Wednesday, October 18, 2017

‘Mark Tabbert in Jersey next month’

Mark Tabbert will visit a Masonic lodge in New Jersey in a couple of weeks to present some of his recent research into George Washington’s Masonic life. This flier has all the details:

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

‘2018 World Conference on Freemasonry coming to DC’

The “World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History—Including Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society” will come to Washington, DC next spring.

Hosted by Policy Studies Organization, and normally in Paris, the conference will take place at The Whittemore House in the Federal City. (WCFFH will return to Paris in 2019.) The theme for May 17-18, 2018 will be “Not Men Only: Sisters, Sororities, and Ritualistic Societies.”

List of speakers so far here.

From the publicity:

The World Conferences on Fraternalism are held alternatively in Paris in odd numbered years (2019, 2021), and in Washington in even numbered years (2018, 2020). The Paris conferences are held at the French national library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and the Washington conferences at the historic Whittemore House.

The conferences have themes but they are not exclusionary of other topics. For example, the 2017 Paris conference examined the career of the Chevalier Ramsay, a famous 18th century figure in French fraternalism, but there were many papers on other themes. We welcome papers on all aspects of fraternalism and its ties with social capital. The papers on Freemasonry should not foreclose papers on many other aspects of the subject, including gender, college fraternities, clubs like Rotary, African-American topics, guilds, labor unions. The conferences gain from having a variety of subjects discussed. The committee is also open to presentations of art, dance, folk music, and others, if related.

Papers are both published in the Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society Journal, and in books by Westphalia Press. Simultaneous translation is offered at the French conference. Both Paris and Washington are preceded by workshops to which scholars are invited to consider original materials and problems in fraternal research.

A theme of the May 2018 conference in Washington will be women’s fraternalism. A theme of the June 2019 conference in Paris will be the origin and creation of degrees and rites in fraternalism.

A look at past conferences on this site will help in answering questions about panel possibilities, hotels, and other queries.

Conference Chairs:

  • Paul J. Rich, President of the Policy Studies Organization, Westphalia Press
  • Pierre Mollier, Editor-in-Chief of the Ritual, Secrecy & Civil Society Journal
  • Guillermo de los Reyes, University of Houston


Sunday, October 15, 2017

‘Dead Sea Scrolls conference next month’

If you believe Qumran has something to do with your secret society, then you ought to attend educational conferences like this one to improve yourself. NYU does it again. (While a student there decades ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Schiffman, who was the lead researcher when the university obtained the Scrolls on microfilm in the first release of the treasures outside of Israel.) From the publicity:

The Rose-Marie Lewent Conference:
The Dead Sea Scrolls at 70

The NYU Center for Ancient Studies, in conjunction with the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, announces the Rose-Marie Lewent Conference:

The Dead Sea Scrolls at 70
November 16-17
Hemmerdinger Hall
Silver Center for Arts and Science
32 Waverly Place, Manhattan
Free and open to the public

Thursday, November 16

Session 1: The Community/Communities behind the Dead Sea Scrolls

9:15 a.m. Welcome
Matthew S. Santirocco, NYU

9:30 a.m. What Does Archaeology Tell Us about the Community/Communities behind the Dead Sea Scrolls?
Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina

10:15 a.m. Archaeology and Text: Khirbet Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Lawrence H. Schiffman, NYU

Session 2: Insiders and Outsiders in the Dead Sea Scrolls

11 a.m. Sectarians and Their Semantic Domain: How Best—or Least Badly—to Identify the People of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Maxine Grossman, University of Maryland

11:45 a.m. Isolated in the Judean Desert? The Qumran Sectarians in Imperial Contexts
Alexandria Frisch, Ursinus College

Session 3:
The Projects of the Israel Antiquities Authority

2 p.m. The Conservation and Preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 70 Years Later
Pnina Shor, Israel Antiquities Authority

Session 4:
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Mysterious

2:45 p.m. Magic and Demonology in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Retrospect and Prospect
Joseph Angel, Yeshiva University

3:30 p.m. Angelology, Exorcism, and Other Ancient Jewish Sciences: Before and After the Dead Sea Scrolls
Annette Yoshiko Reed, NYU

4:15 p.m. The Scope and Purpose of Encrypted Writing in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Jonathan Ben-Dov, University of Haifa

Session 5: Keynote Address
5:30 p.m. Introduction: The Dead Sea Scrolls at 70
Lawrence H. Schiffman, NYU

6 p.m. Violence and the Dead Sea Scrolls in Scholarship and Popular Media
Alex P. Jassen, NYU

7 p.m. Public Reception

Friday, November 17

Session 6:
Sacred Texts and Their Interpretation

9 a.m. The Emergence of the Biblical Text and Canon in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Armin Lange, University of Vienna

9:45 a.m. How They Read the Genesis Apocryphon Then and How We Read It Now
Moshe J. Bernstein, Yeshiva University
Session 7: God and Humans

10:30 a.m. The Offering of Lips: What is Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
Daniel Falk, Pennsylvania State University

11:15 a.m. Some Thoughts about Prayer, the Divine, and the Human Self at Qumran
Angela Kim Harkins, Boston College

This event is generously supported and co-sponsored by the Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Foundation, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the NYU Dean of the College of Arts and Science, the Dean for the Humanities, the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, the Center for the Humanities, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, and the Religious Studies Program.

This conference is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Center for Ancient Studies here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

‘NYC Ben Franklin Circle’

These Ben Franklin Circles sound like a great complement to Masonic lodge activities—at least until such a time when Masonic lodge activities start to resemble the doings of Ben Franklin Circles. One Circle meets at the 92nd Street Y, but here’s one close to Masonic Hall.

I’ll be at lodge Monday night, but otherwise I would check out this meeting. From the publicity:

Ben Franklin Circles in New York City
Monday, October 16 at 7 p.m.
114 East 35th Street in Manhattan

Improve Yourself. Improve Your World. Join our Ben Franklin Circle!

Ben Franklin Circles bring people together for open and fun discussions about our lives, our values, and our community. The Circles are based on a “mutual improvement club” started and run by Ben Franklin. He and 12 friends meet weekly to talk about how they could improve themselves and their world. Join us for this exciting and fun opportunity to talk about big issues and to meet some new people.

Friday, October 6, 2017

‘The Journey in Esoteric Societies’

Piers Vaughan will be the guest speaker of Atlas-Pythagoras Masonic Lodge in New Jersey in two weeks. He will present “The Journey in Esoteric Societies” on Friday the 20th. The event will be open to all Freemasons, their families, and friends.

Lodge will open at 7:30 p.m. The address is 1011 Central Avenue in Westfield.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

‘Grand Masters Day at Tappan’

Magpie file photo
DeWint House is located at 20 Livingston Avenue in Tappan, New York.

I think I’ve neglected to spread the news of this year’s Grand Masters Day, but it’s coming soon. On Sunday, October 15 at 1 p.m., the brethren and the public are welcome to visit DeWint House, the George Washington Headquarters historic site owned and operated by the Grand Lodge of New York, for the special occasion.

It is a historic treasure and beautiful piece of property. The museum and the grounds are a must see. That is 20 Livingston Avenue in Tappan, New York. Click here to have a look at the place.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

‘Masonic Nation’

There’s never a bad speaker—I can fix that!—in the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library’s lecture series, but the speaker this month is an exceptional talent.

Author Mitch Horowitz will take to the lectern Thursday, October 26 at 6 p.m. to present “Masonic Nation.” From the publicity:

Mitch Horowitz
Although misrepresented by conspiracy-mongers and fantasists, Freemasonry has had a long and deep-seated influence on American culture and civics, extending back to the nation’s formative days. Join PEN Award-winning historian and widely known voice of esoteric ideas, Mitch Horowitz, for a special exploration of how the symbols, ideals, and personas of Freemasonic tradition left an indelible mark on the way we live and how we view ourselves as Americans—and Mitch’s new vision for Masonry in the twenty-first century.

In books, news media, and television, Mitch Horowitz is one of today’s leading voices on alternative spirituality. The Washington Post says Mitch “treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.” Mitch’s books include Occult America and One Simple Idea, a history and analysis of positive thinking, which was recently censored in China. Visit him @MitchHorowitz.

Open to the public. Photo ID needed to enter Masonic Hall. RSVP here.

You know by now that the Livingston Library is located on the 14th floor of Masonic Hall, which is located at 71 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

‘New film: 33 & Beyond’

A new film is being marketed as a definitive source of knowledge on the subject of Freemasonry. A press release disseminated yesterday says 33 & Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry will be screened in 10 American cities, beginning with San Francisco on October 13. Excerpted from the publicity:

33 & Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry is noted as the first film to fully examine the entire American Masonic structure, providing answers from prominent members of the Masonic brotherhood to long-time questions: the purpose and meaning of the rituals, why people join, the unique culture of the Masonic fraternity, and where the future of the ancient society is headed.

The film provides the viewer with a real behind-the-scenes perspective of the Masons’ path to enlightenment, as Freemasons from across the country share their personal experiences within the fraternity and the ultimate overarching narrative of their own “hero’s quest.”

“What begins to surface is a realization that we [the candidates] are able to be the hero or the villain in our daily lives, based on the choices we make. Freemasonry truly is a progressive moral science interlaced throughout the narrative structure of the Hero’s Quest,” says director Johnny Royal.

33 & Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry is a film about the shared experiences of membership in the world’s oldest fraternity. Through poignant interviews and beautiful photography, the film highlights the worldwide legacy of Freemasons and their perspectives on these timeless rituals and their place in the world around them.

I have contacted the publicist to ascertain the dates, times, and places of New York City showings, and will share the information here. The San Francisco ticket prices range from $15 to $50.

‘May secrecy round be the mystical bound’

Magpie file photo
John Steell's gigantic bronze of Robert Burns is found in Central Park's Literary Walk. It was dedicated October 3, 1880.

It seems like only yesterday but, on this date in 1781, Robert Burns was passed and raised in Lodge St. David in Tarbolton, Scotland. (Hat tip to Missouri Lodge of Research.)

Be on the lookout for Burns Suppers in January. Aurora Grata 647 announced theirs today, but that isn’t the only one by any means. These are held on or around Burns’ birthday on January 25.

One of his Masonic pieces:

Masonic Song (1786)

Ye sons of old Killie, assembled by Willie,
To follow the noble vocation;
Your thrifty old mother has scarce such another
To sit in that honoured station.
I’ve little to say, but only to pray,
As praying’s the ton of your fashion;
A prayer from thee Muse you well may excuse
’Tis seldom her favourite passion.
Ye powers who preside o’er the wind, and the tide,
Who marked each element’s border;
Who formed this frame with beneficent aim,
Whose sovereign statute is order:
Within this dear mansion, may wayward Contention
Or withered Envy ne’er enter;
May secrecy round be the mystical bound,
And brotherly Love be the centre!