Monday, December 10, 2018

Nag Hammadi Library

For the past several months I have been researching and exploring the Apostolic Johannite Church which offers a free school where new members can learn more about the thought, practice, community, and history of the Apostolic Johannite Church. One of the topics of discussion led me to the subject of the Nag Hammadi Library and I thought I'd share this on my website.

The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of 13 books containing over 50 texts including a number of the Gnostic Gospels, the Corpus Hermeticum, and a partial translation of Plato's Republic. The most famous Nag Hammadi codex is the only known complete copy of the gospel of Thomas. These texts are dated between the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, and were thought to have been destroyed during the early years of the Roman Catholic Church and their attempts to establish their orthodoxy. Some theorize that some early Christians tried to destroy these Gnostic writings because they contained secret teachings about Jesus and Christianity. Many Christians today decry the Nag Hammadi Library as heretical and forgeries "that espouse false doctrines about Jesus Christ, salvation, God, and every other crucial Christian truth."

This collection was discovered in December of 1945, but the translation wasn't completed until the 70s. They were found by a farmer named Muhammed al-Samman and his brother who found the documents in sealed jars that had been buried in the Jabal al-Ṭārif caves near the town of Hamrah Dom in upper Egypt.

Some scholars believe that this collection had belonged to a nearby Pachomian monastery and were buried after Saint Athanasius condemned the use of non-canonical books in his Festal Letter of 367 A.D. The Nag Hammadi Library were originally written in the Coptic language and are currently housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt. They take their name from the nearest major city (12-km SW of Hamrah Dom).

When al-Samman took these manuscripts home, his mother burned some of them out of fear of their "dangerous effects." Their significance went unacknowledged for some time. It wasn't until 1948 when a Coptologist, Jean Doresse, at the Coptic Museum published a reference to them. The remaining documents found their way to the Egyptian Department of Antiquities which came from a Coptic Priest who had received them from the brothers. After the 1952 revolution, the Nag Hammadi Library was given over to the Coptic Museum in Cairo. One of the documents was sold out of Egypt and made its way into the hands of Carl Gustav Jung. After his death in 1961, there was quarrel over ownership, but by 1975 it had made its way to the Coptic Museum and finally reuniting the codices.

Here is a list of the documents of the Nag Hammadi Library:
  • Codex I (also known as The Jung Codex):
The Prayer of the Apostle Paul
The Apocryphon of James (also known as the Secret Book of James) 
The Gospel of Truth 
The Treatise on the Resurrection 
The Tripartite Tractate 
  • Codex II: 
The Apocryphon of John
The Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Philip
The Hypostasis of the Archons
On the Origin of the World
The Exegesis on the Soul
The Book of Thomas the Contender
  • Codex III: 
The Apocryphon of John
Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit (The Gospel of the Egyptians)
Eugnostos the Blessed
The Sophia of Jesus Christ
The Dialogue of the Savior
  • Codex IV: 
The Apocryphon of John
Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit (The Gospel of the Egyptians)
  • Codex V: 
Eugnostos the Blessed
The Apocalypse of Paul
The First Apocalypse of James
The Second Apocalypse of James
The Apocalypse of Adam
  • Codex VI: 
The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles
The Thunder, Perfect Mind
Authoritative Teaching
The Concept of Our Great Power
Republic by Plato (an alternate gnostic translation)
The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth (a Hermetic treatise)
The Prayer of Thanksgiving (a Hermetic prayer)
Asclepius 21-29 - another Hermetic treatise
  • Codex VII: 
The Paraphrase of Shem
The Second Treatise of the Great Seth
Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
The Teachings of Silvanus
The Three Steles of Seth
  • Codex VIII: 
Zostrianos
The Letter of Peter to Philip
  • Codex IX: 
Melchizedek
The Thought of Norea
The Testimony of truth
  • Codex X: 
Marsanes
  • Codex XI: 
The Interpretation of Knowledge
A Valentinian Exposition, On the Anointing, On Baptism and On the Eucharist
Allogenes
Hypsiphrone
  • Codex XII:
The Sentences of Sextus
The Gospel of TruthFragments
  • Codex XIII: 
Trimorphic Protennoia
On the Origin of the World
References

1. McRae, M. (2018, April 15). Scholars Have Found a Rare Copy of Heretical Writings on Jesus And His 'Brother'. Retrieved from Science Alert: https://www.sciencealert.com/greek-first-apocalypse-james-nag-hammadi-library-teaching-tool 

2. The Nag Hammadi Codices and Gnostic Christianity. (2018, October 12). Retrieved from Bible History Daily: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/post-biblical-period/the-nag-hammadi-codices/ 

3. The Nag Hammadi Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Gnostic Society Library: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html 

4. What is the Nag Hammadi library? (n.d.). Retrieved from Got Questions: https://www.gotquestions.org/Nag-Hammadi.html

5. Nag Hammadi Library. (n.d.) Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nag_Hammadi_library

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Ephraim Kirby Award

Figure 1
Similar to the Order of the Secret Vault, the General Grand Chapter created an award to recognize Companions who have attained the past presiding rank in their Grand York Rite bodies (Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, Grand Council, and/or Grand Commandery) and who have then gone on to continue their work and commitment to service even beyond the term of their office, or beyond the normal boundaries of dedication. A Custodian, appointed for each constituent Grand Chapter, selects and nominates candidates whom they determine merit this award. The recipients must be Royal Arch Masons in good standing. When this award was formed in 2014, there could be three recipients; in 2015, two recipients; and after that, there can be only one recipient each year from a Grand Chapter's jurisdiction. The jewel of the award (see Figure 1) is suspended from a red ribbon and worn under the collar. This award is named after the Companion who served as the first General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter in addition to several other Masonic and non-Masonic accomplishments.

Figure 2
Ephraim A. Kirby (Figure 2) was born on February 23, 1757, in Woodbury, CT. He attended Yale University, but left before receiving a degree. He served in the Cavalry as a Lieutenant in a Rhode Island Company during the American Revolution taking part in the Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Elk River, roughly 17 other battles. At Elk River, he received several saber cuts to his head. He was in a coma for several weeks. He awoke, recovered, and returned to the war.

After the war, he returned to Connecticut where he married Ruth Marvin and began practicing law in Litchfield. In 1787, Yale University gave him an honorary Master of Arts degree. In 1789, he performed the first court reporting when he compiled and published the first volume of law reports in America. From 1791 to 1801, Kirby served in the Connecticut General Assembly before becoming the Director of the Western Reserve in Ohio.

President Jefferson appointed Kirby as Supervisor of Internal Revenue for Connecticut, which he served as until September of 1802. On April 6, 1804, Kirby was appointed the first Superior Court Judge of the Mississippi Territory. Before learning that he had been appointed as Governor of the Mississippi Territory, Kirby died of Yellow Fever on October 4, 1804, at Fort Stoddert. His burial spot in Fort Stoddert is unknown.

He was initiated into St. Paul's Lodge No. 11 in Litchfield, CT, in 1781, and served as its Worshipful Master three times. He was at the convention that formed the Grand Lodge of Connecticut and served as Secretary for the convention. He would go on to serve as Grand Senior Warden from 1795 to 1797. Not much is known of his early Capitular career, but it is known that he is a member of the Mark Lodge in New Town, CT. When the Grand Chapter of Connecticut was organized at Hartford, CT, on May 17, 1798, Kirby was elected its first Grand High Priest. On October 24, 1798, he attended the convention that created the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States. At this convention he was elected as the first Most Excellent General Grand High Priest and served from 1798 until his death in 1804. Some hypothesize that Kirby was selected over Thomas Smith-Webb to ensure that Connecticut and Rhode Island would be part of the General Grand Chapter

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Decade in Chivalric Masonry

Today marks my 10th anniversary as a Knights Templar. I had the honor of being dubbed and created a knight by the then Worshipful Master of my Lodge. The ceremony for the Order of the Temple was so impressive that it stands out as one of the most memorable moments in Freemasonry for me, next to getting Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason and being initiated into the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF).

I have the honor of currently serving as Eminent Commander of my Commandery, Eminent Grand Standard Bearer of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho, and member of the Committee on Social Committee of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tarot Card of the Month: Temperance

The Tarot Card for November is Temperance. Temperance is also referred to as Art or Equilibrium. Temperance is the Fourteenth of the Major Arcana in Tarot. Temperance is associated with the planet Jupiter, the element of fire, and the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius.

Temperance represents balance, moderation, patience, and peace. Temperance reminds us that harmony comes from the union of dualities. In Freemasonry, Temperance is a cardinal virtue and defined as "that due restraint upon our affections and passions which renders the body tame and governable, and frees the mind from the allurements of vice." One must exercise caution in his action, speech, thought, feeling, judgment, and life.

Temperance is depicted by a winged angel, considered both male and female, pouring water from a cup in her left hand to a cup in her right. The angel is wearing a white robe with a golden triangle within a square. The angel has one foot on the ground and one in the water. On one side of the angel are golden lilies and on the other shows a mountain with a setting sun.

The angel upon the earth represents one's interaction with both the material and the divine. The androgynous nature of the angel represents balance between the sexes. The pouring of water between cups represents the act of finding the right balance between two sides. The golden triangle is said to be an ancient symbol of healing. It is also interesting to see the alchemical symbol of fire contained within the square, another emblem to represent the earth. Combined they represent the sacred flame, the soul of man, contained within the body; Temperance is a reference to the soul. The foot in the water represents the subconscious and the foot on the ground represents the material world. The mountains in the distance represent a future journey to be taken that will bring spiritual fulfillment.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving

By Jamie Harris Coleman

Thanksgiving should be every day
Instead of once a year. 
Give thanks each day, give thanks each night, 
To Christ who is so dear. 

Give thanks each day, give thanks each night, 
For all the Lord has done. 
He’ll help us fight our battles 
Until the victory’s won. 

Give thanks unto the Savior, 
His joyous praises sing; 
In the ears of every Christian 
Let the name of Jesus ring. 

Give thanks to Him each morning, 
Give thanks at noon and night. 
Ask Him for daily blessings, 
And stand up for the right. 

Let each day be Thanksgiving, 
For the blessings from above, 
For guidance and protection 
And His eternal love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Anti-Mason Disinformation: Jintao, Putin, & Bush

I see this picture of Hu Jintao, Vladimir Putin, and George constantly circulating on the Internet. Anti-Masons and conspiracy theorists alike claim that this picture was taken at a secret Grand Lodge meeting and that all those in attendance are secretly Freemasons. This claim is taken further, and said that they act like enemies, but as they are all supposedly Masons that they all serve evil and this is just part of the Hegelian Dialectic (manufactured conflict). They believe Freemasonry is involved with creating chaos in order to establish our order onto the world.

In reality, this picture of those three men comes from the 2006 APEC meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. APEC standards for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation which is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. It is composed of 21-members who aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. Each year, one of the 21-members hosts the annual meeting and it has become the custom to try on the host country's traditional costume. It was Bill Clinton, a non-Mason, who started this custom when he had leather bomber jackets for each of the world leaders in attendance. In 2006, the members wore robes known as silk "ao dai" with golden lotus flowers. This flower was chosen as it is a traditional Vietnamese symbol for nobility and purity. You can see the pictures over the years here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2011/nov/14/apec-summits-what-leaders-wore-in-pictures


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Veterans Day

To my Brothers and Sisters in Arms, who are serving or have served, Happy Veterans Day!


The High Council and the Idaho Rose Circle

The last two days I've spent in Louisville, KY, at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the High Council of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF). This meeting was held at the historic Brown Hotel. This hotel is absolutely beautiful and a perfect place for this prestigious order to meet. 

I had an amazing time meeting all of the Fratres from all over the world. The meetings were meaningful and educational; there were presentations given by Piers Vaughn, W. Stephen Burkle, and Ian Robertson. I particularly enjoyed attending the Celebrants Workshop and the educational materials that were given out. More importantly, the Supreme Magus of the SRICF authorized the formation of the Idaho Rose Circle. The Rose Circle is equivalent to a Lodge Under Dispensation. I spent the last night talking with the Supreme Magus and the Senior Deputy Supreme Magus who spoke words of encouragement and said they look forward to granting us a charter in the upcoming year. 

I now am heading back to Idaho energized and ready to get the Fratres to work into getting the Idaho Rose Circle off of the ground. I have a set of goals and aims in hopes that it will set us on a path to success.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Words & Phrases: College

The Words & Phrases series will be looking at terms that are sometimes used in Freemasonry but are not commonly used. As the Grand Lodge of Idaho just approved the resolution on recognition of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, I'll be starting with the term "college" which is the name given to the basic organizational unit of that order. 

"College" is defined as a body of clergy living together and supported by a foundation, or a building used for an educational or religious purpose. The term "college" is rooted in the Latin word "collegium" meaning "community, society, or guild" and is used in the context of "a body of scholars and students." This definition and etymological root perfectly align with the purpose and mission of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis and the York Rite College, as well, as both of those orders are dedicated to education and research.

The oldest known collegiate institution is the University of Karueein that was founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The oldest college in Europe is the University of Bologna in Italy and was founded in 1088. The oldest university in Germany is the University of Heidelberg which was founded in 1386 (during the lifetime of Christian Rosenkreutz, the founder of Rosicrucianism). An interesting note to see the correlation between the robes of college graduations and the attire for Chief Adepts or High Council officers (see the picture). According to Columbia University, the practice of gowns and hoods dates back to the 12th century when this regalia was worn by clergy, and their students adopted the same garb. For one thing, the gowns provided warmth in unheated buildings and served as a way to set the student apart from his fellow citizens. Knowing the religious roots of colleges and universities as well as the roots of Rosicrucianism, it is not surprising to see similar clothing.



Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Decade in Capitular & Cryptic Masonry

Today marks my 10th year as a Royal Arch Mason and Cryptic Mason. I knew after I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason that I wanted to join the York Rite: There were two Masons in my Lodge that I looked up to and they were both York Rite, and, being a historian, I found the York Rite more appealing than the Scottish Rite. I went through when I was Senior Warden of my Blue Lodge and these degrees were very timely as they helped prepare me to serve my Lodge as Worshipful Master. 

This decade has flown by and I am surprised at how much I have accomplished. I am honored to be serving as Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho and as the Right Illustrious Grand Principal Conductor of the Work for the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho. I am celebrating this anniversary while on the road for work in Montana.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween

Tomorrow, people are dressing up in costumes to celebrate Halloween. This time of the year is one for celebration and superstition. The name Halloween is derived from "All Hallow's Eve." Hallow means sanctified or holy. To learn of this holiday, we look to the Catholic Church and previous pagan holidays. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating.

To start off, November 1st is All Saints Day which was established on that day by Pope Gregory IV which was a day to honor all saints and martyrs of the faith. The Pope set it to this day to have it coincide with the harvests so as to provide food for the pilgrims. It was Pope Sixtus IV, nearly 6-centuries later, who gave All Saints Day a vigil which is the eve of a festival or holy day which became known as "All Hallow's Eve" and can also be named "All Saints' Eve." Many believe Sixtus did this to substitute a feast day over a pagan holiday.

Prior to this substitution, there were pagan festivals in place, the most well-known is the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in) when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts; Samhain is said to mean "summer's end" in Gaelic. There is evidence of this festival that dates back two millennia in what is now Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, and northern France. Pagans, and Wiccans today, believe that the boundary between the world of the dead and the world of the living became blurred on this day, and that the ghosts of the dead would return to the world and make it easier for priests to predict the future. This holiday also marked the end of the year and November 1st marked the beginning of winter to the ancient Celts.

The modern practice of wearing costumes goes back to the ancient Celts who wore costumes to trick the spirits that were among them. Bowls of food were also placed without the doors of their houses to prevent spirits and ghosts from entering the premises. After the Roman Empires conquest of Celtic territory, two Roman festivals were combined with Samhain. The first one was Feralia, a day that commemorated the passing of the dead, and the second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the inclusion of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that are practiced today on Halloween.

All Hallow's Eve being a Catholic holiday, it is not surprising that it came to America through Maryland, a predominately Catholic colony/state. Those early Halloweens were marked with parties, public celebrations of the harvest, and sharing stories of the dead. Halloween wouldn't be popularized until the second half of the 19th century when America was flooded with Irish immigrants. Over the years, Halloween lost its superstitious nature and became a secular holiday.

I hope everyone enjoys this night and stays safe. Happy All Hallow's Eve.

References

1. Halloween 2018. (n.d.). Retrieved from History Channel: http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween 

2. Miller, J. G. (2003). History of All Hallows' Eve. Retrieved from Catholic Culture: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/months/10_2.cfm 

3. Radford, B. (2017, September 18). History of Halloween. Retrieved from Live Science: http://www.livescience.com/40596-history-of-halloween.html 

4. Winick, S. D., & Saylor, N. (2017, October). Selected Halloween & Día de Muertos Resources. Retrieved from Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tarot Card of the Month: Death

The Tarot Card for October is Death. Death is also referred to as Hades in some Tarot decks. Death is the Thirteenth of the Major Arcana in Tarot. Death is associated with the planet Pluto (a planet named after the Roman equivalent to Hades), the element of Water, and the zodiacal sign of Scorpio. It should be noted that in older times this card was associated with Mars, but in modern times has been associated with Pluto.

Death is one of the most feared cards in a Tarot Deck, and one of the most misunderstood. Many believe this card indicates physical death, but in merely represents change, transition, transformation, new beginnings, and metamorphosis.

This card depicts a skeleton dressed in black armor, riding a white horse. The skeleton is carrying a black flag that is emblazoned with a white, five-petal rose. A royal figure appears to be dead on the ground, while a young woman, child and bishop plead with the skeletal figure to spare them. In the background, there is a boat floating down the river, similar to the Egyptian boats that would carry the dead. On the horizon, the sun sets between two towers.

The skeleton reminds of the mortality of man as well as representing the Grim Reaper, that Messenger of Death. The armor symbolizes invincibility and that death will come, no matter what, and its dark color is a symbol of mourning and the mysterious nature of death. The horse is the color of purity and a symbol of strength and power. The white rose is represents beauty, purification, immortality, resurrection, or rejuvenation; all of them concepts of death. The number five (5) represents change and health. The one dead and the three pleading human figures remind us that death does not spare anyone no matter their lot in life. The boat represents transition or transformation. The setting sun reminds of the cycles of life and death with its continuous setting and rising.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Officers of a Chapel of St. Thomas of Acon

Known as the Commemorative Order of Saint Thomas of Acon, this order exists to reaffirma Knights Templar’s vows, is a revival of a medieval knighthood started during the crusades, and the central myth of the order centers on Saint Thomas a Becket. The basic organizational unit for this order is known as a Chapel and is composed of the following officers: Worthy Master, Eminent Prior, Marshal, Treasurer, Secretary, Deputy Marshal, Almoner, 1st Working Knight, 2nd Working Knight, 3rd Working Knight, 4th Working Knight, Herald, Doorkeeper, Cellarer, and Sentry. Unique to this group, only the Worthy Master, Treasurer, and Sentry are elected. The rest are appointed by the Worthy Master upon his election.

The presiding officer of the Chapel is known as the Worthy Master. He presides over the business meetings and knighting of new initiates. When the medieval order first began, it was the Prior who led the order, but in 1279 records speak of the "Master of the whole Order of St. Thomas of Acon." Since that time, the senior officer of the Chapel has been the Worthy Master. The installation ceremony expresses the historic humility exuded by Worthy Masters and by Jesus Christ. Once seated, the Worthy Master is presented with a baton or scepter affixed on the upper end with a bronze escallope shell. The honorary title of "Worthy" is rooted in the Old English weorþ meaning "valuable, appreciated, highly thought-of, deserving, honorable, noble, or of high rank." The word "Master" is rooted in the Latin word "magister" meaning "chief, head, or teacher."

As mentioned above, it was the Prior who originally led this order and while the Prior is now second to the Worthy Master, this officer still presides over several aspects of the order. Officially titled, Eminent Prior, this officer presides over the opening and closing as well as taking part in the initiation ritual; some of his ritualistic duties correspond to the Chaplain in the Blue Lodge. Prior is a traditional title used to represent a monk or priest who is the head of a religious house or order, would rank below that of the abbot. The honorary title of "Eminent" stems from the Latin word "eminentem" meaning "prominent or high." Prior comes to us from the Latin tongue and is used to mean "former, previous, first, etc." from which it was used to figuratively as "superior (in rank), forefather, and better."

The Marshal has duties similar to the Captain General in the Commandery and with the Marshal and Senior Deacon of the Lodge; he is the Master of Ceremonies and conductor of candidates for the Chapel. The title Marshal has been used by the military, courts, and other parts of society as someone who is charged with arranging and directs "ceremonial aspects of a gathering." 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 Treasurer and Secretary have duties similar to those found in other Masonic and non-Masonic organizations as the financial and administrative officers respectively. The difference in this organization is that the Secretary is appointed by the Worthy Master instead of being elected as the Treasurer is.

Next is the Deputy Marshal who assists the Prior in the opening of a Chapel and the Marshal during initiations. This officer is similar to the Junior Deacon of the Blue Lodge as he ensures the security of the Chapel and like the Wardens of the Commandery ensures all present are members of the order.

Charity is pivotal to the Order of St. Thomas of Acon and as such one of the officers of the Chapel is known as the Almoner. Traditionally, an Almoner is an officer who was in charge of distributing alms or charitable offerings to the poor, the needy, and the destitute. In some Masonic Lodges that have an Almoner, this officer also oversaw the needs of the Brethren in that Lodge. Almoner is derived from the Latin "alemosinarius" meaning connected with alms which comes from variations of "alemosyna" meaning "pity or mercy."

Sitting in the West of the Chapel are Four Working Knights. Corresponding to the duties of the Four Ancients in the SRICF as lecturers or historians of the Chapel. These officers take the name of Knight as these officers relate the chivalric history of the order and the story of St. Thomas a Becket. 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. 

Similar to the Junior Deacon and Marshall within the Blue Lodge, the Herald attends to the door of the Chapel and presents newly initiated knights of the order. The etymological roots of Herald originate from the old French word 'heraut' meaning "messenger or envoy" which is said to stem from an older Germanic word "hariwald" meaning "commander of an army." Some argue about the etymology as Heralds were said to evolve from minstrels and were originally attached more with tournaments than actual warfare or the commanding of armies. To counter this though, it also thought that this title was original with commanders, but came to be applied to lower officers whose chief duty was to make proclamations. An alternate theory is that Herald is derived from the Old Germanic word "haren" which means "to call out." A Herald was traditionally an officer who conveyed messages or proclamations, acted as diplomats or ambassadors for monarchs, served as Master of Ceremonies, presided over tournaments, and oversaw the adoption of arms. 

The inner guard of the Chapel is known as the Doorkeeper and ensures the security of the Chapel while it is in session. His duties correspond to the Junior Deacon and the less used office of Pursuivant. Traditionally, a doorkeeper, as the name implies, is the keeper or guard of the door into the chapel. In researching this office, it corresponds to concierges of a hotel or a porter. The word "door" is rooted in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages with minor variations such as duru, dor, or dyrr. Keeper comes from late Old English "cepan" meaning to seize, hold, or care for.

The office of Cellarer is a peculiar one in Freemasonry. The duty of the Cellarer is simple, to fill in for an officer of the Chapel when that officer is absent. This position is significant because the Knight appointed to this position should be knowledgeable with all the various officer positions of the Chapel. The term "cellarer" seems to have been selected as a tie back to our historical roots as the original Order started out as a monastic order. Traditionally, a Cellarer is an official in a monastery who is responsible for the provisioning of food and drink; the abbot is concerned with the spiritual aspects of monastic life, the Cellarer was in charge of the physical aspect. The etymology of Cellarer is the Latin word "cellarium" meaning "pantry, storeroom, or group of cells."

Usually the outer guard of a Masonic group is appointed by the presiding officer, but within the Chapel, the Sentry is elected by the members of the Chapel per the Constitution and By-Laws. Historically, a Sentry is a guard at a point of passage, particularly to the entrance of a military base or encampment. Being the revival of a order of knighthood the use of Sentry is appropriate for this officer. This word is believed to be rooted in the Latin word "sentire" translating as "feel or perceive by the senses." Some scholars believe that the word was originally a worn down version of sanctuary. Regardless, by the 1630s, the word "sentry" was being used to designate "military guards posted around a camp."

References

1. Online Etymology Dictionary. n.d. https://www.etymonline.com/

2. Constitution of St. Thomas of Acon, USA. n.d. http://www.stthomasacon.org/Constitutions_USA_rev1.pdf?

3. Bray, J. H. (n.d.). Order of St. Thomas of Acon. Retrieved from Grand Master's Council: http://www.stthomasacon.org/jhbray.html

4. Forey, A. (n.d.). The Order of St Thomas of Acre. Retrieved from The ORB: http://the-orb.arlima.net/encyclop/religion/monastic/st._thos.html

5. The Golden Legend: St. Thomas Becket. (n.d.). Retrieved from Fordham University: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/goldenlegend/gl-vol2-thomasbecket.asp

6. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. n.d. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/almoner

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Founding of Star Garnet Council

Tonight Star Garnet Council No.560 was founded tonight in Boise, ID. This date was chosen as this weekend is the Northwest York Rite Conference and we would be able to have several dignitaries attend the consecration of this AMD Council including David D. Goodwin, the Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master of the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America; Glen Cook, Right Venerable Senior Grand Warden; and Joseph MacIntyre, Grand Superintendent of the Northwest US. There was also in attendance Brothers from Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Utah. I am honored to serve as the Founding Senior Warden for the council.

Star Garnet was selected as the name as this gem is it is the official state gem of Idaho. There are also only two places in the world you can find the star garnet - in India and Idaho. More precious than either star rubies or star sapphires, the Idaho garnet is usually dark purple or plum in color, with four rays in the star. The mountains of Idaho contain veins of gold, silver, lead, zinc, cobalt, copper, and many other rare minerals - among these rare minerals are gems like the star garnet, jasper, opal, jade, topaz, zircon, and tourmaline which is why Idaho's nickname is "The Gem State."


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Four Elements

By Anne Bradstreet


The Fire, Air, Earth and water did contest 
Which was the strongest, noblest and the best, 
Who was of greatest use and might'est force; 
In placide Terms they thought now to discourse, 
That in due order each her turn should speak; 
But enmity this amity did break 
All would be chief, and all scorn'd to be under 
Whence issu'd winds & rains, lightning & thunder 
The quaking earth did groan, the Sky lookt black 
The Fire, the forced Air, in sunder crack; 
The sea did threat the heav'ns, the heavn's the earth, 
All looked like a Chaos or new birth: 
Fire broyled Earth, & scorched Earth it choaked 
Both by their darings, water so provoked 
That roaring in it came, and with its source 
Soon made the Combatants abate their force 
The rumbling hissing, puffing was so great 
The worlds confusion, it did seem to threat 
Till gentle Air, Contention so abated 
That betwixt hot and cold, she arbitrated 
The others difference, being less did cease 
All storms now laid, and they in perfect peace 
That Fire should first begin, the rest consent, 
The noblest and most active Element.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

2019 Masonic Week

Here is the tentative schedule of events for the 2019 Masonic Week that will be held from February 21st, 2019, to February 24th, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency, Crystal City near the Reagan National Airport.

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

   

7:30am - Trinity Chapel No.2 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA 
Burney W. Brandel, Worthy Master
Tom Taylor, Secretary
10:00am - Grand Council of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA 
Joe R. Manning, Jr., Grand Master 
Matthew D. Dupee, Grand Prior 
Brandon Yarbrough, Grand Secretary
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
Bryce B. Hildreth, Provincial Grand Master of the USA 
John A. Bridegroom, Provincial Grand Secretary
4:45pm - Grand Council of the Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers (UCCE)
John Donohoo, Grand Worthy Chief
Geoffrey Lasswell, PGWC, Grand Secretary
6:30pm - UCCE Dinner

6:30pm - Order of Athelstan Dinner

8:00pm - Royal Ark Mariner degree of the Allied Masonic Degrees

8:30pm - St. Lawrence of Martyr degree of the Allied Masonic Degrees


Friday, February 22nd, 2019



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

8:15am - Grand College of Rites of the USA 
D. Allen Surratt, Grand Chancellor, KGC
Gerald E. Klein, Grand Registrar
9:00am - Ladies Breakfast (no cost) 

9:00am - Allied Masonic Chair Degrees
9:00am - Installed Sovereign Master
10:15am - Installed Supreme Ruler
10:45am - Commander Noah
11:15am - Knight Commander of the Red Branch of Eri
9:30am - Society of Blue Friars 
S. Brent Morris, BF, Grand Abbot
Arturo de Hoyos, BF, Deputy Grand Abbot 
Richard E. Fletcher, Secretary General
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 
William R. Miller, Great Chief
J. David Cashion, Grand Scribe
4:15pm - Grand College of America of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest 
Reese Lenwood Harrison, Jr., K.G.C., G.C. Grand Preceptor 
Lawrence E. Tucker, K.G.C., K.C. Grand Registrar
John Donohoo, Preceptor, Grand Preceptor's Tabernacle "A"
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 Antient Order of Corks


Saturday, February 23rd, 2019



7:00am - Breakfast sponsored by the York Rite Sovereign College 
Blaine H. Simons, Governor General, KCPC, KGC 
D. Allen Surratt Secretary General, KCPC
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) 
9:00am - Philalethes Society Meeting
R. Stephen Doan, FPS, President 
Terry L. Tilton, FPS, Secretary 
10:45am - Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor 
David A. Grindle, Grand Preceptor 
Lawrence E. Tucker, Grand Recorder
11:45am - Noble Order of Muscovites
Seth Anthony, Imperial Governor
12:15pm - The Philalethes Society Luncheon 

2:00pm - Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA 
David Dixon Goodwin, KGC, Sovereign Grand Master 
Clyde Schoolfield, Grand Secretary
2:00pm - Ladies Afternoon Tea 

5:30pm - Social Hour 

6:30pm - All Masonic Banquet 

8:45pm - Masonic Order of the Bath
Blaine H. Simons, Most Honorable Commander-General
William G. Snyder, Keeper of the Bath Records 

Sunday, February 24th, 2019


08:30am - Washington Monument Assemblage of the Operatives, USA Region (I° to VII°) 
David C. Ladd VI°, Deputy Master Mason
09:00am - Lodge of Menatzchim V° of the Operatives (V°, VI°, & VII° only) 
Donald L. McAndrews VII°, Deputy Master Mason
10:30am - Lodge of Harodim VI° of the Operatives (VI° & VII° only) 
George R. Haynes, VII°, Senior Passed Master
Noon - Closing of Washington Monument Assemblage of the Operatives 

12:30pm - Operatives Brunch (I° to VII°)
George R. Haynes, VII°, Deputy Grand Master Mason 
Alan R. Beidel, VI°, Regional Clerk