Wednesday, July 31, 2013

‘Fama and Confessio’

Courtesy Ouroboros Press
The Temple of the Rosy Cross, 1618.

Treat yourselves—well, some of you anyway—to copies of the limited edition imprints of the Rosicrucian Manifestos soon to be available from our friends at Ouroboros Press, printers of esoteric texts and supporters of education in our arts.

Of course the books are the Fama Fraternitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis, the heralds of the founding in the early 17th century of the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, an order outside of dogmatic religions that championed the search for the secrets to life, the universe, and everything via Alchemy and Kabbalah.

The texts’ origins, not unlike the origins of practically everything else one studies in the Western Mysteries, are obscure and confounding, and yet the so much is built upon the foundation they constructed that they are essential reading. And if you have to read a book, I suppose it may as well be a beautifully bound, heirloom quality masterpiece you will treasure for life.

And then there is the trade edition for guys like me. Click here to make your selections and place your advance orders.

Silkscreen on camel-stock prints, 18x24, of the artwork above also are available for purchase at $25 each.

Courtesy Ouroboros Press

Monday, July 29, 2013

‘Lubitz lecture next Monday’

Bro. Lenny is back on the road, scheduled to speak at Masonic Hall next Monday. From the publicity:

In the tradition of our ancient operative brethren, who were committed to their Labor throughout the year, as evidenced by both those who constructed the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem as well as those who built the Great Pyramid of Cheops without any cessation during the summer months, you are invited to a lecture titled “Isaac Newton and the Temple of Solomon” by W. Bro. Lenny Lubitz.

Monday, August 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Masonic Hall
71 West 23rd Street, Manhattan
Wendell Walker Room

On arrival, please proceed directly to the rear lobby (at the 24th Street entrance) to the Wendell Walker Room. Brothers of all ranks are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please RSVP by e-mail to prestonslevel (at) with your full name on lodge



The Preston’s Level Masonic Education Association

‘Morbid Manhattan Monday, Obscura Style’

I am baffled to no end over not having seen this headstone before, but with all the hours I’ve spent over the years inside Trinity Church and on its grounds, actively seeking Masonic clues on headstones and elsewhere, the final resting place of Bro. James Leeson eluded me until Bro. Isaac shared it on Facebook a little while ago. The credit goes to Laetitia Barbier, writing today on the Atlas Obscura website of her experience visiting Trinity. Barbier is a student at the Sorbonne working on a dissertation about the artist Joe Coleman (or perhaps has completed it already).

What is Atlas Obscura? I think that is answered best by the group’s three-part philosophy spelled out at the bottom of its website:

     1. There is something NEW under the sun, every day, all over the world.
     2. Around the corner is something that will SURPRISE the hell out of you.
     3. Atlas Obscura is for people who still believe in DISCOVERY.

(Earlier this year, a group of Atlas Obscura folks visited Masonic Hall to see the Livingston Library.)

Anyway, click here to see Ms. Barbier’s reportage. She does a great job of explaining the Masonic significance of the headstone, especially what is sometimes called the Masonic alphabet. We’ll forgive her for not addressing the Pot of Incense, a symbol not very well known outside the Craft. And check out Atlas Obscura too, which I am sure you will find to be worth your time.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

‘Trevor Down Under’

Trevor Stewart is headed back out on the road next month. Lots of air travel, actually. He e-mailed me his itinerary today for publicity purposes, I assume, but I can’t promise you anything, Trevor. The places you will visit have relatively few Magpie readers. (In five years of publishing The Magpie Mason, it has been visited by only 1,071 unique readers in Australia! Don’t they speak English down there?)

Magpie file photo
Trevor Stewart
Regardless, it looks like a truly wonderful way to spend the coming two months, even if it is the dead of winter there. Over the years, I have been very fortunate for either having attended or read a number of Trevor Stewart’s lectures, and they are exceptionally rewarding experiences. His presentations gratify the intellect, reassure the soul, and the camaraderie engendered by those in attendance is an energy all its own, which I have to assume is how these speaking engagements come about.

Without further ado, Bro. Trevor Stewart’s (if you somehow don’t know who he is, just scroll down to the Magpie Index at bottom left and click on his name) 2013 ANZMRC Lecture Tour of Australasia!

I simply have copied and pasted Trevor’s own format: Date, Locale, Lodge Name & Number, and Lecture Topic.

Monday, 5th August
Lodge St Michael 2933 EC
A Fresh Look at Some Masonic Symbols: A Personal Perspective

Wednesday, 7th August
Kuala Lumpur
Lodge Tullibardine-in-the-East 1118 SC

Monday, 12th August
Hong Kong
Lodge Cosmopolitan 428 SC
Scottish Masonic Processions

Thursday, 15th August
Combined Lodges SC, EC & IC (Lodge Lane Xang)

Saturday, 17th August
Auckland (North Shore)
ANZMRC and SRIA combined
The Remarkable Contribution of Martinez de Pasqually – A Truly Original French-born Masonic Innovator

Monday, 19th August
Winchester (Canterbury)
Midland District Lodge of Research 436 NZC
A Fresh Look at Some Masonic Symbols: A Personal Perspective

Tuesday, 20th August
Research Lodge of Otago 161 NZC
Gentlemen Entrants in 17th Century Scottish Lodges: Motivations, Processes and Consequences

Friday, 23rd August
Research Lodge of Southland 415 NZC
Robert Burns: Bard, Mason, and National Treasure

Saturday, 24th August
Masters & Past Masters Lodge 130 NZC
Gentlemen Entrants in 17th Century Scottish Lodges: Motivations, Processes and Consequences

Saturday, 31st August
Blenheim or Nelson
Top of the South Research Lodge 470 NZC
The Remarkable Contribution of Martinez de Pasqually – A Truly Original French-born Masonic Innovator

Monday, 2nd September
Research Lodge of Wellington 194 NZC
Those Two Pillars Again! – A Personal Re-examination of a Recurring Masonic Image

Thursday, 5th September
Inglewood (Taranaki)
Research Lodge of Taranaki Province 323 NZC
Robert Burns: Bard, Mason, and National Treasure

Friday, 6th September
Palmerston North
Research Lodge of Ruapehu 444 NZC
The Curious Case of Bro Gustav Petrie: A Model for Doing Masonic Research

Tuesday, 10th September
Hawke’s Bay Research Lodge 305 NZC
Gentlemen Entrants in 17th Century Scottish Lodges: Motivations, Processes and Consequences

Thursday, 12th September
Waikato Lodge of Research 445 NZC
The Curious Case of Bro Gustav Petrie: A Model for Doing Masonic Research

Saturday, 14th September
South Auckland – Mangere
United Masters Lodge 167 & Research Chapter 93 (NZ)
Robert Burns: Bard, Mason, and National Treasure

Monday, 16th September
WHJ Mayers Memorial Lodge of Research UGLQ
The Edinburgh Register House MS (1696) – Our Earliest Known Masonic Ritual

Wednesday, 18th September
Barron Barnett (Research) Lodge 146 UGLQ
Rev’d Dr. J. T. Desaguliers’s Visit to Edinburgh, 1721

Friday, 20th September
WH Green Memorial Masonic Study Circle UGLQ
A Fresh Look at Some Masonic Symbols: A Personal Perspective

Monday, 23rd September
Discovery Lodge of Research 971 NSW/ACT
The Edinburgh Register House MS (1696) – Our Earliest Known Masonic Ritual

Tuesday, 24th September
Linford Lodge of Research NSW/ACT

Friday, 27th September
Victorian Lodge of Research 218 UGLVictoria
The Remarkable Contribution of Martinez de Pasqually – A Truly Original French-born Masonic Innovator

Monday, 30th September
Launceston Lodge of Research 69 Tasmania
Rev’d Dr. J. T. Desaguliers’s Visit to Edinburgh, 1721

Thursday, 3rd October
Lodge of Friendship 1 South Australia/NT

Between Wednesday to Friday 9 – 11 October
Western Australia Lodge of Research 277 WA

Additional papers which can be chosen:

  • Enlightenment in the Alps – Shelley’s forgotten ‘Rosicrucian’ novel, St. Irvyne (1811)
  • Polymnia and the Craft – a preliminary examination of some early Scottish Poetry and the Craft
  • The HRDM – a fourth visitations to a curious eighteenth-century Masonic phenomenon from the north-east region of England


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

‘Bro. Neville Barker Cryer, R.I.P.’

The sad news seems to have eluded cyberspace for a week, but now newspapers in England are reporting the death last Tuesday of The Rev. Neville Barker Cryer, a most distinguished brother who shared his understanding of the works of the spirit in his insightful and prolific writing and lecturing on matters Masonic.

Courtesy PGL of East Lancs 

Both The Times (of London) and The Press (York) published the following obituary today:

CRYER The Reverend Neville Barker, after a period of illness, died 2nd July 2013 at York Hospital. Remembered and loved by Marjorie his wife, and all his family. Funeral Service at St Mary’s Church, Haxby, York on Monday 15th July 2013 at 11am. Family flowers only please, donations in memoriam to Manormead Care Home (Dementia Care Unit) and to Bible Society. All enquiries please to J. Rymer Funeral Directors. Tel: 01904 624320.

Bro. Cryer, to mention a few highlights, was a member of York Lodge No. 236, the oldest lodge in York; a Past Grand Chaplain, the Prestonian Lecturer in 1974, Batham Lecturer in 1996-98, and a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.

I will share only one Freemasonry Today column by Cryer, from about two and a half years ago, addressing the meaning of charity.

Some thirty years ago I began to realize that those who were called upon to present a toast to the Initiate, or to present or respond to the toast to the guests, were frequently using a phrase that must have seemed to be a most satisfactory one at that point. The phrase was: ‘That’s what Freemasonry is all about, isn’t it?’

In another context, and as a clergyman, I can just imagine a fellow cleric banging a pulpit ledge and in an attempt to silence all disagreement saying loudly, ‘That is what Christianity is all about, isn’t it?’

At the dinner table I can see the speaker now, warming up to his chance to impress the new Candidate sitting beside the Master and reminding him of what he earlier experienced in the north-east corner of the lodge room. Wanting to drive home the useful and correct need for a spirit of benevolence and care for others he works himself up to the climax of his speech and says: ‘Now Charity, that is what Freemasonry is all about, isn’t it?’ The speaker may sit down feeling that it is a job well done. But is it?

Forgive me if thirty years later I still have to point out that that is not what Freemasonry is all about. A person joining the Craft today might, of course, be forgiven for gaining the idea that it was.

A lot of provincial magazines that I see give me the sense that this is indeed the primary and overwhelming concern of the Craft. Yet how can it be? If it were, then we don’t practice what we claim.

Surely if that were true then why do we spend so much on maintaining halls, buying regalia, jewels and even books, having substantial meals, entertaining our guests and, forgive me perhaps for mentioning it, paying Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge dues. We do all these things because they too are important and, we believe, worth supporting. Benevolence has to be seen as part and parcel of this whole Masonic program in which we take part but to make the claim and try to drive home that claim with our newest members is untrue and unfair.

Of course it is right, and not the least when Christmas with its emphasis on giving is part of our national heritage, to appeal to a Freemason to show generosity to any who are so much less fortunate than ourselves – as we should remind ourselves every time we dine at home as well as at a lodge meeting. As I am sure the public are now much more aware we seek to share our giving for charity with many more than just our own members though they should be our first care.

Anyone reading this magazine, and I am sure you leave it around for the family and friends to see, can have no doubt about the range of our concern. Great as the range is, however, and generous as is the support that it represents, there are some things that I believe we need to think about afresh.

I am fully aware that what is written in the Volume of Sacred Law is not these days regarded by people at large with the same respect as was previously the case but it is still open for our contemplation at every lodge meeting. At one point it states this: ‘So when you give to the needy do not announce it with trumpets to be honored by men. But when you give to the needy do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret.’ Much as I appreciate the desire we have had to be more open about what we do could it be that we are blowing our own trumpets a little too much? I think this matter does need some further thought.

There is something else that I think should concern us and is increasingly troubling me. I read in the first of the Emulation Lectures: ‘From him who is in want, let us not withhold a liberal hand. So shall a heartfelt satisfaction reward our labors, and the produce of love and Charity will most assuredly follow.’

What, I wonder, is happening to us when our charity collection in the lodge meeting is sometimes half, a third, or even a quarter of what is raised by a raffle? Why do we need another kind of ‘spirit’ than generosity to enable us to support those who are in genuine need?

What about the heartfelt satisfaction that should reward our giving or are we, as Free and Accepted Masons, only the same as most other folk and these words are just meaningless ritual? It has made me clear as to what I must do in future.

The ranks of Freemasonry Today staff have dwindled too suddenly and too soon. Editor Michael Baigent passed just last month.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

‘The five year niche’

The Masonic Society marked its fifth year in the service of Freemasonry in May, and President Bo Cline has announced that TMS will commemorate the occasion with the release of a new jewel its members may wear.

Bo says on Facebook:

“In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of our founding, I am proud to announce that The Masonic Society has commissioned a special medallion to be given to new members who join between May 1, 2013 and April 30, 2014. This beautiful medallion was designed and created by our good friend and brother John Bridegroom, and will be mailed to new members along with their patents, member pin, and member card. If you are not already a member, you may be able to apply online here.

“Soon, current members will be able to order this medallion, for a nominal cost (including shipping and handling), from The Masonic Society store.

“Thank you all for your continued support of The Masonic Society.”

Courtesy The Masonic Society

If you somehow do not know, The Masonic Society was founded in 2008, filling a niche in the field of Masonic education by uniting researchers, educators, writers, publishers, curators, and brethren of all backgrounds in their shared enjoyment of exchanging information and ideas. The fruits of the labor are found in the pages of The Journal of The Masonic Society, its quarterly periodical, the twentieth issue of which is out now. Membership is the best $39 you'll ever spend in Masonry.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

‘George Washington Masonic Stamp Club’

A specimen from my own philatelic art collection from this date in 1977, the day I was admitted to the Postal Commemorative Society. The ten cent stamp is one of a block of four designed by Frank P. Conley to observe the bicentennial of the Continental Congress. The thirteen cent stamp is one of a four-stamp strip designed by Vincent E. Hoffmann that he based on Trumbull's painting of the Declaration of Independence about to be signed by John Hancock.
Independence Day Announcement: The George Washington Masonic Stamp Club will meet during the Baltimore Philatelic Exhibition next month in Maryland.

Saturday, August 31
Social Hour at 1 p.m.
Meeting at 1:30

245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, Maryland

Meeting Room: Salon D

Speaker and topic: TBA.

When reserving accommodations, cite BALPEX to receive the $129 room rate. Parking is free.

To attend the Baltimore Philatelic Exhibition, admission to all three days (August 30 & 31, and September 1) costs only five dollars.

Mark your calendars: The George Washington Masonic Stamp Club will host its annual meeting, with the Master of Philately conferral upon new members, on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

‘HOGD conference next week’

Magpie file photo

Charles 'Chic' Cicero
The moment some of you have been waiting for is almost here. The 2013 Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn Conference, led by Chief Adepts Chic Cicero and Tabatha Cicero, will be held in Ontario Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13. It is open to the public, and tickets are available here.

What is HOGD? This Order is a modern incarnation of the Rosicrucian movement, and has an initiatic lineage, via Israel Regardie, connecting it to the original Golden Dawn founded in Britain in 1888.

The agenda for next week (from the publicity):

Friday July 12

5:30 p.m. - Meet and Greet

6:30 p.m. - Introduction

7 p.m. - The Bornless Ritual: An analysis of the origins, development, and ritual elements of the Golden Dawn's powerful invocation rite.


Saturday July 13

10 a.m. - Formal Introduction

Magpie file photo
Tabatha Cicero
Ceremonial Magic of the Golden Dawn: A workshop which will focus on audience participation in learning ceremonial techniques. This is an active workshop which includes practice as well as theory. The rituals taught will include the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, The Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, and a step-by-step analysis of Israel Regardie's Opening by Watchtower.

Tarot Magic: Different systems of magic and divination provide us with a variety of patterns or blueprints of the universe as well as the pattern of the human soul. The Tarot is a perfect tool for divination, meditation and personal growth because the universe is completely defined or patterned within the context of the cards of the tarot deck. This lecture will emphasize how Tarot Cards can be used as skrying symbols for spirit vision work, focal points for meditation and dream work, and as talismans that are charged to invoke the divine forces that are associated with each card. 


Tarot Talismans: Working with the Angels of the Tarot: The cards of the Tarot represent real, living forces and powers that comprise the universe. Because of this the cards of the Tarot provide the perfect medium for the creation of magical talismans. Each tarot card has one or two Hebrew angels associated with it. These angels can be visualized by building a "telesmatic" image from the correspondences and colors attributed to the various Hebrew letters that comprise each tarot angel's name. This lecture also explains how to use Ritual Card Spreads in a magical ceremony to invoke the power behind the Tarot symbols.

Into the Shewstone: Golden Dawn Enochian Magic - 
The Golden Dawn incorporated the Enochian work of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly into its highest teachings, where it became an astonishingly effective and powerful synthesis of both theoretical and practical occult philosophy. This slide lecture will examine the basics of the Enochian system with special emphasize on Enochian color magic utilizing the Enochian Watchtowers, the Four Worlds of the Qabalah, and the four Color Scales of the Golden Dawn. The audience will also learn how to skry into an Enochian Pyramid.

For the record, the Magpie Mason keeps a deck of Tabatha's Babylonian Tarot on his desk at all times. (My thanks to Mark Stavish for the lead.)