Wednesday, July 19, 2017

‘Stories that Can Change Your Life’

There is one more evening on the calendar at the School of Practical Philosophy for the Summer Stories Program, “Stories that Can Change Your Life.”

From the publicity:

Summer Stories Program
Tuesday, August 29 at 7 p.m.
School of Practical Philosophy
12 East 79th Street, Manhattan
$20 per person, click here

“The Universe is made of stories, not atoms.”
 - Muriel Rukeyser

We often hear the phrase “You are not your story!” and with just a little reflection we know that it is true. Yet, stories can also point the way to self-knowledge and bear witness to acts of heroism, transformation, and true love. They can awaken the desire for knowledge and truth, arouse the sleeping giants within us and, perhaps most important, make us laugh at our foolish antics and grandiosities. In fact, with an attentive heart, hearing stories can change your life.

Please join us for tales of the great masters that provide humor, direction, and good company for the journey.

Friends and family are welcome.

Tickets are $20, which include refreshments, and are available online at our website and in the Registration Office. You may register here. Special Events tend to sell out quickly, so it is suggested that you register well in advance to secure a seat.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

‘Consolidated lectures this fall’

Courtesy Consolidated 31
Consolidated Lodge 31, of the First Manhattan District, has two star guest lecturers coming in the fall to help the brethren make their advancement in Masonic knowledge.

On Friday, October 20, RW Curtis Alan Banks will take to the lectern to present “Whence Came You?” specially for the lodge’s Youngest Entered Apprentices. Bro. Banks hails from historic Allied Lodge 1170, and he is soon to become the M.I. Grand Master of the Cryptic Rite in New York.

On Friday, November 17, the one, the only RW Rashied Bey of Cornerstone Lodge 37, of the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York, will deliver a lecture on the history of Prince Hall Freemasonry.

In addition, on Friday, September 15, RW Moises Gomez, of Atlas-Pythagoras Lodge 10 in New Jersey, will present his highly sought talk on his experiences during the events of September 11, 2001. “Remembrance: My 9/11 Experience” recounts Gomez’s labors as a Port Authority Emergency Service Unit sergeant on the day our world changed forever.

Masonic Hall is located at 71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan. Photo ID is required to enter the building. Be prepared to work your way into a Masonic lodge.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

‘A home run of a lecture in two weeks’

Want to know about Freemasonry and baseball? (What, did you not read The Philalethes from 1985 to 2009?) Come to the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library in New York City in two weeks for a home run lecture on the subject. From the publicity:

Baseball and Freemasonry
A Lecture by RW Cary S. Cohn
Thursday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Masonic Hall, 14th floor
71 West 23rd Street, Manhattan
RSVP here

The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York is proud to welcome RW Cary S. Cohn to present a lecture on the history of baseball, and its connections with Freemasonry. Having recently penned an article for Empire State Mason about Freemasons who were members in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, RW Cohn will discuss the various baseball eras and other Masonic connections he found during his research.

RW Cohn has previously served as the Master of Maimonides-Marshall Lodge No. 739, as well as District Deputy Grand Master. Today, he is the Chairman of the Masonic Youth Committee. His involvement in baseball includes playing on the vintage baseball team Mineola Washingtons, which requires playing hardball by the 1864 rules without gloves. Additionally, Cohn serves on the Board of Directors for Stan Musial Baseball League and coaches a men’s baseball league and little league.

Come wearing a baseball hat to represent your team!

We serve white wine and water at our lectures.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

‘Peerless Piers to appear at Phoenix Lodge’

Piers Vaughan is on the road, and will visit New Hampshire’s Observant lodge next month for a reading from his most recent book. From the publicity:

Friday, August 11
7 p.m.
Phoenix Lodge 105
At Tilton Masonic Lodge
410 West Main Street
Tilton, New Hampshire

RW Piers Vaughan will read “Alchemy in Freemasonry” from his latest book Renaissance Man & Mason.

Agape to follow. Reservations are required. Click here.

Do visit Phoenix’s website to learn about the proper way of visiting this unique lodge. Have a great time! Wish I could be there.

Keep up with Piers via his blog here, and listen to the inaugural podcast.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

‘Journal 37 is a gem’


It’s been out for several weeks actually. The Journal of the Masonic Society No. 37 for Summer 2017 hit members’ mailboxes right around the Summer Solstice, so I’m late in catching up on The Magpie.

With a gorgeous shot of the East of Norman Hall in the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia on the front cover—that building never takes a bad photo—and a close-up of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s George Washington Apron on the back, these bookends enclose more than half a dozen explorations of the meaning of Masonry.

To join The Masonic Society, click here. Members receive four issues of The Journal per year, and enjoy full access to the superlative Masonic on-line discussion forum (if you can pull yourself away from Facebook) of international reach. In addition, our famous parchment patent with hand-pressed red wax seal memorializes your member status in a way you’ll want framed and hung on your wall. And those are just the material benefits of being with us. Learning more about your Craft in the company of like-minded Freemasons is the true point of it all.

In his President’s Message, Ken Davis imparts Part II of his advice on how to conduct Masonic research. I won’t give it all away, but one point I think is key is—his words— “Build a crap-detector.” (I call it a bullshit detector, but this is a family blog.)

When reading about Freemasonry, or anything really, consider the author’s credentials and qualifications. Look into the publisher. What other titles has it released? Is this material recent enough to be valuable currently? Scrutinize the sources. Are they reliable? Beware of academia. Sometimes reliable sources can be biased too. And, most importantly to me, distinguish between myth and history. I don’t know how many sensible and educated men in this fraternity believe the medieval Knights Templar were this merry band of mystic archaeologists who evolved into Freemasonry, but that’s a lecture for another day.

In every issue, we welcome the new members of the Society. Thirty-five are listed this time, including Brer Josh Heller of Pennsylvania! Josh is co-founder of Masonic Light, which marked its 17th anniversary exactly two months ago. I forgot to write about that. Amazingly, Josh and I have never met. I’m going to have to sneak up on him at one of his gigs one night. He plays the guitar in a rock and roll band. Welcome to TMS, Josh!

In his editorial, Editor in Chief Michael Poll tells of “The Domino Effect” that occurs when Masons labor together. The results can be the desired positive effect or can be unwanted negativity. It depends. Read his thoughtful—and I would say Rosicrucian-inspired—message on Page 10.

Turn the page and find a timely piece by Brent Morris titled “Albert Pike and the Ku Klux Klan.” In just a couple of hundred words, Morris challenges the highly flawed old sources that have been recycled over the decades to claim Pike was a member or even senior officer of the Klan.

I call this timely because it was only a month ago, on June 6, that National Review stupidly published an article by Edward Condon titled “The KKK Is Not the Christian ISIS: The Klan’s Hateful Theatrics and Symbolism Are Rooted Not in Christianity but in Freemasonry.” In this, Condon repeats the libel and goes even further, saying:

Pike was not recruited for his military savvy, however. He came into the Klan through his position as Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry’s southern jurisdiction. Pike’s 800-page Masonic catechism, Morals and Dogma, and his time as Grand Commander were major factors in setting the ritual and philosophical tone for the higher degrees of American Freemasonry; it was this experience and authority that had the Klan knocking at his door as they looked to give their ragbag insurgency some ritualistic credibility and intimidating theatrics.

(I used to be a longtime subscriber to this magazine. I’m glad I’m not any longer, and not just for this reason. Fortunately, Art de Hoyos responded immediately with an informative and correcting letter to the editor, but I don’t know if it had any effect.)

Meanwhile here on planet Earth, Brent Morris explains there are but two published claims of Pike being with the Klan. Both are from the early 20th century (as in after Pike’s death, when he could not reply to them) and both are unsubstantiated and so shaky that no reputable historian should rely on them.

Clay Anderson of St. Paul Lodge 3 in Minnesota gives us “Mozart, Masonry and the Magic Flute” which contextualizes the history of the Austrian world outside the temple at the time Mozart composed his Masonic opera, and also explains the Continental way of Masonic initiation that the composer experienced. If you wonder what is so Masonic about this piece of music, read this article.

Mike Poll is back, this time on Page 22, with an interview of Art de Hoyos, Bob Davis, and Shane Harshbarger of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction. Here all four collaborate on explaining why a Master Mason should consider the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for his future. (To be clear, it is the Southern Jurisdiction being discussed, and not the other jurisdiction.) Excerpted:

Arturo de Hoyos: “The Scottish Rite, perhaps more than any other Masonic system in the United States, presents a wider tapestry of Masonic philosophy… As I studied it, I realized that the Rite was not just pomp, not empty ceremonial, but a system which labors to fill the promise to provide ‘more light in Masonry.’ Many people don’t realize that the Scottish Rite is the most popular form of Masonry on the planet. Its Craft degrees are conferred in more countries of the world than any other version. Being a Scottish Rite Mason also gives me the opportunity to teach Masons about Masonry. If the Blue Lodge is like an undergraduate degree, the Scottish Rite is like a post-graduate degree. We simply learn more—and the stuff is pretty cool.”

Robert Davis: “The value of the Rite’s teachings is wholly embedded in the rituals of the degrees. And that value exponentially increases in proportion to the number of degrees which are presented to its members. Taken as a whole, the instruction of the Rite carries out six major historical themes in Freemasonry, along with four essential quests of the journey to mature masculinity. These themes and quests have to do with awakening consciousness within oneself. This is one of the most difficult challenges for most men. Yet, it is what makes Freemasonry a transformative art. For men, life needs to be seen as a journey. The Scottish Rite is built on the clear understanding that men need to be engaged in their own quest for self-improvement. The greatest value of the Scottish Rite is that it facilitates this fundamental psychological need in men.”

Shane Harshbarger: “Scottish Rite and Craft Masonry are so intertwined and linked that to speak of one without the other isn’t possible. In a general sense, I see Scottish Rite and Freemasonry continuing to decline in membership as a percentage of total population. Yet, I am not convinced that we need to fear this. We simply need to plan for the challenges that come with this reality. Conversely, I believe Freemasonry and Scottish Rite will always exist. There is no possibility of it dying out or disappearing. There will always be men who are looking for what Masonry and Scottish Rite offer. It is our job to ensure that when a man joins, he receives the experience that we promise to him. Masons need to do Masonry and be Masons… The future of Scottish Rite for me rests on Valleys that have social functions, perform and utilize all 29 degrees, and have continuing Scottish Rite education. There is more Scottish Rite than any Valley can do in a year, five years, or ten years, but we must be organic.”

There is a great deal more to this three-way interview. Get The Journal.

In book reviews, the great Chuck Dunning’s new Contemplative Masonry (that has yet another photo from the Philadelphia Masonic Temple on its cover!) is defined by reviewer Christian M. Christensen as “an extremely important and useful book for the brothers seeking to either get started or deepen their contemplative practices.” Meanwhile Tyler Anderson explains why The Ten Books of Architecture (actually a single volume summary of it) by Vitruvius is important to Freemasons and Masonic ritual.

In the back of the book, we have Brett Laird Doyle, a Full Member of Texas Lodge of Research, with “Captain Peter F. Tumlinson: Texas Ranger, San Jacinto Hero and Freemason.” This is a sterling example of why Masonic researchers today ought to concentrate on the Masonic history/biography in their own backyards. Your local research lodge, wherever you are, does not need more “papers” that deliver shallow understandings of broad historical topics that have been defined expertly by the authors we read already. Follow Doyle’s lead here, and bring to light the life of a brother Mason. Or a lodge history. Something significant to your locality.

John Hairston returns to The Journal with more remarkable details from the story of Prince Hall Freemasonry, this time with previously overlooked proof of the existence of Mark and Past Master degrees as conferred by African Lodge in the early 19th century. He’s not lost in arcana here. This is really cool research that shows how old archives can yield new understandings of the way we were.

There is much more to this issue of The Journal, but I’m at 1,600 words already and I doubt anyone is still reading. Join The Masonic Society now and improve your life immeasurably!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

‘MLMA Rhode Island plans’

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Masonic Library and Museum Association is coming into focus. This will take place at the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island during the last weekend of September.

If you are a member of the MLMA, you’ll receive the registration information soon, if you haven’t already. If you are not a member of the MLMA, there is a registration fee of just $80.

Some of the offsite attractions awaiting us are tours of the Providence Athenaeum, John Hay Library (Brown University), Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport Tower, and various dinners. The library tours never disappoint. The hosts usually unearth from their archives most rare and amazing Masonic treasures and other historic artifacts. Cannot wait to see what will be revealed to us this time!

Check it out here, and be sure to scroll down to read the abstracts of the fascinating presentations planned. (I’m dying to hear about H.P. Lovecraft!)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

‘Guggenheim to exhibit Symbolist art of the Rose+Croix salons’

Here is an edition of The Magpie Mason from nine months ago. The exhibit will open tomorrow.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will present about 40 works of Symbolist art first presented in fin de siècle Paris in Sar Péladan’s annual Rosicrucian salons. Péladan founded his own idiomatic system of Rosicrucian thought (don’t we all), and the art he cultivated in his Rose+Croix salons drew deeply from Christianity and Greek mythology, among other sources, to breathe some shock and awe spirituality into the Paris art scene, which was dominated by Realism at that time.

The exhibit will be open from June 30 through October 4, 2017. Then the collection will go to Venice to be shown in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection from October 27, 2017 through January 7, 2018.

From the publicity:

Mystical Symbolism:
The Salon de la Rose+Croix
in Paris, 1892-1897

In 1892, Joséphin Péladan (1859-1918), a Rosicrucian, self-proclaimed high priest of the occult, author, and critic, organized the first Salon de la Rose+Croix. This annual exhibition in Paris showcased mystical Symbolist art, particularly a hermetic, numinous vein of Symbolism that was favored by Péladan and dominant during the 1890s, a time when religious and occult practices often intertwined. Mysterious, visionary, and mythical subjects, often drawn from literary sources, prevailed in the art at the salons.

Orpheus Death by Jean Delville, 1893.

Images of femmes fragiles and fatales, androgynous creatures, chimeras, and incubi were the norm, as were sinuous lines, attenuated figures, and anti-naturalistic forms. Cosmopolitan in reach, the salons featured artists from Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland, such as Antoine Bourdelle, Jean Delville, Rogelio de Egusquiza, Charles Filiger, Ferdinand Hodler, Fernand Khnopff, Alphonse Osbert, Armand Point, Gaetano Previati, Georges Rouault, Carlos Schwabe, Alexandre Séon, Jan Toorop, Ville Vallgren, and Félix Vallotton.

“Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892-1897” will capture a fascinating, transnational cross section of artists—some well known, others less so—and invite a fresh look at and new scholarship on late 19th century Symbolist art. Organized by Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, with the assistance of Ylinka Barotto, Curatorial Assistant, “Mystical Symbolism” will feature about 40 works culled from the six Salon de la Rose+Croix exhibitions, as well as pertinent historical documents. A musical component with pieces by Erik Satie and others will complement the presentation and underscore how composers played key roles in the development of the movement. The exhibition will highlight central artworks shown at each salon in order to tease out themes such as the role of Orpheus, the adulation of the Primitives, and the cult of personality that developed around figures including Richard Wagner and Péladan himself. These carefully chosen works and groupings, in turn, will allow for an in-depth exploration of the diverse and sometimes opposing concepts that informed Symbolism in the 1890s.

A fully illustrated catalogue will comprise essays on the salon and its main themes (Greene); the contemporary reception of the salon (Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond, independent scholar); and the connections between Symbolists tenets and those of early 20th century avant-garde artists (Kenneth Silver, Professor of Art History, New York University). It will also contain a selected bibliography and artist entries authored by emerging scholars.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

‘If we’re all pretty lucky, we’ll wind up in Kentucky’

It is just about two months away. The Masonic Society’s 2017 Conference in Lexington, Kentucky awaits you September 7 through 10. An amazing group of speakers will discuss “Centuries of American Freemasonry: 1717-2017, Our Past, Our Present, Our Future.

This brochure tells the tale. Click here to register. Click here for hotel accommodations.

 Click to enlarge.

Congratulations to John Bizzack for putting this together! I believe this event will become the benchmark for future TMS conferences. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

'The Magic Flute on the radio today'

I really wish I had something profound and original to write today on this 300th anniversary of the public debut in London of Freemasonry's first Grand Lodge of England, but I do not. (I had submitted a brief historical essay on the subject to the New York Times' Op-Ed Page, but to no avail.)

But here is some news from WQXR: the classical music radio station (formerly owned by the Times) will broadcast Mozart's Masonic opera The Magic Flute at 1 p.m. in its "Saturday at the Opera" series. This is the Lyric Opera of Chicago production.

Coincidence or international Masonic conspiracy? You decide!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

‘The Persecution of Freemasonry’

Magpie file photo
For the first time in a long time, a brother Freemason will present a lecture on Freemasonry at Fraunces Tavern. (I think I was the last one to do so, and that was more than five years ago. Although that was upstairs in the museum.)

Bro. Christopher Maldanado, of Continental Lodge 287 in the Fifth Manhattan District, will discuss “The Persecution of Freemasonry in a Global and Historical Context” on Friday, July 7. Cocktails at six and the program will begin at seven o’clock.

Fraunces of course is located at 54 Pearl Street. Cost per person is only $65, which covers your dinner, wine/beer, soft drinks, and the gratuity.

The event is open to all Masons and to those interested in joining a Masonic lodge. Seating is limited, so your reservation is required no later than June 30. Click here to do that.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

‘Freemasonry and the Underground Railroad’

Upcoming lecture. From the publicity:

Moises Gomez
The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York will welcome RW Moises Gomez, Past Master of Atlas-Pythagoras Lodge 10 in New Jersey, to present a lecture on “Freemasonry and the Underground Railroad.” Thursday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Masonic Hall (71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan).

Through this lecture, Gomez plans to construe the evolution of the Abolitionist movement and its relationship with Freemasonry. In addition to discussing the Abolitionist movement, he will speak about the role that Prince Hall Freemasons played in their struggle to achieve justice, freedom, and equality for all.

Gomez has presided over six Masonic bodies and has membership in more than 30 Masonic organizations, research groups, and societies, such as SRICF, AASR, York Rite, Red Cross of Constantine, Athelstan, and National Sojourners and Operatives. He is the chairman of the annual Allied Masonic Degrees Masonic Week in Virginia, and is a past Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.

Seating is limited, so please RSVP here. Photo ID is required to enter Masonic Hall.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

‘EAº with Rosicrucian elements next Tuesday’

The Empire State Building no doubt will be illuminated in the blue, white, and red of the Tricolour when l’Union Française No. 17–this is J.J.J. Gourgas’ lodge and the oldest lodge in the Tenth Manhattan District–will confer the Entered Apprentice Degree on four candidates, in ritual descendant from the French Rite, with purification elements of Rosicrucian origin kept alive since 1797.

This is where Garibaldi Lodge’s EA° comes from.

Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m.
Masonic Hall
71 West 23rd Street, Manhattan
French Doric Room, tenth floor

The degree will begin at 6:45, after which no one will be admitted.

The Tenth Manhattan is home to the lodges permitted to work exotic Craft degrees in French, Italian, and Spanish (and maybe other tongues).

Photo ID is required to enter Masonic Hall, and your current membership card is required to work your way into the lodge room. Bring your apron too. The brethren will retire to a nearby restaurant afterward ($50 per person, cash only).

Monday, June 12, 2017

‘A little Masonic music at Mostly Mozart’

Lincoln Center’s annual Mostly Mozart program will begin July 25, and it won’t take long to get into the Masonic material. On Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, led by Conductor Edward Gardner, will deliver a performance of Mozart’s, Beethoven’s, and Schubert’s music. From the publicity:

Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert
July 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.
David Geffen Hall
Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra
Edward Gardner, conductor
Jeremy Denk, piano

“Luminous atmosphere and edge-of-the-seat excitement.”
The Times (U.K.) on Edward Gardner

“Irrepressibly charismatic...a joy to watch.”
New York Times on Jeremy Denk

Maestro Edward Gardner’s “powerful, impassioned conducting” (Seattle Times) finds its match in the “irrepressibly charismatic” pianist Jeremy Denk (New York Times) in a program that moves from dark to light. Mozart’s austere work, composed for his fellow Freemasons, and Beethoven’s supremely lyrical concerto give way to a sunlit Schubert finale.

Mozart: Masonic Funeral Music

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

Schubert: Symphony No. 5

Click here for more festival information. Click here for tickets to either of these concerts.

There will be pre-concert recitals (Shubert: Introduction and Variations on Trockne Blumen for flute and piano) by Jasmine Choi, flute; and Roman Rabinovich, piano at 6:30.

According to the indispensible website of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon:

Mozart’s Masonic music falls into three broad categories:

  • music he wrote specifically for the lodge;
  • music intended for the public but built on Masonic themes; and
  • music he wrote for other purposes, but which was adapted, either by himself or others, for Masonic use.

K.477 Maurerische Trauermusik (Masonic Funeral Music). Composed in Vienna on 10 November 1785 for a Lodge of Sorrows held by Lodge Crowned Hope a week later for the funerals of Bro. Georg August, Duke of Mecklenburg-Streletz and Bro. Franz, Count Esterhazy of Galantha.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

‘Angel Millar speaking dates’


Angel Millar will be on the road this month. From the publicity:

I will be giving a couple of talks over the next couple of weekends. I believe both events are restricted to Freemasons only, but if you are a member, and you’re in the area, and interested to come along, it would be great to meet you.

The first of the two talks will be in Keyport, New Jersey, on Saturday, June 17. There, the Scottish Rite Knights of St. Andrew will be holding their statewide gathering. The subject of my talk will be “Freemasonry: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century.”

The following week, on Saturday, June 24, I will be speaking at the “300: Freemasonry’s Legacy, Freemasonry’s Future” event, hosted by The Masonic Roundtable podcast. The event will be held at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. I will be talking about “Terrorism and Anti-Masonry” — and looking at some possibilities to overcome this, as well.

Other talks on the 24th will include “A Brief History of the UGLE” by Mike Hambrecht, “A Craftsman’s Journey” by Steven L. Harrison, and “Freemasonry’s Future” by Juan Sepúlveda. There will also be discussion group sessions and refreshments, among other things.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the events, especially meeting new friends, seeing some familiar faces, and getting to see a little of America that I may not have seen before, or, at least, much of before.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

‘On the Digital Square’

The Digital Square Club of New York will meet again at Grand Lodge’s St. John’s festivities at Utica. Very valuable instruction to be gained.


‘Andrew Hammer to visit Inspiratus’

Andrew Hammer, president of the Masonic Restoration Foundation, will return to New Jersey next month to visit the area’s Observant lodge, Inspiratus 357, in Lyndhurst. The flier has all the info:

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

‘Tuesday morning news’

Magpie coverage of the stellar lecture on Plato’s Divided Line at the School of Practical Philosophy Saturday night is still to come, but in the meantime I just want to throw out some news briefs from the past few days.

First up, let’s all congratulate Adam Kendall on his election to membership in Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076! Amazing! (This isn’t the Correspondence Circle. This is the actual lodge—“the premiere lodge of Masonic research in the world,” etc., etc.)

I bet he doesn’t even read The Magpie Mason anymore, but that’s okay. Once you attain such exalted heights, everything changes. So I am told.

Courtesy @davisshaver
‘The Bond’

On Saturday, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania unveiled a pair of bronze statues of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin on the sidewalk outside its headquarters Masonic Temple in Philadelphia. Named “The Bond,” they depict Washington showing his Masonic apron, that he received as a gift from Lafayette, to Franklin. The actual apron is exhibited inside the building, in the museum. The statues themselves are a gift from Shekinah-Fernwood Lodge 246, which meets in the Temple. They are the creation of James West. Check out his most impressive website here.

Courtesy Ashmolean Museum

Sunday night I wrote a short essay on the early history of Freemasonry that might be published somewhere, and I included not only the inevitable mention of Elias Ashmole and his initiation into the fraternity in 1646, but also mentioned his bequest that created Oxford University’s museum of art and archaeology, the Ashmolean. And just by coincidence, today is the anniversary of its opening day in 1683. It is the first university museum. Happy anniversary!

I have been writing here about Henry David Thoreau several times of late in this bicentennial year of his birth. Last Friday, the Morgan Library and Museum—a stunning place to visit—opened its exhibition “This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal.” This collection of unpublished writings dwarfs his published work in volume, and gives far more insight into Thoreau the man. More than 100 items have been assembled for this exhibit. It will close September 10. Click here.

Next week, on Thursday the 15th, the Spiridon Arkouzis Lecture Series in Masonic Studies will continue with Iván Boluarte being hosted by the Tenth Manhattan District to present “Pre-Columbian Builders.” Seven o’clock at Masonic Hall in 1530. Photo ID to enter the building, etc.

And finally, and returning to the School of Practical Philosophy (12 East 79th Street), it is having a book sale, and some recordings have been added to the inventory on sale. From the publicity:

Courtesy School of Practical Philosophy

JUST ADDED: Select recorded-lecture titles on sale at a 20 percent discount in our wonderful Get Ready for Summer Sale.

Plan ahead and stock up to make your summer an enlightening and enjoyable break. Consider books and CDs as treasured gifts to pass on to friends and family.

During this event, a large portion of our inventory is sale priced at a 20 percent discount and recorded lectures have just been added. Subject areas included: scripture, philosophy, history, language, government, literature, and economics.

Discounted titles will be sold as long as inventory remains, but we suggest you make your choices early since availability may be limited.

Note: Items cannot be put on hold or reserved by anyone for purchase. Sale applies only to the Bookstore in our New York City location.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

‘Lots of books for sale on 15th Street’


The New York City branch of the Anthroposophical Society (138 West 15th Street) will hold a book sale on Sunday the 11th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They say:

Loads of used and very discounted new books! Many works by Steiner, other Anthroposophical titles, philosophy, psychology, social issues, education, art books, poetry, literature, religion, science, occult, etc. Everything must go! Super discounts! Lots of freebies! Come early to get the rare titles! Stay late for free takeaways! Bring friends and a tote bag! (Donate books up to Saturday, June 10.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

‘Register now for the 2017 MRF Symposium’

Registration for the Eighth Annual Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium, to be hosted August 18-20 in Vancouver, is open now.

MRF President Andrew Hammer says (with links added by me):

Our host Lodge will be Duke of Connaught Lodge No. 64, and the venue is the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Yukon, AF&AM. As usual, the event will begin with a Harmony (Festive Board) held in the Dining Hall on Friday evening, conducted by the host lodge, and featuring comments from our keynote speaker, M.W. Brother Philip Durell, PGM. Along with our usual line-up of interesting speakers, brothers will have the opportunity to see a Master Mason degree using the Canadian Working.

Registration for the Symposium is $125.00 USD, and $75.00 USD for the Saturday session only. Brothers who wish to attend only the Friday night Harmony will pay $50 USD.

We are hoping that this will be an opportunity for an exchange of different perspectives and methods of Masonic practice in Canada and the United States. All the information you need to participate is found here on this website. We look forward to seeing you at the Symposium!

I am happy to see that most of the speakers this year are new to MRF symposia. Their topics are:

  • The Chief Point of Freemasonry
  • The Flower of Life: An Examination of Masonic Geometry
  • Restoring the Masonic Ethos of Our Founders
  • Observant Masonry in Canada
  • The Art of Memory in Masonic Ritual
  • The Question of Intention in the Three Degrees
  • The Importance of Initiation: Rites of Passage
  • Dining in the Observant Lodge
  • Time, Patience, and Perseverance: Challenges in an Observant Lodge
  • The Future of Freemasonry

Click here to find their bios.

Click here for the program in PDF.

Click here for hotel information.

Click here for registration.

One of these days, for a Flashback Friday post, I’ll have to finally remember to write about the 2015 symposium in Philadelphia.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

‘In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order’

Summer draws near, so it is time for the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York’s Summer Studies classes. To gain a stronger understanding of Freemasonry, it helps to find alternative contexts, such as Jungian psychology, for the fraternity’s teachings. Try it. I think I recognize some potential within these course descriptions. The Foundation is located at 28 East 39th Street. From the publicity:

The C.G. Jung Foundation of New York
One-Week, Intensive Summer Study Programs 2017

Intensive Program 1:
Ancient Myths for Modern Times
July 10-14

The title “Ancient Myths for Modern Times” captures the heart of this week’s program as well as the complexity of Jungian or archetypal psychology, in which myths present ways of seeing and new perspectives. Myths are archetypally charged, providing images, symbols, stories and a pantheon of gods that constellate in our Personal and Collective Unconscious.

Archetypes can be seen as carriers of fiction, the myths and heroes that still speak to us through time and memory, providing another angle for seeing and containers for our psychological complexity. Jung reminded us that we cannot escape imaginal history for it still lives in our psyche.

Monday, July 10
9 to 10 a.m.
Registration, Welcome, and Orientation

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Homer’s Penelope: Walking the Path
of the First Heroine in the Western Canon

Penelope is the first heroine in the Western Canon. She appears on the world stage in Book I of Homer’s Odyssey, and she has lived in our collective memory for more than 2,800 years. For much of the time, however, her story, like the stories and myths of many important female figures, has been undervalued and largely untold. Until today Penelope as a role model for the development of feminine consciousness, and her importance in our collective meaning system, lie dormant. The mythology, which shaped Penelope’s character and her world, as old as time out of mind, is contained in Homer and other ancient sources, and continues to shape the lives and souls of women and men today.

Jung understood myths to be collective dreams, which express archetypal patterns residing in the collective unconscious. He taught that myths, fairy tales, and legends are fundamental vehicles for translation and integration of the archetypal contents into consciousness, culturally and individually. Like dreams, these ancient stories are rich repositories of archetypal patterns, symbols, and ancestral memory. Furthermore, when mythic stories are seen and heard, they stimulate the flow of archetypal patterns from the creative unconscious into consciousness. Jungian methods of dream analysis may be applied to work with these primordial forms in myths, fairy tales, and folk legends—association method, amplification method, active imagination, and other imaginative techniques.

During this program we will see how Penelope stands at the center of Homer’s great epic poem as the first heroine in the Western Canon. We will see how her presence and power drive the narrative. We will then apply Jungian methods, culture theory, comparative mythology, and creative techniques that stimulate imagination, to amplify and enlarge her story, and identify major archetypal elements embedded in the poetry. By applying these methods and techniques to translate archetypal patterns into psychological language, and by hearing some examples from case material, we will discover how these ancient patterns of womanhood are alive in our world today.

Tuesday, July 11
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Trauma, Temenos and Transformation:
Alchemy, Myth and Human Development

“In many cases in psychiatry, the patient who comes to us has a story that is not told, and which as a rule no one knows of. To my mind, therapy only really begins after the investigation of that wholly personal story. It is the patient’s secret, the rock against which he is shattered. If I know his secret story, I have a key to the treatment. The doctor’s task is to find out how to gain that knowledge. In most cases exploration of the conscious material is insufficient . . . In therapy the problem is always the whole person, never the symptom alone. We must ask questions which challenge the whole personality.”

C.G. Jung.

Many of the myths, traditions and rituals that once guided us on our shared journey of the human experience—and helped give purpose to our lives—are lacking in our modern world. As a result, we often wander hopelessly while our spirit aches for a safe place where we can face our fears and explore our true calling.

Alchemy, a non-profit organization based in Akron, Ohio, creates just such a safe environment—a temenos—where through the telling, discussion and analysis of mythological stories and fairy tales urban adolescent males learn to “become the hero in their own story.” Utilizing this same approach, adults will work through a myth while the myth simultaneously works through them. “Myths are not just for putting children asleep, but for waking adults up.” This workshop is designed to assist in an awakening.

The foundational theory of Alchemy, based upon the work of C.G. Jung, the Akan people of West Africa and common themes of myth, will be explored and experienced. The socialization and psychology of urban male youth will be inspected and the importance of a Temenos to address trauma will be examined—all the while, providing a blueprint of how myth can be applied in any setting, with anyone, assisting in the development of the psyche.

Wednesday, July 12
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Narcissistic Injury in Polynesian
and Inuit Myth (and in Current Politics)

Healthy narcissism is healthy self-love, which enables us to love and respect others as we respect ourselves. A politician might then love his or her own values and ideas enough to seek office, and love his or her constituents enough to work faithfully for their well-being.

But we all have some degree of injured narcissism. If the injury is severe we will be hollowed out by it, empty, greedy, obsessed with our own importance, and destructive. If constituents’ self-esteem has been injured, perhaps by social change, technology, or globalism, then they may elect a severely injured narcissist because his defensive grandiosity speaks to their own.

Narcissistic injury has always been part of the human condition, even in stone-age cultures. We will read two neolithic legends. We will see that they anticipate some of Jung’s insights. They both describe narcissistic injury and show psychological responses which help to heal it, or at least withstand its destructive power.

We will see that the wisdom of these legends can help us now as we face current political developments.

To prepare for this day’s workshop, please read this essay, and this Polynesian and this Inuit legend.

Please do the reading weeks ahead of time to give yourself time to reflect, especially upon the legends. The symbolic language of legends and dreams requires meditation. This class will be, in part, about the process by which symbols may be interpreted. Try to notice and record what associations (and perhaps dreams) these legends evoke in your own psyche.

Thursday, July 13
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Odyssey: Masculine Individuation
and the Anima

We have come to regard The Odyssey as a timeless mythological and imaginal offering that dramatizes in poetic form patterns of human behavior. In this respect, Homer’s Odyssey is a heroic, dramatic and archetypal poem that in the raw also represents a psychology. We don’t really know why the Greeks were able to produce such timeless creations. Psychologist James Hillman has written that the Renaissance had no field of psychology and the Greeks had no field of religion. We see through the works of Socrates, Plato and later Plotinus that the Greeks had a capacity to think psychologically and metaphorically. For these philosophers, soul-making did not depend on the personal but on a relationship to the archetypal powers. This is just one reason The Odyssey can find a home in contemporary psychological thinking.

In this session, we look at patterns of masculine individuation as a critical part of Odysseus’ journey home to Ithaca from Troy after the Trojan War. We will consider the archetypal transformation inherent in this journey. We will pay particular attention to the inclusion of the anima as part of the masculine individuation and the variety of feminine influences encountered along the way. We will explore how these influences are perceived, received and projected. Our primary objective is to underscore the importance of the feminine consciousness in Odysseus and how he grew psychologically from his relationship with Penelope and the anima within.

It is important to note that these archetypal contents reside in the collective and therefore do not indicate a literal, conscious course of action on the part of Odysseus. A reading of The Odyssey reminds that us Odysseus, unlike Achilles in the Iliad, is a very complex character: an anti-hero, a Hermes character with his twists and turns, and at times the proverbial Trickster. In such a complex, ancient and archetypal tale, a character can represent a psychological complexity within the context of raging action. Odysseus can do no less with the archetypal figure Penelope waiting for him beyond the horizon, in the mist, yet a real and persistent anima influence.

Friday July 14
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Tragic Hero in Modern Times

In his Poetics, when describing the reaction to the tragic hero, Aristotle writes “our pity is excited by misfortunes undeservedly suffered, and our terror by some resemblance between the sufferer and ourselves… There remains for our choice a person neither eminently virtuous nor just, nor yet involved in misfortune by deliberate vice or villainy, but by some error or human frailty…”

In this workshop, we will explore the flaws that bring about the downfall of ancient figures such as Oedipus, Achilles, Macbeth, and Lear and modern figures such as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and Troy Maxson in Fences. These deficits result from an inability or unwillingness to look at qualities hidden in the shadows. We will also look at how similar problems in our lives and in the lives of well-known people, such as Freud and Jung, and figures in the political world result in unfortunate, and sometimes tragic, consequences.

Intensive Program 2:
Cosmos from Chaos:
Living Consciously in a Troubled World
July 17-21

During this week we will focus on issues as familiar to the ancient Greeks as they are to us in the 21st century. The human goal has always been to bring cosmos, order or unity, out of chaos. The third century Neoplatonist Plotinus, later revered during the Italian Renaissance, wrote about reaching Oneness or the Intellectual Principle by joining disparate forces and rising above them. Jung’s joining of opposites, such as the conscious and the unconscious, is in this spirit and intellectual tradition. The desire for unity is a compelling psychological urge that is universal and fraught with danger.

Monday, July 17
9 to 10 a.m.
Registration, Welcome, and Orientation

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Living Consciously in a Troubled World

“For in all chaos there is a cosmos; in all disorder a secret order.”
C.G. Jung
CW Vol. 9,1

“What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure?”
Job 6:11

In this workshop, we will look at the ways people cope in times of chaos. It is suggested that participants read the Book of Job, especially as translated by Stephen Mitchell. We will also explore the coping mechanisms used by people who survived the Holocaust, racism, sexism, and LGBT discrimination. We will focus on how the strategies used in the individuation process can help us understand ourselves as we face difficulties that the world presents.

Tuesday, July 18
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

C.G. Jung’s Psychoanalytic Approach
to Spirituality: A Compass for Conscious Living

“Everything now depends on man.”
Jung 1969d: 459

Jung contended that the archetypes were driven to create consciousness and that mysticism was at the heart of the individuation process. He proposed that mystical nothingness generated a greater compassion for the world and assisted in birthing the Divine into consciousness.

Jung came from a traditional religious background on his father’s side and had a mother who was connected to Spiritualism. These two realities contributed to his search for a religious function in the psyche. During Jung’s career he attempted to bridge these two religious expressions and was in pursuit to understand the spiritual propensity within the psyche. Through the historical writings of the mystics, his personal religious experiences, his confrontation with the unconscious and his treatment of patients, Jung came to know the connection between religious experience and the psyche. The numinous became the ground of being for Jung and also the door to the sacred. According to Jung, the divine and the human are dependent on each other to bring consciousness into the world. It is through consciousness that the Divine can incarnate and redeem humankind.

Jung developed his analytic theory and therapeutic techniques from his findings to assist humankind in psychological, personal, societal growth and development. He cautioned that unconsciousness could cause personal, political, and spiritual ramifications that would hinder or halt involvement in the further creation of humanity. Unconsciousness truncates the Divine and throws one into chaos while reflection and connection with the numinous fosters consciousness and thus assists in helping one live more consciously. Jung’s union of psychology and spirituality became humanity’s compass for conscious living and a call from the Divine. His psychoanalytic approach to spirituality made us aware of how one can participate in the creation or destruction of the world.

This seminar will explore Jung’s thoughts and influences from the mystical tradition and the analytic theories that evolved to create a compass for conscious living.

Wednesday, July 19
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Magic of the Other

“Magical practice falls into two parts: first, developing an understanding of chaos, and second translating the essence into what can be understood.”

C.G. Jung, The Red Book

This seminar is an exploration of self as Other because it is often through Other that we best come to know our psychological selves. But how do we define Other? The definition of Other includes not only that which is representative of the true self in reflection, but also those projected Shadow aspects we cannot contain nor see within ourselves.

Material from the unconscious seeps through in order to provide a disruption to the ego’s “normal”—creating chaos, as we are overcome by our complexes, by what appears to belong outside ourselves—to the Other. Many times it is the emotional content of personal or cultural complexes that orient us in positions of opposition to the Other.

In contemporary times, within the Collective, we might be feeling anxious and made fearful by events in our personal and/or professional lives. Against a foreground of the personal daily life is the Collective one of societal issues—racism, misogyny and fears of terrorism, just to name a few. How we find inner solace often depends on how willing we are to go deeper into developing knowledge regarding our complexes, our Shadow and an understanding of psychological Opposites. Our seminar discussion will focus on Jung’s theories of Shadow as well as Opposites and their importance in seeing into one’s own psychological strengths, weaknesses, personal and cultural Collective projections in relationship to Other.

Thursday, July 20
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Shadow Unmasked

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair — in short, the period was so far like the present period.”

Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities

We are living in times of paradox much like the historical period Dickens is writing about in the years leading up to the French Revolution. It seems that the fabric of our culture, indeed the fabric of the Cosmos, is breaking apart. Chaos reigns. Reliable cultural, political and religious institutions and beliefs are falling into states of crises. This was also what C.G. Jung was experiencing in 1913 when he was in the midst of his personal psychological crisis. He dreamt that Europe was engulfed in rivers of blood even though the outer world seemed to be relatively stable. Still there were signs of unrest and disaffection. It was as a result of his inner experiences and finally after the outbreak of the Great War, World War I that he became aware of what he later called the Shadow. This became one of his key concepts in what is now known as Analytical or Jungian Psychology.

The Shadow encompasses all that is unconscious within us as well as without. How we become aware of our own shadow material and how we begin to see it in the outer world will determine not only our personal health but also the health of our planet. In this presentation, we will examine and learn to identify shadow material. We will use images from films and news media, literature and art, and the writings of Jung, including material from The Red Book, to help us in this vital exploration of our souls and of the world we are currently involved in shaping and by which we are shaped. Forces within and without are pushing us like tectonic plates to transform. Our greater consciousness can guide us to more positive social and environmental change. As Jung said, “The world hangs by a thin thread. That is Psyche. And what would occur if something happens to Psyche?”

Friday, July 21
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Falling Apart and Coming Together:
Living Consciously through Times
of Upheaval and Uncertainty

“In the threatening situation of the world today, when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets. Our earthly world is split into two halves, and nobody knows where a helpful solution is to come from.”

C.G. Jung Vol.10, para 610

In this seminar, we will try to understand the challenges and terrors of our current times through a Jungian lens. Jung’s understanding of the nature and evolution of both the collective and the personal psyche will guide us in our explorations, including Jung’s unique appreciation of the role of projection in relation to consciousness. We will focus on the clinical manifestations and individual symptoms, such as anxiety, stress, and the wide range of disorders on the bi-polar spectrum associated with our current political, cultural and economic divisions. We will place particular emphasis on helpful strategies and attitudes to navigate the rough waters of these difficult mood states which plague so many in our culture. Selected images from the Tarot will assist us in approximating the battlefield of this archetypal drama played out in the collective psyche.