'The Menace Dan Brown' Author Dimitar Nedkov: Freemasonry in Bulgaria Didn't Happen the Right Way
Exclusive interview of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) with Dimitar Nedkov, top Bulgarian expert on Freemasonry.
A Novinite.com special report on Freemasonry in Bulgaria READ HERE
Dimitar Nedkov was initiated into one of the first Bulgarian Blue Lodges shortly after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. He is an active participant in the restoration of Freemasonry in Bulgaria and has served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Bulgaria. Nedkov is a Mason 33 Degree (the highest), co-founder of the Supreme Council, 33C of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, member of the International Academy of the Illuminati in Rome, former Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons in Bulgaria. An avid Masonic scholar, he is the author of “The Freemasons Returned to Bulgaria” (1998) and “The Third Millennium of Freemasonry” (2000). One of the founders of the Masonic magazine Svetlina (Light), he is also the web master of www.freemasonry.bg.
Recently, the expert in Freemasonry took a stab in fiction and, for the first time, wrote a novel, titled “33 The Menace Dan Brown,” unveiling the secrets and rituals of the Masons, their initiation oaths and some real events from the life of the Bulgarian Brotherhood.
Nedkov says that he wrote the book quickly but thought about its messages for 10 years. He heart the word Freemasons for the first time when he was 26 and a college student and had studied the secrets of the Brethren since then. Nedkov often explains that only after plowing deeply in the truly secret archives of the Freemasons, he realized the history of Freemasonry is the real history of the human kind. He proclaims his book a challenge to Bulgarian Freemasons and a demand for change because, as he says, the Brotherhood in Bulgaria did not happen the right way.
Literary experts believe Nedkov's novel would be of great interest, (they have already been proven right), because there is no other person in the country who knows more about the role of the Freemasons in Bulgaria.
The novel is an intriguing adventure from Washington DC to Sofia and is read all in one go. “33 The Menace Dan Brown” dares historians and Masons alike by revealing that not the Priory of Sion but the Bogomils were the original forefathers of the Knights Templar and that the evidence is kept in Bulgaria.
The book starts with a gathering of the Supreme Council of the Masons in the USA to tackle the issue with Brown’s scandalous book "The Lost Symbol". The top item on the agenda - whether to permit the author to publish it. "33 The Menace Dan Brown" also tells how a Bulgarian Prime Minister, after 1989, had a secret plan to ban Masons, Rotarians, Rosicrucian, Rotary and Lions clubs in the country. During a meeting in his office with the then Director of the FBI, the Bulgarian PM asked for a blessing to ban these organizations. Instead he received a warning - if Bulgaria wishes to remain a friend of the USA, enter NATO and the EU, the Premier must give up this plan.
Nedkov's novel further reveals that Pope John Paul II personally decided to arrive in Bulgaria in May 2002 and that his mission was a response to the message coded in the third secret of Our Lady of Fatima.
"Dan Brown is an inch away from the truth; he does not know everything about the lost symbol," the Freemason history expert writes in his book. Nedkov believes the American writer may very well learn this truth in Bulgaria.
You are a Mason of the highest degree, active participant in the restoration of Freemasonry in Bulgaria after 1989. What triggered your interest in Freemasonry and what was your path from the first Lodge membership to the 33rd Degree?
The definition High-degree Mason has only a symbolic meaning. In the Freemason hierarchy, the individual does not rule; what is important is the symbol of the corresponding level of knowledge of the Initiated. In Freemasonry, there are no bosses holding power through some posts. All are just servants in the temple of the Brotherhood. The Grand Master is, for example, just a supreme administrator of the Lodge, responsible for preserving the tradition. A higher degree only means more knowledge of the craft of the Freemasons.
Many years ago, I had to write a book about the history of publishing in Russia. This was the first time I came across this mysterious matter. Later, from my wise teachers, I realized that whatever people say about Freemasonry, it has always been the free territory for the fight against ignorance. This why, maybe, the main Masonic symbol is the LIGHT. Remember Goethe’s words at his death bed. He had been initiated in Freemasonry, as most of the beautiful minds of the human kind. The road to the highest degrees in the Brotherhood is long and it is not a matter of acquiring some high-ranking positions, but of their decoding in your own mind.
You have said many times that the Freemasonry in Bulgaria did not happen the right way. What do you mean and what are the reasons?
This is a painful question for the entire Masonic society in Bulgaria. Actually, what I am saying is that the Freemasonry did not happen like most everything during these long years of transition. The very argument about their legitimacy between the different Masonic organizations in Bulgaria places us light years away from the principles of the Brotherhood. It resembles very much all those religious and ethnic disputes so typical for our part of the world. We are now in the context of the Freemasonry from two centuries ago. While the Masonic world today, as everything else, is very different. But the state of Freemasonry is a reflection of the state of society.
On the other hand side, the very same essence of Freemasonry should exert a positive influence on society, in the direction of uniting all people. In old democracies, such societies are considered the true schools for civic culture. The centuries-old, traditional for Bulgarians interpersonal conflicts are the base for the split of Bulgaria’s Freemasonry. The culture of self-promoting, the disregard for the other human being, is still the foundation of the Bulgarian mentality. The lack of real societal elite is the most direct proof for the absence of a real Freemason society in certain territory.
Why (or is it for this reason) the schism in the Bulgarian Freemasonry occurred in the beginning of the 21st century and is there any hope for the unification of Bulgaria’s Freemasons?
There isn’t a schism because this is not a religion. It is also important to know what is understood as unification. If it means only the formal subjugation of the entire Masonic community to one administrative center – this would not lead to a real Masonic society. The question here is do all Initiated have a common feeling for the values of this type of Brotherhood community?
The global Brotherhood chain does not mean that all Freemasons enter their Lodges with their left foot first and even less that they are subject to some mystical supreme center. Freemasonry is a state of mind, aimed at collecting the dispersed differences at one place, at accumulating the positive energy of diversity. The unification of Bulgarian Freemasonry will make sense only as a union of all Initiated around the common humanitarian principles of the Brotherhood. Until the issue is only who would be Chief, any effort in this direction is futile.
The common mentality of Bulgarians since the 19th century looks, in the best case scenario, at Freemasons with curiosity, more often with ridicule, even disdain; Farmasonin has always been an insult. How do you explain this?
The Bulgarian mentality, as a rule, is wary of anything that pushes man to believe in himself. We are used to someone else telling us what is white and what is black and as blind people we start following him. The only meaning of Freemasonry “Know thyself!” is difficult to swallow for Bulgarians. Maybe this is why so often we have issues with our freedom – both personal and national. This has always kept us on the sidelines of the context of the global problems of humanity, in political, humanitarian, and spiritual sense.
One of the crucial reasons for the inadequate state of Freemasonry in Bulgaria is the thinking that we must practice some American, German, French or God knows what Masonry! All distortions come from our mechanical transferring of methodologies that work in totally different societies and cultures, on the base of other mentalities.
The true meaning is the adaptation of the values of Freemasonry to the cultural environment and the mentality of each separate nation. The meaning is to enrich the global Brotherhood with the uniqueness of our rites, traditions, spiritual practices, and our own understanding of the relation between humans and nature.
Many rumors are floating in Bulgaria these days – that Bulgaria’s Freemasonry after 1989 was reinstated with the help of the CIA, that our Lodges are swarming with former high-ranking Communists and agents of the Communist State Security, that only the most powerful and the wealthiest have access, that today’s Freemasons are greedy, hypocritical, faithless and profiteers.. What do you say to all this?
Bulgarian Masonry was reinstated by Bulgarian citizens. The Brotherhood is not a political tool in order to attract attention of services such as the CIA. One of the biggest global speculations regarding Freemasonry is the belief it is controlled by the special services.
To the contrary, these same services often have problems with their own employees who are vested in the Brotherhood and who refuse to blindly follow orders that would lead to new human tragedies. All over the world, the Masonic Community is maybe the only voluntary union of people, which does not judge its members by the color of their skin, their religious affiliation, political beliefs, wealth, or status in society. The members of a Masonic Lodge are, as principle, a representative sample of the entire society.
Can someone benefit from membership in the Brotherhood?
Yes. In both senses. The opportunity to enter an environment, which, with its principles and rites, creates the conditions for you to begin thinking who you are as a human being, what is your role on this earth, is a very rare opportunity for gains. This is the key to the biggest wealth a person can acquire in their life. At the same time, speculations about adherence to a Masonic Lodge with the goal of obtaining personal profits are voiced daily.
In Bulgaria, precisely this lack of knowledge about the true essence of Freemasonry leads to the constant travesty scenarios in which the membership is used for personal profiteering. However, when one realizes the Freemasonry is the philosophy of giving, not of taking, this is when you real benefits start pouring in, because you are part of the global Brotherhood chain. At least two thirds of the huge personal wealth on earth have been accumulated this way and this money is really used for the benefit of others.
And globally? Despite the fact that many Freemasons, especially in the US have been and are great personalities and are believed to be the “fathers of democracy,” still many say that Freemasonry is a secret force, pulling the strings of business and politics around the world and leading them, not necessarily, in the best direction…
This is the most common description of the public opinion about Freemasonry. Most literature about the Brotherhood is dedicated to the theme of world conspiracy. However, to determine the direction of the world and our destinies is hardly within the means of any organization. If this was possible, the world would be a much more orderly place, but we witness just the contrary.
The Masons are not the fathers of democracy or of dictatorship. The creators of any form of society and government have always been the people with their public leanings during a current historical period. In this sense, the possibilities of Freemasonry are much, much weaker than the colossal influence of different religions for example. Yes, if Freemasonry is indeed the expression of the values of a civic society, and if this society is the base of the pyramid of a democratic form of government, then it is the Brotherhood that pulls some strings.
You say that these negative perceptions are the Freemasonry’s own fault. Why?
At the end of the 20th century, Masonry itself admitted that it had been behind the actualities of modern times. The deep conservativeness of traditions and the way the Lodges are functioning alienated young people from the values of their predecessors. The Brethren turned into a global museum, a world library with values and spiritual practices unintelligible for young people.
The retrospection of the past is wandering around Lodges. And the spirit of our times, with all its pluses and minuses, is missing. If we study only the drawings of the cathedrals built several centuries ago, how are we going to design the cathedrals of the future? When we are alienated of the human thinking of today, how are we going to convince future people that the cathedrals are a metaphor of their temples? Yes, there is no one else, except Masonry itself, that is guilty about those perceptions.
At the same time, however, exactly these perceptions have been the main motivation for the Brotherhood and its positive role in the development of civilization. The fight for the freedom of the creative human thinking always passed through the stakes, the gallows, the camps, the prisons and the psychiatric clinics. Regretfully, the militant mediocrity, 80 percent of humanity, have stood before these theatrical stages of those in power and have applauded the execution of the free human thought.
And what do you say about talks of sinister Masonic rituals with the calling of demons, with sacrifice, even human?
The staging of rituals in human communication has always been of great interest, especially when it is filled with apocalyptic scenes. The smell of blood, of burned flesh and moans from the outer world, coming from behind a theater curtain, have always been exciting for the human mind. The issue here is what is the state of mind of the audience in the theater and their expectations.
Maybe when the curtain is lifted this audience will leave immediately because these expectations for another Hollywood action or reality show simply would not materialize. How many spectators would remain in the hall if the play, instead of blood, sex, and money, offered them to live through their own disappointments from their perceptions of the meaning of life until now? The sacrifice we make to our own delusions is what terrifies us and leads to unforeseeable consequences.
I know there is no way one can tell if a person is a Mason, and his membership cannot be revealed even after his death. Some, however, announce publicly their belonging. Do Masonic rites and rules allow this and is it just a matter of a personal choice?
To the contrary – you can tell immediately if someone is a Mason in life. See, this is exactly what I mean when I say the negative attitude of others is the Freemasonry’s own fault. In order to recognize the Mason, one must know the principles he has adopted in the Lodge and is practicing in life.
When someone is initiated in Freemasonry the right way, and when he publicly declares himself as such, he does not declare his membership. He only declares publicly the state of his mind and spirit. There has never been a ban to announce one’s belonging to the Brotherhood. The reasons to do it are another matter – career, wealth, hypocrisy as a way to achieve success, the treacherous acts against others in the name of one’s own gains, the strive for power…
Everyone only answers before themselves for this. But, indeed, one cannot reveal the belonging of someone else to the Brotherhood without their personal permission. The practicing of the trade of Freemasonry is a personal self-determination and state of mind. Only the individual, who had voluntarily taken this road, can give explanations. Only history has the right, without asking you, to declare you a Mason or not.
You insist Freemasonry is not filled with secrecy as people believe. Why then the rituals and what is discussed in a lodge are not accessible to those who are not initiated?
There is nothing from the world of Freemasons that is inaccessible for others. Libraries, the internet, the movies - everywhere one can read or see everything about the mysterious Masons, their principles, ideals, ways of existence and ritual systems. Everything about Freemasonry is fully accessible, but is very hard to grasp.
And this is precisely the secrecy – to find your own way to decode everything that is happening in the Lodge. All things that one discusses with themselves are discussed in the Lodges – from the moment of your birth to the one of your death. The approach to your own being is the first item on the agenda of any Lodge on earth. By going up on the steps of Masonic hierarchy one begins to compare his own approach to their attitude towards the world around them.
You say Freemasonry is a matrix to study things. Does it find the answers?
Freemasonry has always been humanity’s “beautiful mind.” Because the Lodges are the labs where the alchemical mix is made, the one of the most important antibiotic in the world – the balance between the Good and the Evil. To have this balance one must have the exact diagnosis about the state of humanity. In this sense, Lodges’ memberships are a representative sample of society.
All kinds of people are behind these Lodges - white and black, Christians and Muslims, monarchists and democrats, rich and poor, powerful and ordinary voters, and – bad and good people. When one enters a Lodge, he can really see the state of human relations at this precise moment. The Masonic rites and rules make, however, all members strive for harmony in human relations, the harmony that is missing more and more in real life.
And a case recently resuscitated by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov - in October, 2008, Ahmed Emin, Chief of Staff of the leader of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, Ahmed Dogan, committed suicide…There were many rumors floating that Emin had been a Freemason. Is it possible, if Emin had, indeed, been a member of the Brotherhood, that precisely this belonging pushed him to commit suicide?
Maybe to say he was a Mason was needed to complete this part of the story around him that relates to conspiracy, a plot etc? His party leader Dogan is the one person who owes an answer to this question. Dogan is one of the very few smart politicians in this country. He is different from all those political transients. He is the first professional Bulgarian politician.
But his most important quality is that he is… a philosopher. And a philosopher by nature, someone who can very quickly find an answer to the question if the Masonic belonging of a fellow party member can lead the latter to suicide or not. Meanwhile, the Masonic understanding of the philosophy of life and the principles for the functioning of society can really provoke in a thinking individual some deep internal contradictions in this desperate, almost anti-humanitarian Bulgarian reality that possibly suicide can end up being the best way to preserve the qualities of one’s true human being.
Your last book about the Freemasons is a fiction. What made you decide to write fiction?
Documentaries are needed for the theoretical enrichment of the Brotherhood. Fiction is the effective method to offer those who are not initiated the opportunity to understand this Brotherhood. Real life, itself, is a novel, and every one is a character. One truly understands something only by participating in it in some way. History is told through stories, not lectures and theoretical material. If something happened, the truth is the truth, so… tell stories and the reader will find the truth.
Why “The Menace Dan Brown?”
Because I have serious reasons to believe that humanity is not yet ready to understand correctly the issues Dan Brown raises in his books. Especially a society like ours, here in Bulgaria. A society in transition, still in search of itself. For 20 centuries people are running away from questions such literature poses.
The creation of the world, the role of Gods and the truth about them for different people, the fatal consequences of dogmas, the clash between religion and science, the search and the decoding of the hidden knowledge, the relation between spirit and matter, the harmony between life and death. These are the questions of the 21st century. And it would depend from the answers if we will have a 22nd one.
Is it true that Brown had to obtain a special permission to write “The Lost Symbol?”
This is a question only Brown can answer. Dan Brown is the product of a huge industry involved in the materialization of the human thought in the wealth of those who participate in this business. I am certain that his manuscript contains original ideas about the topic. But what have the literary and mainly Hollywood industries decided to turn these original thoughts into – they are the ones who know. I was struck by the thinking of one of Brown’s secondary characters in the book – the editor was reminiscing that his business would be much more successful without the authors. Maybe with just these few sentences, Dan Brown wanted to warn his colleagues around the world about something he does not want to say out laud.
How much of your book is fiction?
For each separate reader this is a separate ratio. Everyone perceives the text based on their own knowledge and information on the topic. For some everything is fiction, for others – the very truth. The novel leads to analogies. The analogy is a product of our own participation and understanding of life. When I first stumbled into the definition of Freemasonry, I thought that it was all made up.
In your book, you tell how Bulgaria was on the brink of not becoming a NATO and EU member because one of our Prime Ministers wanted to ban the Freemasons. I will not ask you, as everyone else, who he is – one, when I read the book I knew who he was and two – I know you will not say a name. However, this meeting between the PM and FBI Director you talk about – did it happen really and what is the connection between NATO, the EU, and Freemasonry?
Not just this Prime Minister. Not a single statesman during the transition period since 1989 had been able to grasp the true meaning of these societies in the history of human kind. I am not just talking about the Freemasons. I am talking about all unions with an ideal public goal or the so-called institutional backbone of real societies. Not a single Bulgarian political leader, not a single head of State so far had been really interested in establishing a true civic society for our people, who have suffered so much.
They all think only about the significance of the number of members of the party they belong to. So, in Bulgaria the belief that the road to personal success goes through membership in the strongest party of the day and the favoritism of its leader, is still king. Nobody wants people to become good citizens; everyone wants to make them just disciplined party members, who fight with the rest of society or voters who are so desperate that they would cast any ballot against BGN 50.
Masonry is connected to the EU and NATO in the sense these alliances are based on the principles of Freemasons – the strive to build secure societies as far as the predominant values are concerned. So, if there isn’t real Freemasonry in a country, its membership then in these alliances would remain only a formal act. This is also why questions such as why is it that we do not really benefit from such memberships always come up -benefits for the people and the society, not for some powerful political-business entities from the oligarchic type.
You write the Bogomils are the founders of the Order of Knights Templar. Is there any historical proof for this?
Most of all the Bogomils are the spark of the Western periods of Reformation and Enlightenment. They have been the next keepers of the secret books with the secret teachings that have formed the human self-awareness through ages. The Bogomils are some of the beholders of the secret knowledge. Organizations such as the Templar found the administrative form of applying this knowledge to real life. After the Templar, the Freemasons assumed this function. Historical proof is dispersed all over the world’s history.
Maybe the time has come to collect them and bring them together as part of our true Bulgarian history. But I am not a historian and it is a bit too late for me to become an expert in this area. A new generation of historians is coming, not burdened by the ideological dogmas of former regimes, who represented the Bogomils as a malign heresy. And even more, the world is yet to discover what notions such as heresy and conspiracy really mean. In general, a new way to interpret history is on the horizon.
What about the role of the church and the monastery in Zemen where you say you want to take Dan Brown if he comes to Bulgaria?
Not just the church, the entire area around Zemen and several other locations on Bulgarian soil have a crucial significance as energy centers of our planet. Part of the solution of the notorious computer problem in the eve of the new millennium (2000) is connected to Zemen. The fact that a Bulgarian invented the computer is not just a coincidence maybe?
And the fact that until now we did not pay attention to what can be found on Bulgarian soil that has global importance is a problem only of the Bulgarian State. Precisely our centuries-embedded understanding of heresy had turned us into a second-hand people as far as the world historic heritage is concerned. What is most strange, however, is that even the Communist regime did not undermine this significance as the governments in the last 20 years do.
You also write that Pope John Paul II wanted to redeem Freemasonry and had a mission coded in the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Is this fiction? And for those who have not read the book - what mission?
The all-time dispute between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is notorious for its absurdity. Deep in the sub-consciousness of all people – believers or not, the Vatican has always been the looser in this dispute. But as every institution repressing the mind, it still has the huge resources to manipulate the public. Pope John Paul II was just one of many Popes who, deeply inside, have been torn by the contradiction between dogmas and laws of nature. Freemasonry never needed redemption by the Church.
The Church is the one looking for opportunities to redeem itself before modern, young believers. But this is a very lengthy process because the ashes of the stakes, where people have been burned over the dispute whose God is most righteous, are the most difficult to extinguish.
You say Dan Brown is just an “inch away from the truth,” and the secret of 2012 can be found in Bulgaria. What truth is Dan Brown going to find here?
What is he going to discover in Bulgaria depends on Brown himself. But for sure, for the first time, he will come across things he never imagined existed. Because all those discoveries he writes about in his books have been long known by people. He just retells them successfully, makes them interesting and accessible. Not just Bulgaria, this entire area know as the Balkans – he will have to examine much more seriously. But it is going to pay him well. I am sure his publishers will like it – especially from a marketing viewpoint. He is welcome! We will help him.
You say you are writing more fiction. What and when to expect it?
A sequel to the novel “33 The Menace Dan Brown.” Very soon. Before Dan Brown realizes what is hidden behind all this.
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