Saturday, June 30, 2018

‘Masonic researchers festive board’

I screwed up by not posting this a month ago, when I should have, but fortunately the secretary says there still are seats available—including for non-members—even though the RSVP deadline passed, so check it out.

Maryland Masonic Research Society
15th Festive Board
Monday, August 6
Social hour at 6:30
Dinner at seven o’clock
$50 per person

S. Brent Morris will present
“The Evolution of the Mason Word”

10150 Shaker Drive
Columbia, Maryland

Freemasons are notorious for their “secrets”—real or imagined, benign or sinister. The year 1637 saw the first known mention of the “Mason Word,” the Freemasons’ method of identifying (and commanding?) each other. This paper looks at the known references to the Mason Word during the eighteenth century and follows the evolution of public understanding of this central piece of Masons’ identity.

Bro. Morris, 33º is a Past President of the Maryland Masonic Research Society, and a Past Master of both Patmos Lodge 70 in Ellicott City, and of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076 in London. He is the managing editor of The Scottish Rite Journal, is Grand Abbot of the Society of Blue Friars, and is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on Freemasonry. He is a mathematician by training and a magician by inclination.

RSVP here.

Monday, June 25, 2018

‘New Masons Reception: A worthwhile exercise’

A blog post today by the secretary of Covenant Lodge 4344 under the United Grand Lodge of England offers a great idea others might want to adopt:

New Masons Reception

A little more than a month ago, I responded positively to an invitation to arrange for any new members of the Covenant Lodge to attend a welcome presentation at our headquarters in Great Queen Street, London.

For anyone who has not previously visited the building, I heartily recommend it. It is open to the public most days of the week. That said, I booked two tickets that covered the cost of wine and canapés, after speeches and presentations.

What a surprise and delight it all turned out to be! I speak as a long-in-the-tooth Freemason of many years standing. We were treated to a very good “no holds barred” speech by one of our Assistant Metropolitan Grand Masters, followed by a most erudite, amusing, and informative mini-lecture on the topic of the history of Freemasonry.

We broke off from that and adjourned to a warm reception of wine, food, and chat in an area packed with new Freemasons, their friends and partners. I was most impressed with the energy, enthusiasm, and general level of intellect of all the newcomers to Freemasonry I encountered that evening.

The new member of Covenant Lodge and I then adjourned to a nearby pub for further chats, and then home.

What a worthwhile exercise.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

‘Thursday: Mystical Symbolism and Music’

The Fourth Manhattan District of the Grand Lodge of New York (my home district!) is the sponsor of the next lecture at the Livingston Library on Thursday. Free and open to the public. Photo ID is required to enter the building. From the publicity:

Lecture No. 6:
“Mystical Symbolism and Music”
Chancellor Robert R. Livingston
Masonic Library
Thursday, June 28 at 6:30
Masonic Hall
71 W. 23rd Street, Manhattan

Sponsored by the Square Club of the Fourth Manhattan District, Thursday, June 28, the Livingston Masonic Library will host Bro. Tony Crisos and Bro. Angel Millar, who will present a lecture and concert titled “Mystical Symbolism and Music: a Salon de la Rose Croix Lecture and Concert.”

The short introductory talk will be on the Salon de la Rose Croix and on the relationship between music and spirituality. A musical performance will follow the lecture with four original compositions utilizing the Hermetic Laws as they appear in the Kybalion and as inspired by the Orphic, Hermetic, and Rosicrucian traditions. The evening is fashioned aesthetically after the famous Salon de la Rose+Croix movement which took place in Paris, France, between 1892 and 1897.

Courtesy Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library
Angel Millar and Tony Crisos.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

‘How can YOU be free?’

This class is selling out very quickly. If you are interested, act now.

The School of Practical Philosophy will remain pretty busy during the summer recess with a variety of special events. Such as:

A Lecture with Mr. Russell Bosworth
Monday, July 16 at 7 p.m.
12 East 79th St., Manhattan
Tickets, at $25, here

The Truth Will Set You Free

Who are You?
What is Truth?
What is Freedom?
How Can You Be Free?

Throughout the ages, philosophers of East and West have responded to these questions through thoughtful analyses and inspiring stories and myths. Join us for an entertaining evening exploring the profound wisdom these sages present, and discover time-tested practices that can set us free today—free from anxiety, free from fear, free to realize our true potential, free to be happy, free to be oneself.

Tickets, at $25, which includes light refreshments, are available here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

‘Square Club launches book club’

I floated the idea of starting a book club in my lodge a number of months ago, but it didn’t catch on, so I’m very happy to see the Square Club of the Fourth Manhattan District is launching a book club for all our lodges.

The first meeting will be Wednesday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 1615 at Masonic Hall. The chosen reading is A Pilgrim’s Path by John J. Robinson.

I read this one during my early years as a Freemason, and I’ll need to revisit it to refresh my memory. Robinson also is the author of Born in Blood, the maddeningly fanciful theory of medieval Templar origins of Freemasonry. Robinson was not a Freemason when he wrote that one but, if memory serves, he had become a Mason by the time he’d written A Pilgrim’s Path.

Book clubs provide possibly the best way for Freemasons to learn together. It’s not about ritual performance, etiquette, or anything formalized, so there’s no pressure. Just read the book, and come discuss. RSVP here.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

‘Sankey in September’

The 2018 Dr. Charles A. Sankey Lecture has been rescheduled for Sunday, September 9.

Hosted by the History Department of Brock University in Ontario, in cooperation with the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, the annual affair will host William D. Moore, who will present “Catechism, Spectacle, Burlesque: American Fraternal Ritual Performance, 1733-1933.”

Moore is director of the American and New England Studies Program, and is associate professor of American Material Culture of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Boston University.

The event will take place in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre at Brock University. All are welcome, and tickets are available here.

Friday, June 15, 2018

‘French Rite EA° on Tuesday’

Have you seen Garibaldi Lodge’s Italian-language Entered Apprentice Degree? You will have a chance to see the same ritual in its original French on Tuesday, when l’Union Française Lodge 17 will initiate four candidates at Masonic Hall. From the publicity, courtesy Bro. Francis:

The oldest lodge of the 10th Manhattan District, l’Union Française 17, will initiate candidates Tuesday, June 19, in the French Doric Room on the 10th Floor of Masonic Hall, located at 71 West 23rd Street. We open at 6 p.m., and the degree should start around 6:45. No one can be admitted after the degree has begun. Please have your current dues card ready for the Tiler.

Our First Degree does include the rites of purification of Rosicrucian origin, not seen in the traditional American degrees, which we have kept alive since 1797. This degree will be conducted in French by our Worshipful Master with the able assistance of our Senior Deacon and his College of Officers in the intimate setting of our regular lodge room, which gives every visitor the instant feeling of being actively part of the proceedings.

There will be a post-meeting dinner in the restaurant Saju (120 West 44th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, near Times Square) at the cost of $50 (cash) per person, including wine, tax, and tips. You can make your necessary reservations with our Secretary here.

I hope that the length of your cable tow will permit you, and all other interested Brothers who may want to come with you, to join us for this ancient esoteric ceremony, and to help us welcome these four candidates into our Royal Craft.

RW Francis Dumaurier, 33°, MSA, KYCH
Grand Representative of France

Sunday, June 3, 2018

‘Vernacular Universalism: Freemasonry in Haiti and Beyond’

Previous Magpie posts on Haiti have been getting a lot of traffic the past few weeks, so I went looking for reasons why—and found this:

The Abrazo Interno Gallery of The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center in Manhattan is the place to see the exhibit “Vernacular Universalism: Freemasonry in Haiti and Beyond” through June 23. There will be a panel discussion on Friday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m. From the publicity:

Courtesy The Clemente

In Haiti, during the colonial era, the Freemasons were one of the few European institutions that allowed black membership. Freemasonry still thrives in contemporary Haiti, and its visual world pervades the Haitian imaginary. The symbols that recur throughout this exhibition once tethered a web of ideas that stretched across the Atlantic, encrypting the most precious values of the Enlightenment.

Courtesy The Clemente

This exhibition aims to visualize the mesh of magic and reason; alchemy and science; trade and metaphysical exchange that has stretched into the 21st century. By focusing on Haiti, this exhibition sheds light on the relationship between colonized peoples and the Enlightenment. It suggests that for some, Freemasonry offered a path to becoming an agent of modernity, rather than its reviled “other.” This exhibition will be a timely and significant contribution to an understanding of Freemasonry through the lens of the Black Atlantic.

Courtesy The Clemente
This exhibition is compiled by Leah Gordon and transgresses the borders between fiction and non-fiction; reality and imagination and will feature original and commissioned works by Haitian, American, and European artists Yves Delva, Ernest Dominique, Marg Duston, Andre Eugene, Leah Gordon, Lazaros, Michel Lafleur, and Molej Zamour. The pairing of document and artifact mirrors the binaries between Magic and Modernity inherent in Haitian Freemasonry.

(The title is from a conversation about Haitian Freemasonry between Sibylle Fischer and Katherine Smith, and I thank them for their generosity in granting me permission to temporarily adopt it.)

The Clemente is located at 107 Suffolk Street, between Delancey and Rivington streets.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

‘NJ LORE to meet next Saturday’

New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education 1786 will host its quarterly communication next Saturday with an interesting full agenda.

Worshipful Master Bob has been undertaking a review of the Masonic life of James Anderson, the Presbyterian minister who authored Freemasonry’s first Book of Constitutions, and will report his findings.

Senior Warden Michael will present his analysis of the Scriptural passages employed in the three Craft degrees. In New Jersey, they are Psalm 133, Amos 7, and Ecclesiastes 12. Other jurisdictions use different verses, so I’m curious to see if this talk will cover those also.

Bro. Don will review Margaret Jacobs’ book The Origins of Freemasonry, Facts and Fictions.

Enlightening discussions always ensue, and are worth the price of admission themselves.

Saturday, June 9. We meet at Hightstown-Apollo Lodge 41, located at 535 North Main Street in Hightstown, not far from the Turnpike. Opening at 9:30. Wear a suit and tie. Bring your regalia and membership card. All Master Masons are welcome, not just LORE members. We’ll most likely close around 1 p.m.

Friday, June 1, 2018

‘MRF Symposium plans announced’

I see the MRF website is up. Click here to start planning your trip.

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.

‘The 2019 Prestonian Lecturer will be…’

Congratulations to Bro. Michael Karn upon being tapped to serve as the United Grand Lodge of England’s Prestonian Lecturer for 2019! His paper is titled “English Freemasonry During the Great War.” I hope his travels take him to New York City.

Michael Karn
Wearing Royal Arch regalia.
Bro. Karn has been a Freemason 31 years, during which time he has excelled in the field of Masonic education, having written and presented numerous works of research, and has held all kinds of stations and places and ranks. He is very keen on music as well, being an organist and a vocalist—and is a member of a lodge of musicians too.

(You may recall I reported his paper was honored with the Norman Spencer Prize four years ago.)

Having enjoyed Trevor Stewart and other Prestonians discuss the First World War in Masonic contexts, I very much look forward to Bro. Karn’s lecture.