Freemasonry, Esotericism, and Spiritual Development: An Interview With Piers Vaughan

Angel Millar: You’re a well-known lecturer on Masonic and esoteric subjects in the USA, and you’re involved with many Masonic Rites as well as many Western esoteric Orders outside of Freemasonry. Most recently, you published the book Renaissance Man and Mason. Before we talk about Western esotericism more broadly I want to ask what made you join the Masonic fraternity?

Piers Vaughan: It was something I had dreamed of doing from a young age. My grandfather had been a very enthusiastic member, to the extent that he would take his pony and trap and travel the 20-mile journey from his farm in Upper Beeding to Brighton, in England, to attend meetings. Sadly, his enthusiasm did not pass on to his son — my father — but by the age of 16, I was already devouring Pick and Knight’s Pocket History of Freemasonry. In my teens, while maintaining my Christian beliefs — attending a local Anglo-Catholic Church, composing music, playing the organ, singing in choir (which I had done since the age of 7) — I was drawn to explore comparative religious paths, visiting a mosque, synagogue, other Christian places of worship, a Spiritualist church, and even reading and experimenting with Wicca and Rosicrucianism. Continue reading “Freemasonry, Esotericism, and Spiritual Development: An Interview With Piers Vaughan”

The Mask of The Higher Self

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth [of what he thinks],” says Oscar Wilde in his Epigrams: Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young. This is not strictly true. What Wilde really speaks of is not the mask (which has been a part of ritual and theater since ancient time) but, rather, anonymity.

Today we see the most obvious example of this online, with those individuals who, using fake names and cartoon avatars, post the kind of derogatory and inflammatory comments on social media and blogs that they would never say in person.

Yet, anonymity and society are partly the same thing. Those who are attacked are usually those who do not conform in dress, taste in music, beliefs, or opinions.

People often appear to be swept up in whatever is the latest “thing,” buying and wearing the latest fashion as it reaches a certain level of popularity, and ditching as it begins to lose popularity. The same applies, of course, to other aspects of society: cars, technology, cuisine, and even politics and social opinions. To be as fashionable as possible (whether in style or opinions) is contradictory: it is, in a sense, to make a display of conforming. It is, like fame itself, a kind of public anonymity in terms of the real self. Continue reading “The Mask of The Higher Self”

The Tragedy of Young Men

“There’s a huge investment in the Western world in self-destructive young men. We need to have these tragedies acted out for us… because we want to imagine what it must be like without actually having to do it ourselves.” — Joy Division – Under Review (1:04:26).

Consider professional boxing. It has a well-known track record of multi-million-dollar, champion boxers going broke — perhaps the best-known example of which is Mike Tyson. Likewise, according to one estimation, 80% of NFL players go broke three years after within three years of being out of the league. Leaving sport aside, singers and musicians have, as we know, ended up ripped off and/or dead — Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis being among the latter group. Continue reading “The Tragedy of Young Men”