Friday, September 29, 2017

‘Ric Berman to return to New Jersey’

Thank you all for reading The Magpie Mason. With this post, we begin our tenth year together.

The first post on this website, on this date nine years ago, told of a lecture presented that evening by a Past (2004) Prestonian Lecturer in New Jersey. This post tells of another Past (2016) Prestonian Lecturer who will visit New Jersey in a few months for a speaking engagement.

Bro. Richard Berman
New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786 hosted Bro. Ric Berman in January of last year for a terrific dinner-lecture. He tells me he will return to New Jersey in January of next year for another event, this one hosted by a different group.

When those details are confirmed, I’ll share them here.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

‘Hugh Hefner was the poster boy for Ecclesiastes 12’


Verses from the Hebrew Bible, known to most Freemasons in the United States, come to mind when seeing the mourning of the death of Hugh Hefner in Masonic social media.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

‘More Light’

“Do open the shutter of the bedroom so that more light may enter.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(His actual last words.)

The Masonic Light group logo was designed by Bro. Drew Horn, of the Master's Jewel, in 2005.

Admit it, you have abandoned the Yahoo! Groups you once enjoyed for Masonic conversation. Facebook did us in even though it’s almost impossible to find intelligent discourse anywhere on there.

Fortunately, Josh Heller refuses to give up on Masonic Light. The co-founder, with Chris McClintock in 2000, of the most informed, diversely populated, and useful online Masonic discussion forum of early e-Masonry recently resumed the reins (from yours truly), resolved to make the group a haven for thinking Freemasons again.

After a group purge, to wash away all the obsolete email accounts and ensure the group is home only to the living, Josh has a plan that will be launched October 1. He has enlisted the help of six other members who each will take possession of one day of the week to spark discussion. These are:

Sundays: Josh Heller
Mondays: Magpie Mason
Tuesdays: Charlie Persinger
Wednesdays: Jason Mitchell
Thursdays: Clay Anderson
Fridays: Rashied Sharrieff-Al-Bey
Saturdays: Gerald Reilly (the famous Gerald Reilly)

We do welcome new members. Check us out here.

‘Philadelphia Opera’s Magic Flute’

You know it’s a small world when a Freemason in Florida alerts a New York City Mason to a Magic Flute production in Philadelphia, but here we are. (Thanks, Scott.)

Only two performances remaining at the Academy of Music, tomorrow and Sunday.

From the publicity:

In Mozart’s masterful comedy about love, truth, and the pursuit of enlightenment, Prince Tamino sets off to rescue Pamina, the beautiful daughter of the Queen of the Night, from the mysterious Sarastro. But, with the help of the bird-catcher Papageno and three Spirits as their guide, Tamino discovers an even bigger adventure, and is united with his love along the way. Celebrated co-directors Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky present The Magic Flute in a playfully subversive, crowd-pleasing production that evokes a meeting between 1920s silent movies and David Lynch, with the singers performing amidst fanciful animated projections. Created by the British theater group 1927, the L.A. Times calls this Magic Flute “a stunning live-action cartoon. It is fun for the whole family.”

Full synopsis here.

Tonight at seven, there will be screenings of silent short films that inspired this Magic Flute staging. Click here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

‘AMD Gathering next month’

The brethren of the Allied Masonic Degrees in New York have announced their state gathering. From the publicity:

New York AMD Gathering
Saturday, October 1 at 10 a.m.
Schenectday Lodge 1174
394 Princetown Road, Schenectady

Most Venerable Gary B. Hinson, KGC, Sovereign Grand Master of the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America will be attending.

The Council will open at 10:30 with a brief paper by RV Oscar Alleyne. Other papers may be presented. Lunch will be served, followed by the First Grade of the Scarlet Cord Degree. Presentations will be made after the degree.

Please inform the brethren of your AMD Council of this important and memorable event.

Additional details to follow as we approach the Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master’s visit.

Contact Frank Karwowski here if you plan to attend, as well as how many will be making a reservation for lunch. MOL reservations accepted by those who have access to it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

‘The Art of the Pipe at Hiram-Takoma’

Magpie file photo

It’s been too many years since I last visited Hiram-Takoma 10 in the District of Columbia. (Nothing personal. I’m 250 miles away.) But I’d love to make the trip next week for this meeting. From the publicity:

The Art of the Pipe
Thursday, September 28 at 7:30
Hiram-Takoma Lodge 10
Takoma Masonic Center
115 Carroll Street NW
Washington, DC

This open program is about the art of pipe smoking, presented by Bro. Jacob E. Easton. Dress is business casual. RSVP to W. Bud Michels here to ensure sufficient amount of refreshment.

Dinner (all welcome) at 6:30 p.m. Lodge (Masons only) at 7:30. Program (non-Masons, ladies welcome) at eight o’clock.

Maybe the brethren will form a pipe club. Yeah. A pipe club that meets during Masonic Week! Yeah, that’s it.

Magpie file photo

‘Masonic identity in funerals’

Maryland Masonic Research Society will gather for a meeting next month to hear about facets of Masonic obsequies that you might not have considered before. From the publicity:

Regular Meeting
Maryland Masonic Research Society
Saturday, October 14 at noon
209 Washington Blvd. in Laurel

Carolyn Bain, Ph.D. will present “Masonic Funerals: Identity, Performance, and Transformation—Constructing a public-facing identity of Freemasonry within historical, contemporary, and theoretical contexts.”

A member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Texas Chapter 219 and president of the award-winning, digital media services firm, Bain Pugh & Associates, Inc., Bain is a noted researcher, author, and presenter.

For the Masonic Service Association, she co-authored “Moving Masonry into the 21st Century” and consulted on the Mark Twain Award Project. For the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, she produced the award-winning film “On the Wings of Words.” She has spoken for many Masonic audiences including the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry.

Lunch ($20 payable at the door) will be served at noon. The meeting will open at 1 p.m. RSVP to the Secretary here before October 10.

Monday, September 18, 2017

‘Who is Liberty Lodge No. 7?’

Two events this week in the Hudson Valley must be mentioned.

The Master of Solomon’s Lodge 196 in Tarrytown will present a lecture Thursday at the lodge’s meeting.

EDIT: Lecture is rescheduled to Thursday, December 7.

“Who Is Liberty Lodge No. 7?” is the result of W. Bradley Corsello’s research into the period of New York Masonic history characterized by the schisms that might have left the state with various competing grand lodges.

Solomon’s Lodge is located at 54 Main Street. Dinner at 7 p.m. Lodge opens at eight.

On Saturday afternoon, Colonial Day at Tappan will be hosted at DeWint House, the Washington Headquarters owned and operated by Grand Lodge.

That’s noon to five o’clock at 20 Livingston Street. Sponsored by Tappantown Historical Society. From the publicity:

Step back in time and visit Colonial America. Tour the Carriage House Museum and the DeWint House with costumed guides. See Colonial Army re-enactors, encampment soldiers, farm animals, and preparations for winter in the DeWint House kitchen. Watch spinners, lace-makers, quilters, embroiderers, woodcarvers, a sheepshearer, blacksmith, and colonial singers and dancers. For the children there is apple-pressing, stenciling, candle-dipping, writing with quill pens, making tussie mussies, juggling, and making a mob cap. Refreshments available.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

‘Live from Masonic Week?’

This week’s X-Oriente podcast just concluded (will be posted soon), and the brethren were thinking out loud about possibly going live from Masonic Week in 2019, or maybe even giving it a go next February. It’s not even an embryonic idea yet, but Eric and Jason are interested in exploring the feasibility of hosting their show from the hotel.

The questions they ask now are: Would you attend in person and perhaps take part or observe; or would you watch on line from afar?

Or “if you think this is a horrible idea,” they want to hear from you also. Topic suggestions are welcome too.

Eric launched X-Oriente more than a decade ago to continue the magic of Masonic Week (then called AMD Weekend) conversations year round. Masonic Week consists of the annual meetings of a bevy of obscure Masonic fraternities, which can be pretty dull but, outside and between these meetings, Masons from all over meet in hospitality suites and other nooks to discuss the meaning of Masonry. Friendships are cemented, and it is not unusual for the brother you’ve just met to wind up guest lecturing at your lodge later in the year. (Some of these guys have been dining out on the same lectures for ten years! Hmmph.)

But check in with X-Oriente to make your opinions heard. Click here.

‘The Over Soul’

The School of Practical Philosophy has another Emerson Study Day in store next month. The School delivers a curriculum and these extra-curricular occasions that comprise an ideal complement to Masonic studies, and I commend them to you. (I may miss Grand Masters Day at Tappan for this.) From the publicity:

The Over Soul
School of Practical Philosophy
Sunday, October 15 at 8:30 a.m.
12 East 79th Street
$30 per person, click here

Come explore the spiritual and intellectual legacy of America’s great philosopher and teacher, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Drawing on the wisdom of Plato and the Eastern traditions, Emerson knew from direct experience and observation that Unity is the true reality. He spoke of “one mind common to all” and “one soul which animates all things.” His affirmation of Unity was total, and he encouraged people to discover this for themselves.

We shall study selected passages from his most transcendental pronouncement. The Over Soul is his description of the Supreme Self, the Param Atman, the Divinity within. This essay offers wise and practical advice on how to remain open to the Unity by living in “an attitude of reception,” receiving and reveling in “the disclosures of the Soul.”

From the essay:

“Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the eternal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal One. And this deep power, in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.”

All are welcome. No prior study of Emerson is required. Sign in at 8:30. The program will begin at 9 a.m. Registration fee covers a light brunch and the printed reading materials. Tutor: Barbara Solowey.

Click here to read the essay at hand.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

‘Die Zauberflöte AND The Magic Flute at The Met this fall’

The Met is serving a double-shot of Mozart’s Masonic opera The Magic Flute this season. The annual holiday crowd-pleaser production, in English (less than two hours), will come in November, but Die Zauberflöte, the German staging (more than three hours), will open in about a week and a half with tickets starting at 25 bucks. From the publicity:

The Metropolitan Opera
Die Zauberflöte
September 27 through October 14
Tickets here

Courtesy The Met

Music Director Emeritus James Levine conducts the full-length German version of Mozart’s magical fable, seen in Julie Taymor’s spectacular production, which captures both the opera’s earthy comedy and its noble mysticism.

Die Zauberflöte—a sublime fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism—was written for a theater located just outside Vienna with the clear intention of appealing to audiences from all walks of life. The story is told in a Singspiel (“song-play”) format characterized by separate musical numbers connected by dialogue and stage activity, an excellent structure for navigating the diverse moods, ranging from solemn to lighthearted, of the story and score. The composer and the librettist were both Freemasons—the fraternal order whose membership is held together by shared moral and metaphysical ideals—and Masonic imagery is used throughout the work. The story, however, is as universal as any fairy tale.

Courtesy The Met
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) died prematurely three months after the premiere of Die Zauberflöte. It was his last produced work for the stage. (The court opera La Clemenza di Tito had its premiere three weeks before Die Zauberflöte, on September 6, 1791, though its score was completed later.) The remarkable Emanuel Schikaneder (1751-1812) was an actor, singer, theater manager, and friend of Mozart. He suggested the idea of Die Zauberflöte, wrote the libretto, staged the work, sang the role of Papageno in the initial run and even recruited his three young sons to join the roster.

The libretto specifies Egypt as the location of the action. Egypt was traditionally regarded as the legendary birthplace of the Masonic fraternity, whose symbols and rituals populate this opera. Some productions include Egyptian motifs as an exotic nod to this idea, but many more opt for a more generalized mythic ambience to convey the otherworldliness that the score and overall tone of the work call for.

Courtesy The Met

Die Zauberflöte was written with an eye toward a popular audience, but the varied tone of the work requires singers who can specialize in several different musical genres. The comic and earthy are represented by the baritone, Papageno, while true love in its noblest forms is conveyed by the tenor, Tamino, and the soprano, Pamina. The bass, Sarastro, expresses the solemn and the transcendental. The use of the chorus is spare but hauntingly beautiful, and fireworks are provided by the coloratura Queen of the Night.

‘Library lecture: Prince Hall and African Lodge’

Coverage of last weekend’s Masonic Society Conference in Kentucky is still to come, but here is some news from Masonic Hall concerning a lecture in a few weeks. From the publicity:

Prince Hall and African Lodge 459
Presented by Jo-Ann Wong
Thursday, September 28 at 6:30
Livingston Masonic Library
Masonic Hall, 14th Floor
71 West 23rd Street

Prince Hall
Jo-Ann Wong, Librarian of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library, will present a lecture focused on the treasures of the Library’s Books and Artifacts Collection related to Prince Hall and the beginnings of African Lodge 459. Materials include a 1792 pamphlet containing a “charge” that Prince Hall led in Massachusetts, a facsimile of the charter for African Lodge, and related archival material.

Jo-Ann Wong received her Master’s Degree in Information and Library Science, with certification in Archives, from Pratt Institute. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, with a minor in Mathematics, from SUNY Geneseo. She has worked in New York Public Library’s Map Division and Gagosian Gallery. Now, she is responsible for supervising the library sector of this institution and for maintaining its bibliographic and archival material for future preservation and access.

Make your reservation here. Photo ID is required to enter Masonic Hall. White wine will be served.

Friday, September 1, 2017

‘September at Centerpoint’

Resuming its normally busy schedule of all sorts of gatherings and events, the Anthroposophical Society of New York City offers an abundance of attractions for September. The address is 138 West 15th Street in Manhattan. Check out the bookstore too. Here are just a few of the evening offerings, from the publicity:

Wednesday, September 13 at 7 p.m.

David Taulbee Anderson presents “Anthroposophic Psychology”

This series of ten lectures will explore and elaborate on Rudolf Steiner’s lecture series “Anthroposophy, Psychosophy, and Pneumatosophy.”

Anthroposophy deals with the relation of the soul to the body and senses. Psychosophy studies the soul itself, in its own realm. Pneumatosophy is the study of the soul’s relation to the spirit.

The first two lectures will be concerned with Anthroposophy in the special meaning described here. Lectures 3-6 will be concerned with the soul or psyche itself. Lectures 7-10 will be on pneumatosophy.

1. “The Human Being and the Senses.” We will look at differences between anthropology, anthroposophy, and theosophy. At this point in Steiner’s research he enumerated ten senses that he would later expand to twelve. He did not yet include the ego sense and sense of touch, which he spread out and distributed among the senses of smell, taste, sight, and warmth.

2. “Supersensible Processes in the Human Senses.” How Manas, Buddhi, and Atman work into the ego, astral, etheric, and physical bodies. The etheric body’s relation to the inner senses: balance, movement, and life sense. The astral body’s relation to the outer senses: hearing, speech, and concept senses. Between the inner and outer senses lie the touch senses; they are related to the sentient, intellectual, and consciousness souls.

Subsequent lectures to follow monthly.

David Taulbee Anderson has taught drawing and painting around the world. He has an MA in art, and certificates (Waldorf education) from Emerson College and (teaching painting) from the Wagner School at the Goetheanum.

Saturday, September 23 at 7 p.m.

Eugene Schwartz presents
“Joseph Smith and Rudolf Steiner:
Prophecy and Initiation”

Building on his May presentation, Eugene Schwartz will present three further lectures this season on anthroposophy and Mormonism. Although Joseph Smith and Rudolf Steiner lived at opposite ends of the nineteenth century, their lives had some remarkable similarities, as well as glaring contrasts. We will explore the young adulthood of both men and their efforts to share their experiences of soul and spirit with others, at the chronological and geographic contexts in which Smith preached and Steiner lectured, as well as the ridicule, verbal, and even physical attacks that both endured. Most importantly, we will examine the markedly different ways in which Joseph Smith’s “revelations” and Rudolf Steiner’s “research” led them to the world of the spirit.

Future lectures:
April 7, 2018: “Jahwe and Jesus, Gabriel and Michael.”
May 19, 2018: “From the Great Lakes to the Salt Lake.”

Eugene Schwartz taught for many years at Green Meadow Waldorf School and directed the Teacher Training Program at the Sunbridge Institute. He lectures internationally on Anthroposophy and Waldorf education, and has pioneered numerous online presentations, among them the Online Conferences for Waldorf teachers and the Online Rudolf Steiner Course. His hundreds of lectures and articles may be found here.