Friday, October 19, 2018

Officers of a Chapel of St. Thomas of Acon

Known as the Commemorative Order of Saint Thomas of Acon, this order exists to reaffirma Knights Templar’s vows, is a revival of a medieval knighthood started during the crusades, and the central myth of the order centers on Saint Thomas a Becket. The basic organizational unit for this order is known as a Chapel and is composed of the following officers: Worthy Master, Eminent Prior, Marshal, Treasurer, Secretary, Deputy Marshal, Almoner, 1st Working Knight, 2nd Working Knight, 3rd Working Knight, 4th Working Knight, Herald, Doorkeeper, Cellarer, and Sentry. Unique to this group, only the Worthy Master, Treasurer, and Sentry are elected. The rest are appointed by the Worthy Master upon his election.

The presiding officer of the Chapel is known as the Worthy Master. He presides over the business meetings and knighting of new initiates. When the medieval order first began, it was the Prior who led the order, but in 1279 records speak of the "Master of the whole Order of St. Thomas of Acon." Since that time, the senior officer of the Chapel has been the Worthy Master. The installation ceremony expresses the historic humility exuded by Worthy Masters and by Jesus Christ. Once seated, the Worthy Master is presented with a baton or scepter affixed on the upper end with a bronze escallope shell. The honorary title of "Worthy" is rooted in the Old English weorþ meaning "valuable, appreciated, highly thought-of, deserving, honorable, noble, or of high rank." The word "Master" is rooted in the Latin word "magister" meaning "chief, head, or teacher."

As mentioned above, it was the Prior who originally led this order and while the Prior is now second to the Worthy Master, this officer still presides over several aspects of the order. Officially titled, Eminent Prior, this officer presides over the opening and closing as well as taking part in the initiation ritual; some of his ritualistic duties correspond to the Chaplain in the Blue Lodge. Prior is a traditional title used to represent a monk or priest who is the head of a religious house or order, would rank below that of the abbot. The honorary title of "Eminent" stems from the Latin word "eminentem" meaning "prominent or high." Prior comes to us from the Latin tongue and is used to mean "former, previous, first, etc." from which it was used to figuratively as "superior (in rank), forefather, and better."

The Marshal has duties similar to the Captain General in the Commandery and with the Marshal and Senior Deacon of the Lodge; he is the Master of Ceremonies and conductor of candidates for the Chapel. The title Marshal has been used by the military, courts, and other parts of society as someone who is charged with arranging and directs "ceremonial aspects of a gathering." Marshal comes from Old French word "mareschal" meaning "commanding officer of an army; officer in charge of a household" which is derived from Frankish-Germanic word "marhskalk" meaning "horse-servant."

The Treasurer and Secretary have duties similar to those found in other Masonic and non-Masonic organizations as the financial and administrative officers respectively. The difference in this organization is that the Secretary is appointed by the Worthy Master instead of being elected as the Treasurer is.

Next is the Deputy Marshal who assists the Prior in the opening of a Chapel and the Marshal during initiations. This officer is similar to the Junior Deacon of the Blue Lodge as he ensures the security of the Chapel and like the Wardens of the Commandery ensures all present are members of the order.

Charity is pivotal to the Order of St. Thomas of Acon and as such one of the officers of the Chapel is known as the Almoner. Traditionally, an Almoner is an officer who was in charge of distributing alms or charitable offerings to the poor, the needy, and the destitute. In some Masonic Lodges that have an Almoner, this officer also oversaw the needs of the Brethren in that Lodge. Almoner is derived from the Latin "alemosinarius" meaning connected with alms which comes from variations of "alemosyna" meaning "pity or mercy."

Sitting in the West of the Chapel are Four Working Knights. Corresponding to the duties of the Four Ancients in the SRICF as lecturers or historians of the Chapel. These officers take the name of Knight as these officers relate the chivalric history of the order and the story of St. Thomas a Becket. The word "knight" comes from the Old English word "cniht" which was taken from Middle High German "kneht" meaning "boy, youth, servant, or vassal." Knight started referring to a military servant of a king or lord in the 11th century and after the Hundred Years War started becoming important as a rank of nobility. 

Similar to the Junior Deacon and Marshall within the Blue Lodge, the Herald attends to the door of the Chapel and presents newly initiated knights of the order. The etymological roots of Herald originate from the old French word 'heraut' meaning "messenger or envoy" which is said to stem from an older Germanic word "hariwald" meaning "commander of an army." Some argue about the etymology as Heralds were said to evolve from minstrels and were originally attached more with tournaments than actual warfare or the commanding of armies. To counter this though, it also thought that this title was original with commanders, but came to be applied to lower officers whose chief duty was to make proclamations. An alternate theory is that Herald is derived from the Old Germanic word "haren" which means "to call out." A Herald was traditionally an officer who conveyed messages or proclamations, acted as diplomats or ambassadors for monarchs, served as Master of Ceremonies, presided over tournaments, and oversaw the adoption of arms. 

The inner guard of the Chapel is known as the Doorkeeper and ensures the security of the Chapel while it is in session. His duties correspond to the Junior Deacon and the less used office of Pursuivant. Traditionally, a doorkeeper, as the name implies, is the keeper or guard of the door into the chapel. In researching this office, it corresponds to concierges of a hotel or a porter. The word "door" is rooted in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages with minor variations such as duru, dor, or dyrr. Keeper comes from late Old English "cepan" meaning to seize, hold, or care for.

The office of Cellarer is a peculiar one in Freemasonry. The duty of the Cellarer is simple, to fill in for an officer of the Chapel when that officer is absent. This position is significant because the Knight appointed to this position should be knowledgeable with all the various officer positions of the Chapel. The term "cellarer" seems to have been selected as a tie back to our historical roots as the original Order started out as a monastic order. Traditionally, a Cellarer is an official in a monastery who is responsible for the provisioning of food and drink; the abbot is concerned with the spiritual aspects of monastic life, the Cellarer was in charge of the physical aspect. The etymology of Cellarer is the Latin word "cellarium" meaning "pantry, storeroom, or group of cells."

Usually the outer guard of a Masonic group is appointed by the presiding officer, but within the Chapel, the Sentry is elected by the members of the Chapel per the Constitution and By-Laws. Historically, a Sentry is a guard at a point of passage, particularly to the entrance of a military base or encampment. Being the revival of a order of knighthood the use of Sentry is appropriate for this officer. This word is believed to be rooted in the Latin word "sentire" translating as "feel or perceive by the senses." Some scholars believe that the word was originally a worn down version of sanctuary. Regardless, by the 1630s, the word "sentry" was being used to designate "military guards posted around a camp."

References

1. Online Etymology Dictionary. n.d. https://www.etymonline.com/

2. Constitution of St. Thomas of Acon, USA. n.d. http://www.stthomasacon.org/Constitutions_USA_rev1.pdf?

3. Bray, J. H. (n.d.). Order of St. Thomas of Acon. Retrieved from Grand Master's Council: http://www.stthomasacon.org/jhbray.html

4. Forey, A. (n.d.). The Order of St Thomas of Acre. Retrieved from The ORB: http://the-orb.arlima.net/encyclop/religion/monastic/st._thos.html

5. The Golden Legend: St. Thomas Becket. (n.d.). Retrieved from Fordham University: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/goldenlegend/gl-vol2-thomasbecket.asp

6. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. n.d. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/almoner

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Founding of Star Garnet Council

Tonight Star Garnet Council No.560 was founded tonight in Boise, ID. This date was chosen as this weekend is the Northwest York Rite Conference and we would be able to have several dignitaries attend the consecration of this AMD Council including David D. Goodwin, the Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master of the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America; Glen Cook, Right Venerable Senior Grand Warden; and Joseph MacIntyre, Grand Superintendent of the Northwest US. There was also in attendance Brothers from Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Utah. I am honored to serve as the Founding Senior Warden for the council.

Star Garnet was selected as the name as this gem is it is the official state gem of Idaho. There are also only two places in the world you can find the star garnet - in India and Idaho. More precious than either star rubies or star sapphires, the Idaho garnet is usually dark purple or plum in color, with four rays in the star. The mountains of Idaho contain veins of gold, silver, lead, zinc, cobalt, copper, and many other rare minerals - among these rare minerals are gems like the star garnet, jasper, opal, jade, topaz, zircon, and tourmaline which is why Idaho's nickname is "The Gem State."


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Four Elements

By Anne Bradstreet


The Fire, Air, Earth and water did contest 
Which was the strongest, noblest and the best, 
Who was of greatest use and might'est force; 
In placide Terms they thought now to discourse, 
That in due order each her turn should speak; 
But enmity this amity did break 
All would be chief, and all scorn'd to be under 
Whence issu'd winds & rains, lightning & thunder 
The quaking earth did groan, the Sky lookt black 
The Fire, the forced Air, in sunder crack; 
The sea did threat the heav'ns, the heavn's the earth, 
All looked like a Chaos or new birth: 
Fire broyled Earth, & scorched Earth it choaked 
Both by their darings, water so provoked 
That roaring in it came, and with its source 
Soon made the Combatants abate their force 
The rumbling hissing, puffing was so great 
The worlds confusion, it did seem to threat 
Till gentle Air, Contention so abated 
That betwixt hot and cold, she arbitrated 
The others difference, being less did cease 
All storms now laid, and they in perfect peace 
That Fire should first begin, the rest consent, 
The noblest and most active Element.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

2019 Masonic Week

Here is the tentative schedule of events for the 2019 Masonic Week that will be held from February 21st, 2019, to February 24th, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency, Crystal City near the Reagan National Airport.

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

   

7:30am - Trinity Chapel No.2 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA 
Burney W. Brandel, Worthy Master
Tom Taylor, Secretary
10:00am - Grand Council of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA 
Joe R. Manning, Jr., Grand Master 
Matthew D. Dupee, Grand Prior 
Brandon Yarbrough, Grand Secretary
Noon - Festive Board of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA 

1:30pm - Potomac Court No.107 of the Masonic Order of Athelstan 

3:00pm - Provincial Grand Court of the United States of America for the Masonic Order of Athelstan
Bryce B. Hildreth, Provincial Grand Master of the USA 
John A. Bridegroom, Provincial Grand Secretary
4:45pm - Grand Council of the Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers (UCCE)
John Donohoo, Grand Worthy Chief
Geoffrey Lasswell, PGWC, Grand Secretary
6:30pm - UCCE Dinner

6:30pm - Order of Athelstan Dinner

8:00pm - Royal Ark Mariner degree of the Allied Masonic Degrees

8:30pm - St. Lawrence of Martyr degree of the Allied Masonic Degrees


Friday, February 22nd, 2019



7:00am - Breakfast sponsored by the Convent General KYCH 

8:15am - Grand College of Rites of the USA 
D. Allen Surratt, Grand Chancellor, KGC
Gerald E. Klein, Grand Registrar
9:00am - Ladies Breakfast (no cost) 

9:00am - Allied Masonic Chair Degrees
9:00am - Installed Sovereign Master
10:15am - Installed Supreme Ruler
10:45am - Commander Noah
11:15am - Knight Commander of the Red Branch of Eri
9:30am - Society of Blue Friars 
S. Brent Morris, BF, Grand Abbot
Arturo de Hoyos, BF, Deputy Grand Abbot 
Richard E. Fletcher, Secretary General
10:45am - Nine Muses Council No.13 of the Allied Masonic Degrees 

Noon - Lunch sponsored by the Grand Council of Knight Masons, USA 

1:30pm - Grand Council of Knight Masons, USA 
William R. Miller, Great Chief
J. David Cashion, Grand Scribe
4:15pm - Grand College of America of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest 
Reese Lenwood Harrison, Jr., K.G.C., G.C. Grand Preceptor 
Lawrence E. Tucker, K.G.C., K.C. Grand Registrar
John Donohoo, Preceptor, Grand Preceptor's Tabernacle "A"
6:30pm - The 11th Annual Dinner of the Masonic Society 

6:30pm - The Great Priory of America of the Chevaliers Bienfasants de la Cite Sainte 

9:00pm - Ye Antient Order of Corks


Saturday, February 23rd, 2019



7:00am - Breakfast sponsored by the York Rite Sovereign College 
Blaine H. Simons, Governor General, KCPC, KGC 
D. Allen Surratt Secretary General, KCPC
8:15am - Scarlet Cord Degrees of the Allied Masonic Degrees 
8:15am - First Grade (Ostiarius or Doorkeeper) 
8:45am - Second Grade (Lector) 
9:15am - Third Grade (Fellow) 
9:45am - Fourth Grade (Councillor) 
9:00am - Philalethes Society Meeting
R. Stephen Doan, FPS, President 
Terry L. Tilton, FPS, Secretary 
10:45am - Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor 
David A. Grindle, Grand Preceptor 
Lawrence E. Tucker, Grand Recorder
11:45am - Noble Order of Muscovites
Seth Anthony, Imperial Governor
12:15pm - The Philalethes Society Luncheon 

2:00pm - Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA 
David Dixon Goodwin, KGC, Sovereign Grand Master 
Clyde Schoolfield, Grand Secretary
2:00pm - Ladies Afternoon Tea 

5:30pm - Social Hour 

6:30pm - All Masonic Banquet 

8:45pm - Masonic Order of the Bath
Blaine H. Simons, Most Honorable Commander-General
William G. Snyder, Keeper of the Bath Records 

Sunday, February 24th, 2019


08:30am - Washington Monument Assemblage of the Operatives, USA Region (I° to VII°) 
David C. Ladd VI°, Deputy Master Mason
09:00am - Lodge of Menatzchim V° of the Operatives (V°, VI°, & VII° only) 
Donald L. McAndrews VII°, Deputy Master Mason
10:30am - Lodge of Harodim VI° of the Operatives (VI° & VII° only) 
George R. Haynes, VII°, Senior Passed Master
Noon - Closing of Washington Monument Assemblage of the Operatives 

12:30pm - Operatives Brunch (I° to VII°)
George R. Haynes, VII°, Deputy Grand Master Mason 
Alan R. Beidel, VI°, Regional Clerk

Monday, October 1, 2018

Knight Commander of Zerubbabel

The Knight Masons, an invitational appendant body stemming from the Royal Arch, is considered a great honor in of itself, but this body also awards to Knights who "exhibited the precepts of Knight Masonry above and beyond the call of duty" the Knight Commander of Zerubbabel. The award takes the name of Zerubbabel who is a central character in the three degrees of Knight Masonry: Knight of the Sword, Knight of the East, and Knight of the East and West. The Knight Commander of Zerubbabel was created under the auspices of Most Excellent Great Chief of the Grand Council of Knight Masons, USA, in Fall of 2011.

The Past Excellent Chiefs act as a nominating committee for their respective Council. This nomination is passed on to the Grand Superintendent of that jurisdiction before being sent onto the Great Chief who, along with the Deputy Great Chief and Grand Senior Knight, will choose no more than one recipient per jurisdiction as long as it doesn't violate the 5% Rule. The 5% Rule means that no more than 5% of any Council or jurisdiction’s total current membership (as determined by the Grand Scribe) may be entitled to receive the Knight Commander of Zerubbabel. The Knight Commander of Zerubbabel may not be given to any past or present elected official of the Grand Council, including Past Great Chiefs.

The recipient of Knight Commander of Zerubbabel receives a jewel that is a silver Celtic cross enameled in shamrock green. In the center of the cross is a circular emerald green field with one gold equilateral triangle inset into a green field on which are superimposed two Crossed Swords, encircled in gold with the words "KNIGHT COMMANDER OF ZERUBBABEL." The jewel is suspended from a green silk ribbon with a red silk ribbon superimposed in the center.






Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Jewel of the SRICF

Figure 1
When I wrote my article on the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, I failed to mention the jewel of the order (See Figure 1). It is described as a "Golden Rhombus" meaning that it is a lozenge (diamond) with dimensions based on the golden ratio (see Figure 2). Within this lozenge, is a Greek cross which is composed of 18-bars in each of the four arms (a total of 72). At it's center is a pentagram within a square. This jewel is suspended from a ribbon attached to a horizontal bar. On the bar are found the letters "S.R.I.C.F." Within the SRICF, Fratres of the I° - VII° have a ribbon that is green. For Fratres of the VIII°, the ribbon is gold. The jewel for the IX° is a mitre from which is suspended a red ribbon and jewel.

The Golden ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. It is often represented by the Greek letter Phi (φ). The golden ratio is a ratio of 1:1.6180339887498948482. It is also known as the golden mean, divine proportion, golden spiral, and golden number (see Figure 3). The golden ratio appears in many patterns of nature such as in shell spirals or leaves. Many buildings of antiquity have the golden ratio in them such as the Parthenon in Greece. It was Euclid who linked the golden ratio to the pentagram. In Western occultism, the Golden Ratio symbolizes the relationship of God to His Creation. The number four has a number of symbolic meanings such as representing the Four Gospels, the Four Principle Tribes of Israel, the four winds, four elements, the four seasons, the four archangels, the Hayyoth, and so on. The 72 bars reminds of the membership limit for a College and the names of God (or the Shemhamphorash). The pentagram, like the lozenge, is related to the golden ratio (see Figure 4). The pentagram symbolizes the four elements plus the spirit as the fifth element; specifically, it shows the spirit above the four elements and thus the victory of the divine over the material.

Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tarot Card of the Month: Justice

The Tarot card for September is Justice. Justice i*s sometimes also known as Lust. The Justice is the 8th or 11th of the Major Arcana in the Tarot, depending on the style of deck. Justice is associated with the planet Venus, the element Air, the Zodiacal sign of Libra, and the autumnal equinox. 

Justice represents courage, fairness, cause and effect, karma, balance and equilibrium, accountability, responsibility, and natural law. This Tarot card reminds us that we are always responsible for our thoughts, words, and actions.

The card depicts a person, it may be a man or a woman (depending on the deck), holding a set of scales in his left hand and a sword raised upward in his right hand. Justice is seated in front of a loosely-hung purple veil, and between two pillars. They are clad in red robes with a gold cloak and adorned with a crown emblazoned with a square. The scales represent balance and the sword represents sometimes the necessity to use force to achieve equilibrium. The scales also remind us to balance logic with intuition. The sword is also said to do demonstrate a logical, well-ordered mindset which is necessary to dispense justice. The sword being double-edged reminds us of the consequences of our actions (favorable or not). The purple veil signifies compassion. The pillars signify # and remind me of the High Priestess and the Hierophant. The crown with a square on it represents an ordered mind and discernment.




Saturday, September 22, 2018

151st Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Idaho

Well, today concluded with the 151st Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Idaho in Lewiston, ID. I arrived Wednesday and attended the Grand Master's Private Banquet where I represented the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho. Thursday started with the public opening and then proceeded with the tiled/closed meeting. Thursday night included the annual meeting of the Idaho Lodge of Research where I was re-elected as Secretary.

With the start of the Friday session, the Grand Lodge jumped into the resolutions brought before the Grand Lodge. There were 14 resolutions brought, but only 9 allowed to come before the body electorate, but 3 were withdrawn. The most notable resolution passed was one that I put forth and, with the approval of the Grand Lodge, allows for the recognition of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. Now, the Fratres can move forward to establishing an SRICF College in Idaho

Elections were also held on Friday and resulted as follows:
Most Worshipful Grand Master: Kent R. McCandless
R.W. Deputy Grand Master: Steven L. Hall
R.W. Senior Grand Warden: Steven O. Zimmerman
R.W. Junior Grand Warden: Russ W. Smith
R.W. Grand Treasurer: N. Randell "Randy" King
R.W. Grand Secretary: Monte B. Bollar
R.W. Grand Lecturer: Daniel Siddell
Friday night brought the Grand Lodge's Membership Banquet where District Mason and Idaho Mason of the Year awards were handed out to those worthy Brothers selected. The Grand Orator also gave his final speech before the Grand Lodge and guests.

This morning there wasn't anything left to do except declare the 2018-2019 officers installed and to accept the Report of the Grand Orator. All things being done, the Grand Lodge was closed until our next merry meeting. Now, it's time to get back home to my family

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Occult Book

While doing some research for a paper I'm presenting to my SRICF College, I came across "The Occult Book: A Chronological Journey from Alchemy to Wicca" by John Michael Greer. John Michael Greer is a well-known author and blogger on occultism. He served for 12-years as Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and, since 2013, he heads the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn. The book's cover is aesthetically pleasing with blue with golden embossed text and symbols, but inside holds a plethora of information on occultism covering from the 6th Century BC to modern times. The book has the following chapters:
Pythagoras
Empedocles and the Four Elements
Horoscopes
Plato
Bacchic Mysteries
Miriam the Alchemist
Jesus Christ
Fall of Mona
Runic Alphabet
Apollonius of Tyana
Basilides of Alexandria
Magic
Valentinus
The Corpus Hermeticum
Plotinus
Zosimos of Panopolis
Iamblichus of Chalcis
Pagan Rome
Eleusinian Mysteries
Edicts of Justinian
Merlin
Jabir ibn Hayyan
Knights Templar
The Albigensian Crusades
The Kabbalah
Fall of Harran
Abraham Abulafia
Cecco d'Ascolithe 
Philosopher's Stone
Tarot
Witch Trials
Johannes Reuchlin
Paracelsus
Cornelius Agrippa
John Dee
Nostradamus
Isaac Luria
The Legend of Faust
Giordano Bureus
The Rosicrucian Manifestos
Christian Astrology
Freemasonry
Passage of the Witchcraft Act
Emanuel Swedenborg
The Hellfire Club
The Elus Coens
Franz Mesmer
Alessandro Cagliostro
Druids
Francis Barrett
Spiritualism
Eliphas Levi
Theosophy
The Martinist Order
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Hoodoo
Carl Jung
Rudolf Steiner
The Thule Society
Manly P. Hall
Alchemy
Wicca
The Thirteenth Baktun
Each of these chapters contains a stunning picture relevant to the subject with a page worth of description. This book does not go in-depth with each subject, but it lays a great foundation for researchers to start off from. At the bottom of each page, Greer gives more information to look up for further study. At the end of the book is a Notes and References Section which includes each date and subject, along with the books the material in this book came from. This book is good for both novices and experts in occultism as it provides the reader with a nice reference and chronological history.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

I Sat In Lodge With You

By Wilbur D. Nesbit


There is a saying filled with cheer, 
Which calls a man to fellowship. 
It means as much for him to hear 
As lies within the brother grip. 
Nay, more! It opens wide the way 
To friendliness sincere and true 
There are no strangers when you say 
To me: I sat in lodge with you. 

When that is said, then I am known 
There is no questioning nor doubt 
I need not walk my path alone 
Nor from my fellows be shut out. 
Those words hold all of brotherhood 
And help me face the world anew 
There's something deep and rich and good 
In this: I sat in lodge with you. 

Though in far lands one needs must roam 
By sea and shore and hill and plain, 
Those words bring him a touch of home 
And lighten tasks that seem in vain. 
Men's faces are no longer strange 
But seem as those he always knew 
When some one brings the joyous change 
With this: I sat in lodge with you. 

So you, my brother, now and then 
Have often put me in your debt 
By showing forth to other men 
That you your friends do not forget. 
When all the world seems gray and cold 
And I am weary, worn and blue 
Then comes this golden thought I hold 
You said: I sat in lodge with you. 

When to the last great Lodge you fare 
My prayer is that I may be 
One of your friends who wait you there 
Intent your smiling face to see. 
We, with the warden at the gate, 
Will have a pleasant task to do 
We'll call, though you come soon or late: 
Come in! We sat in lodge with you!