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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

‘And the Antique of the Day is…’

The Magazine Antiques shared a Masonic moment on its social media today: an acquisition by an “outdoor history museum” in Massachusetts caught the attention of the magazine’s editor at large, who made it the magazine’s Antique of the Day. Check out this beauty:

Click to enlarge.

Historic Deerfield is a village in the Connecticut Valley that preserves many facets of life in 18th century New England. It features historic architecture, museums, a library, and more to educate the public on the way we were during previous centuries.

Here is how it catalogs the silver Masonic piece (you’ll forgive the Corinthians reference):

Probably New England, 1775-1800

John W. and Christiana G.P. Batdorf Fund, 2015.35

Introduced into the American colonies around 1730, Freemasonry achieved great popularity after the American Revolution. Enthusiasm for this fraternal society grew alongside interest in the intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment and new theories on equality.

Jewelry as well as other regalia played an important role in Masonic rituals and ceremonies. The symbols engraved on this medal are primarily drawn from the manual tools of stonemasons, such as the square and compass, the level and plumb rule, and the trowel. This medal also makes use of the pigpen or Masonic cipher, a simple geometric substitution code, which replaces each letter of the alphabet with a different symbol.

The inscriptions translate as “I Am that I Am” (1 Corinthians 15:10), and “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). This silver medal descended in the Putnam family of Connecticut and may have been owned by General Israel Putnam (1718-1790) of Pomfret.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

‘Thoreau bicentennial celebration in Wallkill’

The School of Practical Philosophy continues its bicentennial commemoration of the life of Henry David Thoreau, this time with a study meeting on its beautiful property in the Hudson Valley. (Sorry to say I cannot attend. I’ll be at the School’s townhouse on East 79th for the Plato class.) From the publicity:

Thoreau Bicentennial Celebration
in Wallkill
Saturday, June 3
7 to 9:30 p.m.
The School of Practical Philosophy
846 Borden Circle in Wallkill, NY
$10 tickets here

Henry David Thoreau’s life embodies the Transcendental vision of self-reliance and a love of freedom. His great experiment at Walden Pond was focused on living simply and deliberately. His example teaches us to crave reality by embracing the present and to follow the voice of conscience.

From Walden:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

Come and join us in celebrating this great American philosopher, whose influence has powerfully shaped the 20th century through the work of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Discover how relevant his ideals are today.

We will explore selected passages from his masterwork, Walden, and selections from the essay “Civil Disobedience.” There will also be a short walk on the beautiful Wallkill property.

If you missed the recent Thoreau Study Day in New York City, this Wallkill event presents the perfect opportunity to appreciate this revolutionary spirit in an appropriately Waldenesque setting.

Family and friends are welcome. No prior study of Thoreau is required.

Tickets cost $10, which includes study materials and light refreshments, and may be purchased here pending availability. Tickets also will be available at the door on June 3.

We hope to see you there.

As this edition of The Magpie Mason goes to press, there are 75 openings remaining.

In other Thoreau news, today was the day the U.S. Postal Service released its Henry David Thoreau Forever Stamp. Here is the press release, with links and art added by me:

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates writer, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) on the bicentennial year of his birth.

The forever stamp will be formally celebrated May 23 in an 11 a.m. ceremony at the locale to which Thoreau is most connected: tranquil and picturesque Walden Pond State Reservation (at the Visitors Center) in Concord, Massachusetts.

Thoreau’s personal example of simple living, his criticism of materialism, and the timeless questions he raises about the place of the individual in society and humanity’s role in the natural world, he continues to inspire new generations to assert their independence, reinterpret his legacy, and ask challenging questions of their own.

The stamp features and oil-on-panel painting by contemporary artist Sam Weber of Brooklyn, New York. The painting is based on a famous 1856 daguerreotype by Benjamin Maxham. On the right side of the stamp is Thoreau’s signature of his last name. Below the signature is a branch of sumac leaves. Art director Greg Breeding, of Charlottesville, Virginia, designed the stamp. Weber also was the artist for the 2015 Flannery O’Connor 3-ounce stamp.

1967 five-cent stamp.
This is the second U.S. commemorative for Thoreau. A stamp for the 150th anniversary of his birth issued in 1967 features a drawing by sculptor and illustrator Leonard Baskin.

The first-day ceremony is free and open to the public.

Those expected to be on hand include Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy, U.S. Postal Service General Counsel and Executive Vice President Thomas J. Marshall, Select Board Town of Concord Chair Michael Lawson, and Walden Woods Project Board Member, environmentalist and actor Ed Begley, Jr.

Walden Pond, known as a kettle hole in geological terms, was formed by glaciers about 11,000 years ago. Thoreau lived on the northern shore of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. His account of the experience was recorded in Walden (or Life in the Woods), and made the pond famous. The land at that end was owned by Thoreau’s friend and mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson.