Sunday, October 20, 2019

2019 Northwest York Rite Conference

Go figure, I'm at an airport again. Yes, I'm off on another trip, but the last few days were a blur as it was the Northwest York Rite Conference in Boise, ID. Thursday night I received the degree of Installed Sovereign Master in the Allied Masonic Degrees. 

Friday morning started with introductions then went into the Royal Arch Mason session, presided over by the Brad Huffman, the Most Excellent Deputy General Grand High Priest. Presentations were given by a number of Companions and then candidates running for General Grand Scribe in 2020 were given time to talk. The Cryptic Masons session was Friday afternoon and was presided over Companion Bob Farrow, Right Puissant Regional Deputy General Grand Master for the Northwest. 

Saturday was dedicated to the Knights Templar and presentations were given by Sir Knight Ben Williams, Right Eminent Northwest Department Commander; Sir Knight Jeremy Vaughn, Very Eminent Deputy Grand Commander of Idaho; the Knights Templar Eye Foundation; Sir Knight Michael Johnson, Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Encampment; and Sir Knight David Kussman, Right Eminent Grand Generalissimo of the Grand Encampment. 

Saturday evening, Intermountain Chapel no.27 of Ye Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon held a quick business meeting. Afterward, the Provincial Grand Council of the Northwest Province held its annual meeting. The rest of the night I sat and chatted with the Northwest Department Commander until passed midnight. It made for an early morning, but now I'm back on the road; the next few weeks will be extremely busy.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Johannite Weekend

It's been quite a weekend; I spent the last few days in Oregon where I attended a Johannite Retreat at the farmhouse of a Monsignor of the Apostolic Johannite Church. Friday afternoon I arrived at the farm of a Monsignor where we prepared and held an Agape meal which was followed by some time for meditation and reflection. The Monsignor then led us in Vespers and we concluded the evening by watching a movie about Mary Magdalene.

Saturday started with Matins (morning prayer) then some breakfast. The Monsignor then led us in the Gnostic Mass of the AJC where we also remembered the Martyrdom of the Templars, the anniversary of which is Sunday, October 13th. This service also included my Baptism Sub Conditione and then I was officially received into the Oblates by taking of the vows. Baptism Sub Conditione is done just in case my prior baptism didn’t conform to the requirements of our sacramental theology of the Apostolic Johannite Church.

After lunch, we did some farm work that prepared for the campfire that was held later that night. Then there was a Theosis panel followed by another Agape meal, Vespers, meditation, and the aforementioned campfire. I left after the Theosis panel as I leave early Sunday morning.

Now, I'm at the second airport in my trip, waiting to board the plane for home. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Officers of the Cryptic Mason's Council

Cryptic Masonry consists of the Royal Master and Select Master with the Super Excellent Master as an optional third degree. The basic organizational unit for Royal and Select Masters is the Council and is composed of the following officers: Illustrious Master, Deputy Master, Principal Conductor of the Work, Treasurer, Recorder, Captain of the Guard, Conductor of the Council, Steward, Chaplain, and Sentinel

The Illustrious Master presides over a Council of Royal and Select Masters (or Cryptic Masons) and represents King Solomon during the building of the Temple that immortalized his name. The honorary title of the Master and the Council is Illustrious which is rooted in the Latin word "illustris" meaning "light, bright, or brilliant" or "distinguished by greatness." The word "Master" is rooted in the Latin word "magister" meaning "chief, head, or teacher." The jewel of the Illustrious Master is a Square and a trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard. A sitting Illustrious Master or Past Illustrious Master qualifies to be initiated into the Order of the Silver Trowel.

The second-in-command of the Council is the Deputy Master who corresponds to the Senior Warden in the Blue Lodge; they differ in that the Deputy Master is stationed in the East on the right of the Illustrious Master. In the absence of the Illustrious Master, the Deputy presides over the Council. Per the legend, the Deputy Master represents Hiram, King of Tyre. The title of Deputy comes from the Latin "deputare" meaning to "allot or to destine" which has come to indicate a subordinate officer or one given the full power of an officer without holding the office. The jewel of the Deputy Master is a Level and a trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard

Corresponding to the Junior Warden in the Blue Lodge, the Principal Conductor of the Work sits to the left of the Illustrious Master in the East. Just as in the Blue Lodge, the third-in-command represents Hiram Abiff, the chief Architect of King Solomon's Temple. It is interesting to note that while the Third Degree ceremony centers on Hiram Abiff, the candidate has very little interaction with this character while in the Cryptic Degrees Hiram Abiff plays a central role in the conferral by giving a very moving soliloquy. The title indicates the chief or most important guide for the physical labor and construction of an edifice. Principal comes from the Latin word "principalis" which translates to "first in importance or original." Conductor is rooted in the Latin word "conductor" meaning "one who hires or leads." Work stems from the Old English word "weorc" meaning "something done." The jewel of the Principal Conductor of the Work is a Plumb and a trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard.

As in the other Masonic bodies, the Treasurer and Recorder are the financial and administrative officers of the Council.

The senior appointed officer of the Council is the Captain of the Guard. This officer corresponds with the Senior Warden and Junior Deacon as he assists the Illustrious Master in the opening and closing of the Council, ensuring all present are Cryptic Masons, ensures the Council is guarded, and sits in the West of the Council. Etymologically the word "captain" comes from the Latin word "capitaneus" meaning "chief" which itself originated from the "caput" meaning "head." The word "guard" derives from "garder," an Old French word meaning "to keep, maintain, preserve, or protect." The jewel of the Captain of the Guard is an ax and a trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard.

Stationed in the South, is the Conductor of the Council who corresponds to the Senior Deacon and Marshal of the Blue Lodge. A conductor is a director or guide, and comes to us from Latin via Middle French from the word 'conductus' meaning "a carrier". The word "council" is rooted in the Latin word "concilium" meaning "a gathering of people." The jewel of the Conductor of the Council is two batons and a trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard.

Sitting to the right of the Captain of the Guard, the Steward sits as the inner guard of the Council and corresponds with the Junior Deacon of the Blue Lodge. 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 jewel of the Steward is two swords and a trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard.

Just as in the Blue Lodge, the Chaplain is charged with scriptural lessons to the candidate as well as other ritualistic duties during the conferral of degrees. Traditionally a Chaplain is a member of the clergy who is attached to a private chapel, organization, military unit, institution, or society. This title comes from Old French "chapelein" meaning "clergyman" deriving from the Medieval Latin word "cappellanus" meaning the same. The jewel of the Chaplain is an open Holy Bible and trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard.

The final appointed officer of the Council is the Sentinel and whose duties correspond with that of the Tyler in the Blue Lodge. The Sentinel guards the Council from without the door to ensure the Companions 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." The Sentinel is one who stands guard over some kind of structure, whether it be an installation, a gate, or a passage. It is there job to prevent intrusion by enemy or those unauthorized. The jewel of the Sentinel is is two sabers and a trowel within a hollow triangular medal that is suspended from a purple collar or lanyard.

References

1. Speidel, F. G. (1978). The York Rite of Freemasonry. Raleigh: Press of Oxford Orphanage. 

2. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymological Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php

3. Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/