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Villard de Honnecourt international - review n°2 - The sacred way (EN)

Villard de Honnecourt international - review n°2 - The sacred way (EN)

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Auteur :
Gérard Icart & collectif

Éditeur :

Collection :
Villard de Honnecourt international

Date de parution :
décembre 2018

Format :
24 x 15 cm

Nombre de pages :

Poids :
0,57 kg

International review n° 2 En


Jean-Pierre Rollet
Deputy Grand Master, Grand Chancellor of the Grande Loge Nationale Française

About the sacred in and around Freemasonry

Pierre Noël
Supreme Council of Belgium

Reflections on the Initiatory Path as a Spiritual way

Jacques-Noel Peres
French lutheran theologian
Professor of patristic theology and ancient history of the church at the Faculty of theology

Searching for a lost Ethic

Annick De Souzenelle
Author, academic and theologian

The Grotto and the Experience of holiness in Islam and Sufism

Thierry Zarcone
Historian and author
Research director at the CNRS

Initiatory stages within medieval Vishnuism

Robert Amyot
Essayist and lecturer
Specialist of the initiatic Orient

The Sacred Way in the City

Francois-Xavier Tassel
PhD. in town planning, academic, writer and philosopher

A symbolic way, the Music

Olivier Pino
Pianist and musician
Educationalist and musicologist

A symbolic path through masonics objects

Marc-Henri Cassagne
Essayist and Lecturer
Assistant Curator of The Museum of the Grande Loge Nationale Française

Foreword by Jean-pierre ROLLET

Deputy grand master - Grand Chancellor of the Grande Loge Nationale Française

In this second edition of our Villard de Honnecourt International Review, we wanted to group together contributions investigating a fundamental question, both broad and spiritual, revealing works carried out until today. Our first edition dealt with the path towards Masonry, laying out our established origins, our fundamental codex and inviting us to engage upon the first symbolic researches which constitute the two means by which Free-Masonry reveals itself: initiatory rite and symbolic work.

The theme of this second edition: “The Sacred Way” is a field of study as vast as it is worthwhile, a path which belongs to each of us individually although it is shared collectively. If each of us can find part of this path within himself, with his own approach which could be through music, architecture, holy texts, religious revelations taken in a symbolic sense or simply by abnegation and dedication to others, it is obvious that this sacred Way has a universal meaning. Its essence is greater than our own judgement, it reveals a concept which is superior to us.

Just like the mosaic pavement to be found in the center of our Lodges, the sacred Way, as a path towards the Truth, is looked upon by Masons, through its contrasting, even its opposing aspects, which finishes by allowing us to catch sight, for as much as we accept to take off our profane veil, of a truth which is greater than the difference between black squares and white squares. 

So, the sacred Way explains the infinitely small through its showing the infinitely big, it reveals the macrocosm by appealing to the sound of the microcosm, revealing what the profane eye sees as an opposition but perceived by the initiated as a union.

It is often said that Masonry is an initiatory route, a quest. Thus, it is easy to deduce that the term “way” is suitable for this work. The way, indicates a path, i.e. a departure, a transition (or a transhumance) and an arrival (not 

necessarily definitive). This implies movement, a change of state, a mutation. If we continue by analogy, we can presume that there is no return to the departure point on this path because we would return changed. In the same way, we can try to imagine this path in our minds. 

Undoubtedly, it is easy to imagine an ordinary path but how can we picture the sacred Way?

We can start by accepting that this particular path has as many departure points as there are Men, as many routes as there are roads of elevation and quests. 

This path could be represented by a pyramidal way which unites at its summit what was unattached at its base, or rather like the emblem of our Lodge of research “Villard de Honnecourt”, by a sacred labyrinth where all the paths travelled around it are united in its center. The wealth of Masonic research resides in the amazing diversity of departure points and routes to be taken. It is also the fundamental realization that on this interior path, one cannot progress without walking with the other, sharing all or part of the way, borrowing the other’s path in order to find together greatness, beauty and fullness.

The culmination of the sacred Way cannot be identified by Man since it touches the domain of the divine. This point is as capital and shared as its form is lost for Man. The original Logos, present in everything, is not easily to be seen in anything. 

Symbols and languages (like Geometry) reveal a sketch to us, like chalked lines on a blackboard but its integrality will not become apparent to Man in his state. For the regular Free-Mason, the quest undertaken only leads to our actual human essence, placing us outside of time and profane noise to seek the sound, the fundamental echo, the trace of what Masons call the Great Architect of the Universe. 

In this volume 2, this research on the sacred Way will lead us on varied paths with different approaches and we will surely find elements of union.

We will start our route in spheres which are known to us, those taken by Free-Masons in Lodges, firstly with Pierre Noel, looking for the presence of the sacred, then in a reflection on the initiatory path as the spiritual path with Jacques Noel Peres. 

In these worlds we will find landmarks showing us, not where to find the sacred Way, but what it is made of: the question of the sacred through separation from daily life  by group practice, the question of time which is not completely timeless but obligatorily different from time in our profane life. The sacred Way is an orthonormal way, in which a major axis East/West (the sun’s course and cardinal points) has been respected by Man for such a long time. This alignment whose deeper sense is shown by the sun’s course which unites ancient alined stones together by the course of their shadows. This revelation is essential on the sacred Way, it implies a meaning, first hidden, then revealed, which justifies the opening and the closing of works in Lodge, which also distinguishes the Temple from the Lodge. Just as the Table of the Lodge, the meaning of this world can be given as being either established a priori or a posteriori.

The sacred Way does not start from a departure point as much as from an initiatory point, from the Latin Initium, which signifies a commencement, a beginning, but also the idea of adherence to the principle. 

From this principle a path is born, historically represented by a bridge between heaven and earth, upon which the Free-Mason launches his quest. Jacques Noël Pérès describes this starting point by the etymological meaning of the word “gnosis” which means to learn to know, i.e. to look in a different way. The sacred Way is above all freedom from our preconceptions through entering a sanctuary. 

In this sanctuary the Mason finds the other, he will also find a code, a norm and a love of work. Contrary to the profane world, these values are presented as vectors of liberty and elevation. As deep as we can dive inside ourselves, we elevate ourselves towards the universal principle provided that we are true wisemen. True wisdom consists in uniting our 2 lives – the Masonic and the symbolic – because, at the point of intersection of these two lives, I am what I want to be.

This reflection is completed by the work of Annick de Souzenelle who leads us to think about the union of matter and the spirit, to Man and heaven and earth and thus to the universal principle.

Next, we will continue our quest for the sacred Way by wandering in worlds which are sometimes poorly understood but nevertheless extremely enrichening. With Thierry Zarcone, we enter the Grotto as a vector of the sacred, a retreat from the world in Islam, a grotto both real and interiorized. Again we will be struck by “the inconceivable simultaneous unity between unity and multiplicity” (in one word the universal?) in Vishnuism studied by Robert Amyot.

Lastly we shall travel in three worlds where the question of the sacred is asked in an obvious way when reading the reference works of François-Xavier Tassel on the sacred Way in the city, of Olivier Pino on music as a symbolic way, who describes this art as a spiritual and initiatory language, harmony as the balancing of proportions which takes us to geometry, so close to our hearts and, we end our journey with Marc-Henri Cassagne who unveils the sacred way through Masonic objects. 

It only remains for me to wish you a good reading of this edition of our international review and to call on you to join us in carrying out these works, to contribute to future editions, for, in the same manner as the sacred Way can be described, these research works, the essential quest, are as much yours as ours.

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