The movie revolves around a murder in the Louvre Museum in Paris and leads to the discovery of a religious mystery involving the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. It is a fun movie and did, in its day, bring about a fair amount of controversy. I read an article recently about the Masons...and Freemasonry that I'd like to share with you. The Masons have long been associated with various conspiracy theories and with the occult, so let's take a look at what this group is...and isn't.
The Freemasons are primarily a fraternal order and is not a religion, nor are they particularly clandestine. Members join to socialize and network. The network regularly claims to help "make good men better." The initiation process into the Masonic Lodge is known as a series of degrees...Masonic degrees reflect personal and moral development. "The rituals involved with gaining these degrees reflect that development as well as communicate associated information to the initiate through allegory and symbolism." Symbols in any system really only make sense to those within that system. This is true for the Freemasons, as well, and has led to the hurling of accusations by the uninitiated. Properly speaking, the Masons have only three levels or degrees of initiation; entered apprenticeship, fellow craft, and master mason.
While Masons do keep some activities closed off to the public, they don't really have and "secret societies." In truth, however, there are a great many organizations that keep at least some aspects of their activities secret, whether they are concerned with the privacy of members, trade secrets, or numerous other reasons.
It is often thought, incorrectly, that Freemasonry is a religion. It is not. Members are required to take an oath affirming that they believe in a Supreme Being but neither politics nor religion is allowed to be discussed within a Mason Lodge. In fact, Freemasonry is no more of a religion than the Boy Scouts which, incidentally, also require their young members to affirm their believe in a Higher Power.
So we know that Freemasonry isn't a religion and doesn't have any secret societies, but is it part of the occult? Occult is a very broad term and with all its varying uses, it can cause confusion. In itself, the word occult doesn't mean anything threatening, but lots of people associate it with Satanic practices, demons, and black magic. The truth is, that occultists are a wide-ranging group of people who seek hidden knowledge - often of a religious nature. So even if there are "occult' aspects of the Freemasons, we should jump to the conclusion that they're either bad...or good. It is true, however, that some of the occult groups of the 19th- and 20th- century did have initiation rituals similar to the Freemasons, it is good to remember that the Masons are a couple of centuries older than any of those other groups. Those groups found some of the Freemasons rituals to be effective in conveying certain ideas. But other, non-occultist groups have also copied so few of the Freemason initiation rituals, which just proves that they appeal to various wide-ranging groups.
I loved both Dan Brown's book and the Da Vinci Code movie and have fun getting wrapped up in the conspiracy theories and intrigue. But it's also good to know that most, if not all, of what makes that movie and book great, is false. And that, my dear readers, is what makes for a good writer; someone who can make us believe almost anything!
I wish you a wonderful, peaceful, and restful weekend. And please join me back here on Monday morning.