Monday, November 30, 2020

‘Masonic Values Art Competition’


The results of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s 2020 Masonic Values Art Competition are announced.

Ryan Flynn’s oil on canvas, “The Master and the Apprentice,” took the Grand Master’s Prize (and sold for $2,000).

My favorite:

Artist D TAG’s archival pigment print on Hahnemühle FineArt paper measures 40″ x 40″ x 2″. This photograph is a composition of folded dollar bills to reveal the message “Order From Chaos.” The idea was to capture the design and architecture on the U.S. currency associated with Masonic culture and the connection to Philadelphia.

Read all about it here.



Saturday, November 28, 2020

‘NPR asks What is the point?’


On October 16, National Public Radio’s Christianna Silva contacted the Masonic Society in researching how Freemasonry is coping with the pandemic, and what the Craft’s role in society today is.

An hour ago, NPR went live with its story. Click here. You’ll recognize a few names from TMS.

(The reporter is the daughter and granddaughter of Masons.)


Sunday, November 22, 2020

‘James Wasserman (1948-2020)’


The Wasserman family announced today on social media that James Wasserman had died November 18 after a long illness. Funeral arrangements are being made.

While I know nothing of O.T.O. nor of his writings on that subject, Wasserman also wrote books of interest to Freemasons, and he was a friend to the Livingston Library, and was an engaging speaker to Masonic audiences. I do not know if he was a Brother Mason. R.I.P.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

‘CoinWeek explores the Mark Penny’


Courtesy CoinWeek

CoinWeek, an online periodical devoted to numismatics, occasionally addresses topics orbiting Freemasonry in articles about Masonic persons, places, and things commemorated on U.S. money. Last Friday though, it ran a piece not on coins or cash, but on a facet of exonumia well known to Mark Masons: the Mark Penny.

I recommend the article for the art that accompanies the text, because most of Tyler Rossi’s reporting is annoyingly bad. We can pardon the outsider’s nescience with our jargon, but it also sounds like he wants to misrepresent, such as when he claims the Craft has “a vitriolic opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.” He does cite sources, listing seven references in a bibliography, but he could have done better.

The value of this article is based mostly on the research delivered in Masonic Chapter Pennies (Vols. 1&2) by Dr. B.P. Wright from 1903 (a reprint from the July 1901 edition of The Numismatist). From there, I suppose, it is impossible to materially err.

Anyway, the article shares some exotic variations on the Mark Penny. Great, because if you’re like me, you know only the commonplace coinage from catalogs.

I’m rambling when I need only provide the link. Read all about it here.

Courtesy CoinWeek

Courtesy CoinWeek

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

‘Philly Temple closed’


The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, has been ordered closed through the end of the year by the city government.

At a press conference Monday, Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced a list of precautionary measures for managing the pandemic, including a city-wide ban on indoor gatherings and events, whether public or private. The order was made effective to January 1 to permit time for desired benefits of the lockdown to materialize, because a vaccine will not be available until January, and because it is thought the spread of the virus will not abate until winter arrives. It is possible the ban on gatherings may be extended.

The list of varying prohibitions also affects businesses, schools, religious sites, museums, libraries, and other destinations.

The Grand Lodge announced the closure through its social media accounts after the mayor’s press conference.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

‘Congratulations, Grand Master!’


I’ve never been, but I figure Oklahoma must be a special place since its flag depicts a smoking pipe among its symbolism. Now I know the Grand Lodge there imparts a special Freemasonry to the world, because yesterday Bro. Robert G. Davis was installed Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons.

Congratulations, Bob!

Actually, congratulations to the brethren of Oklahoma! It is not common for a brother who you want to ascend to the top to do so. The kind of Mason who authors essential books and who lectures thoughtfully on the meaning of Masonry typically does not seek high profile office, but that is what happened here.

Who says 2020 is a bust?

I wish you a productive year unhindered by quarantine, inclemencies, smoking bans, or other troubles.

I first “met” Bob about 20 years ago in the Masonic Light group, and met him for real at the 2002 AMD Weekend in the Hotel Washington in DC. Ah, you could smoke at the lobby bar then. I noticed Bob enjoyed Hoyo Excalibur IIIs, a preferred cigar of mine as well. (I don’t know why I keep bringing up smoking. It’s just past noon here, so it’s time for a pipe.)

Bob, God bless! I’m sorry Masonic Week won’t happen in February, but I look forward to shaking your hand again soon.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

‘Civil War meeting’

On this date in 1995, the Grand Lodge of Virginia issued a warrant to a lodge of Masonic research named Civil War Lodge of Research 1865, which has the unique mission of exploring historical facts of Freemasonry intersecting in the U.S. Civil War. Happy Silver Anniversary, brethren!

This morning they hosted a meeting via Zoom, and the lodge is scheduled to meet in person for a called communication in three weeks on December 5.

That will take place at Spurmont Lodge 98 in Strasburg. The custom weekend schedule is on, with dinner Friday night, lodge meeting and museum tour Saturday, and dinner that evening. Reservations are required. Click here for all the details.

Sankey Lecture on Sunday


I just learned the 2020 Sankey Lecture, postponed in March, is rescheduled for...Sunday! Free and online.

Professor Cécile Révauger, University of Bordeaux, on “Enlightenment, Gender and Race: Personal Reflections on Leading Issues in Masonic Studies.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

‘Cryptic Festival next May’

UPDATE: This event has been rescheduled to Saturday, October 9, 2021.

The Cryptic Rite companions of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts will gather for a day of degrees next spring on the Hudson. From the publicity:

Cryptic Festival
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Saugerties Masonic Temple

Royal Master Degree by Connecticut.
Select Master by Massachusetts.
Super Excellent Master by New York.

I haven’t seen Super Excellent since I received it 20 years ago. Looking forward to this!

To paraphrase Churchill, who was opining on something completely unrelated, “I would let the clever Masons learn Royal Arch as an honor, and Cryptic as a treat.”

Monday, November 9, 2020

‘Kirk MacNulty, R.I.P.’


W. Kirk MacNulty, the renowned Masonic author, died Sunday, according to Shawn Eyer, who disclosed the sad news on Facebook. He was 88.

To read his books is to cherish them: The Way of the Craftsman (1988), Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol (1991), and Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance (2006).

MacNulty was made a Mason in 1961 in Carson Valley Lodge in Nevada, and subsequently affiliated with lodges in England, Hawaii, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. He served in the East of Lodge of Living Stones 4957 in England three times, and was the Charter Master of Lodge of Nine Muses 1776 in DC in 1997.

“Few brothers have done more for the speculative mission of the Craft in recent times,” Eyer writes. “When he wrote The Way of the Craftsman in the 1980s, he helped midwife the renaissance in Masonic philosophy that we are all now enjoying.”

Alas, my brother.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

‘The jewel of the Master’


The George Washington Masonic National Memorial’s 2020 Commemorative Ornament is available for pre-ordering. Click here for The Square.