Tuesday, April 24, 2018

‘Giorgio Gomelsky was a Freemason?!’

I first encountered the name Giorgio Gomelsky more than 35 years ago when, as a teenager, I was busy tracking down Yardbirds records, and spotted his name in the liner notes. It wasn’t easy finding those LPs in the early ’80s. You needed a sympathetic merchant willing to keep an eye out for used out-of-print vinyl, and imports, and reissues, and bootlegs, and whatever else, but I gradually accumulated them. I don’t know why Giorgio Gomelsky remained in the trivia section of my brain all this time, except that I once thought it a highly unlikely name for a purveyor of early 1960s London blues-rock bands, and such quirky things tend to stick.

So I was bowled over today to learn that Gomelsky, who died in 2016, was a Freemason. And a New York Mason at that.

Bro. Francis Dumaurier announced the progress of his new book. From the publicity:

The French editor Camion Blanc has recently published my book, Mon Ami Giorgio Gomelsky—Rolling Stones, Beatles, Yardbirds, Magma, Gong which is available in paper and Epub versions on Amazon. It features 40 original photographs and illustrations that are published for the first time. I am finishing the English translation, and will try to find an American publisher when the final version is cleared by my editor.

This book celebrates the love of life and phenomenal vision of a giant of a man with whom I shared a close friendship of 30 years. He was the first manager of the Rolling Stones, and introduced the Stones to the Beatles. He managed and produced the Yardbirds, launching the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. And he managed and produced Gong and Magma in France, and was a keystone of the New York underground rock music scene for more than 30 years.

Brother Giorgio Gomelsky was also a member of l’Union Française Lodge 17 from 1986 to 1996, where he served as Senior Warden.

Francis Dumaurier, in addition to being an author, is an actor you might know from The Post and a slew of television programs.

Monday, April 23, 2018

‘Practical Plato studies next month’

One of the most apt complements to Masonic studies that I can endorse is the School of Practical Philosophy’s regular course load, and its special events and lectures—to wit:

Plato Study Day
Sunday, May 20
8:30 a.m. registration
9 a.m. day’s program
3:30 p.m. wine reception
School of Practical Philosophy
12 East 79th Street, Manhattan
Register here

The Study Day program comes from Plato’s “Alcibiades I,” an imagined conversation between the great philosopher Socrates and the 18-year-old Alcibiades, an ambitious and talented youth who would later play a major role in Athens and on the world stage.

In this dialogue, Socrates takes the lead in trying to awaken Alcibiades to the ignorance that prevents him from understanding the true qualifications for achieving his enormous ambition, and, more importantly, from realizing his own true nature.

As we watch Socrates’ intelligence at work, it becomes apparent that we, like Alcibiades, will benefit from examining our beliefs, priorities and actions in light of the issues raised in this dialogue.

  • What are the most damaging ideas to hold?
  • How can ignorance be removed?
  • What are the success factors for a happy life?
  • What is self-knowledge?

Join us for a conversation that addresses some of the most important questions a human being can consider.

The day includes an opening presentation, group study sessions, a Greek lunch, light entertainment, and closing reception. Family and friends are welcome, and no prior study of Plato is necessary.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

‘See Washington inaugurated amid a day of festivities’

It was on April 30, 1789 when George Washington was inaugurated president of these United States, and every year the Masonic brethren of New York re-enact that historic moment. This year is no exception, so get down to Federal Hall to witness the celebration. (If you’re familiar with the debate over whether the first president said “So help me God” at the end of his oath of office, click here for an argument in favor—unless I’ll see you at dinner that night, in which case you can listen to me explain it all.)

From the publicity:

Please join us April 30 at 11:45 a.m. as we proclaim our heritage and commemorate the inauguration of our first President George Washington and the Heroes of 1776, many of whom were Free and Accepted Masons.

Two hundred and twenty-nine years ago, on April 30, 1789, George Washington was sworn in as the nation’s first president and gave the first inaugural address. The American government was based in New York that year. Congress had met for the first time on March 4, 1789 in the city’s former city hall, at the corner of Wall Street and Nassau Street, which a year earlier had been redesigned by Pierre Charles L’Enfant in the Federal Architecture style—the first such building design in America—thus the building was renamed Federal Hall.

This event is sponsored by the George Washington Inauguration Reenactment Committee of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York.

A full luncheon will be served after the ceremony, in a private room upstairs, for $10 per person.

In addition, Federal Hall will have a daylong celebration of the historic event.

At 10 a.m., the Old Barracks Fifes and Drums will perform 18th century music on the front steps of Federal Hall.

At 10:30, see a debate—“Conflict and the Constitution”—between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

At 11:45 see the Washington inauguration re-enactment.

At 1:30 p.m., “George Washington’s journey from Virginia to the inauguration in New York City, presented by Norman Goben.

At 2:30, a presentation on John Jay, portrayed by Phil Webster.

On top of all that, Federal Hall offers a museum exhibit through the end of the month. From the publicity:

Many Faces of George Washington

Federal Hall is very excited to host a traveling exhibit from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History titled “The Many Faces of George Washington.”

The exhibit presents the many facets of Washington’s leadership through dazzling color graphics of paintings, photographs and iconic objects from the Mount Vernon Collection.

The exhibit will be on display on the second floor balcony until April 30. Stop by and check it out!

And of course the Rangers give tours of Federal Hall at 10 a.m., and 1, 2, and 3 p.m. every day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

‘The “decadent” order of architecture!’

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art will offer a study on the Composite Order next month, with a look at the Solomonic Column also. From the publicity:

Elements of Classicism:
Unpacking the Composite Order
Instructor: Mason Roberts
Saturday, May 12
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
ICAA National Office
20 West 44th Street, Suite 310

Register here

Decadent! This is just one of the utterances one may hear when asking modern day architects what their feelings are on the Composite Order. In spite of its ranking as the highest and most complex of the five canonical orders, the Composite is perhaps the least used and understood in the contemporary practice of Classical design. Why is this? Is it the level of elaboration of the capital combining a rich mixture of Ionic and Corinthian characteristics? Is it the unique Roman connotations of the order?

The purpose of this course is to provide an in-depth study of the composition of this underutilized order, its history, and its proportioning. A brief overview of the Classical Orders will introduce the development of the Composite as it emerged in Ancient Rome. The study of its proportioning will involve a hand drawing tutorial during which participants will draw the base and capital, including the volute geometry, according to the treatise of Andrea Palladio. The course will conclude with a look at case studies of the application of the canonical Composite in various building types, including some rare modern-day examples. As part of this survey, the geometry of Bernini’s iconic Solomonic Column, with its undulating Baroque shaft, will be examined in detail.

Course Materials: Sketchbook or drawing pad (loose leaf paper acceptable - recommended size 11 x 17), drawing pencils or lead holder with drawing leads (F, HB, B, or 2B recommended), ruler or architectural scale (12 inches minimum), pencil sharpener or lead pointer, simple drawing compass (optional). Materials are available for loan upon request.

What You Will Learn:

  • A brief introduction of the classical orders
  • The history of the Composite Order, showing its evolution from antiquity to the present
  • The proportioning system of the Composite Order, according to Andrea Palladio and Gian Lorenzo Bernini
  • The application of the Composite Order to building types and design elements

Mason Roberts is an architectural designer for Robert A.M. Stern Architects and holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture.

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art is a nonprofit membership organization committed to promoting and preserving the practice, understanding, and appreciation of classical design. To do so, the ICAA offers a broad range of educational programs. These include intensives for architecture and design students, introductory programs for middle school students, lectures and walking tours for the public, continuing education courses for professionals and enthusiasts, travel programs to visit classical masterpieces, the publishing of original and reprinted books, and an annual journal titled The Classicist. Through the annual Arthur Ross Awards, as well as other national and regional award programs, the ICAA also honors contemporary leaders of classical design and the related fields.

The ICAA is a national organization, with 15 chapters across the country and headquarters in New York City. Each chapter organizes its own local programming to reflect the unique members and architectural traditions in its region. The ICAA’s membership represents the diverse and dynamic cross-section of all those involved with the building arts, from architects and designers, to patrons and artisans. These members benefit from the robust network of local and national programs and networking opportunities. Likewise, the organization is continually enriched and inspired by responding to the needs, interests, and passions of its growing membership base.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

‘Sankey Lecture postponed’

Thanks to the vicissitudes and inclemencies of this cold spring season, the Dr. Charles A. Sankey Lecture, that would have taken place today, has been postponed. Look for a September or October rescheduled date to hear William Moore. From the publicity:

Charles Sankey
This annual lecture series is named in honor of RW Bro. Charles A. Sankey (1905-2009) and is part of the partnership between the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario and Brock University.

The partnership established between the Grand Lodge and Brock University, St. Catharines, has proven most productive and mutually beneficial to both educational institutions. Its beginning was with the initiative of Heritage Lodge 730 to support and maintain the Masonic collection in the James A. Gibson Library, and continuing with the posting on line of the Proceedings of Grand Lodge from 1855 to 2010.

Dr. Sankey served as Chancellor of Brock University from 1969 to 1974. A renowned Masonic scholar, he was active in all the concordant bodies of Masonry including the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the Royal Order of Scotland, and Royal Arch Masonry. His extensive collection of rare Masonic books and papers is in the Special Collections of the James Gibson Library at Brock, providing a rich resource for research scholars, and continues with the posting online of the Proceedings of Grand Lodge from 1855 to 2010.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

‘Bridegroom to present Spring 2018 Truman Lecture’

John Bridegroom
I love seeing friends make the rounds on the national Masonic speaking circuit, so I’m happy to see the news of Bro. John Bridegroom being chosen to deliver the Spring 2018 Truman Lecture in Missouri. You may know John from his work as proprietor of The Masters Craft, maker of outstanding Masonic regalia, jewels, and other finely crafted items. And, if you’re a reader of The Journal of the Masonic Society, the lively layout and design of the magazine is John’s handiwork.

From the publicity:

Please join the Missouri Lodge of Research and the Missouri York Rite on June 9 at noon at the Captiol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Jefferson City as we present our Spring 2018 Truman Lecture Series guest, Bro. John A. Bridegroom, as he presents a talk on the Arts and Crafts of Freemasonry. This lecture will present an introspective look at the art of our jewels and regalia, as well as other aspects of our fraternity, and why we should embrace them. Tickets for this lunch and lecture, open to the public, cost $35 per person. Click here.

Monday, April 9, 2018

‘BOTA’s Vibratory Attunement on World Healing Day’

Builders of the Adytum, the group that postulates certain meanings in “Qabalah, Sacred Tarot, Spiritual Alchemy, and Esoteric Astrology,” has a chapter that meets at Masonic Hall. On Saturday, April 28, it will host its annual Vibratory Attunement Ritual at 4 p.m. in the Chapter Room on 12. Admission is free and open to the public. Photo ID is required to enter Masonic Hall.

From the publicity: “BOTA members, their guests, and the general public are invited to participate in this beautiful ritual of healing and transmutation by building patterns of harmony through ancient vibratory formulae of color and sound.”

I attended a presentation of this ritual several years ago, and found it very interesting. Knowing only a whiff of conversational knowledge about esoteric uses of sound and color, I was very lost, but not hopeless. The ritual involves enough elements that are very familiar (archangels, cardinal directions, prayer, meditation, Scriptural passages, et al.) so that those experienced in other esoteric streams can grasp what’s being done. If you think this sounds like New Age gibberish, I would just say that sound and color, as manifestations of mathematics, were handed down by Pythagoras and other giants of Classical Greece, and should be fairly easily understood as patterns for harmony.

I am not a member of BOTA, but if you attend this open event, you’ll be supporting a long-term tenant of Masonic Hall. Also, Saturday the 28th is World Healing Day, so here’s something you can do.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

‘Is Harry Potter a Freemason?’

Maryland Masonic Research Society’s meeting on May 5 will feature a presentation on themes and symbolism in the Harry Potter stories. From the publicity:

Maryland Masonic
Research Society
Saturday, May 5 at noon
“Is Harry Potter a Freemason?”
Presented by Walter Benesch
Odd Fellows Lodge
6 Ingleside Avenue in Catonsville
RSVP for lunch here before April 30

Courtesy Scholastic Corp.
In the books from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Deathly Hallows, a careful reader can find multiple Masonic symbols—the first book alone traces Harry’s journey as an Entered Apprentice. How?

Come and listen to our talk. For those who are unfamiliar with the books, there will be a slideshow presentation to acquaint you with the charters and Masonic symbols used in the books. By reviewing how Masonic symbolism can be found in the Harry Potter books where you least expect, it may be found elsewhere.

After the presentation, you may want to take another look at other pieces of literature, movies, and plays in a new light, looking for the hidden and sometimes not so hidden Masonic symbols.

Join us for lunch to enjoy the company of MMRS members at the Odd Fellows. Enter at the side door on Orban Avenue.

Friday, April 6, 2018

‘Inklings celebration, Mythcon 49, coming to Atlanta’

Mythopoeic Society’s 49th Mythcon will be hosted in Atlanta in three months. Titled “On the Shoulders of Giants,” there is a call for papers underway and registration is open now.

The society is devoted to mythopoeic literature, particularly that of the Inklings, the Oxford University circle of friends that included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. From the publicity:

Mythcon 49
On the Shoulders of Giants
Atlanta, Georgia
July 20-23

The Mythopoeic Society’s annual conference, popularly called Mythcon, has historically been held at a college or university campus in late July or early August. Each conference is constructed around a theme related to Inklings studies and/or fantastic and mythic literature. Each conference also features an author and a scholar guest of honor. Papers, panel discussions, readings, entertainment, an art show, a dealers’ room, and other activities fill the four-day event. Another Mythcon highlight is our annual banquet, after which the Mythopoeic Awards are presented. A small (usually 100-200 people) and intimate setting makes Mythcon an excellent venue for meeting people with common interests. You may see the full history and individual conference pages by visiting our Mythcon History page.

Registration here.

Call for Papers

Our theme is suggested by the ways in which Inklings scholarship has built on such good foundations. Papers exploring this theme might include, but are not limited to any of the following:

• The past, present, and future of mythopoeic scholarship and independent journals
• Academic, audience, and critical reception of mythopoeic literature
• The history of fandom, fan communities, and fan-fiction
• Adaptations of mythopoeic literature — film, music, gaming, and more
• The mythopoeic giants who inspired the Inklings — including Homer, Dante, Milton, George MacDonald, William Morris, G.K. Chesterton, and the most prolific of them all, Anon.
• Giants as literary figures in myth, fairy tale, and mythopoeic literature — Atlas, Goliath, the Norse Giants, Grendel, Gogmagog, Tolkien’s Trolls, the Giants and Ettins of Narnia.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

‘Drama and music at Anthroposophy’

The Anthroposophical Society of New York City has a month of great programs for April, including these artistic evenings. That’s 138 West 15th Street in Manhattan. Admission: $10-$20 donation suggested. 7 p.m. start times. From the publicity:

Thursday the 12th
This War Is Not Inevitable
Lightweight Theatre presents a play

At the end of The Great War, sparked by bitter nationalist rivalries, Rudolf Steiner’s plan for a “Threefold Social Organism” aimed to make war impossible, limiting the power of the state by freeing cultural life and the economy as the state’s coequals. Two actors, Michael Burton and Ryan Kouroukis, playing a dozen parts between them, show how the rulers of the time received this idea. One hundred years later, could the time for Steiner’s approach be now?

Saturday the 14th
New York City Classical Guitar Society

An evening with members of the New York City Classical Guitar Society. Two seasoned performers enchant and entertain with a variety of pieces and styles.

Aryeh Eller studied guitar in Israel, earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Brooklyn College and a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and won the Andres Segovia Award for “Furthering the Spirit of the Guitar.”

Serguei Krissiouk studied guitar in Kiev, Ukraine, and music theory and composition in both England and Germany. His repertoire includes Renaissance, Baroque, Flamenco, and his own compositions.

Friday the 27th
Lecture: Heartfelt Thinking

Serguei Krissiouk returns to present “Heartfelt Thinking.”

How do we perceive? What is awareness? Through perception, our cognitive process constructs the world as we know it, but is it possible for us to perceive differently and to see what we usually do not notice? Is it possible to perceive the unknown? Is our thinking only a repetitive, analytic, and mechanical function? Or is it a living process warmed by the heart? As indicated by Rudolf Steiner, living thinking is a very important step in the process of development of higher cognitive abilities. Heartfelt thinking opens the doors of understanding.

Serguei Krissiouk is a student of life and a seeker of knowledge. He is an Anthroposophically trained physician, holistic counselor, homeopath, and musician.

Saturday the 28th
The Russian Art Song
Presented by Dorothy Emmerson

Traveling to Russia in the 1990s, Dorothy discovered the wonderful world of romansy. Her path to the Russian art song began when she lived and went to school in the late 1940s as a diplomat’s daughter. Accompanied by Elizabeth Rodgers, Dorothy brings to these soulful and intimate songs the clear and direct expression of her American musical comedy heritage.

Dorothy Emmerson is a professional actress-singer who has appeared on Broadway and in regional theater across the country. She was on the faculty of the Michael Chekhov Studio, and in Japan she recorded an album of classic Broadway show tunes for Columbia Records (which is available in the bookstore).

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

‘The Orphic Tradition and the Rosicrucian Manifestos’

The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library’s April installment of its lecture series will bring Angel Millar back to the lectern with Antonios Chrysovergis for a discussion of “The Orphic Tradition and the Rosicrucian Manifestos.”

This will be Thursday the 26th at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Photo ID is required to enter Masonic Hall. RSVP here. From the publicity:

An examination of the relationship between the Orphic and Rosicrucian traditions, and a philosophical interpretation of the Rosicrucian manifestos from the Orphic perspective.

Bro. Antonios Chrysovergis:

Antonios Chrysovergis

  • Master of Music, Music Education, Boston University, Boston, MA
  • Bachelor of Music, Music Performance, Berklee College of Music, Boston
  • National Diploma, Performing Arts, Chichester College, West Sussex, UK
  • Studies in Greek Philosophy at National Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Studies in Kabbalah at Ben Gurion University
  • Member of Service City Geba Lodge No. 1009
  • Constitution Chapter No. 140, RAM
  • Rockville Centre, AASR


  • The Spiritual Meaning of Music, From Ancient Greece to Today (2016, Dec. 4, Phalanx; Reprinted in Italy by generazionebio.com, 2017, Jan. 18).
  • The Sufi Mysticism of Music, Sound, and Vibration (2017, Feb. 25, Phalanx; Reprinted by BeHereNowNetwork.com, 2017, March 6).
  • Myth, Catharsis, and The Riddle of The Sphinx (2017, July 6, Phalanx)
  • In Search of Light: A Journey Through the Mysteries of the Great Gods (2017, Oct. 22, Phalanx)
  • Philosophy as the Art of Self-Initiation (2017, Nov. 11, Phalanx; Reprinted in Greece by JuniorsClub.gr, 2017, Nov. 17)

Bro. Angel Millar


Angel Millar

  • Freemasonry: A History (Thunder Bay Press, 2005)
  • Freemasonry: Foundation of the Western Esoteric Tradition (Salamander and Sons, 2014)
  • The Crescent and the Compass (Numen Books, 2015; revised and expanded edition Torazzi Press 2017)
  • His writing has also been published in New Dawn magazine, Quest magazine, and The Philalethes, among others.


Monday, April 2, 2018

‘MRF is headed to Santa Fe’

The Masonic Restoration Foundation’s Ninth Annual Symposium will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico August 10 through 12. The host lodges will be Montezuma 1 and Cerrillos 19, which is the Observant lodge in the jurisdiction.

More info to come in a few days.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

‘This week at the Rosicrucian Center’

Great events coming this week at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center in New York City (2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard). From the publicity:

and the Pythagorean School
Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Pythagoras is one of the most important philosophers in the history of the Western world. He deeply influenced astronomy, cosmology, mathematics, and philosophy—especially the Rosicrucian tradition.

Join Grand Master Julie Scott in this exploration of Pythagoras and the inspiring school he founded.

Rosicrucian Alchemy Museum
Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Join Grand Master Julie Scott to hear the latest plans for the Rosicrucian Alchemy Museum, opening in 2020, which will be the largest Alchemy Museum in the world and the first in the United States.

The museum will offer an interactive introduction to the fascinating history of Alchemy (with its origins in Egypt), as well hands-on demonstrations involving the seven steps of the alchemical process, lab workstations for up to twelve students, and Alchemical meditation chambers.

Be a part of creating the Rosicrucian Alchemy Museum! Click here.

Mystical Music
Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Join Grand Master Julie Scott in experiencing mystical music, including Rosicrucian music.

In this experiential workshop, we will explore music from prehistoric times to today, including the music of the Pythagoreans, Troubadours, Alchemists, and Rosicrucians from 1617 to today.

‘Deceased on this date two centuries ago’

William Preston by Samuel Drummond
William Preston died on this date in 1818. My friend Ben, the most prolific scholar in New Jersey Freemasonry, once described Preston to me as “the original Magpie Mason,” and for good reason. He is often remembered inaccurately as the author of Masonic rituals in the late 18th century, but in truth he was an anthologist of the rituals and lectures that are so influential to our degrees today. An editor and printer by profession, Preston was naturally inclined to gather and compile elements of the Craft degrees and other customs he witnessed into a holistic—if that’s the right word—body of ritualized lessons in the meaning of Masonry.

His book, Illustrations of Masonry, was reprinted an unusual number of times in the first years of its existence, with changes made along the way, and was the basis of Thomas Smith Webb’s own Freemason’s Monitor, which really was a key source in the development of rituals in the United States.

He was an amazing figure in and out of Freemasonry. If you undertake no other form of research into the Craft’s history, make a point of reading Preston, and reading about him. He is near and dear to my heart in large part because he was expelled from Freemasonry in 1777 by the Premier Grand Lodge, but he didn’t stop serving for the benefit of the fraternity and, a decade later, the Grand Lodge reversed itself and restored Preston to all the rights and benefits of Masonry.

And, of course, he is the namesake of the Prestonian Lecture, established posthumously with a bequest from Preston who, again, was raised to the Lodge on High on this date 200 years ago.

Read about William Preston at Masonic Dictionary here; at the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon here; and at Masonry Today here, for starters.

I know it’s a holy day, but raise a glass of whatever you’re enjoying to the memory of a Mason to whom we are greatly indebted.

‘Masonic secrets coming to Netflix’

This is not an April Fools joke.

Beginning in two weeks, Netflix will provide subscribers a look at Masonic secrets of recognition.

Courtesy Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd.

On April 15, the entirety of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and films Holy Grail and Life of Brian, plus other titles featuring live performances and oddities, will be available.

The How to Recognize a Mason” sketch comes from Season 2 of Flying Circus, in an episode titled The Buzz Aldrin Show.

You’re welcome.