1. "In the same way they taught the origin of the soul, its fall to the Earth past the spheres and through the elements, and its final return to the place of its origin when, during the continuance of its union with earthly matter, the sacred fire which formed its essence had contracted no stains and its brightness had not been marred by foreign particles which, denaturalising it, weighed it down and delayed its return." Albert Pike.
How does the above teaching:
a. relate to present-day belief in recurrent cycles of incarnation, transition or death, and reincarnation?
b. explain lack of memory of previous incarnations?
2. "The attraction of secrecy was enhanced by the difficulty of obtaining admission. Obstacles and suspense redoubled curiosity. Those who aspired to the Initiation in the Mysteries of Mithras in Persia underwent many trials. They commenced by easy tests and arrived by degrees at those that were most cruel, in which the life of the Candidate was often endangered." Albert Pike.
Discuss the above quotation from the point of view of:
a. recruitment of candidates for initiation.
b. progressive advancement in knowledge, wisdom, and personal courage.
c. attainment of the highest possible standards of moral behaviour.
d. the establishment and maintenance of order through hierarchy.
3. In the light of your reflections on question 2. above, compare and contrast the system for governance of a Mystery School with that of a "democratic" political party.
4. "By initiation, those who before were fellow-citizens only, became brothers, connected by a closer bond than before by means of a religious fraternity which, bringing men nearer together, united them more strongly: and the weak and the poor could more readily appeal for assistance to the powerful and the wealthy, with whom religious association gave them a closer fellowship." Albert Pike.
Discuss the psychology of initiation into the Mysteries with particular reference to:
a. overcoming differences arising from classification by race, wealth, social class, or religious creed.
b. establishment of a consistent social conscience.
c. a basis for a system of justice and public administration.
5. "Initiation dissipated errors and banished misfortune: and after having filled the heart of man with joy during life, it gave him the most blissful hopes at the moment of death." Albert Pike.
Write an essay expressing as best you can your own thoughts arising from the above quotation.
6. a. Consider whether Freemasonry may have originated as a school of the Fourth Way?
6. b. Is it possible that it still functions as such?