Introduction to – Manly P. Hall, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry
( or The Secret of Hiram Abiff ) 1923
Over his 70 year career, he gave thousands of lectures, including two at Carnegie Hall, and published over 150 volumes. In 1934, he founded The Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles, which he dedicated to the “Truth Seekers of All Time”, with a research library, lecture hall and publishing house.
Many of his lectures can be found online and his books are still in print.
Freemasonry, though not a religion, is essentially religious. Most of its legends and allegories are of a sacred nature; much of it is woven into the structure of Christianity.
We have learned to consider our own religion as the only inspired one, and this probably accounts for much of the misunderstanding in the world today concerning the place occupied by Freemasonry in the spiritual ethics of our race.
A religion is a divinely inspired code of morals.
A religious person is one inspired to nobler living by this code.
He is identified by the code which is his source of illumination.
Thus we may say that a Christian is one who receives his spiritual ideals of right and wrong from the message of the Christ, while a Buddhist is one who molds his life into the archetype of morality given by the great Gautama, or one of the other Buddhas.
All doctrines which seek to unfold and preserve that invisible spark in man named Spirit, are said to be spiritual.
Those which ignore this invisible element and concentrate entirely upon the visible are said to be material. There is in religion a wonderful point of balance, where the materialist and spiritist meet on the plane of logic and reason.
Science and theology are two ends of a single truth, but the world will never receive the full benefit of their investigations until they have made peace with each other, and labour hand in hand for the accomplishment of the great work – the liberation of spirit and intelligence from the three-dimensional prison-house of ignorance, superstition, and fear.
That which gives man a knowledge of himself can be inspired only by the Self – and God is the Self in all things. In truth, He is the inspiration and the thing inspired.
It has been stated in Scripture that God was the Word and that the Word was made flesh.
Man’s task now is to make flesh reflect the glory of that Word, which is within the soul of himself.
It is this task which has created the need of religion – not one faith alone but many creeds, each searching in its own way, each meeting the needs of individual people, each emphasizing one point above all the others.
Twelve Fellow Craftsmen are exploring the four points of the compass. Are not these twelve the twelve great world religions, each seeking in its own way for that which was lost in the ages past, and the quest of which is the birthright of man?
Is not the quest for Reality in a world of illusions the task for which each comes into the world?
We are here to gain balance in a sphere of unbalance; to find rest in a restless thing; to unveil illusion; and to slay the dragon of our own animal natures.
As David, King of Israel, gave to the hands of his son Solomon the task he could not accomplish, so each generation gives to the next the work of building the temple, or rather, rebuilding the dwelling of the Lord, which is on Mount Moriah.
Truth is not lost, yet it must be sought for and found. Reality is ever-present – dimensionless yet all-prevailing.
Man – creature of attitudes and desires, and servant of impressions and opinions – cannot, with the wavering unbalance of an untutored mind, learn to know that which he himself does not possess. As man attains a quality, he discovers that quality, and recognizes about him the thing newborn within himself.
Man is born with eyes, yet only after long years of sorrow does he learn to see clearly and in harmony with the Plan. He is born with senses, but only after long experience and fruitless strivings does he bring these senses to the temple and lays them as offerings upon the altar of the great Father, who alone does all things well and with understanding.
Man is, in truth, born in the sin of ignorance, but with a capacity for understanding. He has a mind capable of wisdom, a heart capable of feeling, and a hand strong for the great work in life – truing the rough ashlar into the perfect stone.
What more can any creature ask than the opportunity to prove the thing he is, the dream that inspires him, the vision that leads him on?
We have no right to ask for wisdom. In whose name do we beg for understanding?
By what authority do we demand happiness?
None of these things is the birthright of any creature; yet all may have them, if they will cultivate within themselves the thing that they desire.
There is no need of asking, nor does any Deity bow down to give man these things that he desires. Man is given by Nature, a gift, and that gift is the privilege of labour.
Through labour he learns all things.
Religions are groups of people, gathered together in the labour of learning.
The world is a school. We are here to learn, and our presence here proves our need of instruction. Every living creature is struggling to break the strangling bonds of limitation – that pressing narrowness which inhabits vision and leaves the life without an ideal.
Every soul is engaged in a great work – the labor of personal liberation from the state of ignorance.
The world is a great prison; its bars are the Unknown. And each is a prisoner until, at last, he earns the right to tear these bars from their moldering sockets, and pass, illuminated and inspired, into the darkness, which becomes lighted by that presence.
All peoples seek the temple where God dwells, where the spirit of the great Truth illuminates the shadows of human ignorance, but they know not which way to turn nor where this temple is.
The mist of dogma surrounds them. Ages of thoughtlessness bind them in. Limitation weakens them and retards their footsteps. They wander in darkness seeking light, failing to realize that the light is in the heart of the darkness.
To the few who have found Him, God is revealed. These, in turn, reveal Him to man, striving to tell ignorance the message of wisdom. But seldom does man understand the mystery that has been unveiled.
He tries weakly to follow in the steps of those who have attained, but all too often finds the path more difficult than he even dreamed.
So he kneels in prayer before the mountain he cannot climb, from whose top gleams the light which he is neither strong enough to reach nor wise enough to comprehend.
He lives the law as he knows it, always fearing in his heart that he has not read aright the flaming letters in the sky, and that in living the letter of the Law he has murdered the spirit.
Man bows humbly to the Unknown, peopling the shadows of his own ignorance with saints and saviours, ghosts and spectres, gods and demons.
Ignorance fears all things, falling, terror-stricken before the passing wind.
Superstition stands as the monument to ignorance, and before it kneel all who realize their own weakness; who see in all things the strength they do not possess; who give to sticks and stones the power to bruise them; who change the beauties of Nature into the dwelling place of ghouls and ogres.
Wisdom fears no thing, but still bows humbly to its own Source. While superstition hates all things, wisdom, with its deeper understanding, loves all things; for it has seen the beauty, the tenderness, and the sweetness which underlie Life’s mystery.
Life is the span of time appointed for accomplishment. Every fleeting moment is an opportunity, and those who are great are the ones who have recognized life as the opportunity for all things.
Arts, sciences, and religions are monuments standing for what humanity has already accomplished. They stand as memorials to the unfolding mind of man, and through them man acquires more efficient and more intelligent methods of attaining prescribed results.
Blessed are those who can profit by the experiences of others; who, adding to that which has already been built, can make their inspiration real, their dreams practical. Those who give man the things he needs, while seldom appreciated in their own age, are later recognized as the Saviours of the human race.
Masonry is a structure built upon experience. Each stone is a sequential step in the unfolding of intelligence.
The shrines of Masonry are ornamented by the jewels of a thousand ages; its rituals ring with the words of enlightened seers and illuminated sages.
A hundred religions have brought their gifts of wisdom to its altar. Arts and sciences unnumbered have contributed to its symbolism. It is more than a faith; it is a path of certainty. It is more than a belief; it is a fact.
Masonry is a university, teaching the liberal arts and sciences of the soul to all who will attend to its words.
It is a shadow of the great Atlantean Mystery School, which stood with all its splendour in the ancient City of the Golden Gates, where now the turbulent Atlantic rolls in unbroken sweep.
Its chairs are seats of learning; its pillars uphold the arch of universal education, not only in material things, but also in those qualities which are of the spirit.
Up on its trestle boards are inscribed the sacred truths of all nations and of all peoples, and upon those who understand its sacred depths has dawned the great Reality.
Masonry is, in truth, that long-lost thing which all peoples have sought in all ages.
Masonry is the common denominator as well as the common devisor of human aspiration.
Most of the religions of the world are like processions: one leads, and the many follow.
In the footsteps of the demigods, man follows in his search for truth and illumination.
The Christian follows the gentle Nazarene up the winding slopes of Calvary.
The Buddhist follows his great emancipator through his wanderings in the wilderness.
The Mohammedan makes his pilgrimage across the desert sands to the black tent at Mecca.
Truth leads, and ignorance follows in his train. Spirit blazes the trail, and matter follows behind.
In the world today ideals live but a moment in their purity, before the gathering hosts of darkness snuff out the gleaming spark. The Mystery School, however, remains unmoved.
It does not bring its light to man; man must bring his light to it.
Ideals, coming into the world, become idols within a few short hours, but man, entering the gates of the sanctuary, changes the idol back to an ideal.
Man is climbing an endless flight of steps, with his eyes fixed upon the goal at the top.
Many cannot see the goal, and only one or two steps are visible before them.
He has learned, however, one great lesson – namely, that as he builds his own character he is given strength to climb the steps. Hence a Mason is a builder of the temple of character.
He is the architect of a sublime mystery – the gleaming, glowing temple of his own soul.
He realizes that he best serves God when he joins with the Great Architect in building more noble structures in the universe below.
All who are attempting to attain mastery through constructive efforts are Masons at heart, regardless of religious sect or belief.
A Mason is not necessarily a member of a lodge. In a broad sense, he is any person who daily tries to live the Masonic life, and to serve intelligently the needs of the Great Architect.
The Masonic brother pledges himself to assist all other temple-builders in whatever extremity of life; and in so doing he pledges himself to every living thing, for they are all temple-builders, building more noble structures to the glory of the universal God.
The true Masonic Lodge is a Mystery School, a place where candidates are taken out of the follies and foibles of the world and instructed in the mysteries of life, relationships, and the identity of that germ of spiritual essence within, which is, in truth, the Son of God, beloved of His Father.
The Mason views life seriously, realizing that every wasted moment is a lost opportunity, and that Omnipotence is gained only through earnestness and endeavor.
Above all other relationships he recognizes the universal brotherhood of every living thing. The symbol of the clasped hands, explained in the Lodge, reflects his attitude towards all the world, for he is the comrade of all created things.
He realizes also that his spirit is a glowing, gleaming jewel which he must enshrine within a holy temple built by the labor of his hands, the meditation of his heart, and the aspiration of his soul.
Freemasonry is a philosophy which is essentially creedless. It is the truer for it. Its brothers bow to truth regardless of the bearer; they serve light, instead of wrangling over the one who brings it.
In this way they prove that they are seeking to know better the will and the dictates of the Invincible One.
No truer religion exists than that of world comradeship and brotherhood, for the purpose of glorifying one God and building for Him a temple of constructive attitude and noble character.
Recent Articles: book reviews
Book Review - High Meridian
Ben Zion's awaited second book - This book contains a highly thought-provoking, or perhaps, more crucially a challenging narrative on the esoteric aspects of Freemasonry. There is no cautious conjecture, no frivolous ‘woo-woo’ approach, Zion dives straight in and makes us think…hard!
Book Review - Seven Habits of Highly Successful Lodges
Successful Lodges tend to share several common features. In this exciting new book, well-known author and speaker Tony Harvey draws on his extensive experience in different areas within Freemasonry to identify the key features most often seen in our strongest, happiest, and most attractive Lodges.
Book Review - Over 300 years of Masonic Ritual
This book celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge in June 1717, by reviewing the basis of our workings from the earliest records to the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in December 1813 and further.
Book Review - Freemasons: 555 Illustrations
Written by one of the highest Masonic dignitaries, this unique book reveals the secrets of Freemasonry in inspiring images and quotes.
Book Review - Chapter & Verse: 100 years of Royal Arch Talks
The publication of Chapter & Verse is in celebration of the centenary of Authors’ Chapter No. 3456; it takes the form of an anthology of some seventy-five talks presented in the Chapter. The spread of authors ensures divers interpretations of the Royal Arch narrative and dramatis personae.
Book Review - Inventing the Future
This book sets out those principles, considers the people involved and explores the framework within which their ideas were formed. And it discusses how the Constitutions evolved. - By Ric Berman
Book Review - The Freethinking Freemason
Tim Bryce's "The Freethinking Freemason" offers sage advice on how to run a Masonic Lodge, editorials on the future direction of the fraternity, and stories aimed at entertaining Masons.
Book Review - 21st Century Rosicrucianism
When the original Rosicrucian pamphlets were circulated in the early 1600s they sent a shockwave across Europe, instigating a surge of activity that changed the course of Western Esotericism.
Book Review - Widows Sons: Outlaw Bikers or Masonic Ambassadors
Outlaw Bikers or Masonic Ambassadors. Fully recognised and approved by the United Grand Lodge of England, 2018 marked the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the Widows Sons, with 2019 marking the fifteenth anniversary of the Widows Sons starting in the UK. Book by Wayne Owens.
Book Review - Freemasonry & the Enlightenment
This superbly illustrated study of Free masonry’s influence on Western culture, especially in the 18th and early19th centuries, has been recognised as one of the most original and important contributions towards a greater understanding of the Enlightenment published in recent times.
Book Review – Haunted Chambers: The Lives of Early Women Freemasons
These women aren't supposed to have existed. But they did. "Haunted Chambers", for the first time ever, presents not only the most complete list of early women Freemasons but also as much detail about their lives as can still be found. By Karen Kidd
Book Review - The Point Within the Circle
This is a very unusual book on Freemasonry. It takes the reader on a journey through some of the esoteric elements that are integral to Freemasonry's design. It shows how the Masonic temple itself is constructed in accordance with three ancient systems. By Matthew Ridgley Clark
Book Review – Robert's Rules of Order: Masonic Edition
New Updated Edition with section for online Masonic gatherings! - Experienced legislators, editors, civic leaders, business executives, and club officers all pronounce Robert's Rules of Order the best parliamentary guide in the English language.
Book Review - Freemasonry - Theory of the Origins
This book charts the transformational processes which combine in a peak between the end of the seventeenth and the start of the eighteenth century. By Fabio Venzi
Book Review - Some Masonic Musings
The papers in this volume cover fifty years of research and thought. They were often also produced to fill out programmes for Lodges of Research and there is a degree of repetition and overlap. by Aubrey N. Newman
Book Review - The Full Spectrum of Freemasonry
This book reflects the author’s research interests in Victorian Freemasonry, and the Orders beyond the Craft and provides a better understanding of how the other Masonic Orders have grown and developed in parallel with Craft Masonry by Richard Gan
Book Review - Famous Freemasons who Changed the World
There are 110 biographical entries in the book. Famous people where also Freemasons who changed the world by Kent Henderson
Book Review - The Siblys of London
The colourful life of Ebenezer Sibly; a quack doctor, plagiarist, and masonic ritualist in late eighteenth-century London; by Dr Susan Mitchell Sommers
Book Review – We Three or Three Such as We
No review can begin to touch the sensitivity with which the people therein have been described, nor the extent of the layers and levels of their esoteric lodge experience, something that sadly few will ever achieve
Book Review - In The Steps Of The Templars
This comprehensive, authoritative, up to date history of the Masonic Knight Templar and Knights of Malta covers everything from the crusading Orders of Knighthood from which the modern Masonic Templar Orders
Book Review – The Freemasons Stopped in the Middle of the Ford
This book tries to approach Freemasonry from different sides; not so much to explain how he understands it as to encourage the reader to seek his own answers – on its methods, its organization, and its meaning. By Peter Bu
Book Review - Alternative Masonic Addresses For The Craft Degrees
Do you get asked to give an address at your lodge ? Are you looking for an alternative address ? Then take a look at this collection of alternative masonic addresses for the craft degrees prepared by Lewis Masonic
Book Review - A Path to Providence: The Creation of the Middle Chamber Program
Masonic Education has regrettably been reduced to teaching protocol, traditions, and catechism while ignoring the esoteric essence of the ritual. By Shaun Bradshaw (Author), Ben Wallace (Author), Flynn Ryan (Cover Art)
Book Review - A Glossary Of The Craft And Holy Royal Arch Ritual Terms
This handy little book describes the origins and original meanings of the sometimes obscure words used in our ritual by Brigadier A.C.F. Jackson
Book Review - Making A Daily Advancement
In this work the author brings together a whole range of Masonic facts including the origins of our customs, our rituals and our practices, by Michael Lawrence
Book Review - Nobly Born: An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar
The Templars were an unusual Order in that they lived both an active and contemplative life; making them effectively the first warrior-monks in the western world. by Stephen Dafoe
Book Review - A Deserving Brother: George Washington and Freemasonry
Like several of America’s founding fathers, George Washington was a Freemason. In 'A Deserving Brother', Mark Tabbert presents a complete story of Washington’s known association with Freemasonry.
Book Review - Taken by Surprise
Never again will a Freemason be caught out by a last-minute request to make a response. - Taken by Surprise by Yasha Beresiner
book review - Whence Come You
The message of the book is essentially one of Freemasonry being unequivocally esoteric – spiritual – and that is something that many Masons may balk at but it is a topic that needs discussing rationally.
Book Review - The Other Brotherhood: When Freemasonry Crossed the English Channel
An excellent book, being perfect for Freemasons and non-Freemasons alike who want to explore the origins of Freemasonry and to examine how it influenced French thought in the eighteenth century
Book review - The Tracing Boards of the First Degree
The Tracing Board is a picture that encloses the quintessence of the ritual of the Degree and transmits it through symbols and images. By Enrico Marcia
Book Review - Becoming a Craftsman -The Masonic Tutor's Handbooks: Volume 3
Becoming a Craftsman -The Masonic Tutor's Handbooks: Volume 3 - The relationship between a Fellowcraft and their Master is how the traditional wisdom of our Craft is passed on.
Book Review - Freemasonry in London from 1785
This book is a well-researched study by a competent masonic scholar who has welded links from the changing scenes that arose in an era in which the most important step forward in organised Freemasonry was taken…
Book Review - Meditations of a Flawed Ashlar
Many readers will probably be familiar with Bill Hosler – he is a much-respected and veteran American Freemason and a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog.
Book Review - The Masonry of the «Moderns»: History and Rituality
The Masonic ritual world dates back to the 18th century, both from England and from France, which is still our most valuable reference.
Book Review - Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality - Angel Millar
Angel Millar is a well-known lecturer on Freemasonry, initiation, and esotericism as well as an artist and student of the martial arts. The author of several books.
Book Review - The Rite of Seven Degrees
This book examines the deeply esoteric eighteenth-century Rite of Seven Degrees.
Book Review - The Green Book of the Elus Coens
The Green Book of the Élus Coëns is the most fascinating insight yet into the secrets and mysteries of the eighteenth century’s most esoteric of masonic societies – The Order of Knight-Mason Elect-Cohens of the Universe.
Book Review - Freemasonry for the Heart and Mind
Freemasonry for the Heart and Mind: A glance at Freemasonry during the Enlightenment and the American and French revolutions.
Book Review - The Masonic Pageant
The Masonic Pageant is published by Cornerstone Book Publishers and features a nice foreword by Chris Hodapp, 33°.
Book Review - Invisibles
It is reasonable to suggest that when published, Invisibles was the most comprehensive, comparative study, to date, of the Rosicrucian mega-meme.
Book Review - Mnemonic Methods
Within this book 'Mnemonic Methods by Robert Fludd', translator Paul Ferguson introduces us to the English translation of two of Fludd's short treatises on memory
Book Review - English Illuminati
This book gives us a deep look into the European occult revival of the late nineteenth century and some of its key figures…
Book Review - Emulation: A Ritual to Remember
How does one begin to review a masonic classic which has faithfully served generations? Perhaps starting with the title Emulation: A Ritual to Remember.
Book Review - The Rosslyn Hoax
Robert Cooper asks, would you like to know the truth about Rosslyn Chapel ?
Book Review - Mastering Masonic Ritual
Mastering Masonic Ritual is focused on preparing for a successful and fulfilling journey around the floor to the Chair.
Book Review - Companions of Christian Rosenkreutz
A review of Companions of Christian Rosenkreutz - Collected Papers 2008-2016
Book Review - Freemasonry: Material Moral and Mystical
A review of Freemasonry: Material, Moral, and Mystical by Tony Baker
Book Review - Three Distinct Knocks - John Meeks
"Why don't these new guys come back?" This is the question I often hear; and it is this same question that pushed me to write this book. - John Meek
Book Review - Soldier and Mason
Soldier and Mason: The Life of Charles Warren Napier-Clavering
Book Review - Bohemian Masonic Glass
A completely unique narrative publication mapping the phenomenon of glass production for the needs of Masonic lodges
Book Review - This Chequered Existence
Gerald Reilly reviews this new book covering the near-modern history of Freemasonry in England and Wales during the 20th-century.
Book Review - The EA, FC, MM Handbooks
Essential reading for every Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason - these seminal books by J.S.M Ward are what every Mason needs!
Book Review - The Freemasons who won America's War for Independence
Find out who were the Freemasons who won America's War for Independence
Book Review - Black Freemasonry: From Prince Hall to the Giants of Jazz
A book review of Black Freemasonry: From Prince Hall to the Giants of Jazz by Cécile Révauger
Book Review - Cagliostro the Unknown Master
The book review of the Cagliostro the Unknown Master, by the Editor of the book
Book Review - Crime and the Craft
Crime and the Craft reveals that the Freemasons have been involved in treason, murder, conspiracy, fraud, and scandal from the time of the English Civil War to the 1980s.
Book Review - Focus on Ric Berman
Focus on Ric Berman a British historian who writes about the intersection of freemasonry, politics and society.
Book Review - The Temple That Never Sleeps
Freemasons and E-Masonry Toward a New Paradigm
Book Review - The Secret School of Wisdom
The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati is a pioneering text
Book Review - Charles Warren: Royal Engineer in the Age of Empire
Sir Charles Warren, the Police Commissioner who failed to catch 'Jack the Ripper'
Book Review - Freemasonry and the Press in the Twentieth Century
During the latter part of the twentieth century, the Press and Freemasonry had a tense relationship.
Book Review - Who was Hiram Abiff?
Every Freemason must have at some point asked himself the above question.
The Masonic Book Club (MBC)
The new MBC will have a different business model than the old.
Book Review - Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure
Lost Templar Treasure: Secret Diaries, Coded Maps, and the Knights of the Golden Circle
Book Review - The Enigma of the Royal Arch
Holy Royal Arch What's it all about
Book Review - The Craft
Review of the new book The Craft by John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College London
Book Review - For Hills and Valleys
For Hills and Valleys, Mobile Schools and Republicanism in the Zêzere Valley By Aires Henriques
33 and Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry
33 & Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry, is perhaps the most fascinating and important documentary ever made on the on the subject matter of Freemasonry.
Book Review - History of Freemasonry in Bessarabia
Book review by guest reviewer Gheorghe Bichicean on the History of Freemasonry in Bessarabia by Alexandru Rufanda
Game Review - On The Square
A new board game based on The Freemasons
A MIGHTY GOOD MAN / THE TRUE STORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS (double dvd)
A drama-documentary of the life of Elias Ashmole including a reconstruction of the first personally recorded Free Masonic Initiation into a Lodge anywhere in the world.
Prestonian Lecture 2020/21
This year's Prestonian Lecture - ‘A System of Morality – Aristotle and the Making of the Ritual’ - is authored, and presented by Professor G.R. Boys-Stones PAGDC.
The Lost Keys of Freemasonry
Introduction to The Lost Keys of Freemasonry by Manly P. Hall
Book Review - History of the Grand Orient of Italy
In depth book review in to the History of the Grand Orient of Italy by the author
Book Review – Freemasonry It's Hidden Meaning
Youtube Book review by Baruti KMT-Sisouvong
to be a better citizen of the world
share the square with two brothers
click image to open email app on mobile device