Completing Dr David West’s trilogy* of Leadership and Freemasonry, Hamilton House has now published his book on the Royal Arch. “The Enigma of the Royal Arch” analyses thelogical and historical inconsistencies of our order and provides answers to them all.
• Dr West shows how that Freemasons do not see the Royal Arch as the keystone of the masonic structure. • He describes the way other constitutions manage the order and finds an important difference to solve a significant problem faced by the English constitution. • In analysing the logic of the ritual in England, he reveals a central incoherence between the legend of the third degree and that of the Royal Arch. After all, a secret never to be indited is inconsistent with one engraved on a plate of gold. • He asks whether the Royal Arch is Ancient or Antient - and uses the two words to resolve the meaning of “Pure Antient/Ancient Freemasonry”. • He demonstrates that the 18th century had two separate and distinct legends, one about the Mason Word, a certificate of competence, and the other about the loss of the pronunciation of the sacred name. It is the compression of the two legends intoone that is the root of the incoherence that causes the failure of all modern attempts to connect the Royal Arch with the Craft. • He indicates that the Royal Arch was once a Christian allegory referring to the life of Christ and that while de-Christianising the Craft was easy, the attempt to do the same to the Royal Arch undermined its meaning. • He suggests we can re-build the de-Christianised Royal Arch to teach moral or spiritual lessons in a secular culture. • While change is difficult in our order, we should remember that what we have today is the result of many changes in the past. Indeed the third degree might have been very different. The Hiramic legend might not have been part of Freemasonry.
* The first is about managing the lodge: Things to do when you have nothing to do: never be short of candidates again. The second is Managing the Future of Freemasonry and is about leadership of the Craft.