IMAGE: Secret Handshake

IMG 01: Page 01 of First Grand Constitution & Bylaws.
IMG 02: From Sacred Drift: Essays on the Margins of Islam by Peter Lamborn Wilson. Described as Moorish Freemasonry symbols.
IMG 03: From the First Grand Constitution & Bylaws official document.
IMG 04: From the Book M official document.

In its oldest form the handshake signified the handing of power from a god to an early ruler. This is reflected in the Egyptian verb 'to give', the hieroglyph for which is an extended hand. One of the most peaceful and trustworthy gestures we have today is the firm clasp of hands between two people. It acknowledges friendships new and old, and confirms business agreements between people of honourable intent. Once upon a time, before we became so enmeshed in our webs of legal red tape, no written contract could bind a man more firmly to his commitment than giving his own hand on it, and family and heirs would honour that 'gentlemen's agreement' long after he had passed away.

When two strangers offer their hands towards one another it is the yielding to peace and an agreement to communicate. Having a grasp on one another's palms renders them non-combative and is thus a surrendering to co-operation. The greeting of the European settlers and the North American Indians consisted of the flat palm raised with fingers pointed to the sky, showing the absence of concealed weapons, followed by a clasping of the hands. Today, the handshake has become so universally a sign of mutual respect, that it is considered a personal insult to refuse an extended hand when greeted or introduced. It is also considered a sign of ignorance if the handshake is not given with firmness, warmth, smile, and most important, with eye contact and never with a limp hand. It is common knowledge that there is many secret handshakes amongst the Freemasons indicating a 'secret liaisons' amongst their companionship as 'Friends of God' expressed as Divine Unity.

During the early part of the 14th century in Basel, a medieval Christian fellowship emerged, known as Gottesfreunde (Friends of God) it then spread to Germany and the Netherlands. The Friends of God included men and women representing all social classes and states of life, clerical, religious, and lay. They sought as a community to cultivate a life of interior devotion and intense prayer because they felt a need to draw together in love, piety, and holiness, the Friends of God presaged the 16th-century Reformation. Some of its leaders, attacking corruption in the Western church and expecting a subsequent intervention of God, were tried and executed for heresy.

This idea of 'Friends of God' is not unfamiliar to the Muslims in the term
walā (plural awliyā) which has most commonly, and totally inadequately, been translated by the term 'saint', a translation that opens the door to endless confusion and ambiguity, so much so that when the word is applied to God it is frequently translated as 'protector'. In fact, as is indicated by the Persian term dāst which is its translation in current usage, it always bears the sense of 'Friend'. The idea originates in the verb form tawallā, which means 'to take as a friend'. Hence the definition of walā is 'he whose case God takes up in friendship'. The Arabic root besides meaning 'friend' also possesses the meaning of initiatic dominion or power in the term walāyah. The word walāyah has a Latin equivalent in the word affinitas. The link of spiritual affinity denoted by the walāyah corresponds in Shi'ism to the Christian notion of communio sanctorum. The handshake symbolizes this archetypal idea of 'bond' and 'alliance'.


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