Friday, December 9, 2011

Degrees of the Scottish Rite: 31° - Inspector Inquisitor

I have been lucky to be the Principle Candidate for the 7°, 28° and last night the 31°. Someone said early on, "This is a great degree, but they just keep getting begtter and better."   I was skeptical, but I've found that they were right.

Degrees of the Scottish Rite: Consistory

The Consistory Degrees are very different from each other in form and content.  The 31° reveals the dynamic relationship that has existed for centuries between human law as a means of achieving justice, and divine justice as an ideal.

"Where Freemasonry flourishes, there will be found the highest type of citizenship and the best standard of living." - Albert Pike

31° - Inspector Inquisitor  In this degree the apprentice learns prayerful self-examination. The mistakes today should not be committed tomorrow. Simply, the daily look at ones self to learn to live with the future. No apron is worn in the Supreme Tribunal, but the traditional apron displayed is of pure white lambskin with a Teutonic Cross of black and silver embroidered upon the flap. The jewel is a silver Teutonic cross. The jewel is suspended from a white collar, with a gold triangle with a "31" inside it. The duty is to judge yourself in the same light as you judge others, considering both actions and motives.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Huston Smith and the Primordial Tradition

I had the good fortune to hear Prof. Huston Smith speak, back in the '80s.    Like Albert Pike, he is interested in foundation or primordial religion.
Huston Smith and the Primordial Tradition

Huston Smith and the Primordial Tradition
Four Levels of Reality
The Great Chain of Being begins with the Source and proceeds through emanationist through various stages of manifestation, down to matter and non-being.  Thus Reality is described in terms of a specific structure.  The accounts of different traditional and pre-modern esoteric and exoteric cosmologies are similar enough for it to be possible to present a single account embracing all of them
Such a unified account has already been presented, at least on a basic level, by one contemporary scholar of comparative religion  Professor Huston Smith (formerly of Syracuse University, N.Y.), who (in his books  Forgotten Truth and  Beyond the Post-Modern Mind) refers to four levels, which pertain to bioth the microcosm (the individual) and the macrocosm (the universe and reality as a whole):

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I was "Principle" (representative initiate for the class) for the 28°

I was "Principle" (representative initiate for the class) for the 28°.  Wow!   I was sitting in a chair, having 8 remarkable lectures presented to me by 33° masons, while the rest of my fellow initiates listened from the pews.  It was the most jam packed philosophical degree we have seen.    Only 3 more degrees to go!  They've just flown by!

28° - Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept  We learn in this degree that our love for God manifests itself in our love for truth, justice and nobility of soul. The apron worn is white lambskin with a vermilion pentagram. The jewel is a gold five-pointed star. The duties are to be devoted to truth, honour, loyalty, justice and humanity.

29° - Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew  The virtues taught in this degree are love of God, loyalty to superiors, faithful adherence to promise and active resistance to unfair judgment. There is no apron. The jewel is a gold St. Andrew's cross ("X"), surmounted with a knight's helmet with a thistle of gold between the arms at the bottom. In the center of the cross is a Hebrew YOD and on its points, clockwise from bottom, the Hebrew letters N M I N.  The duties are to reverence and obey God; to serve the truth; to protect virtue and innocence; to defend the people against tyranny."

Degrees of the Scottish Rite:

Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | The masonic story

Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | The masonic story
The masonic story

WHAT is Freemasonry? When did it come to Egypt? And what does it have to do with the Great Pyramid?

Khedive Ismail, although himself not a Mason, patronised the order as a prominent humanitarian organisation and allowed his son Tewfik to be initiated. In 1881, Khedive Tewfik Pasha became Grand Master and held sway over more than 500 Lodges working in English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian and Arabic, and obtained recognition for the Grand Lodge of Egypt from most of the recognised Grand Lodges of the world

Friday, November 11, 2011

27° - Knight Commander of the Temple

This was the best degree yet!   I like the Chivalric degrees the best.
Degrees of the Scottish Rite:
 "27° - Knight Commander of the Temple  This degree teaches the apprentice to scorn selfishness and to uphold the knightly virtues of charity, truth and honor. We should always strive to assist the poor, helpless and infirm. The apron is of scarlet lambskin, lined in black, with a Teutonic Cross (cross potent sable, charged with a smaller cross double potent or surcharged with the escutcheon of the Empire, the two-headed black eagle) and a black key surrounded by a laurel wreath. The jewel is the Teutonic Cross shown on the apron. The duties are to be a lover of wisdom and to be faithful to your promises made within Masonry."

See Minnesota Valley Photo Gallery here:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Degrees of the Scottish Rite

Degrees of the Scottish Rite: "

Attended 25° and 26° s  Difficult to follow the ceremony.   Only had a few hours sleep the last couple days.

25° - Knight of the Brazen Serpent  This degree attempts to explain the conceptualities of celestial purity and the eternal soul of man. The apprentice is driven to look within his faith, life and God to get a clear look at his inner self. The apron is white, lined in black with gold stars on the white side (Pleiades, Hyades, Orion, Capella) and with silver stars on the black side (Perseus, Scorpio, Bootes). Also on it is a serpent (ouroboros) surrounding a scarab, a triangle in a glory with the Tetragrammaton in its center and the four initials of the stars Regulus, Aldebaran, Antares and Fomalhaut. The jewel is a gold tau cross (crux ansata) with a serpent entwined around it and the Hebrew words HLThI (he has suffered or been wounded) and NChShThN (the Brazen Serpent) on it. The duty is to fulfill your destiny and to re-create yourself by reformation, repentance and enlarging your knowledge.

26° - Prince of Mercy, or Scottish Trinitarian  In this degree we explore for "the rewards of the trinity of Gods attributes - wisdom or intelligence, force or strength, harmony or beauty". The apron is scarlet, bordered in white, with a green triangle (point-down) in the center. In the triangle are the initials of force, wisdom and harmony, and a flaming heart of gold with the initials I.H.S. (Jesus Hominum Salvator or Imperium, Harmonia, Sapientia). The jewel is gold and is the same triangle, suspended by a purple ribbon. The duties are to practice forgiveness and mercy; tolerance; to be devoted to the teaching of the principles of Masonry.

Ordered my Scottish Rite Cap Today.

Got the "Old Style." Size  7.5"

If the apron is the "badge of a Mason" in the Blue Lodge, the cap can be said to be the public badge of a Scottish Rite Mason. In our Order, the cap is both a prayer cap in the Jewish tradition and a symbol of the Scottish Rite Mason as a soldier in the "Empire of Intellect, Reason, Philosophy, and Wise Morality" (32°). Similarly, a cap was worn by English knights, including the Templars, and was later given a military significance by British regimental soldiers in the 19th century. The Supreme Council adopted the present caps in 1927.
When To Wear The Scottish Rite Cap

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scottish Rite Online Store

Scottish Rite Online Store: Albert Pike`s Masonic Formulas and Rituals
  • By Arturo de Hoyos, 33°, G.C., Grand Archivist and Grand Historian; Foreword by Ronald A. Seale, 33°, Sovereign Grand Commander.
  • The source of Albert Pike`s ritual revisions, transcribed from the original copy in the archives vault of the Supreme Council.
  • This never-before-published work includes the complete collection of rituals which Albert Pike received when he joined the Scottish Rite in 1853. After receiving the degrees, Pike borrowed the manuscript rituals, and over the next two years he transcribed his own copies. He later used these texts to create his revision of the Scottish Rite rituals. This book answers the question: "What was the Scottish Rite like before Albert Pike?"
  • Contents include the three Craft Degrees (from an early French source); all Scottish Rite rituals; the Adoniramite Rite; the Degrees of Knighthood; the True Masonry of Adoption (the androgynous `Adoptive Rite`); and much more.
  • Includes Pike`s original drawings and Masonic ciphers.
  • An introduction by Ill. Bro. de Hoyos provides insight into these rituals, and the ritual development of the Scottish Rite.
  • Hardbound (10" x 6 3/4") with decorative cover which resembles Pike`s original bound manuscript; illustrated, indexed; 693 pages.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Knights of St. Andrew

I picked up a petition last night.
Knights of St. Andrew Home
A Brief History of the Order

Tradition informs us that the medieval Order of the Knights of Saint Andrew was formed in 1314, by King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, to honor sixty-three Knights who, at the Battle of Bannockburn, with no prior notice appeared on the field of battle as a mounted unit, quickly turning the tide and defeating the English.
The modern Order was fashioned on the noble example of those sixty-three Knights who came to the service of Scotland when she was in dire need.
Ill. Weldon J. Good, 33°, of the Valley of Tulsa, Oklahoma, developed the first Chapter of the Knights of Saint Andrew in 1993 as a service organization comprised of "Black Hat" Scottish Rite Masons. Any member who receives the honor of KCCH subsequent to joining the KSA could no longer hold an office or vote but they could still work and assist. Its goal is to help them become more active in the Consistory as a whole and to provide selfless dedication to and the promotion of our Masonic Fraternity within the Scottish Rite, our community, our Jurisdiction, and the Orient.
Each Chapter is attached to a Valley within the Scottish Rite and is subordinate to that Valley; its purpose being a service organization to its Mother Consistory. There is no other higher governing body. Each Chapter adopts its own by-laws and determines its own membership requirements. The Knights of St. Andrew is open to all 32° "Black Hat" Scottish Rite Masons who are members in good standing of the Scottish Rite. Knights pledge to be active members in the Valley and to be of service to her as her need may require.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Degrees of the Scottish Rite

Tonight's Degrees:
Council of Kadosh

The word "Kadosh" is a Hebrew word meaning Holy. Although Pike identifies the Degrees of the Council of Kadosh as chivalric and philosophical, they are all intensely mystical with respect to the lessons conveyed and symbols employed.
"Faith in moral principles, in virtue and in God is as necessary for the guidance of a man as instinct is for the guidance of an animal." - Albert Pike
Degrees of the Scottish Rite: "
19_small.jpg (100x146 -- 5600 bytes)19° - Grand Pontiff We learn from the past and how it affects the present and the influence we live in the future in this degree. We as mortals strive to endure, produce and improve the world as it surrounds us. There is no apron, but the jewel is a gold parallelogram with a Greek Alpha on one side and an Omega on the other. The duties are to be content to labor for the future; to serve the cause of truth with patience and industry; and to destroy error, falsehood and intolerance with truth, honesty, honour and charity.

20_small.jpg (100x145 -- 6203 bytes)20° - Master of the Symbolic Lodge This degree demonstrates liberty, fraternity and equality. These truths teach morals, religious and philosophical understandings. This degree helps one to comprehend Deity, the forces of nature and good and evil. The apron is yellow bordered in blue, with three concentric point-down triangles, with the Tetragrammaton (horizontal) and Fiat Lux (vertical) at the center forming a cross. Its triangular shape relates to the "fourth great light, which reminds us of the Deity and his attributes". The jewel is made of gold with the same three concentric triangles. The duties are to dispense light and knowledge and to practice Masonic virtues."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Secret Society Goes Public to Lure a New Generation of Freemasons -

A Secret Society Goes Public to Lure a New Generation of Freemasons -

ST. PAUL, Minn.—No self-respecting secret society can get by without a Facebook fan page anymore.

That's transparently true of the Freemasons, renowned for their medieval blood oaths, their often-alleged plot to create a New World Order, their locked-door conclaves of U.S. presidents and power brokers and their boring pancake breakfasts.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The spiritual side of Steve Jobs -

I just read on my iPod that Kobun Chino Roshi, presided over Steve's wedding to Laurene Powell. I once attended a retreat with the late Chino Roshi. I asked him if I could study Kyuudo with him in Colorado.. He said, "I am not a teacher, but you can come and see me and we will shoot the bow together.   I did not know Jobs was a Buddhist.  "The spiritual side of Steve Jobs -

Friday, September 30, 2011

Degrees of the Scottish Rite

We just just started the Chapter of Rose Croix degrees: Knight of the East and Prince of Jerusalem.

Degrees of the Scottish Rite: "Chapter of Rose Croix

The Chapter of Rose Croix attempts to provide the candidate with a deeper understanding of religion, philosophy, ethics and history though a variety of complex "historical degrees". The intellectual challenges presented in these degrees are numerous, at times overwhelming, and can take years to master. A thorough reading of the chapters related to them in Morals and Dogma and in Legenda and Readings is essential to achieve even a basic comprehension of their true meaning. "

15_small.jpg (100x146 -- 5272 bytes)
15° - Knight of the East, of the Sword, or of the Eagle Fidelity to obligations and perseverance of purpose under difficulties and discouragement are the lessons of this degree. The striking crimson velvet apron of this degree is edged with green, having a bleeding head above two crossed swords and a triangle (top point to the left) with three interlaced triangles inside it. The jewel is three golden concentric triangles encompassing two crossed swords. The duty is to rebuild the Masonic Temple of liberty, equality and fraternity in the souls of men
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16° - Prince of Jerusalem We learn of heroism of patience, the nobility of self-sacrifice and compassionate judgment; along with charity, fidelity and brotherhood. The crimson apron is edged in gold and aurora-color, with a square, shield, Delta with three YODs, balance and a hand of justice. The jewel is a mother-of-pearl lozenge with a hand holding a balance in equipoise; under it a sword with five stars surrounding the point. On the left is a Hebrew D, on the right is a Hebrew Z. The duties are to aid those who labor to build the Symbolic Temple; to judge equitably and fairly; to keep faith in the justice and beneficence of God and to press forward with hope for the persecuted and oppressed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Minneapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite

Minneapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite:

Got my 14 degree ring today. Was a fine dinner and ceremony. The Scottish Rite, seems to me, the closest you can get to knighthood in a democracy. I'll write more about that later. Kintaro needs his evening walk.




Minneapolis Scottish Rite Temple

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reception 5:30 PM

Dinner ($15.00) 6:15 PM

Program 7:00 PM

14° Ring Ceremony

50-Year Membership Certificates

Class Name Recognition

'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 22, 2011

14° - Perfect Elu (Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason)

I'd been wondering where all the non-Judeo-Christian philosophy/imagery/metaphor was in the degrees, that I noticed in Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma. I found it tonight, at the 14°! Excellent!
Degrees of the Scottish Rite: "
14_small.jpg (100x148 -- 5756 bytes)

"whom virtue unites death shall not separate"

14° - Perfect Elu (Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason) This degree teaches us to reflect and scrutinize ourselves. We should strive to be true to ourselves and our God. The apron being of white silk, bordered in gold with the Ineffable Delta in the Center, is truly emblematical of the degree. The jewel of the 14th Degree is split; one being a quadrant (compass open to ninety degrees) topped by a crown and with a nine-pointed star on the obverse; the other being a five-pointed blazing star with the Tetragrammaton on the reverse. The compass is opened on a segment of a circle inscribed with the numbers 3, 5, 7, 9. The duties are to assist, encourage and defend the brethren; to protect the oppressed and relieve want and distress; to enlighten the people and serve the common good.
Valley of Minneapolis

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mystic Star Lodge No. 69 Of Minnesota - Just For Fun

Mystic Star Lodge No. 69 Of Minnesota - Just For Fun

I found this at Freemasons For Dummies Blog. Edison Masonic recordings from 1909 to the 1920s.
Mystic Star Lodge No. 69 Of Minnesota - Just For Fun: "

The Masonic cylinder record above was recorded in November of 1909.

You can listen to Masonic cylinder records in MP3 format by clicking on the links below:

The Masonic cylinder record above was recorded in November of 1909.

You can listen to Masonic cylinder records in MP3 format by clicking on the links below:"
No. 1953, Master Mason Degree Dirge, Masonic Hymn
'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Degree 12 Made Me Think Of This Tonight

Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation's hoop. -- Black Elk

"God is an intelligible sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." --Alain de Lille (or Alanus ab Insulis) (c. 1128–1202), French theologian and poet, was born, probably in Lille, some years before 1128.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

County commissioner attains Freemasonry honor

County commissioner attains Freemasonry honor: "
"We are not a secret society," Berks County Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt said after recently receiving his 33rd degree, the highest honor of the Supreme Council of Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. "People think we are a secret society, but we really are not. We pride ourselves with brotherhood and learning lessons in history and God.
'via Blog this'

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Steam Punk" Projector.

This is a projector used at Cataract Lodge #2 to project circular glass slides to illustrate lectures.
 100 years old?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Degrees of the Scottish Rite

Degrees were interesting tonight, 7,8 and 9
Cataract Lodge #2 sponsored the 7th degree.
 I was the principle for the degree.
It struck me tonight, this experience  is the closest thing in modern life to going through the initiation of a Knight.
Degrees of the Scottish 

7° - Provost & Judge We learn that impartial justice protects person, property, happiness and reputation. We are instructed to judge with patience and impartially. The apron of the 7th Degree is white edged with red, with a key and five rosettes. The jewel is a golden key. The duty is justice.

8_small.jpg (100x145 -- 4331 bytes)
8° - Intendant of the Building We should strive for perfection by using the great principles of God's inherent love, charity, morality and kindness. The apron of the 8th Degree is white with red and green, with a balance, a nine-pointed star, and a triangle with the Hebrew letters BETH for Ben-Khurim; YOU for Jakinah; and ALEPH for Achar. The jewel of this Degree is a gold triangle with the same three letters. The duties are benevolence and charity.

9_small.jpg (100x148 -- 4583 bytes)
9° - Elu of the Nine (Elected Knight of the Nine) Truth, candor and generosity. The foundation of Scottish Rite Masonry is most reflected in this degree. We should use these truths to shape our lives and conduct. The apron of the 9th Degree is white, lined with black and sprinkled with blood, with an arm holding a dagger and a severed head held by the hair. The jewel of this degree is a dagger, hilt of gold and blade of silver. The duties are enlightenment of soul and mind, vigilance, tolerance and being on guard for fanaticism and persecution

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A biographical monologue: Albert Pike at the Minneapolis Valley of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

This was a presentation Jean and I attended at the welcoming "Pizza Night" at The Minneapolis Valley of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. It was excellent!
 Tonight is my first degrees in the Scottish Rite.
Part One: A biographical monologue - Albert Pike - YouTube

Part Two: A biographical monologue - Albert Pike - YouTube Part Two: A biographical monologue - Albert Pike - YouTube:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

At the Minnesota Valley Scottish Rite Pizza/Open House.

One of my Lodge bothers told me at the end of the night, that he thought I might find the libary interesting. I told him he was right! I volunteer at the Minnesota Masonic Museum and History Center. At this Scottish Rite library, they are photographing their collection of old books. I think I want to volunteer here too.

Masonic studies are ecumenical. This libarary has a large collection of books on Islam.

I was happy to see many Buddhist objects and books in the collection.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Many Lodges…Many Brothers…One Day | Minnesota Lodge Open House Program

Many Lodges…Many Brothers…One Day | Minnesota Lodge Open House Program:
The Grand Master, Thomas E. Hendrickson,  for 2011-2012 is from Cataract Lodge #2 
This is a special project he has initiated:
Minnesota Lodge Open House Program

The program will coordinate a common open house day where we will find lodges across the state opening their doors to their members families, the community and the curious.
The goals of the program are to increase visibility of Masonry in our communities, and provide an opportunity where men of good character might be introduced to our fraternity.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lodge Papers | The Grand Lodge of Minnesota

Lodge Papers | The Grand Lodge of Minnesota
Some things we scanned at MMHSM and .pdf'd last week.  They are up so fast, it makes me wonder if they were up already?  

Education Lodge No. 1002 Papers Submitted by Members and Friends of the Lodge

1945 to Present

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades by John J. Robinson - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

This is an excellent book, if you would like to understand who the Templars actually were.
Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades by John J. Robinson - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists:Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades
My rating:
Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades
by John J. Robinson
4.05 · rating details · 111 ratings · 17 reviews
With more colorful characters and startling plot twists than the most dramatic of novels, John J. Robinson's Dungeon, Fire, and Sword immerses the reader in an historical era where the blood flows freely, tribal antagonisms run deep, and betrayal lurks around every corner. The time is the Crusades and the place is the Middle East, where a fearless band of monk-warriors cal...more
Hardcover, 494 pages
Published January 25th 1992 by M. Evans and Company, Inc.
more details...edit details
Get a copy:Barnes & Nobleonline stores ▼WorldCatMore…"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Minneapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite

I've been invited to a prospective members' pizza night at the Minnesota Scottish Rite Temple Aug. 11th. Jean is coming too. She will find the architecture interesting.
Minneapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite
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Valley of Minneapolis
Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite
of Freemasonry
2011 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Masonic Harvest Jug

Masonic Harvest Jug | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Masonic Harvest Jug

This beautiful Pennsylvania influenced Ewer jug (also called a harvest jug) is covered with a variety of intricate slip trailed decorations spanning from top to bottom. Each section, or part, of the jug contains early American symbols; some relating to secret societies such as the Masons, Skull and Bones, Knights Templar, and the Bohemian Club. A special “dirt” glaze (as Chris coined) and heavy aging was used to achieve an incredible authentic look. Firing this piece for a second time gave the glaze a few abnormalities, which only increased its beauty rarity.
Measuring 13.5 inches tall, 11.5 inches wide, and 10 inches deep this jug is fit for a mantelpiece. The two major features of this pot are the eagles. The eagle on the left side of the pot is peering over his left wing, adorned by the olive branches of peace. On the right side is an eagle peering over his right wing, preparing to snatch up bundles of arrows to prepare for war. This is to signify that America wants peace, but will fight if necessary. The top half of the pot also displays an owl, a central symbol of the Bohemian club, and the expression, "ANNUIT COEPTIS - HE APPROVES OF OUR UNDERTAKING."
The bottom half of the pot is split up into panels with various symbols, most of which are Masonic-influenced. Included are the eye of providence, the sword pointing to the naked heart, the Eastern star, and a Masonic scale, which signifies the balance between the right and left.
For more info, please visit

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grand Lodge Proceedings 1853-2009 | The Grand Lodge of Minnesota

Grand Lodge Proceedings 1853-2009 | The Grand Lodge of Minnesota

I've been helping get these Grand Lodge Proceedings (minutes) scanned and searchable PDF'd as part of my volunteer work with the Minnesota Masonic Historical Society and Museum. They go back to 1853. History, archaeology and anthropology fascinate me. They are what initially brought me to becoming a potter. I've realized that this perspective is very different compared to someone who approaches the craft initially as an artist.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Exhibition Review: The Patriot Mason @ Freemasons’ Hall | Londonist

BY RACHEL H · JULY 4, 2011 AT 14:00 PM · · ARTS AND EVENTS ·

Opening nicely in time for Independence Day is an exhibition tracing the origins and impact of Freemasonry on American society. 14 US Presidents have been Freemasons − including George Washington (pictured). They were instrumental in setting up the state of Georgia and built some of the biggest buildings in the country.

This exhibition has some original documents and artefacts going back to before the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War and to the present day. It’s interesting to see a sensible display of how Freemasonry has affected the country − that is, one without hysterical talk of lizard overlords − while at the same time giving an idea about how those conspiracy theories could have started. You should see the paintings of some of those costumes.

The exhibition’s also a good opportunity for us to remind you about the tours around the magnificent Art Deco Freemasons’ Hall. There are five a day and they include the Grand Temple, library and museum (packed with all kinds of objects, from minutiae to the spectacular). Unless you’re in a big group you don’t even have to book, just rock up before the start time (and bring some photo ID). What’s even better is that everything − exhibition, museum, tour − is completely free.
The Patriot Mason: Freemasonry in American Society runs at Freemasons’ Hall from 4 July to 22 December 2011. Tours run every day when the Temple is not in use, leaving from the Library and Museum at 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. All free.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Freemasons saving faith by encouraging diversity

Geoff Strong
June 29, 2011
Masons (from left): Fotios Spiridonos, Vaughan Werner, David Bloom and Ramsey El-Atm.
Masons (from left): Fotios Spiridonos, Vaughan Werner, David Bloom and Ramsey El-Atm. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

A MUSLIM, a Jew and an Orthodox Greek walk into a Masonic Lodge. Does it sound like the start of a joke? It's not - it is said to be the start of a trend.

Just as the once powerful, esoteric society of Freemasonry seemed to be on its deathbed, with Victorian numbers down from 120,000 in 1970 to just 13,000 in 2009, it has received an injection of new blood - some of it from previously unexpected sources."

Read full article here:

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I've wrote elsewhere here, that my initial interests in Freemasonry were sparked in college while I was studying the work of Carl Jung and Herman Hesse, both Freemasons.    I have always had an interest in the connection between the European Enlightenment, the founding of the United States and Masonry.   It was rekindled in Japan, after speaking to several Japanese folks who told me about their admiration for General MacArthur and the Japanese Constitution he helped get written.  

       More recently, reading about how King James having the Bible translated into common language, and the creation of the Royal Academy of science, at the same time as the creation of the first Grand Lodge, gives insight into the origins of our modern times, democracy and liberal and egalitarian values.  


In this valuable book Alain Bauer has been firmly established that the myths relating to the directly operative origins of Freemasonry, seeing the cathedral builders as the true forerunners of speculative Masons and viewing these latter as legitimate heirs of the former, can no longer be considered as anything more than what they are: myths, stories that are significant but are in no way historical facts.

The Author presents the swirl of historical, sociological, and religious influences that sparked the spiritual ferment and transformation of that time. His research shows that Freemasonry represented a crossroads between science and spirituality and became the vehicle for promoting spiritual and intellectual egalitarianism.

Ceasing to search for the key to understanding itself in mysterious and abstruse geometry and in the fabulous architectonic legacy of the pyramids, speculative Masonry must redirect its attention to what, after almost three centuries, defines it and gives it structure: an intellectual and moral adventure.

Bruno Gazzo
Editor, PS Review of Freemasonry.

The Alchemy of Science and Mysticism

by Alain Bauer

Published by Inner Traditions, 2007.
Pp. 146.
Price: $14.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-59477-172-9
ISBN: 1-59477-172-3
Available from the publisher:
Inner Traditions

Originally published in French under the title Aux origines de la franc-maçonnerie: Newton et les Newtoniens by Editions Dervy (2003)

About the Author:

Alain Bauer, a researcher and historian, is Past Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France. He is the author in French of Grand O and Le Grand Orient de France.

Book Excerpt - from Chapter 3

The strange relationship between Newton and the complex fringes of the Hermeticism of the epoch has long been unknown, and even concealed. The official biographies have mostly kept silent about this side of Newton.

Loup Verlet writes of the conditions of the “miraculous” discovery of Newton’s unpublished manuscripts. Put in a stack in 1696 when he was leaving the directorship of the mint in London, they escaped the burning of his personal documents arranged just after his death. They were discovered two centuries later and put up at auction in 1936. John Maynard Keynes won the manuscripts and revealed that Newton was not only the “first physicist” but also the “last magician.” The haul included several alchemical works, the bulk of them now at Cambridge, some at the University of Jerusalem, and others in private collections. According to Verlet, Newton’s known work comprises 1.4 million words relating to theology, 550,000 on alchemy, 150,000 on monetary affairs, and one million on scientific problems.

Verlet considers Newton, from a scientific point of view, to have been a coincidence. If he had not lived, the development of the sciences would surely have been delayed, and the work begun by Galileo and Descartes would have been slowed down. But by hiding his secrets away, Newton the magus also hid the alchemical, Hermetic, and esoteric dimensions which elucidated his research. From this point of view, victorious Science made its complex matrix disappear.

Alexandre Koyré writes that Newton senselessly brought his most technical work into the realm of questioning regarding “methodological, epistemological, and metaphysical problems.” He explains that historians often neglect this development, getting mixed up over the various editions of Newton’s works, especially his Optics.

Bishop Berkeley soon saw the danger, and vigorously attacked Newton’s ideas starting in 1710. Leibniz, for his part, accused Newton of philosophical occultism. Newton reacted by publishing his “General Scholium” in a new edition of his Principia. He wrote: “The true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; . . . his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things.”

Was Newton cautious, or truly a heretic? He refuted the purely mechanist positions of Descartes and Leibniz, always remaining at the edge of what was tolerated in religious matters, even attacking his contemporaries for “impiety.” Leibniz reacted on the same terrain, writing in 1715 to the Princess of Wales--who would later be Queen of England--that “Sir Isaac Newton, and his followers, have also a very odd opinion concerning the work of God. According to their doctrine, God Almighty wants to wind up his watch from time to time: otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion. Nay, the machine of God’s making is so imperfect, according to these gentlemen, that he is obliged to clean it now and then by an extraordinary concourse, and even to mend it, as a clockmaker mends his work.” The controversy continued for a long time, mingling theological and scientific arguments in a surprising mixture, often subtle, sometimes of an absolute intellectual perversity.

Isabelle Stengers writes that Newton affirmed: “I do not feign hypotheses, I stick to phenomena.” This did not hinder his speculative theories, and placed him in contrast with the “contemplative” Galileo.

In his work on the history of zero, Charles Seife highlights the will of Newton, like Leibniz, to use a “dangerous idea,” the idea of zero, to invent differential calculus. Accepting the idea of a number that is nothing and infinite--a strange and terrifying concept emerging before the time of Christ, rejected by all the thinkers of the ancient world, except for the Babylonians who invented this empty space and the Mayans who placed it before 1--the scientists of the eighteenth century used the nothing and gave it substance. Another revolution was in progress: “mystic calculus” appeared.

In 1669, according to Richard Westfall, Newton immersed himself in alchemical literature. Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs affirms that “Newton read virtually everything alchemical that had ever been published, and a good many things that had not.” Numerous manuscripts from Hartlib’s circle were copied by Newton himself. His friend Robert Boyle served him as a link to other circles of Rosicrucians and alchemists. Elias Ashmole did the same in writing his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (published in 1652).

Newton even devised an anagram of his name as a pseudonym (Isaacus Neuutonus becoming Jeova sanctus unus), which allowed him to exchange manuscripts with his correspondents while remaining anonymous, despite widespread speculation. In Newton’s personal archives, a great many manuscripts have been found with lengthy annotations: Philalethes’ Secrets Reveal’d from 1669, Sendivogius’ Novum Lumen Chymicum, Espagnet’s Arcanum hermeticae philosophiae, Maier’s Symbola aureae mensae duodecim, the Opera of George Ripley (the great English alchemist), Basil Valentine’s Triumphal Chariot of Antimony. Most of these are preserved at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Newton was fascinated by the transmutation of metals. “Far from seeking to make gold, he sought to understand nature,” writes Jacques Blamont. Newton sought to isolate mercury, a fundamental element. This was probably the cause of his death.

Outside this dimension, Newton developed truly heretical ideas. Fascinated by the trinity, he was impassioned by the conflict between the orthodox, led by Athanasius in the fourth century, and the disciples of Arius. Arius believed that God was one, and that the trinity could not be. Newton, according to Richard Westfall, became convinced bit by bit “that a massive fraud had perverted the legacy of the early church.” Newton considered the worship of Christ, in place of God, to be idolatrous. But living in a completely orthodox Cambridge where his own master, Barrow, defended the trinity, Newton did not express his views publicly.

David Brewster, in his 1855 biography, wrote, “uniting philosophy and religion, Newton dissolved the alliance that genius had formed with skepticism, and added to the myriad witnesses the most brilliant name of ancient and modern times.”