Sunday, July 21, 2019

Rocky Mountain Conferences

Yesterday and today I attended the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference and the Rocky Mountain SRICF Conference. The purpose of the conference is the free exchange of ideas and Masonic matters, and provide Masonic education for our lodges. The Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference is composed of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Montana, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Utah, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Colorado, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Wyoming, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Idaho, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Nevada, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of New Mexico, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Arizona, and Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Nebraska. 

In addition to myself, the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden, and Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden represented Idaho. 

Friday morning opened up with introductions before going into a series of presentations along with Q&A:
  • Education and Entertainment Outside the Masonic Lodge
  • Non Profit for Dummies
  • 300-year-old Rhetoric and the Modern Mind
  • It is the Grand Lodges Fault
  • Social Media Etiquette for Masons
  • Progressive lines vs. Campaigning for Office
  • Integration of Masonic Youth Groups
Saturday morning started with a presentation by Oscar Alleyne, Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden of New York. After the keynote address, presentations were done concerning "Virtual Lodges" and preserving the history of Lodges.

In the afternoon, the Rocky Mountain SRICF Conference convened. Just like the Masonic Conference, the Rocky Mountain SRICF Conference is composed of Montana College, Utah College, Colorado College, Wyoming College, Idaho College, Nevada College, and New Mexico College. I had the honor of representing Idaho College.

This conference started off with an introduction of the Most Worthy Supreme Magus, William Howard Koon, II, IX°, KGC. Three presentations were then given:
  • Frater Mike Moore, VIII°, Past Celebrant of Colorado College, gave a presentation titled "Pythagorean Music Theory and the Modern Rosicrucianism."
  • Frater Kevin Townley, VIII°, Suffragan of Colorado College, gave a presentation titled "Cruciform, on the several crosses used in Rosicrucian initiation."
  • Frater Ben Williams, VIII°, Celebrant of Colorado College, gave a presentation titled "Cornerstones of Tradition: Electing Times for Action."
Fratres below IX° were asked to leave while the Grade of Magus was conferred upon Ben Williams. After the conferral, the Chief Adept of Colorado then a discussion on future conferences. The Fratres then adjourned across the hall to start the Conference Banquet. After a great meal, a few of us had the obligatory glasses of scotch and fellowship.

Now the Chief Adept of Montana and I are heading to Denver International Airport for our respective flights home.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Visiting St. Mary Magdalene Parish

While getting ready to come to Denver for the weekend for the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference and Rocky Mountain SRICF Conference, I found out the St. Mary Magdalene Parish, a local parish of the Apostolic Johannite Church, was having a liturgical service tonight and I was able to visit. This service was a very unique liturgy of anointing! It honors the Sacred Feminine as described in the Old and New Testaments, as well as Gnostic texts.

An Acolyte in the St. Mary Magdalene Parish led the service which is for "expanding on the Feminine tradition in the Christian church." This Parish is one of only two that performs this service within the AJC, currently. The service was wonderfully done and insightful. It was a pleasure to meet the Priest and Rector of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Very Reverend Father Weaver, as well as the Prior of the Oblates of the Temple and St. John, Rev. Brother Mark Donato. After the service ended, we talked and went to dinner at a local restaurant.

While I am newer to the Apostolic Johannite Church and am not from Colorado, they made me feel at home. I only wish that I could attend Mass on Sunday, but I will be going back to Idaho that morning.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day

I hope everyone has a Happy Independence Day! God bless these United States and God bless our Founding Fathers!







Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Templar Biography: Phillipe de Milly

The seventh Grand Master of the Knights Templar was Phillipe de Milly, also known as Philip of Nablus, and who mysteriously resigned around 1171. He is said to have been a gifted linguist, knowing French, Latin, Arabic and Armenian.

Phillipe was born around 1120 AD in the Holy Land to Guy de Milly, a Baron in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Phillipe inherited his father's estates around Nablus (30-miles north of Jerusalem) and married a woman named Isabella le Bouteiller. They would go on to have a son (who died young) and two daughters named Helena and Stephanie. Helena would go onto marry Walter III of Brisebarre, the Lord of Beirut. Stephanie is said to have married Reynald de Châtillon after his release from the dungeons of Nur ed-Din and go on to be the Lord of Kerak.

He was in attendance at a council in Acre in 1148 where he spoke against attacking Damascus. He along with other native Barons were overruled and resulted in the failed attack on Damascus.

He took part in the Siege of Ascalon in 1153. In that same year, he granted land to the Order of Saint Lazarus, also known as the Leper Brothers of Jerusalem, whose primary job was the care of those afflicted by leprosy, but also, being a military order, took part in battles such as the Battle of La Forbie in 1244.

In the Summer of 1161, exchanged his lordship over Nablus for Oultrejordain. Over the next few years, he would strengthen some of the more strategic fortresses such as Kerak. At some point he also made a pilgrimage to the Monastery of Saint Catherine of Alexandria in the Sinai.

In January of 1166, Phillipe joined the Templar order and gave to them some of his castles and land. Some speculate that the death of his wife caused him to give up his lands and titles, and join the Templars. His lands would have passed to his eldest daughter, Helena.

After the death of the Templar Grand Master, Bertrand de BlanchefortPhillipe was elected as Grand Master in August of 1169. Many believe that King Amalric had campaigned in support of Phillipe so he could gain Templar support for his Egyptian campaign. The relationship between the Templars and the King of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem had been damaged during Blanchefort's time.

For unknown reasons Phillipe resigned as Grand Master early in 1171, and was succeeded by Odo de St Amand. He died on April 3, 1171, on his way to Constantinople.

References

1. Cobbold, D. (n.d.). Philippe de Milly or Naplouse (1128??-1178). Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/philippe-milly-eng.php

2. Philip of Milly. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_of_Milly

3. Philippe de Milly, 7th Templar Grand Master. (2017, November 5). Retrieved from Geni: https://www.geni.com/people/Philippe-de-Milly-7th-Templar-Grand-Master/6000000001868498051

4. Napier, G. (2014). Pocket A-Z of the Knights Templar: A Guide to Their History and Legacy. The History Press.

5. Grand Masters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem: https://www.theknightstemplar.org/1942-2/

Friday, June 28, 2019

Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation

The Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation (CMMRF) is an amazing charity in Cryptic Masonry. The CMMRF helps advance the research into Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology. The primary recipient of the donations is the Indiana Center Vascular Biology and Medicine (ICVBM) located at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Richard Roudebush Veteran's Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis, IN.

The CMMRF was started under the governance of Ben Mandlebaum, Most Puissant General Grand Master of the General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International. It was incorporated in the state of Oklahoma on March 6, 1986. The CMMRF is run by a Board of Trustees along with a President and Executive Secretary. The General Grand Master serves as the President during his triennial. You can see the timeline of the CMMRF here: https://cmmrf.org/cmmrf-timeline/

Initially, the CMMRF focused on the cause and a cure for atherosclerosis and its complications. They started to incorporate adult stem cell therapies. Currently doing research into strokes, Osteoarthritis, Pancreatitis, Acute Kidney Injury, Diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Congestive Heart Failure, Juvenile Diabetes, Peripheral Artery Disease, and lingering wounds. One of the most notable patents that have come from this research is the "Closer". The vascular Closer is a device that is used over 500,000 times a year with surgeries on arteries. There are research videos available for download on the CMMRF website.

Each year CMMRF continues to grow in financial assets. As of December 31, 2017, the CMMRF has received $5,698,149.04 in contributions. CMMRF has $3,788,565.90 in financial assets. CMMRF has given the Indiana University School of Medicine $4,589,464.86. Cryptic Masons have given Grants equaling $4,685,464.86 from 1978 to the present time. Income from investments helps to fund these grants.

In recognition for contributing, the CMMRF gives lapel pins for donations of $50, $100, $150, $300, $500, and $750. Certificates are also issued for donations of $25, $50, $100, $500, and $100 as well as for Cryptic Councils who have 100% participation. A plaque is also issued for donations of $1,000. After the first $1,000 donation, an individual will receive a gold-filled Nine Arch pin with a diamond chip for each additional $1,000. To celebrate the chartering of the CMMRF, the Board of Trustees declares March 6th, as CMMRF DAY each year, calling on all Cryptic Masons to donate nine dollars ($9) as a tribute to this philanthropy and its great works.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Templar Biography: Robert de Craon

Following the footsteps of men like Hugh de Payens cannot be easy and are often overshadowed. Such is the case of Robert de Craon who served as the second Grand Master of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon and who was instrumental in growing the order.

Robert was born around the beginning of the 12th century in the Vitré region of France (northwestern France) to Renaud de Bourgoing, Lord of Craon, and Lady Enagen de Vitré, but he was the third son and so it was assumed he would assume life in the priesthood.

It is debated as to whether he was a founding member or not, but what is known is that in 1125, Robert was serving as Seneschal for the Templars and served in that position until 1136. He was elected as Grand Master in June of 1136 following the death of Hugh in May of that year.

Robert is known for organizing the order into a detailed and functioning management system and hierarchy. As the Templar's popularity increased so too did the donations and it was Robert who allocated those donations as well as built the foundation for what would be the Templar's considerable wealth. The Templars were even offered the Kingdom of Aragon (a region in the Iberian peninsula), but Robert refused it.

Under Robert's reign, there were three Papal bulls issued in support of the Templar order. The first one, Omne Datum Optimum, was issued in 1139 by Pope Innocent II. Omne Datum Optimum is Latin for "Every Good Gift" and allowed the Templars to keep their spoils of war, placing donations directly under papal protection, and exempting them from paying tithe. This proclamation added a priest class to the hierarchy as well as making the members of order answerable to the Grand Master. 

The second Papal bull, Milites Templi, Latin for "Soldiers of the Temple," was issued by Pope Celestine II in 1144 gave ecclesiastical protection of the Knights Templar and further endorsed them by advocating that the faithful donate to the cause of the Templars. This along with the Templars annual collections and with the next Papal Bull laid the base for the Orders famous wealth. 

The final Papal bull was called Militia Dei, which is Latin for "Soldiers of God," was issued by Pope Eugene III in 1145. This was somewhat controversial as it allowed the Templar priests to take tithes, build their own churches, collect property taxes from their tenants, and bury their dead in their own cemeteries. Some speculate that this gave the Order's priests to take confession, but others believe this is a false assumption as no language exists within this Papal Bull that allows for such liberties. It was also Pope Eugene III that authorized the Knights Templar to wear their iconic red cross on their white mantle.

His battle records were mixed as he destroyed brigands led by the Emir of Aleppo as well as stopped Islamic incursions in Beaufort and Banyas. However, the Templars were defeated along with the Frankish army in 1139 at Teqoa. After the death of King Fulk d'Anjou in 1143, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem fell into decline due to the neglect of Queen Melissende (widow of King Fulk) and her failure to protect Edesse or Antioch. In 1144, Seljuk Turks massacred more than 30,000 Christians in Edesse.

Robert died on January 13, 1147, during the Second Crusade and was succeeded by Everard des Barres. Robert de Craon may not be greatly remembered, but he was a great organizer and truly laid the foundation for their legendary popularity, hierarchy, and wealth.

References

1. Cobbold, D. (n.d.). Robert de Craon. Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/robert-craon-eng.php 

2. Moes, A. (2019, April 22). Robert de Craon, 2nd Templar Grand Master. Retrieved from Geni: https://www.geni.com/people/Robert-de-Craon-2nd-Templar-Grand-Master/6000000019303268069 

3. Robert de Craon. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_de_Craon

Monday, June 3, 2019

Enoch

While not mentioned in the legend of Ancient Craft Masonry, the legend of Enoch has a strong correlation to the Masonic fraternity: a foreseen destruction, a need to safeguard and preserve esoteric and sacred knowledge, the construction of vaults, and its ultimate discovery. In the Hebrew language, the name "Enoch" means to "to initiate" or "to instruct," and some consider him to be the father of the initiatic rite. Some attribute the invention of astrology, writing, math, and masonry (construction) to Enoch. Enoch has been compared to a number of other mythical figures such as Hermes Trismegistus, the Greek god Atlas, and Thaut to the Phoenicians. 

Enoch was said to have been born in the 622nd year after the creation of the world. He was the father of Methuselah and great-grandfather of Noah is a mysterious and enigmatic character in the Antediluvian (Pre-Flood) Era. This Enoch is descended from the line of Seth and not to be confused with the Enoch who was the son of Cain.


In Enoch's time, the people were idolatrous and wicked. God revealed to Enoch that He would destroy the world with a great flood; some consider Enoch to be the First Prophet of the Lord. Inspired by the Most High God, Enoch built an underground Temple located on Mt. Moriah on the place where King Solomon would erect a Temple to God. The Temple consisted of nine vaults, situated perpendicularly beneath each other. Enoch then had an equilateral triangular plate of gold to be made. It was covered with precious stones and jewels and upon it was engraved the Ineffable Name of God. This plate was placed upon a marble pedestal inside the ninth and deepest vault. Upon completion of this secret temple, he enclosed it with a stone door and covered it so it could not be discovered.

The use of vaults has been used through history and is tied with many esoteric mythologies as they were deemed sacred. A vault is defined as an "arched or dome-shaped structure of masonry usually forming a ceiling or roof." The word "vault" comes from the Latin "volutus" meaning "bowed or arched." In the legend of Hermes Trismegistus, the Great Halls of Amenti were hidden under the Great Pyramids in Egypt in order to safeguard the ancient wisdom of Atlantis. In RosicrucianismChristian Rosenkreutz was buried in a vault that contained not only his body, but many scrolls and books of ancient knowledge. In Mithraism, adherents met in Mithraeum which was usually natural caves or small rooms beneath existing structures. In Freemasonry, vaults are used in the Capitular and Cryptic Rites as well as the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in the Red Cross of Constantine and the 13° in the Scottish Rite. Albert C. Mackey stated the following concerning vaults: "The vault was, therefore, in the ancient mysteries, symbolic of the grave; for initiation was symbolic of death, where alone Divine Truth is to be found."

To ensure the arts and sciences would live on after the Destruction by the Flood, Enoch had made two pillars within the Temple: one of marble to withstand fire and the other of brass to withstand water. 
On both pillars were engraved the history of the creation as well as the principles of the arts and sciences.


Enoch then called his family around him and admonished them to return to the worship of the One True and Living God. It is then said that he disappeared from the Earth. Legend has it that at 365-years of age, "walked with God; then he was no more for God took him" meaning that God took him, body and soul, to Heaven, one of two to have done that; the other is Elijah. It is interesting to note that only having lived on Earth for 365-years is far less than the other patriarchs in the period before the Flood, but still significant being the number of days in the solar calendar.

While not universally accepted, there are a number of works attributed to Enoch that are dated between the 3rd century BC and the 5th century AD. These books consist of five quite distinct major sections:

The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36) The Book of Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71) The Book of the Heavenly Luminaries (1 Enoch 72–82)The Book of Dreams (1 Enoch 83–90) The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91–108) 
Among other things, these books are important in regards to angel and demon lore. It heavily influenced later Jewish apocrypha and the New Testament.



References

1. Book of Enoch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch 


2. Enoch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dead Sea Scrolls: http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/Library/enoch.html 

3. Enoch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Dictionary: http://www.masonicdictionary.com/enoch.html 

4. Enoch (ancestor of Noah). (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enoch_%28ancestor_of_Noah%29 

5. Hall, M. P. (1928). Freemasonic Symbolism. Retrieved from The Secret Teachings of All Ages: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta43.htm 

6. Masonic Legends. (n.d.). Retrieved from MasterMason: http://www.mastermason.com/brothergene/craft/masonic_legends.htm 

7. The Book of Henoch (Ethiopic). (1907). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved June 3, 2019 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01602a.htm

8. The Vault and the Mysteries. (n.d.). Retrieved from General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International: https://ggccmi.org/index.php/en/the-vault-and-the-mysteries 

9. Vaughn, P. A. (2004). Early Ritual of the Holy Royal Arch. Retrieved from Andrews Press: http://andrewspress.com/Research/EarlyRoyalArchRitualPaper.pdf 

10. Vault. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vault 


11. Vault. (n.d.). Retrieved from Etymology Online: https://www.etymonline.com/word/vault

Monday, May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day


Today, we remember our fallen heroes; those men and women who are no longer with us yet served this nation in one of the armed services. Take the time to remember all who have given up their lives in defense of this nation. God bless.

This is the first Memorial Day where someone so close to me is remembered. My father served in the US Army as an MP at Fort Wainwright, AK. After military service, he served as a Bannock County Sheriff’s Deputy before moving his family to Emmett where he served on the Emmett Police Department. In 2012, he retired from the Emmett Police Department as a Lieutenant. You embodied the creed of "To Protect and Serve."

If you say their names, they're never forgotten.




Sunday, May 19, 2019

Templar Biography: Guillaume de Chartres

The next Grand Master, Guillaume de Chartres, was known as a chronicler as he created the most in-depth, codified records for the Templar order. His governance was during the Fifth Crusade and was considered a violent tenure.

The son of Milo IV, Count of Bar-sur-Seine, Guillaume de Chartres was born around 1178 in the Champagne, like several of his predecessors. While his exact age is unknown, he joined the Templars at a very young age at the Preceptory of Sours, located near Chartres; one source states that he joined at the age of 16. Little is known about his journey through the order.

He was elected as the 14th Grand Master at the beginning of 1210 and, in the same year, assisted in the coronation of Jean de Brienne as King of Jerusalem (although Saladin controlled Jerusalem since 1187). During his reign, the Templars flourished in Spain where they achieved important victories against the Moors during "Reconquista". Just as in France, lords and noblemen flocked to the Templar order and donated lands to them.

In 1217, Jean de Brienne (King of Jerusalem), Andre II (King of Hungary), and Pelage (the pontifical legate) began a campaign against Egypt which started at Damiette (NE side of the Nile Delta). Guillaume de Chartres spoke against it, but was obligated to follow. The siege of Damiette lasted 18-months and unsuccessful due to conflicts between the King of Jerusalem and the Pontifical Legate. 

In an attempt to hold off Muslim reinforcements, Guillaume de Chartres led the Templars to battle. De Chartres died in front of Damiette on August 26, 1218, not from battle, but from a plague that had spread through the armies. He was succeeded by Peter de Montaigu.


References

1. Cobbold, D. (n.d.). Guillaume de Chartres. Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/guillaume-chartres-eng.php 

2. Grand Masters. (n.d.). Retrieved from OSMTJ: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/1942-2/ 

3. Guillaume de Chartres. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillaume_de_Chartres 

4. Moes, A. (2018, December 18). Guillaume de Chartres, 14th Templar Grand Master. Retrieved from Geni: https://www.geni.com/people/Guillaume-de-Chartres-14th-Templar-Grand-Master/6000000019310133197 

5. Muir, D. J. (2019). TEMPLARS Who were they? Where did the go? (Vol. 1). Lulu. 

6. Napier, G. (2014). Pocket A-Z of the Knights Templar: A Guide to Their History and Legacy. The History Press.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

SRICF in Idaho

Today was a banner day for the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) in Idaho, but before I jump in with the news, let me start at the beginning. In 2014 I was approached about joining the Wyoming College of the SRICF, but, due to my internship on the East Coast, I was not initiated into the First Order until January 17th, 2016 and advanced to the Second Order on January 14th, 2018.

In September of last year, the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho officially recognized the SRICF as a concordant body. With that, the pieces started falling in line for the formation of a College in Idaho. In November, Jim Herndon and I attended the Annual Meeting of the High Council of the SRICF in Louisville, KY, and we received approval for starting a Rose Circle which is a "College Under Dispensation." The Supreme Magus required that we meet and confer a Grade from the First Order, so on March 2nd of this year, the Idaho Rose Circle convened for the first time and initiated two aspirants into the First Grade of the Society and elected to extend an invitation to two Masons. 

Today, the Idaho Rose Circle convened and we conferred upon three aspirants the First and Second Grades of the Society. At the March meeting, the Fratres elected to purchase stoles for the elected officers (Celebrant, Suffragan, and the Four Ancients). They arrived in time for this meeting; they were a welcome piece of regalia to the College and the initiatic environment.

The Chief Adept then presented, on behalf of the Most Worthy Supreme Magus, the Fratres with the College's charter and we are now IDAHO COLLEGE, SRICF. This College formed due to the efforts of Frater Jim Herndon, the Chief Adept of Idaho College and Jurisprudence Chairman of the High Council of the SRICF. He invited the first Idaho Fratres into the Society and gave us guidance along the way on how to best proceed with forming a College in Idaho. The Fratres exceeded expectations and have earned this charter from the High Council. Having been chartered, the Fratres approved the By-Laws and officially elected the officers for Idaho College. I am honored to have kept the confidence of the Fratres and they elected me as the first Celebrant.

After the meeting, the Fratres listened to a paper presented by one of our Ancients. Now it's time to get back home and get ready for my cousin's wedding tonight.