Way of the Hermit

30th Degree: Knight Kadosh

February 05, 2023 Dr. David Brown & Gene Lawson Season 1 Episode 33
Way of the Hermit
30th Degree: Knight Kadosh
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we discuss the Lecture of the 30th Degree - “Knight Kadosh” as we continue our exploration of "Morals & Dogma: The Annotated Edition". It is highly recommended that you read the chapter in order to fully follow our discussion.

"Morals and Dogma" is available from these sites:



  • Introduction (01:14)
  • Historical Setting (01:39)
  • Degree Ritual (05:58)
  • Purpose of the Degree (13:17)
  • Morals and Dogma (13:59)
  • New World Order (14:43)
  • Knight of the East and West (17:28)
  • The Templar Secret (18:55)
  • From The Ashes (20:43)
  • Ladder of Kadosh (21:38)
  • Journey to the East (23:37)
  • Down From the Mountain (26:20)
  • View From the East (27:29)
  • Angels Ascending and Descending (30:09)
  • Conclusions (32:15)


Introduction (01:14)

Gene: Hello Dave.

David: Hello Gene.

Gene: Are you ready to travel onward toward the East?

David: I am. But as always, before we get started, I want to remind everyone that Show Notes, Chapter Markers and a Transcript of this, and all episodes, are available on our website - WayOfTheHermit.com. This is the capstone degree of the Council of Kadosh and it, along with the next two, form what are known as the Templar Degrees.

Historical Setting (01:39)

Gene: The historical setting of this degree is the story of the fall of the Knights Templar and the public execution of their Grandmaster Jacques de Molay on Friday, October 13, 1307… which may, or may or may not be the origin of the legend about Friday the 13th being an unlucky day.

David: Well, it was definitely an unlucky day for the Templars!

Gene: Yes it was! They were arrested in France and about a month later Pope Clement V issued a Papal Bull that authorized the seizure of all Templar assets and property across Europe. The individual Templars took vows of poverty but the Order had become rich and powerful.

David: Why were the Templars arrested?

Gene: Here’s a quote from Wikipedia - “Based on (a) mix of donations and business dealings, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom. They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built massive stone cathedrals and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Order of the Knights Templar arguably qualifies as the world's first multinational corporation.”

David: And the arrest warrant was issued by Philip IV of France.

Gene: Yes, and King Philip was heavily in debt to the Templars. He had tried to force them to merge with other Orders under his command, which would have abolished his debt, but when those plans didn’t work, he had them arrested.

David: What were they accused of doing?

Gene: Well, the arrest warrant began with the words - “God is not pleased. We have enemies of the faith in the kingdom". And the main accusations were usury, homosexuality, idolatry and blasphemy.

David: What’s usury?

Gene: Yeah, that’s the one that probably really matters. It means charging exorbitant interest rates.

David: Ah.

Gene: And the name Baphomet came up too, but nobody really knows what that was or what it meant. Some of the Templars did confess to things, but the confessions were extracted via torture and were recanted afterwards, so it’s hard to tell what, if any of the allegations had any basis in fact.

David: And the other player in this drama is Pope Clement V. Clement was something of an advocate of the Templars, but given what had happened to his predecessors, you can see why he was ultimately complicit.

Gene: What happened to his predecessors?

David: Well, a few years before, Pope Boniface VIII threatened to excommunicate King Philip. Philip had the Pope abducted and beaten and he died a month later from his injuries.

Gene: He murdered the Pope.

David: Well, he actually, like I said, died a month after his beating from quote-unquote shock. And the next Pope, Benedict XI decided not to go at Philip directly for murdering the Pope. Instead, he tried to excommunicate one of Philip’s ministers. He died under mysterious circumstances just a few months later, possibly from poisoning.

Gene: Yeah.

David: And then Pope Clement V became Pope.

Gene: And by this time he had probably figured out that disagreeing with Philip IV is not really good for your health.

David: Yes. That’s one way to put it. So the crux of this is that in this historical drama, the Church and State were complicit in perverting justice.

Gene: Right. And that “Unholy Alliance” culminated in March of 1314, when after seven years of imprisonment and torture, the Grandmaster of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, was tied to a scaffold on a small island in the Siene in Paris and publicly executed by being burned alive.

David: Didn’t he supposedly put a curse on the Pope and the King as he was dying?

Gene: He did… but it’s really a legend created after the fact. He supposedly yelled from the flames that they would both be dead within a year. They both actually did die within a year. Philip died from a cerebral stroke. I’m not sure how Clement died, but… supposedly, while his body was lying in state, lightning struck the church and set it on fire and the fire turned the Pope’s body into mostly to ashes.

Degree Ritual (05:58)

David: That’s strange, but again, it’s hard to tell where history ends and the legend begins, but anyway, that is the backdrop of this Degree. What is the Ritual like this time?

Gene: The Ritual involves 18 officers, all dressed as medieval Knights. They wear long black velvet cloaks with a red Calvary cross on the left breast. Underneath are white tunics with gold bands. A black belt with a gold clasp and a wide-brimmed black felt hat with the left side turned up and decorated with a red ostrich feather.

David: So, what happens in the Ritual?

Gene: There are four apartments. The first apartment is Black and is a tomb, so it corresponds to Earth. The theme there is life, power and death. The second apartment is White and corresponds with Water. The theme there is purification and sacrifice. The third apartment is Blue and is about Judgement, so it corresponds to Air, the mind and rationality. The fourth apartment is Red and corresponds to Fire.

David: Alright. Do you want to walk us through the four phases of the Ritual?

Gene: Sure. In the center of the first apartment is a coffin on a black marble tomb. On a platform are three skulls. The skull on the left is wearing the triple tiara of the Pope. The skull on the right is wearing a King’s crown. And the skull in the middle is wreathed with laurel and amaranth.

David: So, these are the skulls of Pope Clement, King Philip and Jacques de Molay?

Gene: Yes, and all they symbolize. You’re told at the beginning of the Ritual that you cannot “ascend any higher in (your) knowledge of the mysteries until (you)... overcome the dread of death. Death is inevitable, and in the grand scheme of the Great Architect, it is the entrance to another existence.” And in the West, written in flame-colored letters, are the words - “He who overcomes the fear of death shall ascend above the terrestrial sphere, and be entitled to initiation into the higher mysteries.”

David: And this apartment represents the Terrestrial sphere… Earth.

Gene: Yes. So, moving to the next apartment implies that you’ve overcome your fear of death… physical or psychological… which of course, is easier said than done.

David: Right.

Gene: But anyway you are taken to the Second Apartment which is hung in white. At one end of it are two altars. On one is an urn filled with perfume; on the other is an urn filled with alcohol. Above and between the two altars hangs a double–headed eagle, one half white and the other half black, with wings extended.

David: What is the theme of the Second Apartment?

Gene: Purification and sacrifice. Here’s a quote from the Ritual - “We do not here revive the ancient custom of sacrificing to the gods as a means of gaining their favor… This is the altar of Masonry. On it we offer no sacrifices to God or burn the fruits of the earth or the flesh of animals… We do not mistake the symbol for the thing symbolized.”

David: The sacrifice is, of course, yourself… which is why the first apartment requires that you lose your fear of death.

Gene: Exactly. You’ve dedicated yourself to something that’s bigger than you and told to “Adore the Supreme Being and pay… homage with a worship free of superstition. Strive not to be better than others, but to be better than yourself. Seek not the faults of (others), rather search diligently for their virtues. Know that adversity is but an opportunity to practice virtue.”

David: So, what happens in the Third Apartment?

Gene: I guess you’d say the “Judgment”. This apartment is hung in sky blue and divided in half by a curtain. In the Eastern half are seven seats for the so-called “Frank Judges”, with the Supreme Judge seated in the center. Over him is the Banner of the Order, the Beauseant. In front of him is an altar with a sword, a balance, and the crossed daggers on the Book of Constitutions.

David: You said there was a curtain down the middle of the room?

Gene: Yes. And the seven Judges are in the East.

David: So what’s behind the curtain in the West?

Gene: It does not say. I think it’s probably that at this point in your journey through the Elements, the West isn’t yet visible to you. But anyway, you’re supposed to submit a written “Profession of Faith” that acknowledges a belief in God, respect for the beliefs of others, and a desire for everyone to have equal treatment under the law. And then you have to submit this statement to the Judges for their consideration.

David: And I assume that after a weighty deliberation by the Judges, you’re deemed worthy to proceed?

Gene: You are. And then you’re brought to the fourth and last apartment, which is basically organized in three sections - the East, the West and the path in-between.The wall hangings are crimson except in the East. In the East are white columns with black velvet embroidered with silver showing skulls pierced with daggers. Also in the East is a throne surmounted by a crowned double-headed eagle with a poniard in its claws. In front of the throne on the right is the Beauseant and there’s also a Liberty Cap and a Shepherd’s Crook.

David: So that’s the East. What’s in the West?

Gene: In the West is a black marble mausoleum shaped like a truncated pyramid. On it is a funeral urn covered with a black veil and encircled with a laurel wreath. On the right of the urn is a King’s Crown and on the left, a Pope’s Triple Tiara. There’s also a vase with burning alcohol and pans of incense. Over the mausoleum is an image of Jacque de Molay burning at the stake and over him are the words in Latin meaning “God wills it - My hope is in God.”

David: So in the East there’s a Throne and in the West, a mausoleum. What is in the third part, the path from the West to the East?

Gene: There are two things. First, on leaving the West, you would encounter an altar on top of which is a dagger, a skull containing a silver cup, a decanter of red liquid and a loaf of bread covered with linen. And then, in the middle between East and West is the “Mysterious Ladder of Kadosh” which has seven ascending steps and seven descending steps. It has the words “Love of Neighbor” on one side and “Love of God” on the other.

David: So, the “Ladder of Kadosh” is like a little bridge with seven steps going up and then seven back down… if you are looking from the West toward the East?

Gene: Exactly. Which immediately calls to mind the 17th Degree - Knight of the East and West, where there was a bridge.

David: And in the legend of that Degree, a battle took place on the bridge.

Gene: It did. And in this Degree, the battle is within yourself. The Lecture says that you have to free yourself from childish notions and fairytale illusions and sacrifice your weaknesses and passions on the altar of Masonry. Because only then can you reliably distinguish Truth and have the courage to follow the star in the East to where it leads.

Purpose of the Degree (13:17)

David: Alright. Did you want to say anything else about the Ritual before we discuss the Lecture?

Gene: I’ve got one more quote from the “Ritual - Monitor and Guide”. It says “We now approach the holy Empire, which signifies the attainment of the science and power of the Magi. The four words of the Magi are, to Know, to Dare, to Will, to be Silent, and are written in the four symbolic forms of the Sphinx. The accomplishment of these degrees brings us to the completion of the third Temple; and the Royal Secret is solved, as to whether we have made this world a Temple fit for the abiding-place of the Grand Architect of the universe.”

Morals and Dogma (13:59)

David: Alright. What’s the first thing you have from the Degree Lecture?

Gene: Well, the Lecture begins with a discussion of some of the Anti-Masonic movement and propaganda of the early 1800’s.

David: Which I think Pike wants us to associate with the persecution of the Templars.

Gene: He does. He says “We often profit more by our enemies than by our friends… We support ourselves only on that which resists," and owe our success to opposition. The best friends of Masonry in America were the Anti-Masons of 1826… The Anti-Masons… purified Masonry by persecution, and so proved to be its benefactors; for that which is persecuted, grows.”

New World Order (14:43)

David:That is an important point. It’s at the center of the conflict or crossing of two forces that something new can emerge.

Gene: And the two forces in this Degree are those represented by the Papacy and the rival monarchies of Europe. Which in the Ritual are symbolized by the Triple Tiara and the Crown.

David: And between them is a laurel wreath which represents something new in the world.

Gene: “A New World Order”?

David: Well, we’ve made fun of that idea in previous episodes, but here in the context of this degree… that’s exactly what it’s talking about.. a reshaping of the global political landscape of that time.

Gene: Yeah. The Degree is set in 1314, at a time when one man, Philip IV of France wielded absolute power in France… and over Rome. And as the saying goes “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Unfortunately, there are still places in the modern world where leaders exert absolute power.

David: There are. But the main theme of this Degree is that there need to be checks on that power.

Gene: But not just checks and balances. The Lecture puts forward a dream of an initiated leadership. It says - “To find a stable medium between these two abysses, the idea of the Christian Hierophants was to create a society devoted to (renunciation) by solemn vows… recruited by initiation, and which, (as) sole depositary of the great religious and social secrets, should make Kings and Pontiffs, without exposing it to the corruptions of Power.”

David: That’s something of a pipe dream… to have leaders who can’t be corrupted?

Gene: Yeah.

David: That would be nice, but that’s another form of Plato's idea that the best rulers would be “Philosopher Kings”.     

Gene: I’d add that the idea isn’t to create another exclusive clique of people in power, who could, and would be corrupted.

David: So what is the idea?

Gene: The idea of having humble, wise and principled leaders who care about the people they shepherd. Leaders that in their hearts, believe what Masonry stands for - Tolerance, Equality, Justice and the Rule of Law.

David: The Lecture also floats the idea that the overthrowing of the “Old World Order” was the hidden agenda of the Templars all along. It says that they wanted to rebuild the Temple of Solomon and reclaim the Papacy back to the East… meaning Constantinople and the Eastern Orthodox Church. And that was the real reason that they were suppressed and destroyed. That they were recognized to be an existential threat to both the Papacy and the monarchies.

Knight of the East and West (17:28)

Gene: Most of that is probably true. The Lecture says that the Templars took inspiration from the Biblical story of Zerubbabel, who worked to rebuild the Second Temple. We discussed that story in the “Knight of the East” and the “Knight of the East and West” degrees. In the earlier degrees, the First Temple in the West was in ruins.

David: And in this Degree, the Second Temple has been destroyed. In the earlier degrees, Zerubbabel traveled to the East to get the Temple rebuilt. Here, the Legend says that the Templars wanted to unite the world by building the Third Temple.
Gene: In the Legend of the Degree, that was the hidden object of the Templars… to complete the “Third Temple”, which the Lecture says makes the whole “world a Temple fit for the abiding-place of the Grand Architect of the universe.”

David: There’s only one place you can build a Temple that encompasses the whole world. That’s inside yourself.

Gene: Which is why the Lecture says that the Templars took on the emblems of the “Knights of the East and West” the Sword and the Trowel. To separate and to build. To dissolve and recombine. We’re all, always… in every moment… building a “Temple not made by hands” - our Microcosm.

David: Which makes us all Masons. We build worlds.

Gene: That’s really true. And it goes on through life. Every circumstance basically lays another stone or “another brick in the wall” so to speak.

The Templar Secret (18:55)

David: You know, one legend that wasn’t in the Lecture is that one that says that while digging through the ashes of the ruins of the Temple, the Templars found something… an artifact, that gave them their power.

Gene: Yeah. Like the “Ark of the Covenant” or the “Holy Grail” or a scroll with some kind of radical reversal of Church doctrine.

David: Which, really… the idea that the “Third Temple” is inside you is a radical reversal of Church doctrine, especially at that time.

Gene: True. There’s a quote in the Lecture about Dante’s “Inferno” that says “Dante escapes from that gulf of Hell… by reversing the positions of his head and feet, that is to say, by accepting the direct opposite of the Catholic dogma; and then he reascends to the light, by using the Devil himself as a monstrous ladder.”

David: Like the “Mysterious Ladder of Kadosh” in this Degree.

Gene: Right. So, is that the secret then? That you have to be willing to oppose the Church and State or those in authority, to find your own will… that those are what keep you in bondage?

David: That is definitely one meaning of this Degree. The Church and the Pope’s Triple Tiara represent the appeal to “what’s right” or “what’s good”.

Gene: And the Crown could represent our authority figures, people who in the past anyway, were able to force us to conform. It’s the worldview that was originally imposed on us. Which you could relate to the “Old World Order”... the world that was imposed on the Templars.

David: And just like them, we have to find our “True Will” between those forces.

Gene: That’s true. Yesterday or today, it’s the old carrot and stick routine. It’s Power and Persuasion. They are the pillars of Mercy and Severity like poles of a magnet that pull you one way or the other.

From The Ashes (20:43)

David: That’s a good analogy. You might even say that that is how our first Temples were built.

Gene: You could say that.  Our first notions of the world and of God are mostly shaped by forces outside of ourselves, like our parents or the place we grew up in, or the religion you were, or weren’t, raised in. On a personal level, those are what the Crown and Tiara symbolize.

David: And in the Ritual, between those objects in the West, below the image of Jacques de Molay being burned at the stake, is an urn with a Laurel wreath on it… presumably containing ashes.

Gene: So, here we are… we’re the Knights Templars digging around in the ashes… looking for treasure!

David: Yeah… but I think that symbolism is intentional. The West is the ruins of the Order… the ashes of Jacques de Molay and of the Temple.

Ladder of Kadosh (21:38)

Gene: Hmm. So, what do you think the “Templar Treasure” is?

David: I think it’s the plan for the “Third Temple”.

Gene: Really. And you think it’s here… in this Degree?

David: I do. I mean, think about who in the Bible was given the original idea for the Temple. And it’s sort of a trick question… but, who was it?

Gene: Solomon… umm, no wait… David but he wasn’t worthy to build it.

David: No, before that. The original plan.

Gene: OK. Tthe original plan was given to Moses for the “Tabernacle in the Wilderness”, which became the Temple.

David: Yes, but the idea for the Temple came to Jacob in a dream. He called the place there the “Gate of Heaven”.

Gene: Ahh. That’s true. He laid his head on a stone and he saw the angels ascending and descending a Ladder. Which we’ve talked about as representing the dual current. So… does that Ladder relate to the so-called “Mysterious Ladder of Kadosh” that’s between the East and the West?

David: Yes.

Gene: But wasn’t that symbol explained way back in the “Fellowcraft Degree”.

David: Well, part of it talked about in the “Staircase Lecture”, and we even talked about it in the “Entered Apprentice” degree, but it should mean something totally different now. A quote from the Lecture says that “The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explanation is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry.”

Gene: So why mislead people?

David: I think that’s a bad choice of words. It would be better to say that you don’t have the vocabulary or the symbol set to talk about it in the earlier Degrees. That’s why looking back on it now, it means something that you couldn’t communicate then.

Gene: What does it mean now?

Journey to the East (23:37)

David: After our discussions about “The Matrix”, and Helen Keller and the language constructed “world that’s been pulled over our eyes” you can see what the real tools are that you use to build worlds are. They aren’t a mallet and chisel, they’re words and symbols.

Gene: I see. So the first step is Grammar,

David: Right. Grammar is how you order symbols to represent thoughts. That’s the first step after you know what a symbol means.

Gene: And the next step, Rhetoric is about using Grammar to communicate or to persuade people. And how you’re influenced by people’s words, too.

David: Right. The steps or rungs of the Ladder reach up to Unity and back down to diversity and they correspond to the seven lower Sephirah on the “Tree of Life”. But, I think to really get a feel for what Degree is trying to teach, you have to walk through it… in your mind.

Gene: Umm… you mean literally… like in the Apartment in the Ritual?

David: Yes. Picture yourself inside of it. I mean if you were going through the Ritual, you’d actually see all the symbols, but here to follow the logic, you have to act like you’re walking through the space… in your mind. So we’ll start in the West and go toward the East.

Gene: OK. In the Ritual of this Degree, in the West, there’s a tomb and an image of Jacques de Molay on his funeral pyre and a funeral urn with a wreath on it, between the Crown and the Tiara. And going from the West to the East, you first come to an altar with a dagger, a skull containing a silver cup, a red liquid, which “represents” wine, and a loaf of bread.

David: That’s the communion or the Kykeon. Which here seems to present sort a challenge… beyond how creepy it appears… you know, drinking out of a skull!

Gene: Yeah.

David: Since we’re talking about what goes on in your head, it represents a willingness to, you know, drink from that cup.

Gene: That’s good. Do you really want to know what goes on in there?

David: I don’t know… sometimes. But let’s assume we do and continue on.

Gene: So anyway, assuming you drink from the cup, and continue toward the East, in the center, between the East and West is the “Ladder of Kadosh”. And there are seven ascending steps on the West side, labeled from the bottom - Justice, Perfect Equity, Amiability, Good Faith, Great Labor, Endurance, and the last step is Elaboration, Intelligence and Understanding.

David: Those steps relate to the moral and philosophical lessons of the Degrees of the Scottish Rite. With the last step being an understanding of those lessons and the ability to elaborate on it and teach it to others.

Down From the Mountain (26:20)

Gene: So, we’ve climbed up into the Heavens… philosophically.

David: Right. This is the peak of the “Philosophic Mountain” and the descending steps represent how to bring those lofty concepts back down to Earth.

Gene: You could say that’s what prophets like Moses do. They climb the mountain and come back down with words and symbols that hopefully map out the ascent for others.

David: They do. And looking from the top, the steps are labeled - Astronomy, Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, Logic, Rhetoric and on the bottom step, Grammar. So it represents going from the very abstract to numbers, to logical statements, to statements that are intended to inform or persuade… which is Rhetoric, finally into Grammar, the words and symbols that are actually used.

Gene: Which you could call a “spell”.

David: You could.

Gene: Vecause ultimately you have to spell it out.

David: That’s good.

Gene: So, in esoteric terms, it lists out the steps of the descending current, the coagula phase of the “Astral Light”.

David: Which we reenacted ourselves by climbing down the ladder.

Gene: That’s true.

View From the East (27:29)

David: And at the bottom of the ladder, is our destination, the East where we’re standing in front of the throne surmounted by a crowned black and white double-headed eagle. There’s also a Liberty Cap and a Shepherd’s Crook. And behind the throne is a tapestry embroidered with skulls pierced with daggers. You’ve heard this question before, but we’ll ask it again, why did we leave the West and make this “Journey to the East”?

Gene: “In search of more light”.

David: Which means what?

Gene: More knowledge… which I guess the steps or the Degrees really that we’ve passed through are that. But more Light really ends up being a broader world view or a truly different perspective.

David: That’s what I’m thinking, too. It should lead to a different way of seeing things. Throughout the Degrees, we’ve symbolically been traveling East, it’s at this point… I think… that we’re supposed to turn around and assume our place, as the Light in the East.

Gene: That’s a different perspective. What do you think turning around like that represents in terms of the symbolism of this Degree?

David: Assuming authority over your own Lodge, your own Temple, finding your “True Will”, putting on the Laurel Wreath… all of those things. But it’s also about what you see from that perspective, too. For one thing, the “Ladder of Kadosh” looks different… right?

Gene: Well, viewed from the East, the ladder goes up. The bottom step is Grammar, then Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy at the top. It’s the ascending current. Walking or climbing up is like analysis, going from the particular to the universal. Grammar is the actual words and symbols. Rhetoric would be the ideas behind the symbols. Logic would be the structure of the ideas, how they fit or don’t fit together.

David: And Arithmetic is encoding those logical constructions in numbers. Geometry is finding figures and patterns behind those numbers. And Music is about the innate harmonies that apply across all phenomena.

Gene: And the very top step or rung is Astronomy, the “Music of the Spheres”... the ultimate harmony. So, it’s like a “Stairway to Heaven”.

David: And the achievement of that top rung or step by an initiate, is symbolized by the Rose and Cross. The Lecture says “The Rose was for the Initiates the living and blooming symbol of the revelation of the harmonies of being…. To unite the Rose to the Cross, was the problem proposed by the High Initiation; and in fact the Occult philosophy being the Universal Synthesis, ought to explain all the phenomena of Being.”

Angels Ascending and Descending (30:09)

Gene: That’s cool. But where’s the “Templar Treasure”... the plan for the Third Temple?

David: It’s the “Ladder of Kadosh” seen from our new perspective. It’s the detailed steps of the circulation described in the “Emerald Tablet”. But… here’s the punchline… Did you see the angels ascending and descending the ladder?

Gene: What do you mean? Ahh… I actually did. We are the angels! We just reenacted Jacob’s dream!

David: We did.

Gene: Oh man! That’s really cool! That is a different perspective.

David: You could call that the “Illuminated Perspective”... one that actually possesses “more light” and can actually see into the Darkness. Which brings us to the last symbol of the Degree. The crowned black and white double-headed eagle that surmounts the throne in the East.

Gene: It’s also on the Jewel of the Degree at the center of a Teutonic Cross.

David: And it represents an “Illuminated Awareness”. The Crown sits on top of both the Black and White heads of the Eagle which symbolize the Eastern facing and the Western facing perspectives. So it unites both. To me, it represents an awareness that can see into the West, into the darkness, at least to know that there’s something there and begin to make sense of it. What would you say that it symbolizes?

Gene: It’s the inner awareness, or the eye that can see… maybe not the “man behind the curtain”... our unconscious processes… but at least one that knows that there is a curtain, like in the Third Apartment.

David: That’s good. And to tie that back to the symbolism of the Degree, the realization of that… of the bigger you… it’s really the death of who you thought you were.

Gene: Yeah.

Gene: Which is the reason for all the imagery in the West of death and destruction… the urn of ashes and the image of Jacque de Molay in the flames. And in the background, is the destruction of the first two Temples… our Temples. Those were really worlds being burned to the ground.

Gene: It’s the Apocalypse. And the double-headed eagle is the Phoenix rising from the flames.

Conclusions (32:15)

David: It is. And I think that’s a good place to end our discussion of the symbols of the Degree. So what else would you like to say before we end?

Gene: Just one more thing about the “Ladder of Kadosh”, which like we said, from our new perspective in the East, it reveals the plan for the “Third Temple”. 

David: Right.

Gene: On the Western steps are the morality lessons from the earlier degrees - Justice, Equity, Good Faith, etc. And on the Eastern steps or rungs of the ladder are basically, the steps of the Scientific Method. 

David: OK. I can see that.

Gene: So, one side is Science and the other Religion. It’s the  “Method of Science and the Aim of Religion”, which was the motto of Aleister Crowley’s magazine “The Equinox”. 

David: What did that make you think?

Gene: That’s really an initiated perspective on the “Third Temple”.

David: It is. Yeah, that’s good.

Gene: What about you? What else did you want to say?

David: Two things. One was just that we are all builders… or you could say Masons whether we realize it or not. We’re all world builders. And we don’t live out here, we live in our head… most of the time. And the building blocks of those worlds are written on the ascending steps of the “Ladder of Kadosh”... or Jacob’s Ladder.

Gene: They are.

David: Yeah, that was a realization. And the last thing is the idea that the earlier Temples were like our earlier worldviews that get destroyed as we move through life. I think that this Degree is saying that if we can overcome our fear, and assume authority for our construction, that we can build a new Temple… this time consciously and with intent.

Gene: And to borrow a phrase from the Ritual - “God wills it. My hope is in God.”

David: So mote it be. 

Gene: So mote it be.

David: So, what are we doing next time?

Gene: In the next episode, we discuss the 31st Degree - Inspector Inquisitor.

Historical Setting
Degree Ritual
Purpose of the Degree
Morals and Dogma
New World Order
Knight of the East and West
The Templar Secret
From The Ashes
Ladder of Kadosh
Journey to the East
Down From the Mountain
View From the East
Angels Ascending and Descending