Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers. I am blessed to still have my mother alive and well, and she has always been a support for me. I am spending the day with her at my aunt's house where aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, parents, and grandparents all congregated to celebrate this day honoring motherhood. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Great SRICF Weekend

Well, I've made it back home after a weekend in Wyoming. Today was the annual collation of the Wyoming College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. After the long drive on Saturday, I and my fellow Fratres were able to check-in to our hotel before heading to the College's collation dinner. I was honored to be the keynote speaker where I presented my paper "Celestial Clothing."

Sunday morning we started bright and early, and the College initiated three Idaho Masons into the First Order (I° to IV°) as well as a Wyoming Frater who received the III° and IV°; we're getting ever closer to being able to petition the High Council to charter a College in Idaho. I had the pleasure of presiding over the Grade of Zelator. This meeting is also when Wyoming College have its officer elections. I was appointed and installed by the Chief Adept to be the Acolyte, the outer guard of the College, for the next year.

During the meeting it was discussed about advancing me to the Second Order. From discussing it further after the meeting, I will receive them at a later date at our next semi-annual meeting. However, it is late and I just spent the last 9-hours in a van and I am exhausted. Good night everyone.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Celestial Clothing: A Comparison

I am honored to have presented this paper tonight at the annual collation dinner of the Wyoming College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis:
I was inspired to write this paper while I was reading the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, one of the three founding documents of Rosicrucianism. The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, attributed to Johann Valentin Andreæ, is a story of self-improvement through initiatic rituals that our legendary founder goes through that is composed seven chapters or days. On the first day, Christian Rosencreutz is visited by a divine messenger who is described as a “wonderfully beautiful female figure, dressed all in blue, spangled liked the heavens with golden stars”. Of all the symbols and allegories found within the Chymical Wedding, the clothing of this divine messenger caught my attention and the purpose of this paper will be the comparison of this star-spangled clothing to other myths and legends. It was interesting to see when researching these various mythoi that in the Gnostic traditions “garment” not only meant clothing, but also the flesh of the body as I’ll explain further along in this paper.

Roman Mithraism
In the Roman Cult of Mithras, Mithras is said to have worn a cloak that was covered with the with constellations and the symbols of the seven planets. The stars on the cloak were said to represent every person that ever was and will ever be. This cult centered on the Proto-Indian, Persian god Mithra (Mithras being the Greco-Roman spelling). The son of Ormuzd, a god of light, Mithras is said to have been born out of a rock on the Winter Solstice. Myth states that he was born wearing a Phrygian cap and the celestial cloak while holding a dagger and a torch of light.
 
One of the central legends of the Mithraic Mysteries is the "Tauroctony". The Tauroctony, from the Greek word "tauroktonos" meaning "bull killing," concerns the myth where the god Mithras sacrifices a sacred bull. Ahura Mazda, the supreme god of Zoroastrianism, is said to have sent a crow, an animal traditionally used a messenger of the gods, to Mithras and ordered him to subdue and kill the bull, which was Ahura’s first creation, in a cave which resulted in the creation of all the plants and animals of the world. Upon the death of the bull, legend states that Mithras transformed his cloak into the sky.


Ancient Egypt
To the Ancient Egyptians, the body of the sky goddess Nut, who arched over the earth, was covered in the heavenly bodies; some legends say she is naked and others say she clothed in blue bedecked with the heavenly bodies. It is said that the sun, moon, and stars moved across her body, starting at her feet and ending at her mouth where she would consume them and pass through her along an “inner sky” to be birthed out of her at their appointed time; sun at dawn and stars and moon at dusk.
Nut is an enigma because in most mythologies there is a sky god and an earth goddess, but, in this case, Nut is the goddess of the sky while her consort, Geb, is the god of the earth. From the union of Nut and Geb came Isis, Osiris, Set, and Nephthys. Nut is also considered a protector of the dead. To invoke her protection, she was sometimes carved or painted on the underside of coffin and sarcophagi lids.


Catholicism
Within Catholicism, there are some interesting figures, particularly in new world areas where the Church wished to smooth the transition from the native pagan religions to Catholicism. The Virgin Mary is depicted in a variety of ways in Latin America. One such way is with Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, sometimes called the Virgin of Guadalupe, is a reference used for the Virgin Mary in Mexico. The Virgin of Guadalupe is enshrined at the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. In this depiction, she wears a mantle covered in stars. Her mantle was colored as blue-green which was considered the color of the gods by the natives. The stars were said to denote that she came from Heaven. While this is contested, some theorize that the 46 stars that cover her mantle are said to correspond to the position of the stars of the winter solstice of 1531 when the legend of this particular personification of the Virgin Mary is said to have originated.
According to legend, the story of the Lady of Guadalupe dates to December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego, a Christianized native was on his way to Catholic mass when he received a vision from a lady who declared herself the Virgin Mary and The Lady of Uruk, sometimes called the “Sumerian Mona Lisa” is a statue that dates back to circa 3100 BC and is one of the earliest representations of the human face. Many believe it is a statue of the Inanna, goddess of love, fertility, and warfare in Sumerian mythology; an interesting dichotomy for a goddess to have. [expand on Inanna]whose garments were like the sun in their brilliance. She asked him to erect a temple dedicated to her on Tepeyac Hill. Some see this as a victory of Christ over the former pagan temples built on that hill. She assured Juan Diego that she would give love, aid, and protection to the people.


Sumerian
The Lady of Uruk, sometimes called the “Sumerian Mona Lisa” is a statue that dates back to circa 3100 BC and is one of the earliest representations of the human face. The statue depicted a woman that was wearing a garment that was "covered in golden stars”. Sadly today, the only thing left remaining is the facial portion and is now known as the Mask of Warka.
Many believe it was a statue of Inanna, goddess of love, fertility, and warfare in Sumerian mythology; an interesting dichotomy for a goddess to have. Inanna is said to be another name for the Akkadian goddess Ishtar, Phoenician goddess Astarte, Aphrodite in Greece, and Venus in the Roman pantheon. Inanna is said to be “clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars” with the “rainbow as her necklace and the zodiac as her girdle.” Among her several titles she was known as the Queen of Heaven and Earth, Light of the World, Morning and Evening Star, and Holy Shepherdess. She was the protector deity of the city of Uruk was the first city built by the legendary Gilgamesh, who was the champion of the goddess Inanna.

Hinduism
In Hinduism, Ratri is the goddess of night. She is the sister of Ushas (goddess of the dawn), brother of Parjanya (god of rain), and daughter of Dyaus (god of sky) and Prithvi (goddess earth). She is also said to be “the guardian of eternal law and order in the cosmos and of the waves of time.” While her physical appearance is rarely discussed, the few accounts state that she is clothed in a black cloak and covered in stars. The stars on her cloak are there to provide light in the darkness as a means of protecting people from the dangers of the night.
Another legend in Hinduism centers on Harishchandra who was a legendary Indian king. In one story, Harishchandra gave away his kingdom then sold himself and his family into slavery to fulfill a promise he had made to the sage Vishvamitra. While in servitude he demonstrated sincere remorse for his past sins and his obligations to the gods where the gods restored his fortunes and robed him in celestial garments.


Chinese
I found a curious story in Chinese mythology concerning Chin Nu. Chin Nu was a weaver goddess and daughter to the Jade Emperor for whom she is said to have woven seamless robes. One story she is found in, concerns her descending to the earth to bathe. While bathing, her clothing is stolen by a cowherd and without her divine clothing she is incapable of returning to heaven. To get her clothing back she consents to marrying the cowheard, but eventually they become separated. The husband, with the help of the ox, searched the heavens for his wife. When he encountered her father, the Jade Emperor, but he refused to allow them to be together all the time as she would forget to perform her duties. The Jade Emperor instead gave her husband a place as guardian of Ch’ien Niu, a star to the west. Chin Nu was given a star that was situated to the east of the Heavenly River. Because of their positions in the heavens, they are only reunited on the 7th day of the 7th month each year.


Persian
Shapur II, the 10th and longest reigning monarch of the Sasanian Empire, is said to have clothed himself in a “mantle and tiara were adorned with stars and with solar and lunar signs”. While not necessarily a divine being, monarchs are often considered divine or rule by divine right and were referred to as "illustrious" or "shining" (think of King Louis XIV who was known as the Sun King). During the wars with the Roman Empire, Shapur II sent a letter to the Emperor Constantius stating that he was the “Companion of the stars, Brother of the sun and moon”. Along with military and strategic renown, it was under the reign of Shapur II that the Avesta collection was completed. The Avesta is the primary religious text of Zoroastrianism.
 
To conclude, among the various mythologies that have existed there are a number of mythologies that include divine or celestial clothing. A common theme that is seen among these different myths are that those who are garbed in celestial clothing are creators and guardians whether of the cosmos and mankind. Even the everlasting JHVH is described in heavenly clothing in Psalms 104:2 “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain”. Again, thank you all for giving me this opportunity to speak tonight.
References
1. Arendzen, J. (1911, October 1). Mithraism. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10402a.htm. 
2. Baring, A., & Cashford, J. (2000). The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. London: Arkana. 
3. Beck, R. (2000). Ritual, Myth, Doctrine, and Initiation in the Mysteries of Mithras: New Evidence from a Cult Vessel. The Journal of Roman Studies, 145-180. 
4. Chinese Goddesses. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/names/chinese-goddesses.htm. 
5. Colavito, J. (2014). Jason and the Argonauts through the ages. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc. 
6. Coulter, C. R., & Turner, P. (2000). Encyclopedia of ancient deities. Jefferson: McFarland. 
7. Dimmitt, C. (1978). Classic Hindu Mythology: A Reader in Sanskrit Puranas. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 
8. Dunnington, J. O. (2004). Celebrating Guadalupe. Tucson: Rio Nuevo. 
9. Egyptian Gods: Nut. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://egyptian-gods.org/egyptian-gods-nut/. 
10. Fisher, W. B., Gershevitch, I., & Yarshater, E. (1986). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
11. Godwin, J., McIntosh, C., Pahnke, D., & Rosencreutz, C. (2016). Rosicrucian Trilogy. Newburyport: Weiser Books. 
12. Hani, J. (2011). Sacred Royalty: From the Pharaoh to the Most Christian King. London: Matheson Trust. 
13. Holy Bible. (2011).
14. Hunt, L. (n.d.). 'Mona Lisa' back to Iraq's National Museam. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=7116. 
15. Jordan, M. (2005). Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses (2nd ed.). New York: Checkmark Books.
16. Kinsley, D. R. (1988). Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition. London: UC Press, Ltd. 
17. Mark, J. J. (2010, October 15). Inanna. Retrieved May 02, 2017, from http://www.ancient.eu/Inanna/ 
18. Merkelbach, R. (2016, August 18). Mithraism. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Mithraism. 
19. Nabarz, P. (2005). The Mysteries of Mithras: The Pagan Belief That Shaped the Christian World. Rochester: Inner Traditions. 
20. Pinch, G. (2004). Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. NYC: Oxford University Press. 
21. RATRI: Goddess of Night. (2014, January 28). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/indian-mythology.php?deity=RATRI. 
22. Seawright, C. (2012, November 29). Nut, Sky Goddess, Mother of the Gods. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/kunoichi/themestream/nut.html#.WG7bO_krLIU
23. Symbolism of the Image. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.olgaustin.org/symbolism.shtml. 
24. The 46 Stars of Guadalupe. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.holymary.info/the46starsofguadalupe.html. 
25. Wallis Budge, E. A. (1969). The Gods of the Egyptians. New York: Dover Publications. 
26. Wilber, D. N. (1998, July 20). Shapur II. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Shapur-II

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Rosicrucian Prayer

Eternal and Universal Fountain of Love, Wisdom and Happiness; Nature is the book in which Thy character is written, and no one can read it unless he has been in Thy school. Therefore our (or my) eyes are directed upon thee as the eyes of the servants are directed upon the hands of the masters and mistresses, from whom they receive their gifts. Oh Thou Lord of Kings, who should not praise thee unceasingly, and forever with his whole heart? For everything in the universe comes from Thee, out of Thee, belongs to Thee and must again return to Thee. Everything that exists will ultimately re-enter Thy Love or Thy Anger, Thy Light or Thy Fire, and everything, whether good or evil, must serve to thy glorification. Thou alone art the Lord, for Thy Will is the fountain of all powers that exist in the universe; none can escape Thee. Thou art the King of the World; Thy residence is in Heaven and in the sanctuary of the heart of the virtuous.

Universal God, One Life, One Light, One Power, Thou All in All, beyond expression and beyond conception. On Nature! Thou something from nothing, thou symbol of Wisdom! In myself I am nothing, in Thee I am I. I live in Thine I made of nothing; live thou in me and bring me out of the region of self into the Eternal Light! Amen.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

2017 Grand York Rite of Idaho

Well, it has been a long three days, but I enjoyed my time at the Grand Sessions of the Grand York Rite of Idaho. Thursday we conferred the chair degrees and honorary bodies to those Companions and Sir Knights eligible and deserving. In each of these bodies I was appointed to the following positions:
Registrar for Idaho Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor
Thrice Illustrious Junior Warden of the Idaho Order of the Silver Trowel 
Prelate for Idaho Priory #13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor
Friday was the Joint Sessions with the Most Illustrious Grand Master presiding with the Most Excellent Grand High Priest and Right Eminent Grand Commander sitting with him in the Grand East. They kept me busy serving as Distinguished Guests Chairman. The Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho opened in the afternoon where I was appointed Illustrious Grand Captain of the Guard for the ensuing year. Friday night Tri-Valley College #178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America held its annual stated meeting where I was elected and installed as Deputy Governor.


With Saturday morning, the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho convened. I was honored to be elected and installed as the Right Excellent Grand King. In the afternoon, the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho reconvened. The new Right Eminent Grand Commander appointed me as the Eminent Grand Sword Bearer and Editor of the Idaho Supplement of the Knights Templar magazine. I look forward to the coming year.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Last Supper

by James C. Taylor, PGC-DC

God chose the Passover as the time
For Christ's passion to be revealed,
The place, Jerusalem, to be sublime
And die for our sins to be healed.

Christ planned to share the Passover feast
With disciples whose mission was planned;
The meal, that extolled God's people released
From the Pharaoh's enslaving hand. 

He told them that the time was right
To depart and see scripture fulfilled, 
His loving students then pledged to fight 
To prevent Christ from being Killed. 

He quieted their plan to intercede
For He alone must answer this call,
And He washed their feet to show that to lead
One must be a servant to all.

He took bread and broke it and shared
His food As a token of sharing His life,
And they took the cup which was his blood
As a covenant to ease man's strife.

As the Passover meal released mankind 
From the bonds of slavery and toil, 
Christ's communion with us will assist us to find 
Serenity in life's turmoil.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pilgrim Preceptors

From Royal Arch Masonry stems a number of various groups like the Allied Masonic Degrees, Knight Masons, the Operatives, and one of the least known is the Masonic Order of Pilgrim Preceptors. I say it is least known as it is primarily found in England, and even there it seems like a relatively small organization. The legend of the Order concerns a Fourth Grand Lodge held in Rome, and the coming of Christianity to Britain.

The prerequesites for this Order are that one must be a Past First Principle (comparable to Past High Priest in the US) of a Royal Arch Chapter and a Past Master of a Blue Lodge.

The basic organizational unit of this order is known as a Conclave. The officers of a Conclave are:
Illustrious Preceptor
Excellent Preceptor
Worthy Preceptor
Chaplain Preceptor
Scribe Preceptor
Marshal Preceptor
Treasurer Preceptor
Deputy Marshal Preceptor
Organist Preceptor
Keeper of the Portal
Steward Preceptor (3)
Guard
There are two degrees conferred by a Conclave: Pilgram and Preceptor. According to "Beyond the Craft" the degrees are described as follows:
Pilgrim: Having beheld the ruins of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, the aspirant journeys to Rome where he gains sanctuary in the catacombs. He is then ordained a Pilgrim and successfully appeals to the Emperor for the restitution of the sacred landmarks of their religion, and in consequence is summarily rewarded with a token of his new calling.
Preceptor: The postulant is instructed that the truths revealed during seven major events across the aeons of time have materially contributed to the wisdom of man. It relates that with the assistance of the emblamatical lights of Masonry, those tenets and principles were duly restored in a fourth fraternal Lodge, as mirrored by the four triangles.
The regalia for this group is that of a Royal Arch Mason plus a collared jewel (see image on the right). Recipients of the degree of Pilgrim wear a 1/2-inch wide brown ribbon with the triangular jewel. Recipients of the degree of Preceptor wear 1/2-inch wide white ribbon. The Illustrious Preceptor and Past Illustrious Preceptors where a 1/2-inch wide purple ribbon. Provincial Grand officers wear the same ribbon as the Illustrious Preceptors except the purple ribbon is 1-inch wide. Grand officers wear the same jewel as Provincial Grand officers but the ribbon contains gold emblems on each side denoting rank.

This group traces its origins back to the 19th century where three Royal Arch Masons, who are described as "erudite thespians," in Northwest England. During the first century, it was merely a degree conferred on very few who kept the degree going. It wasn't until September of 1984 that the first Conclave was formed. As of 2012, there are twelve Conclaves: eleven in England & Wales and one in the United States of America.

References

1. Clarke, B. (n.d.). Additional Degrees Worked in England and Wales York Rite: An Explanation. Retrieved from The Masonic Trowel: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/Articles/apendent_bodies/york/additional_degrees_england_wales_york_explanation.htm 

2. Henderson, K. (n.d.). Lesser Known Orders of Freemasonry. Retrieved from Kent Henderson: http://kenthenderson.com.au/m_papers11.html 

3. Jackson, K. B. (2012). Beyond the Craft. Lewis Masonic.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Anti-Mason William Schnoebelen

In my article "A Brief History of Anti-Masonry", I covered anti-Masonry from its earliest appearances to the mid-20th century, but I did not cover modern anti-Mason personalities like David Icke or William "Bill" Schnoebelen. While I see both as truly ignorant about what Freemasonry really is, the latter is particularly vicious in using faith and a seemingly fabricated Masonic resume to denigrate and defame Freemasonry. William Schnoebelen is a fundamentalist "Christian" who has lectured against a number of things including Freemasonry which he claims, poorly, to have been a member among several other things.

It is a difficult task to research this man's history because every few years he reinvents his past, but for those unfamiliar with William Schnoebelen, he claims to be a born again Christian after having been a high level druid, a practicing witch, a "spiritualist minister," a 90° Freemason, a member of the Illuminati, a Catholic priest, a Mormon, a member of the Church of Satan, a follower of "old Catholicism", a vampire, a medium, a member of the OTO, and a IX° Rosicrucian. He now claims to have become a "born again Christian" and is a self-proclaimed "ordained minister." My research focuses on his claims of Freemasonry, but many others have exposed this fraud for what he is. A wiccan named Kerr Cuhulain wrote an article called Bill Schnoebelen's "Little White Lies" which debunks many of the Bill's claims of being a witch. Here is an incomplete and inconsistent timeline of his life, that he provides in "Mormonism's Temple of Doom":
09/22/68 - 1st Degree (Gardnerian Tradition) Witch
05/01/70 - 2nd Degree (Gardnerian Tradition) Witch
05/15/71 - Bachelor’ Degree, Loras College (Roman Catholic)
12/02/72 - Spiritualist Minister, ADL
02/02/73 - 1st Degree (Alexandrian Tradition) Witch
03/21/73 - 1st Degree- "Member" (Druidic Rite) Witch
06/22/73 - 2nd Degree- "Priesthood of Melchizedek" (Druidic)
07/22/73 - 3rd Degree- "High Priesthood of Melchizedek" (Druidic)
07/29/73 - Sealed "For Time and Eternity"- (Druidic marriage ceremony)
09/22/73 - 2nd and 3rd Degrees- "High Priest and Magus"
05/01/74 - "Wizard"- (Druidic Rite)
05/31/74 - Legally Married
12/22/74 - 4th Degree- "Practicus" (Alexandrian)
04/30/75 - 1st Degree- "Member" (Church of Satan)
12/14/75 - Ordained to Catholic Diaconate, American National Catholic Church (Old Catholic Rite)
01/15/76 - Ordained to Catholic Priesthood, American National Catholic Church
02/02/76 - 5th Degree- "Adeptus Minor" (Alexandrian)
05/20/76 - 1st Degree- "Entered Apprentice" (Masonry)
09/20/76 - 2nd Degree- "Fellowcraft" (Masonry)
11/24/76 - 3rd Degree- "Master Mason" (Masonry)
03/26/77 - 4th-7th- Degrees - "Royal Arch" (York Rite Masonry)
03/26/77 - 8th Degree- "Super Excellent Master (York Rite Masonry)
04/02/77 - 9-10th Degree- "Knight Order of Temple" (York Rite Masonry)
04/30/77 - 2nd Degree- "Warlock" (Church of Satan- same as 6th Degree Alexandrian- "Adeptus Major"
07/23/77 - 7th Degree Gnostic Bishop (Grand Master of the Temple Oto)
09/15/77 - 90th Degree (Memphis Mizraim)
10/31/78 - "Priest" (Church of Satan)
06/01/79 - First Degree- "Lava Tete" (Voodoo)
10/31/79 - Fourth Degree- "Pontiff Cardinal" (Church of Satan-Italian Jurisdiction)
12/15/79 - 2nd Degree- "Houngan" (Voodoo)
08/08/80 - Mormon Baptism
09/20/80 - Shrine- "Noble" (Masonry)
10/31/80 - 5th Degree- "Pontiff Hierophant" (Church of Satan - same as 8th Degree Alexandrian)
10/31/80 - 14th Degree- "Lodge of Perfection" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
11/01/80 - 16th Degree- "Prince of Jerusalem" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
11/01/80 - 18th Degree- "Rose Croix of Herdon" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
11/08/80 - 32nd Degree- "Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
12/19/80 - Masters of Theology, St. Francis School of Pastoral Ministry (Roman Catholic)
12/22/80 - 33rd Degree- "Grand Sovereign Inspector General" (European or Continental Masonry)
01/01/81 - 34th Degree- "Paladin" (Palladium Masonry)
05/17/81 - Melchizedek Priesthood- "Elder" (Mormon Church)
08/31/81 - Sealed and Endowed LDS Temple (Mormon)
10/15/82 - Elder’s Quorum President (Mormon)
09/14/83 - Institute Teacher (Mormon)
06/22/84 - SAVED!!!
Born in 1949 in Jessup, IA, to a Catholic family. He became disillusioned with the Catholic Church after the changes that came with Vatican II. He claims that a Priest at his college is the one who turned him towards the occult and witchcraft, and it was a witch who pushed him towards Freemasonry. On analyzing his own reported timeline, I see no discrepancies in advancing through the Blue Lodge, for that time frame; 6-months from Entered Apprentice to Master Mason. However, there is one problem I see. By the dates, he received his degrees in the Blue Lodge, his Entered Apprentice was on a Thursday, his Fellow Craft was on a Monday, and his Master Mason was on a Wednesday. Lodges traditionally meet on a specific day of the week (especially if they meet in a building with multiple Lodges and multiple appendant bodies there as well). There are always exceptions to the rules, but having each degree on a different day of the week just seems too much for me to swallow.

Schnoebelen claims to have joined Kilbourne Lodge No.3 in Milwaukee, WI, where he claimed to have served as Junior Warden. However, that Lodge no longer exists and merged with another, but in communicating with the merged Lodge's Secretary, other Brothers have found that there is no evidence that he was ever actually a member; no petition, no mention in any of the minutes, nothing. In "Masonry: Beyond the Light", Schnoebelen says that he was "deeply involved in American Masonry for over nine years..." However, by his timeline and by other claims of his, he was not active in Freemasonry for 9-years. Other Brothers who have investigated Schnoebelen have said that the documents he reproduces in his book are false, using fabricated seals to stamp the certificates.

His claims about the York Rite make me hesitate slightly, but his claims are still plausible. One reason I hesitate is that he numbers the York Rite degrees and orders, but most York Rite Masons know that we don’t use a numbering system, but maybe he did this for people who don’t know too much about the York Rite. While today the Super Excellent Master isn’t conferred regularly, it’s possible that he did receive it in his day. However, to think that he received the degrees of Mark Master, Past Master (V), Most Excellent Master, Royal Arch, Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master in a single day is almost unfathomable because of the amount of time it takes to confer all of them.

Then his Masonic claims take a turn for the weird and completely absurd. He claims to have received the 90° in the Ancient Primitive Rites of Memphis & Mizraim. For those who don’t realize, generally considered clandestine by most Grand Lodges, specifically the UGLE and American Grand Lodges. These rites are worked in a few countries like Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, and the Dominican Republic, however, from Schnoebelen’s testimony he did not travel to any other jurisdiction. From a link, he provided, it was the International Order of the Ancient Primitive Rites of Memphis & Mizraim and that is not a recognized appendant body in American Freemasonry. The Rites of Memphis & Mizraim are no longer worked by legitimate American Freemasons, but are now under the jurisdiction of the Grand College of Rites. You would think that he would have shared this news of joining Memphis &Mizraim, and they would have informed him that joining such a group would have resulted in his expulsion. This group is seen as clandestine or irregular as it claims jurisdiction over Ancient Craft Masonry, the International Order allows women in, was seen by many as spurious at best, and nothing more than a money-making scheme to dupe title seekers out of money.

It gets stranger though. Three years later he joined the Scottish Rite and advanced to the 32° which seems weird that he would go back to the Scottish Rite after joining the Rites of Memphis & Mizraim, and supposedly receiving the 90°, a group which includes imitations of the Scottish Rite degrees. With both the York Rite and Scottish Rite, I cannot find where he gives the names of the specific bodies he is a member of.

As for the claim that he was coronated a 33° in "European or Continental Masonry", it causes some severe eyebrow raising. Schnoebelen says he received the 4° through the 32° in November of 1980. For him to have received the 33° outside of the United States, where he resided, with a recognized Supreme Council he would have to receive permission from the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, which requires filling out forms and an agreement between the two Supreme Councils. It doesn't end there though, he then would have had to select his primary Valley for the purpose of honors and any honors can only come from this Valley. Further, he cannot receive an honor higher than any he holds in his primary Valley. Meaning that if his primary Valley was here in the United States and he did not have permission for dual membership in a foreign jurisdiction, then he being a 32° in his primary Valley means he could not and cannot receive honors from any other jurisdiction. Now, that information aside, another issue I see is his age and time in the Scottish Rite as a predicament to his claims of being coronated a 33°. He claims to have become a 33° only a month after joining the Scottish Rite and he would have been only 31-years old at the time. At least within the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, you must be a 32° for around 4-years before you are eligible for the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH), and you must be a KCCH for around 4-years before you are eligible for invitation to the 33°. On top of those minimum time limits, you must be 35-years of age. So, it is entirely impossible that Schnoebelen by these standards which to my memory is similar among the other Scottish Rite jurisdictions. It would not have been until the end of 1988 that he would have been eligible to receive the 33° (at a hypothetical earliest situation) and by then he was speaking out against Freemasonry as a “born again Christian.”

In 1981, Schnoebelen claimed to have received the 34° of Palladium Masonry. For anyone who has researched Freemasonry, this claim sends up several red flags. Per conspiracy theorists and anti-Masons, Palladium Masonry is the very top of the Illuminati pyramid and the overseer of all Masonic rites, united under some sinister and Satanic agenda. Palladium Masonry is the invention of a Frenchman named Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, but better known by the pen name of Léo Taxil. In 1885 and 1886, Taxil published works which attributed Palladium Masonry to Albert Pike, although this is just one of the many fabrications he concocted and duped the world with. This order was said to practice devil worship, perform murders, and other such horrors. However, doubt began to spread about his published lies and on April 19, 1897, he confessed that it all had been a hoax to embarrass Freemasonry as well as the Catholic Church.

His pagan and Wiccan claims are pretty sketchy as well. Suffice it to say many of his witchcraft certifications are a result of his imagination. Other claims like being a Bishop of the "Old Catholic Order" is found to be fraudulent group founded by a guy who had no theological training at all. One constant though in reading through this article is that Schnoebelen craved power and authority. In one such instance, Schnoebelen was thrown out of the Church of All Worlds by co-founder Morning Glory G'Zell for "power tripping." Another theme that I found reading through his own words and the research of others is that for the clear majority of his claims he provides no proof. Through these mail order courses and fractured wiccan experiences, he started his own brand of Wicca in the Milwaukee area where he was found by many to be on authority trips.

Some were surprised when he left his Wiccan life behind to join the Mormon church for a few years before he became a "born again Christian." He claims he was saved after a visit to the bank when someone wrote on a returned check that she would pray for him and his eyes were opened to all the evil he had been involved with. However, I think there may be another reason. I think it is probable that he burned enough bridges with the Wiccan community that he really had nowhere else to go. The Christian conspiracy lecture circuit was a ripe environment for him: an eager audience of fundamentalists who see the devil around every corner and Bill, a newly saved Christian with a pagan past...like lambs to the slaughter. Televangelists have always capitalized on preaching by using new mediums and Schnoebelen has taken the next step in using YouTube to spread his fundamentalist message.

Brother Ed King, of MasonicInfo, states "William J. 'Bill' Schnoebelen must be one of the world's most gullible individuals," but I think he is being too nice about Bill Schnoebelen. He attributes naiveté to Bill's fabrication of his past, but I suspect that greed would be motivation to lies. It seems he joined and was a member of each of the groups listed, only to find them evil. He travels around lecturing to the ignorant and fanatics who fall for his shtick hook, line, and sinker. He's able to tap into their fears and ignorance to bilk them out of their money.

When you go to his website "With One Accord Ministries," you'd think that you had entered an online store rather than someone preaching the Good Word. The entire website sends a message that he is there to make money. From UFOs to Wicca to Bio/Nuclear Terrorism, Bill pretends to be an expert and he'll lecture about just anything for the right price.

One reason I see that most people believe him is that he is said to have actually dabbled in witchcraft, but he's using an ounce of truth to cover a pound of lies. Schnoebelen mixes terms and titles from several different religions and organization, and there are too many inconsistencies to ignore. It seems he needs to come out with fresh material he creates a new sage of his life in a new occult or dark group where he spent years as a member and/or leader until he suddenly discovered it was evil. I'd say he sounds like the traveling con artist from the Simpsons cartoon series selling a faulty monorail, but he seems like more of a Pied Piper. A Pied Piper is defined as "a charismatic person who attracts followers a musician who attracts mass a leader who makes irresponsible promises." The legend of the Pied Piper dates to the town of Hamelin in the Lower Saxony region of Germany during the Middle Ages. The town hired a piper, dressed in multicolored, or pied, clothing to lure the rats out of town. When the town refused to pay him, he used his magical pipes to lure the children out of town, never to be seen again. The legend is a metaphor for someone who is a charismatic person who attracts followers or a leader who makes irresponsible promises. He attracted an audience and is misleading them with false promises of what Freemasonry is. He's using fear to swindle people out of their money. As a Christian I find him appalling and I see his manipulations as an ultimate blasphemy. From the research and massive amount of inconsistencies, I cannot find any reasonable proof that was actually a Mason. To me, there's enough inconsistencies to call his past into question and it shows him to be nothing more than a fraud.

References

1. Ashliman, D. L. (n.d.). The Pied Piper of Hameln. Retrieved from University of Pittsburgh: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hameln.html 

2. Chronology of William Schnoebelen. (n.d.). Retrieved from Maze Ministry: http://www.mazeministry.com/resources/books/doombook/doomtext/23chronology.htm 

3. Cuhulain, K. (2005). Bill Schnoebelen's "Little White Lies". Retrieved from Pagan Protection Center: http://www.witchvox.com/protection/kerr_schnoebelen1.html 

4. Dafoe, S. (2010, April 01). The Baphomet and the Freemasons. Retrieved from Templar History: http://blog.templarhistory.com/2010/04/the-baphomet-and-the-freemasons/ 

5. de Hoyos, A., & Morris, S. B. (1997). Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? Silver Springs: Masonic Information Center. 

6. Frey, J. E. (2014, March). The Palladian Rite. Retrieved from The Midnight Freemasons: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2014/03/the-palladian-rite.html 

7. King, E. (n.d.). Baphomet. Retrieved from MasonicInfo: http://www.masonicinfo.com/baphomet.htm 

8. King, E. (n.d.). Bill Schnoebelen. Retrieved from MasonicInfo: http://www.masonicinfo.com/schnoebelen.htm 

9. More Baloney from Bill Schnoebelen Rebutted. (2010, June 05). Retrieved from Talking About Ritual Magick: http://fraterbarrabbas.blogspot.com/2010/06/more-baloney-from-bill-schnoebelen.html 

10. Morris, S. B. (1991, May). Albert Pike and Lucifer: The Lie That Will Not Die. Retrieved from The Masonic Trowel: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/masonic_talk/stb/stbs/93-06.htm 

11. Relfe, S. (n.d.). William Schnoebelen. Retrieved from Health, Wealth, & Happiness: https://www.relfe.com/07/Bill_William_Schnoebelen.html 

12. Schnoebelen, W. (1991). Masonry: Beyond the Light. Ontario: Chick Publications. 

13. The Disturbing True Story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. (2014, August 14). Retrieved from Ancient Origins: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/disturbing-true-story-pied-piper-hamelin-001969 

14. The Prodigal Witch Part VII: Bill Schnoebelen. (2011, June 10). Retrieved from Swallowing the Camel: https://swallowingthecamel.me/2011/06/10/the-prodigal-witch-part-vii-bill-schnoebelen/ 

15. What was Palladium? (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/anti-masonry01.html 

16. William Schnoebelen. (n.d.). Retrieved from Rational Wiki: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_Schnoebelen 

17. William Schnoebelen. (2012, August 30). Retrieved from Encyclopedia of American Loons: http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2012/08/350-william-schnoebelen.html

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Slowing Down For A Bit

I am coming to the realization that I cannot jump back into writing a book after taking so much time off. I'm going to go back to the beginning of my research and getting myself back on track. I have some articles already scheduled to be posted over the next couple months, but I will not be starting anything new for a while. I will try to post a few whenever I travel, but my posts will be much more sparse over the next several months.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Success

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Success? 

To laugh often and much; 

To win the respect of intelligent people 
and the affection of children; 

To earn the appreciation of honest critics 
and endure the betrayal of false friends; 

To appreciate beauty; 
To find the best in others; 

To leave the world a bit better, whether by 
a healthy child, a garden patch 
or a redeemed social condition; 

To know even one life has breathed easier 
because you have lived; 

This is to have succeeded.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Five Stars and Freemasonry

In a series of articles looking at famous Freemasons, I've mentioned US Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Founding Fathers who were Freemasons, but I've never really looked at famous military figures. This article will look at those who served and were distinguished as being elevated to the rank of five-star. A five-star rank is a very senior rank used within the military, often the most highest rank, second in the United States only to the President. This rank is so rare that it is used only during times of war and even then in only rare cases. In the United States, the five-star rank is referred to differently in each of the branches. In the Army, it is known as "General of the Army." In the Air Force, it is known as "General of the Air Force." In the Navy, it is known as "Fleet Admiral." There is no five-star equivalent in the Marine Corps or Coast Guard. Here is a list of those who held the rank of five-star or higher:
Generals of the Army:
George Washington*
John J. Pershing*
George C. Marshall
Douglas MacArthur
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Omar N. Bradley
General of the Air Force:
Henry "Hap" Arnold
Fleet Admirals:
William D. Leahy
Ernest J. King
Chester Nimitz
William F. "Bull" Halsey
The asterisks are placed next to George Washington and John J. Pershing because they are unique cases as they are considered "General of the Armies" which ranks higher than five-star rank. However, for the sake of Freemasons who were at least five-stars, I am including them both. How of these 11 five-stars listed, 7 of them were Freemasons: Washington, Pershing, Marshall, King, MacArthur, Arnold, and Bradley.

George Washington, the Father of our Country, was initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason on November 4, 1752, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on March 3, 1753, and Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on August 4, 1753, in Fredericksburg Lodge (later No. 4), Virginia. He was named Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge #22, in Alexandria, VA, April 28, 1788, and reelected December 20, 1788, but there is no evidence he was ever installed or presided over any Masonic meeting. He was posthumously appointed "General of the Armies of the United States" in 1976.

John J. Pershing served as the General of the Armies during World War I. He was initiated, passed, and Raised in 1888, in Lincoln Lodge #19 in Lincoln, NE. He was made an honorary member of Stansbury Lodge #19 in Washington DC in 1919. Harry S. Truman, Senator at the time, presented Pershing with a certificate making him an honorary member oef the Grand Lodge of Missouri (Pershing's home state) on September 30, 1941. Pershing joined the Scottish Rite in Wheeling, WV, in 1920, which culminated in the 33° on January 6, 1930. Pershing was also a member of Lincoln Chapter #6 of Royal Arch Masons, Mt. Moriah Commandery #4 of Knights Templar, and Sesostris Shriners in Lincoln, NE.

George C. Marshall was appointed as General of the Army on December 16, 1944. He's also well known for his time as Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and being the author of the "Marshal Plan" which was an American initiative to help Western Europe recover following World War II. He was made a "Mason at Sight" by M.W.Bro. Ara M. Daniels, Grand Master of the District of Columbia, on December 16, 1941 in the Scottish Rite building of DC along with Jesse H. Jones, Secretary of Commerce; Marshall was the Army Chief of Staff at the time.

Ernest J. King was made the first Fleet Admiral of the US Navy on December 17, 1944. He was initiated, passed, and raised in George C. Whiting Lodge #22 (now Potomac Lodge #5) in Washington DC in 1935. He was exalted to the the degree of Royal Arch Mason in Darius Chapter #143 in 1938 in San Diego, CA. He later joined Holyrood Commandery #32 in 1939 and Al Koran Shrine in 1946, both in Cleveland, OH.

Being one of the most famous Generals in US history, Douglas MacArthur was appointed General of the Army on December 18, 1944. He was named "Allied Supreme Commander" in August 1945 and accepted the surrender of Imperial Japan. He was made a "Mason at Sight" by M.W.Bro. Samuel Hawthorne, Grand Master of the Philippines, on January 17, 1936, before affiliating with Manila Lodge #1. He joined the Scottish Rite in Manila the same year, received the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH) in 1937, and received the 33° on December 8, 1947, while at the American Embassy in Tokyo. He was also a member of Nile Shrine in Seattle, WA.

Henry H. "Hap" Arnold was made a General of the Army on December 21, 1944, and then General of the Air Force on May 7, 1949. He was initiated, passed, and Raised in Union Lodge #7 in 1927 in Junction City, KS. He joined the Scottish Rite on April 11, 1929, in Leavenworth, KS, and received the 33° on October 19, 1945.

Omar N. Bradley was appointed General of the Army on September 20, 1950 and was the last person to possess the five-star rank in the United States military. He was initiated passed and raised in West Point Lodge #877 in Highland Falls, NY, in 1923.

These men served with distinction in the fight for freedom at home and abroad, and I am honored to number them as one of my Brothers. The next articles in this series of famous Masons will look at Civil War Generals and US Supreme Court Justices who were Freemasons.

References

1. 5-Star Generals. (n.d.). Retrieved from Military Factory: http://www.militaryfactory.com/5-star-generals.asp 

2. Bessel, P. M. (n.d.). Freemasons among U.S. 5-Star Generals & Admirals. Retrieved from Paul Bessel: http://bessel.org/fivemas.htm 

3. Denslow, W. R. (1957). 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Retrieved from Phoenix Masonry: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/10,000_famous_freemasons/Volume_1_A_to_D.htm 

4. Famous Freemasons. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grove Lodge No.824 AF&AM of Illinois: https://www.grovemasoniclodge.org/index.php/secrets/famous-freemasons 

5. Five-Star Generals and Admirals of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved from The History Guy: http://www.historyguy.com/5-star-military.htm 

6. Highest Ranking Officers in US History. (n.d.). Retrieved from InfoPlease: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004626.html 

7. Morris, S. B. (n.d.). American Freemasons and the Spirit of Freedom. Retrieved from Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry: http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/brentmorris1.html 

8. US Army Five-Star Generals. (2016). Retrieved from US Army: http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/5star.html