Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Templar's Dream

by Virginia A. Edwards

A Templar Knight of noble deed 
was summoned by his holy creed, 
to fight for Christ and plant His seed, 
for those who pierced His heart to bleed.

The splendid Savior's name would rise, 
as rightful King in pagan eyes. 
Oh that would be his greatest prize, 
for that one man should gladly die!

His stallion white was armored well, 
the gallant night would vanquish hell. 
To conquer where his foes did dwell, 
he swore their pride would soon be felled. 

His Lord the victor of the world, 
the unbelievers would be hurled. 
So help him if he fought alone, 
to capture rightly Land and Home, 
for on that Knight God's Light had shown.

That valiant knight soon from his quest, 
his tired bones then sought some rest. 
He knew his sleep would thus be blessed, 
for safe was he in battle dressed.
With sword in sheath, and shield aside 
he laid to rest his Christian pride. 

Beneath an Olive tree he knelt, 
and in God's name he freed his cry: 
"My Lord I simply can not go 
by weariness and fear, 
I think it best to close my eyes 
until my strength is here."

Now madness settled rather fast, 
imbuing him with dream. 
Upon a city oe'r the hills, 
the Lord shown down His Beam.

The knight could see from distance great, 
in darkness oe'r the land, 
A brilliant cross that burnished bright, 
and holding it a hand.

How small it was beneath the stars 
that lit the cobalt skies. 
He strained to focus on its shape, 
and it vanished from his eyes. 

With that our brave knight shook his head, 
and nodded from his dream. 
He splashed upon his sweating brow, 
some water from a stream.

Inspired evermore was he 
to crush the infidel, 
who cursed the precious Land of Christ 
with foreign tongue and spell.

He reached the mighty City gate, 
and galloped in with storm. 
The unbelievers froze in place, 
by his swiftly iron form.

"I've come here in the name of Christ, 
to save His sacred Land!",
and from his breast plate pulled a cross 
that glistened in his hand.

Then by his solo fighting band, 
he swung his sword in efforts grand. 
But the flashing blade was soon oppressed, 
and our valiant Knight in chain mail dressed 
met his Sainthood by his actions blessed. 
For he died with arrows in his chest.

No cry of anguish fled his lips, 
nor gasp of rasping breath. 
For the cross of Christ that won his life, 
had saved him from true Death.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

To all of my Brother and Sister Veterans and all of those who are still serving today, I thank you for your service.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Swedish Rite of Freemasonry

One of the things I love about Freemasonry is traveling and visiting Lodges around the world. On my list of places to still visit is a Lodge in Sweden (or any of the northern European countries really) as they practice a variation of Freemasonry called the Swedish Rite. It differs from the rest of Grand Lodge systems in that to even petition an aspirant must be of the Christian faith, but they do not dictate the denomination or exact practice. This rite is composed of the following 10 degrees and 2 honorary degrees:
St John's Lodge:
1. Entered Apprentice
 2. Fellowcraft
 3. Master Mason
St Andrew's Lodge:
4. Scottish Apprentice
5. Scottish Fellow 
6. Scottish Master 
7. Knight of the East
8. Knight of the West
9. Knight of the South
10. Confident of St. Andrew 
The High Council:
11. Knight Companion of the Red Cross 
12. Vicar of Solomon
The Swedish Rite is practiced commonly in Nordic countries, but each country has its Grand Lodge that governs its own jurisdiction; there's no supreme authority over the entire Swedish Rite, but these Grand Lodges work together to keep the uniformity with the ritual. A slight variation of the Swedish Rite is practiced by the Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland (one of five recognized by the United Grand Lodges of Germany). The Swedish Rite is a peculiar system that was influenced by the English Freemasonry, French Freemasonry, German Freemasonry and the Rite of Strict Observance, Gnosticism, and Rosicrucianism. You also see similarities with the York Rite and a couple degrees from the Scottish Rite, but this may be due to the fact that they were influenced from the same sources. It is also interesting to see that with the Swedish Rite, you don't see any other appendant bodies in existence in that jurisdiction.

Freemasonry was introduced to Sweden by Count Axel Wrede-Sparre who had gone to France serving as a Cavalry officer and while there became a Freemason. Once back in Sweden, he started a Lodge composed of those who also had joined Freemasonry abroad; many of them were of high nobility. In 1735, he initiated his brother-in-law, Count Carl Gustaf Tessin, in Stockholm. This Lodge was short lived and ceased to exist around 1748. In 1752, Count Knut Posse founded the Lodge St Jean Auxiliaire, receiving a charter from the Grand Master from Paris, and many of the Masons living in Sweden, including Count Axel Wrede-Sparre, joined this Lodge. This Lodge would become to be known as the ”Mother-Lodge of Sweden” (a pseudo Grand Lodge) and who began issuing charters to Lodges through Sweden and Finland. To expand Freemasonry, the Swedish Lodges opened their Lodges to Christian men of other classes outside the nobility.

In 1756, Carl Fredrik Eckleff with six Brothers formed the Scottish Lodge L’Innocente in Stockholm which worked the so called Scottish St Andrew´s degrees. By 1759, Eckleff was able to found a Grand Chapter in Stockholm and was said to be authorized by a foreign patent, but it's not known where this patent originated. An official Grand Lodge of Sweden would be founded the following year, but would not have authority over the Scottish St Andrew´s degreesEckleff was instrumental in starting to mold a system of Freemasonry that had a Christian basis. The Swedish Rite was further developed by Charles XIII, who would eventually become King of Sweden and King of Norway, and became Grand Master of Sweden. Over the years he would create a system of degrees that were not just progressive, but seen as continuous. Charles XIII would eventually head both the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter, and which would lead to the unification of Freemasonry under one authority. According to Bro. Burton E. Bennett in paper "The Swedish Rite of Freemasonry" the following Templar legend is used by this rite: 
The story is that Jesus told secrets to some of his apostles that he did not tell to others, and, also, told secrets to the Essenes, of whom he was one; that these secrets were handed down as a mystery through the Essenes, and that at the time of the Crusades they were greatly oppressed by the Saracens, and while seven of them, Syric Christians, were fleeing from the Saracens they were rescued by the Knights Templars.
They stayed with them in Jerusalem and imparted to the Templar priests their secrets. These were handed down in this Order till it was abolished and the priests dispersed. They were not molested to the extent that the seculars were, and with their secret knowledge they kept their secret writings. Some of them fled to Scotland, where they founded a priory, and from there their secrets gradually spread to the continent of Europe, and finally reached Sweden.
There are many theories of Templar continuation and its association to the Masonic fraternity, but many of them are made up to increase or enhance the pedigree of a new Masonic knighthood. Brother and Sir Knight Stephen Dafoe, Past Grand Historian of the Great Priory of Canada, wrote a book called "Compasses and the Cross" where he goes through the various myths and legends to see which ones are based on fact and which ones are not.

In 1776 Charles XIII was elected as Grand Master of the Rite of Strict Observance. The Rite of Strict Observance was founded in Germany. In the 1740s a few German Lodges started giving their Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts the names of French Knights. Most of these Lodges were in Dresden, but Baron von Hund founded one of these Lodges on his estates East of Dresden around 1751. It was from the close ties of these Lodges that the Rite of Strict Observance was created. It was said that the Rite originated with C.G. Marschall von Bieberstein, who had founded two of the Lodges in Germany; one in Dresden and one in Naumber called “Lodge of the Three Hammers”. Von Hund is said to have taken over after von Bieberstein died in 1750. Under von Hund’s watch, the Rites degrees consisted of: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason, Scottish Master, Novice, and Knights Templar. The Scottish Master degree concerned itself with the preservation of the lost word of Freemasonry which had been cut on a plate of pure metal, placed in a secure location, and centuries later discovered. This was not an exclusive belief as the Ecossais degrees used this, which had sprung up after Ramsey’s Oration. One of the strangest aspects of the Rite of Strict Observance was that the adherence had to swear an oath to blindly follow the directives of "Unknown Superiors" who ruled the order. This invisible leader was said to have possibly been Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender. This was the same man whom Ramsey had tried to tutor some year prior. There is a lack of evidence that supports this idea, but nonetheless the invisible rulers are said to have communicated through Baron von Hund. After von Hund’s death in 28 October 1776, the Rite began to go downhill. Charles XIII only served for 2-years as Grand Master and it is believed he resigned for political reasons. The 1782 Congress of Wilhelmsbad was held and as a result it was resolved by the Freemasons present that Freemasonry were not descendants of the Templars, that there were no “unknown superiors” to hand out instruction, and soon after the Rite came to an end, but as a result the Rectified Scottish Rite emerged.

Influenced by his time as Grand Master of the Rite of Strict Observance and using the foundations by Eckleff, Charles XIII created the degree system used by the Swedish Rite that is still seen today. Aside from being the driving force of the Swedish Rite, Charles XIII also set precedence. After his tenure as Grand Master, all Kings of Sweden served as Grand Master of Sweden until King Gustaf VI Adolf died in 1973; after Gustaf died, King Carl XVI Gustaf (the new Swedish king) didn't want to become a Freemason although he is considered the "High Protector of the Swedish Order of Freemasons." Since the death of Gustaf, other members of the Royal House, often titled "Prince," have served as Grand Master and, have in past, also filled the positions of Pro Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master. The current Grand Master is Anders Strömberg.

As stated above, the Swedish Rite is a continuous system and is best described as a ladder reaching from the bottom of a deep well. At the bottom, an aspirant looms in darkness, but upon being initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason he steps upon the first rung of the ladder, striving for the light. In the Swedish Rite, the climb is slow and one is only allowed to pass to the next rung if he has proven himself worthy; it can take up to 2-years for one to become a Master Mason and another 15-20 years to be elevated to the 10th degree. Only a select few reach the uppermost rung of the ladder. The first three degrees are those of any other Grand Lodge, those of Craft Masonry or the degrees of a St. John's Lodge:

The first three degrees are similar, but have noticeable differences. One such example is that the Fellowcraft degree does not include the 7 Liberal Arts & Sciences and is more concerned with fraternalism and setting the stage for the story of the degree of Master Mason.

The three "Scottish" degrees of St. Andrew's Lodge (4° - 6°) are similar to other "Ecossais" degrees which deal with the preservation and recovery of the Master's Word. These degrees can be compared to the Royal Arch and Select Master in the York Rite as well as Scotch Master in the French Rite.

The Knight of the East is the 7th degree of the Swedish Rite and depicts the erection of the Second Temple after the Jews were released from Babylonian captivity. This degree is comparable to the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross in the York Rite as well as the degrees of the Order of Knight Masons and 15° of the Scottish Rite. To sit as Warden of a St. John's Lodge (1° - 3°), one must possess this degree. The 8th degree, or Knight of the West, is the first Templar order conferred in this system which is based upon the Templar legend explained above; that the Templars fled to Scotland where they founded the Masonic fraternity and through England and then France led to the establishment of Freemasonry in Sweden. To be elected as Master of a St. John's Lodge, one must possess this degree. The 9th degree, or Knight of the South, is a Hermetic degree and has influence from Rosicrucianism which had flourished towards the end of the 18th century. The Confident of St. Andrew is the 10th degree and is described as a "mythical crusading" degree and is comparable to the 29° of the Scottish Rite. 

The 11th degree, or Knight Companion of the Red Cross, is a degree reserved for past and present Grand Lodge officers and has a membership limit of 33. The 12th degree is called the "Vicar of Solomon" and the only one who holds this degree is the Grand Master.

In American Freemasonry, the various offices are sought after, but in the Swedish Rite the degrees are the focus of the members. From research, a Master of a St. John's Lodge will serve in that position for 4-years and is supported by Deputies and Wardens. In comparison to other Grand Lodges, the Swedish Rite is considered an autocratic system where most of the power lies with the Grand Master. This came about as a result of the times. In the 18th century Freemasonry was decentralized with very few Grand Lodges formed in Europe which was causing conflicts to arise everywhere. To ensure no strife would arise within the emerging Swedish Rite, it was seen as necessary that it be built upon a strong central authority, the Grand Master.

Due to the Swedish Rite's very secretive nature there isn't as much information out there in comparison to other Masonic rites, but it is a fascinating rite to study nonetheless. I recommend watching "Episode 44 - Swedish Rite" by the Masonic Roundtable for more information.


1. Bennett, Burton E. The Degrees of the Swedish Rite. September 1924. 

2. Bennett, Burton E. The Swedish Rite of Freemasonry. January 1926. 

3. Davidson, Alex G. The Swedish Constitution. 2005. 

4. Swedish Rite. n.d. 

5. Swedish Rite. n.d. 
6. Swedish Rite FAQ. March 18, 1998. 

7. The Grand Lodge of Sweden. n.d.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween. I just got back from a meeting of Salish Court #96 of the Masonic Order of Athelstan. Now it's time to get dressed into my costume and head to a Halloween Party a friend is throwing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Masonic Week 2016

The 2016 Masonic Week schedule has been published. Masonic Week originated with the Allied Masonic Degrees in 1938 and over time, more and more groups have jumped on board and expanded the program. The 2016 Masonic Week will be from February 11th to February 14th, and includes the following groups: the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon, Masonic Order of Athelstan, Rectified Scottish Rite (or CBCS), Order of Knight Masons, Society of Blue Friars, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest, Allied Masonic Degrees, Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor, Ye Antiente Order of Corks, Grand College of Rites, the Philalethes Society, The Royal Order Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord of the United States of America, The Masonic Society, Masonic Order of the Bath, and the Operatives.

Official Program

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
8:00 AM - Trinity Chapel #12, St. Thomas of Acon
10:00 AM - Grand Master’s Council Meeting
12:00 PM - Festive Board (Acon Members and the Ladies only)
1:30 PM - Potomac Court #107, Order of Athelstan
3:00 PM - Provincial Grand Court of the United States of America for the Masonic Order of Athelstan
6:30 - The Great Priory of America, Chevaliers Bienfasants de la Cite Sainte

Friday, February 12th, 2016
7:30 AM - Breakfast sponsored by Convent General KYCH
8:30 AM - Grand Council Knight Masons, USA
11:00 AM - Society of Blue Friars
12:00 PM - Luncheon sponsored by the Knight Masons
1:00 PM - Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest, Grand College of America
4:30 - Allied Masonic Degrees
5:00 - Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor
6:00 PM - Social Hour
7:00 PM - All Masonic Banquet
9:00 PM - Ye Antiente Order of Corks

Saturday, February 13th, 2016
7:00 AM - Breakfast sponsored by York Rite Sovereign College 
8:00 AM - Grand College of Rites of the USA 
9:30 AM - Nine Muses Council #13, AMD
12:00 PM - Luncheon sponsored by The Philalethes Society
1:30 PM - Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees, USA
4:00 PM - Installation of the 2016-2017 Grand Council officers
4:30 PM - The Royal Order Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord of the United States of America 
7:00 PM - 7th Annual Banquet of the Masonic Society
9:00 PM - Masonic Order of the Bath

Sunday, February 14th, 2016
8:30 AM - Washington Monument Assemblage of the Operatives, United States of America Region
9:00 AM - Lodge of Menatzchim V°
10:30 AM - Lodge of Harodim VI°
12:00 - Washington Monument Assemblage
12:30 PM - Operatives Brunch 
I plan on attending again and look forward to seeing the Brethren from around the world.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Free Copy of "Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?"

For Scottish Rite Masons of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction USA, you can receive a free electronic copy of “Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?” by Bros. Arturo de Hoyos and Brent Morris. All you need to do is go to the Supreme Council's website, log-in or create an account, go to “My Information,” update your information (if necessary), and click “Save Changes.” The PDF book will be emailed to your registered email address.

This book is written in response to the anti-Masonic misinformation that exists today about Freemasonry. Both authors provide extensive and detailed information to refute charges made by many anti-Masons and former Masons like Jim Shaw, who claimed was a 33° but wasn'tIt's far more than just picking apart a couple of folks. It's a hard-hitting and evidence based rebuttal of many claims made by those who would destroy Freemasonry.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


The last several days has been a whirlwind of events. Two Thursdays ago (the 8th) I had a Commandery meeting, the next day was Past Master's Night at my Lodge, then on Saturday I had to race up to Grandview (WA) for Knight Masons meeting where I was installed as Director of Ceremonies. I had a day off before going to the Fall Communication of the 7th Masonic District of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho on Monday. Then this last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I had my hands full with attending the Northwest York Rite Conference. Once the conference was done by midday on Saturday I headed up to Idaho City to attend a meeting of an assembly of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls held in the historic Lodge. Now I'm catching up on some homework and have some time off to catch my breath. Next on my Masonic plate is more Lodge, York Rite stated meeting, Scottish Rite Reunion (I'm on a few degree teams), Masonic Order of Athelstan meeting in Issaquah (WA), and attending the Official Visit for my mother's Eastern Star Chapter.

With all of these events, the travelling, and working on my Master's degree, I will not be posting much over the next month, but I have some articles slowly being worked and should be posted in November or December.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


By Allen Ginsberg


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, 
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, 
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, 
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, 
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated, 
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war, 
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull, 
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall, 
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York, 
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night 
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls, 
incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between, 
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind, 
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo, 
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi’s, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox, 
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge, 
a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State out of the moon, 
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars, 
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement, 
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall, 
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-withdrawal in Newark’s bleak furnished room, 
who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts, 
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night, 
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas, 
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels, 
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy, 
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain, 
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa, 
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago, 
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incomprehensible leaflets, 
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism, 
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed, 
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons, 
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication, 
who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts, 
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy, who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love, 
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come who may, 
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to pierce them with a sword, 
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman’s loom, 
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness, 
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake, 
who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver—joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses’ rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too, 
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hung-over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices, 
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steam-heat and opium, 
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blur floodlight of the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion, 
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery, 
who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music, 
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts, 
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology, 
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish, 
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom, 
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg, 
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade, 
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique stores where they thought they were growing old and cried, 
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality, 
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer, 
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears and the blast of colossal steamwhistles, 
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to each other’s hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation, 
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity, 
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes, 
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other’s salvation and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a second, 
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals with golden heads and the charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet blues to Alcatraz, 
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisychain or grave, 
who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were left with their insanity & their hands & a hung jury, 
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy, 
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy pingpong & amnesia, 
who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia, 
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East, 
Pilgrim State’s Rockland’s and Greystone’s foetid halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon, 
with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung out of the tenement window, and the last door closed at 4 A.M. and the last telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination— 
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you’re really in the total animal soup of time— 
and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipsis catalogue a variable measure and the vibrating plane, 
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus 
to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head, 
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might be left to say in time come after death, 
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of America’s naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio 
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.


What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? 
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! 
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men! 
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments! 
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb! 
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities! 
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind! 
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch! 
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky! 
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs! 
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us! 
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river! 
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit! 
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years’ animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time! 
Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!


Carl Solomon! I’m with you in Rockland where you’re madder than I am 
I’m with you in Rockland where you must feel very strange 
I’m with you in Rockland where you imitate the shade of my mother 
I’m with you in Rockland where you’ve murdered your twelve secretaries 
I’m with you in Rockland where you laugh at this invisible humor 
I’m with you in Rockland where we are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter 
I’m with you in Rockland where your condition has become serious and is reported on the radio 
I’m with you in Rockland where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses 
I'm with you in Rockland where you drink the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica 
I’m with you in Rockland where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the harpies of the Bronx 
I’m with you in Rockland where you scream in a straightjacket that you’re losing the game of the actual pingpong of the abyss 
I’m with you in Rockland where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse 
I’m with you in Rockland where fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a cross in the void 
I’m with you in Rockland where you accuse your doctors of insanity and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha 
I’m with you in Rockland where you will split the heavens of Long Island and resurrect your living human Jesus from the superhuman tomb 
I’m with you in Rockland where there are twentyfive thousand mad comrades all together singing the final stanzas of the Internationale 
I’m with you in Rockland where we hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets the United States that coughs all night and won’t let us sleep 
I’m with you in Rockland where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof they’ve come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls collapse O skinny legions run outside O starry-spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here O victory forget your underwear we’re free 
I’m with you in Rockland in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western night 

San Francisco, 1955—1956

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Phoenician Burial Rites

In this article, I will be looking at the burial rituals and practices of the Phoenicians. I chose this culture specifically to learn more about it as it is an enigmatic and mysterious culture, and kings, like Hiram I, play a role in the legend of the Masonic fraternity. First I will define certain terms then I will give an introduction of the Phoenician people, the Phoenician religion, an introduction into funerary rituals and practices, early burial rites and practices of the Phoenicians, evolution of these rituals and practices, foreign influence on the Phoenicians, and placement of the cemeteries.

In this article several terms and phrases will be used such as funerary rites and/or mortuary rites. To make all things clear, I will define specific terms. Rite is defined as “a ceremonial act or action.” Rites are often planned sets of activities that bring together aspects of an organization or culture in a single event. Rituals are repeated communication performances during a rite or ceremony that communicates a particular value or role definition. There are a variety of rituals: personal rituals, societal rituals such as burial rituals, and task rituals (weekly staff meetings). A ceremony is a “formal act or event that is a part of a social or religious occasion.” Burial Rite is defined as “any of the ceremonial acts or customs employed at the time of death and burial.” This is also synonymous with funeral which is a ceremony connected with the burial or cremation of the dead. There are two types of ways to deal with the dead, either inhumation or cremation. Inhumation is defined as to bury, inter, or place in a grave/tomb. Cremation is to reduce a body to ashes by burning or incineration.

When researching Phoenician burial rituals, there is an issue with the sources. The most notable sources from ancient times are Philo of Byblos, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Porphyry of Tyre, but these sources lived long after the early burial rituals and each seem to be discounted by most scholars for a variety of reasons. Philo’s accuracy has been called into question. Porphyry’s writings are now just fragments maintained in works of others and while from the city-state of Tyre, he never referred to himself as Phoenician and held a negative view of the culture. Eusebius seemed to hold a negative view of the Phoenicians as he was Christian and saw their culture as pagan and heretical. Even the Bible which talks about the Canaanites and Phoenicians was less concerned on the particulars of their ritual and more focused upon the fact that they did not consider Phoenician rituals as proper worship. With insufficient primary texts, scholars and researchers have had to use archaeological evidence to reconstruct Phoenician culture.

The Phoenicians were an ancient civilization that emerged sometime between the 16th and 13th centuries BCE on the coast of the Levant. Scholars now view Phoenicians as descendants of Bronze Age Canaanites who gained independence with the decline of Egyptian influence in the region around 1200 BCE. The mainland boundaries ranging from northern modern-day Israel into southern Syria with the Lebanon Mountain range as its eastern border. Their major cities were Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, and Arwad. Phoenicia appears to have been a confederacy of city-states which each city having its own ruler, but retaining cultural ties such as their religion. The Phoenicians became a maritime power in the Mediterranean and soon Phoenician traders began to expand their trade. In turn this expansion led to the establishment of colonies around the Mediterranean such as Carthage and as far west as Spain. They traded first with wood, metals, salves, wine, and glass, but one of its trades it was known for, was its rare purple dyes which were used primarily by royalty as it was so costly. It was the purple dye that gave the Phoenicians their name as Phoenician means "purple people," originating from the Greek word "phoinios" meaning "purple."

Eventually the Phoenicians would eventually be conquered by the Persians and divided into four vassal kingdoms. Under Persian control, the Phoenicians still flourished, but this ended, around the 4th century BCE, when Alexander the Great sought to control the naval bases along the eastern Mediterranean coast. Even under the Persians, Phoenicia was a confederacy of city-states and each city resisted Alexander in their own way: Arwad, Sidon, and Byblos surrendered without putting up a fight, but Tyre does not. Alexander the Great attempted to lay siege, but was originally unsuccessful as Tyre was a well-fortified island city-state. He had to destroy Ushu, town on the mainland that supplied Tyre, to build a causeway to the island was he enabled to bring siege engines and scale the walls of Tyre. He was brutal to the people of Tyre; he executed many of the males who were of age to serve in the military, sold thousands to slavery, and razed the city to the ground. This brutality stems from the Tyrians killing an ambassador that Alexander has sent to them asking for a peace treaty. Soon Greek influence is seen intruding into the Phoenician culture and would not regain independence until the 3rd century CE, but never regained the prominence it once had.

When discussing the Phoenician religion, one must be cautious because, as Richard J. Clifford states, primary source material is “seriously deficient.” Helen Dixon states that the “Phoenician religion is presented as simply impossible to know given the current state of evidence.” It is complicated to fully understand this religion as sometimes it is seen as a unified religion and at other times as a confederacy with city-gods and the appearance of a pantheon that extends throughout the region; usually the triad of this pantheon is the main city-god with a fertility goddess and a “rising god.” Things are further complicated as the names of gods could also be used as a title or share the name of city. Death played a major role in the Phoenician religion as they sought to appease their ancestors and the gods by performing rituals that would send the soul to the afterlife there to be reunited with its ancestors in the underworld.

Figure 1
Funerary rituals and practices are an important aspect of any culture. While they serve a religious function, that of properly sending the deceased’s soul into the afterlife, it also serves a social and psychological function, whereby society can further build a communal memory and to create a strengthen memory between the living and the dead. Through funerary rituals, one may express their feelings of the deceased, often in a way that is consistent with cultural and religious values; provides support for the living; and helps the living acknowledge the reality of temporarily and death. This holds true to the Phoenicians who saw it was their duty to properly bury their dead and ensure they were not disturbed thereafter. The study of Phoenician funerary rites and practices also helps with understanding the “boundaries of the Phoenician homeland, markers of ethnicity in this territory, and our understanding of Phoenician religious practice.”

The earliest evidence of Phoenician burial rituals date back to around the 13th century and the rituals surrounding the preparation and burial varied according to region and the deceased’s social status. They employed both inhumation and cremation, but there is no evidence that anyone in the upper class was ever cremated; that appears to have been used by the lower class and then possibly only to save space or due to a lack of time such as in warfare. The archaeological evidence shows that the upper class (royal, noble, and aristocratic families/individuals) were often embalmed then buried in a sarcophagus while lower classes used partial cremation and stored the remains in vessels such as jars or amphora (see Figure 1). Some tombs contained just an individual and some excavated tombs are found with hundreds of bodies buried in them. The youngest individuals found buried are said to have been between 12 and 14-years of age; young children and infants it is reported were found to be buried beneath the floor of the house.

Figure 2
With the use of sarcophagus, they may be plain or ornate (See Figure 2). The ornate ones would have relief sculptures or carved motifs on the sides and lid, and/or include inscriptions that cursed those who dared disturb the tomb. In these early tombs there would also be found bracelets, pins, necklaces, and various vessels such as jars, amphora, and bowels. Once the tomb was sealed, for those who could afford it, there would be a stelae (an upright stone slab or column) placed atop the tomb to serve as a grave marker and identify who was in that particular tomb.

For lower classes, there were a variety of ways observed in how they buried their dead. In the case of inhumation, the poor would only use very plain coffins (made of wood instead of stone). Jars and possession would be left around the coffin. In the case of cremation, some tombs contained two jars for a person where one jar held the ashes and the other contained the charred bones as well as the possessions of the deceased.

With the expansion of other cultures and/or empires such as the Roman and Greek, there appears to be some changes in burial rites. Some notices are that a lot of emphasis on the legacy of the king are placed on inscriptions, whether on the stele or tomb itself. Many royal tombs seem to get more lavish, but there is nothing to suggest that this didn’t happen earlier and that the evidence is missing or destroyed. It could also suggest outside influence on the funerary rites from cultures around the Phoenicians. Both are plausible, particularly the latter since the Phoenicians were a maritime power who had traveled and colonized throughout the Mediterranean and elsewhere. One example of outside influence is seen with the use of ankh’s similar to those seen in Egyptian funerary rites.

The Phoenicians often placed their cemeteries away from the city in distance or used natural barriers such as rivers to divide the living from the dead. In the case of the island settlement of Tyre, the cemetery was placed on the mainland adjacent to the island.

In conclusion, we see a culture that saw importance in burying and caring for the deceased, but we see differences in how deceased were buried according to their social status. We see that they view the need to properly treat the dead and prepare them for the afterlife, regardless of their social status. In this article, I defined specific terms to assist in understanding the subject of Phoenician funerary rites. We looked at the Phoenicians and their religion, mortuary rites and practices practiced by them as show from existing archaeological evidence, some influences by neighboring cultures, and the placement of the cemeteries. From the evidence available we don’t see a typical burial practice completely uniform across the entire Phoenician culture, but this could be due to it being a decentralized culture. Ancient texts are hard to place a value on and have been scrutinized, but cannot be wholly dismissed. They must be used in conjunction with inscriptions and other archaeological evidence. The classical texts on the Phoenicians is an article unto itself as modern scholars are hesitant in taking them literally since many of them held hostile views of the Phoenicians and the writings are best described as terse.


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2. Aubet, María E. “The Phoenician Cemetery of Tyre.” Near Eastern Archaeology 73 (2010): 144-155. 

3. Clifford, Richard J. “Phoenician Religion.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 279 (1990): 55-64. 

4. Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. “The Phoenicians (1500-300 B.C.).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004. 

5. Dixon, Helen M., “Phoenician Mortuary Practice in the Iron Age I-III.” PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2013. 

6. Emery, Katy M. “Not Quite Burned, Not Quite Buried.” Bones Don’t Lie. 

7. Markoe, Glenn. Phoenicians. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 

8. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. “Rite.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

9. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. “Ceremony.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

10. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. “Cremate.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

11. Phoenician International Research Center. “History of the Phoenicians.” Last Accessed on November 30, 2014. 

12. Reference Dictionary. “Burial Rite.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

13. Reference Dictionary. “Inhumation.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

14. The Free Dictionary. “Cremation.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

15. The Free Dictionary. “Funeral.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

16. The Free Dictionary. “Inhumation.” Last Accessed on December 13, 2014. 

17. TimeMaps. “Civilization: Phoenicians.” Last Accessed on November 30, 2014. 

18. Wolfelt, Alan D. “Why Is the Funeral Ritual Important?” Center for Loss & Life Transition. Last Accessed on November 30, 2014.