Monday, August 27, 2018

Knight of the Holy Land

While at the 67th Triennial of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America, I enjoyed meeting knights from all over the world. One of the Grand Encampment's charities is the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. This foundation is funded primarily by local Commanderies, but some Grand Commanderies have formed an endowment fund. One example is the Grand Commandery of Oklahoma who created the Holy Land Pilgrimage Endowment.

According to the Grand Commandery of Oklahoma: 
At the 2015 session of this Grand Commandery, a permanent Holy Land Pilgrimage Endowment was authorized to be established as a separate, segregated account within the Grand Commandery of Oklahoma. The purpose was to create an investment pool of funds whose earnings would be used solely for the benefit of the Oklahoma Holy Land Pilgrimage program. The fund was established, and contributions received
This fund helps pay the expenses of sending a Minister to the Holy Land under the sponsorship of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. By 2017, they had 22 Sir Knights who had donated to this fund. Those who have contributed at least $1,000 to the fund are entitled to wear a jewel (see pic) as well as receiving a plaque and lapel pin. I think this is a fantastic idea and will be striving to bring this to the Grand Commandery of Idaho.



Thursday, August 23, 2018

Tarot Card of the Month: The Hermit

The Tarot card for this month is The Hermit. The Hermit can also be referred to as the Monk, Time, Sage, Cronus, or the Shaman. The Hermit is the 9th of the Major Arcana in Tarot. The Hermit symbolizes the planet Mercury, the element Earth, the zodiacal sign of Virgo, and the angel Metatron.

The Hermit represents meditation, introspection, wisdom, awareness, solitude, illumination, and spiritual enlightenment. The Hermit is a spiritual trailblazer of the highest order; that he has attained a higher level of spiritual knowledge and that he is ready to share his knowledge with those seeking it. When drawn, this Tarot card indicates that you have a 1need to step back and carefully examine your situation and decisions.

The Hermit reflects that you are engaging in a period of soul searching and honoring the wisdom found within. This Tarot card reminds me of Christ's conversation with the Pharisees when he says, "For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)

This Tarot card shows an old man with a long white beard, clad in grey robes, standing alone on top of a snow-clad mountain with a lantern in his right hand and a staff in the left. The old man symbolizes wisdom that comes with age. The cloak represents the ability to separate from the world. The mountains symbolize achievement, growth, and accomplishment. The snow represents the heights of spiritual attainment. The star in the lantern is a six-pointed star (sometimes known as Seal of Solomon) represents wisdom and knowledge. While the flame is contained in the lantern, the light shines symbolizing that it is meant to be shared with others and be used to guide us along our path. The staff in his left hand is said to be the Patriarch’s staff, a symbol of the narrow path of initiation and an emblem of power and authority. The Hermit is the 9th of the Major Arcana is associated with Virgo which is herself the epitome of a person at complete fulfillment alone and to themselves, while always pondering perfection.

The Hermit is an archetype described by Carl Jung. This archetype is shown as a wise old man, a philosopher, or a mentor. We've seen this archetype used with figures like Merlin in Arthurian legend, Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series, Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, or even Odin in Norse mythology.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

67th Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment

Well, I've spent the last two days at the 67th Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America in Indianapolis, IN. I attended along with the Right Eminent Grand Commander, the Eminent Grand Generalissimo, the Eminent Grand Junior Warden, and four Past Grand Commanders.

That evening was the Grand Master's dessert and cocktail reception. It was great to chat with the Sir Knights attending. Monday morning began with the public reception of distinguished guests and the Grand Commanders. Monday evening, the Sir Knights from Idaho had a joint State Dinner with the Sir Knights from Montana and Washington.

I had to cut my time short though as my father's health had deteriorated to a point that necessitated my immediate return to his bedside. Even though I was home, I was informed about the second day of the Triennial. I'd like to congratulate Jeff Nelson on being elected Most Eminent Grand Master, Mike Johnson on being elected Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master, David Kussman on being elected Right Eminent Grand Generalissimo, and Jeff Bolstad on being elected Right Eminent Grand Captain General. I hate to lose him as Department Commander, but he will do a fantastic job as Grand Captain General. Sir Knight Ben Williams of Colorado has been chosen to serve as the Northwest Department Commander. I look forward to this Triennium and I am honored to have been appointed to the Committee on Social Media.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

2018 Rocky Mountain SRICF Regional Conference

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

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

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


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Words & Phrases: Adept

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

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

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

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

References

1. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/adept 

2. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adept 

3. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adept 

4. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Paranormal Encyclopedia: https://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com/a/adept/ 

5. Adept. (n.d.). Retrieved from Eternity of Spirit: http://www.eternityofspirit.com/adept-what-does-it-mean/ 

6. Aene, F. (2010, January 24). What Makes An Adept? Retrieved from A Golden Dawn Magician's Thoughts: https://frateraene.wordpress.com/tag/what-is-an-adept/ 

7. Bedard, M. (2014, August 17). Adept. Retrieved from Gnostic Warrior: https://gnosticwarrior.com/adept.html 

8. Brodeur, C. (n.d.). Path of the Adept. Retrieved from Advances in Consciousness: http://zenol.tripod.com/adept.html

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Mason Marks

By Author Unknown


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Officers of a Council of Knight Masons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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