Friday, February 5, 2016

Masonic Youth Groups

There are a variety of organizations considered under the Masonic umbrella. This includes the youth groups like the Job's Daughters, DeMolay, and Rainbow Girls, but there are also lesser known groups like the Knights of Pythagoras, Organization of Triangles, Inc., and Asociacion de Jovenes Esperanza de la Fraternidad. These youth groups provide a place for young men and young women to learn important life skills, and Freemasons can provide guidance and mentoring. I have served as Associate Bethel Guardian for a Bethel and have begun to get involved with a local DeMolay Chapter. Serving in these roles has been very fulfilling and even if the day has been long, busy, hectic, or just plain awful, attending a youth group meeting always brought a smile to my face and made my day better.

Job's Daughters International is an organization for young women age 10 to 20, and who are related to a Master Mason or a Majority Member (a woman who was in Job's Daughters). As in Freemasonry, young women are required to have a belief in a Supreme Being.

It was founded by Ethel T Wead Mick (affectionately known as "Mother Mick) in Omaha, NE, on October 20, 1920. The purpose of the order was to band together young girls with a Masonic relationship for character building through moral and spiritual development, teaching a greater reverence for God and the Bible, patriotism, and respect for parents.

The local organization is called a Bethel which is presided over by an Honored Queen and supervised by a Bethel Guardian (and a Guardian Council). The state level is called Grand Bethel which is presided over by a Grand Bethel Honored Queen and supervised by a Grand Guardian (and council). Job's Daughters International is headed by a Supreme Bethel Honored Queen and with adult supervision from a Supreme Guardian (along council and Board of Trustees). There are Bethels all over the United States, but are also found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the Philippines.

Job's Daughters takes its name and rituals from a story in the Biblical Book of Job, but membership is open to young women of any faith; Job 42:15 states "And in all the land were no women found so fair as the Daughters of Job."

The Order of DeMolay is an organization for young men (12 to 21). Unlike Job's Daughter, the young men do not need to be related to a Mason to join. Though like Freemasonry, it does require young men to hold a belief in a Supreme Being.

The Order of DeMolay was founded by Frank Land in Kansas City, MO, on March 24, 1919 (though March 18th is also used to commemorate the death of Jacques DeMolay).

The basic organizational structure of the order is the Chapter which is presided over by a Master Councilor. The young men receive guidance and mentoring from adult advisers known as "Chapter Dads." Chapters form the State Chapter and is presided over by the State Master Councilor. The adult adviser is called the "Executive Officer." DeMolay International is presided over by the International Master Councilor along with the Grand Master (adult adviser). There are Chapters located in Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Serbia, the United States, and Uruguay.

This youth group takes its name from Jacques DeMolay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, who was executed in 1314 by the French King, Philip the Fair, during the suppression of the Knights Templar. The virtues of reverence, love of parents, comradeship, patriotism, courtesy, cleanness, and fidelity are taught through the rituals of the order. DeMolay also teaches leadership skills, financial responsibility, civic awareness, and public speaking. Aside from the initiatic ceremony also confers the honors of Legion of Honor, Chevalier, Blue Honor awards, and Merit Medals.

The International Order of Rainbow for Girls is an organization for young women, ages 11 to 20. Though, unlike the Job's Daughters, applicants do not need to have any relationship to a Freemason.

This group was founded by Reverend William Mark Sexson in McAlester, OK, on April 6, 1922.

The basic organizational level for this group is called an Assembly which is presided over by a Worthy Advisor and Mother Advisor (adult supervisor). The next level is called the Grand Assembly which is presided over by a Grand Worthy Advisor and Supreme Deputy. The international level is known as the Supreme Assembly and is unique in that there is no young woman or youth leader. The Supreme Assembly is governed by adult advisors in a group known as the "House of Gold," composed of 50 Supreme Inspectors. Outside the United States, there are Rainbow Assemblies in Aruba, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Romania.

The Rainbow ritual is based on the story from Genesis of Noah and the Great Flood. After the waters receded, God made a promise that He would never again destroy the Earth. As a sign of that promise, He placed a rainbow in the heavens. Although its teachings are based on Christian writings, the order is open to children of all religions; the Christian lessons are simply used to show basic values that are integral to many religions. The lessons encourage members to be strong in spirit and kind in heart, respectful toward nature, and giving toward all humanity. Each of the colors of the rainbow is associated with a particular virtue or source of inspiration: Red (love), Orange (religion), Yellow (nature), Green (immortality), Blue (fidelity), Indigo (patriotism), and Violet (service).


1. Youth Organizations. (n.d.).

2. Our History. (n.d.).

3. Masonic Bodies. (n.d.).

4. Hodapp, C. (n.d.). Freemason Youth Groups.

5. Masons & Youth Initiation. (n.d.).

6. Masonic Youth Groups. (n.d.).

7. Job's Daughters International. (n.d.).

8. International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. (n.d.).

9. International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. (n.d.).

10. DeMolay International By Laws. (n.d.).

Friday, January 29, 2016

Introduction to Hermeticism

Hermeticism is a religious, esoteric, and philosophical movement stemming from the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. Hermeticism takes its name from Hermes, a Greek god, which is the Greek equivalent to the Egyptian god Thoth. Thoth is said to be the god who invented writing (Thoth is often portrayed as a scribe and credited for all the sacred texts) and is also the god of magic. Trismegistus means "thrice great master" and Hermes is said to be master of the three wisdoms of the universe (alchemy, astrology, and theurgy) as well as being a priest, king, and philosopher. According to Francis Barrett, Hermes Trismegistus was a king of Egypt, though such claims cannot be proven through existing records of the kings of Egypt. Looking at this figure from two gods (Hermes and Thoth), Hermes Trismegistus was a great messenger to mankind as both of those gods were said to have revealed magic, writing, astrology, science, and philosophy to humans. Hermes Trismegistus was the subject of many Christian writers who considered him to be a "wise pagan prophet" who predicted the coming of Christianity.

In Hermeticism, there are said to be many sacred texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, but few exist today due to war, destruction, and loss. Generally, there are three major texts today used to study Hermeticism: the Corpus Hermeticum, the Emerald Tablet of Thoth, and the Perfect Sermon. The Corpus Hermeticum is composed of 18 books and forms the basis of Hermetic philosophy. It discusses the creation story in the first book and, in the following books, covers various philosophical and mystical aspects of Hermeticism. For centuries the Corpus Hermeticum was lost to the West, but during the Renaissance many ancient texts were rediscovered and translated. Such was the case for the Corpus Hermeticum which came to be in the possession of Cosimo de Medici (who started the Medici dynasty in Italy). The Emerald Tablet of Thoth (or Hermes) is a series of tablets that is said to hold ancient formulas key to Alchemy. Many early alchemists revere this artifact as the founding of their art. The earliest known record of the tablets are attributed to 6th to 8th century Arabia where a man known as "Balinas" is said to have discovered the tablets in a vault below a statue of Hermes in Tyana (now in central Turkey). The Perfect Sermon covers topics similar to those in Corpus Hermeticum, but this work is substantially longer, but also covers the prophecy concerning the decline of Hermetic wisdom and the end of the world. This work is said to have been translated into Latin by Apuleius, who authored "The Golden Ass" and remained in circulation throughout Europe.

Hermeticism stresses the importance of attaining inner enlightenment in hopes of going through a mystical experience, a sign that the soul has reunited with God; unity with the Divine is the great aim of Hermeticism. Ultimately it is only through divine revelation that leads to the Truth. It follows the belief in the existence of a single and true theology (Prisca Theologia) that is present in all religions that was given by God to mankind in antiquity. This movement also affirms the existence of one God, but rather than being a personified entity, God is considered the ultimate reality and truth. God in Hermeticism is both immanent and transcendent to the material universe. In Hermeticism there are other beings such as aeons (various emanations of God), angels, elementals, and other such spirits. Looking at the aspects of the aeons, one could see polytheistic, but as they would be just versions of a single God, Hermeticism is seen though as monotheistic. All divine entities are good as they come from God which is the Ultimate Good. All evil stems from demons and evil spirits. Man being in the material world and ignorant of the Truth and God is not free of evil

Alchemy in Hermeticism, and other practices, is not just focusing on literal alchemy (changing lead to gold), but also focuses upon spiritual alchemy where one progresses towards to inner enlightenment and reunion with God. Astrology is important in Hermeticism as the revolutions, rotations, and movements of the various heavenly bodies also have metaphorical means and influences. Knowing these meanings and influences leads to wisdom. Theurgy is the practice of good, or rather divine, magic; its opposite is Goëtia (black or evil magic). In the practice of theurgy, one allies with divine spirits.

The maxim "As Above, So Below" stems from the Hermetic text "The Emerald Tablet of Thoth" where it states: "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing." I found an interesting excerpt from the Gnostic Warrior blog that describes this maxim:
Humans are made of the heavens who are found among the stars and planets. The heavens on the AS ABOVE is the macrocosm, and we humans on the SO BELOW, the microcosm. The same chemical energies found in the AS ABOVE stars such as phosphorus, hydrogen, sodium, Sulfur, magnesium, and iron can be found in almost all living organisms including we humans on the SO BELOW.
In the first book of the Corpus Hermeticum, Hermes recalls the creation story as told by God. In the beginning God created the primary matter that would make up the universe. From this primary matter, God separated the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and ordered them into the seven heavens which are often illustrated through Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun, and the Moon. God created the world, separating it from the waters, and filled it with creatures that lacked intelligence (Nous). Man was then made and was imbued with intelligence and the ability to create. Man fell in love with nature and trapped in the material world. With this obsession with nature and the material world, man became limited, but while mortal in body was still immortal in spirit.

I find Hermeticism quite interesting, particularly with its obvious connections to Rosicrucianism and Gnosticism as well as aspects seen in Western and Eastern religions. Although the texts claim to go back to antiquity, most of them are dated from 2nd century AD onward, but many religious texts are dated back to this time, including Christian books. Hermes Trismegistus may or may not have been a real person, but many who follow the Hermetic movement don't take everything in the texts as literal and understand that many things are figurative and metaphorical.


1. Herd, R. (2008, February 2). The Initiatic Experience.

2. Hermes Trismegistus. (n.d.).

3. Hermeticism. (n.d.).

4. Ralls, K. (n.d.). Hermeticism.

5. What Is Hermeticism? (n.d.).

6. Ebeling, F. (2007). The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

7. Hermes Trismegistus. (n.d.).

8. Hermeticism. (n.d.).

9. Greer, J. (n.d.). An Introduction to the Corpus Hermeticum.

10. Hermetica. (n.d.).

11. Emerald Tablet. (n.d.).

12. What Is the Emerald Tablet? (n.d.).

13. Emerald Tablet of Hermes. (n.d.).

14. As Above, So Below. (2014, September 4).

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Initiation into Wyoming College of the SRICF

Today was a milestone in my Masonic career as I was initiated in the Wyoming College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. The weekend for me started out Friday afternoon with me driving and staying the night with a Brother outside of Twin Falls. Due to some snow storms we took off early the next morning. While driving through southern Idaho most of what we I was high desert covered in snow, but once we went through Eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming there were some great winter scenes (see below), but lots of snow on the road.

After the lengthy drive (534 miles) we made it to Riverton, WY; For me it was about 11.5 cumulative hours of driving because of the weather. My traveling companion and I shared some delicious Scotch (Balvenie 21) and nice steak. Early the next morning I presented myself at the Riverton Masonic Temple and received the Learning Grades (the first 4 grades) of the order in full form. I am proud and humbled to be a IV° - Philosophus in the Wyoming College. The ritual work, brotherhood, and hospitality was great and look forward to my time in this order. This weekend will stand in my mind as one of my top memories in Freemasonry.

Today is also the 310th birthday of Ben Franklin, author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, diplomat, Founding Father and Brother Freemason.

Now it's time to travel back to Boise and attend the dinner for the Frank Church Conference tomorrow night. Let's see how Mother Nature treats us on our way home to Idaho.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Kappa Sigma Bio: Frank Courtney Nicodemus

The last of the Five Friends and Brothers is Frank Courtney Nicodemus. He was born on January 8, 1853 in Baltimore, MD, the son of Josiah Courtney Nicodemus and Mary Jane Montandon. He came from a prominent family and his sister went on to marry Edwin Warfield, the 45th Governor of Maryland.

Prior to attending the University of Virginia, he attend the Kinner Academy where he met and befriended Edmund Law Rogers. His attendance at the University of Virginia was not long, shortly after helping with the formation of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, he left UVA to join his join his father's firm, Smith & Nicodemus. Four years later he and his father formed an investment brokerage firm, J.C. Nicodemus and Son.

In the Spring of 1879, he married Mary Field Weeks and they had 4 children: 3 sons and 1 daughter. Later that year he formed his own company, F.C. Nicodemus and Co. which manufactured biolers, engines, and machinery. Six years later he would become the Treasurer of the Baltimore Post Office, but after 2-years he went on to work for the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company where he worked until the end of his days.

His first wife died young and in 1891 he married Florence B. Smith. He and his family were all well known within the Baltimore social scene and highly regarded. Frank Courtney Nicodemus passed away on May 25, 1919.


1. Docet Kappa Sigma. (n.d.).

2. Frank Courtney Nicodemus. (1904). Caduceus of Kappa Sigma, 19(1). 

3. Five Friends and Brothers. (n.d.). Retrieved December 29, 2015, from

4. The Five Founders. (n.d.). 

Friday, January 1, 2016


by Sir Knight James C. Taylor, PDC, PGC

Time can be fickle, elusive and mean. 
It can change in length with every age 
As the scenes progress on each life's stage 
Though one knows he can't hurry his dream. 

Time travels slow like a turtle's feet; 
A child thinks Christmas will never arrive, 
The teenager cannot wait to drive, 
And life's joys we cannot wait to meet. 

Time can stand still when one wants it to pass: 
When awaiting the birth of a first child 
Or accomplishing our goals or making a mark in the world. 
It's like watching the growth of the grass.

When September years come, we say "Where did time go? 
I haven't done all that I wanted to do." 
Body and mind going, our lives are near through, 
We were young not that long ago.

And when we are old, time plods, there's no thrill 
In waiting for life to end when it's late. 
We think of loved ones who've passed heaven's gate, 
For just them alone, time stands still.

But we cannot alter the clock's steady knell. 
What counts are the accomplishments of today. 
Dwell not in the future or the past and just pray 
That you use your time wisely and well. 

So living life daily can be sublime, 
If one will "do unto others" with a smile on his face. 
By performing good deeds and enhancing God's grace, 
We thank him for the gift of time.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

End of the Year

Well, another year has come and gone. This year started with an adventure to Washington DC where I spent four months working as an Intern for the US Senate. My time in DC was amazing, full of experiences and lessons. I'm glad for the experience, but DC is too humid and too expensive (living on the wages of an intern). Coming home started a new adventure with Grad School and a trip up to Seattle for the Grand Assembly for the Red Cross of Constantine.

The fall brought more Grad school and the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Idaho where I gave my Grand Oration. The rest of the fall flew by in a whirlwind of Masonic meetings and tons of reading for Grad school. The winter break came with enjoyable news: I achieved a 4.0 for the semester. The rest of the time has been spending time with family and more reading for my Master's Thesis. 

Now, I'm again spending New Year's Eve with some of the guys I was in charge of in the Army National Guard. 2016 is going to be an exciting year for me.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

To all of my family, friends, and Brothers withersoever dispersed around the globe:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Kappa Sigma Bio: John Covert Boyd

The fourth of the Kappa Sigma founders was John Covert Boyd. The son of William Simms Boyd and Laura Nelson Covert, he was born on December 24, 1850, near Bradford Springs, South Carolina.

Boyd attended the University of Virginia from 1869 to 1871, during the fall semester he was a founder of the Kappa Sigma fraternity where he served as Grand Scribe. In the second year at UVA, Boyd followed in the footsteps of his father and entered into the medical program, but the next year transferred to the University of the City of New York. After attaining his Doctorate in Medicine in 1872, he became a surgeon and, later, medical director of the United States Navy Medical Corps.

In 1887, he married Katherine Dorr Willard who gave him a daughter, Alice, and a son, Walter (who would go on to join Kappa Sigma).

His naval career also included serving as Assistant to the Chief of the Naval Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and representative to the Association of Military Surgeons of the United StatesIn 1902 he became a professor for the Navy Medical College and also took charge of writing the book of instruction for medical officers. In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt appointed him to the Board of Incorporators and Executive Committee of the American Red Cross.

He was also a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United State, member of the American Medical Association, member of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, member of the Archaeological Institution of America, and honorary member of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia

John Covert Boyd died on July 7, 1927 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


1. Five Friends and Brothers. (n.d.).

2. John Covert Boyd. (n.d.).

3. The Five Founders. (n.d.).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice

Tonight at 9:49 PM (Mountain Standard Time) marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year. After the Winter Solstice, the days will start to get longer again and the nights shorter. As the Earth is slanted on its axis (23.5°), anything north of the Arctic Circle receives no direct sunlight during this time. This slant is what causes our seasons. Astronomical events such as this were used as guides for planting and harvesting crops as well as monitoring food reserves. Starvation was common so it was necessary to ensure there would be enough to last through to Spring. The Winter Solstice was often the last big feast before snuggling down for the wintertime. As a way to save food for humans, the cattle was slaughtered which provided a source of fresh meat.

The Winter Solstice plays an important in role several cultures and religions around the globe and has done so for more than 6,000 years. The Winter Solstice is one of the most important events in human history. While the traditions and faiths varied, the celebrations surrounded the celebration of the rebirth of the sun, the rebirth and victory of light over darkness, and often personified in the rebirth of a savior or messianic god such as Attis for the Romans, Dionysus for the Greeks, Mithra for the Persians, Horus for the Egyptians, Tammuz for the Sumerians, and the list goes on.

In ancient Rome, there was held a week-long (December 17th to December 24th) held feast called Saturnalia in honor of the titan Saturn, father of the gods, who was considered a god of time and of the sun. During this time, work and business were stopped in lieu of feasting and frivolities; often turning into debauchery. As the Roman religion was an inclusive one they adopted more and more gods who shared the Winter Solstice as their birthday, so Emperor Aurelian established the 25th as  "Dies Natalis Invicti Solis" or rather "the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."

The ancient Greeks held also held a festival similar to Saturnalia, but they called theirs "Lenaea" and served to honor Dionysus. Sources say that "Lenaea" translates into "the Festival of the Wild Women" where women would dance together without any male companionship. It was said that either a goat or a bull would be slaughtered during this celebration as a sacrifice to the gods.

The ancient Germanic and Nordic pagans would celebrate the Winter Solstice by honoring Jólner during their festival "Yule"; often spelled in a variety of different ways. Jólner was one of the many names of the Norse god Odin. During this festival, sacrifices were performed to gain the blessing of the gods on their crops during the next harvest. Yule Logs would be burned and could last 12-days, during which time the people could eat. The fires were not just lit for the food, but were also used to commemorate the light of the returning sun that was soon to come. Germanic practices have had an influence on modern Christmas lore such as Santa Claus, but that figure is influenced by a number of cultures and ancient practices to be discussed at another time.

Celtic druids celebrated "Alban Arthan" which translates to "Light of Arthur" and is supposedly the day when King Arthur was born. Some of the ancient Celtics believed the sun stood still for 12-days and to counter the darkness and shortening day, they light fires. These ancient people and others built megaliths such as Newgrange in Ireland or Stonehenge in England. Newgrange is located in the valley of the Boyne River (north of Dublin) and is said to be around 5200-years old (older than Giza and Stonehenge). This structure is perfectly aligned to the sunrise of the Winter Solstice. Some say that as the rays pierce through the window into the tomb of Newgrange is said to represent the rays of their sun god uniting with mother earth, thus bringing new life to the world. In addition to sacrifices, plants also served a purpose for the Celts as some like mistletoe were said to have magical and protective powers.

While it's not exactly known what type of religious rituals were used, but pyramids have been found in South America (like Peru and Brazil) that are aligned with the Winter Solstice.

In the Hebrew tradition, Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is practiced and which commemorates the dedication of the Second Temple. This holiday lasts for 8-days, but the exact time when it occurs changes as the Jewish calendar doesn't coincide with the Gregorian calendar used today; it may occur at any time from late November to late December. Some argue that Hanukkah isn't a solstice festival as it based on a lunar calendar, but it has many characteristics of a solstice festival.

For those of us in the Christian faith, the Winter Solstice is a time for Christmas which doesn't rest on this day, but the 25th of December. In early Christianity, there was neither Christmas nor any correlation with Christ's birth to this time of year. During the 4th century, Rome was going through a conversion from the various pagan religions to Christianity and as such, to better ease the conversion, Pope Julius I chose December 25th as the birth of Christ as a replacement for "Dies Natalis Invicti Solis." It would take several centuries before most of Christendom would universally practice Christmas in some form. Many Biblical scholars believe that Jesus of Nazareth would have been born in the fall and some argue it was in the spring time. Many would criticize the Christian faith for such things, but I find the discrepancies to be irrelevant as we Christians are celebrating the birth of Christ, not the day itself so the exact date of his birth means very little.

In Freemasonry the solstices are affiliated with the Holy Saints John, our patron saints. These two serve as a balance of the virtues every Mason should have and which lead to enlightenment. Some have pointed to the Point Within A Circle as a representation of the solstices and which one can see: the two saints standing on either side of a circle to represent the points in time that would equate to the summer and winter solstices which align closely to the Feast Days for each of the Saints John.

Whatever your faith may be, I hope you enjoy this day and Happy Holidays!


1. Celebrating Winter Solstice. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

2. December Solstice. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

3. December Solstice Customs. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

4. Fox, S. (n.d.). Celebrating Winter Solstice. Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

5. Lund, K. (n.d.). How to Have a Solstice Celebration. Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

6. Mintz, Z. (2014, December 19). Winter Solstice 2014: 3 Things To Know About Pagan Yule Celebrations. Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

7. Point Within A Circle. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

8. Robinson, B. (n.d.). Winter Solstice. Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

9. Waskow, A. (n.d.). Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice. Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

10. Winter Solstice. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Appointed Sentinel

Today St. Michael's Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine we held elections and Knight Companion Art Shoemaker, Junior Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Idaho, was elected and then installed as Puissant Sovereign. I was appointed by him to serve as Sentinel for the ensuing year which puts me into the progressive line of officers for my Conclave. For the last 3-years I've served as Orator for my Conclave which position has a large part in the ritual of the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine as he gives the historical lecture of the order.