n all civilizations throughout human history, there are and have been philosophers and mystics who, being deeply proficient in the inner workings of Nature, banded together and formed religio-philosophic schools, often times sanctioned by the state. Promulgating the abstract knowledge of the mysteries of Nature, these secret societies became appropriately known as the Mystery Schools, and their sacred rites constituted "the Mysteries."
In Egypt, India, Greece, China, Chaldea, Persia, the Americas, Europe and more, these noble institutions taught ritualistically, under the guise of allegory and symbol, great moral and spiritual truths only to those who, after strict trial and examination, had so subdued their passions as to purify themselves of all personal ambition and had thus consecrated their lives in the name of God to the unselfish service of humanity. Plato, himself an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, explained that, "the ultimate design of the Mysteries... was to lead us back to the principles from which we descended, that is, to a perfect enjoyment of [spiritual] good, the imparting of these principles was doubtless one part of the doctrine contained in the [teaching]," (Thomas Taylor, The Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries). To the candidates was revealed a teaching as old as time which was guarded vigilantly by those who possessed it as a result of their direct experience thereof. The validity and significance of their knowledge and teachings is evidenced in part by the fact that it is the same in all instances.

Most of the great, cryptic minds whom we admire, reference and quote were initiates of the inner circles of these schools.  In fact, these were the "orders of priesthood" into which our ancient friend and Brother, Pythagoras, was initiated. He was welcomed into the Egyptian, Babylonian and Brahmanic Mysteries, his name being preserved in the records of the latter as the "Ionian Teacher," according to Frank C. Higgins, 32°, in his Ancient Freemasonry. Upon his return to Greece to establish his own mystic school at Crotona, he was both satisfied and unsurprised to have found that they all taught the same moral and spiritual realities. This wise initiate, who exclaimed, "eureka," upon uncovering that which was lost, was not a Mason in the modern sense of the word, as Masonry in its modern form did not exist then. He is regarded as such, however, due to the fact that the various Mystery traditions into which he was initiated inculcated the same sublime truths and principles found in Freemasonry. 

A thorough study of the Ancient Mysteries, wherever they are to be found, will evidence most clearly and unquestionably their relation to modern Freemasonry. Manly P. Hall, 33°, notes that "the school of the Druids was divided into three distinct parts, and the secret teachings embodied therein are practically the same as the mysteries concealed under the allegories of Blue Lodge Masonry," (The Secret Teachings of All Ages). Intense examination of character and morals was required of candidates for the Mysteries, and they were obligated to secrecy once initiated, familiar penalties being the consequence for the violation thereof. Candidates were made to enact the local cultural myths and legends which were employed to instruct them in abstract matters concerning the dichotomies of spirit and matter, body and soul, morality and metaphysics, or the science of the invisible in its relation with the visible. A contextual symbol of importance here is the square and compass, and behind it lies a profound metaphysical implication. In the expositions which will follow in subsequent publications, we shall continue to explore the Masonic Mysteries as a perpetuation of an ancient yet ageless teaching.

Brother Tanner Willhite

Senior Deacon

Redmond Lodge #154