Sunday, December 27, 2020

‘British Freemasonry, 1717-1813’

Happy St. John’s Day! I hope it was possible for you to celebrate someway.

The Open Lecture folks took this weekend off, and they shall return next month with a panel of scholars. From the publicity:

We will be back January 23, 2021 with another excellent OpenLFM Lecture which will be delivered by 
Róbert Péter, Cécile Révauger, Jan A. M. Snoek. The trio will introduce their five-volume British Freemasonry, 1717-1813 collection, while Andreas Önnerfors will chair the session and initiate post-discussion afterwards.

For more information, please visit our website.

In this lecture, the volume editors introduce the British Freemasonry, 1717-1813 resource collection and highlight some of the findings. The objective of the edition is to collate diverse rare print and manuscript materials, which provide insights into the history and culture of British and Irish Freemasonry between 1717 and 1813 from a broad spectrum of perspectives. The majority of the sources, including rituals, funeral services, sermons, orations, pamphlets, letters, theatrical epilogues and prologues, newspaper, periodical and magazine articles, have been overlooked in scholarship on the fraternity. The five themed volumes cover Institutions (1), Rituals (2-3), Debates (4) and Representations (5).

The Magpie Mason hereby signs off for calendar year 6020. I wish you all a Happy New Year. Here’s to a calmer, saner 6021 back in our lodges.

Friday, December 25, 2020

‘Grand Lodge safely half mile from blast’

No time is right for a massive explosion, especially Christmas morning, but, as you probably have heard, that’s what rocked Tennessee’s capital city at 6:30 a.m.

Six hours later, no deaths have been reported, but three injuries have been, in what authorities said they suspect was an “intentional act” involving the explosion of a recreational vehicle.

The headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, on Seventh Avenue, is only about half a mile up Broadway from the explosion site, reported to be 166 Second Avenue. I’ll guess its windows shook for a few seconds. (The Prince Hall Grand Lodge is very safely distanced in Memphis.)

The afflicted area is a tourist destination of significant Music City sites, including the Ryman Auditorium.

The Grand Lodge of Tennessee has a Facebook page, via which it acknowledged the blast, but I thought it also may be useful to post this little information here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

‘Congress as a Prince Hall research resource’


Of course the Library of Congress is a galaxy of opportunity for researchers pursuing any subject, including Freemasonry, but I want to share this note received Monday afternoon by the Masonic Library and Museum Association:

Good morning members of the Masonic Library and Museum Association. I wish to share the link to a LibGuide on Prince Hall Freemasonry:
The Library of Congress’ collections contain a variety of material associated with Prince Hall Freemasonry, the oldest recognized and continuously active organization founded in 1775 by African-Americans, including manuscripts, photographs, and books.
Please note that these are selected resources, and the guide will be updated early next year. (We did not include items where the bibliographic record indicated “missing” or “being processed.” I would be most grateful if you would share with the members of the Masonic Library and Museum Association. Also, if members’ collections contain any manuscripts/collections relevant to Prince Hall Freemasonry, would you please let me know?

Thank you, and my warmest regards. Please remain safe and healthy.

Sibyl E. Moses, Ph.D.
Reference Specialist and Recommending Officer
(African American History and Culture)
Main Reading Room
Researcher and Reference Services Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20540-4660

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

‘Trump issues architecture order’


Hey, who said the Five Orders of Architecture are dead?

President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order yesterday to determine the architectural styles that may be employed in constructing certain federal government buildings in the future.

The “Executive Order on Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” specifies how all U.S. government courthouses and agency headquarters, all federal public buildings in Washington, DC, and all other federal buildings that will cost $50 million or more shall be built in “such styles as Neoclassical, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Beaux-Arts, and Art Deco.”

This will be undone by the next president. The short-lived Executive Order will be a conscientious objection to the Comecon-style concrete and the schizophrenic steel and glass impositions that have prevailed for generations.

In promoting Classical architecture, Trump lauds historical figures, including some who are significant to Freemasonry, including Palladio, Christopher Wren, John Soane, and John Russell Pope.

Read all about it here.

For some background from February, click here.

Monday, December 21, 2020

‘MBC’s first offering announced’


The newly reestablished Masonic Book Club’s first title is a in production. The Perfect Ceremonies of Craft Masonry and the Holy Royal Arch are “the lineal ancestors of the official Emulation ritual and lectures,” according to the MBC’s announcement.

Per the stated conditions, the presses will roll only if the sufficient number of copies are sold in advance, and you have until January 21 to place your order (I was the tenth to do so). The cost of this 392-page volume is only $25. Click here.

With its publicity today, the MBC provided a PDF sample of the book that includes seven pages of the 21-page Introduction, and several pages of lodge Opening ritual. This will be a beautiful book, replete with marbled covers, decorated pages, and a satin ribbon—so you won’t have to dog-ear the pages like a savage. A step above the SRRS’s laudable Heredom, which is not an unattractive book.

If Perfect Ceremonies goes to press, it will ship at the end of March; if not, buyers will receive their refunds at the end of January. So order today! I want to see if the lectures are Preston’s or Hemming’s.

Friday, December 18, 2020

‘The Tiler as guardian of our moral compass’


Writing in The Square magazine, W. Bro. Stephen J. Goulding treats us to his personal and mightily insightful reflections on the importance of the lodge Tiler (our New York spelling), in the first of six essays the independent English magazine will publish to define six officer roles.

Goulding has been a Freemason for 42 years and is a 30-year veteran of The Met. When you read his essay, you’ll discern how his operative career work informs his speculative labors in the lodge. And vice versa. After retiring from the police, he became a college lecturer, and he now is retired professionally and teaches Tai Chi and Qigong.

Goulding sees a fourfold existence for the lodge Tiler. In part:

  • “To protect our moral selves.”
  • To ensure the candidates are prepared properly.
  • “To give the proper reports on the door of the lodge.”
  • To wield the implement of his office as it is the embodiment of the tng of gd rpt.

I bring this to your attention because Goulding’s elucidations are brilliant. (I’ve been Tiler of my lodge for several years; suddenly I’m feeling very inadequate and uncertain.) Please do take the few minutes needed to read his essay. There is a 15-minute video as well.

Monday, December 14, 2020

‘New media for Royal Arch’

The General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International is readying its new website and a redesigned Royal Arch Mason magazine.

The website is here (note the new URL), and it boasts several features that I hope will benefit the Companions wherever dispersed about the face of the earth.

There is a fledgling discussion forum. Also, there is a password-protected members section, but I hope you have better luck than I in registering. There also is a mailing list to join for periodic updates of information.

Most notable will be the pages devoted to education. The Capitular Learning Center promises guidance in practical knowledge (like officer functions and chapter business) and Masonic education (meanings of ritual and symbol, history, et al.).

Something to be proud of. I’m looking forward to the launch and to a commitment to maintaining this site. I wish them great success.

Friday, December 11, 2020

‘Hail the Men of the Malt!’


The brethren of South Bend, Indiana have done it again.

The Scottish Rite valley there has a long-standing habit of establishing new ways of rallying Masons to good and just causes. A number of years ago, it trailblazed in Masonic education with the launch of the South Bend Research Guild, providing a local venue where Masons could gather and enjoy the benefits of learning about esoteric and other aspects of Freemasonry.

Also, South Bend established a Knights of St. Andrew group to serve the valley in organizational support roles. (And I may be wrong about this, but I think I recall South Bend being the first in the NMJ to adopt this practice from the Southern Jurisdiction, where it originated.)

The brethren also initiated the Green Dragon Guild, leavening the valley’s crucially important hospitality duties with merriment and style.

So, who are the Men of the Malt?

This is quite likely the most significant meeting of Masons since nine guys in Charleston stood in a circle in 1801 and pinned medals on each other!

As Bro. John Bridegroom put it just about an hour ago:

Wonderful consecration meeting of the new Men of the Malt Scotch Tasting Guild at the Valley of South Bend! Started with a great steak dinner. After, we signed the charter, approved the by-laws, and elected the officers, we tasted a wonderful rare scotch. Then we retired to the guild room, where we enjoyed fellowship, more scotches, and planned for a bright future.

Sounds to me like they forgot the cigars, but—hey—it’s their first night. Slainte mhath, brethren!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

‘Launch of Prince Hall cigars’


Bro. David Blanco, of Blanco Cigars, announced Monday the release of a line of Nicaraguan sticks named for one of the most significant figures in the history of Freemasonry.

The launch was slowed by complications arising from the pandemic, but the first run of the two lines of Prince Hall cigars is reaching stores now. They are available online also.

From the publicity:

Prince Hall by Blanco Cigars are manufactured in Estelí, Nicaragua by Blanco Cigars at the family’s factory, and blended by Master Blender and fifth generation Master Mason David Blanco.

The genesis and creation of the brand started over a year ago, but due to COVID-19, is just now making its way to market as a regular production cigar. The impetus behind the brand was a desire to recognize and honor a great man and legend in the history of the United States and Freemasonry: Prince Hall. He was known as one of the most influential free black leaders during the founding of the United States in the 1700s, fighting slavery as one of the leading abolitionists and for equal education rights. He is also famously known as the father of Black Freemasonry which, to this day, is known as Prince Hall Masonry.

Available in two wrappers.

Habano Maduro
A full body cigar with rich, robust flavors and aromas. Including notes of leather, wood and earth with a floral bouquet and hint of spice throughout the retro-hale. Culminating with a clean, smooth finish.
Wrapper: Habano Maduro (Nicaragua)
Binder: Sumatra
Fillers: Nicaraguan
5 x 50 Square
6 x 52 Compass
6 x 60 Level
7 x 70 Boaz

Habano Rosado
A medium body cigar with complex notes of oak, leather and caramel with a pleasant floral aroma. Culminating in a slightly sweet, creamy, textured smoke with a clean, smooth finish.       
Wrapper: Habano Rosado (Nicaragua)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Fillers: Nicaraguan
5 x 50 Square
6 x 52 Compass
6 x 60 Level
7 x 70 Jachin

Square, Compass and Level sizes come in 50 count boxes and are also available five packs.

Boaz and Jachin sizes come in 30 count boxes and are also available in five packs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

‘New QCCC Local Secretary’


Over in New Jersey, one of the research lodge’s very own has been tapped to serve Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle. Congratulations Bro. Erich! He’s the new Local Secretary.

QCCC is the corporate arm of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076, and it serves to unite Freemasons wherever dispersed around the world in a membership that receives Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, the annual book of transactions published by the lodge.

The official announcement:

Welcome to Erich Huhn,
new Local Secretary
in New Jersey

Erich Morgan Huhn is a PhD student in History & Culture at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. His research focuses on the historical role of membership as a ‘placing marker’ within society, with a particular interest in the history of Freemasonry in the English-speaking world.

Erich’s upcoming capstone paper will examine the role music has played in Masonic culture. Erich has presented on various Masonic topics, collects rare Masonic texts, and in 2019 published New Jersey’s Masonic Lodges, which provides a photo guide analysis of the development of Masonic architecture from the Colonial period to the present. Erich was raised as a Master Mason in November 2013 and is active within New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education, No. 1786. He has also participated in QC’s North American Conferences, most recently in Alexandria.

Erich can be contacted here.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

‘The Prince Hall secret is out’

A work in progress: Bro. Ryan has been laboring on a portrait of Bro. Prince Hall for months. He revealed this photo via social media Monday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

‘Azim 7 officers elected’


Azim Grotto No. 7, the handsome Veiled Prophets in New York City, elected its officers two weeks ago at Kinahan’s, where the following were chosen to lead for 2021:

Monarch A. Ruffini

Chief Justice B. Neri

Master of Ceremonies E. Zaremski

Venerable Prophet B. Donlon

Secretary A. Haight

Sorry to say I couldn’t be there, but attendance was capped at ten, and I thought it better to leave room for relevant Prophets. But I’m very much looking forward to a new year of, as one Grotto history book puts it, “weird ceremonies” and “red letter days!”