Monday, August 30, 2021

‘An eminent New York Mason’

Ill. Peter J. Samiec, 33•
Sovereign Grand Commander

Ill. Peter J. Samiec is an eminent New York Mason who labors honorably and diligently for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. (He also is a member of the Masonic Society, having been with us almost from day one.)

I am not Scottish Rite, but I’m just generally of the opinion that New York Masons ought to be leading all the collateral groups in the Masonic family. No, seriously, if you study U.S. Masonic history, you find New York at the locus of practically everything. Heck, we were at the birth of American Anti-MasonryThat’s being thorough!

I don’t know what kind of policies to expect, but I would hope for the start of a conversation to merge the jurisdiction into the Mother Supreme Council.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

‘Always look on the bright side of life’




Friday, August 27, 2021

‘Let the Light of Heroism blaze’

The latest Collectanea
the annual book of transactions of the Grand College of Rites, admits us to the Cerneau Scottish Rite circa 1807 to “see” degrees 19 through 29.

In the 20th, titled “Grand Master ad Vitam, or Venerable Grand Master,” the candidate illumines the Nine Great Lights of Masonry, the fourth of which inevitably comes to mind upon the human calamity unfolding at Kabul, Afghanistan. Excerpted:

Let the Great Light of Heroism shine in our Lodge. That noble heroism, inspired by which, men die at obscure posts of duty, when none are their witnesses save God. Let there be light.

The Light shines. Let us applaud, my brethren.

My brother, say after me: “So may the Light of Heroism shine in me!”

And then the fifth and sixth:

Let the Great Light of Honor shine in our Lodge. That true Honor, incapable of baseness, treachery, or deceit; that never breaks its word to man or woman; and fears the act far more than the disgrace that follows it. Let there be light….

So may the Light of Honor shine in me.

Let the Great Light of Patriotism shine in our Lodge. Patriotism, willing to sacrifice itself for the common good, even when neither thanks nor honor follow it; that ask not whether what the country’s weal requires will or will not be popular; but does the right without regard to consequences. Let there be light!

So may the Light of Patriotism shine in me.

Of course, all Masonic tenets urgently come to mind as the world descends hourly into deeper darkness, but this piece of ritual really leapt off the top of my head.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

‘The King to visit Suwassett’

I’d love to go, but I can’t get out there on a Wednesday night. No reason why you can’t be there though—if you are a Royal Arch Mason, that is.

In addition to Jason’s official visit, there will be what the chapter calls “a special educational lecture” by none other than M.E. Piers Vaughan, Past Grand High Priest.

(Both Jason and Piers will be made Honorary Members of Suwassett Chapter, New York’s only Traditional Observance Royal Arch chapter, that night.)

Attire: your red jackets with dark trousers, plus R.A. jewels.

Refreshment after the convocation.

Probably smart to reserve a seat, so contact HP Frank here.

Friday, August 20, 2021

‘Scottish Freemasons in America’

It’s never too early to plan on attending a great event in Freemasonry, so look ahead to next November for a very promising weekend at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Virginia. A multi-faceted affair called “Scottish Freemasons in America, 1750-1800” is scheduled for November 4 to 6, 2022.

You’ll come for the food. You’ll stay to see Tabbert in a kilt.

A symposium starring presenters from the academic and Masonic worlds will bring to life the story of Scottish Freemasonry’s role in giving shape to the Craft here in America.

Did you know the lodge in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where George Washington was made a Mason, was a Scottish lodge? Well, it was—at least once it finally received a warrant from Scotland years after Washington was raised.

This amazing weekend will include a visit to that lodge, and some of you may have noticed it’ll coincide with the 270th anniversary of Washington’s Master Mason Degree.

The featured speaker will be Bro. Robert L.D. Cooper, Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and author of books you really ought to have read by now.

Also planned are a whisky tasting, Scottish cooking, and more.

For more information, contact Bro. Mark Tabbert, the Memorial’s Director of Archives and Exhibits here.

Broadway Video


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

‘Thousands await initiation in NY lodges’

In a Zoom conference that concluded just minutes ago, Grand Master Bill Sardone brought the brethren up to speed on upcoming key events, including Grand Lodge’s full session Annual Communication at Utica in just nine weeks.

On Saturday, October 23, Grand Lodge will resume labor at 9 a.m., using a newly cleared out and renovated space for the meeting. Regular business, constitutional amendments, elections, etc. will be transacted. The installation of officers will be conducted elsewhere, possibly the chapel.

For 2022, we can anticipate the return of St. John’s Weekend at Utica, the Grand Master also said, June 23-25.

With our fraternity derailed by the pandemic and resulting bans on meetings, the matter of membership has been a vexing concern for lodges. My own, Publicity 1000, has had a queue of more than a dozen petitioners awaiting initiation for months, and we’re a smaller lodge. We are preparing to admit them to the Worshipful Lodge soon, but the statewide situation?

Are you sitting down?

The Grand Lodge of New York has 3,346 men engaged in our NorthStar quality control program. They’ve been vetted. “You know how people talk about membership going down?” Sardone asked. “Well, our numbers are going up.” More than 500 candidates currently are in the progress of the three degrees. (As a refugee from another jurisdiction myself, I make a point here to mention 17 Masons from outside the state have affiliated with New York lodges recently.) Another 146 lapsed brethren have been brought back to Masonic labor.

No one-day mass initiations nor goofy gimmicks or accounting tricks. Just hard work by Master Masons who know what they’re doing. Let those who have ears, hear.

There were several more items our Grand Master addressed, and I will cover those in future editions of The Magpie Mason. This conference call was not interactive—no chat, no Q&A—just a quick informational update. Anyone with questions or ideas is welcome to email MW Sardone directly. I can tell you from personal experience that he welcomes and answers communications.

Friday, August 13, 2021

‘Simon says: Show your papers’


Society’s exhausting game of Simon Says, stemming from China’s most profuse export, will not end until people in numbers decline to play any further. In the meantime, the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia announced it is following the latest edict from City Hall, and will restrict access to those who can show proof of vaccination.

Making the announcement on social media Thursday, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania said:

“Due to the new regulations from the City of Philadelphia, admittance to the Masonic Temple, Library and Museum of Pennsylvania will require a vaccination card, or a photo of the same, for access to the building. Masks are not required for vaccinated individuals, but may be worn if desired. Thank you for your compliance as we work to protect our tour and event guests, as well as our team members.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer quotes Cheryl Bettigole, the city’s acting health commissioner, saying “I think all or nothing is really what’s going to work for them at this point.” (The “them” are all indoor businesses.)

Philly is home to 1.6 million people, approximately 100 of whom, says the Inquirer, currently are hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment.

This was the city of Benjamin Franklin, by the way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

‘A feast day for the AMD’


The Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees in the United States launched an online newsletter for its brethren earlier this year, and its most recent issue contains a very short article that is worth repeating now.

Outside the United States, the Saint Lawrence the Martyr Degree is the AMD’s initiation ceremony, and it is the degree on which councils transact their business. It is an important and well known degree.

Anyway, that newsletter article says:

We could use a few more feast days for celebration in Freemasonry. Generally speaking, Freemasonry derived from England has both Saint John the Baptist Day (June 24) and Saint John the Evangelist Day (December 27). And Masonry of Scottish heritage has the Feast Day of Saint Andrew (November 30). I always wondered about the Irish, but that’s another story.

I propose we brethren of the Allied Masonic Degrees make August 10 a cause for festive commemoration. That midsummer day is the Feast Day of Saint Lawrence, who was martyred on that date in 258 at Rome. His death is just as it is described in our Saint Lawrence the Martyr Degree, so there’s no need to render the story here. Even the grim humor about turning over his half-cooked body is according to tradition. He is the patron saint of both poor people and of cooks, appropriately.

Brethren, call for informal gatherings of your councils the world over for Tuesday, August 10 to honor heroic Saint Lawrence, whose principled bravery, even unto death, is no less admirable than even that of our Operative Grand Master Hiram!

I suppose a menu of grilled meats would be most fitting.

With the big day upon us already, maybe it’s too late for this edition of The Magpie Mason to spur your council to action, but who knows? I believe in you.

Monday, August 9, 2021

‘National Book Lovers Day’

Polaris Productions

Today is National Book Lovers Day, an apt occasion to revisit Albert Mackey’s essential essay titled “Reading Masons and Masons Who Do Not Read.”

Click here, courtesy of Oregon Scottish Rite.

Friday, August 6, 2021

‘NYPD salutes Prince Hall Masons’


New York City Police presented a Civilian Commendation Award to the Prince Hall brethren on Tuesday.

The honor recognizes “great community service programs and service throughout many years,” according to an announcement on social media from the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge. Grand Secretary Sandino Sanchez accepted the award on behalf of Grand Master Walter C. King, Jr. and Master Lodge 99.

Congratulations, brethren!


Thursday, August 5, 2021

‘Traubenfest returns!’

Traubenfest returns!

The German heritage lodges of the Ninth Manhattan District will be back in October with their big party. Lots of food, beer, music, and attractions. Family friendly.

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

‘Hear about the Master’s Emblem’

The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library’s monthly lecture series continues with an exploration of a symbol we know—but maybe haven’t contemplated much.

Very Worshipful Bro. Marshall Kern, of Victoria Lodge 56 in Ontario, will tell us about “The Master’s Emblem” in his presentation on Thursday, August 26 at 7 p.m. He is the new Grand Historian of that jurisdiction.

This will be an online event. Register here. From the publicity:

In many jurisdictions around the world, there is an emblem affixed to the apron of the Worshipful Master of a lodge to distinguish him. The emblem continues to be used on his apron as a Past Master, or if he achieves additional rank in grand lodge. The origin of the emblem can be traced to a Tuesday night in February 1814 at a tavern in London. VW Bro. Marshall Kern had traced the origin of the Master’s emblem, and explains the connection to geometry, Scripture, and Masonic ritual.

The emblem in question is not seen commonly in New York Freemasonry. The Grand Master’s apron displays it. Some lodges that deliberately choose English-style regalia have it. Nationwide, we find it in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Maybe a few other states.


Monday, August 2, 2021

‘Esoteric Festive Board’


I definitely would attend this promising evening if not for already planning to be here the very next morning, but there’s no reason why you can’t go. From the publicity:

The Grand Lodge of Connecticut’s Committee on Masonic Education and Meridian Lodge 77 will cohost this Esoteric Festive Board. If you never had a deeper discussion into the esoteric side of Freemasonry, this is a great opportunity for you to learn more. A series of starter topics will lead to group discussions where you and other esoterically aligned brethren will share perspectives on each topic.

We will have a wonderful dinner. Tickets are available here to secure your spot at this great event.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

‘1723 Constitutions celebration’

Courtesy 1723 Constitutions

You didn’t think Quatuor Coronati would let the tercentenary of Anderson’s Constitutions pass without appropriate study and celebration, did you?

Of course you didn’t.

The seminal text of Masonic theory was published in 1723 at London, and 2023 shall be a time to commemorate and examine, thanks to the exertions of the world’s first lodge of Masonic research.

Unlike the 2017 tercentennial festivities honoring the birth of the grand lodge era, in which really any Freemason could partake, this commemoration, I predict, will be the domain of the education Mason.

There will be a conference at Cambridge, exhibitions at both Great Queen Street and the Washington Memorial, and other events, plus documentary publications and other merch to cherish.

Needless to say, there is a website. Keep your Third Eye on it for updates as the big year approaches.

Why not motivate your research lodge and Masonic library to think and act similarly?