Freemason Information

The Lost Word Made Whole

Jesuits, Illuminism, and the Royal Arch of Enoch with Robert W. Sullivan IV

Robert Sullivan is a newcomer in the world of Masonic scribes with his first work, The Royal Arch of Enoch, hitting the bookshelf late in 2012.  What makes Sullivan’s work interesting is the degree of focus he puts on the Apocryphal figure of Enoch in the Masonic degrees, a figure that most, at best, consider briefly in their progress and, at worst, completely ignore all together. Sullivan’s work takes on the historic, esoteric, and political implications of including the biblical figure of Enoch in both the York and Scottish Rite and why that inclusion may not have been with the purest of Masonic intents but rather a happy accident of allegoric construction like so often happens in the secret traditions, including those of Freemasonry. I found the conversation to be extraordinary and I think you will too as we gain a bit more insight on the keeper of the lost word that is found anew, at least in part.

Greg Stewart (GS)Before we delve too deeply into the subject matter, I’d love to start by finding out about you. Who is Robert Sullivan, how long have you been a Mason, and to what orders are you a member of?

Robert W. Sullivan (RS) On my website I describe myself as a philosopher, historian, antiquarian, jurist, theologian, writer, and lawyer.  I am the only child of antique dealers and I was born on October 30, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland.  I graduated high school from Friends School of Baltimore (the oldest private school in Baltimore, founded in 1784) in June 1990 and attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania becoming a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha (Theta Pi, member #1199) fraternity.  I earned my B.A. in History in 1995 having spent my entire junior year of college (1992-1993) abroad at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, England studying European history and philosophy.  While in Oxford I was a member of the Oxford Union, the Oxford University Conservative Association, and the Oxford Law Society.  Upon returning to the United States in June 1993 I took a year off from Gettysburg College to serve as office director of the Washington International Studies Council located on Capitol Hill.

Prior to attending law school in the United States I spent the Michaelmas Term 1995 at Trinity College, Oxford University studying jurisprudence and international law. From 1997 to 2000 I attended Widener University School of Law, Delaware Campus, from where I received my Juris Doctorate.

I have been a Blue Lodge Mason since 1997 having joined Amicable-St. John’s Lodge #25 in Baltimore, Maryland.  I became a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason in 1999, Valley of Baltimore, Orient of Maryland.

GS – Thinking back, what induced you to originally want to become a mason?

RS – Since being a child I have always been interested in the mysterious and the unexplained.  Growing up I always tuned into In Search Of hosted by Leonard Nimoy.  My interest in Masonry had to do with its mystical origins and esoteric symbols, however I was primarily motivated to become a Mason to continue a family tradition; my Grandfather Robert W. Sullivan Jr. was a Freemason, his father-in-law, my Great Grandfather, Frederick J. Wheelehan was as a Past Master (former Worshipful Master) of Freedom Lodge #112.

GSDid you realize your vision in your first few experiences of joining? (Did it live up to your expectations?) Or did you discover something else?

RS – Yes, the Masonic ritual experience was everything I imagined it would be, however, it was not until a couple years later that I truly understood the esoteric symbolism and the themes of Gnostic ascension that are contained in the third degree ritual.  I had a much better understanding of the ritual after I finally read the works of the Masonic greats such as Albert Mackey, Manly P. Hall, and Albert Pike.  After that I discovered the real meaning and purpose of Masonic ritual and its underlying occult philosophy.

GSGnostic Ascension, elaborate on that. What does the idea mean or look like to you?

RS – Gnostic ascensio [Ascension] is being brought from a state of symbolic death to a resurrected life or darkness to light which is the main theme of the third degree ritual.  Once re-awakened, the candidate’s divine spark is ignited, their slumbering Prometheus is conscious, and the newly resurrected initiate is ready to effect positive change in his life and in society in general.

GSWhat ultimately led to your crafting your book, The Royal Arch of Enoch?

RS – The research for the The Royal Arch of Enoch began back when I was an associate student at Oxford University in 1992-1993, however the true writing of this book began in 2005 on the old social networking site Myspace. I started posting blogs and uploading photos that reflected my research and much to my delight, was very positively received.  I was then approached by a fellow Mason who had seen the page and encouraged me to memorialize the information.  Since this was what I was planning on doing anyway, I began putting pen to paper writing and editing the book.  The Royal Arch of Enoch: The Impact of Masonic Ritual, Philosophy, and Symbolism was completed and published in August 2012, approximately seven years later.

GSFor those who don’t know about Enoch, describe briefly who he was and why he bears symbolic significance to Freemasonry and more broadly to esoteric or occult circles.

RS – Enoch is one of two people in the Bible to never experience a physical death; the Prophet Elijah is the other.  Enoch is taken into Heaven at Genesis 5:18-24 and the Book of Enoch (or I Enoch) documents Enoch’s interactions with both Arch-Angels and Fallen Angels the latter being known as the Watchers. He is important with Masonry because the High (or Haute) degree ritual that bears his name, the Royal Arch of Enoch, sees the recovery of the Tetragrammaton thus philosophically ending the “mission statement” of the Blue Lodge.  Enoch’s corporeal travels in the afterlife are very esoteric in nature including the gleaning of knowledge from the Watchers which ultimately become the seven liberal arts and sciences (Medieval Quadrivium and Trivium).  My book documents components of I Enoch being incorporated into the Royal Arch of Enoch high degree ceremonial which should not be occurring since the Book of Enoch was lost to Western Civilization from approximately 2-3 C.E. to 1821 when it was first translated into English.  This historical anomaly and its influence upon material culture is the thrust of my book.

GSWithout giving too much away, why do you think this anomaly is important?

RS – My book is the first to document it; in other words, prior to the publishing of The Royal Arch of Enoch, this anomaly was unknown to historians in the East and West.  The incorporation of the Book of Enoch into the degree ceremonial is a genuine mystery and it is this ritual in particular that has defined, among other things, the American national character.  Carrying this Enochian iconography forward, The Royal Arch of Enoch also documents the symbolic restoration of the sun as the premier icon in all of Freemasonry and as the supreme emblem of imperial administration and religiosity lifted from the Ancient Mysteries, incorporated in the Abrahamic Faiths, and carried on in both blue lodge and high degree Masonry.

GSIt’s interesting to me that Enoch comes in tangentially in two different degrees in two different systems (York Rite and Scottish Rite).  Why do you think that is (how did that happen)?

RS – Both the York Rite and Scottish Rite owe its origin to the premiere high degree system which was known as the Rite of Perfection.  The twenty-five degree Rite of Perfection was developed by the Society of Jesus [aka the Jesuits] as part of the on-going Counter Reformation in an effort to undermine the English Monarchy and destroy the Protestant Church via subterfuge.  The Rite of Perfection was mid-wifed piecemeal  into the United States and a Temple of Perfection was established in Albany, New York by Henry Francken.  The Lodge of Perfection is the forerunner to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite  while T.S. Webb’s Illustrations of Freemasonry of 1797 bear all the hallmarks of Francken’s Lodge.  Webb, of course, was the driving force behind the York or American Rite of Freemasonry.

GSDo you think the two parallel one another in any way?  What does one suggest that the other omits and vice versa?  Do the two compliment one another?

RS – Yes, the two Rites parallel each other in that the Name of God or the Tetragrammaton is recovered.  This is the “Lost Word” that goes missing in the Blue Lodge with the death of Hiram Abif. The two degrees have differences as well. For example, in the York Rite the Name of God is located on the Ark of the Covenant while in the Scottish Rite it is found on the Foundation Stone upon which the Ark once sat, so both Rites associate themselves with the Ark of the Covenant and by default the Decalogue and Hebrew Kabbalah.

GSCan they be taken together, or do they exist as two separate tellings, unique unto themselves?

RS – Once a man becomes a third degree Master Mason, he is then eligible to join the York and Scottish Rites.  He can join one, both, or neither – the decision is his.  Since these two rites are not mutually exclusive, a person could receive the Royal Arch degree twice: once in the York Rite and once in the Scottish Rite. So in that sense an initiate can “take” the degrees in each separate haute degree system.

GSI heard you say, in another interview talking about the book, that the degree is a re-telling of the Book of Enoch.  I’m curious how so?  Is it an interpretation of its existence (like acknowledging the BoE by the degrees existence) or could it be construed as a literal retelling?

RS – Although the ritual does not mention quotes or mention I Enoch per se, the ritual that bears Enoch’s name contains elements and components that come out of the pseudepigrapha.  For example the Royal Arch ceremony parallels Enoch’s apotheosized ascension from the Book of Enoch thereby transforming the Masonic candidate into a sublime initiate (or parfait [French for “perfect”]) who, by beholding the name of deity as the emanation of all wisdom, becomes a symbolic god-like Enochian (or hermetic) divine figure in his own right. This degree under the T.S. Webb system was thus the premier and most sublime degree in Masonry.  The movement of the essential elements of the Book of Enoch into the framework of the pre-history and paragon iconic myth of Freemasonry’s relationship to the broader world can be traced to the transformation of Enoch into a heavenly king.  This king was not only a virtuous and wise Pythagorean ruler – an image that had fateful consequences for Freemasonry’s association with Illuminism: the means to the transformation of the world into a perfected Masonic Temple: a one world government – outwardly democratic yet inwardly ruled by an occult theocracy; and with the actual imagery of Pythagoras as the supreme Masonic initiate.  The Masonic-Enochian Ritual utilizes the currency of platonic thought, notably that found in Plato’s own Timaeus, as the medium or method for the achievement of Pythagorean kingship with its array of symbolic effects transforming the candidate into a symbolic Enoch, Pythagoras, and Hermes Trismegistus.  The Royal Arch of Enoch ritual, on a symbolic level, transforms the Masonic initiate into a divine, apotheosized monarch by beholding the Kabbalistic Tree of Life (or Wisdom) as an emanation of the Tetragrammaton; this concept comes directly out of the Book of Enoch.  There are others, but I would refer one to read my book

GSI have an idea what you mean, but if you can, define what you mean by an “…occult theocracy.”

RS – A society that is outwardly democratic yet inwardly ruled by hidden leaders or masters who rule behind the scenes without the consent of the populace.  This can be seen in the early days of the Republic where DeWitt Clinton used high degree Freemasonry as a vehicle to formulate public policy across states’ lines without electoral consent.

GSInteresting, by saying it represented a perfected temple, vis-à-vis a one world government, do you think that was the notion behind the degree or just an allegorical bonus to utilizing an Enocian theme?

RS – The degree was part of the original twenty-five degrees of the Rite of Perfection, and as the title suggests, by beholding the Tetragrammaton in the Royal Arch ritual the Masonic parfait becomes “perfected” and now can perfect or formulate society as a whole.  This was the penultimate goal of what can best be defined as the Thomas Smith Webb-DeWitt Clinton-Salem Town ritual synthesis.

GSIs one degree (York or Scottish) closer to that retelling?

RS – Not necessarily, but the placement of the Tetragrammaton on the Ark of the Covenant in the York Rite correctly associates the “Lost Word of a Master Mason” with Hebrew Kabbalah in keeping with Enochian and arcane mystical themes and concepts.

GSDo you think it would have the same meaning if it were given immediately following the third degree?

RS – In some English “Antient” Lodges, the Royal Arch was given after the third degree.  Today it is given as part of the higher degree systems and I think the ritual works much better that way.

GSI’m curious, from the work you’ve done, do you find parallel passages in the Book of Enoch to support the ideas of both the Scottish and York Rite workings, or do you see them as fanciful extrapolations of an Apocryphal biblical figure?

RS – Neither, I see the hands of Counter Reformation Jesuits hard at work in the development of this ritual to undermine the Church of England and inject a heavy dose of Roman Catholicism into Freemasonry.  Since the Council of Trent of 1545, the Jesuits have been charged with thwarting Protestantism.  Since the formation of the Church of England by Henry VIII, England has been in the Jesuit’s crosshairs.  The Spanish Armada of 1588, the Gunpowder Treason of Guy Fawkes, and the “Catholic” Rite of Perfection were all designed to put England under the yoke of Rome.  This was the Jesuit’s modus operandi.

GSSo then do you suggest the degree is (was?) really a subversive conversion tool?

RS – The purpose original French-Jesuit Rite of Perfection was to Christianize Freemasonry and serve as a vehicle to restore the Catholic side of the Stuarts back to the Throne of England in violation of the Settlement Act of 1701. In that aspect one could say it was subversive.  However, the high degrees flourished on the continent of Europe and by the time they reach the United States, the Jesuit influence and control over the degrees seems to have waned.

GSWhat you’re suggesting sounds almost as if it’s the creation of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis or the embodiment of John Winthrop’s City upon a hill. Do you think these forbearers were thinking of that one world illuminism you mentioned with the Enocian arch degree?

RS – Yes, these works clearly anticipate a new “Order of the Ages.” One can add John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Tommaso Campanella’s The City of the Sun, and Thomas More’s Utopia to that list.

GSSo with Enoch, are there other lessons we can pull from the texts about him that inform Masonry?

RS – Yes, in The Royal Arch of Enoch: The Impact of Masonic Ritual, Philosophy, and Symbolism I present evidence that the haute degree that bears the Biblical patriarch’s name is the defining template for the United States of America.  This can be seen in the architecture and design of Washington, D.C., it can be found in the Masonic architecture of Baltimore, Maryland, and can be seen in the “rising sun” template of Union College of Schenectady New York which was first college established after the Revolution to offer degrees in civil engineering or operative masonry.

GSWhat you’re suggesting sounds almost as if it’s the creation of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis or the embodiment of John Winthrop’s City upon a hill. Do you think these forbearers were thinking of that one world illuminism you mentioned with the Enocian arch degree?

GS – Do you see any parallel components between say the rituals of Masonry and the practice of Enochian or Solomonic magick?

RS – Yes and Yes.  Naturally, Solomonic Magick, as discussed in the Testament of Solomon and Ars Goetia, documents 72 demons that Solomon commanded to construct the first Temple of God.  Since the third degree Masonic ritual centers on the construction of Solomon’s temple the nexus is obvious.  Further, the 72 demons symbolize a secret name of God, Shemhamphorasch, which is composed by 72 Hebrew letter groups.  Again, here we have a “name of god” which is lost in the third degree ritual when Hiram dies and the word is lost yet recovered in the Royal Arch ceremonial which is reflecting Solomonic Magick.

With regard to Enochian Magick, if one is looking for a likely candidate to have possessed a secret copy of the Book of Enoch prior to its official discovery in the West, look no further than the inventor of Enochian Magick, Dr. John Dee.  If a copy of I Enoch fell into Masonic circles Dee is a likely source for the copy and the evidence is compelling.

First, Dee’s sorcery, Enochian, is a way to summon angels and demons and is obviously named after the Biblical patriarch and reflects Enoch’s interaction with these ethereal beings.

Second, Dee had one of the largest libraries in Europe and was a purveyor of esoteric texts so a copy (or a detailed summary) could have been in his possession.

And third, and most interesting, is Sir Walter Raleigh.  Raleigh, like Dee was involved with Sir Francis Walsingham’s spy-ring that protected Queen Elizabeth I and Raleigh actually mentions in his History of the World that the Book of Enoch contains an Astronomy/Astrology book which begs the question: How did Raleigh know this when the I Enoch was “officially” lost to history at the time.  Where is Raleigh getting this information? The answer points in one direction and one direction only: Dr. John Dee.

GSDo you think this idea of the name of God in the degree is a manifestation of Dee’s work with Enocian magic, or an older idea that we can find some parallels in say the Kabbalah or some other tradition?

RS – I would say it is kabalistic more than anything.  In the Book of Enoch, Enoch beholds the Sephirotic Tree of Wisdom as an emanation of the name of God and the source of all wisdom.

GSYou mentioned earlier, and in other interviews for the book, the connection between the Jesuits and Higher degree Freemasonry.  I’m curious, do you think that most of what we know or see as esoteric Masonry today comes out of this notion that mythologizing the Catholic experience was an inducement for those 17th century occultists to come back to the Catholic Church?

RS – I think that the high degrees are more mystical and occult laden than the Blue Lodge degrees and one can make an argument that the Jesuits were injecting the high degrees with mystical Roman Catholicism.  The evidence for this is overwhelming.  Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises are mystical in nature and the works of the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher are very hermetic and arcane leading some within the Society of Jesus to believe they were the real Rosicrucians.  The high degree system was itself a Jesuit invention employing subterfuge and even espionage to secretly lure Protestants back to the Roman Church while serving as a vehicle to restore the Stuart Pretenders back to the throne of England violating the Act of Settlement of 1701.

GS – Do you think this is a point many Jesuits would agree with today? And, do you think they feel the same way?

RS – The Society of Jesus of 2014 would likely not be aware as this happened 300 years ago while the Jesuits were put out of business from about 1773-1815. Like Freemasonry, the Jesuits of today’s influence and power has been undercut, although the pendulum does appear to be swinging back towards the other direction for both groups. One has to bear in mind that the Jesuits of 1545 to 1773 were Europe’s version of the CIA while Ignatius of Loyola designed the order based on the mysticism of the Knights Templar and the arcane priesthoods of Egypt. The inner workings of the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, and Freemasonry are all based upon the occult machinations of the Society of Jesus.

GSSo, moving beyond The Royal Arch, one of my fascinations is the notion of esoteric Masonry.  I’m curious your take on the subject.  Do you think Masonry has a deeper esoteric, or even an occultic, side?

RS – Yes absolutely.  Many of the symbols and rituals contain occult and hidden meaning.  For example, the third degree Master Mason ritual is a retelling of the Egyptian Osirian Cycle where the candidate, portraying Hiram Abif, is killed and resurrected which reflects the murder of Osiris and his resurrection.  In Christianity, the dying and resurrected “sun-man” character is, of course, Jesus Christ.  Hiram Abif is surrounded with solar symbolisms; for example he is buried west of the temple representing the setting, dying sun. Twelve Fellowcrafts go looking for Hiram symbolizing the twelve houses of the zodiac looking for their lost solar ruler, and finally Hiram is raised from the grave with the “Strong Grip of the Lion’s Paw” which is an esoteric reference to the sign of Leo which is the sole house of the sun.

GSHow much of this, do you think, is just absorbed Christian Mysticism which is borrowed from these traditions or more broadly absorbed from their source?

RS –  I believe it owes its origins to sources other than Christianity. Freemasonic symbols and rituals derive from the Ancient Mysteries (of Egypt, Eleusis), Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, and Pythagoreanism among others while incorporating Judaic-Christian Biblical themes.

GSDo you think there is a practice of esoteric Masonry still happening today?

RS – I do not know if I would call it a “practice”, but I believe there is a renewed interest in the esoteric side of the Craft.  This seems to be the motivating factor that is influencing the younger generation to join Freemasonry. I definitely see a pendulum swinging back to the mystical side of the Craft where in the past the primary motivations to join a Blue Lodge was community involvement and/or family tradition.

GSWhat’s next?  What’s on the horizon for Robert Sullivan?

RS – I will be publishing my second book titled Cinema Symbolism: A Guide to Esoteric Imagery in Popular Movies in May/June 2014. This book is a continuation of the final chapter of The Royal Arch of Enoch where I discuss hidden occult, Masonic, Enochian, and solar symbolism in films such as The Ninth Gate, National Treasure, The Da Vinci Code, and Being There amongst others.   I am currently writing its sequel, Cinema Symbolism II and I am writing my first work of fiction as well.  I have also begun outlining another book on occult Freemasonry.

GSThat sounds interesting, the Ninth Gate is one of my favorite films. Do you think there is an intentional evocation of these themes by the film writers, directors and producers, or are they playing to some underlying zeitgeist?

RS – In some cases it is clearly intentional while in others it could be accidental.  If it is accidental, concealed symbols in film appear by way of Carl Jung’s Collected Unconscious psychological mechanism which is a descendant of Plato’s Theory of Forms.

GS – And, I like to conclude with asking who, or what, has been your greatest Masonic influence?   Who do you look up to and why?

RSAlbert Pike and Manly P. Hall have been the greatest Masonic influences upon me.  I really enjoy their work and have learnt a lot of kabalistic and esoteric information from reading Morals and Dogma and The Secret Teachings of All Ages.  In fact I modeled The Royal Arch of Enoch after both of these books.  Although I may not “look up” to them, they are both by far the greatest Masonic influence upon me. As to Masons that I look up to, that would be George Washington for his sacrifice and commitment to something he believed in when others may have not shared his vision.

____

Robert, thanks so much for taking some time to talk about your work and the intricate connections of Enoch and the Haute Degrees of Freemasonry.  You can read more about Robert W. Sullivan IV on his website and you can find his book The Royal Arch of Enoch on Amazon.

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