Phylaxis Society Honors Nelson King

Nelson King Phylaxis Society memorial

The Phylaxis Society just published its magazine totally dedicated to Nelson King.

It is all King, nothing but King, every page.  I don’t know how the other two Societies, The Philalethes Society, of which King was a past President and editor of its publication, and The Masonic Society, of which he also was a member, are honoring Brother King. But it would surprise me if they dedicated the entire contents of one of their publications to just Nelson King.

Right about now perhaps many Mainstream Masons are scratching their heads wondering why there is this Prince Hall adulation of Brother King.

Phylaxis President John B. Williams introduces the latest issue of its publication with these words.

“Nelson King was a friend to Prince Hall Masonry when it was quite unpopular to be so.”

Renowned Prince Hall author and speaker Alton Roundtree, FPS adds:

“I placed Nelson King in the same category as Jerry Marsengill, Allen Roberts and other editors of the Philalethes Magazine who had kept the issue of Prince Hall Freemasonry up for discussion in the Magazine. Nelson seemingly went farther than others in that he took on the role of a defender of Prince Hall Freemasonry.”

“Nelson King was not popular in many quarters, especially outside of Prince Hall Freemasonry. He was subject to threats and humiliating comments. Nevertheless, wherever he stood, he stood.”

Robert N. Campbell, FPSH Phylaxis Society Council of Representatives and President of the Phylaxis Society board tells us:

“He (Nelson King) along with Phylaxis President, the Hon. Joseph A. Walkes, Jr., Ralph McNeal and myself, were among a number of us whose lives were threatened, over the internet for our work and involvement to spread the true ‘cement of B.L.R. &T.’”

The Hon. Rev. Tommy Rigmaiden, FPS, FPC (H-Life) & President Emeritus of the Phylaxis Society in a “A Tribute To My Beloved Nelson King” in the magazine highlights a couple of important events in the life of Nelson King.

He says that in March 2000 King, at that time President of the Philalethes Society, attended the Phylaxis Society’s annual session in Kansas City, Missouri where he inducted 8 African-American Prince Hall Masons into the Masonic Order of Blue Forget-Me-Nots. In the next year, 2001, King invited Phylaxis President Joseph A. Walkes to attend the annual session of the Philalethes Society during Masonic week in Washington D.C. Walkes being ill, Rigmaiden, 1st Vice President, went in his place and enjoyed himself immensely.

On Masonic Central: Nelson King and the Philalethes Society

Another who brings us much information about Nelson King is Brother Aubrey Brown, Sr., MPS who reiterates much of what others have said.

“Perhaps for PHA Masons, his most important distinction is being virtually the last of the great Prince Hall Warriors from within the ranks of Mainstream Masonry. Following in the footsteps of his mentors such as the late Bro. Allen Roberts, Nelson fought to the end for full unilateral recognition of PHA Masonry worldwide within regular Freemasonry.”

Brown also reminds us that

King demitted from his Ontario, Canada Lodge to join the Grand Lodge of Costa Rica to protest his mother Grand Lodge’s refusal to recognize Prince Hall, which it eventually did.

A Fellow of the Philalethes Society King became its only President who was not a United States citizen. He also served as editor of the Philalethes publication and is only one of two Society members to hold both positions at the same time.

Prince Hall Masons recognized Nelson King for his achievements during his lifetime. Brown tells us that in 2000 he received the Prince Hall Civil Rights Activist Award. In 2004 he was made Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Costa Rica. In 2005 he was inducted into the Phylaxis Society’s Harry A. Williamson Hall of Fame. In 2006 he was made Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut.

Brown then to proceeds to chronicle what he considers King’s “Two Most Cherished And Successful Projects Most Never Knew About.”


As webmaster of the Philalethes Society King created a visitor’s section called “The Welcome Wall.” Here any and every question about Freemasonry was answered. It became so popular that King could not keep up all by himself. So he appointed a three man Board or Committee of one American Mainstream Mason, one European Mason and one Prince Hall Mason. The PHA Mason was Brother Brown.

When King stepped down from his management positions within the Philalethes Society he sold the site to the Society and moved The Welcome Wall to Guestbook.  Alas in failing health the Society that he had devoted so much time and effort to decided to stab him in the back.

Brown recounts:

“As Nelson became aware of his failing liver, The Philalethes Society contacted and informed him that they felt the name “Welcome Wall” was their intellectual property since he created it while an Officer of the Society. Considering the more important battle facing him, he decided to just close his site. The Welcome Wall died a quiet death. No acknowledgement was given to the Committee members or the Founder of the Welcome Wall when control of the name was taken. Today their version is not as popular or nearly as successful as the real Welcome Wall.”


Many Freemasons are totally unaware of King’s exploits in this labor of love. It all started in 1998 when King and his wife visited Cuba. There he touched base with the Masonic community and saw firsthand what dire straits they were in. When he returned back home to Canada, he started with aspirin and vitamins. Soon he progressed to much needed bandages, drugs and medical equipment.  Because of size limitations some shipments had to be sent to Costa Rica who then sent them on to Cuba.

King created an E-List for the Cuban Relief Fund and solicited donations from anybody and everybody. King’s heroic efforts became known far and wide across the island of Cuba and many letters of thanks were published on the E-List.

The work that King started lives on even after his death. And once again the Masonic community transcends the political divisions that separate good men in order to provide for the well being of those in need.

Within the magazine there are also a few of Nelson King’s more memorable speeches. The first titled “Black and White” was given at the 7th annual Sam Houston Lecture in 2004 at Holland Lodge No. 1 AF & AM, Grand Lodge of Texas, Houston Texas, and was on the legitimacy of Prince Hall Freemasonry. King told me privately and personally that because of the large number of death threats he received that he felt it necessary to hire two body guards.

Another lecture in this issue of the Phylaxis Magazine was an address given at Wilberforce Lodge, MWPHGL, Ohio.

Nelson King’s parting shot and demonstration of his solidarity with Prince Hall was to have Prince Hall perform his funeral ceremony and so Past Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario, MW Joe Halstead, and his team did just that on August 20, 2011 at the Ogden funeral Home in Toronto.

Rest in peace Brother King. Well done good and faithful servant.

Part 1: Prince Hall Masonry from WEOFM on Vimeo.

When Is It Necessary To Change?

mailing labels, dues cards, membership card, how to make membership cardsAmong the nonprofit organizations I belong to, there is one where I serve as secretary of the local branch. Like any nonprofit, there are records to be maintained, dues notices to be issued, reports to be filed with headquarters, minutes to be taken, and different mailings made to the membership. It’s not exactly rocket science. When I assumed office, I implemented a data base management system (DBMS) to track membership records and generate reports and mailing labels. I also send as much documentation as possible by e-mail in order to save money on postage and printing costs. All of this has saved us considerable time, effort, and money.

Over the last couple of years I’ve noticed our headquarters has changed the way they produce the annual dues cards and notices for the local branches. Prior to this, the dues notices were printed on a 80 column high speed printer on special carbon stock that formed an envelope and insert. All that was necessary was to burst the envelopes along the perforation marks, slap a stamp on it, and throw it in the mail. The envelope and enclosed dues notice may not have been graphically dazzling, but it worked quite well for many years. Likewise, dues cards were printed on the same high-speed printer which were also burst and separated along perforation marks. Again, the card wasn’t the most elegant from a graphical perspective, but it wasn’t bad either.

This all changed recently where the dues notices, cards, and mailing labels are now printed on special stock and are graphically impressive. The problem though is they are cumbersome to separate, fold, and insert in envelopes (which we now have to purchase separately). In other words, what was once a relatively simple task had become more labor intensive, costing more time and money to perform. The big question is, Why? What was headquarters trying to accomplish? To perhaps produce a better looking card that is stored and forgotten in a wallet? To produce a better looking dues notice for the post office? As someone who has been in the systems business for a number of years, I suspect the old approach was considerably cheaper to perform.

The scenario I describe herein happens every day not just in nonprofit organizations, but in corporations around the world. If anything is constant, it is change (Bryce’s Law). We live in a perpetual state of change where our systems change, our businesses change, our people change, and our technology changes. Change is natural and can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as government regulations, competition, economics, etc. The point is, you change when it is absolutely necessary to do so, not just because you contrarily feel like doing so. Change for the sake of change is madness. The example I describe is one where change is implemented merely to appear fashionable. There was no other reason as the old approach was working just fine, thank you. The point is, you should change only when it is cost effective to do so. This means it is necessary to demonstratively prove you offer a better solution; saving money or time, or perhaps a totally new avenue aimed at addressing specific business needs. In the case I described, I do not believe the developers did their homework and, because of this, have complicated the lives of many branch secretaries; all because someone wanted to show he was being fashionable with technology, which is perhaps the worst reason for change (yet is quite common). Always remember, there is a heavy price to pay for keeping up with the Jones’.

I can tell you authoritatively, whoever redesigned the dues notices and cards at headquarters was certainly not a systems man. Probably nothing more than a glorified programmer in sheep’s clothing.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Symposium on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism – CFP

Masonic history, history of freemasonry, heritage Museum, Scottish RiteCALL FOR PAPERS – Symposium on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism, deadline December 15, 2011.

National Heritage Museum, Lexington, Massachusetts
Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The National Heritage Museum announces a call for papers for its biannual symposium, “Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism,” to be held on Saturday, April 7, 2012, at the Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The National Heritage Museum is an American history museum founded and supported by Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States. As the repository of one of the largest collections of American Masonic and fraternal objects, books and manuscripts in the United States, the Museum aims to foster new research on American fraternalism and to encourage the use of its scholarly resources.

The symposium seeks to present the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past through the present day. By 1900, over 250 American fraternal groups existed, numbering six million members. The study of their activities and influence in the United States, past and present, offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture. Diverse perspectives on this topic are sought; proposals are invited from a broad range of research areas, including history, material and visual culture, anthropology, sociology, literary studies and criticism, gender studies, political science, African-American studies, art history, economics, or any combination of disciplines. Perspectives on and interpretations of all time periods are welcome.

Possible topics include:

  • Comparative studies of American fraternalism and European or other international forms of fraternalism
  • Prince Hall Freemasonry and other African-American fraternal groups
  • Ethnically- and religiously-based fraternal groups
  • Fraternal groups for women or teens
  • Role of fraternal groups in social movements
  • The material culture of Freemasonry and fraternalism
  • Anti-Masonry and anti-fraternal movements, issues and groups
  • Fraternal symbolism and ritual
  • The expression of Freemasonry and fraternalism through art, music, and literature
  • Approaches to Freemasonry – from disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transnational perspectives; the historiography and methodology of the study of American fraternalism

Proposals should be for 30 minute research papers; the day’s schedule will allow for audience questions and feedback.

Proposal Format: Submit an abstract of 400 words or less with a resume or c.v. that is no more than two pages. Be sure to include full contact information (name, address, email, phone, affiliation).

Send proposals to: Aimee E. Newell, Ph.D., Director of Collections, National Heritage Museum, by email at or by mail to 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA 02421.

Deadline for proposals to be received is December 15, 2011. For more information about the National Heritage Museum, see For questions, contact Aimee E. Newell as above, or call 781-457-4144.

Masonic Holidays

Collected here are notable dates to those in the history of Freemasonry and founding dates of particular aspects of the craft.

If you know of a particular date that’s not on the list, drop it in the comments, and it will be added to the roll.

Unlike national holidays or religious observance holidays, these may (or may not) be widely celebrated, but should perhaps be considered as special days of note in the Masonic calendar and days to give pause for a few moments to reflect on their significance to the wider craft.

Follow this calendar on Google Calendars.

This is a living post in that it will be open to additions in the future.

Masonic Notable Dates


January 4–8, 1808 – Grand Lodge of Ohio was establishedº≠
January 9, 1844
– Grand Lodge of Iowa Founded
January 12th, 1886Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 Consecrated in London
January 13, 1818 – Grand Lodge of Indiana established º
January 14, 1892 – The beginning of the Allied Masonic Degrees in America
January 17, 1706
Ben Franklin born.  Statesman, Diplomat, Past Grand Master
January 17, 1865 – Grand Lodge of Nevada was founded in Virginia City, Nevada
January 17, 1872 – Grand Lodge of Utah was established≠
January 23, 1910SCIOTS adopted their name (originally Boosters from 1905)
January 25 1759 – Robert Burns born (d. July 21 1796)º
January 26, 1866 – Grand Lodge of Montana was founded≠
January 27, 1756 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart born (d.5 December 1791)º


February 7, 1981 – Grand Lodge of Alaska was established in Anchorage, Alaska
February 19, 1811 – Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia founded
February 22, 1732 – George Washington born, first President of the United States
February 24, 1853 – Grand Lodge of Minnesota foundedº


March 6, 1775Prince Hall, was made a Master Mason in Irish Constitution Military Lodge No. 441
March 12, 1807Albert Gallatin Mackey – d. June 20, 1881 – Masonic Author, notably of the Masonic Dictionary
March 17, 1856 – Grand Lodge of Kansas established, Wyandotte County, Kansasº
March 18, 1919Order of DeMolay founded in Kansas City, Missouri, later to become DeMolay International
March 25, 1882 – Grand Lodge of Arizona was established in Tucson

Maundy Thursday

A Feast Day that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. Maundy Thursday move between March 19th and April 22nd with the Easter holiday. Celebration is held on the Thursday before Easter.


April 6, 1922International Order of the Rainbow for Girls founded in McAlester, Oklahoma
April 8, 1790 – Grand Lodge of New Hampshire was founded≠
April 16, 1838 – Grand Lodge of Texas established in Houston, Texasº
April 17, 1787 – Grand Lodge of Maryland was founded
April 20, 1884 – Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical, Humanum Genus against Freemasonry based upon the hoax by Leo Taxil
April 21, 1821 – Grand Lodge of Missouri was founded in Columbia, Missouriº


May 6, 1850 – Grand Lodge of California was established in Sacramento, CA
May 11, 1865 – Grand Lodge of West Virginia was founded≠
May 17, 1921High Twelve founded, Sioux City, Iowa
May 20, 1989 – Grand Lodge of Hawaii founded
May 31, 1801
– Ordo ab Chao, Founding of the The Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, USA


June 1, 1820 – Grand Lodge of Maine was founded≠
June 6, 1806
– Grand Lodge of Delaware Established
June 11, 1821 – 
Grand Lodge of Alabama was established in Cahawba, Alabama°
June 13, 1889 – Grand Lodge of North Dakota was established at Mitchell, South Dakotaº
June 13, 1890 – Grotto, or the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm was founded, Hamilton, New York
June 14, 1873Order of the Amaranth organized  in New York City, New York
June 20, 1812 – Grand Lodge of Louisiana was established

June 20/21

Saint John the Baptist Day / Summer Solstice
St. John the Baptist Day as a religious holiday is celebrated on June 24°

June 22 1867 – Walter Leslie Wilmshurst born (d. July 22 1939)*
June 23, 1868
– Grand Lodge of Idaho founded

June 24, 1717

Proto Grand Lodge, Grand Lodge of London and Westminster forms at the Goose and Gridiron alehouse in St. Paul’s Churchyard, London, England.

June 27, 1791 – Grand Lodge of Rhode Island founded≠
June* of 1826 – Grand Lodge of Michigan was established (Bessel suggests September 14, 1844)º≠


July 3, 1863

The meeting of Armistead and Hancock on the battle field. Union Captain, and brother, Henry H. Bingham coming to the aid of Confederate Brigadier General, and brother, Lewis Addison Armistead. Said to be “one of the greatest examples of the ideals of Freemasonry in action” leading to the dedication of the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial statue at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.≠

July 6, 1830 – Grand Lodge of Florida Founded
July 8, 1789
– Grand Lodge of Connecticut founded.
July 21, 1875 – Grand Lodge of South Dakota was formed≠
July 24, 1783 – Simón Bolívar (d. December 17, 1830) – Venezuelan military and political leader.

Like Washington and the American founding fathers, Bolívar played a key role in Latin America’s successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. Bolivar was initiated in 1803 in the Masonic Lodge Lautaro which operated in Cadiz, Spain and was given the 33rd degree of Inspector General Honorary in April of 1824.

July 27, 1818 – Grand Lodge of Mississippi was founded
July 30, 1733 – Grand Lodge of Massachusetts founded


August 2, 1861 – Grand Lodge of Colorado founded
August 5, 1813
– Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite founded
August 7, 1742 – William Preston born – d. April 1, 1818.  Author of the revised Masonic Ritual
August 7, 1877 – Grand Lodge of New Mexico was founded≠


September 11, 1826 – the beginning of the Morgan Affair and the rise of the Anti Masonic Party – William Morgan arrested (and then abducted on September 12, 1826) in Canandaigua (city), New York
September 15, 1851 – Grand Lodge of Oregon was established (Bessel lists August 16)
September 21, 1880Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis consecrated
September 23, 1857 – Grand lodge of Nebraska was founded.º
September 26, 1872 – founding of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
September 26, 1786 – Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was established in Philadelphia, PA.

Feast of Tishiri

15th day of the 7th month – though the date moves with the Jewish Calendar (7th Month of the Jewish calendar somewhere between September and October).

The origin of the Feast of Tishri is described in the book of Leviticus where it is said that the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying that on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishri of the Hebrew civil calendar, “ye shall have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord.” The Feast of Tishri is the Hebrew equivalent of Thanksgiving or Harvest festival.

The origins and significance of the Feast of Tishri make it the most Scottish Rite of festivals. No other occasion epitomizes the character and purpose of the Feast of Tishri more wholly than the dedication of King Solomon’s Temple. The rich legend of the Temples dedication, celebrated during the Feast of Tishri, is an essential part of the Fourteenth Degree.

By observing the Feast of Tishri, Scottish Rite Masons share the fraternal spirit and reaffirm our dedication to human concord and the brotherhood of all men. As Brothers, we resolve to build, as King Solomon did, peace for all mankind.


October 5, 1874 – Grand Lodge of Oklahoma was established≠
October 13, 1778 – Grand Lodge of Virginia was founded≠
October 15, 1794 – Grand Lodge of Vermont was established≠
October 16, 1800
– Grand Lodge of Kentucky established (founded 1788)º
October 18, 1911
– Corner Stone laid in the Construction of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction house of the Temple in Washington
October 20, 1920 – The Order of Job’s Daughters, founded in Omaha, Nebraska
October 23, 1894White Shrine of Jerusalem was incorporated
October 30, 1771 – Thomas Smith Webb, (d. July 6, 1819) author of Freemason’s Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry, the foundation text of the York Rite American system of Freemasonry and the Founding Father of the York or American Rite


November 6, 1876Order of the Eastern Star first General Grand Chapter formed in Indianapolis, Indiana.
November 21, 1838 – Grand Lodge of Arkansas Founded*
November 30, 1835 – Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, – d. April 21, 1910.  Author, humorist lecturer, and father of American literature.
November 30Saint Andrews Day – The Feast of Saint Andrew


December 8, 1858 – Grand Lodge of Washington was established.≠
December 9, 1787
– Grand Lodge of North Carolina was established.º
December 11, 1822
– Grand Lodge of Illinois founded.
December 15, 1782 – Grand Lodge of New York was established.º
December 15, 1874 – Grand Lodge of Wyoming was formed.
December 16, 1786 – Grand Lodge of Georgia founded.
December 18, 1786 – Grand Lodge of New Jersey≠
December 18, 1843 – Grand lodge of Wisconsin established.≠

December 21st/22nd

Saint John the Evangelist Day/Winter Solstice. Saint John the Evangelist Day as a religious holiday is celebrated on December 27.

December 25: Christmas and Freemasonry

December 27, 1813

United Grand Lodge of England established, the proto Grand Lodge,  Grand Lodge of London and Westminster forms on June 24, 1717

December 27, 1783 – Grand Lodge of South Carolina was established.≠
December 27, 1813 – Grand Lodge of Tennessee was formed.
December 29, 1809 – Albert Pike, author of Morals and Dogma born,  d. April 2, 1891 (aged 81)
December 31New Years Eve-Auld Lang Syne

° – Wikipedia
≠ – From Paul Bessel’s Website
* – Secondary source

The 30 Greatest Conspiracy Theories Of All Time


The UK Telegraph has posted an article listing the 30 Greatest Conspiracy Theories, I gather, in order of their popularity or ranking. Part 1 is here and Part 2 here.  We will publish the list but for the detailed explanations that go with them you will need to visit the original Telegraph websites.

While most of these are civil, non Masonic, matters #5 is about the Illuminati which reminds us all that Freemasons are still considered by many in society as some sort of cult, perhaps a dangerous one at that. Every time I hear that Masons are going to take over the world, that they are part of a “New World Order”, I am reminded about how many people “out there” are conspiracy “nuts.”

Then there are those that say Freemasonry is a satanic cult, that it offers sacrifices of goats at its altars after which sexual orgies take place.

If you think that this is all some dreamed up fantasy that is mainly circulated by minds that are three french fries short of a Happy Meal, you might change your mind when you read through the entire list.  Actually much of this “stuff” is quite mainstream (not to be confused with Mainstream Masonry).

For some educated and logical counter argument The Beehive would point you to our own Greg Stewart’s podcast of  “Peering Behind The Veil.”


  1. September 11, 2001
  2. The assassination of John F. Kennedy
  3. A flying saucer crashed at Roswell in 1947
  4. NASA faked the moon landings
  5. The Illuminati and the New World Order
  6. The Jesus Conspiracy
  7. Diana, Princess of Wales, was murdered
  8. Elvis Presley faked his own death
  9. Operation Northwoods
  10. MK-ULTRA
  11. North American Union
  12. Shakespeare was somebody else
  13. The disappearance of Shergar
  14. Paul is dead
  15. The july7, 2005 Tube bombings
  16. The Moscow apartment bombings
  17. Black or unmarked helicopters
  18. Harold Wilson was a Soviet agent
  19. The Protocols of the elders of Zion
  20. The Peak oil conspiracy
  21. Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen
  22. The Philadelphia Experiment
  23. Pan Am Flight 103
  24. Fluoridation
  25. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
  26. Plastic coffins and Concentration Camps
  27. HARP
  28. The Aids virus was created in a laboratory
  29. Global Warming is a hoax
  30. Chemtrails
all seeing eye

One that should be on the list that didn’t make it is the Morgan Affair, perhaps because of a British tilt to this story. For a good read on this story try Stephen Dafoe’s “Morgan: The Scandal That Shook Freemasonry.” I call this one a reverse conspiracy because based on Dafoe’s research it seems that what is often thought of as being the conspiracy seems to be quite true and what is actually the cover up is the conspiracy.

The Beehive welcomes in the comments section other American conspiracies that didn’t make this list. Perhaps there are some Canadian and Australian conspiracies worth noting. As usual our erudite readers will clue us in.

Albert Pike, Scottish Rite, Morals and Dogma, Magnum Opus, AASR, albert pike quotes

Possessed by the Devil of Commercial Avarice

Albert Pike, Scottish Rite, Morals and Dogma, Magnum Opus, AASRI take great wisdom from Albert Pike. When taken in portion, his writings in Morals and Dogma strike me almost a prophecy along the lines of Nostradamus or the Oracles of Delphi. It was in a deep reading of his work on the third degree that I found the passages below.

In navigating his writing in his Magnum Opus under the third degree, these gems of political observation ring true today probably more than they did in the nearly 150 years ago. I was at once shocked with a twinge of amusement that Pike foresaw perhaps the situation within which we find ourselves today. And in his writing he looks to Masonry as part of the remedy for it, but with his own cryptic warning about looking to the society of builders.

It was a problem America, and the world perhaps, is faced with today which is that those in charge are “possessed by the devil of commercial avarice” which he describes as being the point when “a nation becomes possessed with a spirit of commercial greed, beyond those just and fair limits set by a due regard to a moderate and reasonable degree of general and individual prosperity.”

Pike delves the subject deeply, without the realization that what he would write about could (or would) be happening.  But, in the subtext of his work, maybe he saw that it could happen.

When the thirst for wealth becomes general, it will be sought for as well dishonestly as honestly; by frauds and overreaching, by the knaveries of trade, the heartlessness of greedy speculation, by gambling in stocks and commodities that soon demoralize a whole community. Men will speculate upon the needs of their neighbors and the distresses of their country. Bubbles that, bursting, impoverish multitudes, will be blown up by cunning knavery, with stupid credulity as its assistants and instrument. Huge bankruptcies, that startle a country like the earth-quakes, and are more fatal, fraudulent assignments, engulfment of the savings of the poor, expansions and collapses of the currency, the crash of banks, the depreciation of Government securities, prey on the savings of self-denial, and trouble with their depredations the first nourishment of infancy and the last sands of life, and fill with inmates the churchyards and lunatic asylums. But the sharper and speculator thrives and fattens. If his country is fighting by a levy en mass for her very existence, he aids her by depreciating her paper, so that he may accumulate fabulous amounts with little outlay. If his neighbor is distressed, he buys his property for a song. If he administers upon an estate, it turns out insolvent, and the orphans are paupers. If his bank explodes, he is found to have taken care of himself in time. Society worships its paper-and-credit kings, as the old Hindus and Egyptians worshiped their worthless idols, and often the most obsequiously when in actual solid wealth they are the veriest paupers. No wonder men think there ought to be another world, in which the injustices of this may be atoned for, when they see the friends of ruined families begging the wealthy sharpers to give alms to prevent the orphaned victims from starving, until they may find ways of supporting themselves.

This seems to be speak directly to the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York, and now around the country over the “heartlessness of greedy speculation, by gambling in stocks and commodities…” who have “ruined families.” Has anyone questioned the patriotism and loyalties of the companies and banks that continue to benefit while those whom they prey continue to inch into “distress?”

Pike goes on to say:

We should naturally suppose that a nation in distress would take counsel with the wisest of its sons. But, on the contrary, great men seem never so scarce as when they are most needed, and small men never so bold to insist on infesting place, as when mediocrity and incapable pretense and sophomoric greenness, and showy and sprightly incompetency are most dangerous.

Like a call for action, Pike declares the need for the Masonic principles saying:

So much the more necessity for Masonry!

War has not ceased; still there are battles and sieges. Homes are still unhappy, and tears and anger and spite make hells where there should be heavens. So much the more necessity for Masonry! So much wider the field of its labors! So much the more need for it to begin to be true to itself, to revive from its asphyxia, to repent of its apostasy to its true creed!

So how does Masonry fit into this troubling world? As a Master Mason, it is the lesson of the third degree itself, Pike says:

Masonry seeks to be this beneficent, unambitious, disinterested guide; and it is the very condition of all great structures that the sound of the hammer and the clink of the trowel should be always heard in some part of the building. With faith in man, hope for the future of humanity, loving-kindness for our fellows, Masonry and the Mason must always work and teach.

We have to step back a bit to see Pike’s concern about this responsibility when he talks about Faith, Hope, and Charity saying:

These forces are within the reach of all men; and an association of men, actuated by them, ought to exercise an immense power in the world. If Masonry does not, it is because she has ceased to possess them.

An association of men? Masonry perhaps?

Interesting food for thought.

double headed eagle

By Wisdom a House is Built – The Path of Tav

Scottish Rite, AASR, double headed eagle, janusThe following is the introduction to the Fellow of the Craft, a book on the second degree of Scottish Rite Masonry.  Where and when the final work will see publication is still to be determined.  In the mean time, I thought it would be good to share and discuss.

In totality, the Rite degree differs from the Webb-Preston ritual, as it lends itself to the 32 degrees of Scottish Rite progression.  From a traditionalist point of view, these degrees may seem heretical in that they lend themselves to see the 32 degree progression, a divergence from the idea of “no degree greater than the third.”

The title of this complete work is By Wisdom a House is Built which stems from the degree prayer In strength shall this, my house, be established which in itself comes from the 24th Proverb whose 3rd and fourth verse reads:

By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.

The degree of becoming a Fellow of the Craft is, in essence, the building of ones house from foundation to eaves.

This work follows in line with the first installment Ain Soph to Malkuth – the first degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry

Intelligence to understand, Honesty to guide intelligence, Courage to act, Prudence to guide courage, and Love to humanity composed of the four others….

…By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established…

The true alchemist will extract the lessons of wisdom from the babblings of folly…

kabbalah, Cabbalah, tree of life, Hermetic QabalahThe second degree is our enigma. Having undertaken the ritual and trials of the first degree, we now are at a crux in that we are in one aspect the coalesced form of Malkuth yet faced with our next stage of evolution, an evolution that necessitates our further need to be transformed and given shape for the tasks before us both here and beyond this degree. To do this we need to study and learn – not simply what it means to be a mason but how that practical application applies to the world around us and our interactions on the material influences that we encounter. Why we do this, you will remember, is to relate our own elemental being, as Malkuth, to the elemental world in which we have both become and inhabit. We are Malkuth, the elemental world, and need to now traverse the path of Tav upon the pillar of mercy towards our apex in the craft lode in becoming Master. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves and must first begin our lesson of the Second Degree and the implementation of our will into manifested action to act the square to all mankind. This is our summation of all things, our end which is without end. In the Christian VSL, it begins with the utterance of the Great Architect in saying “Let there be LVX“, and then there was LVX. So too, as LVX was created man become the blazing star of LVX so too uttering our creative force. To realize that vision, as a traveler, we must climb the steps and reach our gnosis which we do through our wisdom journey to surmount the three steps of our existence, the five steps out antiquity, and the seven steps of knowledge, and only there at the top can we acknowledge our being as a fellow of the craft as it is there that we find our self – the man made manifest as he knocks upon the door of greater illumination. As the warning above the temple door reads, “Know Thyself” because “as what you seek you already are.” Little in this journey will change you in a manner you may expect. Rather it is in the subtle shifting of thought that the greatest and most noble developments will occur. This is the middle chamber, the way before the Holy of Holies which is where the need to transform must take place before venturing forward. While these ideas may seem strange and foreign know that they have been a manner of practice for millennia in the houses of wisdom and schools of the sacred. We cannot say with certainty these ideas existed in their present form but in a manner of cause and effect they have been a part of this sacred practice to bring its students from the earthly state to the celestial so as to see the various heavenly apartments above us in the unfolding universe. This is the mystic tie that binds us – as a fellow of the craft, as a lodge, as a member of humankind, and as one can imagine to the Great Creator. In this chain of union, the brilliance of the sun illuminates us, and the moon and stars sing us the glories of the divine harmony of Truth. As the great author Pike says “Light! All comes from Light, and all returns to it.” Of the many great lessons of this degree to be learned this is the most important to understand.

As the great book itself says, “Let there be LVX!”

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Read more about the Fellow of the Craft in the Symbolic Lodge.

Brother Hando Nahkur Revisited

Once again we visit with the talented Freemason, concert pianist Hando Nahkur.  You might remember from the previous article on Freemason Information – that Brother Nahkur studied at Yale, The New England Conservatory of

Music and TCU. He has moved on this year to continue his studies to SMU, Dallas. On September 22, 2011 he gave a piano recital at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

His two strongest numbers that showcased Nahkur’s piano virtuoso, amazing piano dexterity, power and fullness of emotion were Liszt’s Concerto No. 2 in A Major and Totentanz, my favorite, also by Liszt. You cannot come away from a Nahkur perfomance without realizing that here is a man who plays with great passion.

Next week, October 2, 2011, Nahkur will perform in Costa Rica with the Cartago Symphony Orchestra and December 2, 2011 he will perform in Wayland, Massachusetts.

After watching an amazing performance it was time to break bread together and bond in conversation from the trivial to the sublime. Over pizza and Pepsi we ran the gamut from life and loves, through Freemasonry and music to customs and cultures.

As we parted each to his separate way we realized that this was going to be just one of many more relationship times where a 28 year old artist and a 67 year old soon to be retiree, through the power of Brotherly love and affection, were to become yoked for life.

Brother Hando Nahkur’s You Tube Page

Brother Hando Nahkur’s website

Hidden Face of God, Gerald Schroeder, book, link between science and god

The Hidden Face Of God

The Ancients did not see the split between Science & Religion that has pervaded society since the Enlightenment. Pythagoras was a mathematician and a scientist. But he was equally if not better known as a philosopher, spiritualist and owner of multiple “mystery schools.”

The mechanism of Newton’s physics with its laws of nature able to predict the outcome of every action and reaction has been disproved. The finality and provability of the information fed to us by the five senses has vanished.

Hidden Face of God, Gerald Schroeder, book, link between science and godGerald Schroeder in his book “The Hidden Face of God” chronicles the demise of Newtonian physics and the rise of quantum physics.

“A single consciousness, an all-encompassing wisdom pervades the universe. The discoveries of science, those that search the quantum nature of subatomic matter, those that explore the molecular complexity of biology and those that probe the brain/mind interface, have moved us to the brink of a startling realization: all existence is the expression of this wisdom.”

Then Schroeder sets about to prove his claims through scientific data and a preponderance of the evidence. What Schroeder is talking about is a universal consciousness arising from wisdom, that is present in what we habitually refer to as inert matter. That conclusion, he says, finds support in a range of scientific evidence.

Schroeder will take us through quantum physics and the decision making made by subatomic particles, through molecular biology and the wonders of cells and cell support systems, into the brain/mind connection where there is no scientific explanation for what occurs and finally we will learn about the mysteries of DNA. Through it all the hidden face of God will become more and more evident.

Scientific man of the modern era has relied on the senses for information and for laying the basis for how the universe operates. “Seeing is believing” is a phrase that express this outlook.  Schroeder says –

“But how do I hear the sound? Up to and including the storage of the data in the brain, it’s all biochemistry. But I don’t hear biochemistry. I hear sound. Where’s the consciousness? Just which of those formerly inert atoms of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and on and on, in my head have become so clever that they can produce thought or reconstitute an image? How those stored biochemical data points are recalled and replayed into sentience remains an enigmatic mystery.”

Schroeder skirts the Evolution-Creationist argument by first accepting the Big Bang theory and then by declaring that The Beginning necessitates a Beginner.

“First consider the laws of physics that made it all happen (the Big Bang). Did they precede the universe? That would mean laws of physics existed without the physical material upon which to act……physics without the physical.”

“The further philosophical problem of there having been a beginning arises with the idea that the beginning of our universe marks the beginning of time, space and matter. Before our universe came into being, there is every scientific indication that time did not exist. Whatever brought the universe into existence must of course predate the universe, which in turn means that whatever brought the universe into existence must predate time. That which predates time is not bound by time, not inside time. In other words, it is eternal.”

“Today we have another seemingly logical, but quite likely erroneous, piece of accepted wisdom forcing itself upon our paradigm of existence: that the physical world is a closed system; that every physical event has a correspondingly physical cause preceding it. It’s not a question as to whether or not we can predict the exact effect of a given cause. Quantum physics says we cannot. But our logic insists that each physical effect must be initiated by a physical cause.  How could it be otherwise?”

“The very knowledge of the Big Bang provides proof otherwise. The physical system we refer to as our universe is not closed to the nonphysical. Its total beginning required a nonphysical act. Call it creation. Let the creating force be a potential field if the idea of God is bothersome to you, but realize the fact that the nonphysical gave rise to the Physical.”

“Even the particles that make up the atom, the protons, neurons, electrons, may not be solids after all. They may all be extended forms of energy. If indeed matter is the conscious expression of information, then the idea of mind over matter requires a revision. It must read the consciousness of the mind over the consciousness of matter. Anyone who has witnessed the holder of a black belt in Karate shatter a brick while barely touching it (referred to as a soft break) will find nothing new in this idea. It’s done more by concentrated thought (chi than by physical force. “

But there is evidence elsewhere. By investigating the wondrous workings of our body we can see the hidden face of God.

“In speech, for you to differentiate between the enunciation of a ‘b’ and a ‘p,’ your lips must open some thirty thousandths of a second before you cause your vocal cords to vibrate for the ‘p’ sound to emerge rather than a ‘b’ sound, which occurs when you open your lips and vibrate your vocal cords simultaneously. Thirty thousandths of a second. Consider what this reveals concerning the precision inherent in mental and neurological processing. It’s a sliver of time that makes the difference between bat and ball and Pat and Paul. Your brain determines this phenomenally tight timing and you don’t even have to ‘think’ about it. It’s probably controlled by the brain part located close to the brain stem known as the cerebellum.  The entire sequence is encrypted when the signal to vocalize a ‘p’ or a ‘b’ arises in your thoughts. Could this complex yet ordered precision have evolved without guidance?”

“The insights of molecular biology have revealed a complexity at every stage of life’s processes such that, if we were forced to rely on random mutations to produce them step by step, in the word of Nobel laureate deDuve ‘eternity would not suffice.’”

“We’ve surveyed the science and discovered a complex ordered wisdom expressed in the molecular functioning of life nowhere evident in the structures from which life is built or in the laws of nature that govern the interactions of those structures. That wisdom in life is the imprint of the metaphysical.”

We can go through all the elements in the body, we can describe all the interactions of these elements and describe all the processes but what we cannot explain is who the director is.  Who or what orchestrates the split second decision making that constitutes the everyday functioning of the human body?

“All told, once we take some givens, we can predict much of the chemical world. But that is where our predictions would cease.  We can predict all the elements used in life, but there is no indication that we can predict amino acids joining together in chains of hundreds and thousands of units to form proteins and then proteins combining into the symbiotic relationships we refer to as life.”

“I wish I knew what I meant when I agree with my colleague Dennis Turner that there is a ghost in the system. I’m a scientist. Studying nature is what has put bread on my family’s table for a good number of decades. I want nature to work like nature. But at several key stages in the development of our universe, nature seems to have behaved most unnaturally. It’s what Nobel Prize winning physicist, and avowed atheist, Steven Weinberg referred to in his excellent book ‘The First Three Minutes’ as the ‘embarrassing vagueness……the unwelcome necessity of fixing initial conditions,’ of having to accept a batch of initial conditions simply as ‘givens.’ ‘Givens’ in scientific jargon is the sophisticated way of saying that’s the way it is and so let’s start the discussion from those givens without understanding how they got there.”

“……what we see here is far more significant than fine-tuning. We see the consistent emergence of wisdom, of ordered complex information that is nowhere hinted at either in the governing laws of nature or in the particles of matter that form the brain that lies below the mind’s thought.”

And that takes us to Schroeder’s next fascination, the brain/mind interaction. He takes us into the world of THINKING, first with some description of the physical process of the brain.

“The huge concentrated input of neurotransmitters released into the synapse causes them to diffuse rapidly across the synaptic gap. In less than a millisecond they reach the dendrite surface. If the neurotransmitter is the correct one for the job, its shape will complement the shape of a receptor on the dendrite membrane and it will bond. The right key in the right lock – only one fits and nature designed it just so. It is either the result of chance random reactions among rocks and water or the expression of an underlying wisdom poking its head through into the physics of life. Those are the only two choices available.”

Now comes the interesting part. How do we go from brain to mind?

“We talk about missing links evolution. We have a missing link right in our heads at the brain/mind connection.  The move from brain to mind is not one of quantity – a few more neurons and we’ll tie the sensation to the awareness of it. It’s a qualitative transition, a change in type. The mind is neither data crunching nor emotional response.  Those are brain functions. Mind functions are self-experience, seeing, hearing, smelling.  The replay of what came in. These are phenomena totally different from the acquisition of the information. That is why adding up the synaptic data would predict a brain, but not a mind.”

“There is no hint of how we physically view and hear and smell the messages of the brain. Yet a metaphysical solution is untenable to a materialist school steeped to believe only that which can be seen or measured, the summing of the individually observable parts. Unfortunately, at the brain/mind interface, this reductionist approach misses the crucially holistic nature of the mind. Quantum mechanics required a paradigm shift from classical mechanics, a shift even more extreme than accepting a universe with a beginning. Quantum mechanics necessitated replacing logical observable processes with the ‘illogical’ phenomena of the subatomic world. The very existence of our universe calls out for a metaphysical explanation, an explanation that by definition is illogical in physical terms. The undisputed yet enigmatic existence of our self-awareness, our consciousness, does the same. The mind may be our only link to the reality of the metaphysical.”

“Every particle is an expression of information, of wisdom. The self-awareness we experience is the emergent offspring of that wisdom. The more complex the entity, the more complex the information stored within. We tap into it via our brain. Because information is present in all existence, the consciousness I feel as my self-awareness has a cosmic history. It does not arise from my brain de novo. Aspects of it have been present from the start, the very start, the Big Bang. Consciousness, as wisdom, is as fundamental as existence itself.”

“Within the brain we perceive the consciousness of the mind, and via the mind we can touch a consciousness that pervades the universe. At those treasured moments our individual self dissolves into an eternal unity within which our universe is embedded.  That is the both of physics and of metaphysics.”

“The mind is our link to the unity that pervades all existence. Though we need our brain to access our mind, neither a single synapse nor the entire brain contains a hint of the mind. And yet the consciousness of the mind is what makes us aware that we are humans; that I am I and you are you. The most constant aspect of our lives is that we are aware of being ourselves. Even in the illogical jumble of a dream, filled as it may be with fantasy, the constant is that we are ourselves.”

“From what we have seen of brain function, whether the mind  is purely physical or partly metaphysical – call it divine if you wish – the brain’s very existence is quite simply mind-boggling and quite possible miraculous. There is brilliant design in the brain, and to make it requires the nature of our universe, which means we need a metaphysical force, a potential not composed of time, space, or matter that created the time, space and matter of our universe. It’s worth reemphasizing: the inequality between cosmology and theology is not whether there was a metaphysical creation. That is given. The debate is whether the metaphysical whatever-it-is, or was, that produced our universe manifests interest in the physical reality it created.”

Schroeder ends his book with a discussion of DNA as his piece de la resistance!

“In general, simple laws, such as the laws of nature, cannot give rise to complex information that exceeds their own unless that complexity is a fractal extension, a duplication in number and type of the base law. This is simply not the case with the genetic code. The information therein is apparent neither in the atoms and molecules from which DNA is formed nor in the laws and physics and chemistry that govern the interactions among the molecules. And yet if the fossil record is correct, the endowed wisdom of DNA seems to have been present from the very earliest stages of life on earth. How the coding that drives all sprang into existence remains a mystery.”

“……the problem of how the entire process originally got started. The first stage in making ATP requires a dozen or so intricately dovetailed protein enzymes, each one picking up the action just as the previous one leaves off.  These enzymes are manufactured using information stored in the DNA. Retrieving and deciphering the wisdom held within the DNA in order to make the enzymes requires a good deal of energy. Get the problem? For the energy we need ATP. For ATP we need enzymes. But to make the enzymes we need the information held in the DNA and to get that information we need the energy supplied by the ATP. I guess if you buy a car at the top of a hill, you can drive away without a battery. It runs by itself. But something had to get the car to the top of the hill in the first place.”

We have only scratched the surface of what this book holds. Much intricate detail and complex explanations have been left for the reader to discover when the whole book is read.  This article is only a tease. Once again the beginning needs a beginner or as Schroeder tells us:

“If we could see within as easily as we see without, every aspect of existence would be an unfolding encounter with awe; almost a religious experience even for a secular spectator.”

“Yet as remarkable as the underlying unity of the physical world may be, science is on the brink of discovering an even more sensational reality, one predicted almost three thousand years ago, that wisdom is the basis of all existence.”

square and compass, freemasonry, S&C, freemason information

The Universality of Freemasonry

“[The Lodge] is of such vast dimensions to show the universality of Masonry and that Masonic charity should be equally extensive.”

Throughout the Masonic degrees, symbols are used to show the universal nature of Freemasonry. The idea that Masonry is universal is a grand idea and there is no doubt that it captures the attention of any new Brother by way of Freemason beliefs. But many Freemasons have probably asked themselves “How is Freemasonry universal?”

When we examine the definition of ‘universal‘ in the dictionary, we find a plethora of definitions. Two of these seem particularly applicable to the universality of Freemasonry. The first of these definitions is “existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions.”

Masonry is existent or operative everywhere, it does not exist solely within a lodge. Freemasons are taught to use the symbolism of the square and compasses in their transactions with all mankind. The charges of our order are intended to give us guidance for our conduct not only in the lodge, but when abroad in the outside world. Freemasonry’s symbolism is the product of those philosophical, moral, and spiritual principles which are universally accepted by man. The ideals of living a virtuous life, acting upon the square and walking upright by the plumb, and providing to relief to our fellow man are universally accepted ideas. Freemasonry only takes these concepts and removes the divisive and argumentative dogma that man tends to attach to them in order to provide a moral code with which all men may agree.

Freemasonry also accepts all men without regard to race, creed, or class. It only asks that they be men of good moral character with a belief in a Supreme Being. It is perhaps the only fraternity in the world that requires no further distinctions in order to become a member. This is a crucial element of Freemasonry for if it ever did distinguish between men because of their beliefs or background, it would no longer be a universal order.

The second definition applies to the universality of Masonic charity: “including or covering all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit or exception.” Masonic charity has no limitations. Recently, this is a concept that has often been forgotten by our fraternity. Masonry is not intended to support one specific charitable cause like many other organizations. Instead, Masonic charity is intended to provide relief to all men and all Brothers for any reason when it is needed. The only limitations for Masonic charity is that those providing the relief should not cause material injury to themselves. Masonic charity can only be described as universal if we accept this all-encompassing approach to relief.

When we take a moment to consider the far-reaching effects of Masonry, it isn’t difficult to see that the fraternity is a universal institution. As Masons, we can use this knowledge to apply the lessons learned within the lodge universally and uphold the dignified reputation of our noble art.