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: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/freemasons-saving-faith-by-encouraging-diversity-20110628-1gp5u.html

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.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Berry On The Current Awakening Of Stewardship.

On Father's Day (From My Other Favorite Living Poet/Writer) What Does Inheritance Mean? --Wendell Berry

"The obligation is very great and moves two ways. The old have an obligation to be exemplary, if they can–and since nobody can be completely exemplary, they also have an obligation to be intelligent about their failings. They’re going to be remembered in one way or another, so they have an obligation to see that they’re remembered not as a liability or a great burden, but as a help. And of course the young, the inheritors, have an obligation to remember these people and live up to them–be worthy of them. So it’s an obligation that goes both ways, and it’s inescapable. Once you become involved in this sequence of lives, there is no way to escape the responsibility. You inherit, and in turn you bequeath an inheritance of some kind."- Wendell Berry

Happy Father's Day!

    Axe Handles
    by Gary Snyder
      One afternoon the last week in April
      Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
      One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
      He recalls the hatchet-head
      Without a handle, in the shop
      And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
      A broken-off axe handle behind the door
      Is long enough for a hatchet,
      We cut it to length and take it
      With the hatchet head
      And working hatchet, to the wood block.
      There I begin to shape the old handle
      With the hatchet, and the phrase
      First learned from Ezra Pound
      Rings in my ears!
      "When making an axe handle
      the pattem is not far off."
      And I say this to Kai
      "Look: We'll shape the handle
      By checking the handle
      Of the axe we cut with-"
      And he sees. And I hear it again:
      It's in Lu Ji's Wen Fu, fourth century 
      A.D. "Essay on Literature"-in the 
      Preface: "In making the handle Of an axe
      By cutting wood with an axe 
      The model is indeed near at hand.-
      My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen 
      Translated that and taught it years ago
      And I see: Pound was an axe,
      Chen was an axe, I am an axe 
      And my son a handle, soon 
      To be shaping again, model 
      And tool, craft of culture,
      How we go on.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Freemasons commemorate Rizal's 150th birth anniversary | Sun.Star

Freemasons commemorate Rizal's 150th birth anniversary | Sun.Star: "Cunanan, who is also the Worshipful Master of the Masonic lodge, said they want to show appreciation of Rizal's sublime achievements, including various writings and works he dedicated for the freedom of the country against Spanish rule." By Reynaldo G. Navales

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Knights Templar heirs demand apology from Vatican - Telegraph
Jacques de Molay was burnt at the stake in 1314, and his heirs hold the Vatican partially responsible Photo: ALAMY

June 17, 2011

The Italian chapter of the Knights Templar is seeking a Vatican apology for he suppression of the order in the 14th century and the execution of its leader, Jacque de Molay.
Although it was King Philip IV of France who put de Molay to death, the current head of the order, Walter Grandis, claims “an enormous degree of complicity” on the part of the Vatican. “This was an appalling crime and a miscarriage of justice that the Church allowed to happen,” he said.
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
See story here: Knights Templar heirs demand apology from Vatican - Telegraph

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gilgamesh flood myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Before the first Mason, before the first Metal Worker, was the First Potter, who made civilization possible.
When I visited London and went to the National Museum, the first thing I wanted to see was this clay tablet with the Epic of Gilgamesh written on it.   It marks the beginning of Western Civilization and History.
The first pottery wheel came from Sumeria (Modern Day Iraq.)

The first Potter was a woman.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Lodge Mother Kilwinning No.0 - The Mother Lodge of Scotland

I want to visit this lodge!

  1. Lodge Mother Kilwinning Masonic Temple

The Mother Lodge
Mother Kilwinning No.0
The Mother Lodge of Scotland is situated in the Ayrshire town of Kilwinning. This old and ancient Lodge of Freemasons dates back to the building of Kilwinning Abbey around 1140 and has a unique history second to none in the Masonic world.
Before the forming of Grand Lodge in 1736 Mother Kilwinning was a Grand Lodge in her own right issuing charters and warrants to Lodges wishing to enjoy the privileges of Freemasonry.
99 Main Street , Kilwinning , Ayrshire
The Mother Lodge of Scotland Masonic Temple - Where to find us

MacArthur sought to impose religion on defeated Japan | Ekklesia

MacArthur sought to impose religion on defeated Japan | Ekklesia: "Eiichiro Tokumoto"

In the wake of the destruction and surrender of the Japanese empire in August 1945, a "spiritual vacuum" emerged that the country's de-facto ruler, General Douglas MacArthur, sought to fill with religious and quasi-religious beliefs still new to Japan, from Christianity to Freemasonry - writes Suzanne McGee.
That is the focus of a recently published study of the Occupation years of 1945 to 1952 by Japanese investigative journalist Eiichiro Tokumoto.
In "1945 Under the Shadow of the Occupation: The Ashlar and The Cross," Tokumoto documents MacArthur's efforts to persuade missionaries to intensify their efforts among the Japanese population in hopes of providing a counterweight to the growing appeal of communism in the earliest days of the Cold War.
"There was a complete collapse of faith in Japan in 1945 -- in our invincible military, in the emperor, in the religion that had become known as 'state Shinto,'" says Tokumoto, referring to spiritual practices dating back several millennia that in the decades before World War II became a kind of state religion. It became closely associated with the growth of militaristic nationalism that led Japan into war in China and later with the United States and its allies.
"MacArthur was very interested in the relationship between politics and religion in Japan, and he wanted both to reform the ideas and the ideology of the Japanese people as well as [make] sure that communism did not fill the gap in people's minds and hearts," Tokumoto explains.
A number of letters and reports that Tokumoto studied while researching his book only recently were declassified, he says. Among them was a report of a meeting between two American Catholic bishops, John F. O'Hara and Michael J. Ready, and MacArthur in the summer of 1946. After a three-week trip around Japan, meeting religious and political leaders as well as members of the imperial family, the bishops reported to the Vatican that MacArthur encouraged the Catholic Church to attempt to convert the Japanese en masse.
"General MacArthur asked us to urge the sending of thousands of Catholic missionaries -- at once," the bishops said in their report. MacArthur told them that they had a year to help fill the "spiritual vacuum" created by the defeat -- a vacuum "into which anything may rush."
Based on his experience in the Philippines, MacArthur believed that the Catholic Church particularly would appeal to the Japanese because the tradition of seeking absolution "appeals to the Oriental," they reported. Taking responsibility for one's mistakes or misdeeds, and making amends, long had been a part of Japanese culture -- although traditionally, among samurai warriors, this ended with ritual suicide or seppuku, rather than by seeking absolution from a priest.
The general, who became the absolute authority in Japan during the Occupation, reiterated his interest in encouraging conversions to Christianity during the visit of an Australian cardinal, Norman Gilroy, in December 1946. Tokumoto viewed a recently declassified report by Gilroy to the Vatican in which the cardinal wrote that MacArthur believed that, if the church didn't act, "Communist agents will obtain the converts who should be gained by the church."
Even after leaving Japan, MacArthur never relinquished his interest in religion as a counterweight to both extreme nationalism and communism in Japan. When International Christian University was founded in Tokyo in 1955, MacArthur became chair of its fundraising efforts, says Japan scholar Garrett Washington, an assistant professor at Oberlin College in Ohio. "It was another place that could legally teach and protect Christianity."
In the wake of the missionaries' efforts, the Bible became a best seller in some bookshops, while the number of Catholics climbed about 19 percent between 1948 and 1950, Tokumoto says.
Still, despite the interest of the Japanese in learning about the belief systems - from democracy to religion - that they believed had helped their adversaries conquer them, the effects of these missionary efforts didn't last. Partly, Washington says, despite the Vatican's proposal that missionaries obtain specialized training and language skills, relatively few of the 2,000 or so who flooded into Japan in the war's aftermath could communicate effectively with their target audience.
In the 1960s, within a few years of the creation of International Christian University, there was a backlash against what students perceived as a Christian "elite" who ran several major Japanese universities or had risen to power in other fields. "There was a growing conviction across Japanese societies that all religions had failed them in one way or another," Washington says.
The perception was that Shinto had led to the disastrous defeat of Japan in 1945, but Christianity was associated with Western powers that young Japanese increasingly saw as "hypocritical," he says. "They were not practicing what they preached, from dropping the atom bombs to the Cold War and even the war in Vietnam."
Today, Washington adds, Japanese citizens have relatively little interest in any religion.
MacArthur's other initiative to fill the spiritual void - expanding Freemasonry in Japan, including the induction of the first Japanese masons - had somewhat more lasting success, Tokumoto says. That first generation of Japanese members included members of the Japanese parliament, or Diet, as well as journalists and even a member of the imperial family.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rudyard Kipling’s My new cut ashlar

Rudyard Kipling’s My new cut ashlar
My new-cut ashlar
Rudyard Kipling
My new-cut ashlar takes the light
Where crimson-blank the windows flare.
By my own work before the night,
Great Overseer, I make my prayer.
If there be good in that I wrought
Thy Hand compelled it, Master, Thine--
Where I have failed to meet Thy Thought
I know, through Thee, the blame was mine.
One instant’s toil to Thee denied
Stands all Eternity’s offence.
Of that I did with Thee to guide,
To Thee, through Thee, be excellence.
The depth and dream of my desire,
The bitter paths wherein I stray--
Thou knowest Who has made the Fire,
Thou knowest Who has made the Clay.
Who, lest all thought of Eden fade,
Bring’st Eden to the craftsman’s brain--
Godlike to muse o'er his own Trade
And manlike to stand with God again!
One stone the more swings into place
In that dread Temple of Thy worth.
It is enough that, through Thy Grace,
I saw nought common on Thy Earth.
Take not that vision from my ken--
Oh, whatsoe'er may spoil or speed,
Help me to need no aid from men
That I many help such men as need!

Songs From Books by Rudyard Kipling. London : MacMillan and Co., Limited, 1926 302pp + endpage, pp. 43-44.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Off to hangout with the Brits!

Atlantic Brotherhood Summit - June 2 - June 5

Atlantic Brotherhood Summit - June 2 - June 5

All are welcome to this weekend's events with our British Lodge friends: the candidate-friendly boat cruise, the English-style 3rd Degree, and the entertaining Festive Board. See the Events pages for details, here.

Pardon me, is that seat reserved?

We are already close to full for both our June Festive Board with the brothers from Internet Lodge, and for the Emulation Degree with approximately 200 already planning to attend. Please brethren, make every effort to RSVP via the ABS event page. We do not wish to turn a member away at the door.

Have you purchased your Pin and Tie?

Churchill Lodge members and supporters may be recognized by their distinctive, formal lodge pins and tie. These and other items are available at our Supply Depot...

A warm welcome is extended to you all...

“We must not lose our faculty to dare, especially in dark days.” - Churchill in March, 1942.

Sir Winston Churchill Lodge, #351, of Minneapolis, chartered in 2009 (as was Gen. Douglas MacArthur Lodge #352 of St. Paul), is Minnesota's first of two new evening lodges to have been founded in over 25 years. Why Churchill? Why form a new lodge?

Find out more...