Monday, October 20, 2014

‘Coming attractions’

Discussion, music, film, literature, tarot, Anthroposophy, Rosicrucianism, BOTA, history, philosophy, psychology, religion, mythology, mindfulness, morality, and more. I provide this list of upcoming events—all but two in Manhattan—gently to suggest to my Masonic brethren that it is okay to hop outside the oblong square of the lodge to enjoy other activities and meet new people. We all know already what is going to happen at your next Masonic meeting. Try something new. Some of these events are free; others are somewhat costly; all are worth a thinking adults time. Try one.

Tuesday, October 21—“Masonic Ideals: The Magic Flute” discussion at the Metropolitan Opera House. Click here.

Wednesday, October 22—“Let God in the Room: The Music and Spirituality of Jack White” is the latest evening of Ancient Currents at Aish Center’s Center for Arts Education. 7 p.m. at 266 West 37th Street, ninth floor, in Manhattan. Enter on the Eighth Avenue side. Admission is free. Pizza will be served. Click here.

If you are over forty, Jack White’s name may not mean anything, but if for no other reason than his generous rescue of the Detroit Masonic Temple from the Sheriff’s auction last year, you should know of him.

“Join Rabbi Adam Jacobs on Wednesday evening for Ancient Currents, a weekly series that explores current events and popular culture through the lens (and long memory) of classical Judaism.

Gain insight into what’s going on now in our world, and walk away with valuable lessons on how to navigate the trends and take inspiration from an old perspective on the news.

Saturday, October 25—Builders of the Adytum to meet at 10 a.m. in Masonic Hall (71 West 23rd Street, Manhattan) on the 12th floor for its monthly “The Elements in Tarot and Hebrew” study.

Saturday, October 25“Drinking from the Haunted Well: A Mystical Exploration of the Fairy Land of A.E. Waite” presented by Stuart Südekum. Catland Books in Brooklyn. $15 admission (or $7 with fairy or Victorian costume). 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Courtesy Stuart Südekum
Stuart Südekum shakes the dust from the unknown fairy stories and poetry of Arthur Edward Waite, who is remembered for his long and technical tomes of scholarly mysticism. It might surprise many to learn his work also contains a beautifully interwoven mythos of esoteric Romances set in a visionary realm of fairies.

Waite carried this secret kingdom in his heart throughout his life, even into his late, post-Golden Dawn work.

Stuart Südekum will serve as a mystical tour guide to this forgotten realm, exploring how Waites fiction, drama, and poetry can be used to better understand the challenging concepts we encounter in his non-fiction works.

A delicious tea will be served.

Saturday, October 25—The C.G. Jung Foundation will present “The Experience of the Divine/Sacred after the Death of God: Jung and the Quest for an Individuated Spirituality,” a daylong workshop (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) led by Donald R. Ferrell, Ph.D. and Joanna Mintzer, MA. 28 East 39th Street in Manhattan. Click here.

“Friedrich Nietzsche’s 19th century declaration of the Death of God has had a profound influence upon the intellectual and psycho-spiritual life of Western culture. C.G. Jung emerged from his early encounter with Nietzsche deeply aware that the dominant God image of the three great monotheisms of the West was in decline. Jung understood that with that decline the spiritual lives of Western peoples were in crisis. This workshop will explore Jung’s contribution to the quest for a spirituality brought forth from the loss of soul and the death of meaning. It will also explore post-Jungians, philosophers, and theologians who continue that quest in our time. Through presentations and discussion, we will seek to explore that essential Jungian question: What can the divine and sacred mean for us today?”

Monday, October 27—The New York Mythology Group (the NYC Roundtable of the Joseph Campbell Foundation) will meet in the Mann Library of the C.G. Jung Institute to discuss reading assignment “Archaic Man” by Dr. Jung. 28 East 39th Street in Manhattan. 6:15 to 8 p.m.

This essay is from Collected Works, Vol. 10, Civilization in Transition, from the Bollingen Series and can also be found in Modern Man in Search of a Soul.

“Primitive man is no more logical or illogical than we are. His presuppositions are not the same as ours, and that is what distinguishes him from us. His thinking and his conduct are based on assumptions other than our own. To all that is in any way out of the ordinary and that therefore disturbs, frightens, or astonishes him, he ascribes what we should call a supernatural origin. For him, of course, these things are not supernatural; on the contrary, they belong to his world of experience(s).”

C.G. Jung
Modern Man in Search of a Soul

Thursday, October 30—Anthroposophy NYC will host Mr. Owen Barfield, who will present “Reflections on My Grandfather, Owen A. Barfield.”

Owen Barfield
Owen Barfield (1898-1997) was one of the preeminent Anthroposophists of the 20th century and a well-known thinker from his university days, when he was a founding member of The Inklings—a group that included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. His History in English Words and Poetic Diction are well known to lovers of language. What Coleridge Thought did much to reveal that famous poet’s greatness as a general philosopher, and Barfield’s insights into the evolution of consciousness (see Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry) have met with considerable attention in the United States from the 1960s forward.

This evening is a presentation and open conversation with his grandson Owen A. Barfield, his trustee since 2006. Along with Owen A. Barfield’s experience growing up, and how he came to be trustee, it will cover what has happened with the literary estate and what is still to come.

Owen A. Barfield: lives near London and is a practicing oil-painter and healer.

Admission: $20 per person, but first time visitors will be admitted free. Time: 7 p.m. 138 West 15th Street in Manhattan.

November 1, 2, 7, 8, 9The New Victory Theater to stage The Magic Flute, the Masonic opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Tickets start at $15. 209 West 42nd Street, just off Times Square. From the publicity:

From the townships of South Africa, Isango Ensemble bursts onto the stage in an inspired reimagining of Mozarts masterpiece opera The Magic Flute: Impempe Yomlingo. Sung in English by an ensemble of more than two dozen vibrant voices, classic arias are enlivened with exhilarating orchestrations of merry marimbas and powerful percussion. Winner of an Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival (Young Vic, London) and a Globes de Cristal for Best Opera (Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), this fresh, fearless and fantastical production, co-produced by Eric Abraham and the Young Vic, brims with dazzling drama, crisp comedy, and the sublime joy of finding true love.

Courtesy The New Victory

New York Citys first and only full-time performing arts theater for kids, their families, and classmates, The New Victory presents a full season of adventurous multidisciplinary works from around the globe and close to home.

Sunday, November 2—“Mindfulness and Meditations in Three Faith Traditions” at the NYU Center for Spiritual Life. Click here.

Sunday, November 2“Drinking from the Haunted Well: A Mystical Exploration of the Fairy Land of A.E. Waite” presented by Stuart Südekum. Hosted by GnosticNYC at the Center for Remembering and Sharing, 123 Fourth Avenue, second floor, in Manhattan. Admission: $10 suggested donation. 2 p.m.

Scroll up to October 25 to see program details.

Friday, November 7—The Rosicrucian Order will screen a motion picture every Friday night in November and December at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center, located at 2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. 6:30 p.m. This evening: Groundhog Day, not uncommonly called “the most spiritual movie of our time.”

Courtesy Columbia Pictures Corp.

Yes, we all have seen it, but if you view this movie as just another Bill Murray comedy, you are missing the point. The late Harold Ramis, director and co-writer, had something very meaningful in mind.

Wednesday, November 12—Tarot scholar Robert M. Place to host “An Afternoon of Tarot History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art” from 2 to 4:45 p.m. In an e-mail last week, Mr. Place told me there were four (4) places remaining—cost $70 per person in advance, NOT including the cost of admission to the museum—but I don’t know where that stands now. Contact him at alchemicaltarot(at)aol(dot)com.

Queen of Flowers playing card.
The group will venture “into the back rooms of the Metropolitan Museum to look at the collection of historic Tarot and divination cards, ranging from the earliest woodcut Tarocchi, printed in 15th century Italy, to rare 19th century Le Normand divination decks. All accompanied by [Place’s] talk on the history and symbolism of the cards. This year we will also see The Queen of Flowers, created in 1435, making it one of the oldest European playing cards still in existence, and one of the oldest richly illustrated books on divination with cards, Le Sorti, published in Venice in 1540.”

Friday, November 14—The Rosicrucian Order will screen a motion picture every Friday night in November and December at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center, located at 2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. 6:30 p.m. This evening: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring.

Sunday, November 16—The School of Practical Philosophy offers the irresistible “Plato Study Day: Socrates on Trial.” 12 East 79th Street in Manhattan. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. $35 per person, which covers study materials, refreshments, catered Greek luncheon and, at four o’clock, a wine reception.

“Join us as we follow Socrates’ defense—one that is no apology at all, but a tribute to living life dedicated to the care of the soul, discovery of wisdom, and fidelity to truth. Enjoy the power of group study as we engage in a thoughtful conversation about the meaning of Socrates’ life and teachings. Reserve now, as space is limited.

No prior knowledge of Plato is required.”

Click here to register.

Friday, November 21—The Rosicrucian Order will screen a motion picture every Friday night in November and December at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center, located at 2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. 6:30 p.m. This evening: The Matrix.

Monday, November 24— The New York Mythology Group (the NYC Roundtable of the Joseph Campbell Foundation) will meet in the Mann Library of the C.G. Jung Institute to discuss reading assignment “Ancient Myths and Modern Man” by Joseph L. Henderson. 28 East 39th Street in Manhattan. 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. This is the second essay in the pages of Man and His Symbols.

Friday, November 28—The Rosicrucian Order will screen a motion picture every Friday night in November and December at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center, located at 2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. 6:30 p.m. This evening: The Last Mimzy.

Saturday, November 29—H. Spencer Lewis Pronaos of the Rosicrucian Order will host Julie Scott, Grand Master of the English Grand Lodge for the Americas at its Nutley, New Jersey meeting place (175 Chestnut Street). I will share more details when they are available.

Wednesdays, December 3, 10, and 17—Tarot historian Robert Place returns to New York City for three nights at New York Open Center to present “An Introduction to the Tarot: Guidance and Wisdom for Our Spiritual Journey.” 8 to 10 p.m. NY Open Center is located at 22 East 30th Street.

“The Tarot, ostensibly a deck of decorated cards, is in fact a symbolic system whose images express Pythagorean, Platonic and Hermetic mystical ideas. Once one grasps the Tarot’s philosophy and structure, the cards can be used as an intuitive device to connect with one’s inner wisdom. In this class we will study the symbolism of the Tarot as its Italian Renaissance creators intended, come to understand its spiritual messages, and then learn and practice techniques that develop our intuition and enable us to read the cards as messages from our Higher Self. Note: Bring a Tarot deck (Waite-Smith or one of Robert Place’s decks) and some unlined paper.”

Click here for registration info.

Saturday, December 6—The C.G. Jung Foundation will present “The Many Faces of Loneliness,” a daylong workshop (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) led by Heide M. Kolb. 28 East 39th Street in Manhattan. Click here.

“If a man knows more than others,
he becomes lonely.”
C.G. Jung

Loneliness is one of the most prevalent ailments and complaints in our time. We live in a culture that pathologizes the need for solitude while clinging to the belief that interpersonal relationships are indispensable for a fulfilled life. Yet even if we accept that the tolerance of solitude is a necessity for human development, loneliness remains a source of terrible suffering for many.

Automat by Edward Hopper, oil on canvas, 1927.

While this workshop can stand on its own, it is also a continuation of a previously offered seminar of the same title. We will continue to explore the meaning and possible purpose of loneliness through a Jungian lens. While we will never lose sight of the potentially transformative aspect of loneliness, we will particularly focus on how to make sense and how to engage the often unbearable suffering of loneliness when all seems dead and lost and nothing and no one seems to be there.

Participants are encouraged to bring a journal.

‘Winners at Jim Thorpe’

Pennsylvania Lodge of Research will meet Saturday, December 6 at Jim Thorpe Masonic Hall for presentations of papers and its installation of officers.

The lodge will open at 10 a.m. The Masonic Hall is located at 501 Center Street in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

The papers to be presented are “The Golden Fleece” by Yasser Al-Khatib, and “The Prevalence of Clandestine Masonry in the United States” by Oscar Alleyne.

50 percent rayon!
Lunch will be served. All Master Masons in good standing are welcome to attend.

I think I will attend. I bought this tie a few years ago because it kind of fits the lodge’s regalia, and I haven’t yet had the chance to wear it.

‘Masonic Week 2015’

The schedule for Masonic Week 2015 is posted here, including the link for accommodations at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia. It arrives a bit earlier this time, beginning on Wednesday, January 28.

The Masonic Society Feast and Forum still dominates the Friday dining options. MW Bro. Michael Halleran, Grand Master of Masons of Kansas and the Executive Editor of The Journal of The Masonic Society, will be our keynote speaker.

You may notice the absence of the Rosicrucians (and Knights Occidental!), as SRICF has broken away from Masonic Week and will meet in November 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky instead. Fraters, I am sure, will receive those details before long.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

‘Rose Croix Journal for 2014’

Dr. Lonnie Edwards will return to the Rosicrucian Cultural Center (2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in Manhattan) on Saturday for another Spiritual Laws discussion at 1 p.m.

Edwards is the author of Spiritual Laws that Govern Humanity and the Universe.

In other news, the new issue of Rose Croix Journal is available. Issue No. 10 features “liberal arts papers as well as scientific papers on topics of interest to Rosicrucians, including a paper summarizing the findings of a recent Sixth Degree Research Team project, the Journal continues the spirit of free philosophic inquiry that characterized the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, prominent figures in which included Rosicrucians.”

The cover art of the 2014 issue of Rose Croix Journal shows a
colorful version of 'The Temple of the Rosy Cross,' an image
dating to 1618 that bursts with symbolism and messages.

Papers include:

  • “Searching for the Cosmic Quintessence: How Alchemists Meditated in the Middle Ages and Renaissance” by Dennis Hauck, Ph.D.

  • “Preliminary Experiments on Contact Healing, Breathing Exercises, Sounds, and Their Responses” by the Sixth Degree Research Team, namely Hugh McCague, Ph.D. and Bryan Young, MD, among others.

  • “Cardiovascular Disease in the Western World—an Overlook Risk Factor” by Raymond A. Schep, D.Sc.

“Now entering its twelfth year, the Journal has established itself as a source of philosophic and esoteric literature, having recently been nominated for inclusion in a database used by research libraries across the globe,” according to the Rosicrucian Order. “Another point of interest: our team of 44 editors and staff is among the largest volunteer teams in the recent history of the Order.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

‘Anthroposophy events in NYC’

It’s been months since I last attended an event at the Anthroposophical Society of New York City, but I think I’ll be back soon. Here is a little information on two presentations in October, and a bit on some of what’s coming later in the year.

But first, let me share the new hours of the Rudolf Steiner Bookstore:
Sunday-Tuesday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The New York City Branch of the Anthroposophical Society is located at 138 West 15th Street in Manhattan.

Oh, additionally, let me share this news from the NYC Branch: “Thanks to a generous donation, first time visitors to our lectures are welcome to come as our guests. So, if you haven’t attended before, please come to a lecture, identify yourself as a first-time attendee, and enjoy the talk. If you’ve been before, invite a friend as a first-time guest. And thank you to our thoughtful donor!”

On Friday, October 24, Daniel Hafner will present “The Goetheanum Windows.” From the publicity:

Rudolf Steiner created the Goetheanum as the earthly center of the Free University for the Science of the Spirit. Its windows show experiences on the path of the spirit pupil. (At right, the center panel of the Rose Window in the South.)

Daniel Hafner, a member of the Anthroposophical Society and the School for Spiritual Science, is a priest in the Christian Community and lives in Nuremberg, Germany. He gave five very well received lectures at the recent festival and conference on Rudolf Steiner’s four mystery dramas.

Admission: $20 per person. Time: 7 p.m.

On Thursday, October 30, Owen Barfield will present “Reflections on My Grandfather, Owen A. Barfield.” From the publicity:

Owen Barfield
Owen Barfield (1898-1997) was one of the preeminent Anthroposophists of the 20th century and a well-known thinker from his university days, when he was a founding member of The Inklings—a group that included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. His History in English Words and Poetic Diction are well known to lovers of language. What Coleridge Thought did much to reveal that famous poet’s greatness as a general philosopher, and Barfield’s insights into the evolution of consciousness (see Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry) have met with considerable attention in the United States from the 1960s forward. This evening is a presentation and open conversation with his grandson Owen A. Barfield, his trustee since 2006. Along with Owen A. Barfield’s experience growing up, and how he came to be trustee, it will cover what has happened with the literary estate and what is still to come.

Owen A. Barfield: lives near London and is a practicing oil-painter and healer.

Admission: $20 per person. Time: 7 p.m.

On Saturday, December 20, from 2 to 9 p.m., Lisa Romero will conduct a Solstice Workshop titled “Lust, Lucifer, Abuse: A Challenge from the Spirit in Our Time.”

I can’t believe I’m about to write about the Holy Nights programs—it seems like only yesterday that I was attending last winter’s revelries—but from December 26 through January 5, nightly at seven o’clock, Anthroposophy NYC will host its Festival Celebration titled “The Holy Nights: From the Spirit in the Human Being to the Spirit of the Cosmos.” Last year’s Holy Nights featured lectures, music, food, and festivities, with different topics every evening, and I am only assuming similar variety is being planned for this season. Check back with The Magpie next month for the details.

In conclusion, the art exhibit underway through November at Centerpoint Gallery, inside the NYC Branch, features the work of Lani Kennefick, and is titled “Creative Forces.” Kennefick received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design in 1983, and an MFA from New York Academy of Art in 2011. She lives in Brooklyn. Check out her work here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

‘Brian Cotnoir’s Emerald Tablet’

Exciting (if you ask me) news from the book world. From the Khepri Press publicity by Mr. Brian Cotnoir, designer of these magnificent texts—

Actually, first let me tell you about the presentation Cotnoir will make Saturday night at Catland in Brooklyn. From that publicity:

Alchemy and the Workshop

Join Brian Cotnoir, author of the Weiser Concise Guide to Alchemy and upcoming new translation of the Emerald Tablet, for a discussion of the workshops role in the Alchemists practice.

Courtesy Trevor Stewart
The oratory and the laboratory, made famous in Khunraths image, is the starting point for tonights talk. Focusing on the workshop or laboratory, and drawing on two key alchemical texts, the Emerald Tablet and John of Rupescissas De Quinta Essentia, the talk will review the practices of distillation and circulation; show you how to set up a very simple, inexpensive apparatus for both processes; and extract aqua ardens from wine.

Further instructions will be given as to how to prepare the quintessence or fifth essence that, according to Rupescissa, permeates all creation.

After tonight
s talk and demonstration you will have the basic concepts to begin alchemy experimentation and a better idea of how the inner work links to the physical work.

Tickets for this event are available here.

Now back to The Emerald Tablet:

The Emerald Tablet, one of the root texts of alchemy, is a brief alchemical work attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Historically the work is part of the Hermetic corpus and seems to have the same origins as the rest of the Corpus Hermeticum. It describes the cyclic flow of all creation, the basis of alchemical practice.

The text was discovered, according to one legend, by Apollonius of Tyana. After an earthquake, a passageway opened beneath a statue that led to a subterranean chamber. Seated there was a statue of Hermes Trismegistus holding a tablet of green stone (smaragda) engraved with the text of what is now known as the Emerald Tablet. The earliest known surviving texts are attributed to Apollonius of Tyana and it is the Arabic and Latin versions that are considered in this new work.

This is a collection of new translations of the earliest extant Arabic and Latin versions with essay and commentary.

It is a distillation of the chapter on the Emerald Tablet in my forthcoming book Alchemy: The Poetry of Matter. There I present a more complete discussion, analysis and experimentation. Here I present it as a Hermetic work of art – a talismanic book in form, function and result. The Emerald Tablet is not only a fresh contribution to alchemical studies, it is also an example of book art at its finest.

Drawing on the elements of Islamic and Western sacred geometry in their design, the two cover emblems visually indicate the Arabic side and the Latin side of the book. The Latin text is a 12th century translation of the 9th century Arabic text, and they are presented side-by-side with their respective English translations. The accordion book format has the texts and translations on one side, allowing for comparison readings of The Emerald Tablet. On the reverse side is the commentary and brief analysis by Brian Cotnoir. The overall design and typesetting from case to cover to page to word to letter evolved from the same Hermetic principles and follows from these same geometries.

Designed by Brian Cotnoir. Typeset by Lara Captan – English and Latin in Seria and Seria Sans by Martin Majoor; the Arabic in DecoType Naskh by Thomas Milo and Mirjam Somers. Letterpress printed by Roni Gross on Magnani book paper with marbled end sheets. Cover Emblem Designs by Daud Sutton. Bound by Biruta Auna. Polymer plates by Boxcar Press. Brian Cotnoir, author of Alchemy: A Weiser’s Concise Guide, is an independent scholar, researcher, and artist who has written on alchemy and presented seminars and workshops around the world on various aspects of the art.

29 copies Limited Edition Leather Bound in Red Moroccan goat leather
with hot stamping 23k gold: $850.

71 copies Limited Edition Cloth Bound Green Silk
with hot stamping 23k gold: $600.

All copies numbered and signed by author. To be available this fall. To order, write to: info(at)

Speaking of Catland, Cotnoir will appear there October 18 for a book release celebration, with a talk and a reception, from 7 to 9 p.m. Click here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

‘Open House at Masonic Hall’

Magpie file photo
Masonic Hall, headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, again will be among the locations participating in Open House New York. The city-wide celebration of architecture and other cultural essentials is in its twelfth year; events will take place this weekend. Click here for the list of sights to see.

Masonic Hall, which regularly runs tours anyway, will be accessible Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The address is 71 West 23rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, in Manhattan. Guides will lead visitors to all thirteen meeting rooms.

I’ve been attending meetings at Masonic Hall since, I think, 2002, and I don’t believe I’ve even seen all those rooms yet. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

‘Yesterday, today, and tomorrow in the new Journal’

Issue No. 25 of The Journal of The Masonic Society is reaching members’ mailboxes now, so here is my latest reminder to you to join the Society and start enjoying the benefits of being part of a dynamic Masonic fraternity that thinks highly enough of you to publish the best magazine in the English-speaking Masonic world.

Of course I cannot be unbiased.

In this issue of The Journal:

In “Worthy of Being Worn: The Importance of Masonic Regalia,” Patrick Craddock—a one-man cottage industry in the design and manufacture of Masonic aprons and other textiles—renders an illustrated history of the evolution of what we call “the badge of a Mason.” Patrick, whose apron enterprise has been so successful he has been able to make it his livelihood, explains the artistry and industry of 19th century aprons, and takes us to the present day with the importance the “Observant Mason” assigns to this highly personal ritual garment.

In his “From the Editor” Column, our Executive Editor, Michael Halleran, who happens to be Grand Master of Kansas in his spare time, suggests “colonization” be employed to save struggling lodges that are short on manpower. In colonization, participating brethren of nearby lodges petition for affiliation in the troubled lodge “with the express purpose of revitalizing it.” Once elected to this plural membership, the “colonists” take up the labors of remedying the problems the lodge faces. It won’t work in every case, Halleran concedes, but it can be a more attractive option than consolidation or, naturally, going dark.

Checking in from Down Under, Kent Henderson brings us up to date on “How Masonic Education Has Transformed Freemasonry in Australia,” in which he notes real life examples of how the Craft there made candidate comprehension of Masonic ritual and symbol key to his advancement to the next degree. Not sweaty haste to push through as many as possible to prop up lodges with fresh blood—which we all know does not work—but instead thoughtful instruction and measured progress. Kent knows about such things. If you are keen on these European Concept and Traditional Observance movements, you owe Ken and his brethren at Lodge Epicurean a round of drinks, because they pioneered it all at the close of the last century. Get the magazine to read exactly how man-made miracles are wrought in the Land of Oz.

Speaking of Masonic education, those of us who may not be able to visit San Francisco any time soon have the benefit of hearing from Adam Kendall, Collections Manager and Curator of Exhibits at the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum at the Grand Lodge of California, for his highlight of the upcoming exhibition there titled “The Masonic Art of Education.” This will showcase historic tracing boards, modern tracing boards painted by Angel Millar, floor cloths, Magic Lantern images, and other visual arts the fraternity has embraced over the centuries to explain this thing of ours to initiates.

And speaking of timeless customs, author John Bizzack of Kentucky remembers “Nine Lost Traditions in Freemasonry,” in which he guides us through elements of lodge life that recall a much larger time. Some of these you may have seen (Chain of Union); some you may have heard of (Purging the Lodge); and others may be news to you.

In the back of the book, José O. Diaz of Ohio State University leads us on a tour of the library of Lancaster Lodge No. 57 in Ohio. This ain’t some locked barrister bookcase of untouched 100-year-old Mackey books. Lancaster Lodge’s library has survived inundations and conflagrations to pass to posterity its treasures, and Diaz tells a most inspiring story.

Throughout the pages, this issue of The Journal delivers Letters to the Editor, Book Reviews, Masonic Collectibles by Yasha Beresiner, and other attractions that make The Journal of The Masonic Society the most accessible periodical you’ll find. Membership in the Society confers much more than the quarterly Journal. Check us out. Everybody says it’s the best $39 you’ll spend in Masonry.

Friday, September 26, 2014

‘Fill in the blanks’

(With apologies to Time Out.)

Masonic lodges in the Northern Hemisphere have resumed their labors after the summer refreshment, so we again are mindful of lodge life. I wonder if anyone would care to fill in these blanks:

The perfect lodge has __________, __________, and __________... and definitely is __________!

Not a ploy to draw comments, I promise. I’m truly interested in hearing. Please feel free to reply in the comments section below. If you prefer to remain anonymous, just say so, and I’ll publish your answers without identifying you.

I intended to post this several years ago, so I will make it a new edition of Flashback Friday.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

‘This wreath of cypress, this garland of roses’

Even as the acacia bends before the tempest, and falls into the waters that murmur at its feet, so has fallen our beloved brother. The widow’s son has forever left this sublunary sphere. Sorrow darkens our countenances, and our eyes are dimmed with tears for we have lost our brightest Light. The Masters are plunged in sorrow; the workmen lament; and even among the profane the voice of grief is heard. Our brother is no more.

Funeral Ceremony worked under the Patriarch Grand Eulogist Degree (23°), but publicly, by a Grand Council in the Antient & Primitive Rite of Masonry of the United Kingdom c.1875. Published in 2003 by the Grand College of Rites as Volume 18, Part I as Statutes, Public Ceremonials and History of the Antient & Primitive Rite of Masonry.

I just received the sad news of the passing last night of Most Illustrious Lawrence “Lonnie” Jolma, Grand Chancellor of the Grand College of Rites.

M.I. Lonnie Jolma in 2013.

I cannot say I knew him well, but he certainly was a familiar and friendly face about the apartments of Masonic Week. In addition to presiding over the GCR since February, Lonnie was a presence in other fraternities that gather in Virginia every winter. He also served importantly in the Templars, the Cryptic Rite (MIGM of Washington, DC in 2008), and I don’t doubt elsewhere. He was a Past Master of Potomac Lodge No. 5 in DC. He was among the first to become a member of The Masonic Society, which is meaningful to me. Lonnie Jolma was an FBI agent—and looked like one too!

The Grand College’s altar will be draped in black when we’ll meet January 31. Again from the Antient & Primitive 23° funerary rite:

Courtesy GL of BC&Y
I now place on our Brother’s Tomb this wreath of cypress, emblem not only of death, but of eternity. We must banish from our minds the morbid feelings that make us shrink from everything denoting the great change awaiting all. We must teach ourselves to look with calmness on the emblems of mortality, to prove that we are superior to the childish prejudices of the uninitiated, and that when the Ceremonies of this sacred Rite demand it, we can conquer any repugnance to what seems, but is not, painful and revolting. This has a moral, teaching also: All that live must die, passing from nature to eternity.

This garland of Roses, which I now place on the tomb is an emblem of life eternal.

All teach the same great lesson: life in death, and death in life—succeeding to all eternity.

Friday, September 19, 2014

‘A Scots Lodge in England’

RW Trevor Stewart presenting the 2011
Wendell K. Walker Lecture at The Players.
With results of Scotland’s plebiscite expected momentarily, and having just gotten home from The Old Lodge, the Wendell K. Walker Lecture of 2011 is an apt choice for today’s Flashback Friday. None other than RW Bro. Trevor Stewart was chosen to present the lecture to Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2, highlighting a great evening at The Players. I just wish I could remember what he said.

The lecture is an annual tradition, and this one was part of the 250th anniversary celebration of “Old Number 2.” It is named for a notable figure in the world of Masonic learning. MW Bro. Walker was one of the forces who made the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library the world renowned institution we know today, and who helped launch The American Lodge of Research in 1931. And what better lecturer to bring to the podium than Trevor? The then Right Worshipful Master of Sir Robert Moray Lodge No. 1641 in Edinburgh is no stranger to the First Manhattan District. He came, as he phrased it, “to make announcements of small discoveries that I have made that make a contribution.”

Unfortunately, that quotation is the extent of my notes from the night of March 24, 2011 to have survived to this day, and I have that little notebook page thanks only to a phone number on the back, although I don’t know now whose number it is. So I apologize for this anti-climactic conclusion, but all I remember for certain is that Trevor told us how Robert Moray’s initiation into Freemasonry not only predates Elias Ashmole’s by almost six years, but also that the event bears the bizarre significance of it being the work of a Scottish military Masonic lodge at labor on English soil at Newcastle, while the Scottish army was besieging that city. There were other very odd circumstances at work, but I cannot remember with any accuracy what Trevor shared with us. That’s no reflection on Trevor’s research or delivery, of course, but simply is my own failing. (Trevor, if you happen to see this and care to e-mail me your lecture, I’d love to share its salient details here.)

So, on that disappointing note, have a nice weekend. Oh, the 2015 Wendell K. Walker Memorial Lecture is scheduled for Thursday, March 19. Details TBA.

The other memorable event that evening was the arrival of New York's Bravest, prompted by the accidental triggering of the establishment's fire alarm. Sadly, The Players had to kick us out and lock up for the night, by order of the Fire Marshal. There's Trevor in the foreground, trying, I think, to use his considerable powers of persuasion to keep the party going.

Friday, September 12, 2014

‘Esoteric Grand Central’

Obscura Society New York wants you to take a walk. With author Mitch Horowitz. Through Grand Central Terminal to see the esoteric clues in its design and décor.

Magpie file photo
Mercury atop Grand Central Terminal.

The New York chapter of the Atlas Obscura Society, a group that unites those who are curious enough about cultural oddities and occult landmarks to actually visit and tour them, has a 90-minute walking tour of Grand Central Terminal planned for next month. From the publicity:

Occult Grand Central
Friday, October 10
Noon to 1:30
Meet at 11:50 on the southeast corner
of Park Avenue and East 41st Street

Every day thousands of travelers gaze in wonder at Grand Central Terminal’s vast zodiac ceiling and the figure of Mercury towering over Park Avenue, but few ever grasp their true significance.

After this tour you’ll understand the real meaning behind these and other cornerstones of Grand Central’s design. Indeed, this crowning edifice of the Beaux-Arts architectural movement can only be fully understood by appreciating the occult themes encrypted within its appearance.

In this lively and intellectually substantive journey, writer and historian Mitch Horowitz, whose occult walking tours have been called a “can’t-miss event” by Time Out, reveals the esoteric imagery and backstory of Grand Central’s design, including the station’s colossal exterior monuments, its interior symbols and insignias, and how its appearance shaped the gothic look and feel of midtown Manhattan. The tour also features wonderful stories of the Vanderbilt family, who oversaw the making of Grand Central, and explores the occult atmosphere of the late Victorian and Edwardian age.

Magpie file photo
Mitch Horowitz at Quest,
January 2014.
Horowitz, a modern day, nonfiction Rod Serling, has a passion for mysteries surpassed only by his desire to uncover the truth. Mitch is a PEN Award-winning historian and an acclaimed writer and speaker on alternative spirituality. The Washington Post says Mitch “treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.” Mitch has written on everything from the war on witches to the secret life of Ronald Reagan for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Salon,,, and Boing Boing. He has discussed esoteric spirituality on CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, NPR’s All Things Considered, The Montel Williams Show, Coast to Coast AM, and virtually every cable network. Mitch is the author of Occult America and One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, and is vice president and editor-in-chief at Tarcher/Penguin.