Tuesday, May 31, 2011

‘Second Circle’s St. John’s Day’

The New Jersey Second Circle of The Masonic Society will host its Saint John’s Day Feast on Friday, June 24 in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

An evening of good company, good conversation, and good food, with the added attraction of a very special guest speaker, awaits you.

In honor of St. John’s Day, we will welcome to our podium the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, who will tell us about a fascinating gnostic religion that dates back to antiquity, yet still survives today.

Dr. Charles Haberl’s topic is the Mandaean faith, a tiny Abrahamic religion that upholds John the Baptist as its ultimate teacher. This religion exists in and around Iraq, but is almost on the verge of extinction. What he has to say about the Baptist in particular should intrigue every Freemason, and the plight they suffer today makes Dr. Haberl’s presentation even more compelling.

Dr. Haberl also is an Assistant Professor at the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures at Rutgers. He has served as an Undergraduate Fulbright Faculty Advisor and as a member of the Advisory Committee for Study Abroad Programs in the Middle East at Rutgers, as well as a juror and panelist for the United States Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes. With James McGrath of Butler University, he received an NEH grant to translate the Mandaean Book of John in 2010. We are very fortunate to have him.

The Masonic Society’s St. John’s Day Feast
Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.
Sir John’s Restaurant
230 Washington Place, North Brunswick

$50 per person. Reservations are required and can be made ONLY by sending your payment, via PayPal, to: masonicrsvp@gmail.com no later than Monday, June 20.

Great food: Unlimited hot hors d'oeuvres (served butler style), your choice of entree is Baked Stuffed Chicken or Roast Top Sirloin of Beef or Broiled Stuffed Filet of Flounder. Plus side dishes, salad, desserts with coffee etc., and unlimited soft drinks. (Cash bar only.)

NAME YOUR ENTREE when you transmit your payment.

It is NOT necessary to be a member of The Masonic Society to attend this special event. ALL Masons, their ladies, and friends are welcome to this fraternal and spiritual celebration of one of the Patrons of the Craft. Remember it was on June 24, 1717 when the Grand Lodge of England was formed, ushering in the age of modern Freemasonry as we know it.

Seating is limited, so no walk-ins can be accommodated. No reservations can be honored without advance payment via PayPal.

'210 in 2011'

Brethren, be sure to raise your glasses at some point today. (No time like the present!) On this date in 1801, the Mother Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree was formed in Charleston, South Carolina.

And this year marks the 20th year of the Scottish Rite Research Society's labors. What better way to celebrate both milestones than to enroll in the SRRS?
Members of the SRRS who were
in good standing in 2010, are now
receiving both Volume 18
Heredom, and Albert Pike's
Masonic Formulas and Rituals.

Grand Archivist and Grand Historian Ill. Arturo de Hoyos has published the fruits of his recent years of research and editing. Titled Albert Pike's Masonic Formulas and Rituals, this beautifully bound and hefty work of scholarship is a time capsule that transports us to the era before Albert Pike revised the Scottish Rite's rituals, creating the fraternity we know today. In its pages, we see what Pike and his contemporaries knew as their corpus of rituals, although we enjoy the benefits of modern publishing.

In addition, and in yet another instance of the SRRS serving the Craft at large, this book reveals the three lodge degrees (and more) of what was Adonhiramite Masonry, affording us a look into a French Masonic order of the 1780s wherein Adoniram was the architect and builder of King Solomon's Temple. This is almost archeological in perspective, considering the bloodbath of revolution that nearly would eradicate Freemasonry in France several years hence.

And that's not all! (Are ya following me, camera guy?)

There are early versions of York Rite degrees and orders, and the four degrees of the True Masonry of Adoption. Championed by some of the same French elites behind the Adonhiramite rite, this system of degrees brought women to see the light by which Masons work.

I don't claim to have read all of this already; I received my copy only a week ago. Whenever I receive a tome of this scope, my first action is to turn to the Rose Croix chapters (pun!) and see what's going on there, and then I try to begin at the beginning. I'll be gnawing on this for a number of months, so if you see me clutching this to my chest, it may be best to just wave hello from a distance. In the meantime, join the Scottish Rite Research Society.

Monday, May 30, 2011

'Sunset on ICHF 2011'

The George Washington Masonic Memorial,
overlooking King Street in Alexandria, Virginia,
site of ICHF 2011.
The third International Conference on the History of Freemasonry is itself history. The fourth conference will be convened in the north of England in 2013, and the fifth will take place in Ontario in 2015.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bound for ICHF

Wow! When I said in the post below that I may be spending too much time blogging, I didn't think I'd take a sabbatical of 90 days, but that's how it worked out for a variety of humbling reasons.

The Magpie Mason will be back to its usual tricks in June with coverage of things Masonic. I still have to tell you about the Rose Circle conference, Trevor Stewart at The Players, a few great nights at Nutley Lodge, and even some events from Masonic Week. Man, that feels like it was five years ago. Plus, there's my lecture to the Joseph Campbell Foundation's New York City Chapter, and some other odd, improbable curiosities. There are many other things that I'll get to during the course of the summer, as the recollections return to view. Hope I don't forget anything.

Oh yeah! The Masonic Society's New Jersey Second Circle Gathering. Our St. John's Day Feast on Friday, June 24 in North Brunswick, New Jersey. A very special evening is planned!

At the moment I'm off to bed so as to arise in four hours to drive to the George Washington Masonic Memorial, the site of the 2011 International Conference on the History of Freemasonry. Been waiting two years for this.

Complete Magpie coverage, etc., etc., to come. Monday.