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A Very Misunderstood Book!
on 14 January 2012
General Albert Pike, 1809-1891. Was an American lawyer, author and soldier, he was also a Freemason.
After the American Civil War he devoted his life to advancing the cause of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the Southern United States. From 1859 until his death he was Sovereign Grand Commander (33 degree) of the AASR Southern Jurisdiction, USA, during which time he re-worked the Scottish Rite degrees and he went on to write this book to explain it all to his members.
This book is mainly of interest because it is often misquoted by Internet based conspiracy theorists as the basis of their madcap theories about Freemasonry. It is a shame that few, if any, of them have actually read or even seen a copy of it. They also tend to be either unaware or unwilling to accept the fact that the majority of Freemasons outside (and inside )of the Southern Jurisdiction of the US have neither heard of Pike or that his influence was restricted purely to that part of America.
Although the devil and satan are mentioned, it is only in passing, you won't find the secrets of masonic: serpent, demon or obelisk worship in this book, as it doesn't exist. Around 80% per cent of the book is composed of history lessons about ancient civilisations (inc. Egypt, Greece, China, India, Persia and many, many more) and their superstitions and religious observances.
The main thrust of the book seems to be to compare these subjects as well as the "Ancient Mysteries" to the AASR as taught in the SJ in order to make it their inheritor. You do get the feeling that Pike was well read and knowledgeable on these subjects until you take the time to read the Preface. It states, in a matter of fact way, that "he has extracted quite half its contents from the works of the best writers and most philosophic or eloquent thinkers". It then justifies his lack of credits to these writers by saying that the book is not meant for the "World at large" anyway, so that's all right then.