great architect

The Masonic Equinox

great architect

The great architect and the movement of the sun

The spring equinox is upon us, and in this present age, the tilt of the planet is of little concern. But in this period of the equinox, an interesting thing happens. for the briefest moment of time the planet becomes suspended in place, A point when the earth is neither closer to or further away from the sun.

The equinox’s, vernal (spring) and autumnal(fall) are the middle points to the summer and winter solstice. This is an echo to the balance of all points, and from each of those compass points, there is a center, a middle aspect of the compass from which the needle point pivots.

The middle space is similar to the point in which a pendulum on its back and forth motion for the briefest of instances touches an absolute 0 point, the moment between the furthest of its arc’s reach. At that middle point, some say, is where miracles happen, where for the briefest of moments the motion of balance is in perfect harmony before the plumb line swings away in its motion. it also suggests that at these instances of the pendulum 0 point are the high (or low) points of our lives, the punctuated moments of transition between two periods.

From a Masonic perspective, we can equate this time of year, this equinox to the measuring of our point within a circle, the plumb line achieving that 0 center point in its swing up to its furthest reaches. Tradition tells us that the plumb measures our vertical, but when given motion, even something so slight

Pendulum

Foucault’s Pendulum

as the earths rotation, it can also demonstrate the path of our circumference, our diameter, and our rotational motion around our axis (see Foucault’s Pendulum). As the plumb traces its circumference, in the space of the sphere, the plumb also orients back through the center of the circumference, when marking the furthest points of our radius.

In a more metaphysical aspect, the idea of the equinox could be viewed as a more than the transition point, but the idea of the position movement, the transition from one place to another, from one idea to another. And in an even more profound way, this can be seen as at once not being initiated, to being initiated encompassing the start of transition from one inner idea to another, the growing path of our thought and its sway of our own internal gravity. In this point of view, we can easily see the similarities to the ideas of alchemy and the changing of states.

One caution, however, is that there is no definition of what the states are, or if they are up into a higher realm or down into a lower attitude. Remember, Jacob’s ladder was both a a way to ascend to heaven and a way to descend to earth (and possibly sub-terra). In reflecting on this, it is good to keep in mind that your mental state defines your position, and with some exertion, you can manifest the power of your position.

Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

Adoration of the Mystic Lamb – Jan van Eyck

In more traditional celebration, the Equinox is as much a means to reflect on our relative state as it is a means to celebrate our resurrection and means to create life (fertility). Following close behind the first day of spring is the celebration of Palm Sunday, Passover, and Easter, and in the months to come the celebrations of Beltaine, Walpurgis and Floralia, each of which from Pagan (Roman era) celebrations of the blossoming spring renewal and the return of the sun.

What ever your celebration, welcome to the spring, and the renewal of life. Welcome the vernal equinox and our changing of states.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

THE GOLDEN RULE by Norman Rockwell 1894-1978

I thought that this would a good time to re-affirm the tenets of the Golden Rule and the scriptures that seem to capture the essence of it.

At its essence, reciprocity is the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have done to you.

Essentially, this is the application of the principal of the golden rule across 14 different faith traditions. It does not say they are all the same, rather it reflects a broader equanimity between all faiths and faith traditions and no matter your belief others believe similarly to you.

“By Speculative Masonry, we learn to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practise charity. It is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligations to pay that rational homage to the Deity, which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness. It leads the contemplative to view with reverence and admiration the glorious works of creation, and inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfections of his Divine Creator.”

Duncan’s Ritual & Monitor

The Golden Rule

“Lay not on any soul a load that you would not want to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”
Baha’i Faith – Bahu’u’llah

“Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”
Buddhism – Udana-Varga 5:18

“In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law of the prophets.”
Christianity – Jesus in Matthew 7:12

“One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct…loving kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”
Confucianism – Confucius, Analects 15:23

“This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.”
Hinduism – Mahabharata 5:15-17

“Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”
Islam – The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

“One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.”
Jainism – Mahavira, Sutrakritanga

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor, This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary.”
Judaism – Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a

“We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.”
Native American – Chief Dan George

“I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.”
Sikhism – Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 1299

“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”
Taoism – T’ai Shang Kan Yin P’ien 213-218

“We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
Unitarianism – Unitarian Principle

“An’ harm none, do as thou wilt.”
Wicca – The Wiccan Creed

“Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.”
Zoroastrianism – Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29

Have faith.

National Heritage Museum “New Perspectives” deadline looms!

Lexington, Massachusetts – Are you registered yet?

This has been posted a few times, but some changes to the schedule have been made, and your shot at early registration is coming to a close, so if your in or around the Lexington Mass area, you need to attend this symposium!

Registration deadline draws near! Register by March 24, 2010.

On April 9, 2010, the National Heritage Museum, in Lexington, Massachusetts, will hold a symposium, “New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism.”

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.

Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida, and author of Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927, will open the day with a key note titled “Worlds of Brothers,” Harland-Jacobs’ paper will survey and assess the scholarship on American fraternalism and Freemasonry. Drawing on examples from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s, she will demonstrate that applying world history methodologies pays great dividends for our understanding of fraternalism as a historical phenomenon. Harland-Jacobs will conclude with some thoughts on how global perspectives can benefit contemporary American brotherhoods.

Professor Harlan Jacobs was a guest in Masonic Central in 2008.
[podcast]http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-19162/TS-137883.mp3[/podcast]

Six scholars from the United States, Canada, and Britain will fill the day’s program:

  • Ami Pflugran-Jackisch, Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan – Flint, “Brothers of a Vow: Secret Fraternal Orders in Antebellum Virginia”
  • Hannah M. Lane, Assistant Professor, Mount Allison University, “Freemasonry and Identity/ies in 19th-Century New Brunswick and Eastern Maine”
  • Nicholas Bell, Curator, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, “An Ark of the New Republic”
  • David Bjelajac, Professor of Art History, George Washington University, “Freemasonry, Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and the Fraternal Ethos of American Art”
  • Kristofer Allerfeldt, Exeter University, “Nationalism, Masons, Klansmen and Kansas in the 1920s”
  • Adam G. Kendall, Henry W. Coil Library and Museum, “Klad in White Hoods and Aprons: American Fraternal Identities, Freemasonry, and the Ku Klux Klan in California, 1921-1928”

Adam was a guest on Masonic Central in 2008.
[podcast]http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-19162/TS-137878.mp3[/podcast]

The symposium is funded in part by the Supreme Council, 33°, N. M. J., U.S.A. Registration is $50 ($45 for museum members) and includes morning refreshments, lunch and a closing reception.

To register,

Visit the Museum’s website, www.nationalheritagemuseum.org for a printable registration form and fax to 781-861-9846, or contact Claudia Roche via e-mail at croche@monh.org or 781-861-6559, x 4142 for sending options.

Registration deadline is MARCH 24 – Event is April 9th!

Masonic Central Podcast

From HELL: Masonic Central by Gas Light

Alan Moore Eddie Campbell From Hell panels

In this episode Greg, Dean and several special guests dig into the depths of the film adaption of the Alan Moore story, From Hell. Originally published on March 21, 2010. This show takes a number of twists and turns digging into European freemasonry and the nuances included in the film. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s well worth the time to see and then listen to the show.

Madness, mayhem, mystery, and murder, these are but a few of the terms one could use to define the book, and later film, From Hell.

How often do you get the opportunity to explore Freemasonry by gas light?  Its not Steampunk Masonry, but as close as you can get with the science part of the fiction.

“It’s Dark”…

“Hawksmoor cut stone to hold shadows; a Gothic trait, though Hawksmoor’s influences were somewhat…older.”

“The Dionysiac Artificers?”

“Unmistakably. A Secret fraternity of Dionysus cultists originating in 1,000 B.C., they worked on Solomon’s temple eventually becoming the Middle Ages traveling Masonic guilds. Their ingenious constructions merely symbolized their greater work: the Temple of civilization, chiseling human history into an edifice worthy of God, its Great Architect.”

“…What is the 4th dimension?”

-From Hell, the Graphic Novel

Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Eddie Campbell (and Pete Mullins), the book version of From Hell is at the for of recent fictional works in print and celluloid that feature the fraternity of Freemasonry in some aspect. From Hell has transformed the benign fraternity into something malignant and nefarious. And, on its ascendancy to the cinema, the seductive spell of aristocracy and secret society takes center stage (pardon the pun) to position the fraternity at the very heart of the Jack the Ripper murders.

Ian Holm from hell

This week on Masonic Central, we take some time to explore the two tellings of the From Hell tale, from the Graphic Novel for-bearer to the present day annotated From Hell (Two-Disc Special Edition) DVD staring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham.

As similar as the two works may seem on their covers, there is a surprising amount of difference between the two works, from the perspectives of the characters, the focus of the story, to the psychology and outcome of the leading villain (a Masonic Knight of the East), as played by Ian Holm.

Two sides of the same creative coin.

on Blog Talk Radio

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

Christianizing Secular Society and the Cult of the Supreme Being

Recently on a local radio NPR station I happened upon a conversation with the Mayor Rex Parris, of Lancaster California. The conversation was about how the city of Lancaster, a sleepy Air Force town in the outskirts of Los Angeles county, is growing a “Christian community.”

In the discussion,  Mayor Parris, in a state of the city address, called for Lancaster to grow as a “”Christian community” and asked for voters to support a city ballot measure that would authorize daily Christian prayers at city council meetings. The message was framed in the context of the citizenry (voters) to promote the love of the neighbor, and the basis of the Christian faith. His foundational basis is that with a community 85% Christian, it shouldn’t be to much of a stretch to direct the community towards its natural leaning. Further, he indicated that the city had “lots” of christian churches and only one synagogue.  The closest mosque being a town over

The reaction to this has included charges filed by the ACLU and an investigation of Mayor Parris as having committed a hate crime.

This raises some interesting questions about what’s going on in Los Angeles, but it has some interesting synergy with other goings on that have been manifesting across the country. What comes to mind most recently is the new blog that has started publishing under the aegis of the battle between the Antients and the Moderns, (circa 1800’s). In it, the writer has taken several specific positions, but mentioned the idea of a “Cult of the Supreme Being” especially as espoused by Albert Pike.

The rational here is that as America was founded on the principal of religious freedom, it was established on the basis of Christian principal, and its on that principal that the shift from an ambiguous God to a specific interpretation of god is necessary to continue to flourish, in the case of Lancaster, Ca, and to recover the ideology that was lost in Freemasonry, in the case of Versus the Moderns.

Without taking any particular stance on this, so as not to promote a particular direction, is this a fair way in which to steer civic life, or is it time to rein in the laissez faire trade of religion (or its previous freedoms), and focus on the principals of one particular religion, to focus on making ours specifically a Christian society? Or, more close to home, should Freemasonry be governed solely on a Christian principal?  If that were to take place, would it alienate its non-christian membership?

Some concerns that I can see in the headlights include the alienation of those of other faiths, especially in communities that they may have very little representation, and then as an extension of that alienation, would pockets of other specific religions begin to spring up and within their own community, establish their religion as the basis of the community? It happens now at the secular level where you have pockets of people of similar mind, but what if you allow them to apply their faith into their civic leadership?

Another instance is something I came across in a Masonic reading circle (really more of an email chain that a brother sends out to a list). In it, he outlined clearly his disapproval at other faiths (in this case Wicca) going so far as to say that it was his belief (as applied from his Christian faith) that a pantheist should not be in the U.S. military. Again, I can understand the personal application of faith, but is it ok to assert ones own faith over another’s simply because the two are dogmatically opposed?

In the secular arena, when did theology step over into guiding democracy? I it fair to say that this simillar to the way politics in Iran is governed, a subservient republic under a theocratic leadership?

Is it a safe idea to move towards a less secular more faith based fundamental, or does the notion of a Cult of the Supreme Being invite others to participate with their religion in tow? Should faith guide us to the exclusion of others?

What do you think?

Michigan Freemasonry

Karl Grube from the Bonisteel Masonic Library

Michigan Freemasonry

Michigan Freemasonry

Motor City Masonry has quite a tale to tell.  In the shadow of the automotive decline the memories of a Masonic heyday still stand as testament of the fraternities grandeur in the not so distant past.

Memories tend to be short when the immediate effect of the past is spread out over decades worth of events.  But if your in Minnesota, its hard to forget the legacy of the past that reminds you of what once was and what could be again, especially in the physical being of the temple and the spiritual investiture of it.  Truly, at some point, the heavens touched the earth in the creation of the Detroit Masonic Temple and in the will expressed through Br. Roscoe Bonisteel and his endeavors to endow the state of Michigan with an enduring Masonic legacy.

Roscoe Osmond Bonisteel

Roscoe Osmond Bonisteel

Br. Bonisteel, in his day, was an advocate for civil rights, a developer of commercial properties, a philanthropist of libraries and museums, a war veteran, and a believer in the enduring quality of Freemasonry.  He was raised in 1914, served as Worshipful Master in 1920, and, following regular advancement, became the Grand Master of Michigan in 1929. Outside of his Masonic career, Br. Bonisteel was an active philanthropist contributing much to higher education, the construction of their libraries, and their book collections.  What makes this resume stand out in such relief are the enduring monuments to which he dedicated so much of his energy to.  Truly, a testament of what each of us is capable of.

Today Bonisteel is remembered through many buildings named in his honor including the Bonisteel Masonic Library.

Detroit Masonic Temple

Detroit Masonic Temple

Of equal measure, and just down the highway, is a silent jewel of American Masonry.  If ever there were a head office, the Detroit Masonic Temple could not only house it, but would have ample room to do what it does today, which is engage relevantly and intelligently with the local community.  At its height it could provision 50 Masonic bodies, included drilling halls. auditoriums with capacity of 1600, and a main theater with room for 5000+.  It was truly an American Cathedral to the Fraternity.  Today, it is where you can catch the latest rock show, watch a few rounds of roller derby, and get married, all within the confines of the city and all under the roof of one of the largest Masonic lodges in the world?

What links these two venues is the passion fueled by Br. Bonisteel and kept alive through the works of brothers like him to keep these silent treasures relevant and active in both the Masonic and public community.

In this podcast, Karl Grube, President of the Bonisteel Masonic Library in Ann Arbor Michigan and a member of the board of trustees for the Detroit Masonic Temple Library, talks to Masonic Central about Michigan Masonry, the life and legacy of the Bonisteel Library, and the jewel of the American Masonic edifice, the Detroit Masonic Temple.

Table Talk – post holiday catch up on 2009

Update, leave your comment on this post to enter to win a signed edition of the book Crown of Serpents!

I know, its been a few weeks since the holiday… now that the christmas trees down, the bits of wrapping paper out of the nooks and the couch, and all the returns of unwanted gifts made, its time to catch up.   With the holidays past and the cold embrace of winter upon us, what better time to catch up with a warm conversation and some reminiscence of what was the Masonic year 2009.

This week on Masonic Central, join us as we go over the highlights (and low lights) of Masonry in 2009 and look ahead at some of the trends that seem to be already charting the course of 2010.

Missed the live show?  Listen now.

Download the podcast.

The show goes live promptly at 9pm EST/6pm PST Sunday evening January 24 and the phone lines will be open for your questions and comments.  I know it will be a lively show, and I hope you can make it!

Call-in Number for the show is (347) 677-0936 – we have a new high capacity for your call-ins, so don’t be shy and call in!

Listen to the show:

Listen to Masonic Central on Blog Talk Radio

Measure for measure – Pennsylvania and the 21st Century.

Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

Weight and volume are very important.  Two evenly measured weights on a opposite pans of a scale and you have a perfect balance, so long as your equipment is calibrated correctly.  Add more weight to one pan and incrementally the scale will move towards which ever side the heavier burden is applied.

Extrapolate this idea into a larger arena where the medium that surrounds the moving weight is fluid, and with the Newtonian force of gravity, the material closest to, and bonded tightest to the weight will move with it, in effect causing an avalanche of sorts, or at least a heightened shift of position.

Perhaps you could say its an Alchemy of sorts, the transmutation from one thing into another, from one state to another.  Neutral buoyancy to weight displacement.  From Lead to Gold, or perhaps in this instance, from Gold to Lead.

I spent some time on Chris Hodapp’s Freemasons for Dummies site  trying to catch up on what has been coming out of Pennsylvania recently on their aptly titled a 21st Century (Masonic) Renaissance page.

Masonic Renaissance
Its quite a paradigm shift in the way things have been to the way things are to be.  What I mean by that is apparently, without much fanfare, the Grand Lodge isn’t just rolling out a few changes for 2010, they are rolling out a battalion of them, for what seems to be for the purpose of improving Pennsylvania Freemasonry and the lives of its members.  All said, in their introduction site, the changes are (by category):

Membership Recruitment
Members May Selectively Invite Good Men to Join
Three Black Balls Are Now Required to Reject a Candidate
One Day Masonic Journey: October 30, 2010 (at 13 locations and with YR, SR, and Shrine)
All-Star Teams Will Confer District-wide Degrees
An Unlimited Number of Freemasons Can Be Made in One Day
Senior Recruitment Program
Lodges Awarded for Membership Growth and Retention

Membership
“Call ‘Em All” Will Continue as “Call to the Craft”
Dues Can Now Be Paid By Credit or Debit
Lodge Notices Are To Be Distributed Electronically

Masonic Ritual
Members May Learn Our Ritual From Printed Manuals That Will Be Monitored Closely And Never Used in Open Lodge
Certified Brethren Will Receive a Proficiency Award Pin
Opening and Closing of Meetings May Be Shortened

Grand Lodge Governance
District Deputy Grand Masters May Now Serve 10 Years
Some Masonic Districts Will Be Eliminated and Realigned
A Masonic Congress Will Be Held in February 2010
A New Due Process for Suspensions and Expulsions
The Legal Structure of Grand Lodge Will Be Assessed
New Software Will Simplify the Lodge Audit Process
Committee on Masonic Homes Meeting Change
The Dress Code for Masonic Meetings Is Relaxed

On Image and Visibility
Open Installations of All Symbolic Lodge Officers
Electronic Guide Will Provide Tours of the Masonic Temple
Masonic Villages Adopt-A-Resident Program
Lodges Will Conduct Monthly Community Service
Members Will Commit A Weekly Random Act of Kindness
Members Will Support Our Military Through “HELP FOR OUR HEROES”
Lodges Will Raise Funds to Support Our Masonic Villages
Masonic Youth Initiatives Will Be Supported By Lodges

On the page from the PA GL, they provide a brief explanation of what each change represents, and the hole that it seeks to fill, and while I am having a hard time understanding (agreeing?) with some of them, I have to say that the approach is an inventive and bold addition of weight to a scale that has long been un-moved by any form of change.

Pennsylvania Masonic RestorationBut, this change isn’t without its detractors, and a website has already been published to argue the counter point to the Grand Masters plan, billed as Pennsylvania Masonic Restoration.  While I respect the civil dissent, I have to say that the call to arms may be premature given the nature of the changes the Grand Lodge is trying to implement.

On the 21 Century Renaissance site, it is easy to see the large one day class as BIG CONCERN to an otherwise interesting program and a potential affront to what has traditionally been Masonry the way its “always” been, which is clearly not the case.  Not that one day classes have ever been the norm, the process of Masonry today is an evolved process that had a beginning that came from something else.  It evolved, and this one day mass raising is another step in that evolution for better or worse.  And, I’ll be open here, I have my own misgivings as to the intention of the one day class process, but taken in parcel with the other items, it becomes an easier bitter pill to swallow.

Some of what I do like in the program:

Three Black Balls Are Now Required to Reject a Candidate:
This is a good way to break a singular majority in a solitary vote.  Harmony in the lodge still needs to be met, but giving live or die power to one brother may be to much power in one place.

Dues Can Now Be Paid By Credit or Debit:
This is a fantastic change that really brings things into he 21st Century.

Lodge Notices Are To Be Distributed Electronically:
Another great system/operations update.

A Masonic Congress Will Be Held in February 2010:
This is a great idea and something FmI and Time Bryce have advocated to see for some time.  Perhaps this will lead up to something National.

Lodges Will Conduct Monthly Community Service:
This is a Great program, and my guess is that it will be another hard pill to get down.  Not that there isn’t a level of charity within the membership, but to be told to do is it quite different than doing it out of will and love.  an interesting idea, however, is the opportunity it gives to lodges to explore what that charity looks like, from donating lodge rooms to Boy Scout Troops, hosting voter polling locations, or any other creative measure to give back to the communities from which the membership comes from.

Members Will Commit A Weekly Random Act of Kindness:
This one escapes me, but I like the idea of it.  It has a definite Pay It Forward appeal to it.

Personally, I have some concerns for these items, but I’m sure they are being implemented with the utmost caution.

Members May Selectively Invite Good Men to Join.
One Day Masonic Journey: October 30, 2010.
An Unlimited Number of Freemasons Can Be Made in One Day.
Senior Recruitment Program.

All of these are cause for some alarm, but as I mentioned, to enter into the 21st Century Renaissance, we enter into a period of change, just as Europe did in the post Medieval Renaissance.

Members May Learn Our Ritual From Printed Manuals:
This one concerns me too, in that it would be the first state (to my knowledge) to openly WRITE what had here-to-fore only been given in written cipher.  Despite the warnings and admonitions, the content will be copied and distributed no matter the level of governance and audit processes.  And if not lost in the original content, photocopiers and scanners are very easy to make use of these days (though I do have some security ideas for how to safeguard the material).

All in all, I say lets see what these changes have in store for 2010.  The concerns being what they are, the changes do seem to have the over arching growth and good will of the fraternity in mind.

At first blush, the 21st Century Renaissance seems to be mind blowingly radical, but really, the alchemy is in putting into play the ideas of best practice to bring its large membership in the modern age.  Hopefully the ambitious shift of their weight shift will be a good one and something others will adapt too and continue the Renaissance of the 21st Mason.

Freemasonry the Reality, a review.

Freemasonry - The Reality

Freemasonry – The Reality

Tobias Churton is a prolific Masonic author and one I’ve come to hold in high esteem.  For many, he may not be a regular household name as his work (and residence) come from abroad in the U.K. and in an dense American marketplace of books, his work is less well known here.  Nevertheless, its importance is megalithic which is very much evident in his re-released book Freemasonry – The Reality.

Churton is not just a Freemason writing on the fraternity, he also happens to be a scholar and professor at Exeter university, Lecturer in Freemasonry and Rosicrucian’s at the Center for the Study of Western Esotericism.  Churton’s published works span the breadth of western mystery traditions encompassing the early Gnostics, Rosicrucian’s, and Freemasons, which pull together many of the offshoots and ideas that went into the composition of the groups today.  Churton’s work however is less about dazzling aggrandizement of a mysterious past, focusing instead on the known and with a meticulous hand, reconstructing the holes of the fraternities formation.

In Freemasonry – The Reality, Churton leaves no stone unturned and with his meticulous hand reconstructs the modern day mystery tradition from its most extreme foundational stones buried in the footnotes of history, following each loose thread back into the whole garment of the present day craft.  But in this work he also refuses to hold back any punches in his analysis that our present manifestation of the craft is every bit a result of our manufactured past, from the clever arrangement of James Anderson and the constitutions of 1720 and the marrying of the “Speculative” with the “Operative” tracing back the foundation of Masonries earliest of ideas to the early Renaissance work of author Pico Mirandola and the Oration on the Dignity of Man.

One aspect that stood out to me in crisp detail was the way in which Churton pulls together in several seemingly unrelated bits of history and finds their common connection that brings them into a coherent theme.  From early meeting notes, names on a register, royal archives on the guilds, and diary mentions, each of these bread crumbs become the framework by which he assembles the whole work.  By digging deep into symbols that at one time held great significance, and in his work he re-illuminates them so as to demystify and put them back into a proper perspective.  Case in point, the pentagram, reminding the reader of the earlier Masonic appellation (under Robert Moray) to represent AGAPA (or the Greek word agapein), or love, a geometric perfection.

In the end, the work is extensive and covers thoroughly the origins of Freemasonry and delves specifically (as the name implies) into the reality of the its formation and pre-history.  It is not an easy read, or to be taken casually.  Rather Churton’s work is something to be savored and consumed slowly and with great thought, because every page is a sequential feast of Masonic history waiting to be consumed.

Freemasonry – The Reality is published by Lewis Masonic and is available on Amazon.

Mark Koltko-Rivera on Masonic Central

lostsymbol

Author Mark Koltko-Rivera joined Masonic Central on Sunday, September 27, 2009, to talk about Dan Brown’s book The Lost Symbol.

With the release of The Lost Symbol, many have had the opportunity to read though the work and see the results of Dan Brown’s non-Masonic contribution to the mythology of the fraternity.  Like his past work, Without a doubt The Lost Symbol is a layered thriller that can be analyzed on many different levels to find a variety of different meanings, not surprisingly, not unlike Freemasonry itself.

This week we welcome Brother Mark Koltko-Rivera, author of the forthcoming book, Discovering The Lost Symbol to help us deconstruct some of the underlying ideas of Brown’s book and to look at some of the things that Brown got wrong.  Specifically we plan to look at evidence for an actual Masonic message encoded into Brumidi’s famous fresco, “The Apotheosis of Washington”, a message that it appears Dan Brown missed; the round about source of Brown’s idea about apotheosis (humanity becoming gods), and the Masonic connection to that source; Further, we plan to talk about the psychological underpinnings for Dan Brown’s immense popularity, and the implications that has for both Freemasonry as a whole and individual Freemasons.

The Apotheosis of Washington
The Apotheosis of Washington

Br. Mark Koltko-Rivera is the author of the forthcoming book, Discovering The Lost Symbol: Masons, Magic, Mystery Religions, and the Thought that We Could Become Gods. He holds a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from New York University. He is an elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and has been recognized for his scholarship regarding the psychology of world-views, humanistic psychology, and the psychology of religion. Within Freemasonry, Brother Koltko-Rivera is an active member of the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite. His papers on Freemasonry have appeared in The Philalethes, the Scottish Rite Journal, and Heredom. He provided the Masonic content (and the conspiracy fiction) for the recent Wiley publication, Cracking Codes and Cryptograms For Dummies.

A second edition of his Freemasonry: An Introduction should also appear in 2010. He also writes the blogs “Freemasonry: Reality, Myth, and Legend” and “Freemasonry 101.”

Looking for more on The Lost Symbol?

The Lost Symbol – a review
The Lost Symbol – it’s the symbol of the symbolism. – The Masonic Perspective
The Lost Symbol – The Road Best Not Traveled