuits launched themselves into an assault on Freemasonry, which responded by seeding itself thoughout Catholic Europe. Irish Freemasons split the Freemasonic movement in 1752 betwen the Antients and the Moderns, a split which lasted till 1813, while the Masons managed to achieve the suppression of their sworn enemies the  Jesuit Order by the Pope himself in 1773 ! The Pope had been under pressure from the Catholic monarchs of Portugal, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire whose aristocracies were by then riddled with Masons and masonic sympathisers. The Jesuits fled to Protestant Prussia and Orthodox Russia, but managed to reingratiate themselves with the Vatican by 1814 when the Pope restored their Order together with the Inquisition..

The following century saw continuing struggle between Jesuits and Freemasons until Pope Leo XIII signalled a papal retreat in the 1890s with his accommodation to the French  Freemason-led Third Republic in a bid to reposition the Vatican favourably for the new challenges of the 20th century. The Papacy, formally resolutely opposed to the bourgeoisie, then introduced the concept of Catholic Christian Democracy attempting to build solidarity with the bourgeoisie in the face of the rising power of the socialist movement. In the 20th century, the Roman Spirit of the Papacy  made a further major bid for a new kind of temporal power in its efforts to influence the development of a united Europe along the lines of a new Holy Roman Empire in which, just as had been the papal intention in the original Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne, the dynamism of the Germanic nation (in its modern forms of France and especially Germany)  would be used as the foundation of the new polity, guided by the thoughts of the Vatican. The anti-Papal transatlantic heirs of English-speaking Freemasonry (in the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, the New Atlantic Initiative and others) have responded to this by seeking to  outflank the Vatican. The US government  has supported  the EU project at almost every step, its object being to take the whole EU under the wing of a grand transatlantic system, guarded by NATO and allied to Russia, a system which, it is intended,  will be able to withstand the 21st century challenge of China. Their aim is to build not just a new European or Mediterranean Roman Empire, which is the rather pathetic rearguard action of the fading luciferic power of the Vatican, but rather, a truly global Roman Empire based on  an Atlantic Euro-American Union, which will serve admirably as the vehicle for the incarnating Ahriman, the spirit who wishes to dominate the entire world and transform it into his “collective mind”. Free-masonry has led to this: the creation of a global Roman Empire of materialism.

“Free-masonry” – the word itself goes to the heart of the meaning of this 5th Post-Atantean epoch (1413-3573): freedom and masonry. Freedom is a spiritual ideal. Masonry is a physical substance shaped  in accordance with spiritual principles. The spiritual task of our epoch is to develop both natural and spiritual science in freedom. In this sense, “masonry” means the understanding of the physical world. Esoteric knowledge reveals that a free ego in the modern age can only develop on this basis. Such was the insight of the Rosicrucians – out of the knowledge of the death-cross of the physical world, the sense world that is given over to inevitable decay, arises the rose sun of the free spirit.



[1] For the influence of Freemasonry in the  history of the USA, see Steven C.Bullock, Revolutionary Brotherhood – Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order 1730-1840 (Chapel Hill: Univ of North Carolina Press, 1996) and Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture 1880-1930 (Princeton: Princeton Univ Press 1984). David Ovason, “The Secret Zodiacs of Washington DC – Was The City of Stars Planned by Masons?” (London: Century 1999), published in the USA as
” The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.” (HarperCollins). For the relationship of Freemasonry and natural science, see Robert Lomas, The Invisible College – The Royal Society, Freemasonry and the Birth of Modern Science (London: Headline, 2002)


[3] American Tyler Masonic magazine 18 July 1889 p 6, quoted in Dumenil, p. 49

[4] Of course it can be argued that the Pilgrim Fathers and other such Protestant groups always had ‘oligarchical’ elders who steered their communities, but the essence of Protestantism was always that each man could interpret the Word of God  as he saw fit, whether from the words of the Bible, or from charismatic individual revelation – the antidote to established oligarchy was thus always present, which of course is the reason why so many Protestant groups have proliferated: people objected to what they were told by their ‘leaders’ and separated themselves from them. By contrast, there was no possibility of ‘separation’ from the Church of Rome; excommunication meant ostracism and ultimately, death or outlaw status. Rome was a totalitarian state, just as the New Rome of the New World Order is becoming a totalitarian state. No credit card? No livelihood. No gambling on the stock market? No pension. No involvement in the  freetrading, arms dealing, drug running, eco-destructive global economy? No decent standard of living. No DNA profiling? No civil rights (well, that last one hasn’t quite arrived yet, but it’s on its way….).

[5] Bernhard Guenter, Bill Gates. From Computerfreak to Richest Man in America, Munich, 1995, p 19

[6] See R.Steiner, The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1983)
and the articles “What was the 20th Century?“, “Aspects of  the Occult Significance of the Year 1998, “The Millennium in the Light of Anthroposophy on this website.

©  Terry Boardman  June 2002

This page was created on 2nd June 2002 with thanks to Lilian 

Last updated 8th May 2012