By Lynn Brunet
The artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) and the author Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) either express of their paintings a feeling of foreboding and confinement in bleak, ritualistic areas. This booklet identifies many similarities among the areas and actions they evoke and the initiatory practices of fraternal orders and mystery societies that have been an essential component of the social panorama of the eire skilled by way of either males in the course of childhood.
Many of those Irish societies modelled their ritual buildings and symbolism at the Masonic Order. Freemasons use the time period ‘spurious Freemasonry’ to designate these rituals no longer sanctioned by way of the Grand inn. The Masonic writer Albert Mackey argues that the spurious kinds have been these derived from some of the cult practices of the classical international and describes those initiatory practices as ‘a process critical and hard trials’. This interpreting of Bacon’s and Beckett’s paintings attracts on theories of trauma to indicate that there's a demanding hyperlink among Bacon’s stark imagery, Beckett’s imprecise performances and the unofficial use of Masonic rites.
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Extra info for 'A Course of Severe and Arduous Trials': Bacon, Beckett and Spurious Freemasonry in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland (Reimagining Ireland)
In the ritual abuse of children the exposure to frightening scenes are intended to shock the child and to silence him. The process involves repeated applications of shock that are graded according to the age of the child. Each shock is more frightening than the last and each is intended to confuse and alarm the child to the point where he or she faints with terror and, in losing consciousness, loses all conscious access to the information. The series of images on the theme of the Crucifixion appear to be representing an even more terrifying layer of experience than that already discussed.
One of Bacon’s favourite films was Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin, which he saw many times. The film depicts an uprising of ordinary sailors against their officers Francis Bacon, Royal Arch Rites and the ‘Passing of the Veils’ 21 and is a celebration of fraternity in the context of the Russian Revolution. 50 In the context of the initiatory experience, losing control of the ‘perambulator’ can signify a loss of control of the rites so that they are not performed according to the stipulations of Grand Lodge but are modified to include any number of bizarre behaviours combined with the traditional rituals.
50 In the context of a warrior elite the cult of Mithras, the Persian god of light, had historically been interwoven with Druidic practice. This military cult was popular amongst Roman soldiers in the first and second centuries and was a mystery religion in which the candidates had to pass through numerous degrees. 51 Lewis Spence suggests that it closely resembled Freemasonry and cites Algernon Herbert, who suggested that the late flourishing of paganism in Britain and parts of Europe involved a mongrel blend of Druidism, Mithraism and modern Freemasonry.
'A Course of Severe and Arduous Trials': Bacon, Beckett and Spurious Freemasonry in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland (Reimagining Ireland) by Lynn Brunet