Sunday, November 4, 2012

‘Craftsmen’s Calumet Club’

You are hereby invited to take part in a new venture for Freemasons in northern New Jersey and New York City: I’d like to see if I can get a pipe club going. The Faceypage here.

Just about the entirety of my own collection. Nothing exotic.

A purely fun, social, convivial group to meet and smoke, with an educational component as well, since we’ll learn from each other about the countless variations in pipes’ manufacture, design, shape, land of origin, etc.; and the truly inestimable varieties of tobaccos made for our enjoyment.

“To the Plains Indians,” states The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols, the “calumet,” or pipe, and the act of pipe smoking were “part of a unifying ritual.”

“The tobacco used in the pipe is also a powerful magical substance originally intended for ritual use only,” the Encyclopedia continues. “The smoke rising from the pipe signifies a prayer traveling toward the gods, and symbolizes the sacred breath, source of all life. The fire that lights the pipe symbolizes the sun and the male element. The pipe itself is equivalent to the prayer that is offered up from it…. In addition, the bowl is described as an altar, and the stem, the passage of the breath extending from the human body.”

I don’t think this actually is a meer,
but you get the ‘idear.’
You can’t argue with that, so bring your Barlings, let’s see your Savinellis, carry your Kaywoodies, pack your Petersons, and don’t forget your Dunhills. No matter if you prefer briar billiards, calabashes, or clays, come one, come all! Someday we’ll all have fancy meerschaums with Masonic symbols carved into ’em.

Thus far, it’s only Bro. Martin from New Jersey’s St. John’s No. 1 and myself, but you have to start somewhere. I think I can get Bro. Cory to come along. If we grow a little and function somewhat regularly, we might even want to affiliate with the United Pipe Clubs of America, which could help us land guest speakers from the companies that manufacture and sell pipes and tobaccos which, believe me, is a lot of fun. Also, UPCA membership would put us in fraternity with other pipe clubs.

My own pipe passion—distinct from my love of cigars—began in 1996, when I started the first of two part-time stints in the employ of the great Lew Rothman in his flagship store. (Fond memories because Lew has no love for either pipes or pipe smokers, resulting in ample colorful commentary.) Between then and 2008, when I concluded my second tenure there, I accumulated a modest collection of simple briars, with a couple of clays, shown in the photo above. Basically, I’d blow my Christmas bonus on pipes every year.

The health benefits of pipe smoking are well documented and too numerous to list here. I’ll only attest to the simple enjoyment of it all: experimenting with unfamiliar blends of tobacco; making your own mixtures; settling on the one or more that are perfect for you; caring for pipes; aging tobaccos; complementing tobaccos with the best beverages; pursuing your own “holy grail” of pipes among either the new or estate pipe markets; and on and on.

To get involved, pull me aside next time you see me, or send an e-mail, or leave a note (not for publication) in the comments section below, and we shall take it from there.

Below are some photos I shot not too long ago at the New York Pipe Club Show, which is hosted in Newark at least once a year. Used to be every March and September, then they moved it around. As far as I know, the club has not yet scheduled an upcoming show, but I am sure it will.

Pipe shows are wonderful events. Here is just part of one table
of Ardor pipes, a respected maker in Italy.

As above: Pelican, the official tobacco of Rose Croix Masonry!
So below: Hermit’s Mystic blend, the tobacco of tarot.
(Not sure if it is available anymore.)

Click to enlarge. Not easily found, perhaps intentionally, is Esoterica Tobacciana.
Ask. Seek. Knock. It is worth finding.

Quintessence. What can be said?

I think he’s on The Step!

There are even pipes for Hermeticists!

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