Today is the bicentennial of the birth of Albert Pike.
This man enjoyed a long, illustrious life with careers in law, the military, journalism, and of course, Freemasonry. Pike served as Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry from 1859 until his death in 1891. A more controvertible personality in Masonic history I cannot name.
His most famous (but I suspect least read, and most misunderstood) book is Morals and Dogma, an anthology of lectures explanatory of the entire corpus of degrees of the A&ASR, which themselves were penned or otherwise crafted by Pike. Some of his other writings that, frankly, I find a lot more useful include:
Magnum Opus, his first revision of the degrees of the Scottish Rite;
The Porch and the Middle Chamber: The Book of the Lodge, his interpretation of the ritual and symbols of the three Craft degrees;
Esoterika, a longer discussion of the Craft degrees, including details, some humorous, of his own experiences in Masonry; and
various Legenda and other shorter works, all intended to promote clear understanding of the many lessons imparted by Freemasonry.
Above and Below: Some of Albert Pike’s Scottish Rite regalia displayed in the Albert Pike Room at the House of the Temple in Washington, DC.
Above: Several of Pike’s pipes. Below: A miniature replica of the statue of Pike located in Judiciary Square in Washington. Pike is the only Confederate Army general depicted in statuary in the American capital.