Concluding remarks

It therefor appears, that with masonic usages there is a large number, that have a striking resemblance with those of Heathen-cultic societies, and also with the, to the latter related world-view and practices. Considering each separately the proof for coherence with the past for several correspondences are weak and also debatable, but taken in its entirety, it is likely, that also these cases of doubt can be connected to the Heathen past. For a large number of points of masonic symbolism no references could be found, but this is the result of the earlier mentioned reasons (later additions of building symbolism, Christian-Jewish symbols and hermetic, kabbalistic, alchemical symbolism, etc.).

But for some points it is also possible that no ancient parallels can be given, because only a limited part of the faith and cult came to us, as is for example proven by references to many unknown myths in the Eddas. Everything from that time has been so fought and rooted out by the church, that we can only can only be surprised about the fact that so much can be found back in freemasonry. Presumably the catholic church also also determined this and thus assessing freemasonry as Heathen and devilish can for a good part be lead back to the fact, that in this organisation much from Heathen times was preserved.

Among the correspondences that we found there are a number, which, as we said in the beginning, also have resemblances to that which can also be found in Southern Europe, in Egypt or in the Orient, and therefor these are less strong to prove the lineage to the North. But there are about twenty five points of similarity, that unequivocally demonstrate their exclusive origin in Heathen Northern Europe, more than enough to accept, that also the other correspondences were not derived from the South, and so speak out the suspicion, that there, where no northern parallels were found, our lack of sufficient knowledge regarding antiquity plays an important part.

The points, that by lack of similarities with the South – even though in some cases they can only be constructed in a distorted manner – can only come from Northern Europe, are the following: the landmarks; the North as important direction; the North-East as place for the first stone; the three pillars; the three greater lights; the woven cord; the blue degrees; the three dots; the opening of the lodge; the expression ‘from midday until midnight’; the clothing of the candidate; the punishment to breaking the oath; the knotting of the band of the apron; the sign of the 1º; the three steps; the flaming star; the letter G; the winding stairs and the middle room; the grave of Hiram; the steps over the grave; the whispered word; the words M.B.; the royal salute; the contract with the devil; the Scottish master; the three toasts.

Therefor there is not only a large part of masonic symbolism that is derived from Northern Europe, but, what is much more important, also the nucleus of masonic initiation is, the death and resurrection – whatever significance one would connect to it – has its parallels in Northern initiations. Together with the essence also the forms, used to express this symbolically, were brought by remnants of men-bonds into building lodges [“bouwhutten”], which in their turn passed them on to the guilds, from which freemasons almost certainly in their turn derived one thing or another, to, as mentioned, partly deform this and complement with other elements.

To close off, the following. It may have been noticed, that for most similarities, especially with building lodges [“bouwhutten”] and guilds, parallels can especially be found on the continent, while the origin of modern freemasonry should be sought in England. The reason for this is, that we learned more about building lodges [“bouwhutten”] and guilds on the continent than from  England or Scotland. Still we have also found some parallels there and may assume, that similar customs existed in building lodges [“bouwhutten”] and guilds as on the continent. That so many similarities between Antiquity and masonic symbolism were found, may even be an indication, that the same symbolism must have existed in English building lodges [“bouwhutten”] and building guilds, even though only little has survived.

Thus Franz Farwerck concludes (pages 176/7) his little and hard-to-get (it was self-published in 1955 in an edition of 750 copies) Noord-Europa. Een der bronnen van de Maçonnieke symboliek. (‘Northern Europe, one of the sources of Masonic symbolism’).

It proved quite a task to translate only two pages in slightly old-fashioned Dutch to English, trying to keep some of Farwerck’s ‘stuffed writing style’ (many sentences-in-sentences, many commas).

Hopefully this little text gives an idea of the live’s work of the man and the conclusions that he reached. After this little book his investigations would continue for another two decades by the way.

One comment

  1. Bonjour,

    Parlez-vous français ?

    Je suis un petit-fils de Carl-Wilhelm Farwerck et Johanna Borrius.

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