Tuesday, March 17, 2015

‘Savini to present Walker Lecture’

One of the many great traditions in New York Freemasonry is the annual Wendell K. Walker Memorial Lecture sponsored by Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2 in the First Manhattan District. RW Bro. Thomas M. Savini, Director of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library, will be this year’s honored speaker. This will take place Thursday night at 7:45 in the library, located on the 14th floor of Masonic Hall at 71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Old No. 2 also will host dinner afterward ($50 cash per person) at Aleo on 20th Street at Fifth Avenue. Sorry for the late notice, but if you wish to attend the event, make your reservation right now by contacting Junior Warden Larry Wolff at jw(at)irano2.org Right now as in immediately. The deadline was Sunday. The Sunday that was two days ago.

This memorable occasion is open to Masons, their ladies, and friends. Business attire please.

Monday, March 16, 2015

‘The slender thread of life’

Mortality is a huge subject in Freemasonry. Maybe it’s not the dominant topic or theme, but death looms almost everywhere in Masonic ritual and symbol; in tenet and teaching. The thing is, death is discussed as the natural inevitability that follows long life. As the Master Mason Lecture of your lodge might phrase it, give or take a word: “The tender hopes of youth, the blushing honors of manhood soon vanish, and are succeeded by the withering frosts of age; and the sands of life, whether slowly or rapidly, will surely ebb away.”

Magpie file photo

W. Bro. Tony Brown, Master of historic Allied Lodge No. 1170 in New York City, lost his life Friday night unpredictably and unbelievably. He was 33 years old. The lodge will meet tonight for its regular communication, with Grand Master Bill Thomas sitting in the East, to eulogize its Worshipful Master. In Craft Masonry there isn’t much to prepare the bereaved for the loss of one so young.

Masonic funeral services: Guarino Funeral Home of Canarsie. Saturday, March 21. Brethren assemble at 2 p.m. Masonic service at three oclock. Viewing 4 to 7 p.m. Service at seven o’clock. Attire is black (or dark) suit and tie with plain white apron and gloves.

Courtesy Cliff Jacobs
Grand Master William J. Thomas with W. Bro. Tony Brown.
I had the privilege of sitting in lodge with W. Tony only once or twice that I recollect. I didn’t know him personally, but saw him here or there in Masonic Hall. Masons die all the time of course, but the news typically concerns an elderly brother who practically was unknown to most who are active in lodge currently. Some kind words are spoken, and maybe a team can be sent to the funeral to present the Masonic obsequy before the mourners, but generally there often is a visible distance between mortality’s centrality to Masonic culture and the reality of how the death of a brother is absorbed by his lodge. That will not be the case tonight.

I will be with my lodge elsewhere in the building conferring the Fellow Craft Degree this evening, but my thoughts will be with Allied Lodge at this time of mournful disbelief. Alas, my brother.

Friday, March 13, 2015

‘The Great Masonic Debate’

I really want to be there, but my Masonic lodge is to confer the Fellow Craft Degree on a number of Apprentices Monday night. Maybe I’ll head uptown regardless.

Anyway, the alluring event in question will involve two learned Freemasons presenting their understandings of “Masonic Regularity,” a matter of some urgency for Prince Hall Masonry due to a never-ending confusion that vexes so many Masons, make believe “Masons,” and the general public alike.

This flier has all the details:

Click to enlarge.     

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

‘Pennsylvania Academy to host Rashied’

A late change of plans was announced a few minutes ago by the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge. George Braatz will not appear at the March 21 meeting at Elizabethtown, and Rashied Sharrieff-Al-Bey will speak instead.

Well, you can read the flier yourselves:

Click to enlarge.

Monday, March 9, 2015

‘Ancient Judaism and Christianity at NYU’

New York University’s Center for Ancient Studies announces the 
Ranieri Colloquium on Ancient Studies. From the publicity:

Integrating Judaism and Christianity
into the Study of the Ancient World

March 26-27, 2015

New York University
Hemmerdinger Hall
Silver Center for Arts and Science
32 Waverly Place

Thursday, March 26

5 p.m. Welcome
, Matthew S. Santirocco, NYU

5:15 Keynote Address: The New Testament as a Source for the History of the Jews and Judaism
 by Lawrence H. Schiffman, NYU.

6:15 Public Reception

Friday, March 27

Session 1 (Session Chair, Jeffrey Rubenstein, NYU)

9:15 a.m. Samson in Stone: New Discoveries in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee
 by Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina.

9:55 Jesus the Jurist: Written Law and Its Interpretation in the Christian Gospels
 by Daniel Fleming, NYU.

10:35 The Dead Sea Scrolls “Instruction” Text and Its Hellenistic Context 
by Hindy Najman, Yale University.

11:15 The Treaty of Apamea, the Decline of the Seleucid Empire, and Their Consequence
for Jewish Martyrology 
by R. Steven Notley, Nyack College.

Noon Lunch

Session 2 (Session Chair, Michael Peachin, NYU)

1 p.m. Jews and the Imposition of Nicene Orthodoxy in the Late Antique Mediterranean Diaspora
 by Ross Kraemer, Brown University.

1:40 Selling Souls: Early Christians (and Their Neighbors) as Religious Entrepreneurs by 
Nicola Denzey Lewis, Brown University.

2:20 Practices of Seeing God(s) in Late Antiquity by 
Laura Nasrallah, Harvard University.

3:00 The Rise of Authoritative Scripture and Its Interpretation in Ancient Judaism by Alex Jassen, NYU.

This conference is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Center for Ancient Studies at ancient.studies(at)nyu.edu, or at (212) 992-7978.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

‘Intendant of the Building’

When we attend our various meetings and other functions at Masonic Hall, I suppose we do not give much thought to building maintenance and operations. It certainly is not a lack of appreciation, but it is the normal result of never having a single worry about the stewardship of the premises. Mr. Peter Chiofolo gets much of the credit for ensuring that peace of mind. The Maintenance Foreman was part of the Masonic Hall team for more than half a century.

Pete passed away in his sleep during the early hours of Tuesday.

“Peter was the Head Porter for Harvard Maintenance, and a good and faithful member of the Building Management team for 54 years,” said Building Manager Harold Wissing. “That is one-half the age of this beautiful edifice called Masonic Hall. We shall all truly miss him.”

Magpie file photo

“Although, he was not a Mason, Peter Chiofolo always demonstrated the good and genuine character of a Mason,” Grand Pursuivant Richard Bateman said. “He was the recipient in the year 2000 of the Grand Master’s Award of Appreciation.”

I snapped the photo here during the centenary celebration of Masonic Hall in December 2010. Here he is with then Grand Master Vincent Libone, who had summoned a very reluctant Pete to the floor amid the cheers of the hundreds of us spectators.

I didn’t know him personally, but I’ve been one of the multitudes who have benefitted from his professional touch while enjoying the countless hours of great times at Masonic Hall. I can’t imagine his absence will disrupt the consummate management of building affairs—further proof of his expert contributions to making our experiences in Masonic Hall so carefree.

Services for Peter Chiofolo

Thursday, March 5
2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.
30 Nelson Avenue
Staten Island, New York

Friday, March 6
9:45 a.m. Mass
110 Nelson Avenue
Staten Island, New York

Sunday, March 1, 2015

‘Two tours of France’

I don’t feel France is the place for me, but here are two opportunities for you to visit the Hexagon in June. Both Esoteric Quest and old friend Tim Wallace-Murphy will lead groups through the Languedoc region. From the publicity:

An Esoteric Quest for the South of France:
Troubadours, Cathars, Templars,
and the Grail in Medieval Languedoc
June 4-9, 2015

Join us for the eleventh in the Open Center’s series of international conferences on the Western Tradition as we journey to Carcassonne, Languedoc, in an exquisitely beautiful region of the South of France.

Long known as a focal point for numerous spiritual streams, this area was at the heart of the high medieval culture of both the Troubadours and the Gnostic Christian Cathars. “The Bons Hommes,” as the Cathars called themselves, created one of the most remarkable and enigmatic spiritual movements of the Middle Ages, the destruction of which was one of the great tragedies of European religious life. The Troubadours were the first to bring romantic love to the Western world in poetry and song of great elegance and charm that expressed a new merging of the erotic and the mystical.

Languedoc, with the neighboring domains of Catalonia and Provence, is filled with culture and spiritual history. It is a region that carries significance for the medieval Grail stories and is imbued with the mythology of Mary Magdalene. This Quest will explore the aura of mystery that still clings to the castles and villages of the region, and will drink deeply of its wisdom and legacy.

We invite you to join us and meet others who share an attunement to this brief, beautiful but unforgettable time when love, esoteric spirituality, and appreciation of the divine feminine and its immense gifts reigned supreme.

The Esoteric Quest starts with an optional pre-conference day visiting Montségur, the last stronghold of the Cathars, and Puivert, an important center of Troubadour culture in the 12th century.

We also will offer two post-conference journeys: one heading south into the wild beauty and hilltop villages of Catalonia, Spain; the other traveling east into the azure skies and brilliant sunlight of Provence.

Co-sponsors: The Lumen Foundation and the Divination Foundation.

Lure of the Languedoc:
Group tour with authors
Tim Wallace-Murphy and Jeanne D’Août
Land of Mystery, Myth, and Magic
June 7-14, 2015

The mystery, magic and intrigue of the Languedoc range far beyond the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau, which is a minor affair, or the more important story of Mary Magdalene. This land has been at the cultural, commercial and spiritual crossroads of the known world for more than 20,000 years and is redolent with spiritual energy.

The Phoenicians, the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Visigoths, the Jews, the Moors, the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller, the Troubadours, and the Cathars all have played their part in molding the spiritual heritage that is so apparent here. On this tour we will explore Neolithic sites that resonate with tangible, telluric energy; see cave paintings which are among the earliest archaeological spiritual artifacts known to man; visit castles, churches, and towns associated with the Knights Templar; explore the rich local heritage (which, according to many historians, was so creative that it would have sparked the Renaissance in the 1300s had it not been for the Crusade against the Cathars); visit castles that are imbued with the history of the Troubadours; and, most important of all, just be in this wondrous landscape and absorb its peace and its sacred, transformative atmosphere.

The tour will be led by two authors who live here and know this landscape well. Tim Wallace-Murphy and Jeanne D’Août will share their insights to enhance your understanding and appreciation of this beautiful country where historic sites and sacred geometry are an integral part of a much larger holistic spiritual entity—the land itself.

Click here to see the detailed itinerary.

Friday, February 27, 2015

‘Live long and prosper’

The signature line from one of American television’s best known characters: “Live long and prosper.” When Star Trek debuted on NBC in 1966, it received little attention, and endured only three years. One thing that did get the public’s eye, provoking a maelstrom of outrage in the forms of phone calls, telegrams, and letters, was the appearance of Leonard Nimoy’s character, Starship Enterprise’s Science Officer Mr. Spock.

Courtesy Star Trek/Paramount

Between his pointed ears and pitched eyebrows, he looked, said the complainants, like the devil. (I can’t imagine what would have happened had they known the actor was Jewish.) Beside his physiognomy, Spock employed a salutational hand gesture; with the phrase “Live long and prosper,” he would uphold his right hand with thumb extended, and with the four fingers in two pairs. It requires some dexterity. I can’t do it, and hardly anyone I’ve ever seen attempt it could do it. I imagine it requires the strong fingers of a pianist. It was another physical aspect of the character, a native of the fictitious planet Vulcan, that distinguished him from his human colleagues. A number of years ago, I learned the origins of this unique display of digits. In another of his characteristically brilliant papers, Howard Kanowitz, at New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education, discussed aspects of Masonic ritual, explaining in an aside how he recognized Spock’s hand gesture in the movements of holy men during worship in his synagogue. (I’d quote from this paper directly, but I no longer have it on file.)

Amid the media eulogies of Nimoy today is an excerpt in Tablet magazine of the book Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish by Abigail Pogrebin. Here are a few relevant paragraphs:

Would it surprise him if today people didn’t know he was Jewish? “Well, I think a lot of people know what I am. Certainly at Star Trek conventions, I’ve told the story about where this came from,” he demonstrates the Vulcan greeting: a raised hand with forked fingers—the pointer and middle fingers sandwiched together and the ring and pinky fingers similarly aligned. “I’ve always talked about this coming from my Jewish background.”

He invented the hand signal based on his memory of seeing the rabbis do it when they said the priestly blessing. Nimoy recites the prayer for me in Hebrew and then translates: “It says, ‘May the Lord bless and keep you and may the Lord cause his countenance to shine upon you, may the Lord be gracious unto you and grant you peace.’ ”

He points to one of his photographs behind me, which depicts an isolated hand shaped in the famed Vulcan salutation. “I was talking to this rabbi cousin of ours about that image one day [Rabbi John Rosove of Temple Israel of Hollywood, a cousin of Nimoy’s second wife, Susan Bay], and I told him that my childhood memory was that when these guys did this traditional blessing, it was really theatrical. These men from our synagogue would cover their heads with their prayer shawls, and they were shouters— these were old, Orthodox, shouting guys. About a half a dozen of them would get up and face the congregation, chanting in a magical, mystical kind of way. They would start off by humming.” Nimoy hums. “And they’re swaying and chanting. And then the guy would yell out: ‘Y’varechecha Adonai!’ And then the whole bunch of them would, like a chorus, respond, ‘Y’varechecha Adonai!’—all six of them. It was really spooky.

Courtesy Tablet

“So, the congregation was all standing, and my father said to me, ‘Don’t look.’ And in fact, everybody’s got their eyes covered with their hands or they’ve got their heads covered with their prayer shawl, the entire congregation. But I peeked, and I saw these guys doing this. So I introduced it into Star Trek. But I said to this rabbi cousin of ours, ‘To this day, I’m not really sure why my father said, Don’t look.’ And he explained, ‘The traditional belief is that during that blessing, the Shekhina—the feminine presence of God—enters the congregation to bless the congregation. And you shouldn’t see God, because the light could be fatal to a human. So you close your eyes to protect yourself.’ ‘Well!’ I said. ‘I never knew that!

Friday, February 20, 2015

‘Hermes, Gurdjieff, Superstitions, Tarot and Rosicrucians’

Four great events in New York City, and one in California, you may want to attend.

The Mythic Moment

The New York Mythology Group, the New York City Roundtable of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, will meet Sunday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 11 a.m. to noon for “The Mythic Moment.” From the publicity:

Mythic Moments: Storytelling in Greek and Roman Art Gallery Talk—A story told in words can extend through many points in time, but an illustration needs to capture only one. The talk is free with museum admission. Assemble at the Great Hall at 10 o’clock before heading to the venue at the Velez Blanco Patio.

While this event is not exclusive to the Mythology Group, it is definitely a relevant topic. The Velez Blanco Patio (Gallery 534) holds very interesting artifacts, one of which is the inspiration for the two-tailed mermaid that we now attribute as the symbol for Starbucks. Jean Sorabella, an expert in Greco Roman art will take us through the myths that inspired the artworks that are now on exhibit at the Met.

Origins: Superstitions

Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America and One Simple Idea, has launched a new project titled “Origins: Superstitions.” This web series of 90-second episodes defines and decodes the, well, origins of superstitions. Directed by Ronni Thomas (The Midnight Archive), the series can be heard here.

Meaning in the Midst of Life

The Gurdjieff Foundation of New York will offer another introductory event on Friday, March 13. Titled “The Search for Meaning in the Midst of Life,” this program will begin at 6 p.m. at Quest Bookshop at 240 East 53rd Street in Manhattan.

Click to enlarge.

“Only by beginning to remember himself does a man really awaken. And then all surrounding life acquires for him a different aspect and a different meaning.”

G. I. Gurdjieff

For reservations (recommended) or further information, e-mail gurdjieffevent(at)gmail.com

Tarot at the Met

Queen of Flowers playing card, 1435.
Also at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on April 22, tarot scholar Robert Place again will lead a small group of seekers into the hidden archives to examine the Met’s 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. The group also will see The Queen of Flowers, created in 1435, making it one of the oldest European playing cards still in existence, and Le Sorti, one of the oldest and richly illustrated books on divination with cards, published in Venice in 1540.

The afternoon at the Met costs $70 per person, prepaid. Each participant also is responsible for obtaining a ticket for entrance to the museum for the day. There is only room for 14 people at this event and 9 have already signed up so don’t delay; it will fill up quickly. To register contact Place at: alchemicaltarot@aol.com

AMORC World Convention 2015

Join Imperator Christian Bernard and all of the Grand Masters from throughout the world for the 2015 AMORC World Convention, commemorating the founding of AMORC in America. The convention will be hosted at the Fairmont San Jose, July 29 to August 2. Click here for the details.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

‘SteinerBooks Spiritual Research Seminar at NYU’

Anthroposophists and enthusiasts of the teachings of Rudolf Steiner will converge on New York University next month to attend the Annual SteinerBooks Spiritual Research Seminar. From the publicity:

Who Was Rudolf Steiner?
His Years of Preparation, 1861-1900
March 20-21
Kimmel Center at NYU
60 Washington Square South
New York, New York
Admission: $75-$175

Rudolf Steiner, 1892
There are no ordinary lives. While each unfolds according to certain universal archetypes, the particulars are always utterly, infinitely, unique. To learn to ‘read’ the life of another, with care and reverence, is to see the movements and marks—the signature—of an eternal spiritual being whose development and aims are both singular and wholly enmeshed in a community of others. There are no ordinary lives; still, the lives of the ‘great ones’ among us can shed a penetrating light on the nature of our time; on the tasks we face; on the living connections between us; on ourselves.

Rudolf Steiner himself insisted on the importance of modern individuals awakening and cultivating a positive (non-judgmental) interest in the other: in the singular journey of development another undertakes. With openness, patience, joy, and childlike awe we may ask of another: Who are you? How did you become this one I see before me?

To ask this of anyone is salutary, for the inquirer and the inquired; to ask it of an initiate is both profound in itself and a preparation for ‘reading’ the life of all others we encounter.

With this in mind, and in celebration of the publication of the first two volumes in English of Peter Selg’s ambitious and insightful biography of Rudolf Steiner, this seminar will focus on Rudolf Steiner’s life and experiences—his path of initiation—as these prepared him to bring Anthroposophy into the world.

Too often Steiner’s life “before Anthroposophy” is taken for granted. We can think we know it, and so remain closed to its depths and mysteries. We can remain asleep to the human meaning of this astonishing life journey that led from the small railroad town of Kraljevec on the borders of Hungary and Croatia, through Vienna and Weimar, to Berlin, so that the birth of Anthroposophy could take place.

  • Through what experiences and encounters did his life lead him?
  • What prepared him to bring Anthroposophy into the world at the turn of the twentieth century?
  • Who was he who was so led?
  • What is my own connection to this human (spiritual) being and the path he trod?

To help us answer such questions, Peter Selg, Director of the Ita Wegman Institute in Arlesheim, Switzerland, a psy- chiatrist by training, and the author of many books on Rudolf Steiner’s life and teaching will give three lectures on outer and inner aspects of Rudolf Steiner’s life and circumstances up to his fortieth year. As a practiced biographer with a profound, esoteric understanding of history, Peter is well-qualified for the task of bringing to life a ‘positive natural history’ of this individual’s development. More than just a writer and esoteric scholar, Peter is also a much-loved speaker, well-known for his empathic, heart-centered approach to esoteric topics. We can have no better guide.

To complement his presentations, Rahel Kern, author of a recent biography of Marie Steiner, will speak on Marie Steiner; and Christopher Bamford will speak of significant moments in Rudolf Steiner’s early life, which, in retrospect, enable us to see Anthroposophy in a new light.

Friday, March 20
6:00 Registration
7:00 Welcome—Gene Gollogly
7:15 Peter Selg—“I pursue a quite specific goal: Childhood, Youth, and Student Years in Vienna”
8:30 Reception

Saturday, March 21
8:00 Refreshments
8:30 Eurythmy : Sea-Anna Vasilas
9:00 Peter Selg: “A profound transformation: The Weimar Years
10:30 Break
11:00 Christopher Bamford: “An Open Secret: Rudolf Steiner’s Life as a Path to Understanding Anthroposophy”
12:00 Lunch
1:30 Rahel Kern: “Marie Steiner-von Sivers’ Karmic Path”
2:30 Sea-Anna Vasilas: “Eurythmy”
2:50 Break
3:00 Peter Selg: “Must I Remain Unable to Speak? Berlin in the 1890s”
4:30 Closing panel

Peter Selg studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Dr. Selg is now director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy in Arlesheim, Switzerland; and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences in Germany.

Rahel Kern has been an avid student of Anthroposophy since her teens, with a particular interest in Steiner’s contributions to philosophy and the evolution of consciousness as reflected in the development of thought through the centuries. She currently lives in London and works in international marketing. Her work takes her on frequent travels around the globe.

Christopher Bamford is editor in chief of Steiner-Books and Lindisfarne Books and a writer, scholar, and spiritual researcher in the fields of Anthroposophy, Western esotericism and spirituality, esoteric Christianity, literature, and contemporary philosophy. A Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association, he has lectured, taught, and written widely on Western spiritual and esoteric traditions.

Sea-Anna Vasilas is a member of the Eurythmy Spring Valley Performing Ensemble where she also serves on the faculty of the School of Eurythmy and carries the responsibility of Tour Coordinator for the Ensemble. Through her experiences with myriad movement art forms, meditative paths, education, and farming, Sea-Anna found her way to eurythmy and has made it her life’s passion and work.

In order for us to both cover our costs (speaker’s fees, use of space, etc.) and make this event as accessible as possible, we are offering a sliding scale attendance fee with confidence that those who are in a position to give more will do so. The price is a sliding scale fee from $175 to $75.

For information and to register, write to:

‘A Psychology of Freedom’

Yehuda K. Tagar, director of the Psychophonetics Institute International in Slovakia, is undertaking a speaking tour of Anthroposophical Society locations in the United States, including Anthroposophy NYC next Tuesday. From the publicity:

Psychosophy: A Psychology of Freedom
Tuesday, February 24 at 7 p.m.
Anthroposophical Society of New York City
138 West 15th Street, Manhattan
Admission: $20 per person

This evening’s talk introduces “psychosophy,” the foundation of anthroposophic psychology and psychotherapy. In November 1910 in Berlin, Rudolf Steiner introduced his only dedicated psychology course. Modern psychology was still in its infancy, and he believed that psychosophy could play a major role in its development. He never gave a follow up psychosophy course as it was never requested, but he predicted that this would take place in the future. Psychosophy was asleep for most of the 20th century, making no contribution to modern psychology. But from the late ’80s, a group of creative researchers inspired by late 20th century humanistic, existential and transpersonal psychology, experimental Initiatory Theatre, and Steiner’s Linguistics—made a breakthrough in the practical application of psychosophy. Seen in this light, Applied Psychosophy is “a psychology of Freedom.”

Yehuda K. Tagar
Yehuda Tagar also is an Anthroposophical Psychotherapist, Psychosophist, and Psychophonetics Practitioner; Director, of the British College of Methodical Empathy; President of Psychosophy Academy of Central Europe (Budapest, Prague, Bratislava); and Course Director of the Association for the Promotion of Artistic Therapy in the United Kingdom.

‘And now for something completely different’

Courtesy Python (Monty) Pictures

Well, maybe not completely different, but this will be a new one for me. I foreswore lodges of instruction ten years ago, but having been elected to membership in Publicity Lodge 1000 the other day,  I want to attend the Fourth Manhattan District (the “Glorious Fourth,” as it is known) Grand Lecturer’s Convention Friday.

Courtesy 4th MD Square Club
Pyramid Lodge No. 490 will host, and will open at 7:30, and the event will begin at eight. The work of the evening will include the Opening ritual and the obsequy ritual. That’s the Renaissance Room on the sixth floor of Masonic Hall at 71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Events coming in spring include the District Ritual Contest, to be hosted by Gramercy Lodge No. 537 on Friday, April 10; and the MAGLA Ritual Contest on Wednesday, April 29. Also, the Ritual Renaissance Program on April 25.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

‘Welcome to New York!’


I know, I know. I should have done this years ago. Like in 2004. But as of seven o’clock Monday night, I am a New York Freemason!

Who could resist the siren’s song and these inspirational lyrics?

Welcome to New York
Taylor Swift

Walking through a crowd
The Village is aglow
Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats
Under coats
Everybody here wanted something more
Searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before
And it said

Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

It’s a new soundtrack
I could dance to this beat, beat
The lights are so bright
But they never blind me, me
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

When we first dropped our bags
On apartment floors
Took our broken hearts
Put them in a drawer
Everybody here was someone else before
And you can want who you want
Boys and boys and girls and girls

Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

Like any great love
It keeps you guessing
Like any real love
It’s ever changing
Like any true love
It drives you crazy
But you know you wouldn’t change
Anything, anything, anything…

Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York

Welcome to New York

Friday, February 13, 2015

‘Washington’s apron at Mt. Vernon’

In commemoration of George Washington’s birth in 1732, one of his Masonic aprons is on exhibit through Monday at Mount Vernon. It is the Mt. Nebo Lodge apron, which you can read about here, but click here for tickets. The apron exhibit is part of the tour. From the publicity:

I shot this photo the one time I saw the Mt. Nebo apron,
which was at ICHF 2011 in Virginia.
This Masonic apron was made in France and is believed to have been presented to George Washington at Mount Vernon in 1784 by the Marquis de Lafayette, a former general and close friend of Washington’s, who was also a Freemason. The apron features Masonic symbols, such as compasses and a square, together with the crossed flags of the United States and France, all exquisitely embroidered in silk and gold- and silver-wrapped threads with metallic sequins.

On view in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center, Washington would have worn this apron when attending Masonic meetings. Thanks to a loan from the Brethren of Mt. Nebo Lodge No. 91 of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Mount Vernon has been able to display this special object on the national observance of George Washington’s birthday since 2011.

The apron can be seen Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

‘EA au français’

Courtesy worldofstock.com
The Empire State Building no doubt will be illuminated in the blue, white, and red of France’s Tricolour when l’Union Française No. 17–this is J.J.J. Gourgas’ lodge–will confer the Entered Apprentice Degree, in ritual descendant from the French Rite.

Tuesday, February 17 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 inside.

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