Saturday, August 18, 2018

2018 Rocky Mountain SRICF Regional Conference

Well, I spent today in Salt Lake City at the first Rocky Mountain Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) Regional Conference. This conference is the brainchild of Frater Jason Mitchell, IX°, Chief Adept of Utah College, and Kim Bowman VII°, Secretary of Montana College. There were Fratres from Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona in attendance. I was the only Frater from Idaho in attendance, but today there are a lot of Masonic activities happening in Idaho and around the country.

The morning started with a welcome by the Utah Chief Adept then had each Frater introduce themselves. The Chief Adept of Utah then led a presentation on the Four Ancients titled "The Astrological, Kabbalistic, and Alchemical Associations of the Ancients." I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation as it pertains to one of the research papers I am presently working on. This presentation and subsequent open discussion led us to lunch.

After lunch, the Fratres talked about the various elements of the College and how each one operates within the region. The Fratres also talked about their thoughts and wishes for SRICF, how the Colleges of the Rocky Mountain Region can support each other. This conference was great in my books because it gave me some great ideas to take back to my Fratres in Idaho. I look forward to next year's conference.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Words & Phrases: Adept

The next article in the Words & Phrases series is on the word "Adept." While it is not employed heavily in Freemasonry, "Adept" is defined as someone who is "an expert or attained a specific level of knowledge, skill, or aptitude in doctrines relevant to a particular subject or organization." For Western esotericism, the word "adept" is used to describe someone who is an expert in the science of alchemy and, later, in occultism. I chose to include "Adept" with Words & Phrases series rather than Station & Places as "Adept" is used primarily in the naming of degrees rather than with any office.

The word "adept" is etymologically rooted in the Latin word "adeptus," meaning "having attained, obtained, or achieved," an adjective used by medieval alchemists. Adepts were historically seen as caretakers of ancient occult knowledge (such as the transmutation of metals) which seems a necessary explanation why such initiatic and occultic orders would use this name in reference to degree name or officer titles such as with the Chief Adept in the Masonic Rosicrucian Societies. An Adept tries not only to become a master of knowledge, but strives to master himself. An Adept is one who is governed by reason and logic, rather than being unduly swayed by their emotions.

There are a variety of groups that use Adept in the names of their degrees such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis (The Ruby Rose and Golden Cross), A.A. (look up group), the Temple of Set, Illuminates of Thanateros, and the Masonic Rosicrucian Societies (SRICF, SRIA, SRIC, SRIS, SRIR, and SRIL).

The Masonic Rosicrucian Society is composed of 9-grades that are divided into 3-orders. The Second Order is known as the Teaching Order or Teaching Grades. It is composed 3-grades: V° - Adeptus Minor, VI° - Adeptus Major, and VII° - Adeptus Exemptus. An Adept is one who is obligated to be a teacher and instruct those worthy aspirants in the knowledge of the order. In the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the 28º is called "Knight of the Sun" or "Prince Adept." The lessons of this degree teach one to be devoted to truth, honor, loyalty, justice, and humanity. 


1. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: 

2. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

3. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: 

4. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Paranormal Encyclopedia: 

5. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Eternity of Spirit: 

6. Aene, F. (2010, January 24). What Makes An Adept? Retrieved from A Golden Dawn Magician's Thoughts: 

7. Bedard, M. (2014, August 17). Adept. Retrieved from Gnostic Warrior: 

8. Brodeur, C. (n.d.). Path of the Adept. Retrieved from Advances in Consciousness:

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Mason Marks

By Author Unknown

They're traced in lines on the Parthenon, 
Inscribed by the subtle Greek 
And Roman legions have carved them on 
Walls, roads and arch antique 
Long ere the Goth, with vandal hand, 
Gave scope to his envy dark, 
The Mason craft in many a land 
Has graven its Mason mark.

The obelisk old and the pyramids, 
Around which a mystery clings,- 
The Hieroglyphs on the coffin lids 
Of weird Egyptian kings,

Syria, Carthage and Pompeii, 
Buried and strewn and stark, 
Have marble records that will not die, 
Their primitive Mason mark.

Upon column and frieze and capital, 
In the eye of the chaste volute,- 
On Scotia's curve, or an astrogal, 
Or in triglyp's channel acute,- 
Cut somewhere on the entablature, 
And oft, like a sudden spark, 
Flashing a light on a date obscure, 
Shines many a Mason mark.

These craftsmen old had a genial whim, 
That nothing could ever destroy, 
With a love of their art that naught could dim, 
They toiled with a chronic joy 
Nothing was too complex to essay, 
In aught they dashed to embark 
They triumphed on many an Appian Way, 
Where they'd left their Mason mark.

Crossing the Alps like Hannibal, 
Or skirting the Pyranees, 
On peak and plain, in crypt and cell, 
On foot or on bandaged knees- 
From Tiber to Danube, from Rhine to Seine, 
They needed no letters of marque- 
Their art was their passport in France and Spain, 
And in Britain their Mason mark.

The monolith gray and Druid chair, 
The pillars and towers of Gael, 
In Ogharn occult their age they bear, 
That time can only reveal. 
Live on, old monuments of the past, 
Our beacons through ages dark! 
In primal majesty still you'll last, 
Endeared by each Mason mark.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Officers of a Council of Knight Masons

The basic organizational unit of the Order of Knight Masons is known as a Council. The officers of a Council of Knight Masons are Excellent Chief, Senior Knight, Junior Knight, Scribe, Treasurer, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Director of Ceremonies, Priest, Steward, and Sentinel. The first five officers are elected and the rest are appointed by the Excellent Chief.

The Excellent Chief governs and presides over the Council. Like with other bodies within Freemasonry, the Chief is not a dictator, but first among equals elected to serve the Council and is bound by the By-Laws of the Council and Grand Council. This officer has the honorary title of "Excellent" which stems from the Latin word "excellentem" meaning "superior, excellent, or of first-class." The word "chief" has long been used to mark a leader such as a chief of a clan or tribe. In the United States, you see this word in titles such as "Commander-in-Chief," "Chief of Staff," or "Chief of Police." The word "chief" derives from the French word "chef" which comes from Latin "caput" meaning leader or head."

Following the Excellent Chief was the Senior Knight and Junior Knight. The word "knight" comes from the Old English word "cniht" which was taken from Middle High German "kneht" meaning "boy, youth, servant, or vassal." Knight started referring to a military servant of a king or lord in the 11th century and after the Hundred Years War started becoming important as a rank of nobility. The Senior and Junior simply differentiate the ranking between the two.

Corresponding to the Secretary of the Blue Lodge, the administrative officer of the Council is known as the Scribe. Historically, scribes have also been used as notaries, copyists, interpreters of law (lawyers or judges), accountants, ministers, and journalists. Much of ancient history was recorded by a scribe, by one name or another. In some instances, scribes were considered a part of the royal court, performing the previously described duties for monarchs. The etymological root of Scribe is the word Latin word "scriba", meaning writer, from past participle stem of "scribere" meaning to "to write" from proto-Indo-European word "skribh" meaning "to cut".

The chief financial officer of the Council is known as the Treasurer. Just like in other Masonic and non-Masonic organizations, he is responsible for all financial transactions of the Council. The word "treasurer" comes from the French word "tresor" meaning "treasury" which itself means "funds or revenue".

Unlike the Blue Lodge, the Senior Warden and Junior Warden are appointed officers and correspond closely to the Deacons rather than the Wardens of the Blue Lodge who provide assistance during the opening/closing of the Council as well as the initiation rituals. The word "Warden" comes from the Proto-Germanic word "wardon" meaning to "to watch or guard."

The Director of Ceremonies has duties that correspond to the Marshall and Senior Deacon of the Blue Lodge. Like the Marshall, the Director of Ceremonies is in charge of processions and ensuring the regalia is in its proper place before the meeting commences. Being in charge of the regalia of the Council, the Director of Ceremonies is in possession of the Signet of Authority and gives it to the Excellent Chief so he may open and preside over the Council; the Signet of Authority is returned to the Director of Ceremonies at the closing of the Council; it is a curious thing that the emblem of authority of the Council is bestowed to an appointed officer. Like the Senior Deacon, the Director of Ceremonies conducts candidates through the green degrees of Freemasonry: Knight of the Sword, Knight of the East, and Knight of the East and West. The word "director" coming originally from Latin then through French to the English use meaning "to guide" or "keep straight." "Ceremonies" comes from Latin "caerimonia" meaning "reverent or sacred rites." Today the word is used to represent "the ritual observances and procedures performed at grand and formal occasions."

Coinciding to the Chaplain of the Blue Lodge, the Priest presides over the prayers used in the various rituals of the Council. The word "priest" is rooted in the Latin word "prester" meaning "priest or elder."

The Steward of the Council serves as the inner guard of the Council and works with the Sentinel to ensure the security and safety of the Council. The word "Steward" is rooted in the Old English words "stiward" and "stigweard" meaning "house guardian" and "housekeeper" which are rooted in Proto-Germanic words meaning "guards."

The last appointed officer of the Council is known as the Sentinel and whose duties correspond with that of the Tyler in the Blue Lodge. The Sentinel guards the Council to ensure the knights are not caught or taken by surprise by those wishing to cause harm or those who are not entitled to be there. The word Sentinel stems from the Latin word "sentire" meaning "to watch or perceive by the senses."

Monday, July 23, 2018

Tarot Card of the Month: Strength

The Tarot Card for July is Strength. Historically, Strength was called Fortitude and in some decks, I've seen it called Lust. Strength is the eighth card of the Major Arcana in Tarot card decks. Strength symbolizes the Sun, the element Fire, and the Leo zodiac sign.

Strength represents patience, courage, determination, control, internal peace, and balancing oneself by conquering our animalistic nature. Strength indicates the importance of mind over matter (mental and spiritual strength), and that compassion and understanding may be a better choice that rash decisions and brute strength. This card teaches us to know thyself and temper our primal urges with our more divine, spiritual nature.

The Strength card displays a scene where a maiden clothed in white holding the jaws of a lion. Above the maiden's head is the infinity symbol. The lion and the maiden stands upon grass with blue mountains in the background under a golden sky. In the context of this card, the lion represents the beast within us, our primal and animal urges and desires; this is not to say that the lion all it represents is negativeThe use of a maiden for Strength indicates that it is not about pure physical strength. Both the maiden and lion do not appear aggressive, but represents that internal strength is needed to overcome the beast within. The white robe symbolizes purity. The infinity symbol is said to represent that there is no end to her calm and nurturing character. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

The First Quarter

I've been serving as Grand High Priest for 3-months now and it still seems surreal that I occupy the Grand East. I feel like time has flown by, but it also feels just like yesterday that I was installed. I've visited about half of the Chapters and have enjoyed the hospitality of the Companions. I've also had chances to visit other Masonic groups in and out of Idaho.

The next quarter is going to be very busy, filled with Lodge meetings, York Rite meetings, SRICF Conference, Grand Encampment, Grand Lodge of Idaho, Northwest York Rite Conference, and more Chapter Official Visitations.

Now I'm off to my next adventure for work.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Templar Biography: Hugh de Payens

Next to Jacques DeMolay, the last Grand Master of the Order, Hugh de Payens is probably the most famous Templar Grand Master, being the founding Grand Master. In comparison to other Grand Masters of the order, Hugh de Payens is difficult to research and there is contradictory information out there. The most commonly cited historian for the First Crusade and the early years of the Templars is William of Tyre. William of Tyre was born around 1130, over 3 decades after the First Crusade and over a decade after the Templars were said to have been founded. William of Tyre didn't start writing his 23-volume history of the Middle East until 1170, 34-years after Hugh de Payens is said to have died.

Hugh de Payens was born in East Francia around 1070, the son of Theobald of Blois, a powerful nobleman in the region. The exact date and location is not known but is thought to be in a village known as Payens near Troyes south of Champagne or in the Burgundy region. The family lost much of its prestige when the father conspired against King Henry I of France and was defeated in 1044. This defeat forced the family to relinquish lands and flee to the Champagne region (northeastern France).

There are variations in his name depending on the language in which it is written: Hugues de Payens or Payns in French sources, Hugo de Peans, Hugo de Paganis in Late Latin, and Ugo de' Pagani in Italian sources. While many would see the name "paganis" and would assume the modern meaning of pagan, that of "nature worshipers." However, when researching the word "pagan" is Latin for "villager, rustic, or country-dweller" that was later used to indicate a heathen or one who adhered to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities. If Hugh was born in a country village, "pagan" would have been an appropriate literal description of his birthplace.

Being the third son and the family losing much of its holdings, Hugh was destined to join a monastery, but as his older brothers died he became the successor to his father. In 1085 he was dubbed as a Knight and is mentioned in a charter as "Lord of Montigny." According to surviving documents, Hugh is said to have served in the court of the Count of Champagne. It was from these documents that the year of his birth is said to have been no later than 1170 as only a legal adult (16-years of age) could bear witness on legal documents. The Count of Champagne would have been a powerful ally to have as it is said that he was several times richer than the King of France and one of the kingdom's main feudalists. It is not known when he was married, but from extant documents, Hugh was married to a woman by the name of Elizabeth of Chappes (France) and had at least one child together named Thibaud, who would become abbot of Abbaye Sainte-Colombe de Saint-Denis-lès-Sens (southeast of Paris).

As there are no records to prove one way or the other, it is impossible to say whether or not Hugh de Payens took part in the First Crusade. What is known is Hugh de Payens was with the Count of Champagne during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1104. In 1105, Hugh de Payens returned to France, but returned to the Holy Land in 1114. He, along with a contigency of knights, entered the service of the Holy Sepulchre Canon to defend and protect pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem.

They first built the Tower of Destroit along the road from Haifa to Caesarea (northwest of Jerusalem along the coast). The most common belief is that in 1118 Hugh de Payens along with 9 knights founded the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Knights Templar. Michael the Syrian, Patriarch of Antioch, was another Templar historian and according to him, Hugh de Payens had 30-knights with him when the order was established. Baldwin II, the King of Jerusalem, gave the knights the Stables of Solomon as their residence as well as some villages. At the Council of Nablus in 1120, Warmund, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, donated some land to the Knights Templar.

Some legends surrounding the Templars seem to want to perpetuate the mysterious nature of the order and claim that the Knights Templar excavated a sacred treasure from the ruins of Solomon's Temple which prompted them to go to Rome in 1127 and which resulted in Papal recognition. A more logical reason for their travel west was that Hugh de Payens was sent by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, to gather more troops as the Latin Kingdom was losing territory to their Islamic opponents. 
During his travels through Europe, Hugh de Payens helped establish the Templar order in England and Scotland. They would have also been a famous and popular order when the Count of Champagne gave up his title, lands, and family to join the Knights Templar and serve under his former vassal.

Under the governance of Hugh de Payens, the Rule of the Order was written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, nephew of 
André de Montbard,
 and confirmed at the Council of Troyes in 1129 by Pope Honorius II. After this Council, Hugh de Payens returned to the Holy Land with new knights to help bolster the Templar order.

Hugh de Payens died on May 24, 1136, in the Holy Land. Some argue that he died in 1139 
after the Templars received Papal support and recognition by Pope Innocent II. Regardless of the exact date, he would have been in his 60s which was considered old age at the time and was the most likely culprit to his death. Hugh de Payens led the Templars for 18-years; tied with Guillaume de Beaujeu for time served and only second to Jacques DeMolay who served for 22-years. He left a legacy a strong foundation for the Templar order that would grow into a international military and financial powerhouse. He was succeeded as Grand Master by Robert de Craon.


1. Cobbold, D. (n.d.). Hugues de Payns. Retrieved from Project Beauceant: 

2. Hugh de Payns. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica: 

3. Hugues de Payens. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

4. Hugues de Payens – The First Grand Master. (2010, March 31). Retrieved from Templar History: 

5. Hugues de Payns. (n.d.). Retrieved from Hugues de Payns Commanderie: 

6. Knights Templar Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved from TimeRef: 

7. Pagan. (n.d.). Retrieved from Etymology Online: 

8. Wilson, P. (n.d.). Sir Hugh de Payns. Retrieved from GENI:

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Officers of the Blue Lodge

The foundation, the center of activity, and the basic organizational unit for Freemasonry are the Blue Lodge, also known as a Craft Lodge. It is believed the term comes from the lodges (shelters) constructed at the building sites of cathedrals and castles during the Middle Ages. A Blue Lodge, in most jurisdictions, has the following officers: Worshipful Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, Secretary, Senior Deacon Junior Deacon, Marshall, Chaplain, Senior Steward, Junior Steward, and Tiler. The first 5-officers are elected annually by the members of the Lodge while the rest are appointed by the Worshipful Master. Each of these Lodge officers wears an apron and collar with a symbol peculiar to that office. Each officer plays an important role in governing and supporting the Lodge. The health of a Lodge can be reflected by the officers so it is of the utmost importance that the Brethren choose wisely.

The Worshipful Master is the presiding officer or chief executive officer (CEO) of the Blue Lodge. Within the Lodge, he sits in the East, emblematic of the rising sun; regardless of the orientation of the building, the location of the Worshipful Master is referred to as East. He presides over monthly stated (business) meetings, the delegation of duties to all other Lodge officers, and the conferring of the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. While he is the ultimate authority within the Lodge, he is also responsible for everything within the Lodge and for his junior officers. While the Worshipful Master has a great amount of authority, he is restrained by both the Constitution and By-Laws of the Grand Lodge as well as the Lodge By-Laws; the Worshipful Master should be seen as an arbiter, not a dictator. The jewel of a Worshipful Master is the Square which teaches Masons and should remind the Master that as the Square is an emblem of morality and virtue, of right action, so to should we act with our fellow man. The name "Worshipful" has caused many misconceptions and myths about the role of the Master of the Lodge. "Worshipful" is an Old English term meaning "one deserving of respect". Masons do not worship the Worshipful Master. Non-English speaking jurisdictions refer to the Master as Venerable instead of Worshipful. The word "Master" is rooted in the Latin word "magister" meaning "chief, head, or teacher."

In the West of the Blue Lodge, sits the Senior Warden. He should be the Master's right-hand man and is comparable to a Vice President. In the absence of the Worshipful Master, the Senior Warden presides over the Blue Lodge. According to Masonic tradition, it was the Senior Warden who paid the craftsmen their wages and to settle disputes among the Brethren. The Senior Warden is part of the security of the Lodge ensuring all present are Freemasons. The Senior Warden's jewel is the Level which symbolizes equality meaning that Masons meet on the level, without regard to social, political, or religious status. The word "Warden" comes from the Proto-Germanic word "wardon" meaning to "to watch or guard."


Sitting as third-in-command is the Junior Warden. Like the Senior Warden, the Junior Warden is comparable to a Vice President. In the absence of the Master and Senior Warden, the Junior Warden presides over the Lodge. While not universal, the Junior Warden is in charge of the food and festivities of the Lodge. On a more serious note, the Junior Warden serves as Prosecutor of the Lodge during Masonic trials. The jewel of the Junior Warden is the Plumb which reminds us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man.

A Lodge is metaphorically said to be supported by three pillars denominated Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. The Pillar of Wisdom is represented by the Worshipful Master, the Pillar of Strength by the Senior Warden, and the Pillar of Beauty by the Junior Warden.

The chief financial officer of the Lodge is known as the Treasurer. He sits to the right of the Worshipful Master, often just behind or next to the Senior Deacon. He is responsible for all financial transactions of the Lodge. Due to the importance of this office, the Brethren should particularly careful in who they elect. The jewel of his office is a pair of crossed keys signifying he is the collector and distributor of all Lodge monies as he holds the keys to the treasury. The word "treasurer" comes from the French word "tresor" meaning "treasury" which itself means "funds or revenue".


The chief operations officer of the Lodge is the Secretary who sits to the left of the Worshipful Master. The Secretary is the backbone of the Lodge and needs to be a Mason with experience and detailed oriented. The Secretary keeps the records of all meetings, handles all correspondence for the Lodge, and numerous other administrative duties. The jewel of the Secretary is a pair of crossed quills representing a medium of record keeping. "Secretary" comes from the medieval Latin word "secretarius" meaning "clerk, notary, or confidant." Secretarius itself stems from the Latin word "secretum" meaning "a secret."

The first of the appointed officers is the Senior DeaconHe sits to the right of the Worshipful Master and is in close proximity as he is the messenger of the Worshipful Master. He also escorts visitors during introductions and candidates during the conferral of degrees. In a corporate environment, the Senior Deacon could be comparable to a manager. The word "deacon" comes from the Greek word "diakonos" meaning servant, attendant, or messenger. This etymological root is appropriate to this officer as he serves as the messenger of the Worshipful Master and Wardens. The jewel of the Senior Deacon is effulgent sun contained within the Square & Compasses.


Sitting to the right of the Senior Warden is the Junior Deacon. This officer, as the doorkeeper and inner guard of the Lodge, answer any alarms at the door and ensures the Lodge is secure from intrusion. Like the Senior Deacon, the Junior Deacon is also a messenger, but carrying messages between the Senior and Junior Wardens. The Junior Deacon is also comparable to a managerial position in the corporate world. The Junior Deacon's jewel is the crescent moon contained within the Square & Compasses.

Both Deacons carry staffs at the top of which is fixed the jewel of their office, but, in the early years of the UGLE, the staffs were topped by pine cones, but this would then change to doves that are also seen as messengers. The dove was also a symbol of peace and harmony, and the Deacons should remember they are officers of peace. One can see this during the initiation when the Senior Deacon is escorting the candidate. The Senior Deacon places himself between the candidate and the Altar, thus protecting the Altar from the uninitiated man, but once the candidate becomes a Master Mason, the Senior Deacon moves to his left side when escorting him.

The use of staffs by officers is very symbolic and has been used in a variety of cultures. The most obvious use is by the Greek god, Hermes, who was the messenger of the gods, just as the Deacons are the messengers within the Lodge, and who carried the caduceus. This wand was used to ward off evil and to ensure that he was unimpeded in his journey. Carrying a staff is a mark of authority and we see this with the king's scepter, the bishop's or verger's staff, the mace of Parliament, and, Biblically, with the staff of Moses. Now we can't talk about the Deacon's staffs without talking about the rods that are carried by the Stewards of the Lodge as one of the origin theories of these implements surrounds the Stewards of the King in England. These Stewards carried a white rod which was a symbol of their authority appointed by the King. Other officers carried rods such as the usher of the Lord Chamberlain's department who carried a black rod.

Sometimes referred to as the Master/Director of Ceremonies, the Marshal is the appointed officer in charge of processions, carries the flag during the opening of a Lodge, and, in Idaho, leads the Lodge in giving Grand Honors to distinguished guests. The Marshal (or MC), according to Idaho ritual, is the first officer he meets with a new candidate. Marshal comes from Old French word "mareschal" meaning "commanding officer of an army; officer in charge of a household" which is derived from Frankish-Germanic word "marhskalk" meaning "horse-servant." The jewel for the Marshal is the crossed batons to remind us that this officer, not just in Freemasonry, has been used in arranging and directing ceremonial aspects of a gathering.


While Freemasonry is a secular fraternity, we still require our members to have a belief in the Supreme Being. In the opening and closing of every Lodge meeting, we have a prayer which is presided over by the Chaplain. The Chaplain sits to the left of and in front the Worshipful Master; in some jurisdictions, I've seen the Chaplain sitting right next to Worshipful Master in the East. This etymology of Chaplain comes from Old French "chapelein" meaning "clergyman" deriving from the Medieval Latin word "cappellanus" meaning the same. The jewel of the Chaplain is an opened book representing the Volume of the Sacred Law.

Sitting in front of the Junior Warden in the South are the Senior and Junior Stewards. Their duties can cross a wide spectrum of duties from assisting the Junior Warden in providing refreshment and Secretary in collecting monies to preparing a candidate for receiving the degrees of Freemasonry. The word "Steward" is rooted in the Old English words "stiward" and "stigweard" meaning "house guardian" and "housekeeper" which are rooted in Proto-Germanic words meaning "guards." The Steward's positions would be comparable to a Supervisor in the corporate world. The jewel of their office is the Cornucopia or Horn of Plenty which denotes the fruits of labor and represents a job well done.

The final appointed officer of the Lodge is the Tiler. The Tiler is the outer guard and ensures the Lodge is secure from cowans and eavesdroppers. The jewel of the Tiler is the sword which is also the implement of his office. He is given no scabbard to symbolize that he is to have his sword always drawn and be ever ready to defend the Lodge. It is the Tiler along with the Junior Deacon and Senior Warden who ensure the complete security of the Blue Lodge. The word "Tiler (sometimes spelled Tyler) is derived from the Latin word "tegere" meaning "to thatch, cover, or roof." In Operative Masonry, a Tiler was one who closed in the building and hid its interior from outside viewing and influenced the name of the officer who would guard the entrance of the Speculative Lodge.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Ancient City of York

We are taught in the Blue Lodge (sometimes referred to as Craft Masonry or the Symbolic Degrees) that Freemasonry is a progressive science taught through degrees. When one attains the Sublime Degree of Master Mason he has attained the highest degree in Freemasonry, but he should not be content with stagnation and should continue to seek further light in Freemasonry. One of the pathways a Mason may take in his continued education is the York Rite. It is important to remember that the York Rite, or any other body within the Masonic umbrella, is not considered in higher in rank than the Master Mason degree, but rather is just a continuation for those seeking more light in Freemasonry. The York Rite of Freemasonry derives its name from the English city of York and surrounds the legend of King Athelstan (grandson of Alfred the Great), who reigned over a thousand years ago and is considered the first King of All England. From the Regius Poem or Halliwell Manuscript, King Athelstan is said to have granted the first charters to Masonic guilds at the legendary Grand Assembly at York which was held in 926 A.D. and which was presided over by King Athelstan. The city has been controlled by Romans, Saxons, Vikings, and Normans; and has been known by various names such as Eboracum, Jórvík, and Eoforwīc before being known as York. York was the location to many historic events and legends: the Roman Emperor Constantine was proclaimed Emperor at York in 306 AD, Athelstan's Assembly in 926 AD, the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, the War of the Roses, the English Civil War, and the birth of Guy Fawkes.

The ancient city of York has a rich history dating back nearly 2,000-years, but there is archaeological evidence that a Mesolithic people settled in the region between 8,000 and 7,000 BC. It is located where the rivers Ouse and Foss meet. It was originally named Eboracum when it was founded by the Roman Ninth Legion in 71 AD which served as the capital of the Roman Province of Britannia Inferior then later the kingdoms of Saxon kingdom of Deirwa, Viking Kingdom of Jórvík and Northumbria. At the time of Roman occupation in 43 AD, there was a tribe known as Brigantes who fought and lost to the Roman Legion. Initially, it was merely a fort, but grew into a town. The name of Eboracum is believed to be derived from the Brythonic word "Eborakon" which is a combination of "eburos" meaning "yew-tree" and "-āko(n)" meaning "place." The 12th-century chronicler, Geoggrey of Monmouth, suggested that the name derived from a legendary king named Ebraucus, but there is no evidence to support that theory.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, York fell under the governance of the Saxons who called it Eoforwīc or Eoforīc, which means "wild-boar town" or "rich in wild-boar". It is believed that the Saxons were confused "Ebor" meaning "yew tree" with "Eofor" meaning "wild-boar." The Saxons originally came to Britain as mercenaries in the Roman Empire. In the early 7th century the kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia combined to make the Kingdom of Northumbria.

York was captured in 627 AD by King Edwin who made it his capital. The precursor of York Minster was erected in the same year and allowed for King Edwin to be baptized as a Christian. A stone church was built a few years later and dedicated to St. Peter. Under Edwin and his successors, Christianity began to spread among the Britains which caused York to become an ecclesiastical center, second only to Canterbury. From 735 onward, it would be a seat for an Archbishop. The church in York burned down in 741 AD and was replaced by a larger church containing no less than 30 altars.

After the Viking invasion and conquest of the 9th century, York (then called Jórvík) was a major trading route and capital for Vikings. The word York is rooted in the Old Norse word "Jórvík" which means "wild boar". The city prospered under the massive trading as archaeologists have found luxury goods from as far away as Byzantium (modern day Turkey) and the Arabian Gulf have been found side by side along with local goods. 

The street names of York are a reminder of the city's history. Many of the streets end with "-gate", but it does not indicate that a gate was or is along that street. "-Gate" comes from the Danish word "gata" meaning "street." If there is or was a gatehouse located on a street, the street name is followed by "Bar" (i.e. Micklegate Bar). The Vikings lost control of York in 954 AD when King Eadred, brother of King Athelstan, defeated Eric Bloodaxe.

After the Battle of Hastings, in 1066 AD, England was left to the Normans under the leadership of William the Conqueror. While he had to suppress small rebellions, he took York without a battle and made it his base of operations for northern Britain. York was captured and sacked by both rebels and William's forces who ultimately kept the city and rebuilt it in 1069 AD. The city of York continued to prosper, but like the rest of Europe faced occasional plagues. in 1212, King John gave York a charter that gave the citizens the ability to self-government and which lasted until 1974.

While it is commonly referred to as York Minster, its official name is "Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York." Under the direction of Walter de Gray, Archbishop of York, construction for the building began in 1220, but would not be completed until 1472. Popular for the time, the Minster was built using Gothic style architecture. St. Williams College was built in 1461 as a home for priests of York Minster. This college is named after William Fitzherbert who was Archbishop of York in 1153. The minster is the seat for the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England. The word "minster" derives from the Late Latin word "monasterium" meaning "the church of a monastery." Minster is an honorific title used for particular churches in England: York Minster in York, Westminster in London and Southwell Minster in Southwell.

The city of York was at the center of the War of the Roses (1455-1487), a series of civil wars, fought between the House of Lancaster (red rose) and the House of York (white rose) which resulted in the elimination the male lines of both families and the rise of the Tudor Dynasty; the Tudors were a distant relative of the Lancasters. Both of these houses were cadet branches of the House of Plantagenet, who ruled as England's king during the 14th century. The Yorks were descended from the female relatives of Edward’s second and fourth sons, while the Lancasters were related to Edward’s third son, John of Gaunt. When the throne was contested, both families claimed the throne. 


Between 1642 and 1646 England was torn apart by a civil war (primarily a class war) fought between the Royalists (supporters of Charles I) and the Parliamentarians. York was considered a Royalist stronghold but was captured by Parliamentarians in 1644. Once the civil war ended, York began to grow again and by 1660 was the third largest city in England, next to London and Norwich. in the 17th century, trade began to decline in York due to rise in trade from the American colonies.

With the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) and the rise of the railway system, York became a hub for northern England. The Lord Mayor, George Hudson, was instrumental in bringing the railroad to York in 1839. Local businesses benefited from this improved transportation system and the railway itself became a major employer in York. One industry that came to York was confectionery and the making of cocoa; York, today, is remembered for its railway and confections. By 1850, thirteen trains a day ran from York to London and, by 1877, York had the largest train station in England. By the next century, York began to prosper and became a trading center for England and Europe. York took damage in World War II during German bombing raids.

Today it stands as a center for services such as education and health services as well as for its cultural tourist attractions such as the Shambles (inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter), York Minster, National Railway Museum, and Jorvik Viking Centre. York has been an epicenter of history, and, as a Christian and a Freemason, York is definitely on my "List of Places to See."


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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July

I hope everyone enjoys today and remembers the sacrifice and work of our Founding Fathers.

Happy 4th of July!!!