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Freemasonry and Spiritualities

Religious conflict as the genesis of FM


The century of politico-religious conflicts in England led to the creation of the first Grand Lodge and the drafting of constitutions by Pastor Anderson.


In the chapter on God and Religion, the "submission to the only Religion based on the Moral Law that men accept" aims at creating the conditions for peaceful coexistence between communities of Christian confessions in conflict.


Its aim is not to create a new Christian religion, but to create or recreate harmony between all Christian communities.


Very quickly in the first part of the 18th century, lodges were created in European countries, as far as Russia in 1740.


This rapid expansion can be interpreted as the birth of civil society, or at least part of it, which is freeing itself from religious authorities.


Thus we have what can be considered an expression of spirituality outside of existing religious organizations, even if belief in God is invoked in these early texts and remains in the vast majority, the 'atheists and libertines' not being the welcome ones.


However, as soon as the first boxes were created, the Protestant authorities in the Netherlands and then in Geneva showed their hostility, before the bull of condemnation of Clement XII in 1738.


The purpose of this text is not to attempt a detailed analysis of the political-religious contexts in the various European countries and their relationship with what is commonly known as the Enlightenment, but to note that the Christian religious organisations reacted against what they considered to be a challenge to their hegemony over the spiritual 'world'.


In the following centuries, the Catholic Church remained in this position of hostility, as confirmed by its declaration of 1983.


Many Huguenots played a large role in the FM, as did Jews.


Catholics have been accepted as masons in England.



The desirable role of FM in the dialogue between spiritualities


Three centuries later, Catholics are still forbidden to belong to a Masonic obedience.


It seems highly desirable that a group of Masons of different obediences take initiatives and contacts with open representatives of the different religions.

This group could be called 'cercle Riquet' in reference to and in recognition of the memory of Father Riquet who courageously took the initiative to bring the Catholic Church and FM closer together.


The Masonic obediences are competent to carry out this action, since they quickly welcomed Jewish members, then later atheists and agnostics, at least for certain obediences.

They therefore have not only a spiritual practice proper to their values, but a deep knowledge and, for some of their members, a practice of spiritualities of religious essence.


The goal is to establish a fruitful dialogue thanks to these advanced members who constitute the scouts of the Riquet circle. This fruitful dialogue will be established between religious and non-religious spiritualities, according to modalities that it is not up to us to define here since it is a matter of collective co-construction to be elaborated.


This work thus established within the appropriate collectives grouped together in the Riquet Circle will make it possible to

to envisage and conduct a dialogue at the global level with spiritual forces that do not originate from the Christian world and have often been dominated by it.

Yvon

Member of the GODF


Sources :

https://www.fm-fr.org/francais/les-documents/documentshistoriques/les-constitutions-danderson-les-obligations-1723

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19831126_declaration-masonic_fr.html


Download the pdf bulletin "FM & Spiritualities".


Artificial intelligence and spirituality



Interview of Jacques Ferber by Florence Quentin - A Baglis TV production (subscribe)

Jacques Ferber is a university professor in Artificial Intelligence and a specialist in cognitive sciences. He has trained in tantra, reiki, symbolic analysis of dreams and myths, yoga, meditation, energy healing techniques and various spiritual traditions.


Spirituality, quesaco?


There are the definitions that everyone can consult in the dictionaries and there is the object of research.


To explain this concept, we transcribe extracts from the presentation of the symposium held in October 2017 at the University of Rennes. The title of this university colloquium was "Le spirituel, concept opératoire en sciences humaines? »


This is how Professor Claude Le Fustec explained the problem of spirituality:


« ... How to name that which overflows the positivities of existence? How can we characterize the aesthetic, political or existential quest that different social actors seek to approach in fields as varied as art and literature, sociology, education, environmental philosophy or medical care?


Beyond mystical and religious terms, which are too connoted and, in many respects, reductive of human experience in its diversity, the notion of the spiritual has been invited for several decades in these epistemological considerations (Foucault 1979, 2001; Hadot 2002, 2008; Le Brun 2015; Vesperini 2015).


In the health care field, several researchers have identified hundreds of different definitions of the spiritual and despite some semantic confusion, want to keep the term (Swinton 2001; Pesut et al. 2008; Swinton & Pattison 2010; Jobin 2012).


In indigenous studies, the notion of spirituality allows us to account for the singularity of indigenous rationalities in their relationship to the world and to the notion of nature (Sefa Dei 2000; Goldin Rosenberg 2000).


In environmental philosophy and in the thought of degrowth, the spiritual is today a must for thinking about the climate crisis and proposing sustainable solutions to contemporary challenges (Bourg & Roch 2010; Viveret 2012; Egger 2012).


In an atheist philosophy as well, or resolutely far from religious traditions, a discourse around the spiritual asserts itself (Ferry 2010; Comte-Sponville 2006).


In contemporary arts and letters, constituted by detachment from the religious, the question of the spiritual is no less debated.


The problems of the anxiety of the absolute (Jossua 2000), of the immemorial (Thélot 2011), of wonder (Boblet 2011), of beauty (Froidefond & Rabaté 2016) among others, still haunt literature.


Even in the "French theory", an unsuspected spiritual dimension is revealed (Caputo 1997).


More and more clearly with the decline of religious references in the West and the increasing complexity of the relationship to transcendence (C. Taylor 2007), it becomes imperative to rethink the link between aesthetics and spirituality (cf. the collection "Aesthetics and Spirituality" at E.M.E., 2012 et seq.). »


This text seems to us to be still relevant and although it will not be possible for us to deal with everything at the colloquium on Saturday 8 December 2018, the quality of the speakers and their involvement in a personal and shared research encourage us to think that we will live, on this occasion, a great moment of reflection.



Slideshow on the necessary coexistence of spiritualities



Spirituality: the theme that deserves symposia

Here is a non-exhaustive list of symposia, conferences and study days held in 2017 and 2018.


Colloquium Le spirituel, un concept opératoire en sciences humaines ? on 19 and 20 October 2017 at Rennes-Université de Rennes 2

Colloquium Spirituality in Care? on 15, 16 and 17 February 2018 in Paris, co-organized with the Biomedical Ethics Department of the Sèvres Centre (under the responsibility of Fr Bruno Saintôt) and the International Network Health, Care and Spirituality (RESSPIR) as well as care institutions in the Paris region.

Research day on the theme What time and place for spirituality in management? - Paris, March 22, 2018, co-organized by the University of Paris 2 and LARGEPA with the support of the AGRH .

Colloquium Journeys and Spirituality in Classical and Neolatine Cultures, 17, 18 May 2018, co-organized by the research groups ACRIL (Artes CRItica Linguistica) and Connexion française Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Institute of Romanesque Studies, Budapest, Hungary.

Colloquium on Education and Spirituality, 16 and 17 June 2018, University of Craiova, Romania, organised by the Department for the Formation of Teaching Staff of the University of Craiova (Romania) ̶et the Research Centre for Educational Psychology (CCPP).

Without forgetting the colloquium "Spiritualities and coexistence" which took place in Paris on January 19, 2019: see the report!



About Masonic Spirituality


Spirituality is an activity of the mind: while for a long time (and still today for many human beings) it has long been concerned with metaphysics and existential questions about anything irrational, today it has a much broader meaning that encompasses all brain activity; spirituality has also become a field of reflection in the SHS (human and social sciences).


It is the favourite domain of religions, theosophy, spiritism, animism and various esotericisms, and for many it constitutes a hope: no, we will not die, our existence can continue in another form and we can hope to find the Peace and Harmony we seek in another world. It is up to each community to issue "instructions" for the future of "souls".


The problem is that all this is based on an assumption that some call faith; no certainty can be asserted.


For while we philosophise about this so-called eternity, the world is living and being destroyed; slowly in the past and more rapidly in the last century! From this to deduce that spirituality is a dead end, and that it is not going to bring the solutions, there is only one step which is more and more crossed by all those who doubt!


The Masonic approach is inevitably concerned by the spirituality that permeates all rites. But the spirituality in the lodge is left to the will of each one; some lodges associate it with the study of symbolism and the unfolding of the ritual, others make it a mystical requirement! Still others are satisfied with a-minima rituals and are concerned with legal and social issues to demand more Justice and Solidarity.


All in all, in the Lodge there is little concern about the crisis of spirituality, and yet several questions arise:

If the Masonic approach is only spirituality, and if spirituality proves to be a failure, why remain a Freemason?

If spirituality is a personal search, why not? If this search is a dead end, what should we do?

Is spirituality for you the same as it is for me?

Is spirituality a sucker's trick?

Is spirituality just a matter of "We have to" and "There's nothing else to do"?


In truth, like all human societies, Freemasons are traversed by contradictory influences:

We wish for a better world, but we are discouraged to see technical progress become another cause of our misfortunes!

We hope for universal love but we are afraid to confront ourselves with other reflections!

We believe in the human being but we would like others to think like us!

We advocate exemplary ethics, but we are lax in our approach, which brings us into disrepute!

The social preoccupation of many Freemasons may reincorporate spirituality into their field of intervention, but not with a view to finding "hope" in it, but simply because it concerns "living together" and as such is respectable!


Learning "Living together" does not mean refusing to talk about issues that make people angry! It is precisely to talk about them without passion or moving one's sleeves; it is to bend over to find a solution acceptable to all!


Living together means knowing how to value consensus and limit the majority vote which does not really favour living together!


If the lodges became model places for living together, there is no doubt that the Masonic specificity would be recognized and respected.


If we admit that spirituality can be understood as an activity of the human spirit and that it is not only in the domain of religions, we can distinguish several forms of Masonic spirituality?


Five main categories of spirituality make up the Masonic "universe":


- The primordial spirituality of the GADLU,

- Hiramic spirituality (with its three degrees),

- The spirituality of the eternal East,

- The spiritualities of the high grades (with specifics for each rite),

- The spirituality of the Enlightenment.


They could be grouped into two main categories:

Those based on legends and myths; these spiritualities are lived on several levels according to personal approaches,

And the one based on philosophy, aesthetics and art: the spirituality of the Enlightenment. This one has found new vitality thanks to scientific discoveries on brain activity!

It is from the spirituality of the Enlightenment that the great expansion of Freemasonry took place in the 18th century; this did not prevent other spiritualities from developing, especially those of the high ranks with their respective rites!

These different Masonic spiritualities do not prevent Freemasons from having their own spiritualities, religious or not, animists, spiritists or others, even atheists!


"Science without conscience is only the ruin of the soul" wrote Rabelais!

In his sixteenth-century language, conscience and soul refer to a Christian spirituality, but the same words today can be understood as an ethical expression!


There is sometimes a feeling on the part of the profane world that the Masonic approach is anti-religious.


Although Freemasons have distinguished themselves in anticlerical struggles to defend freedom of conscience, it is wrong to claim that Freemasonry is antireligious; they respect freedom of conscience and advocate mutual respect! This is why proselytism is not conceivable in Lodges.


Let us add that the expression "secular spirituality" means, for some authors, an agnostic spirituality.

Masonic rituals and modern spirituality

Presently living in a time of transition to a new millennium, we are flooded by information about the most diverse matters. For many, a wealth of information is obtainable through surfing the Internet. The development in this area has gone faster in the last 30 years than in the preceding 3,000 years. Does all this bring more satisfaction and understanding for our fellowman?

Today, desires seem to be more materialistic. A larger house, a more expensive car, more and longer holidays to even more remote places are the most frequently heard desires.

To many, everything revolves around me, me, me!

Modern materialistically orientated people have little interest in or concern for their fellowmen. The elderly, in particular, are sometimes living completely on their own, lonely and forgotten, so that it can happen that they are lying dead in their homes for weeks, unnoticed! Is this the world we Freemasons long for?

Our age-old Masonic traditions, based on Greco-Roman philosophies enriched by Christianity that found its origin in the Jewish religion, seem incompatible with the new developments. Very few persons find an answer to their vital questions in the traditional and conservative churches, and many take refuge by joining strange societies and sects.

At the same time, member-ship in some very orthodox churches has grown considerably over the last few years. Besides that, we are almost inundated by large groups of Islamic fundamentalists. All these groups are convinced that their way of thinking is the only right way to think.

They do not tolerate persons with another persuasion, yet tolerance is one of the starting points of Freemasonry.

That’s why we all, in our own way, not only must combat disinterest and moral decay, but also the ever-increasing trend toward religious extremism which some call fundamentalism. Tolerance is inherent in universal Freemasonry. People will always be searching for the meaning of life.

We must ask ourselves if Freemasonry is still able to give an answer to the many questions posed by young men on the threshold of the third millennium.

We, as Masons, are obliged to come forward with our ideas and bring Freemasonry into the open.

Masonry’s voice should be heard in that great flow of information on the Internet and throughout all areas of our modern society.

On the other hand, we must adjust our ideas, our customs, and our methods so that they communicate to the man of today. Are our rituals sufficiently modern to be able to transmit a sense of spirituality and inner growth to those who crave dialogue on the essential questions of life?

Ill. Wim F.K.J.F. Frackers,

NDLR : Extraits d’un ancien article toujours d’actualité

The Masonic approach and the crisis of spirituality


Spirituality is an activity of the mind: while for a long time (and still today for many human beings) it has long been concerned with metaphysics and existential questions about anything irrational, today it has a much broader meaning that encompasses all brain activity; spirituality has also become a field of reflection in the SHS (human and social sciences).


A favorite domain of religions, theosophy, spiritism, animism and various esotericisms, it constitutes for many a hope: no we will not die, our existence can continue in another form and we can hope to find in another world the Peace and Harmony we seek. It is up to each community to issue "instructions" for the future of "souls".


The problem is that it is all based on an assumption that some call faith; no certainty can be asserted.


For while we philosophise about this so-called eternity, the world is living and destroying itself; slowly in the past and more rapidly in the last century! From there to deduce that spirituality is a dead end, and that it is not going to bring the solutions, there is only one step which is more and more crossed by all those who doubt !


The Masonic approach is inevitably concerned with the spirituality that permeates all the rites. But the spirituality in the lodge is left to the will of each one; some lodges associate it with the study of symbolism and the unfolding of the ritual, others make it a mystical requirement! Still others are satisfied with a-minima rituals and are concerned with legal and social issues to demand more Justice and Solidarity.


On the whole, in the Lodge there is little concern about the crisis of spirituality, and yet several questions arise:

If the Masonic approach is only spirituality, and if spirituality proves to be a failure, why remain a Freemason?

If spirituality is a personal search, why not? If this search is a dead end, what should we do?

Is spirituality for you the same as it is for me?

Is spirituality a sucker's trick?

Is spirituality just a matter of "We have to" and "There's nothing else to do"?

In truth, like all human societies, Freemasons are traversed by contradictory influences:

We wish for a better world, but we are discouraged to see technical progress become another cause of our misfortunes!

We hope for universal love but we are afraid to confront ourselves with other reflections!

We believe in the human being but we would like others to think like us!

We advocate exemplary ethics, but we are lax in our approach, which brings us into disrepute!

If we wanted to be faithful to the motto "It is better to hold on than to run", could we not give priority to collective work over living together and the conditions for its realization?


This social preoccupation can reincorporate spirituality into its field of intervention, but not with a view to finding "hope" in it, but simply because it concerns "living together" and as such is respectable!


Learning "Living Together" is not refusing to talk about the issues that annoy! It's precisely to talk about them without passion or sleeve movements; it's leaning over them to find a solution acceptable to all!


Living together means knowing how to value consensus and limit the majority vote which does not really favour living together!


If the lodges became model places for living together, there is no doubt that the Masonic specificity would be recognized and respected.



Mount Fuji, a symbol of spirituality


In Japan, this magnificent volcano which culminates at an altitude of 3776 meters is a symbolic reference point of Japanese culture. Since ancient times, pilgrims carrying a long stick began the ascent of the mountain from the Sengenjinja shrines at the bottom of the mountain to reach the crater at its summit. Fujisan is also a site of artistic inspiration. It is part of the world heritage. (UNESCO Decisions of 2013 and 2016).



Impressions of Reading: Spirituality, What's the Use? by Louis Trébuchet


It is a small book but our brother Louis Trébuchet, a member of the GLDF, gives a contemporary light on this subject of spirituality.


He develops his argument in seven chapters:

Does happiness exist?

How is a spirituality acquired?

What is Truth?

Is it easy to think freely?

Do I think "unwillingly"?

What is transcendence?

What will spirituality lead me to?


Each chapter ends with a paragraph entitled "Have we understood each other well" in which the essential is taken up.


In the chapter on transcendence, the author gives his own reading with great modesty and without wanting to serve as a model.


Louis trébuchet explains:


"To begin the spiritual quest for transcendence does not imply abandoning reason. All logical reasoning applies to a defined area of validity, and the harmonics at work behind the veil of materiality are very real and can therefore fall within the area of validity of reasoning. On the other hand, there is no reason why the transcendence we seek, which will give meaning to our lives, should be outside the universe of what we know: for Spinoza, the sovereign good is the knowledge that one has of the union of one's mind with the whole universe. On the other hand, this knowledge will permeate our mind, our heart and our unconscious, that is what I call immanence, which will generate in us an intuition, an osmosis with everything around us. »


Of course, for such a complex subject, not everything is covered, but the approach is beautiful and can be of interest to all those who live in Research.


Louis Trébuchet is a strong personality; born in Morocco, a polytechnicien, a man of business and multiple commitments including political, he is also a poet; here is an excerpt from the poem "Bouteille à la mer" written in 2017:


From a deep ocean rise, wave after wave,

The poignant memories of my wounded love.

Deep in my heart, planted like a dagger,

Your blue eyes remind me of that past happiness.


This book is published by Dervy Livres in the collection "qui pose des questions" directed by our brother Jacques Carletto. 78 pages - Price 8,50 €.


Editor's note: To get to know Louis Trébuchet better, visit his site, which is very well done.



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