Saturday, September 23, 2023

‘Azim and Shamaliu team up’

The Mystic Prophets in formation at Masonic Hall today. That’s the Shamaliu Prophets attired in Grotto black and red. I think we Aziminians need to reinvigorate our sartorial traditions! Grand Monarch Victor, front and center, in a superb sport jacket.

It was the High Holy Days Edition of Azim Grotto Ceremonials today, as the Prophets gathered at Masonic Hall to impart lessons in Sympathy and Good Fellowship upon Pilgrim Neophytes from New Jersey.

Some of the Shamaliu contingent
with Monarch Dave in front.

The Mystic Prophets of the newly chartered Shamaliu Grotto (I forgot to ask those guys what the name means) (I’m told it is the Arabic word meaning “northern”), which meets in the Shriner building in Morris County, outnumbered us! Some were actual candidates, receiving their fezzes as new Prophets, but most already had their black headgear, but had not been through the Ceremonial initiation. All that is corrected now, and I imagine the Shamaliu Prophets will tackle their own ritual work henceforth.

Shamaliu Monarch Dave gets a few pointers
on regalia from Azim Monarch Eric.

Theirs is the second Grotto during this revival of MOVPER in the Garden State. The first, Simba, was launched two years ago, but already is said to be near death. (Sorry, but I predicted that. The lodges in Jersey basically are Grottoes, so I don’t know what novelty MOVPER offers the Masons there. Plus they already have the Shrine, the Sciots, Tall Cedars, and Scottish Rite, and all are moribund.) But Shamaliu appears to be in good hands, and I certainly wish them the best, as we Prophets impart Sympathy and Good Fellowship in a Brotherly Way.

Dignitaries on hand included (Azim’s own) Grand Monarch Victor Mann, who generously steered me toward his Soho tailor for bespoke suits and jackets; and District Deputy Frank Sforza, who always looks like he was born with that million-dollar-suit thing mastered.

John Roberts, PM
Victor once again had the honor of fezzing the new Prophets; Frank returned to the stage to dazzle us anew with his ritual prowess. And Past Monarch John Roberts was back. The Maestro, I call him. No, not ironically!

Other Grottoes were represented today, including Monker in Norwalk, which sent a few Prophets, including Monarch Ray Roche. I haven’t seen him since he was installed MEGHP of the Royal Arch Grand Chapter of New York seven years ago! I think a few Tri Po Bed Prophets were with us too.

We were told Azim has one more event upcoming, either next month or in November, before the elections and installation of officers at year end. And the Empire State Grotto Association has a meeting next month at Niagara Falls. Cheers to Monarch Eric on an eventful 2023.

Today, at least, the G in the Jacobean Room stands for Grotto!

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