Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry
Introduction to the Centennial Edition of the Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry
Very Dear Brethren,
In writing this introduction there is a feeling of great humility and joy relative to the republishing of this book in a form that is commensurate with the dignity and brilliance that was displayed in the writing of Brother Henry P.H. Bromwell. Much has been said by those who knew Brother Bromwell intimately in the introduction of the original edition. The original introduction is therefore earnestly recommended for your attentive reading. con’t below…
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con’t from above… The thirty Past Grand Masters, who gathered together to see that this work was not lost, were themselves some of the great minds of their time. They met after Brother Bromwell’s death in 1903 and decided to preserve this work, which has left Brother Bromwell’s legacy available to us today. Even though these men displayed great prowess in their intellects and in their service to the Craft, they recognized in Brother Bromwell the qualities of a great initiate who thrilled their minds and souls with his gentle yet powerful presence.
Many of the remaining copies of the original work are in some of the finest Masonic libraries in the country. There have been some efforts in keeping this work available in rather modest printed forms. It is through these modest forms that this work has been made available for those who did not have access to the original document. Many thanks are offered for their efforts.
Great pains have been taken to reproduce this work as closely to the original as possible within the financial limits of those involved. The color plates have been carefully preserved and reproduced to display the original colors which are delicate and light in their structure. The careful and discerning hand of Brother Bromwell drew these plates with compass and straightedge in order to exemplify in symbol the discoveries he came to through thought, meditation, and contemplation.
With some apology, it is brought to the reader’s attention that the color plates are not located exactly where they were in the original publication. The color plates have been placed together instead of individually. The additional cost to have the plates placed where they were originally located would have well exceeded the limits of the funds available for this publication.
In order to make it easier for the reader to navigate from the text to the color plates, a ribbon has been added. There was no ribbon in the original book. The original list of illustrations and their page numbers in the table of contents has been left unchanged. This allows the reader to identify the plate with its proper location in the original publication. A further detail has been attended to in that each plate will be located on the reader’s right as is the case in the original so the reader can view the plate in relationship to the text.
Today, as Masonry is beginning to experience a wave of excitement, as a new Masonic renaissance emerges, it is important to make available those tools that will feed, polish, and adorn the minds of the members of the Craft. This book with its profound explanation of the geometric symbols of Masonry will place in the hands of Masons a tool that will demonstrate profound inner revelations about the nature of the Craft and prepare the mental material for reading the T.B. laid out by T.G.AO.T.U’s. Mind, and how these forms reveal themselves through the structures in the kingdoms of nature.
There is a landmark in Masonry that states that the secrets of Masonry are carefully preserved. Today, when you can access most information about Masonry on line and read about the general secrets of the Masonic Degrees, it causes one to ponder what such a landmark means when it states that the secrets of Masonry are carefully preserved. The general signs grips and words are outer manifestations of inner realities. The true secrets of Masonry are only revealed to those who enter into the world of Symbol, where the allegorical meanings are revealed. This book challenges the Mason to enter into such a realm and receive the revelation such exploration will afford.
In the beginning of this second decade of the 21st century, it is hoped that the foundations for an enlightened brotherhood will take root, sprout, and bear the fruit that the Masonic Institution is destined to bear. With the celebration 150th anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Colorado, it is hoped that this modest effort will welcome in a new era for the Masonic Institution in general and for Colorado Masonry particularly. It is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of this book, of Henry P.H. Bromwell and the celebration of a 150-year lineage of Masonry in Colorado that this effort is humbly offered and dedicated.
Most Sincerely and Fraternally
Brother Kevin Townley PM Boulder #45
March 20th 2010 11:32:55 AM MDT
Preface to the Centennial Edition
Brethren, the book you hold in your hands is the seminal work on the essential tools of our craft: Masonic Geometry and Symbol. It was written by an accomplished Initiate who was properly referred to by his Masonic peers in the Grand Lodge of Colorado as, “…the foremost Mason of his time.”
That Most Worshipful Brother Henry Bromwell devoted the better part of his life sharing with the Brethren the deep knowledge he had attained through his diligent labors illustrates the love and dedication he had for the Craft and his fellow man. He placed himself as a link in the unbroken chain of initiates who have preserved the Ancient Wisdom and passed it on to future generations.
I was honored and humbled when WB Kevin Townley asked me to write the preface to this new edition of “Restorations” and, as I contemplated that effort, I chanced to look up the entry on Henry P.H. Bromwell in “Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia”. It would be a gross understatement to say that I was dismayed to find a scant paragraph disparaging Brother Bromwell’s efforts regarding the book as well as his establishing an organization within the structure of our institution to teach the esoteric nuances of the Craft. When I overcame my surprise and disappointment at the treatment of Brother Bromwell, I was reminded of a passage in Scripture, in which St. Paul admonished the Hebrews saying,
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age…” (Hebrews 5:12-14)
In the First Chapter of Restorations entitled, “Design of this Work,” Brother Bromwell writes that his intent “is to restore the knowledge of some portions of that which, having been lost in the vicissitudes of time has left the science of the lodge and consequently the work, in a broken and incomplete condition…”
He goes on to write in the same chapter, “One principal cause of the great loss of Masonic ideas, thought and knowledge among the fraternity…is this: …while the lodges everywhere have been busied with the mere work, to the exclusion of everything else, the Grand Lodges have used no means whatever to teach, or cause the Lodges to teach, that Masonry is a craft-not a mere order-and in what that craft consists.”
My brothers, I would suggest that the state of the Craft today is the same as that which Brother Bromwell lamented over more than a century ago and thus makes this reintroduction of “Restorations” all the more vital and timely.
Bromwell quite aptly entitled his treatise, “Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry,” indicating that something of value had been lost and needed to be restored. He referred to it as the “lost knowledge of the Lodge.”
But what is it that we are to learn? What does Geometry and particularly Masonic Geometry have to do with us as Masons in 2010? The prominence of Geometry within our ritual and symbols is patently obvious. We are told that the 47th problem of Euclid was “an invention of the great Pythagoras and that among his qualifications he was a Master Mason as well as being initiated into several orders of Priesthood.” We are then told, as a matter of fact, that he “enriched his mind by the study of Geometry and Masonry.”
Plato himself declared that, “God Geometrizes” and his famous academy in Athens was secured not by armed guards but by the potent phrase, “Let no Man Destitute of Geometry Enter.”
As FC, we are admonished to Study the Liberal Arts and Sciences (7) consisting of the Trivium (3) and the Quadrivium (4). But of these, we are told that “Geometry is the most revered by Masons,” that it is “the first and noblest of sciences, the basis on which the superstructure of Masonry is erected.”
And yet many, if not most of us, have relegated Geometry to a bad memory from our secondary education. Surely the likes of Pythagoras and Plato could not have been so entertained by the mere calculation of areas and volumes. In fact we are told that Pythagoras, after working the 47th problem, is said to have exclaimed, “Eureka!”
What was it that he found?
Brothers, in all Esoteric orders the object was nothing less than the transmission of Divine LAW, the knowledge of the Divine design, how it originates in the World of Spirit, and how it precipitates into this plane of physicality. The information has always been jealously and faithfully guarded, for the LAW works without regard to persons or motives. Christ made this clear to his disciples when he said, “…For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)
The Guardians of the Sacred Wisdom have always known that without a purified emotional nature, man would be tempted to utilize the Divine LAW for personal gain and wittingly or unwittingly, oppress others. Human history is filled with such instances.
Our ancient progenitors knew well the Divine LAW and the nature of man and understood that time would bring nations and cultures into prominence even as others sank out of existence, and with them their languages and means of expression. They encoded the Divine LAW in Number and mathematics, which is the only exact science, and thus the sole vessel capable of transporting the corpus of esoteric knowledge into the future, there to be rediscovered by those proving themselves worthy.
Masonry, my brothers, is a progressive science meant to lead man from ignorance to enlightenment. It is a system of Spiritual Initiation with Geometry as a carrier of the code. Geometry is unique among the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences in that it alone is able to engage the mind at a rudimentary level and lead it to the realm of Universal Mind. It is a connecting bridge. For this reason Geometry is revered and practiced by Masons and in fact is said to be synonymous with Masonry. This manifest Universe is based on Number, but it is Geometry that gives number form and allows it to enter into mans mind through his senses.
As EA’s we are instructed to work on bringing our physical and emotional vehicles under control. As FC’s we are admonished to develop our intellect or the lower mind and that chiefly through the study and understanding of geometry. The intellect though can only carry us so far. While it is the supporting structure that enables us to move from ignorance to intelligence, it must eventually yield to a higher faculty, the Intuition. As John the Baptist was the herald of one greater than he, so the intellect is merely the preparer of the way. At its highest development, it can only ever attain to being the handmaiden of the Intuition, which is the attainment of the Master Mason. It is through the higher mind that we connect with the Divine and access the designs drawn upon the TB and learn to work in concert with Divine Plan.
Geometry again brothers, is unique in its ability to engage us at the level of the intellect and when meditated upon can facilitate the unfolding of the intuition or higher faculties of mind. Our Most Worshipful Brother Bromwell knew this. He was a true Master Mason and as such a Master Geometer. The intricate Geometric drawings which Bromwell produced and which are included in this book as 30 beautifully rendered plates can in themselves be utilized as mandalas and objects of deep meditation.
Our Craft has been kept alive because dedicated Masons thought it was important enough to keep intact. Wittingly and unwittingly thousands of men over centuries have passed on the ritual, unbroken to new generations and with it esoteric information that will aid in the spiritual development of humanity. But brothers it begins with learning the “Craft” of Masonry and Brother Bromwell has left us the definitive text on Masonic Geometry. Our current Grand Master, MW Charlie Johnson is not overstating the case when he says, “The Bromwell Book may very well be the most important written document on the subject of Masonry…”
I applaud WB Kevin Townley, himself a scholar of the Esoteric Tradition and Masonry, and a bright light in our fraternity, for his unwavering dedication to the Craft by unselfishly expending his personal resources to ensure that this critical work be rescued from obscurity and raised to its proper stature among the Craft.
I thank MW Brother Henry P.H. Bromwell for his love of the Craft and for his foresight and skillful elucidation of that most important tool of a Mason, Geometry. I would heartily recommend the serious study of “Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry” to all members of the Craft who would call themselves Masters.
Sincerely and Fraternally
Duke B. O’Neil, PM, KYCH
Columbia Lodge #14, A.F. & A.M.