Be a lover of wisdom.
Be faithful to the promises you made within Masonry.
Is the universe friendly to me?
Ancient of Days, Seal of Solomon (Macrocosm),
Pentagram (Microcosm), triangles of red, green
and white, the number seven.
The Twenty-eighth Degree
"Knight of the Sun or
~ Summary ~
Be a lover of wisdom. This degree points out seven
truths: There exists an indefinable and
incomprehensible principle that governs the universe.
Human life is but a speck of eternity. Universal
equilibrium is a result of a balance between similarities
and contrasts. The absolute is the soul in its proper
essence. The visible is the invisible. Evil, disaster, and
misery are indispensable for universal equilibrium.
Similarities are the only keys for comprehending
nature. The majority of men fail to realize their errors.
Masons are required to take up the arduous struggle
against error. the moral code of Masonry is more
extensive than that of philosophy.
The apron is of pure white lambskin and has no
edging or pattern except the interlaced pentagram,
which is traced in the middle in vermillion.
The order is a broad white watered ribbon worn as
a collar. On the right side is painted an eye of gold,
a symbol of the sun or of the Deity.
There are three jewels. The presiding officer wears
a jewel that is a representation of the sun in gold,
suspended by a chain of gold and worn around
the neck. The reverse is a hemisphere of gold showing
the northern half of the ecliptic and a zodiac,
with the signs from Taurus to Libra inclusive. The other
officers wear a jewel composed of a simple
seven-pointed star of gold. The remaining members of
the council wear a jewel that is a gold five-pointed star.
Only the jewel of the degree is shown in the illustration.
"Pike believed that certain ancient cultures possessed the Truth that God had originally given to man; as such,
they had a more accurate and comprehensive knowledge of the Deity and His relationship to the universe and man
than modern philosophers and religions. He referred to this knowledge as the "primitive religion" (p 541), carrying the
sense of 'primary,' meaning first. This knowledge defied expression in ordinary language; even to attempt it was
dangerous because the use of adjectives ordinarily describing men when used to describe the Deity tended to lessen
Him. To transmit this knowledge the ancients developed symbols. In time the symbols also came to be the means to
hide the knowledge, so that it would not be known to all. The initiations into the Ancient Mysteries were designed to
transfer this knowledge to those worthy and capable of receiving it. Eventually, the symbols became corrupted and
the instruction associated with the symbols became lost. We are left with fragments of the truth veiled in that
corrupted symbolism. Thus, we must sort through the symbols to find parallels among them; then we must try to
unveil these symbols to discover their great truths. The Legenda for this degree opens with the statement:
The ceremony itself is very simple, relying on verbal instruction, not to explain the symbols, but to provide the keys
with which to unlock the meaning veiled behind them. As the last of the Philosophical Degrees, the 28th brings
together and unifies many of the symbols of preceding degrees, particularly the 2nd, 18th and 19th. The symbols are
of considerable age, and, in general, are derived from both Alchemy (also called Hermeticism) and the Jewish
mystical tradition known as Kabalah.
The Kabalists were concerned with the search for knowledge of the Divine and of the soul. Throughout the history of
the Jewish religious tradition, conflicts arose about the proper means of interpreting the Scriptures. Some insisted on
a literal interpretation; others, an allegorical or symbolic one. Still others, in an amicable spirit, suggested that both
approaches were appropriate under certain circumstances. The Kabalah was formulated by those who felt that the
symbolic interpretation was to be preferred and thus, the teachings of the Kabalah are illustrated by symbols and
The Hermetic philosophers may also be called speculative alchemists. the name 'Hermetic' comes from a tradition
that the founder of alchemy was an Egyptian (Thoth) whom the Greeks called Hermes Trismegistus or Hermes the
Thrice Great, identifying him with their Hermes, the Roman Mercury. Whether he was a great philosopher or a
mythical figure embodying a secret doctrine is not known.
The tradition of Alchemy is best understood by separating its practitioners into two groups: the first group, whom
we may term "operative alchemists,' truly believed the transmutation of metals was possible. Their goal was to
transform base metals, such as lead or copper, into silver or gold thereby creating wealth. The second group, the
'speculative alchemists,' were mystics who declared that alchemy was not the science of making gold but a spiritual
science of regeneration and a sacred art devoted to interpreting the mysteries of God and life. When we speak of
alchemy in Masonry our reference is to the second group.
The speculative (or philosophical) alchemist sought knowledge or truth. In this respect their goal was identical to
that of the Jewish Kabalists. The difference is that the alchemist looked, not to divine revelation, but to the earthly
world around them. Together Kabalistic and Hermetic philosophy form a duality of human inquiry involved in the
same quest but looking in different directions.
This, of course, is one reason why this degree is both Kabalistic and Hermetic, but there is another. The actual
origins of both Alchemy and the Kabalah have been the subject of much speculation. We do know for certain that
both, as now understood, are products of the fertile medieval mind. Whether they have roots in the far more ancient
past may be arguable but their impact on the mysticism of the 18th and 19th centuries is not. Many Masonic writers
have assigned the origins of modern Freemasonry to the alchemically-inclined Rosicrucians of the late 17th and
early 18th centuries. Others have just as fervently denied any such association. Pike certainly believed alchemy and
the Kabalah to be of very ancient origin and the teachings reflected in the ritual and lecture of this degree reinforce
that belief. Much of the detail in the ritual serves to provide the evidence for these ancient origins, explaining
parallels and similarities, delving into language and symbols, seeking common threads." (Hutchens, pp.248-251)
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