Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am thankful for my life and for my family who I am spending the day with.  I am thankful for servicemen and women who keep the peace. I am thankful for all of my Brothers withersoever dispersed around the world.



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

All Gnostic Saints Day

This day celebrates the lives of a series of historical figures revered by Gnostic Christians. One such list of saints appears in the Collect of the Day of All Gnostic Saints of Ecclesia Gnostica, which reads as follows:
Praise be to Thee, O Father of all Fatherhood, Thou, the unknown God, who was before the fall of the sparks into the darkness of this aeon, for the glorious messengers of the light of Thy everlasting and redeeming Gnosis. Especially do we praise and thank Thee today for the following holy and enlightened teachers and knowers of truth: Valentinus of Rome; Basilides of Antioch; Carpocrates of Alexandria; Bardesanes of Syria; Mani of Babylonia, Martyr; Priscillian of Avila, Bishop and Martyr; Paul of Samosata, Bishop; Peter of Bruys, Martyr; Amalric of Bena; David of Dinan and William of Paris; Bogomil of Dragowitza, Bishop; Peter Waldo of Lyons; Joachim of Flora; Esclaremonde de Foix and the Cathar martyrs; and all the holy souls and wise sages who have in any way or form, under whatsoever guise and appearance attained to and taught the true and ancient Gnosis of God. Grant, O Boundless One, that inspired by and following their most noble example we also may see the light of Thy Gnosis and assist in liberating Thy sparks of light from the chains of darkness, ignorance and malice which afflict them in this aeon. Amen.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all the men and women who are serving and have served in the Armed Forces!



Monday, November 6, 2017

Visiting the Detroit Masonic Temple

While I was here at the Detroit Masonic Temple on Saturday night for a presentation, I requested a tour on Monday when I had more time to see this amazing in the daytime. It is truly awe inspiring and seeing this building was on my Masonic bucket list. I wrote about this building back in 2012: Sights and Places: Detroit Masonic Temple, but no words can do it justice. I have to thank Worshipful Brother Rob Moore, Worshipful Master of the Michigan Lodge of Research and Information for taking me on such an informative tour of this historic building. Now I am on my way back home.

Here are just a few of the pictures that I took during this tour:




















Saturday, November 4, 2017

Wisdom of the Founding Brethren

This weekend I am in Detroit for work and before coming out I had contacted the Masons to see if any event would be happening that I could attend. I was informed that the Michigan Lodge of Research would be hosting a Richard H. Sands Lecture at the Detroit Masonic Temple Library and that the lecturer would be  Bro. Shawn Eyer. Bro. Shawn is a Past Master of Academia Lodge No.847 in Oakland, CA, and currently serves as Director of Communications at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA, as well as the editor of its newsletter, "Light." He is also editor of "Ahiman: A Review of Masonic Culture and Tradition" and "Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research and Letters", the oldest independent Masonic publications in North America. I was looking forward to this presentation because I've known Bro. Shawn for a few years now and had not seen him a few years.

Bro. Shawn Eyer gave a presentation titled "Wisdom of the Founding Brethren: Light from the First Generation of Freemasons." Shawn is an exceptional Masonic scholar and lecturer, and I was not disappointed by his presentation. Shawn's presentation centered on looking at primary sources of early Masonry to look at some of the attitudes, ideas, and cultures of the early Masonic Brethren around the time of the founding Brothers. Citing the song "The Freemasons Health" (one of the earliest printed documents of Speculative Freemasonry), a Masonic essay by Robert Samber, Anderson's Constitution of 1723, the York Regulations of 1725, the writings of Francis Drake (1726), the writings of Edward Oakley (1728) writings by Martin Clare, the "Dissertation upon Masonry" (1734), the Book M (1736), and writings by "Brother Euclid" (1738). What I took away from this presentation is that we modern Masons, and humans in general, look back at our predecessors with some bias that they must have been simpler than us, but after looking through their writings, Masonic education isn't a new concept and has been with us since the earliest recorded history of Freemasonry. Many of the earliest essays on Masonry paint a picture of Lodges that fostered an environment for those seeking spiritual, intellectual, and social pursuits and exploration (rather than using research). The Brethren of the Michigan Lodge of Research were very hospitable and welcoming.It was a pleasure to attend this presentation and the fellowship that followed.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Caps of the Scottish Rite

With the Apron and Shrine Fez, the Scottish Rite cap stands out as a distinctive piece of Masonic regalia. The Scottish Rite caps are first bestowed upon Masons who have progressed to the 32° and there are a variety of caps, differing with their colors and insignia which can confuse new members or those who are not members of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite.

The purpose of the Scottish Rite cap is for Masons to show to Almighty God as well as to identiify a degree and any honors one may have achieved in the Scottish Rite. According to the Supreme Council, the cap  is considered a part of the apparel and is not removed, evn for prayer and the presentation of the flag. The Scottish Rite cap is not to be worn in any public place not connected to a Scottish Rite meeting. Note that I am speaking primarily of the caps worn by Masons of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. There are some key differences between the Southern Jurisdiction (SJ) and Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. The NMJ has a cap for officers that are yellow, but that is not a practice in the Southern Jurisdiction.



The black cap adorned with the Scottish Rite double-headed eagle is worn by those who have advanced to the 32° - Master of the Royal Secret. This cap is worn by a majority of the members of the Scottish Rite.



The blue cap emblazoned with golden number 50 surrounded by a wreath is worn by those Scottish Rite Masons who have been a member for atleast 50-years.


The red cap decorated with the red and gold cross of a Knight Commander is worn by those 32° Scottish Rite Masons who have been invested with the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH). When one has been a 32° for atleast 4-years (roughly) can be nominated for their services to the Rite to be awarded the KCCH. It should be noted that this is not a degree, but an investiture to recognize faithful service and does not confer any more power or authority. The KCCH exists in the Supreme Council of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction of the USA, but is not used universally among other Supreme Councils.



The white cap embroidered with the red and gold Patriarchal Cross designates that one has been coronated a 33° Inspector General Honorary. When a Scottish Rite Mason has been a 32° KCCH for four years, has attained the age of 35, and has continued to provide outstanding service to the Rite, he is eligible to received the 33° Inspector General Honorary. These Brothers are not active members of the Supreme Council, but compose the pool from which those active members are chosen from.


The white cap adorned with the gold Teutonic cross of the Grand Cross and surrounded by a band of dark blue velvet bordered in gold is worn by those distinguished Brothers who have been awarded the Grand Cross of the Court of Honor. This is the highest decoration which can be bestowed on an Inspector General Honorary for exceptional services. This rank and designation is not a degree, and members who hold it are designated 33° GCCH or 33° GC.


The white cap adorned with the red and gold Patriarchal Cross and surrounded by a band of red velvet bordered in gold is worn by Brothers who serve as a Deputy of the Supreme Council. In Orients (states, territories, or countries) that do not have an active member of the Supreme Council, the Sovereign Grand Commander can appoint a Deputy to serve as SGIG of that particular Orient, but that does not give him active membership or a vote on the Supreme Council.


The purple cap emblazoned with a purple and gold Patriarchal Cross with crosslets and surrounded by a band of purple velvet, bordered in gold and decorated with a gold vine of laurel leaves and berries is worn by a Sovereign Grand Inspector General (SGIG) and is an active member of the Supreme Council. There is only one active member for an Orient and the SGIG is the highest ranking officer of the Scottish Rite in the Orient.


The violet cap decorated with the Salem Cross with crosslets and surrounded by a band of violet velvet with a gold vine of laurel leaves and berries is worn only by the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite. The Sovereign Grand Commander is the highest ranking officer of the Supreme Council invested with the power of supervision and administration within its jurisdiction.

References


1. Blue Hats in Scottish Rite. (2015). Retrieved from Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/freemasonry/comments/3di5nq/blue_hats_in_scottish_rite/


2. Regalia. (n.d.). Retrieved from Long Beach Scottish Rite: http://www.lbscottishrite.org/?p=regalia


3. The Scottish Rite Caps Explained. (n.d.). Retrieved from Valley of Tulsa: http://www.tulsasr.org/?page_id=124


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Masonic Week 2018

Here is the tentative schedule of events for the 2018 Masonic Week that will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Crystal CIty near the Regan National Airport.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

   

7:30am - Trinity Chapel No.2 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA

10:00am - Grand Council of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA

Noon - Festive Board of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA

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

3:00pm - Provincial Grand Court of the United States of America for the Masonic Order of Athelstan

4:45pm - Grand Council of the Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers

8:15pm - Royal Ark Mariner degree of the Allied Masonic Degrees


Friday, February 9, 2018

   

    

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

8:15am - Grand College of Rites of the USA

9:00am - Ladies Breakfast (no cost)

9:30am - Society of Blue Friars

10:45am - Nine Muses Council No.13 of the Allied Masonic Degrees

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

1:30pm - Grand Council of Knight Masons, USA

4:15pm - Grand College of America of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest

6:30pm - The 11th Annual Dinner of the Masonic Society

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

9:00pm - Ye Antiente Order of Corks


Saturday, February 10, 2018

   

  

7:00am - Breakfast sponsored by the York Rite Sovereign College

8:15am - Scarlet Cord Degrees of the Allied Masonic Degrees
8:15am - First Grade (Ostiarius or Doorkeeper)
8:45am - Second Grade (Lector)
9:15am - Third Grade (Fellow)
9:45am - Fourth Grade (Councillor)
10:45am - Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor

12:15pm - The Philalethes Society Luncheon

2:00pm - Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA

2:00pm - Ladies Afternoon Tea

5:30pm - Social Hour

6:30pm - All Masonic Banquet

8:45pm - Masonic Order of the Bath


Sunday, February 11, 2018


08:30am - Washington Monument Assemblage of the Operatives, USA Region (I° to VII°)

09:00am - Lodge of Menatzchim V° of the Operatives (V°, VI°, & VII° only)

10:30am - Lodge of Harodim VI° of the Operatives (VI° & VII° only)

Noon - Closing of Washington Monument Assemblage of the Operatives

12:30pm - Operatives Brunch (I° to VII°)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Words & Phrases: Lodge

This is the first in a series where I will be researching some of the words and phrases used within Freemasonry. As this is the first article in the series I'll start with the most important and basic organizational unit of Freemasonry, the Lodge. According to the Idaho Masonic monitor, "a Lodge is a place where Masons assemble and work; Hence that Assembly, or duly organized Society of Msaons, is called a Lodge, and every Brother ought to belong to one, and to be subject to its Bylaws and General Regulations."

According to the dictionary, the word "lodge" is defined as "a small, makeshift or crude shelter or habitation" or "the meeting place of a branch of certain fraternal organizations." The word "Lodge" is rooted in the 13th century Middle English word "logge" meaning "small building or hut" and can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic word "laubja" meaning "shelter."

While the roots of Freemasonry are lost to time and is the great enigma of the Craft, we know that much of our near history can be traced to the Operative Masonic guilds of England. In creating their work area, the medieval guilds would erect a lodge erected along side the structure under construction. How and when the operatives started using the word "lodge" is unknown, but we know that where those operative craftsmen assembled, it was referred to as a lodge. Lodges today refer to both a place where assembled Brothers may initiate, pass, and raise all those whom they find worthy and the collective term for the members who meet there. While today our Lodges are fixed locations, the early speculative Lodges were much more private and transitional meaning that they would be located in private homes or rented out rooms in a bar (not the club scene we think of today, but something akin to a hotel conference room).

From Albert Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, a "regular Warranted Lodge consists in reality of four Lodges" where he states that a Lodge is composed of a Lodge to conduct business meetings, "Initiated in a Lodge of Apprentices, is Passed in a Lodge of Fellowcraft, is Raised in a Lodge of Master Masons." Lodges have a name and after often followed by a number (ie Idaho Lodge No.1), but this isn't always the case; in some jurisdictions they don't use numbers such as under the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Lodges are often referred to as a Blue Lodges, (Ancient) Craft Lodges, St. Johns' Lodges, or Symbolic Lodges. The term "blue Lodge" refers to the traditional color of regalia in Lodges. Craft Lodge is used more often in Britain than Blue Lodge.

As the central myth surrounding Freemasonry surrounds King Solomon's Temple, the Lodge is said to be patterned after aspects of King Solomon’s Temple. There are many variations throughout the world, depending on differences in customs, rituals, and rules, but in general, lodge rooms are arranged in a very similar fashion. Lodges can be decorated very elaborately or very simply; you find very ornate Lodges in large cities and back East while in rural areas they are often of simple designs. A building may have multiple Lodge rooms and it was an older custom to refer to such buildings as Temples (referring back to King Solomon's Temple), but due to confusion and misunderstandings of the role of religion in Freemasonry, this has been abandoned and the word "temple" has been removed from their buildings.

The modern Masonic lodge is a rectangular room, with seating around the perimeter with the center of the room where the rituals and ceremonies take place. Lodges as a representation of King Solomon's Temple which itself was an exact model for the Tabernacle erected by Moses, which was situated due East and West to commemorate the East wind which assisted in the exodus of the Jews out of the land of Egypt. Now this isn't always physically possible to orient a Lodge room due east, but regardless, when you walk into the lodge room and face the Worshipful Master's chair, you’re symbolically facing the East. All Lodges hold an altar in it where a sacred book is placed (in the US it is usually the Bible, but it could also be the Koran or Torah). In the US, the altar is found in the center of the room while in other parts of the world it is often found directly in front of the Worshipful Master's chair. Surrounding or placed next to the altar are three lights (the number three being extremely important in Freemasonry). The three principal officers are stationed around the room as such: the Worshipful Master is in the East on a dias of three steps, the Senior Warden is in the West on a platform of two steps, the Junior Warden is in the South on a single step. The rest of the officers are placed around the Lodge as defined by their ritual and Constitution (see the diagram below).


Most Lodge meet at least once a month for a business meeting, but can also have special meetings for conducting initiations on their respective candidates. Some Lodges only meet quarterly or annually, but those are special Lodges like Lodges of Instruction, Research Lodges, or Historic Lodges.

No other part of Freemasonry is accessible until one has received the three degrees of the Blue Lodge. Admission to a Lodge is by petition and only through a Blue Lodge can one attain the title of Freemason.

References

1. Lodge. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/lodge 

2. Lodge. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wiktionary: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/lodge 

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

4. Lodge (n). (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymological Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=lodge 

5. What is a Freemason Lodge? (n.d.). Retrieved from Dummies: http://www.dummies.com/religion/spirituality/what-is-a-freemason-lodge/

Saturday, September 23, 2017

150th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho

Well, today concluded the 150th Annual Communciation of the Wost Worshipful Grand Lodge Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Idaho. Congratulations to Most Worshipful Brother James Hensley on his year as Grand Master and congratulations to Most Worshipful Brother William K. Curtis Jr. on being installed as Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of Idaho for the ensuing year.

Thursday night, the Idaho Lodge of Research No.1965 met where I was re-elected as Secretary. Friday was a long day of committee reports, but ended with the Grand Banquet where there was plenty of good food, good fellowship, and the dispensing of awards to several deserving Brothers. Congratulations to those Brothers who were awarded Mason of the Year and District Masons of the Year.

This morning dealt with the passage of resolutions proposed by the voting members and delegates of the Grand Lodge. The ones that interested me were three: 1) The Brethren approved the ability for Lodges to hold election of officers on any degree when previously it could only be done on the Master Mason degree; 2) The Brethren approved the request to allow a Forest of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon to be established in Idaho; and 3) the Brethren rejected the proposal that would have put a term limit of three consecutive years to the stations of  Worshipful Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden.

Today, Brethren from all over the State of Idaho as well as several visiting Brothers congregated in Idaho City for the Annual Communication for Idaho City Historic Lodge No.1863. Prior to the meeting we had a picnic which was catered by a local BBQ company owned by Carlas Brown, Most Worshipful Past Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oregon, Idaho, and Montana Inc. I had the honor of serving as Worshipful Master for this year for the Historic Lodge. After the usual business of a stated meeting, I gave a short talk on what our 19th century Brethren would have gone through in traveling to Idaho City to establish the Grand Lodge of Idaho:
Brothers, I want to take a moment to reflect how remarkable it was for our predecessors to come together to form the Grand Lodge of Idaho.
It took most of us 54-minutes to go from Boise to Idaho City, but the founders of our didn't have the modern conveniences we have today. No paved roads, no cars, and railroads didn't really develop in Idaho until between 1880 and 1890, and even then it serviced along the corridor similar to what I-84 occupies. Back in 1867, one had three choices for travel: the first is the least likely and that is to walk; the next was to ride a horse; and, lastly, the most common would have been to take a stagecoach.
Stage lines began to replace saddle trains in 1864 as soon as roads suitable for wagons were built. Stagecoaches were pulled by teams of horses or oxen. In comparison to riding in our modern automobiles with environmental controls, riding a stagecoach was not always fun. Passengers were often jammed together with few rest stops. Aside the slow and steady pace, passengers faced the harsh environmental conditions of Idaho summer and winter, bandits and robbers, and of course the lovely rattlesnake. 
Stagecoaches could travel between 10 and 15-miles a day. Using modern roads, from Idaho city, Centerville is 11-miles, Placerville is 13-miles, Pioneerville is 17-miles, Boise is 40-miles, and Silver City is 109-miles away. The shortest travel time is a full day of travel and the farthest took between 7.5-days and 11-days. These measurements is with the assumption of good weather and road conditions which seems unlikely with the mountainous terrain. We have to remember that they came together during the month of December and the average snowfall for Idaho City can exceed 6-ft. Now take into account snow, ice, mud, and avalanches into those travel times and you can only imagine the fervency and zeal that drove these Brothers. Reflect on that Brothers.
I then turned the gavel over to the newly installed Most Worshipful Grand Master who closed the Lodge. Afterward I returned to Boise and had beer with my friend and Companion, David Grindle, the Most Puissant General Grand Master of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International. Now it's time for bed and some rest.