A fun thing about Masonic symbolism is that you can look at it with different approaches. Some see only Christian or Jewish symbolism, others will compare it to the mysteries of Mithras. Here we have an author who has found “The Psychedelic Secret of Freemasonry” as the subtitle for this book goes.
The author had extensive experience with entheogens before joining a lodge. Entheogens are psychoactive substances found in plants and fungi. He recognised Masonic symbolism from his previous experiments and wrote this little book (180 pages) about his findings. This leads to some interesting suggestions.
Newman found several kinds of Acacia that contain entheogens giving a new meaning to the symbol of the Acacia in Freemasonry and perhaps even a suggestion as to how “Cassia” later became “Acacia”.
In a similar vein Newman explains the strange double meaning of the second degree password which feels forced with the normal explanation, but which makes perfect sense from ‘an entheogenic point of view’.
With the fly agaric mushroom he more of less leaves Masonic symbolism and he finds references to this white-spotted red mushroom in Grail legends, among the Rosicrucians and with Aleister Crowley who supposedly used his sexual symbolism to hide his mushroom experiments.
After authors with similar theories about the mysteries of Mithras, even religion in general, Newman pulls the psychedelic card on Masonic symbolism. This is not always entirely convincing and -as mentioned- he does not only focus on Freemasonry, but it sure is amusing to look at the symbolism this way.
2018 The Laudable Pursuit, isbn 0578194007