Volume LVAugust 2008Number 3

"BETWEEN THE GATES
Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, and the
Body of Light in Western Esotericism"
By Mark Stavish Reviewed by Bro. Charles S. Canning, MMS, Academy of Masonic Knowledge

Mark Stavish, a Pennsylvania Freemason, has written a number of books in the esoteric genre as well as on Freemasonry. This present book intrigued me because of my membership and experience in The Kite & Key Lodge, which was constituted last year as a Traditional Observance lodge. "Between the Gates" is about the inward journey of the self to connect with the divine element that is in each of us.

The rituals of Freemasonry are told through allegory and symbols. If we only seek the knowledge that is presented on the surface, we have not yet begun the full appreciation of the ritual. It is only by traveling beyond the surface of the ritual that we join its hidden meaning with the collective unconscious, where we find the additional light of Freemasonry.

According to Bro. Stavish, the realm of symbols is accessed in dreams, visions and out-of-body experiences that form the foundation for understanding our spirituality. Here you may confront the archetypes within, the Hiram Abifs as well as the assassins. Bro. Stavish provides us with a guide for our own meditative journey through various exercises that will allow "travel" to new realms.

While this is not a book on Freemasonry per se, it has application to our understanding of Masonic symbolism and motif. We find in Masonic ritual numerous references to our life's goal. We are admonished to become "living stones." "Between the Gates" gives us a path to find that goal.

The author prepares the reader by providing a fundamental understanding of esoteric thought. He then provides meditation exercises and instructions on the relationship of the self with life's journey. These exercises provide a view into a wider world. Lucid dreaming allows us to cross from the natural world into the psychic and then to a more abstract mental realm and return with conscious memory. In the text, Stavish gives a practical, comprehensive and userfriendly guide.

In Freemasonry, we are reminded that God pronounced light and it was so. Here, the body of light gives access to various alchemical realms of which the Masonic lodge is one. Just as our Masonic ritual directs us to contemplate death, looking toward a greater end, Bro. Stavish concludes his text addressing that subject. It is through the lengthy repetition of the step-by-step daily practice of the recommended meditation exercises that one gains proficiency in traveling "between the gates."

The text was not only intriguing to me, but I also found it informative reading. In the Traditional Observance lodge, we take several moments of reflection in silence on our Stated Meeting's work. Here, I have found myself applying Bro. Stavish's meditative principles and have traveled to, among other times and places, an Egyptian tomb and surfing the heavens on a funeral barge under a bright blue starstudded sky. I recommend the text to any Master Mason who wishes to add an esoteric experience to his Masonic quest.


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