Welcome to the September issue of The Square
‘In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order’
– Carl Jung
At the moment I’m struggling to find the words to describe how I am, and I’m sure many of you are feeling.
It feels like the world is in chaos. It feels like this is a new thing but of course it isn’t.
There has been chaos throughout history in varying degrees. The problem we face currently is that we are able to see, hear and learn about it all at the click of a button, whether on TV, the internet or constant streams on social media.
Every detail of every tragic, devastating or scary event is beamed at us, within minutes of it occurring, from any location on the planet…and occasionally beyond!
Our heartstrings are wrenched, and these awful events are carried with us all day.
On the whole there is not much we can do as the bombings or murders, hurricanes or floods, are often thousands of miles away but the images and emotions triggered are firmly entrenched in our psyche, often manifesting as anxiety driven dreams.
We do what we can to help – we donate money for emergency aid programs, or to help rebuild communities; we send rapidly typed ‘thoughts and prayers’ via Facebook or Twitter.
But it never feels like we are doing much; we cannot be there to physically assist the wounded or stranded, or comfort the bereaved.
This helplessness can be exhausting and stressful; leaving us with a sense of instability or chaos in our own lives.
The ancient Egyptians were terrified of chaos – or isfet as they called it.
Maat – their concept of cosmic order – had to be upheld or the entire world as they knew it (i.e. Egypt) would collapse into chaos.
It kind of feels that way right now – isfet is raging across the world, whether as freak natural phenomena or doled out by the very base nature of humanity.
I saw a quote on the internet: ‘I see humans, but no humanity‘ – it was attributed to a ‘Jason Donohue’ (who seems to be untraceable), but it seems that Banksy also incorporated the words in one of his street artworks.
Yet that powerful phrase, from whoever wrote it, has reverberated around my head for days.
I look outward and see chaos: enabled by an ever-encroaching entitled, uncaring and selfish bunch of humans on all sides of the political, religious and racial spectrum.
A negative reaction sure, but one that many people are experiencing right now.
I ask myself, is it right to despair about the state of humanity, or is there still hope left cowering at the bottom of Pandora’s box?
Carl Jung said: ‘In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order‘.
Of course, he was right, without chaos we would not be able to create order and that is where that wonderful symbol of the point within the circle comes to mind – finding our own little microcosm of order (maat) and peace, whilst trying to do the best we can in the space we inhabit.
Something crucial to contemplate.
Talking of contemplation – and a complete segue away from my philosophical musings – this month’s issue gives plenty of opportunity to contemplate a wide range of Masonic topics:
The Digital Order of the Knights Quarantine – what can I say but what a genius, and very witty, concept.
This piece landed in my inbox and I knew it would be a huge hit with readers.
Kudos to the Masonic Lite Podcast crew in the US for the original ‘not-a-degree’, and Simon Polkinghorne for extending it to the UK – lots of fun and a good wedge of money raised for charity in the process.
Sir Arthur Sullivan – A Masonic Musician struck a chord (sorry!) with me – he was one half of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan composer and libretto team and there is a very interesting tale to tell with that partnership.
Nigel Wade does a wonderful job exploring Sullivan’s life in colourful detail.
Part 3 of Freemasonry and Women’s Rights.
Looks at how the ideology and values of Freemasonry made a huge impact on the fight for women’s suffrage.
The valiant contribution of members of the Honourable Fraternity of Antient Freemasonry (HFAM) and various Co-Masonic Orders.
Kenneth Jack offers us another fascinating historical profile of Scottish Freemasons, this time Charles Mackay: Freemason, Journalist, Writer, Poet; and Author of ‘Tubal Cain’.
Millennial Masons – a response – you may recall a feature in a previous issue discussing young ‘Millennial’ Masons and Freemasonry.
One reader has sent in a superb and very honest response.
Regular contributor Gerald Reilly continues his scholarly research with a new series:
A French Issue and ‘The German Question’, 1877-8: The Christianising of British Freemasonries?
Part 1 kicks off with the intriguing title: ‘French Infidelity: A New Covenant’.
Craig Weightman’s column this month is Decoding the Square and Compasses – the familiar pair is ‘not just a famous symbol, but loaded with symbolism’.
Philosophy in the Life of a Freemason – Carlos Franciso Ortiz offers us another deeply philosophical treat.
Before the dark night of dogmatic thought, philosophy is the dawn of man, and the light for the Mason in his search for truth.
Brother Hogarth has been deciphering more fabulous artwork and this month the Masonic symbolism ‘hidden in plain view’ is to be seen in Hogarth’s Midnight Modern Conversation.
We also have our usual regular features including Masonic News from across the globe, Masonic Miscellanies, Masonic Blogs, Book Reviews and Introductions to an Old Book.
Until next time, stay well –
Article by: Philippa Lee
Philippa Lee (writes as Philippa Faulks) is the author of eight books, an editor and researcher.
Philippa was initiated into the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF) in 2014.
Her specialism is ancient Egypt, Freemasonry, comparative religions and social history. She has several books in progress on the subject of ancient and modern Egypt. Selection of Books Online at Amazon