Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tarot Card of the Month: The Emperor

The Tarot card for March and the last of this series is the Emperor. The Emperor is also referred to as The Father or Patriarch in other Tarot decks. The Emperor is the Fifth of the Major Arcana in Tarot. It is associated with the planet Mars, the element of fire, and Aries in the zodiac.

The Emperor represents masculine power, structure, rules, and stability. The Emperor is a true pioneer and trailblazer who uses logic rather than intuition. This Tarot card is about self-control and discipline. As Mars energizes other planets in astrology, the Emperor establishes a firm foundation for the other Tarot cards.

This card is depicts the Emperor as an elderly man with a long white beard dressed in armor, red robes, and a crown. The Emperor is seated on a stone throne with four rams heads carved into it. In his left hand is an orb and in his right is an Ankh. Behind him is a barren landscape.

The Emperor's garb symbolizes that he is a leader and high social status. His white hair is representative of his wisdom and experience. The throne symbolizes authority and power. This theme is continued by the four rams heads; the Ram is also a symbol for Aries which is the astrological sign for this card. The number four is used as it is a number for stability. The orb is a common symbol for monarchs and rulers while the Ankh symbolizes life. The barren landscape symbolizes the discipline of the Emperor.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Rosicrucian Manifestos - Part 1

In the Introduction to Rosicrucianism I give a brief synopsis of the three Rosicrucian Manifestos (see Figure 1): the Fama Fraternitatis, the Confessio Fraternitatis, and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz. In a follow up to this article I will take a closer look at the symbolism found in the Chymical Wedding.

Figure 1

The Fama Fraternitatis, or, A Discovery of the Fraternity of the most laudable Order of the Rosy Cross (hereafter referred to as "The Fama") was first published in 1614 in the Hesse-Kassel region of what is now Germany. The Fama starts off with a statement concerning the loss of wisdom which paves the way for the release of this treatise, as they call it, and the legend of Christian Rosenkreutz and the return of wisdom to Europe.

To understand the opening statement, you must understand the geopolitics of the time. When the Fama was published, it had been nearly a century since the Reformation had begun – marked by the publication of the 95 Theses by Martin Luther. Western Europe was split between Catholicism and Protestantism. Germany was not a single state as it is today, but was composed of several principalities and smaller states ruled by Princes who were fighting amongst each other as some were Catholic and some Protestant. The publication of the Manifestos happened in the years preceding the Thirty Years’ War; one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in human history. Germany wouldn’t unify until after the Franco-Prussian War in the late 19th century.

The Fama begins the story of Christian Rosenkreutz, but only mentions a Brother C.R. or C.R.C. It is not until the Chymical Wedding that the legendary founder is known as Christian Rosenkreutz. It is believed that Rosenkreutz was born in 1378 somewhere in Germany. At a young age, he was orphaned and raised in a cloister also known as a monastery. The monks taught him to learn several languages and at age 16 he decided he wanted to travel to the Holy Land.

Figure 2
He and another companion traveled to Cyprus when the companion is said to have died. Rosenkreutz traveled to Damascus and received instruction from the learned sages of the time. Some argue that his travels took him to Damcar at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula (modern-day Yemen) rather than Damascus (see Figure 2). He learned physics and mathematics and translated the Book M. After 3-years, he traveled to Egypt and then to Fez (Morocco). He expanded his knowledge and desired to return to Europe to teach all he had learned.

He crossed the Mediterranean to Spain and was met with scorn when he attempted to spread the knowledge he had gained in his travels. He returned to Germany and spent 5-years studying at which time he decided to establish a brotherhood dedicated to the preservation of knowledge.

The first 3 of its members were from the cloister he was raised in, but then grew to eight members. Like the Ancient Landmarks cherished by Freemasonry, this brotherhood had six articles:
1. That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis. 

2. None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one kind of habit, but to follow the custom of the country. 

3. Every year, upon the day C., they would meet together at the house Santi Spiritus, or write the cause of their absence. 

4. Every Brother should seek a worthy person to succeed him after his death. 
5. The word CR should be their seal, mark, and character. 
6. The Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years.
The brothers then parted ways with only 2 of the brethren staying with Brother C.R.C. (Rosenkreutz). Christian Rosenkreutz is believed to have died in 1484, at the age of 106. None but the two other brothers knew where he was buried.

Figure 3
The tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz (see Figure 3) is believed to have been found in 1604. The tomb had 7 sides: Each of the 7 walls were divided into 10 squares carved with figures and sentences. Each wall had a door to a compartment with treasures of knowledge (books and devices) The ceiling was composed of 7 triangles angled upward to some kind of artificial light emanating from the center. The floor was also divided into 7 triangles with a circular altar in the center. The altar had four circles within it each containing a figure. On the circle surrounding each figure stated four Latin inscriptions. The body of Brother C.R. was found in a sarcophagus beneath the altar. When his body was discovered, it was said to be whole and unconsumed. Found with his body was a parchment known as “Book I” which they considered the greatest treasure next to the Holy Bible. They replaced the altar, sealed the tomb, and put their seals on the door into the vault. The Fama ends with a recognition of the Christian nature of the order as well as the Holy Roman Empire as the sovereign power of the realm. The author proclaims that the Brotherhood's philosophy is the same as the philosophy of Adam, Moses, and Solomon. And lastly, the author requests that the learned of Europe to contact the Brotherhood.

The Confessio Fraternitatis, or The Confession of the Laudable Fraternity of the Most Honorable Order of the Rosy Cross, Written to All the Learned of Europe (hereafter referred to as "The Confessio").

This publication was a follow up to the Fama Fraternitatis and was published in 1615 in Wilhelm Wessel in the Hesse-Kassel region of Germany, like the Fama. It keeps in line with the Fama, in that the Germanic states and Europe, in general, are in a state of decay and the call to the European intellectual world to contact the authors is repeated. This document has an anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim voice to it. I say this as the document states: “We do condemn the East and West (the Pope and Mohamet) blasphemers against our Lord Jesus Christ.” For its audience, it seems to be speaking to the Holy Roman Emperor and the Protestant Princes.

It is composed of 14 chapters and 37 rationales for the Brotherhood, defending it from the accusations levied against the Brotherhood since the Fama was published. It also justifies its actions and reassuring the learned of Europe that the unworthy will never be able to get to the knowledge, the treasure, of the fraternity; such unworthy are exampled when the author(s) condemn "false alchemists."

In one section it does speak that the fraternity is divided into degrees, but does not go into any detail as to the nature of these degrees. It is also within the Confessio that the dates of birth and death of Brother C.R.C. are spoken of.

The Confessio reiterates the Christian nature of the brotherhood, but it seems more to esoteric Christianity rather than exoteric Christianity. The author is still unknown, but many like Francis Bacon or Johann Valentin Andreae have been believed to be the author.

The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, or Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosenkreutz anno 1459 (hereafter referred to as "The Chymical Wedding"), was published in 1616 in Strasbourg, Germany. Like the previous two, the author is unknown but is attributed to Johann Valentin Andreae. The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz is an allegorical story of self-improvement through initiatic rituals that our legendary founder goes through in order to assist the Chymical Wedding of a king and the queen and is broken up into seven chapters or days.

Day One

On a day near Easter in 1459, Christian Rosenkreutz, now 81-years of age, is visited by an angel who is described as a “wonderfully beautiful female figure, dressed all in blue, spangled liked the heavens with golden stars” (see Figure 4). The angel presented Rosenkreutz with a scroll and departed. The scroll had a seal on it fixed with a cross and the words “In Hoc Signo Vinces.” The scroll was an invitation to a royal wedding. Christian Rosenkreutz recalls that he had a vision about this wedding 7-years prior, but he is worried that he was not worthy of such an invitation because he felt he was still bound by materialistic desires. He prays then went to bed. 

Figures 4 & 5

Figure 6
He dreams that he, along with a multitude of men, was stuck in a dark dungeon crawling over each other (see Figure 5). He is saved when a group of nine Lords dropped a rope down into the dungeon. Very few were drawn up because their fellow captives would fight over the rope and if they could not get a grasp they would pull down those who had grabbed hold. Upon the sixth drop, Rosenkreutz was able to be pulled out of the dungeon. This represents the redemption that helps him shed his material desires and helped him with his inner conflict of going to the wedding. 

An old crone that was with the nine Lords presents each of the saved with a gold coin stamped the rising sun on one side and on the other was three letters: D.L.S; some refer to this as a travel penny (see FIgure 6). With an admonishment from the elderly woman, the trumpets began to play which awoke Rosenkreutz from his slumber. He took the dream to mean that God found him worthy to set forth on the adventure to the wedding. After dressing, packing supplies, and prayer, Rosenkreutz set off on his adventure.


Day Two

He came upon three tall cedars where a tablet was fastened to one of them (see Figure 7). It spoke of four paths Rosenkreutz had to choose to get to the wedding:
The first short, dangerous, scarcely possible to pass, and leads to rocky places (believed to be an attack on the Catholic Church).

The second is a circuitous route, long but easy. 

The third is the royal way and a joyful journey but is allowed only for a few select travelers.

The fourth way cannot be taken by man, but only the truly incorruptible.
Figures 7 & 8

While deciding on which path to take, he decided to eat. He tried to feed a dove, but a raven fought with it over the bread. He chased after both and inadvertently took one of the four paths, but had left his supplies behind. It is believed that he traveled upon the second path. 

Eventually, he came to three temples and three gates (see Figure 8). At each gate, he was questioned by the porter (or guard). Each porter gave him a token in return for the few possessions he still had on him. These tokens would show him to be a guest at the royal wedding.

Figure 9
With these gates, he is shown to be prepared for initiation. He is taken to a Hall for Judgment along with every type of humanity there. He is mocked for his plain dress and modesty (see Figure 9). When requested to be seated, the rest took the better seats leaving Rosenkreutz to a small bench in the corner. They were fed a meal by invisible attendants. Several of the guests become intoxicated and begin to brag of their supposed extraordinary abilities. The Virgin then enters the hall telling the guests they will be judged to determine who is worthy enough to stay and assist the wedding. Anyone who felt worthy was to go find a bedchamber while those who felt they were unworthy were to stay the night in the hall. Only 9 stayed in the hall, to include Rosenkreutz. They were bound by ropes and left in darkness and discomfort.

Rosenkreutz fell asleep and had a dream where he stood upon a high mountain watching men being hung by the neck over a valley. An ancient man flies around cutting their ropes with his scythe and they fall to the earth. Those lower fell gently while those who were higher did not. Rosenkreutz recounts this dream with the companion he was bound to and they finish the night in harmonious discourse.


Day Three

Figure 10
The next morning the Virgin entered the hall and had the guests unbound (see Figure 10). A large set of golden scales were set in the middle of the hall. Next to it was set a table with seven weights. All, but one of the emperors were found wanting and unworthy. Only the last one was steadfast. This was true for the other lords, knights, learned, and other nobility. Those who passed the weighing were given a red velvet gown and seated upon the steps of the Virgin’s throne.

Those who had stayed the night in the hall were then weighed. Only Rosenkreutz and his companion withstood the test. With Rosenkreutz, he withstood all of the seven weights and even additional full armored knights added by order of the Virgin. Because he was the “weightiest” he was allowed to release one of the captives, those who did not pass the weighing. He chose the first emperor who allowed to sit with the worthy.

A lunch was held where the worthy sat a high table while the unworthy were sat at a lower table. At the higher table, the attendants were now visible while those at the lower table were still unable to see the attendants. The worthy were now known as Knights of the Golden Fleece.

They then were taken to a garden where the judgment of the unworthy was announced. Those who weighed only a little were allowed to redeem themselves and depart with dignity. At the door they took a 'Draught of Forgetfulness.' Some were stripped naked and sent out. Some were scourged. Those who were impostors and frauds lost their lives.

After performing ablutions in a fountain, they were taken back to a castle and shown some of its treasures before dinner. During dinner, the Virgin propounded riddles to the guests to which none could answer. The seven weights were then taken back to storage in seven chapels. The worthy guests were then guided to their own bedchambers.


Day Four

Rosenkreutz oversleeps but finds the guests by the fountain in the garden. After more ablutions and drinking from the fountain, they were given new clothing: garments of cloth-of-gold set out with flowers, and a new insignia of the Golden Fleece.

Figure 11
The Virgin led them to the Royal Hall by a staircase of 365-steps where the King and Queen sat in all of their glory. The Virgin presented them and they were welcomed by Atlas, the Court Astrologer. The King and Queen were seated under a great arch on the Western end of the hall. With the King and Queen also sat an ancient king with a young queen and a middle-aged black king with an old matron. Before the King and Queen sat an altar on which sat: a book of black velvet, a lit candle, a celestial globe, a clock, a skull with a snake winding in and out of its eyes, and a crystal fountain of red liquid (see Figure 11).

The guests were taken to their own hall where they would watch a play. The play speaks of an infant queen who keeps falling prey to the Moors. The queen was rescued by a king she had been betrothed to in her youth and he restored her to her kingdom and throne (see FIgure 12). After they play, a feast was held in the Royal Hall where the guests were arrayed in snow-white glittering garments. At the request of the King, the guests wrote their names in the black velvet book. Then they all drank from a cup with the red liquid which is said to be the Draught of Silence. They were then dressed in black garments and the room was then covered in black drapery and six black coffins were placed in the center.

Figure 12

The three kings and three queens were then blindfolded, and were one-by-one beheaded, solemnly and reverently. The executioner was then beheaded and placed in a shrine. After a reassurance from the Virgin, they were taken back to their bedchambers. That night, Rosenkreutz, looking out the window at the lake, saw seven ships, each with a flame hovering over them representing each of those died that night. The Virgin and her attendants then took a coffin and the shrine to each of the ships (see Figure 13).

Figure 13

Day Five

He awoke early the next morning and his page took him to the Royal Treasury where he found many wondrous treasures including a tomb, triangular in shape, supported by an ox, an eagle, and a lion. Descending further down into a chamber where he found a naked Lady Venus. Next to her lay an inscription stating “When the fruit of my tree shall be completely melted, then will I awake and be the mother of a King.”

He returned to the Royal Hall but was ushered to the garden by the Virgin. In the garden, there were now six sepulchers under a roof supported by seven columns, above which floated a flag with a phoenix on it. They then took part in what Rosenkreutz knew was a fake royal funeral.

The guests then went with the Virgin to the island Tower of Olympus where they would prepare to bring the royal persons back to life. At the shore, there were anchored the seven ships, five of which were flying planetary signs, one a globe, and one a pyramid for their banners. Rosenkreutz went on the third ship with the Virgin. On their voyage to the island, mythical creatures and deities met with them; mermaids gave a gift of pearls for the wedding (see Figure 14).

Figures 14 & 15

The island tower was massive and was guarded by an ancient warden. The coffins were moved inside and the guests went to bed. Rosenkreutz went to the top of the tower to look out at the sea, but a storm came upon the tower that chased him back inside (see Figure 15).


Day Six

In the morning, the Warden entered the room with attendants carrying ladders, ropes, and large wings. He told them that they each must carry one of those three items the entire day. Rosenkreutz had to carry around a large, heavy ladder. The warden then locked them into the room, but after a short time, a circular portal opened in the ceiling. The Virgin invited them up. The ones with wings flew up easily. The ones with ladders went up next with much ease, but the ones with ropes had much difficulty climbing up.

In this chamber, Rosenkreutz watched an alchemical ritual led by the Virgin causing the bodies of the slain kings and queens to dissolve. They then ascended to another chamber in a like manner as before. In this third chamber, the walls were windows and mirrors so that everywhere was reflected the sun. The reflections heated a golden globe hanging from the ceiling. The globe was then cooled and cut open where a white egg was found before taken by the Virgin. They then ascended again to a fourth chamber.

In the fourth chamber, they found the egg in a square vessel with silver sand and watched as the bird freed itself from it. They then fed the bird with the blood of the kings and queens which caused him to grow. In his growth, he went from black feathers to white feathers to multicolored feathers. The bird departed and the guests advanced to a fifth chamber as they did previously.

Here they bathed the bird where it lost its feathers and was painted blue before taking off with the Virgin. They ascended into a sixth chamber where they found an altar with the six devices they had seen in the Royal Hall. The bird drank the red liquid and pecked at the snake. All the while the globe rotated and each time it reached a conjunction the clock chimed. The bird then laid his neck on the black book where he was beheaded and his remains burnt to ash.

The Virgin then accused four Rosenkreutz and three others, as being “lazy and sluggish laborers.” Once out of the sixth chamber, they were elevated to the eighth chamber where they came to an old man who said they four were actually the worthy ones chosen by the Virgin. The Virgin entered in with the ashes and with the help of the four turned the ashes into a dough then molded two figures out of it.

Rosenkreutz and his companions saw a crevice in the floor where they espied the other guests working a furnace below them. They worked happily thinking they were the preferred ones over the four. Rosenkreutz and his companions then broke open the molds and found two angelic babes in them: one male and one female. The blood collected from the bird was fed to the babes which caused them to grow. The Virgin and Warden performed a ritual that caused a flame to come down from the Heavens and entered the two. Cupid then entered the chamber and woke them. The King and Queen awoke with amazement as they thought they had slept from the time of their beheading. The four then rejoined their companions for dinner and had to pretend they were in a lamentable condition. After dinner, they retired to their own bedchambers where Rosenkreutz went to sleep immediately from his labors.


Day Seven

On the seventh and final morning, they met in the lowest vault of the tower and were dressed in yellow habits. Each guest was presented with a gold medal, bearing on one side the words, "Art is the priestess of Nature," and on the other, "Nature is the daughter of Time".

They sailed back to the castle in 12-ships representing each of the signs of the zodiac where they found 500 ships anchored in the lake. Old Atlas sailed out to them and welcomed them on behalf of the King and Queen.

Once ashore, Rosenkreutz, dressed in white with a red cross, rode with the King to the three gates he had come to on Day 2. Between the first and second gate, the King informed Rosenkreutz that the guardian had been a famous astrologer who had transgressed against Venus and as a punishment had to guard the first gate, but would be freed when another had transgressed. Rosenkreutz feared it was him as he had seen Venus naked in her chamber. During dinner, the King and Queen played a game similar to chess but using vices and virtues as pieces.

The King then had the guests sit in a circle and announced that, in recognition of their services, were made Knights of the Golden Stone and they took five vows:
I. To ascribe our Order only to God and His handmaid, Nature. 
II. To abominate all whoredom, and not defile our Order with such vices. 

III. To use our talents to assist all that they have need of them. 

IV. Not to strive for worldly pride and high authority. 
V. Not to wish to live longer than God would have of us.
The king then invited each guest to visit with him in private to request a boon. At Rosenkreutz's turn, he confessed what he had done on Day 5 and requested that the Guardian be released from his punishment. The king grieved at this mischance, and though he wished to could not transgress this ancient usage. Rosenkreutz must become the new Guardian. The ring of the guardian was placed on Rosenkreutz’s finger. The king embraced him and bid him farewell. Rosenkreutz was led to some lodging by Atlas and the Warden of the Tower. The Chemical Marriage then abruptly ends, leaving the impression that Rosenkreutz was to assume his duties as the new guardian on the following morning.

This was but a very brief introduction to this philosophical and often misunderstood belief system. We may never really know if Christian Rosenkreutz was real or allegorical, nor is really relevant as he did not invent the doctrines he followed, but cultivated and perpetuated those things which he discovered in his legendary travels. These documents which immortalized this figure came about during the Age of Enlightenment and had a profound effect on many historical figures such as Francis Bacon and John Dee.


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Inaugural Convocation of Idaho Rose Circle

Today the Idaho Rose Circle met in full for the first time. We convened in Pocatello, ID, and initiated two new Fratres into the Society of the Rose and Cross. The officers did a fantastic job and I am so proud of all the hard work that the Fratres have done to bring the SRICF to Idaho.

This weekend was selected as it gave us enough time to build and purchase the paraphernalia needed to perform the Grade of Zelator. Also, the Grand Lodge of Idaho with one its Lodges did an exemplification of the Master Mason degree on Saturday so enough of the College would already be in the area. Having it in Pocatello also made it easier for Fratres from Utah to attend.

Along with the initiation of two new Fratres, we also approved the purchase of officer stoles and two new candidates approved for initiation. The Advisory Council also announced the advancement of the Four Ancients to the Grades of the Second Order.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Masonic Week

Well, another year has gone by and with it another Masonic Week in the DC area. Thankfully my trip went without any troubles even though Mother Nature was starting hurl winter storms my way. After getting checked in, I had a chance to sit down the Supreme Magus of the SRICF and pick his brain about the year. After that, it was socializing with all of the Brothers as they arrived.

First thing Thursday morning was the meeting of the Grand Master's Council of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon of the USA. Matthew Dupee was installed Most Worthy Grand Master of the order and Louis Bartrand was installed as Most Eminent Grand Prior. After lunch, I attended the Grand Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor which was presided over by my good friend, Bro. David A. Grindle. The Preceptors was followed by the Provincial Grand Court of the USA of the Masonic Order of Athelstan. Thursday night I had attended the exemplification of the degrees of Royal Ark Mariner and Knight of Constantinople. The degree teams for each degree did a fantastic job. The exemplar for the latter degree was Peter Brusoe, the Most Excellent Grand High Priest of DC, with whom I sat with afterward and discussed our respective Grand Chapters.

Friday morning started with the Grand College of Rites. I care deeply about this organization and I am happy to see it flourishing. The Society of Blue Friars followed. The Grand Abbott had named Piers Vaughn the newest Friar and he gave a presentation of the influence of Martinism on the Rectified Scottish Rite. Brent Morris then announced that after 15-years he was retiring as Grand Abbott and installed Arturo de Hoyos as the new Grand Abbott. After lunch, the Grand Council of Knight Masons of the United States of America convened. The Great Chief awarded the Knight Commander of Zerubbabel and Past Senior Grand Knight on many worthy Sir Knights and Cousins. I had the rest of the afternoon off as I am not a member of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests. I wasn't feeling 100% so I called it early Friday night.

I woke up Saturday refreshed and attended the conferral of the first 3 Grades (Ostiarius, Lector, and Fellow) of the Royal Order of the Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord. I had the pleasure of being the exemplar during the Second Grade. The degree teams did a fantastic and impressive job. After the Philalethes Society luncheon, The Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States convened. I congratulate Most Venerable Brother Paul Newhall on being elected and installed as the new Sovereign Grand Master of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA. After the All Masonic Banquet, the Masonic Order of the Bath met and conferred the degree on many candidates. I was elected to Very Honorable Lt. Commander-General for the order. Now I am all packed up and ready to head to the airport. It's time to go back to Idaho, to home.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tarot Card of the Month: The Moon

The Tarot Card for February is the Moon. The Moon is the Eighteenth of the Major Arcana in the Tarot card decks. The Moon can also be referred to as Intuition. The Moon symbolizes the planet Neptune, the element water, and Pisces in the Zodiac.

The Moon represents intuition, the unconscious, illusion, deception, confusion, bewilderment, falsehood, hysteria, and madness (lunacy). The Moon indicates that things are not as they seem. The details may not be clear making a decision that much harder to make.

The Moon depicts a full moon in the night's sky, sitting between two large towers or pillars. The Moon is frowning and looking down as Yod-shaped rays emanate from it. In the foreground is a pool of water with a crawfish crawling out of it. A dog and wolf stand in a grassy field howling at the Moon.

The moon is a feminine symbol representing time (often associated with immortality or eternity). It stands as a symbol of light in the dark of night. The moon also symbolizes the soul. The four stages of the moon are said to represent human development: the new moon is infancy, the crescent waxing moon represents youth and adolescence, the full moon is maturity and the apex of our strength, and the waning moon represents the decline of life. The towers symbolize duality - good & evil, life & death, light & darkness, male & female. Their similar appearance alludes to the difficulties that we face in distinguishing between them. The water represents the subconscious with the crawfish, symbolizing the early stages of consciousness as it unfolds. The dog and wolf represent the tamed and wild aspects of our minds.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Templar Biography: André de Montbard

André de Montbard served as the 5th Grand Master of the medieval Knights Templar from 1153 AD to 1156 AD (during the 2nd crusade). Montbard was the second and last founding member of the order to serve as Grand Master, after Hugh de Payens. Montbard was also known for being the uncle to St. Bernard of Clairvaux who was a champion for the Templar order and wrote the Rule that governed the order.

André de Montbard is believed to have been born sometime around November of 1097 in the family castle in the Burgundy region of France. He was the son of Bernard de Montbard and Humberge de Tonnerre d'Angoulême. The Montbards were vassals of Count of Champagne as was Hugh de Payens. This same Count was also the one who donated the land to St. Bernard where the abbey of Clairvaux was established (the early Templar order was a very interconnected affair).

Little is known about Montbard's life, but it is known that he was in the Holy Land around the time the Templar order was established as he is mentioned to have carried letters from King Baldwin II and St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

From 1148 to 1153, Montbard served as Seneschal (second-in-command for the entire order). The previous Grand Master, Bernard de Tremelay, was killed during the Siege of Ascalon (January 25th to August 22nd, 1153). After the Siege was finished, Montbard was elected as Grand Master of the order. It is rumored that he only accepted the nomination to Grand Master to block the election of Guillaume de Chanaleilles who was a favorite of King Louis VII of France. He served only for three years and left no lasting fingerprint on the office of Grand Master; other than being the last of the founding knights. Montbard died on January 17th, 1156, in Jerusalem while in office and was succeeded by Bertrand de Blanchefort.

References

1. André de Montbard. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Beauceant Project Site: http://www.templiers.org/andre-montbard-eng.php 

2. Andre Montbard. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_de_Montbard 

3. McMahon, T. (2018, March 11). Templar hero: André de Montbard. Retrieved from The Templar Knight: https://thetemplarknight.com/2018/03/11/templar-hero-andre-de-montbard/

4. Were there Nine Original Templars? (n.d.). Retrieved from The Knights Templar: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/the-nine-original-knights-templar/


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Columbian Medal

In May I wrote about the Order of the Secret Vault, which is one of the several awards of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International. Another award a Cryptic Mason may achieve is the Columbian Medal. This award takes its name from Columbia Council in New York which was an epicenter and the Mother Council of Cryptic Masonry prior to the establishment of Grand Councils and the General Grand Council.

The Columbian Medal is the highest award one can receive from the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International. The Columbian Medal is a medal awarded to an outstanding Cryptic Mason for service to Masonry. This medal is similar to the Distinguished Service Medal in Silver in the General Grand Chapter in that only one award is given to each region and not more than three medals at-large per Triennium are awarded at each Triennial.

Nominations are sent to the Regional Deputy General Grand Masters and then the awardee for each region is selected by the elected officers of the General Grand Council. Nominations must be in by December 31st of the year preceding the Triennial Assembly of the General Grand Council.



Saturday, February 2, 2019

900th Anniversary of the Founding of the Knights Templar

This year marks the 900th anniversary since the founding of the medieval Knights Templar. While the exact date is debated to this day, it is believed that sometime in 1119 (most likely toward the end), Hugh de Payens and a contingent of knights established the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Knights Templar; according to William, Archbishop of Tyre, it was nine knights while Michael the Syrian, Patriarch of Antioch, spoke of thirty knights. The Templar first received recognition from Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, which would occur in January of 1120 at the Council of Nablus. At the Council of Nablus in 1120, Warmund donated some land to the Knights Templar and the King gave the knights the Stables of Solomon as their residence as well as some villages.

The Templar order wouldn't receive papal recognition for a decade, by Pope Honorius II, and then, in 1139, Pope Innocent II issued Omne Datum Optimum, Latin for "Every Good Gift." This papal bull allowed the Templars to keep their spoils of war, placing donations directly under papal protection, and exempting them from paying tithe. This proclamation added a priest class to the hierarchy as well as making the members of order answerable to the Grand Master.

The Order was governed by what is known as "The Rule" which was written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, nephew of Andre de Montbard who was one of the founding knights and future Grand Masters. The Rule covered all aspects of the life of the Knights Templar. The Rule included topics such as knight renouncing his former life and property, dress, eating, prayers, the hierarchy of the order, penalties, conventional life, penitence, and the manner of his reception into the order.

The Order became very popular among the European nobility and would exponentially grow in numbers and wealth with a presence across Europe and the Levant. The Templars would become known for their protection of pilgrims to the Holy Land while also being known for their impact during military operations. They would be mythologized by their financial acumen as well as their downfall in the 14th century culminating in the martyrdom of Jacques DeMolay. Even today there are many theories and myths about the order before and after their suppression by the French king, Philip. The Templars became associated with the rise of Freemasonry, the Holy Grail, alternative theories on Christ, and occultism.

For this anniversary, I am working on a series covering the timeline of the Templars as a commemoration to this Christian knighthood.

References

1. Cartwright, M. (2018, September 28). Knights Templar. Retrieved from Ancient History Encyclopedia: https://www.ancient.eu/Knights_Templar/ 

2. Dafoe, S. (2010, March 31). Who Were The Knights Templar? Retrieved from Templar History: http://blog.templarhistory.com/2010/03/who-were-the-knights-templar-2/ 

3. Knights Templar. (2017, July 13). Retrieved from History Channel: https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/the-knights-templar 

4. Templars. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Templars

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tarot Card of the Month: The Star

The Tarot Card for January is the Star. The Star is also referred to as Hope as well as the Celestial Mandate. The Star is the Seventeenth of the Major Arcana in Tarot. The Star is associated with the planet Uranus, the element of Air, and the zodiacal sign of Aquarius. 

The Star represents hope, spiritual insight, liberation, and inspiration as well as reconnecting one's soul to the DIvine. As this card represents hope, it also teaches patience; patience that destiny, fate, is always at play. 

The Star card is depicted as a naked woman kneeling at the edge of a small pond with one foot on the ground and one in the water. She pours water from a jar in both of her hands; one jar is pouring onto the land and the other into the pool. The water poured onto the dry land drains into five rivulets. Behind her is a tree with a bird standing on its top. Above her is depicted a starry night: one giant golden star surrounded by seven smaller stars.

The naked woman is said to symbolize the soul and the containers symbolize the heart. Her nakedness represents that she has nothing to hide nor is she burdened by materialism nor is she ruled by fear. Her standing with one foot in the water and one on land shows her balancing between worlds, the material and spiritual, the conscious and the unconscious. 

Stars hold a plethora of symbolic meanings. Stars are associated with magic and luck ("to wish upon a star"). Stars also serve as guides as travelers, whether on land or sea, use the stars to help guide their way at night. A star led the three magi to the newborn Messiah in the New Testament. To be “born under a star” means to have good luck. In modern culture, to be a "star" is to be considered famous and/or talented. Polaris, the north star, holds a constant position at due north which makes it an easy landmark for those trying to determine their direction. To some, stars are divine guardians or represent divine beings; this can be seen in Christianity as Christ refers to himself in Revelations as the Morning Star. In some cultures, stars were seen as souls of those who have departed this world. 

Trees are often used to represent a medium through which realms communicate to each other (The Sephiroth in the Kabbalah or Yggdrasil in Norse mythology) and the bird is seen as a divine messenger.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Aspirant's Circle

Tonight the Idaho Rose Circle hosted the second Aspirant's Circle, this one was for the Magic Valley in Idaho; the first one occurred in Boise and was well attended. With the Societas Rosicruciana In Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) taking root in Idaho, I decided to hold an information night known as an Aspirant's Circle. I got this idea from the inaugural Rocky Mountain SRICF Regional Conference where the Chief Adept of Arizona discussed a similar meeting held in Phoenix. The Aspirant's Circle in Idaho is meant to be a casual, open form for Master Masons to get an introduction into the Society.

The meeting includes two presentations: 1) An Introduction to the SRICF and 2) An Introduction to Rosicrucianism. Attendance doesn't guarantee an invitation to the SRICF, but it gave the Idaho Fratres an idea who is interested in Rosicrucianism as well as those who fit the aims and objects of the Society. Tonight was well attended and I had a great discussion with the Brothers.

Tonight, I had two other Fratres assist me. One of the attendees was the Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho who will be initiated into the Grades of the First Order (I° - IV°) Sunday into the Wyoming College before transferring membership to the Idaho Rose Circle. Now, it's time for bed so we can get onto the road bright and early for Wyoming.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Constitutionality of Emergency Management Policy of the US Government

In the Summer of 2013, I took a special seminar provided by a Doctoral Student University of California-Santa Barbra. The seminar was named "Political Science and Literature: Security in SciFi." This class looked at how various forms of media influenced preparedness, emergency management, and national defense policy. For my final assignment, I did a short paper where I took a unique approach and instead of just analyzing a policy, I researched the Constitutional justification behind it. Enjoy.

---

In his 2006 article, State Executive Lawmaking in Crisis, Jim Rossi states “Courts and scholars have largely overlooked the constitutional source and scope of a state executive's powers to avert and respond to crises.” The focus of my paper concerns the constitutional scope and restraint of national preparedness by an analysis on the government report President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection as well as the scholarly article Preparing for the Next Emergency by Andrew Lakoff. These two documents are surprisingly silent or vague on Constitutional restraint and authority that allow for agencies to perform the operations they do. It is most likely left broad, vague, and ambiguous so it can encapsulate future, unknown advancements that would be made, and later become a new vulnerability as well. Preparedness seems to be advocated as needing vague and broad powers so that leaders and proper agencies can continually evolve to ensure future protection of critical infrastructure and national defense. My research turned up a few modern scholarly articles concerning this topic, but several I found came from the early to mid-19th century during the times of the world wars, red scares, and threats from the Cold War.

I began my analysis on both documents with first searching what was seen on the surface, the actual written words. In the governmental document the use of the word “Constitution” appears only 3-times in the entire report and in those instances, it talks not of restraint, but in this section, it states that Constitution allows for the government intervention as ‘general welfare’ includes the protection of critical infrastructure. I also looked for any talk of “restraint” and this word appears nowhere in the document. In reading through this report, I kept noticing the use of the term “the government”, but never did it truly clarify what branch it was referring to. The term “Legislative” appears frequently throughout the document, normally in the form of agencies proposing or promoting new legislation which assists them in the performance of duties. I ran these same terms in the Lakoff article and “Constitution, restraint, and legislative” turned up zero results while “government” was scattered all over the document in different concepts, none of which discussed restraint on government action. In my analysis I believe these documents may refer to all branches, but on most occasions, I believe they are referring to the Executive Branch of government under which the federal agencies that would be involved with preparedness fall under.

In the United States of America of all places, the view of government and its scope can be a tricky thing. Modern American political thought is often split between those who hold onto the ideals of the Founders and some who side with the more Progressive view that emerged out of the late 19th and early 20th century. Preparedness can be associated with the welfare state championed by the Progressives. We see a common theme between the two and that is “how much is enough?” What is that ethical and moral boundary between oppressive intrusion and, as the report points out, the responsibility of the government in ensuring “domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty?” Is there a line where the People transcend the Constitution to allow the government to have greater reign in securing the nation from that which we may not know and may not see? Do we do nothing in fear of the name tyranny or do in fear of the unknown allow tyranny to spread? The government’s report’s answer to these questions is: "No, the government cannot do enough to secure our future and that the government must be ever vigilant and ever changing." This report makes the case that the government must be involved as even governmental services can be disrupted by a well-placed attack on our critical infrastructures. To me this implies the report supports the idea of ever expanding government that is involved where it sees a vulnerability which with advancing technology could be anything that we, the citizenry or government, become dependent upon. If preparedness and progressivism is closely aligned the government would find no issue with further government expansion and intrusion into everyday life because, according to Dr. Yenor, progressives believe “necessitous men are not free men” and the more the government can do for them the freer they are. If the people are stuck worrying about preparedness in their environment they would not be free to pursue a better life and self-improvement.

Preparedness can be seen as a progressive policy or at least reliant upon progressive policy, particularly with the view of ever evolving, changing goals and possible solutions to emerging or unknown threats is similar to the progressive’s ideology that government must constantly change and evolve with the times to better serve the people. I say this also because at the end of the Executive Summary it states, “The relationships that have stood us in such good stead through the end of the second millennium must give way to new ones better suited to the third” which Dr. Yenor explains in a mark of progressivism as they historical relativist. They don’t believe the government should be a static mechanism, but a living organism that evolves as humans do, and that we should shed past policies and take on those necessary to prosper in the future. With this report we see that it focuses on that any complacency, any static goals would be a danger to the security of the nation as our threats are continually emerging, particularly with the advancement and dependence on new technologies, when it states:
“More than any other country, we rely on a set of increasingly accessible and technologically reliable infrastructures, which in turn have a growing collective dependence on domestic and global networks. This provides great opportunity, but it also presents new vulnerabilities that can be exploited.” (4-5)
With these new vulnerabilities we see that the government seeks to work with and intervene with the private sector to ensure some standards are met to mitigate future risks and vulnerabilities.

While the government report focuses less upon Constitutional restraints, the Commission still recognized the political concept of federalism and that preparedness must work across the jurisdictional authorities of federal, state, and local governments, as well as partnering with the private sector. The report implies that since an attack on critical infrastructure preparedness can affect multiple states and that leaving it to the States would make response ineffective that the powers should lie with the federal government who would partner with the proper local and state governments. This issue has existed since the beginning of the US and in 1966 an article by Benet Gellman pointed out the federal government “cannot do the job alone, and that it will need substantial support from the states in such an emergency. The proper relationship to be maintained between the federal government and the states under nuclear attack conditions should be carefully developed before an attack.” (pg. 439) The report states, “Government has an undeniable role in accomplishing the tasks that government alone can undertake--including law enforcement at local, state and federal levels, and national intelligence, defense and diplomacy.” (p. 35) Even though it must work within a federalist system, the government report details that all preparedness is centered on the federal government, specifically under the direction of the Executive Branch. Lakoff’s article discussing the history of preparedness, but does point out the problems programs have faced with federal-state relations in the past. Summarized, the federal government recognizes the hurdles it must jump ensuring it doesn’t step on State sovereignty, but still doesn’t necessarily see them as viable Constitutional restraints its preparedness policies since most threats are interstate issues.

In the analysis of the governmental and scholarly report, they speak nothing of Constitutional restraint, but as we know it is the Constitution that empowers the government to have such a wide and broad scope of power in ensuring protection of critical infrastructures. It’s ironic that in the report it cites nothing from Articles of the US Constitution, but rather quotes from the Preamble and then infers that general welfare refers to anything necessary to accomplish the protection of the national infrastructure. Reading through the commission’s report we see terms used to infer that legislation needs to be proposed to catch up with needed operations and ensure the best practices, but that since it is too slow to do so on its own that agencies need help drive. Due to this and the lack of definition in the Articles of the Constitution, these agencies of the government must still derive their power from the Constitution to be considered lawful and the Preamble is a part of the Constitution that spells out general powers of the government, and gives them reasonable justification for their actions.

The commission’s report it speaks once of judicial review and in my research, I came upon an article that talked about the Supreme Court’s approach to deciding constitutionality of national security policies and legislation. I couldn’t find anything that analyzed preparedness as whole, but I still found the article intriguing because in the opening paragraph the author, Geoffrey Stone, stated “As a matter of first principle, logic suggests that judges addressing such cases should start with a healthy dose of deference to military and executive officials.” Through this article Mr. Stone states that the Courts in the early to mid-20th century were prone to side with the government as long as they gave sufficient reason for any intrusions on civil liberties and does so by stating case law. The article then comes to modern times where the Courts have challenged the actions of the military and Executive Branch during the War on Terror. This article discussed that early Judges may give way to Executive as they were seen as experts in this field while another article by Norman Swazo stated the “Supreme Court has never been anxious to act as referee” in regard to Presidential powers. The single mention of this in the report came in a bullet point discussing government interaction with the private sector, but would need judicial review to ensure the public’s confidence in the government’s handling of personal information.

What I pulled from this report is that the federal government is to be considered the expert of preparedness while partnering with other entities like state governments or the private sector (i.e. infrastructure owners) that are less capable to protect, mitigate, respond, and recover from an attack than the federal government is. In following the suggestions of the commission’s report, it would be the government who came up with the standard by which critical infrastructure would be identified and proper preparedness policies were put in place. This broad power would leave the government with the authority of intervening in the private sector. In looking at this report the Commission deems that it is following the Constitution as common defense would require the securing and protection of critical infrastructures. It also is not worried about the legality of it all as it infers that the experts and necessary agencies should drive legislation that would be needed. Again, this is most likely due to the fact that the government relies upon vague and general language so that the government may evolve as needed to mitigate the threat, protect vulnerabilities, and prepare for the future and unknown.

Rather than talking about the Constitutionality of preparedness this report talks about legal hurdles it faces particularly outdated or poorly written laws that will hinder federal agencies in their operations. This report argues that agencies should help drive legislation to further assist them in their own operations. From the language used in the government document it appears this commission infers that the Legislature is incapable of keeping up with the proper laws so federal agencies need to help drive the creation of necessary laws. According to Woodrow Wilson, the President needs assistance in the execution of laws, but as the President has evolved so should the cabinet and departments that assist him. Wilson is considered the father of public administration, sometimes referred to today as the bureaucracy that he saw as the government in action, specifically the federal agencies under the Executive Branch. Wilson made the following quote in regard to politics versus administration, “Politics is thus the special province of the statesman, administration of the technical official.” “Policy does nothing without the aid of administration”; but administration is not therefore politics.” (pg. 7) Wilson led the way with advancing the need for a body within the government that would rule by wisdom, science, and expertise rather than possible misguided political ideologies.

The report recognizes the sovereignty of the private sector, but states they have a responsibility to partner and share with the government what is needed to secure our nation. The report recognizes the legitimate concerns over the issue of confidentiality, protecting private information, and other concerns, but states that “security considerations justify limited exemptions from these restrictions.” (pg. 87) In reading this report it continually states that private information should be protected, but from non-government outsiders. Obviously, it never makes the case that information may be abused by the government itself. Nothing from the government document alludes to the possibility of government abuse of private information and, in keeping with the previous discussion of progressive ideology and its ties to preparedness, progressives believe that as man is capable of moving past tyrannical government. As FDR stated in his 1932 Commonwealth Club Address, “The day of enlightened administration has come.” (pg. 8)

The government report also seems intentionally broad on discussing critical infrastructures and new vulnerabilities as well as shared threats. During class we were asked what was left out, but we could infer most services, technologies, and capabilities could be categorized under those named in the report, so nothing was truly left out of the commission’s report. It is most likely left broad, vague, and ambiguous so it can encapsulate future, unknown advancements that would be made, and later become a new vulnerability as well. Preparedness seems to be advocated as needing vague and broad powers so that leaders and proper agencies can continually evolve to ensure future protection of critical infrastructure and national defense. It seems to be a slippery slope they walk upon using such vague language and the report speaking of just the Preamble of the US Constitution, but it seems to be the best-case scenario as they point out laws are inadequate, and the Constitution does not define their specific powers, nor does it forbid it.

References

1. Gellman, Benet D. "Planning for a National Nuclear Emergency: The Organization of Government and Federal-State Relations." Virginia Law Review (Virginia Law Review,) 52, no. 3 (April 1966): 435-462. 

2. Lakoff, Andrew. "Preparing for the Next Emergency." Public Culture 19, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 247-271. 

3. Marsh, Robert T. "Critical Foundations: Protecting America’s Infrastructures." President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, Washington DC, 1997. 

4. Stone, Geoffrey R. "National Security v. Civil Liberties." California Law Review (California Law Review, Inc.) 95, no. 6 (December 2007): 2203-2212. 

5. Roosevelt, Franklin D. “Commonwealth Club Address.” 1932. 

6. "The Duty of Congress to Check the President's Prerogative in National Security Policy." International Journal on World Peace (Professors World Peace Academy) 21, no. 4 (December 2004): 21-62. 

7. Wilson, Woodrow. The Study of Administration. Princeton, 1886.