Wednesday, June 29, 2016

‘Brand new Masonic tarot deck’

The pollination of Masonic symbolism to tarot cards has intrigued me for a number of years. Both systems of symbols have venerable histories, coming into their own at approximately the same time (eighteenth century), and sharing in common influential personalities (Waite, Levi). When an artist marries the two traditions, the results can be noteworthy.

Before continuing, let me restate that for Magpie purposes, tarot cards are not for fortune-telling, but their symbols are useful for meditative and contemplative purposes—and not necessarily only when the cards bear Freemasonry’s symbols.

It’s certainly okay if you’re an experienced and well traveled Freemason who doesn’t know much about tarot cards. I’m no expert. But it is a quirky topic that I promise will engage you if you study it, as tarot definitely is “a peculiar system…illustrated with symbols.” Tarot decks of the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith variety, that do not even speak directly to Freemasons, nonetheless offer many images recognizable to the initiated eye.

Tarot decks that deliberately do consist of Masonic symbolism on the major arcana cards have been around for a while. Actually, you can find tarot cards with just about any theme depicted. There is a brand new Masonic deck published just this month by Lo Scarabeo in Torino, Italy.

Artist Patricio Diaz Silva of Chile has created 3x5 cards that put images from the Masonic lodge into the tarot milieu, and they’re beautiful. Seventy-eight cards, with the minor arcana cards being unillustrated. I think his concept of Masonic life is formed by what one generally might term “Continental Masonry,” meaning there are Scottish Rite and Templar images, plus women wearing aprons.

The following photos are copyright © Patricio Diaz Silva 2016, and are found on the web. The deck is available via Amazon and other on-line retailers.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

‘Angel Millar lecture at Livingston Masonic Library next month’

Bro. Angel Millar will present a lecture July 28 on “Freemasonry and Traditionalism in the East and West” at the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York.

7 p.m. on the 14th floor of Masonic Hall, at 71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Millar is a Masonic researcher and author whose books include Freemasonry: Foundation of the Western Esoteric Tradition and The Crescent and the Compass. He is a member of The American Lodge of Research as well.

Don’t forget RW Bro. Jean-Luc Leguay’s lecture tomorrow night. And be sure to check out the library’s newly redesigned and more functional website.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

‘Summertime Stories’

We’re about 24 hours into summer, and if you are looking for things to do in the coming months, keep the School of Practical Philosophy in mind. School’s out until September, but it offers various lectures and programs, including the Summer Stories. From the publicity:

We often hear the phrase “You are not your story!” and with just a little self-reflection we know that it is true. Yet, stories also can point the way to self-knowledge and bear witness to acts of heroism, transformation, and true love. They can awaken the desire for knowledge and truth, arouse the sleeping giants within us and, perhaps most importantly, make us laugh at our foolish antics and grandiosities. In fact, with an attentive heart, hearing stories can change your life.

Please join us for our series of summer evenings filled with tales of the great masters that provide humor, direction and good company for the journey.

Friends and family are welcome.

Four Tuesdays: July 12 and 19, August 16 and 23

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: 12 East 79th Street, Manhattan.

Tickets, at $15, which includes refreshments, may be purchased on-line.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

‘Livingston Masonic Library on the radio’

Last Sunday, WFDU broadcast an interview with the librarian and the curator of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York.

Click here to listen to the 30-minute chat.

Every Mason should visit this amazing resource, if you can. Hours are:

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

That’s the 14th floor of Masonic Hall, located at 71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

‘Grand Master Sardone. Has a nice ring to it!’


Congratulations to Bill Sardone, a brother New York Freemason, on becoming today the new Grand Master of DeMolay International, one of the youth groups within the Masonic family.

Photo: Bill Sardone, at right, joined by MW Bill Thomas, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York and his wife, Susan Taylor Thomas. Courtesy Gill Raoul Calderon.

Friday, June 17, 2016

‘The Masonic Society brings the school to you’


Masonic Society School
announces pilot course

The Masonic Society School is proud to announce its pilot course, The History and Philosophy of Freemasonry, with historic readings, online video commentaries on the readings, and a discussion forum. The course will take place online October 17-December 19, 2016. Click here.

The readings and nine video commentaries will include:

  • overview of the early operative masons
  • formation of the Grand Lodge of England and its constitutions
  • Masonic jurisprudence
  • practice and nature of Masonic initiation
  • Freemasons at the time of the American Revolution
  • anti-Masonic movements
  • women in Masonry
  • Rosicrucian and Egyptian influences in Masonry
  • spiritual nature of Masonry
  • and more

Students and the instructor will have a private forum for discussing the readings and commentaries.

The course is open exclusively to Masonic Society members. A video introduction and registration form, as well as information on joining the society, are available on the society’s website.

The instructor of the course will be Michael R. Poll, owner of Cornerstone Book Publishers. and a New York Times bestselling writer and publisher. He is a fellow and past president of The Masonic Society, and a fellow of the Philalethes Society.

‘See Eleven Beatus on Tuesday’

In other Jean-Luc Leguay news, word comes from Bro. Francis Dumaurier of a special night planned for Tuesday in his lodge.

Special presentation of “Eleven Beatus”
by Bro. Jean-Luc Leguay
Tuesday, June 21 at 6 p.m.

l’Union Française Lodge 17
Masonic Hall
71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan
French Doric Room, 10th floor

The lodge will host Bro. Leguay for a presentation of “Eleven Beatus,” the work created by the Master Illuminator in tribute to those killed on September 11, 2001.

Leguay, already a famous choreographer and director of several great theaters and operas in France and Italy, developed a passion for the art of manuscript illumination, a tradition dating to the eighth century. He started to study in 1980 with a hermit in southern Italy, who taught him the craft secrets of this sacred art that incorporates symbolism, colors, and geometry.

After he had learned to master the skills necessary to select the proper parchment materials, the techniques of making his own colors from organic sources, and the art of painting his subjects, the artist gradually began to dedicate his life entirely to this craft when his teacher passed away in 1990.

More biographical details, as well as splendid examples of his work, can be seen here.

“Eleven Beatus” will be on display for all to see while the artist introduces it from his own personal perspective. There will also be other masterpieces on display as well as a copy of the amazing 64-page manuscript of paintings that enlighten the theme of “Initiation.”

Bro. Leguay is a Mason at labor in Giordano Bruno Lodge 181 under the Grande Loge Nationale Française, and his presentation will be in French. All present will have the opportunity to shake his hand, view the masterpieces, and receive one of the souvenir tricolor coins which were recently minted for UF17.

The meeting will be tiled but the Great Lights will be lowered to the First Degree in Masonry during his presentation so that Entered Apprentices and Fellow-Crafts may attend.

A post-meeting three course dinner with wine will follow on the 15th floor in the French style of our very own Executive Chef, W. Daniel Monneaux, DSA. The cost will be a minimal, all-inclusive $40 (cash only) per person. Reservations for this dinner are required, and can be made with the lodge secretary here.

‘Celebrating a historic grand master’

Magpie file photo
Bust of Daniel D. Tompkins at the church.
I didn’t know this was an annual tradition, but the Freemasons of Tompkins Lodge 471 in Staten Island do conduct a graveside memorial service at the final resting place of their lodge’s namesake, Daniel D. Tompkins, marking the anniversary of his birth—and they will do so today.

Daniel D. Tompkins was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York; Governor of the State of New York; the first Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite; and the sixth Vice President of the United States.

Click here for more information and photos of a past commemoration.

Today’s event will be led by Worshipful Master Justin Mack, with lodge brethren, beginning at 6 p.m. at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, located at 131 East 10th Street in Manhattan.

Magpie file photo
The gravesite of Daniel D. Tompkins.

Tompkins was born June 21, 1774 in Scarsdale, New York, and died June 11, 1825 in Tompkinsville, New York.

‘New Light on the Gormogons’

Maryland Masonic Research Society will host its Annual Festive Board August 1 in Columbia, Maryland. RSVP here before July 20. From the publicity:

Seating is limited. Please confirm your attendance via e-mail before sending your check. $45 per person for dinner (includes beverage and gratuity). Cash bar at 6:30 and dinner at seven.

Distinguished Presentation:

“New Light on the Gormogons”

by S. Brent Morris

The Gormogons suddenly appeared in London newspapers in 1724 as a rival to the Freemasons both in exclusivity and antiquity. It had been thought they disappeared in 1732, but new evidence including a previously unrecognized 1733 London play—show that their reputation persisted until the end of the 18th century.

Morris is a Past President of the Maryland Masonic Research Society, Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076, current managing editor of The Scottish Rite Journal, and author of numerous books and articles on Freemasonry.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

‘Now on sale: Freemasonry on the Frontier’


Tickets to The Masonic Society’s Fall 2016 Conference, titled “Freemasonry on the Frontier,” scheduled for October 7 to 9 in California, are available now via eventbrite.

Click here for the ticketing options. Click here for all the info about the conference.

From the publicity:

Featured Speakers

Friday Evening:

Samuel Langhorn Clemens: Brother Samuel Clemens was made a Mason in 1861, at Polar Star Lodge 79, St. Louis, Missouri. His many literary works (often published under the pen name Mark Twain) include “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (set less than 135 miles from the site of this conference) and Roughing It, an account of Clemens’ life and travel on the Western frontier.

Clemens’s appearance is made possible by WB Jefferson H. Jordan, Jr., immediate past grand master of Masons in New Mexico and an authority on Clemens’ life and work. He is past master of Temple Lodge 6, Albuquerque, past district deputy grand lecturer for two years, and past district deputy grand master.

Saturday Morning:

Mark A. Tabbert: “George Washington and the Masonic Frontiers of the 1700s”

Worshipful Brother Mark Tabbert has served as curator of the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum, and currently is director of collections at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. He is past master of Mystic Valley Lodge, Arlington, Massachusetts, and Lodge of Nine Muses 1776, Washington, DC. He is a full member of Quatour Coronati Lodge 2076, London, and a member of the Society of Blue Friars.

Tabbert is the author of American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities; Museum and Memorial: Ten Years of Masonic Writings; and, with William D. Moore, Secret Societies in America: Foundational Studies of Fraternalism.

He is working on three books on George Washington and Freemasonry-related topics.

Saturday Evening:

John Bizzack: “The Expansion of Freemasonry into the West: The Pivotal Role of Kentucky, 1788-1810”

Worshipful Brother John Bizzack is a 25-year veteran of the Lexington (Kentucky) Police Department and, more recently, Commissioner of the Department of Criminal Justice Training for the Kentucky Justice Cabinet.

Bizzack is a member of Lexington Lodge 1, where he serves as the Education Committee chair and coordinator of the Masonic History and Study Group. He is author of several books and numerous papers on leadership, criminal investigation, and organizational management, as well as five books, along with dozens of publications, about Freemasonry. He speaks nationwide on the criminal justice system, critical thinking, and Freemasonry.

John Cooper: “Freemasonry and Nation-Building on the Pacific Coast: The California Experience”

MWB John Cooper is a past grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of California, having served for almost eighteen years when he retired in 2008. In 2013-14 he served as grand master of Masons in California. He holds a Ph.D in education from Claremont Graduate School, and before becoming grand secretary, he held various teaching and administrative posts in the public schools of California.

A Mason since 1964, Cooper served as master of James A. Foshay Lodge 641 in Los Angeles, and is both a 33º Mason in the Scottish Rite, and a Knight of the York Grand Cross of Honor in the York Rite. His primary interest in Freemasonry has been the history and philosophy of the Craft, and he has published numerous papers on Freemasonry. He has served as master of both Northern and Southern California research lodges, and currently is president of the Philalethes Society.

‘Illuminating Livingston Library lectures’

Courtesy Jean-Luc Leguay

The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York will launch its 2016 lecture series next week with a Freemason’s presentation on manuscript illumination. From the publicity:

2016 Lecture Season Begins
Thursday, June 23 at 5:30 p.m.
with Jean-Luc Leguay,
world renowned master illuminator

The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York is proud to announce the first lecture of the 2016 Lecture Season will be given by Approved Master Illuminator, artist and writer, Bro. Jean-Luc Leguay.

Leguay began studying the art of manuscript illumination in 1980, learning this ancient tradition from a Franciscan hermit in Southern Italy. Illuminated manuscripts are those in which there are decorations added to the text, such as along the borders, in the beginning letters of paragraphs, and in miniature illustrations.

When his Master died in 1990, Leguay became one of the few keepers of the traditional Italian knowledge. He is the first layman of this tradition, which dates to the eighth century, and he was taught the knowledge of symbolism and sacred texts, as well as the arts of colors and geometry.

Illumination is the art of giving light, and illuminators, like the builders of cathedrals, are geometers, or those skilled in the mathematics of geometry. Illumination contains a secret geometry which leads to a metaphysical understanding of the ancient art. The images convey the sacred and offer a path into the mysteries of mankind’s origin.

The main focus of the lecture will be a parchment painting by Leguay which gives tribute to those lost during the attacks of September 11, 2001.

For the Masonic fraternity, the concepts of light and geometry are central to ritual, and, as Jean-Luc Leguay is a Brother Freemason, this lecture will touch on topics that will be of great interest to Freemasons, to those who are interested in Freemasonry, to those interested in the rare knowledge of illumination, to ¬those who have a love of art, and to those touched by the tragedy of 9/11.

Join us at Masonic Hall for this first in a series of exciting and “illuminating” lectures! The free lecture begins at 5:30 p.m., and white wine will be served.

Please RSVP here. Write RSVP in the subject line of the e-mail, and your name and contact information in the body of the e-mail.

Monday, June 13, 2016

‘How about a nice game of (Rosicrucian) chess?’

A mention of chess is sure to halt me in my tracks; add the name Rosicrucian to the word chess, and I’ll do a double take; and expose to me the notion of a Rosicrucian chess set on the anniversary of William Butler Yeats’ birth, and I’ll take a minute to blog about it. And that’s what happened today. Perusing my favorite social media site, I happened upon a link to a vendor of such chess sets, sometimes also known as Enochian Chess.

Designed by MacGregor Mathers & Co. in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the nineteenth century, Rosicrucian Chess retains all of the chess piece names that you know, and most of their freedom of movement (the queen is afforded one different capability from what we have in standard chess), but the pieces are pyramid shaped and as many as four players may compete. With sets of pieces for four players, the pieces are in four colors, and they represent the Elements. Red for fire; blue for water; yellow for air; and black for earth. The purposes of this chess variant are divination, meditation, and recreation—which some of us could say of traditional chess!

The chess board has more to offer than the two-tone surface reminiscent of the floors of Masonic lodges, as you can see in these photos borrowed from that show a Golden Dawn symbol within each of the 64 squares.




Don’t ask me about the rules of the game. I haven’t a clue, but Israel Regardie writes of them in his The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic.

(For the record, Golden Dawn is not my thing. While I believe intuitive acceptance complements our pursuit of the rational, most systems of esoteric teaching are beyond my abilities and interests. HOGD is one of them, but if you’re so inclined, I would steer you toward here, the order led by Chic and Tabatha Cicero, although I do not know if they play this chess.)

Well, I’m off to lodge now. Will be visiting Cincinnati Masonic Lodge No. 3 in Morristown, New Jersey to greet Chris Hodapp on his current speaking tour.

‘Emerson and Spiritual Knowledge’

Ralph Waldo Emerson, as a topic at least, will return to the School of Practical Philosophy next month in another lecture to be presented by Barbara Solowey. From the publicity:

Emerson and Spiritual Knowledge
with Barbara Solowey
12 East 79th Street
New York City
Thursday, July 21 at 7 p.m.
$25 per person

The teaching of Ralph Waldo Emerson is an expression of the highest spiritual knowledge, the philosophy of Unity known as Advaita. Drawing on the wisdom of Plato and the Eastern spiritual traditions, he proclaims the Supreme Reality: the Oneness of God, the Soul, and the Universe.

Emerson knew from direct experience and observation that realization of this Unity is possible. His call to humanity was for a new consciousness “to restore that bond by which their own self was linked to the Eternal Self; to recover that unity which had been clouded and obscured by the magical illusion of reality, by the so-called Maya of Creation.” (The Orientalist notebook)

Join us to discover how Emerson’s transcendental teaching to discover “the infinitude of the private man” can inspire us in our own journey to be Self-reliant, to awaken Reason, and to follow Divine Law.

Tickets at $25 which includes refreshments may be purchased here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

‘Art, music & books’

The Anthroposophical Society of New York City has a busy calendar of events for June, including these two that are open to the public. From the publicity:

Saturday, June 11
2 to 4 p.m.
Used Book Sale Fundraiser

Join us for this sale of a wide array of pre-owned books—treasures from Anthroposophists’ collections donated, including basic books, art books, and some quality novels, poetry, etc. Bring a tote bag and take home books by Steiner and others for pennies on the dollar! Donate books at the Branch up to June 8. Refreshments and entertainment.

Saturday, June 25
7 to 9 p.m.
Art Exhibit and Concert
with Nikola Paskalov on piano
Donations welcome

Come celebrate with music and an elegant repast as we say farewell to the art exhibit of Doug Safranek and Lynn Loflin, and enjoy a short piano concert. Chopin, Ligeti, Scriabin, and Glassl, played by Nikola Paskalov.

Nikola Paskalov

Nikola has performed internationally, solo and chamber concerts throughout Europe and in his native Macedonia. His recent solo recital in the Pianists of the World Series at St. Martin in the Fields in London, and his Carnegie Hall debut recital have been enthusiastically received. Nikola is performing this evening in honor of the work of Doug and Lynn.