Way of the Hermit

31st Degree: Inspector Inquisitor

February 19, 2023 Dr. David Brown & Gene Lawson Season 1 Episode 34
Way of the Hermit
31st Degree: Inspector Inquisitor
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we discuss the Lecture of the 31st Degree - “Inspector Inquisitor” 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)
  • Mythological Setting (02:07)
  • Degree Ritual (03:27)
  • Morals and Dogma (13:47)
  • God’s Justice (13:57)
  • Human Justice (15:38)
  • Ideal Justice (17:08)
  • Tetractys (19:24)
  • The Underworld (21:38)
  • Hall of Truth (24:49)
  • The Inquisition (26:25)
  • Negative Confessions (28:14)
  • Winged Sun Disk (31:41)
  • King of the Two Lands (32:47)
  • Conclusions (36:06)


Introduction (01:14)

Gene: Hello Dave.

David: Hello Gene.

Gene: Are you ready to look behind the curtain?

David: I believe so. But before we get started, as always, 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 first of the final two degrees of the Scottish Rite that form what is called the Consistory. At the end of the last Degree, we made a “Journey to the East” and symbolically became the Sun, the Light of the Temple and turned back toward the West, to shine a light into the Darkness. This Degree explores that Darkness. It’s set in the Underworld.

Gene: And in the Ritual of the last Degree, in the third apartment, there was a curtain down the middle so that you couldn’t see into the West. This Degree moves that curtain back a level and explores some of that hidden mechanism… our Judgment and our sense of Justice.

Mythological Setting  (02:07)

David: Alright. What is the mythological setting of the Degree Ritual?

Gene: The mythological setting is the “Hall of Judgment”, also called the “Hall of Truth”, from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The “Ritual - Monitor and Guide” says that “This Degree presents an allegorical representation of the final judgment common to many world religions. It is portrayed within the context of ancient Egyptian mythology, which shared many similarities with the Judeo-Christian religions. As in other degrees of Masonry, you are instructed to look beyond the mere symbol and discover for yourselves what you can learn from the lesson presented.”

David: And what we usually refer to as the “Book of the Dead” is not actually a single book, but a collection of loosely connected scrolls and carvings that describe a religious tradition that dates back to the 3rd Millennium BC.

Gene: And supposedly, a better translation of the title “Book of the Dead” is the “Book of Coming Forth by Day” or the “Book of Emerging Forth into the Light”, which tell variations of the story of the “Night Journey” of the Sun boat of Ra through the Underworld or the Duat. Ra has to overcome a series of monsters and pass through the Gates of the hours of the night. And if all goes well… he emerges into the light… a new dawn.

Degree Ritual (03:27)

David: So all of that is background. The focus of the Ritual is really on a specific part of the “Night Journey” - the “Weighing of the Heart” in the “Hall of Judgment”.

Gene: Right. And the Ritual dramatizes that part of the story using two Apartments. The first one in the Prelude is decorated to look like a cave with Egyptian hieroglyphs on the walls. 

David: What happens in the Prelude?

Gene: A Squire is with a Knight in the cave. The Knight is studying the symbols by the light of his lantern. The Squire sees no point in the figures and says “What sense is there in a baboon staring at two men, one dressed like a bird and the other like a dog? The Egyptians were heathens and idolators. It would be better that their so-called art be cut from these walls and ground into mortar to build a church.” To which the Knight answers “men too often seek to destroy that which they do not understand… Do you not believe in the judgment of the dead?”

David: And I guess that’s the lead-in for the action to move to the second apartment?

Gene: Yes, because that apartment is decorated to resemble the “Hall of Truth” from the Egyptian Books of the Dead. The walls are hung in slate gray and there are columns along the walls topped with lotus seed-vessels. In the East is a representation of a winged globe, or a sun disk with dual serpents. In the center of the Hall is a “Scale of Justice”. In one pan, is a vase shaped like a heart and in the other is a figure of Maat, the goddess of Truth and Justice. 

David: We’ve talked about Maat in earlier episodes, her symbol is the feather… which is what is usually depicted in the pan opposite the heart.

Gene: Right. It’s your deeds weighed against the “Law of Maat”. And at the beginning of the Ritual, the pan with your heart in it, is weighted down to the floor. Also, near the scales is a representation of a mummy with its head in the east. On the head is a skull-cap and near the head is a seed-vessel of a lotus, like on the columns.

David: How many officers are there?

Gene: There are 12 main officers and some judges. The main officers wear costumes representing Deities of Ancient Egypt. In the East is Osiris, who is behind a veil with Isis and Nephtys on either side. In front of him are Atum and Maat. Then around the Scales are Thoth who has the head of an ibis, Anubis, who has the head of a jackal and Horus, who has the head of a hawk. And finally the four “Sons of Horus” stationed at the four quarters.

David: The “Sons of Horus” are in the East, Duamutef, who has the head of a jackal; in the South, Imsety with a human head; Qebehsenuef in the West with the head of a hawk; and in the North, Hapy with the head of an ape. 

Gene: Right.

David: Where are the Judges seated?

Gene: In between the Scales and where Atum and Maat are seated are either three, nine or twelve judges… which I guess depends on how many people you have to work with. But anyway, they’re all robed in black, wearing masks.

David: So what happens in the “Hall of Judgment”?

Gene: You’re escorted by Isis, who acts as your guide. You’re welcomed by Horus and told by his sons the rewards and punishments that come from the judgment.

David: What are the rewards?

Gene: They say that “you will hear the voice of the Great God whose glory illuminates you” and “shall enter into the realm of light.”

David: And what are the punishments?

Gene: Basically the opposite. “They do not behold the great Amun–Ra. Their eyes do not drink in the rays that flow from his being… They shall not hear the voice of this great god, who is exalted far above their sphere.”

David: OK. So then the trial begins?

Gene: Yes. Atum calls the court to order by asking who comes there to be judged.

David: And I think it’s significant that in the the Books of the Dead, it’s not you that’s being judged, it’s your Ka or your spirit.

Gene: Right. So you wouldn’t answer with your name, it would be your name with Osiris in front of it. In the “Papyrus of Ani”, Ani, the deceased, is referred to as Osiris-Ani.

David: So, how is the trial conducted?

Gene: Isis leads you around and Horus speaks for you. The “Sons of Horus” give testimony on your behalf. Anubis mostly observes and Thoth records all the proceedings. Osiris is behind a veil during this part. Which again, referring to the curtain in the last Degree, it’s like you can see some of what was going on behind the curtain, the whole “Judgment Scene” here, but there’s still a part you can’t see.

David: So what do you see? How do they render their Judgment?

Gene: Horus starts off by telling the Judges all the things you have done that are good. You’ve always obeyed the laws. You’ve kept a strict religious practice. You’ve lived soberly and free of vice and you’ve paid your taxes. 

David: Hmm. But, already… I can see some wiggle room there. You could leave out things.

Gene: Yeah… yeah, you could. But the next part of the ritual is basically, plugging up those loopholes. Maat asks if you’ve been religious at some times but not others. She says “The strict outward observance of religious duty may be but a mask.... An outwardly pious life may be coupled with cold selfishness … an uncharitable heart, hatred, malice, and envy.” 

David: So they’re not just concerned about your actions, they’re trying to dig out your intentions.

Gene: Exactly. Atum asks if maybe you’ve obeyed the laws of the land to the letter, but not in spirit, he says “to comply with the outward observances of religion, to live properly and soberly, are well; but not enough to entitle one to the favor of the gods.”

David: So what do the “Sons of Horus” do?

Gene: The “Sons of Horus” serve as character witnesses and basically just assert that the statements that have been made about you so far are really true. But, unfortunately, when that’s all added into the pans, the pan with your heart barely comes off the ground. 

David: With the implication being that your good deeds and your virtues aren’t enough. 

Gene: Correct. And it’s at this point that Horus turns the proceedings over to his father, Osiris who he says is better qualified to judge the hearts of men.

David: What does Osiris do?

Gene: He has Isis conduct you to four altars in the quarters, tended by the “Sons of Horus” and dedicated to the Egyptian deities Amun-Ra, Kneph, Khem, and Ptah. And at each altar, you are asked five questions. Here are the questions at the altar of Amun-Ra.

  1. Have you ever tempted anyone to do something wrong? 
  2. Have you ever perverted justice? 
  3. Have you ever sold your talent to help the wrong to succeed? 
  4. Have you ever falsely represented the quality of something you’ve sold? 
  5. Have you ever said unkind words to a Brother Mason? 

David: Do you fail if you’ve done any of those things?

Gene: I didn’t read it that way. I just think your answers all get dumped into the pans and you see how it weighs out. Here are the questions at the next altar, which is to Kneph.

  1. Do you always practice what you preach? 
  2. Have you justified actions simply based on the fact that they weren’t illegal? 
  3. Do you lay your spiritual values aside when it gets in the way of what you really want?
  4. Do you think all you have to do is just believe in something, without really putting that something into practice?
  5. Have you prayed to God for forgiveness or mercy, while yourself being unforgiving or unmerciful? 

David: Those mostly seem like they’re about the spiritual aspects of a person. I’m assuming each of the quarters represent a different aspect of yourself.

Gene: Yes, and each set is just probing more into the intentions and motivations you have in each area. Here’s the next set at the Altar of Khem.

  1. Have you ever broken a promise?
  2. Have you ever betrayed or been false to anyone? 
  3. Have you ever taken advantage of anyone?
  4. Have you ever kept something that you knew in your heart was not rightfully yours? 
  5. Have you ever condemned the faults of others to cast yourself in a better light?  

David: Hmm. All of these good questions to ask yourself, if you really want to understand how you judge things.

Gene: I know. I think they’re supposed to make you ponder that very thing. Here’s the last set at the Altar of Ptah: 

  1. Have you contributed to showy charities, but turn away from the homeless and the hungry?
  2. Have you pretended to be devout, while being the secret slave of some vice or sin? 
  3. Are you lenient to those who make mistakes and try to help raise those who have fallen?
  4. Have you ever foregone revenge and spared those you could have humbled, even when they have done you wrong? 
  5. Have you ever, in anything big, sacrificed your profit, promotion or honors to further a friend? 

David: So that’s the fourth of the four inquiries, in the four quarters, into who you really are.

Gene: Yes. They all delve into a particular aspect of who you really are and how you really Judge things. But anyway, all of the answers are thrown into the balance and now the pans almost balance out. So they ask the Judges their opinion and by a slim majority, they believe you are worthy to dwell with the gods.

David: Very good. Is that the end of the Ritual?

Gene: Almost. Osiris renders the final judgment saying that, even though you aren’t perfect, you are worthy to dwell in the everlasting Light. “The strong who easily resist temptation are less deserving than the weak who struggle to overcome. To fall and rise again is more heroic than by greater strength to never fall. To do wrong, and make amends, to sin and to repent belong to a noble nature. The gods love men the more, because they are not perfect, even as fathers love their children, with their weaknesses and faults.”

Morals and Dogma (13:47)

David: Alright. Let’s talk now about the Lecture of the Degree. Much of it comes this time from Theodore Parker’s book, “Ten Sermons of Religion”.

Gene: What’s the first thing you have?

God’s Justice (13:57)

David: The first thing I have is the point made in the Lecture that whatever we think we know about Justice… we didn’t acquire that knowledge from observation, at least not by observing something outside ourselves.

Gene: Right. Because if it’s from observation then, what do we see in nature? In animals, you see the “Law of the Jungle”, which is that some animals feed on the others, even though the other animal in no way deserves it, at least according to human standards. And the Lecture says that “so far as we know, there is nowhere, in any future state of animal existence, any compensation for this apparent injustice.”

David: And another quote says - “No doubt all these varied phenomena are consistent with one great law of justice; and the only difficulty is that we do not, and no doubt we cannot, understand that law. It is very easy for some dreaming and visionary theorist to say that it is most evidently unjust for the lion to devour the deer, and for the eagle to tear and eat the wren; but the trouble is, that we know of no other way, according to the frame, the constitution, and the organs which God has given them, in which the lion and the eagle could manage to live at all. Our little measure of justice is not God's measure.”

Gene: And it points out that we have to take lives to live, not only to eat, but our every action probably takes the life of some microscopic life form… which in the Lecture is called “animicules”... which I guess means molecules but animals?

Human Justice (15:38)

David: Yeah. That’s an archaic term for, like you said, microscopic life forms. But the point is that what we think of as Justice isn’t actually consistent with what we see in Nature. The Lecture says that we “erect our (own) notions of what is right and just… and insist that God… adopt that as His law… We are too wise in our own conceit, and ever strive to enact our own little notions into the Universal Laws of God.”

Gene: It’s us looking in the wrong place. Looking outside for something that only exists inside us. The Lecture says that our sense of Justice comes only ever, when it’s authentic, from our human instinct, our “moral faculty, our conscience, which is able to perceive (justice) immediately, by intuitive perception of it.”

David: Right. Unless you let someone judge for you.

Gene: Which relates to the Crown and the Triple Tiara from the last Degree. That would be you allowing authority or social pressures to force you into accepting a Judgment instead of determining how you authentically feel about it… as judged by your own conscience.

David: And that’s an important exercise for developing that connection. The Lecture says that “If we faithfully use (our) faculty of conscience; (and apply) it to (our) existing relations and circumstances, we develop it and all its kindred powers…(and) then we learn justice, the law of right, the divine rule of conduct for human life.”

Ideal Justice (17:08)

Gene: And that Justice, learned from our own conscience, it says is what “keeps just relations between men. It holds the balance between (members of a) family, tribe, (and) nation… This we must believe, if we believe that God is just... But we may err greatly in defining what that justice is.”

David: The Lecture says that “We intuitively understand what justice is, better than we can depict it…. All the vast machinery which makes up a State, a world of States, is, on the part of the people, an attempt to organize, not that ideal justice… but (a) practical justice which may be attained in the actual organization of the world.”

Gene: “Ideal Justice” is basically perfection, as opposed to “Practical Justice”, which is what is actually possible in the world.

David: There’s a quote that says “The ideal justice which (we) ever look up to and strive to rise toward, is true; but it will not be realized in this world… In a world inhabited by (souls) with bodies, and necessarily with bodily wants and animal passions, the time will never come when there will be no want, no oppression, … no fear…  but only Love… To aim at the best, but be content with the best possible, is the only true wisdom.”

Gene: I think that is saying that you should have an ideal that you hold yourself up to, but the reality is that as long as you have a body, you’re probably never going to reach that ideal.

David: But that again speaks to your intentions or how much you struggle. You could just take that theme and say, “Oh well! Nobody’s perfect.” and not struggle at all.

Gene: You could. But it comes down to how much introspection you’ve done, because, as you know if you’ve done any kind of self-reflection, your motivations are not always what you tell yourself they are… and that’s putting it mildly.

David: Very true. Do you have anything else from the Degree Lecture?

Gene: Just one more quote - “A sense of justice belongs to human nature, and is a part of it… Justice is the object of the conscience, and fits it as light fits the eye and truth the mind.”

Tetractys (19:24)

David: Alright, that’s the Degree Lecture. Let’s talk about the symbols of this Degree. We’ll start with the Tetractys, which we’ve discussed a bit in the previous Degrees.

Gene: And Pike inserted another discussion of it right near the beginning of the Chapter.

David: That was a little odd. But anyway, the Tetractys was a sacred figure to Plato and the Pythagoreans, and in Gnosticism. The ten points correspond directly to the ten Sephirah of the “Tree of Life” and the four rows correspond to the “Four Worlds of the Kabbalah”. And as a reminder, the Tetractys is a triangle of ten dots arranged in four lines, containing 1 dot at the top, 2 on the second row, 3 on the third row and 4 on the bottom line.

Gene: Also, the three sides are themselves composed of three dots. Those nine form a triangle around a single dot, like an “Eye in a Triangle”.

David: Spooky! No, there are just so many geometric figures hidden in there.

Gene: Yeah.

David: Like, if you connect all adjacent dots, it forms nine triangles, with three at the corners and a hexagon at the center formed by the other six.

Gene: And… I have to look out of the corner of my eye to see it, but if you look just right, you can see the hexagon as a 3D cube, like you’re looking down at the corner of the cube.

David: And that Cube, the Lecture says, represents the cubical stone hidden by Enoch, which we talked about in the 13th and 18th Degrees.

Gene: One other thing I wanted to mention was that the proportions of the Pythagorean musical scales are represented in the Tetractys, too. 2:1 is an Octave. 3:2 is a perfect fifth and 4:3 is a perfect fourth.

David: There are so many correspondences to the Tetractys that we can’t go into all of them here, but it’s a very important glyph in the Western Mystery Tradition and I’ve linked to some the resources about it in the “Show Notes”.

Gene: I’ve got one more quote about the Tetractys.

David: OK.

Gene: It says that the Tetractys “embraces within itself - in seedlike form - the principles of the natural world, the harmony of the cosmos, the ascent to the divine, and the mysteries of the divine realm.”

The Underworld (21:38)

David: That’s a nice description. Let’s talk about the other symbols of the Degree. The setting is the Underworld. I’d like to start off by sort of painting a mental picture of the geography of that place, which the Egyptians called “The Duat”..

Gene: OK. Go ahead.

David: Picture the Earth is a flat disk with the Sun moving around it. The Sun rises in the East, on the left of the flat Earth. Then, at night, while it’s dark on Earth, the Sun boat of Ra travels beneath the Earth, and through the Underworld. During that journey, he battles monsters, which are the zodiac animals of the night time sky. Somewhere in there is the “Judgment Hall” which is the Ritual setting.

Gene: That paints a good picture. And it ties back to the last Degree. In the last Degree we became the Sun. We set in the West and entered into the darkness of the Underworld. In terms of consciousness, it represents the opposite of daylight consciousness. It’s where you go when you dream.

David: In addition to the “Hall of Judgment”, there’s another interesting place in the Duat. It’s the place in the “Night Journey” where the Sun, Ra, regains his strength by merging with Osiris and being reborn. It’s called Rosetau.

Gene: I’ve always thought that name was interesting - Rosetau. It’s spelled R-O-S-E, Rose, and T-A-U. Tau as in Cross. It’s the Rosy Cross. Coincidence?

David: Probably not. The Egyptians pictured the Sun as aging or losing power over the course of a day, but somehow regaining full strength day after day, year after year, millenia after millenia. So Rosetau was considered to be the “Key to Immortality”.

Gene: The Lecture also mentioned that place in relation to you getting exhausted during the day, like your Sun is energy running out. Then Sunset is when you go to sleep and your Sun passes through the Duat and somehow, whatever happens in Rosetau miraculously renews you, like it does the Sun, and brings you back to life each day. You waking back up is your Sun rising.

David: That is the esoteric key to the “Night Journey” through the Underworld. And it’s also the reward for passing the trial of the “Weighing of the Heart”.

Gene: So, either you do, or don’t receive the mystery. It’s the communion with Osiris in Rosetau that grants you immortality and illumination. And like most, if not all of the Rituals in the Scottish Rite, the characters in the Ritual represent processes inside you.

David: They do. And in this Degree, those characters act out Judgment and Justice. And if you look closely, they dramatize how we make decisions.

Gene: And, whether we realize it or not, that process is ongoing. We’re doing it all the time… making Judgments… making choices. That’s what constitutes “Free Will”. It’s always happening.

David: Which makes it a true myth. It’s timeless. It may have never happened, but it’s always true.

Gene: Right.

Hall of Truth (24:49)

David: So let’s talk about the characters in the Ritual and how Justice is rendered. Isis is your guide and Horus speaks for you. Anubis enforces the rules and Thoth records everything.

Gene: Then there are some number of Judges, and then in the East Osiris, Maat and Atum, with Osiris behind a veil.

David: Isis and Nephthys are behind the veil, too… but, as we said, Isis comes out from behind the veil and acts as your guide. And in the quarters are the “Son of Horus”, who give testimony about you. In Egyptian funerary ritual, the heads of the “Sons of Horus” adorned four canopic jars that contained the stomach, liver, intestines and lungs of the deceased, which were removed during the mummification process. They threw the brain away.

Gene: I’ve always thought that was strange. But anyway, that makes me think of the idea that your internal organs store different types of experiences. Maybe that’s what’s meant by the “Sons of Horus” testifying for you. It’s not just your heart that gives evidence of what you’ve done. It’s your stomach, liver, intestines and lungs… whatever those symbolize in terms of stored experiences.

David: And together, the “Sons of Horus” form another Sphinx. They have the heads of a Jackal, a Baboon, a Falcon or Hawk, and a Human.

Gene: And as with other Sphinxes we’ve talked about, they represent four aspects or a further breakdown of your testimony. If the heart bears witness, these are its four chambers. They are a further inquisition, if you will, into who you actually are.

The Inquisition (26:25)

David: “Inquisition” is the key term there. The Degree Ritual is supposed to be more than just an inspection of your actions. It’s about what’s lurking in the dark behind those actions, your intentions and motivations. That’s why the Degree is called “Inspector Inquisitor”.

Gene: And “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

David: No, they don’t. But seriously, most people don’t expect to have to go through the pain involved in that kind of introspection either.

Gene: Yeah.

David: Some people think that anything painful is negative and should be avoided, and don’t think that’s the message here.

Gene: No, you are in a sense “entering a world of pain”, to quote from the “The Big Lebowski”... “a world of pain”.  Because, by definition, it’s the things you haven’t seen, for whatever reason. Some of those, maybe even most of those are going to be things you don’t want to see about yourself… like maybe you’re not such a special snowflake.

David: Well, no you are… but so is everyone else.

Gene: True. I guess I’m just pointing out that the symbolism in this Degree isn’t like la-di-da-di-da “a stroll through the Underworld”. It’s a harrowing journey through Hell, just to phrase it a different way. It’s the Darkness. Your darkness.

David: Right.

Gene: I mean,  hopefully, you don’t end up in the shower curled up in a ball crying because of what you see about yourself, but you could. You know what I’m sayin’.

David: Well, if there isn’t some deep regret somewhere along the way… um… it just seems like everyone would have some of that. If you’ve lived a life.

Gene: Yeah. The deeper you’re able to go, which is always into the places you don’t want to go… the places you fear… the more you see about who you are and who you’ve been… the mistakes you’ve made. Maybe.

Negative Confessions (28:14)

David: Hopefully. In the Degree Ritual anyway, you don’t have to be perfect, and your intentions are part of the equation, but ultimately, when all is considered, your good has to outweigh the bad for the scales to balance.

Gene: But in a way, it’s like a watered-down version of a “Grimm’s Fairy Tale”. Which is more the feel you get from the Egyptian Books of the Dead. There, if you fail, your soul is eaten by the crocodile monster Typhon.

David: It is a very different story. There, Osiris-Ani, instead of being questioned, has to make forty-two statements, called “Negative Confessions”. And each statement is directed at one of the Judges and he has to say all of them. And they are things like - I have never told a lie. I have never harmed anyone. I have never made anyone sad… all the way up to I have never killed anyone.

Gene: Is Ani claiming to have lived a completely pure and spotless life? Like he’s never done anything wrong… ever?

David: I think it represents the Ideal, like we talked about before… versus the actual, you know, what the deceased, Ani, would have actually had to answer.

Gene: Right. I mean, I’m sure Ani was probably a good guy and all… but whatever his faults were, I don’t think he’d have wanted someone to carve them on the wall for people, like us, to comment on for eternity.

David: I thought that was what Facebook and Twitter are for!

Gene: Ba dum bump!!

David: But the part, I think that’s significant that’s usually just passed over, is the name change. I mean, it isn’t Ani making the statements, it’s Osiris-Ani.

Gene: Right. The name of his spirit, his Ka.

David: It is, but maybe that’s why he can say all the statements truthfully. Because it wasn’t Osiris-Ani, it was Ani, the physical person who made those mistakes.

Gene: So, like at a christening or an initiation where you’re given a new name and your slate is symbolically wiped clean, so to speak?

David: Yes, like that. But also, maybe in Masonic terms, Osiris-Ani could be seen as the “Perfect Ashlar”, the pure part of Ani that never participated in any of his wrongs.

Gene: Hmm. I remember from the early degrees that the “Perfect Ashlar” wasn’t formed or made, it was found. So it’s the name of his quote-unquote “Higher Self”? Or Ideal self?

David: Yeah, but again, the name change… which happens at an Initiation. Taking on the name with Osiris in front of it, I think would mean the merging with Osiris at Rosetau, basically becoming the Ideal.

Gene: Which again I’m thinking of how that relates to being “born again”, and how our stroll through the Underworld here makes me think of Christ’s “Harrowing of Hell”.

David: Where, like Ani in the Book of the Dead, Christ descends into Hell and then achieves godhood and ascends into the Heavens… like the Sun.

Gene: He did!

David: But, just to bring home the point, it was Christ’s “Harrowing of Hell” not Jesus’.

Gene: So, that’s the name change again. Jesus was the “Carpenter’s Son”, but Christ was the “Son of God”.

David: Or, said another way he is “One with Osiris”.

Gene: Ahh.

David: As the Actualization of the Ideal, he’s all Light.

Gene: “The Light that shines in the Darkness but the Darkness comprehended it not.” It’s the actualization of “Know Thyself”. Which is the answer to the “Riddle of the Sphinx”. It’s who you are… really.

Winged Sun Disk (31:41)

David: And the accomplishment of that actualization is symbolized by The Winged Sun Disk which is hanging in the East in the Ritual. It’s a disk or a globe with two vulture wings and two cobras coming out of the disk.

Gene: In Ancient Egypt, the Vulture symbolized Nehkbet, the patron goddess of Upper Egypt, and the Cobra symbolized Wadjet, patron goddess of Lower Egypt. So the combination, in the Sun Disk, but also on the Crown of the Pharaohs represents the rulership of the Two Lands.

David: Which, like the Crowned Black and White Double-Headed Eagle from the last Degree, represents integration and wholeness.

Gene: It symbolizes the completion of the Great Work. In Zoroastrianism, the “Winged Sun Disk” symbolizes Faravahar, who is like your personal tutelary or guiding spirit, your “Higher Self” or your “Holy Guardian Angel”. And the goal of some mystery traditions, including the Golden Dawn, was the “Knowledge and Conversation of Your Holy Guardian Angel”.

David: So, what do you think that means? What are we really talking about?

King of the Two Lands (32:47)

Gene: What we’re really talking about on a deep layer is a “Mystical Death and Rebirth”. Really dying to who you were before and becoming a truly different person. How does that happen? Can you make it happen?

David: That’s a good question. And I think that’s where the mystery really is in this Degree… That last trick of coming back to life with a different identity… whatever happens at Rosetau… I don’t think that’s something you can’t do for yourself. It has to come from something deep inside you.

Gene: Yeah, really changing your identity like that would seem to have to come from outside of your ego self, or who you’ve thought of as you. Or what’s sometimes called Grace or the “Grace of God”. It’s a “Road to Damascus Moment”.

David: Right, and that’s where Saul became Paul. But, even though you not might be able to make that happen, the Degree has some strong hints that you may have been looking at things the wrong way.

Gene: What are the hints in this Degree?

David: Well, in the Books of the Dead, the hope was to become One with Osiris.

Gene: Yes.

David: So, the Ritual is saying you’ve been Osiris all along, you just didn’t realize it.

Gene: What do you mean?

David: You know, in the myth of Osiris, after he’s killed and dismembered, Isis walks around Egypt trying to find all of his pieces so she can magically reassemble him. And she finds all of the pieces but one?

Gene: Right. Like in Shamanism where you’re dismembered and put back together.

David: Well, in the Ritual, Isis leads you around to the four quarters… to your body parts.

Gene: Aah. So, it’s like trying to put yourself back together by self-examination… or Tikkun Olam, “Repairing the World”. Or really, in the symbolism of this Degree, it would be you assuming your crown over the “Two Lands”, like Horus.

David: Yes. Realizing that you are Osiris. But there’s still the mystery of the missing piece.

Gene: Early on in the Degrees, I referred to the part that we all sort of feel as if we’re missing as a “God-Shaped Hole” that we want filled. Maybe that is magic or the mystery that is supposed to take place at Rosetau… the fulfillment of that yearning… the “Sacred Marriage”.

David: That seems like a match made in Heaven. I’ve got one more quote.

Gene: Go for it.

David: It’s talking about Isis and her magic. It says “She raised up the inactive members of whose heart was still, she drew from him his essence, she made an heir, she reared the child in loneliness, and the place where he was not known, and he grew in strength and stature… (and) The Company of the Gods rejoiced… at the coming of Horus… the son of Isis, the heir of Osiris."

Gene: And I have one more quote, too. It’s from the “Papyrus of Ani”, when Osiris-Ani is finally allowed to speak for himself. He asserts his Unity with Osiris, the Lord of the Underworld, and says “I rise out of the egg in the hidden land. May my mouth be given unto me that I may speak therewith in the presence of the great god, the lord of the Duat… I am Osiris, the Lord of Rosetau; may I, Osiris-Ani, triumphant, have a portion with him who is on the top of the steps.”

Conclusions (36:06)

David: And that’s a good quote to end our discussion of the Degree. What else did you think about this time?

Gene: I kept thinking about an onion. 

David: An onion? Like the layers?

Gene: Yes. The layers of meaning that the Degree had going on, and also the layers of yourself that you have to symbolically dig through. And basically, the type of consciousness that we talked about last time, that can see into the dark… into processes that are normally hidden… that’s what’s needed to do the Inquisition in this degree, that kind of deep introspection.

David: That’s true. But as within any sojourn that deep, what you see could lead you to a “Dark Night of the Soul” or you could see things that are so fascinating that you can’t look away.

Gene: That makes me think about the quote from the last Degree about Faust. It says - “Hell is impassable for those only who know not how to turn back from it. We free ourselves from its bondage by audacity.” Which I take to mean that you really have to be determined to “endure to the end”... meaning that you won’t give up trying to reach the Ideal… ever. What about you? What else did you want to say?

David: I liked the part in the Ritual about the rewards and punishments.

Gene: What part of that are you talking about?

David: The reward is “more light” and you get to “hear the voice of the Great God whose glory illuminates you” and the punishment is you don’t. If you do the work, the reward for it just follows, just naturally. You might say it’s the developing of your spiritual senses.

Gene: That’s the eyes that see and ears that hear the things not meant for everyone. 

David: Well said. So, what are we doing next time?

Gene: In the next episode, we discuss the 32nd Degree - Master of the Royal Secret.

Mythological Setting
Degree Ritual
Morals and Dogma
God’s Justice
Human Justice
Ideal Justice
The Underworld
Hall of Truth
The Inquisition
Negative Confessions
Winged Sun Disk
King of the Two Lands