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.

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’

     
Courtesy remnantradio.org
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!)