Volume LVIFebruary 2009Number 1

By John R. Heisner Reviewed by Charles S. Canning, MMS, Academy of Masonic Knowledge

In the introduction, Heisner informs us that these are personal reflections on the relationship to God and His creation. He asks the important question, "What is God's plan for you in your lifetime?" There are innumerable partial truths that remain concealed to those who are closed-minded in their quest for knowledge. Heisner presents 57 Masonic symbols, which he relates to Scripture. These personal reflections are given in contemplating divine truth. We are reminded of Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" and keeping God always in view. The process is likened to the pathways of the Kabbalah.

His fifth meditation is introduced by scripture from I Kings 8:61 and is related to the Chamber of Reflection, which is used in some American lodges. Surrounded by various symbols, the candidate contemplates in silence the significance of his pending Masonic journey. He is, "led to reflect upon where he is in his own life..." Heisner suggests, for those who did not have the opportunity of experiencing the Chamber of Reflection before receiving the degrees, to do so through prayer and meditation, contemplating one's life goals. The Masonic degrees are meant for reflection, and the beginning of one's journey needs to emphasize serious meditation.

The subject of death is central to much of Freemasonry. Many of the symbols in "Advanced Meditations" are not found in our Pennsylvania ritual. In one chapter, the candidate is divested of minerals and metals, and the relationship to the science and philosophy of alchemy is addressed. Indeed, "if one lifts the veil of Masonic mysteries high enough, he will see beneath it an alchemical formula that is fundamental to all of the Third Degree." The lodge room is Freemasonry's laboratory.

Pennsylvania Masons will be familiar with many of the symbols discussed but may question reading about the clouded canopy, Jacob's ladder, the pot of incense, the anchor and ark, the weeping virgin, the beehive and other elements. All these are genuine parts of Masonic ritual, but are not found in Pennsylvania's Ancient work. "Advanced Meditations" provides a different perspective to the concepts and symbols found in our Masonic experience. The key to finding new meaning to your Masonic journey for light is meditation. Heisner gives us much to contemplate and, in so doing, each one may find the true secret that is hidden for him within Freemasonry.

Each thought and meditation which the author presents looks at Freemasonry with a serious spiritual focus. The thrust of the experience is to see the larger picture and improve ourselves through self-evaluation. The text is recommended reading as every Mason can benefit from it. As I approach my 50th year of Masonry, I found much to think about in these readings. "Advanced Meditations on Masonic Symbolism" is a second publication by the author; the first is titled "Meditations on Masonic Symbols."

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