Tuesday, July 31, 2018

‘Friday: The Feminine Divine’

Never before have I heard of an Eastern Star chapter hosting an event like this, so I cannot resist forwarding the news. On Friday, Lorelei Chapter 581 will welcome Michelle Snyder, Ph.D. to present “The Feminine Divine.”

Click to enlarge.

From her blog: “Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales, and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.”

Her books, on symbology and fairy tales, include:
Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids


A Tale of Three Kingdoms, Book One: The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, Book Two: The Lost Mermaid
The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-a-Time Lessons

She has spoken from the lectern to a variety of Masonic audiences.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

‘Natural Table translation is out’

Big news from the irrepressible Piers. He has translated this historic text, and has made it available to you. From the publicity:

Courtesy Piers Vaughan

I’m delighted to announce that Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin’s second book, Natural Table, is now published and available.

First published in 1782, seven years after Of Errors & Truth, Saint-Martin was still a Freemason and avid follower of Pasqually and his teachings, even though his Master had died years earlier, and the Elus Cohen was almost defunct. This book shows how he continued to develop the Theosophy, and this great image of God, Man, and the Universe examines Pasqually’s theology from ancient mythology and the Old Testament. He continues to the advent of Christ, whom he called the Repairer, and continues to the Apocalypse. We also should remember that this work was published in the same year as the Convent of Wilhelmsbad, at which Jean-Baptiste Willermoz received authority to rework the Order of Strict Observance into the Scottish Rectified Rite, forever preserving Pasqually’s teachings in one of most sublime Masonic Orders of all.

It’s available in hardcover and paperback, and at a discount for now, so act fast!

Monday, July 23, 2018

‘If you want good friends, it gonna cost you’

American roots music spans a galaxy of styles and traditions, regions and generations. I practically used to live on the music of contemporary singer-songwriters from Texas, Louisiana, and environs. Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams, Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt, and many more. I had the good fortune to see them perform when they came to New York. You’d pay something like $12 to sit at their feet in the Bottom Line back in the 1980s and ’90s. I would leave class, or the library, or my desk at the student newspaper, and would just cross the street and fold into my usual seat. One night in December 1990, I saw Clark, Keen, and Van Zandt sharing the stage. I’ve been revisiting this music lately. Got a lot of CDs.

Van Zandt’s historic double album Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas captures a night in 1973, pretty early in his career. It was released on New York City-based Tomato Records in 1977.

I had totally forgotten this song. “Fraternity Blues” is about the college fraternity game, of which I never was part. Musically, this is in the tradition of Talking Blues. Think Woody Guthrie and those first Bob Dylan records, for example.

Fraternity Blues
Townes Van Zandt

I decided to improve my social station
I joined a fraternity organization
Tucked in my shirt
Signed on the line
Right away they set about to improve my mind
The car I drove
The books I read
The food I ate
The booze I drank
The girls I took out
My breath

Said “kid, we don’t much like the way you walk
And you gonna have to change the way you talk”
They said “your dress is kind of slouchy
And your attitude is mighty grouchy”
Said “you got to learn to bubble”
“You got to bubble with enthusiasm” I started to bubble
“Most important thing you can’t forget
Is learning the entire Greek alphabet”
I never did really understand
That that’s gonna make me anymore a man
But I learned it
I can whip through that son-of-a-beta backwards in five seconds
Then they hit me with some pretty bad news
Concerning the payment of monthly dues

I never did know where that money went
I never was sure it was well spent
But I paid it
I’m no trouble-causer and besides I figured that’s life
If you want good friends it gonna cost you

Well, finally got to be party time
I got a great big old jug of wine
I went back to the house in about an hour
when the boys were drinking whiskey sours
brandy alexanders
frozen daiquiris
Reciting the Greek alphabet to one another

I could see I was gonna have to do my very best
To get myself out of that fraternity mess
I stood right there outside the door
And I chugged that wine like never before
Walked inside and bubbled
All over a couple of their dates

So now everything’s back to normal again
But there is still lots of room for improvement my friend
’Cause that fraternity stuff is too much for me
Next time I’m gonna join a sorority
Really get me something to bubble about

Sunday, July 22, 2018

‘Remember, remember the Ninth of Av’

On this Jewish calendar date, the Ninth of Av, Nebuchadnezzar’s troops took Jerusalem and destroyed King Solomon’s Temple in the year 587 BCE, and the Second Temple was destroyed by Roman forces in 70 CE. Many other calamities occurred on this date in Jewish history right up to the modern era.

Synagogue lights will be dimmed, fasting will commence, and the Book of Lamentations will be read.

It’s worth the attention of Freemasons too.

Monday, July 9, 2018

‘Alleyne apron presentation’

Save the date: Saturday, September 22, at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, for the Mid-Hudson District Grand Lodge Officers Apron Presentation. Bro. Oscar Alleyne, the Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden, with five other Grand Staff Officers, will receive their purple and gold.

Beyond the installation of officers, New York Freemasonry offers a terrific tradition of formally presenting the grand rank aprons in local settings. Details about this event are still to come, and I’ll share them here when they’re available.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

‘Summer Stories series starts next week’

The School of Practical Philosophy’s “Summer Stories” series is near. If you’ve never attended a lecture or taken a course at the school, this opportunity offers a great way to get acquainted with the quality of instruction and socialization at the townhouse.

We won’t know what the stories will be until we get there, but the schedule is:

Wednesdays July 11 and 18
Tuesdays August 21 and 28

Seven o’clock starts. Only $20 per person, which includes wine and light refreshments. Click here for tickets. The school is located at 12 East 79th Street, just outside Central Park.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

‘Masonry in the Age of Enlightenment’

If you were afraid of having nothing to do in the summertime, don’t worry, and get thee to Masonic Hall. On Saturday, July 14, a day of—well—enlightening lectures will be presented by four of the best speakers one could hope for. From the publicity:

Legends of the Craft
Masonry in the Age
of Enlightenment
Saturday, July 14
11:30 to 4:30
Masonic Hall
71 West 23rd Street, Manhattan
FREE admission—Tickets here

“Since 1717, there have been over 1000 ‘Masonic’ degrees created. The most popular survived and are included in many of the rites, orders, and systems we know today. Like a meal, each degree is only as good as its creator. The recipe may include many of the same ingredients as other meals, yet taste completely different. By analogy, we may see many of the same ‘ingredients’ (features like the use of the term Scottish) in a number of degrees which teach completely different things. The predilections of a degree’s author affect the content as much as the taste buds of a chef. The ‘flavor’ of the foundational Craft degrees in various rites, orders, and systems (Webb working, Scottish Rite, York Rite, Swedish Rite, RER, etc.), differs immensely, and in the ‘Higher Degrees,’ the differences are even more dramatic and pronounced. Some are philosophical, others practical; some present allegory, and others offer discourses on symbolism or (quasi-) historical themes.”

Arturo de Hoyos
“Esotericism is a Matter of Degrees”

The Legends of the Craft Symposium “Masonry During the Age of Enlightenment” is a one-day educational experience for Master Masons interested in the development of many of our rituals. The focus this year is on degree systems and rituals developed during the 18th century in Europe. We’re filling the room with Brothers, Companions, Sir Knights, and Sublime Princes from around the nation. The Symposium is free and features a 30-minute talk followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. After, there will be an amazing Festive Board (only $55 per person).

The goal is to get the smartest minds in Freemasonry in one room, and then learn a whole lot from each other.

The hosts are Shakespeare Lodge 750, Continental Lodge 287, and memorizemore.com.

The Lectures

The Legend of Comte de St Laurent
and his role in Scottish Rite Freemasonry
By E. Oscar Alleyne

In 1832 there arrived in the City of New York the Count de St. Laurent. He was a member of the Supreme Council of France and Grand Commander (Ad Vitam) of the Supreme Council 33º for Terra Firma, New Spain, South America, Puerto Rico, Canary Islands, etc. He found the old council sleeping in consequence of political and anti-Masonic troubles existing at that time. This lecture discusses his role in resuscitating that council, and many of the mysteries connected to him as he introduced Scottish Rite to African-American Masons.

Early Scots Masonry, the Royal Arch,
and the Scottish Rite
By Arturo de Hoyos

In the early 1730s in England there were “Scotch Masons” or “Scots Master Masons,” a step after the Master Mason Degree (and apparently unrelated to Scotland). By 1742 in Berlin there was talk of “higher or so-called Scottish Masonry.” In 1743 the Grand Lodge of France adopted a regulation limiting the privileges of “Scots Masters” in lodges. It’s clear from these few mentions that something was going on behind the scenes with “Scottish Masonry,” but we’re not quite sure what. These developments were happening at the same time the Royal Arch was gestating before its birth. It’s even possible the Royal Arch and Scottish Masonry came from the same sources. We just don’t know, until now.

“Early Scots Masonry, the Royal Arch, and the Scottish Rite” explores the early migration of Scots Master from Britain to Europe, its association with Royal Arch Masonry, and how it became the foundation for the Scottish Rite degrees.

The Magician, the Mystic,
and the Mason:
The Unlikely Origin of the Rectified Rite
By Piers A. Vaughan

Pasqually, Saint-Martin, and Willermoz are names which are revered in continental European Freemasonry, yet are scarcely known in England or the United States. Nevertheless, their influence has spread far beyond the borders of France, and what they established has affected Freemasonry—and other Orders—ever since.

In this talk, you will learn how an almost chance encounter between these three men in the latter part of the 18th century led to the creation of one of the most astonishing orders in Freemasonry, one which still exists and which is considered one of the highest honors to be invited to join. Yet few of its members really understand the gnostic, theurgic, and symbolic underpinnings of an order which, had the French Revolution not taken place, was set to become the standard work across Europe for the following centuries. Had this order become the basis of Freemasonry, there would have been no doubt that the fraternity would have indeed been based upon deeply spiritual and magical practices, and would indeed have been full of “secrets!”

Stephen Morin
and the Baylot Manuscript:
The Origins of the Order
of the Royal Secret
By Josef Wäges

One of the most elusive questions of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite concerns its origins. Where exactly did it come from, and from what source do its rituals emanate?

Many scholars have rightfully determined that Étienne Morin, also known as Stephen Morin, is the founder of this system, but it is even less certain precisely from whence his authority came, let alone who Étienne Morin was. The truth is that we only have a partial picture of who he was and the circumstances concerning his authority to establish the rite. Nevertheless, when one assembles all of the evidence and gathers still more, there is still enough light left in the fragments to project a more complete vision of the truth.

A close examination of the Baylot Manuscript, in comparison to the Francken Manuscripts in particular, is necessary because it reveals that this manuscript forms the nucleus of what became the Order of the Royal Secret, and later the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.