The material world will never become a better place until we join forces to improve it. And before we can improve the world, we must strive to improve ourselves.
For me, the quest for self-improvement and spiritual satisfaction has led down numerous paths. In the end, perhaps all paths will lead to the same destination.
The Masonic Lodge was the first fraternal order to make an impression on me. As a child, I just knew that my father tended to visit "the lodge" every week. He and my grandfather both wore gold rings with red stones marked by the compass and square. For a long time, I thought it was because they were carpenters. Later I learned it was the mark of a different type of builder.
My father, Billy Riser, and my grandfather, CeDelle Netherland, will always be the two finest men I've ever had the good fortune to know. A lot of what I've become, I owe to them. Both exemplified the best their path had to offer -- even when it seemed they were the only ones interested in perpetuating those values.
In spite of their example, I never petitioned the Mason's for membership. Instead, I found a home with the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC. If you seek inner peace, enlightenment and harmony with the universe, I can't recommend membership in this Order highly enough. The structured study, discipline and fellowship it offers are of great benefit to anyone who seeks the path of the mystic.
This eventually led me to become a student of Martinism and a member of the Traditional Martinist Order. I've found it to be a great aid in the study of symbolism and the kabala. It's also helped me find a better understanding of myself, mankind and our place in the universe.
Through these brotherhoods, I've met many fellow travelers, those interested in understanding not only how the universe works, but why it works. I've yet to meet a Rosicrucian who wasn't trying to make the world a better place for his fellow man.
I feel especially privileged in making the acquaintance of Gary Stewart, the former head of AMORC, who now leads the Confraternity of the Rose Cross (CR+C) and the Order of the Militia Crucifera Evangelica (OMCE). Gary Stewart is, in my humble opinion, one of the modern world's greatest mystics as well as a gifted scholar in the field of western mysticism.
The OMCE is an invitation-only organization dedicated to creating a spiritual state in a mundane world. Part of the Order's statement of purpose explains:
"Today, the Order of the Militia Crucifera Evangelica embraces and perpetuates the spiritual objectives of the movement referred to simply as 'the western esoteric tradition.' Not a military order at all in the physical sense, its brothers and sisters are militant only in their personal attitudes about maintaining and fostering spiritual principles in their lives. One very basic principle concerns the law that the ends do not justify the means in this Earth culture, humanity. Universal or natural laws and principles apply to everyone equally and operate with or without the knowledge and certainly without the control of any individual or group. The eternal quest for knowledge and truth follows the same inner pathway of the heart for all accordingly to natural law, regardless of gender, race, creed or origin. Each individual must be given total freedom to decide which path must be taken personally."
CR+C is a Rosicrucian brotherhood in which men and women may study the western esoteric tradition of Rosicrucianism and learn to understand and apply the natural laws which both the macrocosm and the microcosm follow.
Imperator Stewart honored me with an invitation to become a free chevalier in the OMCE following a series of e-mail discussions. For a long time, I held dual memberships in both AMORC and CR+C as well.
Eventually, I reached a point where it became necessary to step away from most of these organizations. This should not be construed as a negative reflection on any of these groups. If anything, I see it as proof they did their jobs well. My membership in AMORC, CR+C, OMCE and the traditional Martinist Order prepared me for the time when it became necessary to leave the public and visiible groups in order to pursue the path I now follow.
I still maintain membership in AMORC in order to keep in touch with new initiates. However, my main focus has turned to a more private vehicle for the Great Work.
I enjoy discussing mysticism and modern esoteric organizations with anyone who has an interest in the field. Just drop me a line at email@example.com if you'd like to talk.
My Essays on Mysticism
Documents of Interest to Mystics
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