Masonry and Alchemy

Dear Unknown Friend,

Some thoughts, as I poke around a copy of the Register House Manuscript (1696) – documents from the 17th and 18th century clearly establish that many Speculative (perhaps even Accepted) Masons in Scotland (and the UK), believed a connection between Masonry with Rosicrucianism.

Rosicrucianism is a peculiarly protestant (and German) vein of hermeticism, itself being an amalgam of Olympic/alchemical/enochian/kabbalistic practices/philosophies, holding a particular reverence for alchemy. Alchemy has as its chief – and as of yet unattainable – aim the crafting of a stone, which possesses the power to transmute metals.

We as Masons, style ourselves workers in stone, having placed as the chief Craftsman of all time (note the participation in a Trinity), a mythic character whose work, was not primarily stone, but in alloys (transmuted metals): homogeneous mixtures of two elements, resulting in a substance with different properties from those of its components. Not unlike the rebis (two of one things).

The parallels are intriguing, if nothing else.

Recommend Reading:

Freemasonry: A History, Angel Millar.
The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century, 1590 to 1710, David Stevenson