The Symposium of Philadelphia ("brotherly love"):
A spiritual-philosophical order--that is, a spiritual community--for men


The need for an order such as this one arises as the consequence of the demand of our time for the emergence of "true men."

A true man is one whose love for and sense of oneness with his fellow men leads him:

To experience woman as the Other whose truest inherent qualities inspire respect and devotion, out of the awareness of men's historical participation in the violation of the ideal of womanhood;

To the deepest feeling of pain that this violation has masked, for many women, the glory and power of masculine love;

To a commitment, through loving his fellow men, to building solidarity among men toward the goal of transforming violating tendencies in the masculine race.

The Symposium's contribution to such transformation consists in:

Study of spiritual-scientific materials elucidating the nature of the emergence of the sexes and the qualities flowing from the difference in their constitutions, in order to school Thinking, that its life may come into harmony with impulses flowing from divine worlds that seek to guide human spiritual evolution towards the emergence of true human beings.

Workshops for the cultivation of a life of Fellow-Feeling that is the proper basis for civilized existence.

Guidance, as sought, for individual practice in accordance with the consciousness that the life of the Will can be the expression of an impulse to penetrate the Earth with divine love.

Participation in the Symposium is predicated upon an interest in other men whose nature is that it includes respect for the quality of response to masculine beauty that underlies gay and bisexual culture in this time. At the center of the Symposium's interest, in continuation of the impulse expressed in the dialogue of Plato from which it takes its name, is an immersion in a discipline for the permeation of sensuality with spirituality. This discipline begins with the recognition that, contrary to a prevalent misconception in some circles, sensuality is not inevitably or necessarily inherently spiritual, but must be made so by conscious human striving to bring into the experience of the senses impulses from the life of Thinking, Feeling, and Willing that have their origin in a Higher Thought, Higher Feeling, and Higher Will.


The Symposium's discipline is expressed fundamentally in a Rule consisting of seven practical precepts:

I. Since spiritual progress depends upon the work a soul can do with what it brings into Sleep from the striving of any given day, no day may go without immersion in some form of meditative or contemplative activity designed to deepen the soul's contact with thoughts about the nature of its own, humanity's, and the Earth's spiritual progress.

II. Since social life can and needs to experience transformation out of such meditative or contemplative activity, Symposium participants are encouraged to cultivate a form of conversation--the basis of social existence--that takes its inspiration from the concern for that spiritual progress that meditative or contemplative activity, practiced with proper seriousness, has the effect of deepening.

III. Since spiritual progress and improvements in social life depend upon the quality of our relationship to Things, each participant's relationship to what he owns is a proper object of scrutiny by himself and, in brotherhood, other Symposium participants.

IV. Since the quality of our relationship to Things begins with the quality of our relationship, as spiritual beings, to our physical-material body, since the life of the senses of that body can and should undergo spiritualization, permeating sensuality with spirituality, if social life is to be transformed, and since the ultimate social problem arising from our sensual natures is the problem of our relationship to one another bodily, at the heart of the Symposium's discipline is the practice of scrutiny of, inquiry about, and questioning engagement with the senses' response to the bodily presence, image of the bodily presence, or imagined bodily presence of others, in order to fathom its moral dimension.

V. Since the deepest moral questions regarding our relationship to one another bodily pertain to sexual encounter, and since, for the male, sexual encounters revolve, in their nature, around the impulse to send forth semen, for the Symposium all inquiry about the permeation of sensuality with spirituality culminates in the question: how can the semen, as a physical-material substance of the physical-material body, be spiritualized?

VI. Since the spiritualization of anything depends upon its coming into harmony with Higher impulses, and since these Higher impulses flow, by their nature, like a waterfall vertically from Height to Depth, in order to admit these forces access to the social organism the Symposium is, conversation in the Symposium takes its guidance from Higher Worlds. The power of the Higher impulses to imbue the community of the Symposium with their Qualities will depend upon the harmony that can emerge between this vertical guidance, experienced as imagination, inspiration, and intuition on the part of Symposium participants, and the institutor or his representative's efforts to see to it that every individual's freedom to contribute to the community of conversation is respected.

VII. Since all healthy community life rests upon the capacity to respect differences, and since authentic spiritual, as any other, striving results in differences in the level of development of individuals, the Symposium's participants will find their level of participation.

Adopted Brother: The Adopted Brother is progressing on the meditative/contemplative path but does not feel completely comfortable speaking freely about his relationship to what he owns.

Half-brother: The Half-brother is progressing on the meditative/contemplative path and feels comfortable speaking freely about his relationship to what he owns, but has not yet committed himself to treating his possessions as if they were his brother's as well.

True Brother: The True Brother is progressing on the meditative/contemplative path, feels comfortable speaking freely about his relationship to what he owns, and has committed himself to treating his possessions as if they were his brother's as well, but due to other obligations in life does not feel free to do so in every case even when the brother in question truly deserves this treatment. A True Brother is considered a participant in The Brotherhood Project.

Father: The Father is progressing on the meditative/contemplative path, feels comfortable speaking freely about his relationship to what he owns, has committed himself to treating his possessions as if they were his brother's, and feels perfectly free to do so in every case where the brother in question truly deserves this treatment. The institutor must have attained the Grade of Father; if, at the death of the institutor, no one living has attained this Grade, the Symposium is dissolved.

Individuals may participate in the life of the Symposium as Visitors.

John Stirling Walker, institutor

For further information, please contact Doug Reed at dougiereed@gmail.com.