Freemasonry: Initiation by Light by Christopher Earnshaw is the first of four books exploring the origins and mysteries of Freemasonry. Often today, an organisation that is held with good humour or as part of some conspiracy theory in certain areas, Freemasonry is a highly regarded charitable organisation with a rich history, weaving its way through social and international circles. Yet, how did this come to be? In Freemasonry: Initiation by Light, Christopher Earnshaw answers many of the questions that have been raised following the revival of 1717.
Although much of the origins of freemasonry haven’t been in the public eye since their creation, they have indeed been brought into the public attention through the works of religious historians and theorists and brought into more popular limelight through the work of popular authors such as Dan Brown. However, the origins of the organisation are much more intricate than any of these authors have detailed, it is here that Christopher Earnshaw’s experience as a Freemason comes as a valuable resource into the history of Freemasonry.
Although Freemasonry: Initiation by Light is essentially written for those within the organisation, it should certainly not put any lay reader off from delving into this very rich and detailed book. For anyone researching the eighteenth Century, including the Freemasons is almost vital, and after reading a clearer picture emerges on the period and the institutions of the time.
However, what Earnshaw brings to the attention of the reader is something that one would likely never have considered previously, and that is not just a tale regarding ‘secret societies’ but the secrets within the society, not just regarding the initiations but the construction of the ‘degrees’ that form the first ‘levels’ (if you will) of the society.
What is generally unknown, and refers to a question raised by Victorian Freemasons, is a Chinese influence within early Freemasonry, that not only helped shape its early revival period in the eighteenth century, merging aspects of a Daoist initiation with aspects of Christianity and spiritual alchemy focused on the transformation and maturity of the soul.
Freemasonry: Initiation by Light is certainly not a ‘light read’, it is meticulously detailed and seeks to not only help new members on their journey within the Freemason structure but also assist those with an interest in the period seeking to see a fuller picture of the Enlightenment, which saw many changes in religious thinking and philosophy towards the modern views we have today. In Freemasonry: Initiation by Light Christopher Earnshaw highlights the rich tapestry of Freemasonry origins, explaining the characters and events with incredible depth and detail vital to any historian and member.
- Freemasonry: Initiation by Light by Christopher Earnshaw is self-published via Amazon (£17.93). To order a copy go to www.amazon.co.uk
Founder and Editor of Pilgrim House, currently undertaking a research degree at Bangor University and working on a book on Folklore and early Welsh Christianity. Tom’s other work on music, poetry, health along other writings and images can be found at tomasstanger.com