Freemasonry for the Heart and Mind: Sketches from an Esoteric Notebook
By Julian Rees
Published by Arima
This is the latest book from Julian Rees, and it is a book that explores the essence and spirituality of Freemasonry in a collection of beautiful, almost poetical essays. These essays express Freemasonry as a journey to find God, presenting extracts of poetry from Shakespeare and Wordsworth and esoteric illustrations by the talented Tanya Robinson to provide a narrative that the Masonic journey is truly universal and is something that can be found all around us in Nature.
Rees combines a lifetime of Masonic experience with a knowledge of poetry, literature and art, to portray a masterpiece of spirituality and philosophy. Rees puts forwards his direct belief system of Freemasonry as a brotherhood (and indeed sisterhood) that can build a better world of love and light:
‘…by working with one’s brethren towards a better world we can reach for the stars. We can create, through our precepts and the richness that is real Freemasonry, true goodness and harmony and light.’
Indeed, Rees emphasises this rich spiritual theme throughout his book:
‘When we speak of building I think we also mean building such harmony and brotherhood in a spirit of community…’
Rees also explores Masonic symbolism and Masonic allegory in his essays, putting forward the deeper meaning behind the Craft, and presenting what he terms ‘the beauty of Divine Humanity’. To Rees, Freemasonry is not only a brotherhood, but a college, where life-lessons can be taught on the way to shape the perfect ashlar. An example of this comes in the form of a personal story of Rees’s:
‘Some years ago, there was a Brother in a lodge who was very disputatious. He had, I think, not completely found his way to the centre. We could say that self-worth, self-esteem were lacking. In the course of his masonic career, he caused a few upsets, and caused pain to a number of his Brethren. A mutual friend said to me one day; ‘You realise, don’t you, that he has been sent to us so that we can test our tolerance. It’s part of shaping the perfect ashlar.’
The book could also be viewed as a guide to the Masonic journey, its 120 pages offering elements of Rees’s own personal pathway, presenting interpretations of the mysteries and symbolism and how they can also be found in the world around us. This is a beautiful book to read, and is highly recommended.