Retrived from http://www.masonicinfo.com/esotericismfaq.htm
Masonicinfo Note: Both Masons and non-Masons alike are often confused when the subject of esoterica is raised. This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) was prepared by a Texas Mason who seeks no credit for this work but has offered it to us in order to present a balanced understanding of what Masonic Esoteric study is really all about. It is, we feel, a very fair and objective treatment of this area which so very often causes contention, confusion, and concern - even amongst members of the Fraternity as explained below. We greatly appreciate the time and effort which went into its preparation and thank him for the opportunity to present it here. We believe that both Masons and their detractors, if they took the time to understand what has been written here, would find far fewer objections to those who study esoteric matters.
1. What is esotericism, and how does it differ from the "esoteric work" of Masonic ritual?
a. Here is the entry for "esoteric" from Miriam-Webster:
Etymology: Late Latin esotericus, from Greek esOterikos, from esOterO, comparative of eisO, esO within, from eis into; akin to Greek en in -- more at IN
1 a : designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone <a body of esoteric legal doctrine -- B. N. Cardozo> <an esoteric purpose> <esoteric building materials>
Masonicinfo Note: Just because an organization claims to be "Freemasonry" or "true Freemasonry" doesn't mean that they are. As our section on Masonic Fakes and Phonies shows, there are those who wish, for their own personal gain and profit, to exploit individuals who may be interested in esoteric matters - and they have, at best, a tangential attachment to Freemasonry while at worst, they're simply con artists! Do not be misled and do not join an organization hoping some great spiritual enlightenment will come to you because you've paid some amount in dues. Be cautious in your affiliations and ensure that if you want to join Freemasonry, you are joining for (a) the right reasons and (b) the right organization!
Just getting started?
Those just beginning the path of esoteric studies or those who feel they really should understand more in this area can be greatly overwhelmed by the many contradictory readings and tomes found online. Where does one begin? From personal experience, this site's author would strongly recommend Frances Yates' "The Rosicrucian Enlightenment". It's not written like a 'dummies' book, certainly, but it does an extraordinary job helping someone to take their first steps in this murky area. Once read, so many things will become clear and you'll have a much better grounding for later study knowing what's real and what's simply imagination. It's a book not to be missed! The best part is that it's really quite inexpensive - and you can get it for your Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device or iPhone as well!
Even if you've already begun studying esoteric matters, this book is one you shouldn't ignore!
Page added: 20 June 2004
Yahoo Groups address changed: 19 February 2005; Book recommendation added: November 20, 2009