The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry by Cliff Porter
The Secret Psychology is a 202 page book with Appendices and End Notes. This book was first published in 2011 by Starr Publishing, Colorado. Its subtitle is Alchemy, Gnosis and Science of the Craft. These words definitely summarize my first descriptive outline of this book. Many accomplished masters of Freemasonry are cited, with a heavy contextual backbone of Jungian Psychology intentionally built-in. Jung’s terms are applied to outline various stages of Masonic Degree work and stages of Masonic development. Brother Porter encourages an over-arching paradigm for direct use in lodge management, self, and group improvement. Communication is the critical concept. The final chapter and appendices have the direct symbol and esoteric interpretations brothers continually ask for.
The silver cord that runs throughout The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry is an astral treasure walk to determine the secrets of the human psyche, freemasonry, and their locations. Porter explains early in his book that it is not his intention to give any classic top-secret bits away, only to give direction to thoughts previously written by authors more famous than him. This book does contain a great volume of arcane data and illustrations. Porter then embeds concepts written by many classic authors, such as Pike, Fellows and Manly Palmer Hall. He also recognizes an early thought by the Greek Elder Plautus, Comedies of Plautus, which summarizes the familiar concept of how to make good men better. The secrets may never be found, or known, but the journey is the value of the pursuit.
Porter chooses The Self, The Shadow, The Persona, The Anima and / or The Animus as outward personality manifestations. His subconscious constructs seek to answer the questions of Why [Yellow Bile], When [Black Bile], What [Phlegm], and Who [Blood]. These alchemical references translate classically to the Fire, Earth, Water and Air types, respectively. This model presents a handy cross-reference to begin to map degree work and what different levels of focus reveal at points in time. These are also useful descriptors of the fellows performing the motions, and the internal and external communication that takes place.
The view from the window first shows the mosaic pavement overlaid on a rock that we call reality, and gradually uses different lenses to extract as much information from the Human AND Masonic Processes as possible. Like the Good Masonic Library that every mason accumulates, classical key points are touched upon to build deeper levels of structure. Authors and titles are cited to lead the ambitious reader on future journeys, both physical and metaphysical.
Porter’s analysis depicts a biblical wrap around the Masonic timeline, encompassing (but not inside of) what we think of ‘The Mystery Schools.’ It is Brother Porter’s opinion that the Church, as represented as the Holy See, gives eternal chase to the Masonic Quest for unregulated knowledge. It is the Bible that contains all the food to sustain Masonic life, and it is the Church which causes freemasons to cherish and protect free thinking. For Brother Porter, life begins with the chapters of Genesis, and all of man’s achievements and rituals flow from there.
A third construct Brother Porter illuminates is of the human mind. He describes its quadrants and various dormant or passively expressed shapes, both inlaid and overlaid. These shapes are tied to classical geometry cross-linking alchemical drawings with The Five Stages of Denial. Porter lists these as Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression (towards self or shame) and Acceptance. There are plenty of picture plates to view, which should create, or illustrate to the reader a system of how to think about these spongy emotional concepts.
The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry challenges lodge brethren to better themselves, their lodges and even their cooking, by thinking, feeling and caring about their work. Porter uses the description of Degree Work coupled with his knowledge as a Senior Major Crimes detective to chalk out an outline of how to view the old self left behind, its decomposition, and the beginnings of creation of a new Masonic temple. This book by design is most definitely NOT an endpoint or a tome containing the one ineffable. Brother Porter lays out a classic cold case mystery (freemasonry) with definite evidence and many tools to develop the reader’s powers of analysis. This will lead to a fresh way to think, speak and feel about learning. Like Jung, Brother Cliff Porter believes man as a mason can be improved when his conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions are understood. Through self-realization the reader will become more comfortable with the quest for personal and inter-personal development. Porter hits the ground running in this work, so be prepared. The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry will advance the mysteries of Masonic learning, and should become a welcomed invitation to discuss in any way the reader chooses.
Anthony Maisano III
Background from Wikipedia
Jung: “ Carl Gustav Jung (/ˈjʊŋ/YUUNG; German: [ˈkarl ˈɡʊstaf ˈjʊŋ]; 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychotherapist and psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, literature, and related fields.
The central concept of analytical psychology is individuation – the psychological process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious with the unconscious, while still maintaining their relative autonomy. Jung considered individuation to be the central process of human development.
Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts, including the archetype, the collective unconscious, the complex, and synchronicity. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a popular psychometric instrument, has been developed from Jung’s theories.
Jung saw the human psyche as “by nature religious”, and made this religiousness the focus of his explorations. Jung is one of the best known contemporary contributors to dream analysis and symbolization.
Though he was a practicing clinician and considered himself to be a scientist, much of his life’s work was spent exploring tangential areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, and sociology, as well as literature and the arts. His interest in philosophy and the occult led many to view him as a mystic. “
“ Jung saw Freud’s theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung#Psychology