Masonic Traveler, The Book

Masonic Traveler - the book by Greg Stewart
Masonic Traveler – the book by Greg Stewart

A book  review by Frederic L. Milliken

Masonic Travelerthe book, was something I looked at often on the site I am part of, Freemason Information, and said to myself I have to order that book. Next month I reminded myself, order that book but I didn’t. Next month I reminded myself again but I didn’t. Next month…and so it went until the day I met Greg Stewart in person for the first time and he gave me a copy as a gift. And I am so glad he did because this is a book that fills in a lot of blanks, those parts of Freemasonry that were never questioned and never answered.

Masonic Traveler is a book that will bring many Freemasons into the esoteric part of Freemasonry that a Mason never gets in Lodge. It is a journey, the journey of Gregory Stewart who is a Masonic Traveler.

Brother Tim Bryce, no stranger to either one of us or Freemason Information, wrote the introduction to the book in which he said,

Bro. Greg Stewart is a Renaissance Mason with a ravenous curiosity for all things Masonic.

The content of the book comes from a number of essays, some of which have been reworked, on Stewart’s Masonic Traveler blog from 2005-2008. Stewart is the type of individual that always has questions, always wants to know why, always wants the story behind the story and the philosophical underpinnings behind the answers if there are any. He tells us,

Of all the conclusions I have come to the most prominent to me is that the system of Freemasonry today is not merely one of a weekly social hour or ‘fish fry’ as is so often the accusation, but instead a rich philosophical society with fingers both in the ‘third way’ of faith and in the ‘new age’ idea of a metaphysical spiritual development.

So Stewart takes us on his journey. We are on board with him and as the train leaves the station we are introduced to some simple concepts such as The Beehive and Anno Lucis, then proceeding to the slightly heavier subjects of esoterica, education and the place of religion in Freemasonry, from there on to the really heavy topics of symbolism, King Solomon’s Temple, Hermetic tradition and its intertwining with Freemasonry, and the same for the Kybalion, the First Degree Tracing Board finally to Faith ,Hope and Charity.

On this journey we feel a real need to spread the light of some really good Stewartisms.

Chapter  One titled “What Is A Freemason” starts us off with a simple basic explanation.

“A Freemason,” Stewart writes,

is a man who in searching for life’s ineffable questions, finds his way into the company of fellow seekers. Comprised of men from every nation, races, social and economic level, all hold similar ideals and beliefs. The uniting idea is a faith in the divine founded in the certitude in an afterlife. This ‘belief’ is grounded by certain landmark tenants and virtues which ultimately lead in exploration of those invisible questions, leading ultimately to the betterment of all mankind.

Later on he says, “Freemasonry strives in its membership to bring like minded men together to explore the four cardinal virtues in hopes to glimpse the divine transcendence of God.”

Next we do some basic “Digging” into esoterica before we later are treated to the real heavy stuff.

Stewart explains,

What I have come to see is that at some point early in the 1600s, Freemason and Rosicrucian thought crossed paths and likely merged for a time together to form a large degree of esoteric (occult) and organizational knowledge.

He goes on to say,

These ideas came from the alchemists and proto scientists who brought an air of this Hermetic Magick born anew in the coalesced ideas of the Rosicrucian movement, to manifest in the writing of texts such as the Fama Fraternitas.

Expounding on this theme further in Chapter Five, Stewarts writes, “Some writers such as Anderson, Mackey, and later Hall, have made great strides in linking allegorical meanings and symbolic teachings to a broader history with an ethereal connection to the past.”

From the Ziggurats of Ur to the Egyptian mysteries, the breadth of Hinduism and the creation of the Torah, the school of Pythagoras, the Hermetic traditions, the Evolution of Christianity and later Islam the Kabbalah traditions to the Christian mysticism and unfoldment of the self in the new age and in modern psychology, each of these ideas evolving through time to later merge and meld with a Rosicrucian alchemy whose roots go back to the Roman empire and passed from one seeker to another, one esoteric group to another, to eventually be taken in by the societies sub rosas and emerge in the hands of the Free-stone masons and practiced in Lodge.

Many Masons reject this connection of esotericism and see only an institute that caters to the community aspect, basing the fraternity on their own personal faiths and choosing not to see its associations with other seekers.

But I believe that the true nature of Freemasonry at its core exists in both realms, a balance of fraternity and ceremonial initiation of letter and law whose value is in the creation of its shared experience. From it we can delve into this esoteric past from whence we came and explore the ideas of our generations and shape them in our time for how the future will study them.

When we turn to Masonic education Stewart even is philosophical here:

Perhaps it is that Freemasonry is not really a ‘thing’ as such, but instead the essence, ethereal and intangible. It is not necessarily a cause of an action but a contributor, the unseen impetus of our existence.

Directly I see Masonic light coming from within. We carry the light, learning from its reflection on the things we illuminate with our wisdom.

The illumination we seek is an internal understanding of our relationship to the divine and I would argue that all light leads to the same divinity though known by different names in different lands. Freemasonry is but one path to that end. It not being a faith, it is rather a way to conceive the divine, a way to conceive God.

Moving on to Oaths in chapter seven Stewart writes:

That the idea of God does not just exist in one conception; it instead resides in all of us and in all of our myriad faiths and faith teachings. With that in mind and our own individual beliefs at bay, is any one faith greater than the other? Remember there is a divine spark in man that bears a close resemblance to the supreme intelligence of the universe. In a situation where men meet upon the level and in a faith neutral environment, should one text be held above another? How could we not see the value in all faiths?

Next comes my personal favorite chapter in the book – “Freemasonry, The Religion Of Not Being A Religion,” not only because it is a subject I have written about, researched and taken to heart myself but also because of the outstanding job Stewart does with the subject.

Ready for some more Stewartisms?

Masonry is the universal morality which is suitable to the inhabitants of every clime, to the man of every creed. It has taught no doctrines, except those truths that tend directly to the well- being of man; and those who have attempted to direct it toward useless vengeance, political ends, and Jesuitism, have merely perverted it to purposes foreign to its pure spirit and real nature.

With these quotes in mind is Freemasonry a faith? No, not at all. Is Freemasonry a Religion? Perhaps in its practice, yes, as it carries forward a tradition from the past to be taught to generations in the future, but not a dogmatic belief system with specifics to salvation. Is Freemasonry tolerant of all faiths? Yes. Does that frighten, distance and otherwise disenfranchise all fundamental ideologues? Yes, it does which is why every organized dogmatically proscribed faith denounces Freemasonry.

Freemasonry is the religion of not being a religion, the faith of all faiths. It says that no one faith is right, and no one faith is wrong, which is diametrically opposed to what any fundamentalist body wants to tell you is right.

One of the aspects I have found in Freemasonry is that it is like a religion, but not a faith. The practice is liturgical and the catechism is universally teaching a message, but the message is not on divinity, or on faith. It is, the religion of not being a religion. It is a difficult concept, as there is nothing else to compare it to, as no other system promotes faith without saying in who that faith resides, which is how we come to the idea of the Great Architect. In this embodiment, we can collect all ideas of the divine as the creation of the universe, the Monad, or point of creation.

It is in this lack of a dominating opinion of how the practice should be conducted where we find the most infuriating issue. Because of the open stance of the Fraternity and the willingness that it has as being an ecumenical and non sectarian practice, it puts all faiths on an equal footing, not allowing any one faith to leverage power or authority over another.

Stewart goes on to bemoan the loss of study and meaning in the symbols of Freemasonry.

Our symbols today speak to an era long gone by and have become lost to the uninitiated on their meaning, purpose, and importance which has been drowned by an overload of icons. The studies of these internal symbols are quickly becoming relegated to a modern history that is forgetting its near past, by ignoring its archaic origins, and decrying its ideals. Ironically, they are the very ideas that are in even more need today.

The book then segways right into the deeper philosophical contributions of Hermeticism and the Kybalion.

Today this tradition may seem antiquated and even superfluous, but it is the model of our origin and a shining example of the progress towards the city upon the hill. History may consider the secret societies as below the sight of the mainstream, but it was not the membership that passed itself on through the ages, but rather the ancient communication of the development of the self, the vestige of Thoth and the Thrice great Hermes, as the message brought forward to us today. It is that message of self discovery that is transferred to us, as we become the inheritors of its memory to be re-communicated to the future.

It is to Hermes that all western esoteric teaching is said to have originated, in that through this philosophy, Hermes planted the ‘great seed of truth’ instead of founding a teaching school as many other great philosophers of his age did. It was by mouth to ear communication that this wisdom was passed through the ages. But also it was cautioned that it is not for everyone in that the lips (words or wisdom) are closed, except to those with the ears of understanding. To preserve the wisdom, the ancient teachers warned against allowing the secret doctrine to become crystallized into a creed which would allow it to become dogmatic and inflexible.

Much of this history is fanciful and well imagined, but the Hermetic teachings have been linked to a late period of Egypt, and like most ancient or religious in nature texts their true origin and history is in shadow. It is from this tradition that it is supposed that Freemasonry originated. As a continuation of the Egyptian mystery schools, the method of teaching, and the philosophy taught was promulgated forward. Perhaps of significance is the point of preventing the philosophy from becoming dogmatic or crystallized into a specific creed. But even faced with that question, the philosophy has at various points been studied and adopted as an aspect of their faiths, including Christianity and Judaism. And it is in this connection that we can draw parallels to Gnosticism, which was in a sense a middle way between them.

From there the book goes into the seven applied Hermetic principals from the Kybalion.


By understanding these principles and the Kybalion, we can better attune their operation and function in our daily lives. By doing this, we can embark on a path to Mastery and unfold that inner lotus of knowing. By knowing, we take on the word of creation ‘I am” and become creators and shapers ourselves. It is here that we find the lost word in the lessons of the Kybalion which is the key to our Mastery as a Mason.

On the chapter on King Solomon’s Temple Stewart has this to say:

The presence of King Solomon’s Temple in ancient thought, from the  earliest Old Testament writings to the pinnacle of renaissance occult philosophy has preserved it as an iconographic representation of the path of the divine. Solomon’s temple is not a solitary place in history, used as a simple metaphor in which to base an allegorical play.  Instead, it is a link in early Christian Cabala and Hermetic thought, which is just as vital today, as it was then, to the tradition of Freemasonry, to define and create a construct to relate our movement through its several chambers . Just as it represented the pinnacle of holy practice, so too can it be equated to our own spiritual development by progressive degrees. It is still a metaphor worthy of deeper reflection and thought.

Further chapters deal with St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist and the many symbols and their meaning of a First Degree Tracing Board . What is noteworthy here is Stewart’s excellent treatment of The Point Within A Circle.

Then it is on to Faith, Hope and Charity and we are done.  Stewart does a commendable job of intertwining Charity with love and on Faith he has this to say:

By seeking Sophia, that wisdom and knowledge, those things to which we hold our faith inviolate can only then be understood. Through wisdom, we can coalesce our ideas of divine revelation into tangibles that we can then attribute as a part of our faith.

L- Greg Stewart and R- Frederic L. Milliken
Greg Stewart (left) and Frederic L. Milliken (right) in 2015.

Masonic Traveler is a book that should be a part of every Mason’s library.

Normally I am not enthralled by a collection of essays merged into a book because the message seems to get so splintered. But Stewart does a great job in creating a flow where one topic naturally flows into the next, with one exception. A chapter we didn’t mention “So What” which is a dissertation on the decline of Freemasonry accompanied by statistics that show the trouble that Freemasonry is in, seemed to be just artificially inserted into the middle of some deep philosophical thought in chapters surrounding it. It stuck out like a sore thumb as being out of place and might have fit better as a lead off first chapter.

But withstanding that criticism there is nothing else to say that would put this book in a less than a stellar light. The great thing about it is that in reading Masonic Traveler it will open and expand your mind and you will be taken on an adventure of possibilities and insights that you might not yet have come across. For that reason, among many, I highly recommend this book.

You can find Masonic Traveler on Amazon.

The Hour Glass

The Hour Glass

African American Freemasonry In The State Of New York 1812-2012
By Ezekiel M.Bey

A Review by:  Wor.  Bro. Frederic L. Milliken

Talented Prince Hall Masonic authors and writers are not as plentiful as grapes on the vine. So when one comes along we need to take notice and pay close attention to his works. Such a man is Ezekiel M. Bey whose latest book is “The Hour Glass, African American Freemasonry In The State Of New York 1812-2012.” The Hour Glass records the sands of time in the life of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York, the great men therein who shaped the world to come and the part Bey has played and continues to play in the development of Prince Hall Freemasonry in New York and the nation.

Ezekiel Bey is a writer, a Historian and a poet all rolled into one. He combines that unusual dual talent of being a great researcher and historian and a great writer at the same time. Bey is no esoteric closet intellectual, however. He is a Past Master and has served on the Grand Lodge Committee on Works & Lecture, the Committee on Masonic Education where he spent some time as Secretary and the office of Grand Historian from 2006-20011. He is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and has spent 10 years on its Commission on Bogus Masonry much of that time as its Deputy Director. At the same time he has served as editor in chief of his Grand Lodge’s publication, The Sentinel until 2008.

One of Bey’s pride and joys is the nationwide E-Group Blue Lite which he founded. A Prince Hall discussion and educational undertaking it has blossomed into one of the most active gatherings of Masons on the Internet. Recently he has added the Prince Hall Research & Information site Blue-

Ezekiel M. Bey

Ezekiel Bey has paid his dues. Now all that blood, sweat and tears – that hard work and dedication and honing of skills – has culminated in a fascinating work of Masonic history, The Hour Glass.

The Hour Glass begins where every other Prince Hall Masonic book doesn’t, with the Haitian Revolution, the revolt of African American slaves from 1791-1804. The connection here is by way of Freemason Jean Pierre Boyer who was to become the second President of Haiti. Sometime during this conflict when the US and France were fighting the Franco-American War he, and all the others on his French vessel, was captured by the American war ship Trumball and brought back to Connecticut as a prisoner of war. Discovering him to be a Mason they gave him a modem of freedom and then sent him to Pennsylvania where he was ultimately set free. Boyer who attended some Lodges while he was in Pennsylvania seems to have had a profound effect on all he came in contact with as New York’s first African American Lodge, African Lodge #459 New York chartered by African Lodge #459 Boston in 1812 soon changed its name to Boyer Lodge #1. After assuming the Presidency of Haiti Boyer welcomed a migration of freed Black Americans to his country.

Bey then takes us through the Underground Railroad and the part that early New York African American Freemasons played in that historical time after which there is a detailed account of the false information that the first African American Grand Lodge in New York was Boyer Grand Lodge supposedly formed in 1845. Upon due research Bey confirms that the first African American Grand Lodge in New York was The United Grand Lodge of the State of New York formed in 1848 which later changed its name to The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of New York.

Next comes the painful experience of the National Grand Lodge or Compact as it was called. It was extremely stressful for New York as the United Grand Lodge of the State of New York never joined the Compact and its failure to do so resulted in the Compact attempting to expel the United Grand Lodge. Within Prince Hall Freemasonry the whole National Grand Lodge episode is a sore that will not heal. Remnants of the National Compact remain today but they are clandestine as many would say they always have been. While Mainstream Masonry also flirted with a National Grand Lodge at the same time it never pulled the trigger. Bey has contended that the whole National venture was illegal and he takes the reader through the steps of how this all came about.  The documentation he provides on the history of New York African American Freemasonry at this time and New York’s involvement with the Compact is outstanding. Any historian who would like to have a better understanding of this issue should refer to The Hour Glass.

What follows is a wealth of information on clandestine African American Freemasonry in New York. Bey takes us through the Committee on Clandestine Masonry and The Legal Committee reports at Grand Lodge Sessions 1954-1969. We learn who the players are, the measures taken by the MWPHGLNY to combat bogus Freemasonry and even about a court case filed against two bogus New York Masonic Grand Lodges.

From the 1962 report of the Legal Committee to the Grand Lodge:

Litigation was commenced against two of these spurious organizations in New York State about three years ago. In November of 1961, there was a trial involving your Grand Lodge and one of these spurious organizations. In January of this year, injunctive relief was secured against this organization known as the Supreme Council of the United States of the Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the 33rd and Last Degree A.A. Scottish Rite. This was the first case of its kind in the State of New York, in which injunctive relief was granted to a Masonic organization, giving it the right to put the spurious organization out of business. Moreover, the decision specifically stated that Prince Hall Masonry was legitimate and that it had a prior or better right to practice Masonry as against the organization which was enjoined. Your Legal Committee reports that this organization is now out of business.

Bey has continued in the footsteps of Harry A Williamson and Joseph Walkes in association with the Phylaxis Society in educating the Craft and those seeking membership about the evils of Bogus Freemasonry. This remains a continuing battle against ignorance. The Hour Glass exposes each and every one of these clandestine organizations, names names, dates and places, for all to see.

No story would be complete without heroes. Bey, in addition to his mentor Joseph Walkes, chronicles the lives and contributions to Prince Hall Freemasonry of RW Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Harry A Williamson and S. David Bailey.

Schomburg, a native of Puerto Rico, was a promoter of Spanish speaking Lodges within Prince Hall New York. He was a researcher, historian, writer and accumulator of many Masonic books and manuscripts. In 1911 with John A. Bruce he formed the Negro Society for Research. Schomburg was elected Grand Secretary in 1918 and served in that position through 1926.

Bey tells us:

Schomburg saved every bit of information that he could get his hands on and built an archive in which he donated to public libraries. He is the reason that today Freemasonry and the black struggle in America have a huge section in the New York City Public Library in Harlem. This spirit of saving information for our future influenced his good friend and Brother, R.W. Harry A. Williamson, Grand Historian of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York. It was Arthur Schomburg who encouraged Williamson to place his collection of over 800 books, manuscripts, photographs, periodicals, pamphlets, and scrapbooks in the N.Y.C. Public Library’s Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints.

By the year 1925, Schomburg had acquired over 5,000 books, pamphlets, manuscripts, etchings and many other items. When the Division of Negro Literature opened in the New York City Public Library on 135th Street in Harlem, Schomburg sold his collection for $10,000 to the Carnegie Corporation to be placed in the new library. Schomburg later became curator for the library in 1932 in the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints. In memory of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, the New York City Public Library in Harlem was renamed in 1973, “The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture”.

Another giant of Prince Hall New York that Bey writes about was Harry A Williamson. Grand Historian from 1911 through 1924 Williamson held many Grand Lodge offices including Senior Grand Warden and Deputy Grand Master and chaired many Grand Lodge Committees. He was a prolific writer and was an early crusader against Bogus Freemasonry in the state of New York.

The third legend from Prince Hall New York was S. David Bailey an accomplished jazz percussionist. Bey tells us that he had:

collaborations with most of the Ellington Alumni, such as Mercer Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Ben Webster, “Shorty” Baker, and Al Sears. David Bailey also played with Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Bob Brookmeyer, Miles Davis, Chris Conner, Billie Holiday, Marian McPartland, Lucky Thompson, Lena Horn, Harry Bellefonte and the Gerry Mulligan Band(s) for 13 years until 1968 when he left to join the newly formed “Jazztet” featuring Art Farmer, Benny Golson,

But Bailey had another love – flying. Again we learn from Bey:

From 1968 to 1973, David worked with famed criminal attorney F. Lee Bailey as Vice President of Marshfield Aviation in Marshfield Airport, Massachusetts, 20 miles south of Boston. As Chief Pilot and flight instructor, and the attorney’s personal pilot, David flew the business Learjet in and out of Logan International Airport in Boston. Dave was also a Designated Pilot Examiner for the FAA in Boston as he was in New York. David enjoyed a good professional relationship and warm friendship with F. Lee Bailey.

But in a strange twist of career paths Bailey returned to his first love when he became Executive Director of Jazzmobile.

In Prince Hall Freemasonry Bailey became a District Deputy and his efforts in Masonic Instruction and Masonic Education became renowned. He headed up the first Grand Lodge Committee on Education and now 86 years old he can look back upon an illustrious Masonic career of 60 years.

It is difficult to know where you are going unless you know where you have been. The Hour Glass will prove to be a most valuable work for Prince Hall New York Masons to remember where they have been and to honor and treasure the memories of those who have gone before them.

It is vitally imperative that within the Craft records and archives are kept to show a clear path of what Freemasonry has stood for and what it has withstood throughout its history. Ezekiel Bey has been meticulous and detailed in his research for this book. The Hour Glass is both interesting and informative.

Not shy in expressing himself, Bey writes with a passion that jumps out at you from the pages of his book. His love for the Craft comes through loud and clear.

Moreover, Bey blazes a trail that other Prince Hall Grand Lodges should take. A chronicling of the history of any Grand Lodge casts in stone what defines that Masonic community and it is by such a work as this that a Grand Lodge can tackle the future with a mission statement in hand.

This is a monumental work that will be on every library shelf and in many a Mason’s bookcase. It should be in yours also.

On Holy Ground – A Review

On Holy Ground by Karen Kidd
On Holy Ground by Karen Kidd

If you are a traditional Mainstream or Prince Hall Mason, hereafter referred to as a Malecraft Mason, then you probably have the perception that a woman in Masonry is a member of the Eastern Star or Heroines of Jericho.  You would be wrong.

Co-Masonry, as Kidd tells us, started with the making a Mason of Maria Deraismes, a well known advocate of women’s rights, in France by a Malecraft Lodge in 1882.

Deraismes, along with Georges Martin, founded Le Droit Humain later called International Co-Freemasonry.

From this modest beginning by 1900 sprang the Supreme Council of Universal Co-Freemasonry, incorporating the 33 degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. This body claimed for itself worldwide jurisdiction of Co-Masonry and chartered new Lodges in many different areas. One of those areas was Britain where Annie Besant organized Co-Masonry.

And if you thought that a woman in Masonry would be an isolated case you would be wrong again.  And if you thought that a woman in Masonry was a recent development and a passing fad, you would still be wrong one more time.

Karen Kidd, in her first book Haunted Chambers, catalogs the lives and occurrences of the first women who were admitted to Male-craft Masonry or who sneaked in. Now in her second book, On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry, Kidd publishes a detailed history of Co- Masonry, the institution that is the Obedience that admits men and women of all religions and national origins.Co-Masonry started in the 1880s. The belief that Co-Masonry sprung up on its own, independently from Malecraft Masonry and developed its own theory on Masonry all by itself is another perception to be shattered. Kidd quotes Annie Besant, founder of Co-Masonry in Great Britain and India.“ Co-Masonry has arisen from the bosom of Masculine Masonry in order to bring women into that ancient fraternity on exactly the same terms as men, and thus to restore the whole Brotherhood to the position from which it fell; when it broke its link with the Ancient Mysteries by excluding women from its ranks, by recognizing distinction of sexes within the pure sanctuary of the Temple.” Maria Deraismes

Antoine Muzzarelli, Grand Orient of France, GOdF, Alpha Lodge #301
Antoine Muzzarelli

In 1903 Antoine Muzzarrelli a French born Mason of Italian descent and an educator, lecturer, author and private tutor convinced Georges Martin in France into letting him found North American Co-Masonry on behalf of LDH.  Muzzarrelli had become a protector of French Masons in the United States working with the Grand Orient of France. But issues with the GOdF led him to seek another avenue for his Masonic expression and one where he could be the big cheese.  Muzzarrelli tapped the anarchist turned Socialist Louis Goaziou, a newspaper publisher in Charleroi, Pennsylvania as his chief deputy and Master of the first North American Co-Masonic Lodge in America, Alpha Lodge #301 formed by The American Federation of Human Rights the name Muzzarrelli chose for this new American Obedience. Alpha Lodge #301 was formerly consecrated with 21 Brethren, of which three were women, on October 18 and 19, 1903 in Charleroi.

In the next five years The American Federation of Human Rights would grow to over 40 Lodges. But Muzzarrelli’s tenure was short lived and towards the end he was beset with financial difficulties and irregularities, litigation and clamor for a National Convention. In 1908 Muzzarrelli was dead by his own hand and the Order was in chaos.

Louis Goaziou

Goaziou reluctantly took over and served as head of the Order from 1908-1937, almost 30 years.  His first duty was to get the finances in order. Then he permitted that National Convention in 1908 and presided over it. On May 26, 1909 he reincorporated The American Federation of Human Rights with some needed updates to the original. On January 20, 1910 the Supreme Council of the International Order issued a Charter to The American Federation of Human Rights.

Goaziou presided over the second National Convention in 1913. His most noted achievement was probably the purchase of land in Larkspur, Colorado and establishing the National Headquarters there.

But all was not roses for Goaziou.

Like Muzzarrelli, he had a skirmish with traditional Male-craft Masonry, and the Great Depression hurt the Order badly. Bank closings and the freezing of Federation money made for a very lean bare bones version of Masonry. Not only was their little expansion but some Lodges had to close because of financial difficulties.

Second National Convention of the The American Federation of Human Rights, Chicago, 1913.

But the one difficulty that sent this writer to the research books was the beginning of a long altercation between Theosophist and non-Theosophist Brothers for control of the Order. French Co-Masonry was decidedly secular while English Co-Masonry was decidedly Theosophist in nature. American Co-Masonry started out impartial and very much in the French mode but later developed to resemble more English Co-Masonry.

1924 National Convention
Edith Armour

This factional dispute bled over into Goaaziou’s successor, Edith Armour who was the Order’s first female leader and first Theosophist leader. Although Goasiou had brought many fellow Socialists into Co-Masonry he prided himself on guiding the American Federation of Human rights along a middle path not dominated by any single philosophical, religious or political group. Armour tried vainly to do the same but her Theosophical commitment had the Order leaning to favoritism even if it wasn’t deliberate. This led to a challenge to her leadership by Helen Sturgis who Goaziou had to deal with earlier. Armour survived victorious but her reign saw a marked decline in membership.  Yet, to be fair, one must factor in the effect that WWII had on the Order.

Kidd sums up the Theosophist battle thusly:

“To be sure, the Theosphical society is still active and supportive of Co-Freemasonry even today. It simply does not have now, nor had it ever, the ability to fully populate what is intended to be an inclusive, diverse, independent and free thinking body. No single religion, philosophy, creed, or political persuasion can possibly do that for Freemasonry. By necessity, Freemasonry must be mixed.”

“As Armour herself observed in 1936, differences in interpretation ‘are stimulating and refreshing.’ The lack of these differences caused the Order to become sluggish and stagnant. This is not what Armour ever intended but by the time she realized what was happening, she was too worn and tired to struggle against it, let alone undo it.”

Armour served as the leader of the American Federation for over twenty years from 1937-1959 and she was the first Most Puissant Grand commander to step down rather than die in office.

Bertha Williams

The docile Bertha Williams followed in 1959 and her weakness finally resulted in her quitting in 1967.

Helen Wycherley followed and she immediately put some backbone back into the office, Kidd tells us:

“She soon made it very clear the Federation would be beholden to no single religious, political or philosophical body. Herself a Theosophist, Wycherley ended American Federation’s time in the Theosophical shadow.”

Helen Wycherly

Wycherley selected Calla Hack as her successor in 1983. The move proved to be a disaster, so much so that Wycherley would come back to campaign against her in a bold attempt to remove her.  Hack lost $70,000 of the Federation’s money investing in the stock market totally on her own. She embarked on a campaign to remove a most popular Grand Orator.  She was not a Theosophist and had close ties with Paris, so much so that The Federation became divided between the “Loyalists” whose first allegiance was to The International Order and the “Secessionists” whose first loyalty was to the American Federation.

Carla Haack

Hack resigned in 1992 and what followed would change The American Federation of Human Rights forever. This time Hack’s successor was chosen by a true election. There were three candidates, Magdalena Cumsille, Rosario Menocal and Vera Bressler.  Cumsille got 70% of the vote and Bressler got 6%. Clearly the American Federation had chosen Cumsille. Now in past years all newly selected Most Puissant Grand Commanders were ratified by LDH in Paris. This always had been a rubber stamp of whatever American Co-Masonry had decided.

Magdalena Cumsille

This time was different. Paris demanded that Bressler be appointed MPGC and so she was. It also remanded American by-law changes, and changes giving the MPGC more autocratic power. By Colorado law, by-law changes to a nonprofit corporation must be ratified by its membership.  By a vote of 70-30 it was not and the battle was on. It took a number of years but in due time the American Federation of Human Rights divorced itself from the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain.  Le Droit Humain founded a new organization in the United States, incorporating in Delaware, and calling itself the “Order of International Co-Freemasonry Le Droit Humain – American Federation.”  The old American Federation renamed itself “ the Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry, the American Federation of Human Rights.” Some Lodges stayed with Le Droit Humain in their new American Order but a larger number remained with the newly separated American Federation which elected Magdalena Cumsille MPGC by an overwhelming majority and she continues in that office today.

Karen Kidd has penned a monumental work of distinction in On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry. It’s a powerful work, written with great gusto. And it is interesting reading. It’s interesting because Kidd doesn’t forget to include the human factor. People are human beings to Kidd not just robots in a jig saw puzzle to be fitted together by proper accounting.

In a number of instances Kidd has been able to correct misinformation. Because she is a member Of the American Federation of Human Rights she is privy to files and records off limits to outsiders. Thus she has been able to set the record straight on controversies and assertions that have been made in error.

2009 Gathering
2009 Gathering

Her research is meticulous and thorough. She maintains her objectivity. She has no agenda. She doesn’t fill in the blanks with a guess. This book is well documented with a ton of footnotes. At the end are a number of full length manuscripts which is a really nice addition to this work and accentuates the ideas and the struggles of this Order. There are many good pictures. Some of the images and documents have never been published before.

On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry will be a major research source carried by every library. And Karen Kidd has truly earned the title – Historian.

You can find On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry on Amazon.

The Demoulin Catalog

DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Catalog

DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Catalog

The 1930 DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Fraternal Supply Catalog No. 439 Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties; Paraphenalia and Costumes

Stunt Props, Tricks, Pranks, Practical Jokes, Humor, Magic, Goat Riding Carts, Paddling Machines, Electric Carpets and much, much, more!!!

Pictured at left is the cover of the 1930 edition of the DeMoulin Bros. & Co. catalog titled “Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties, Paraphernalia and Costumes.”

We believe that this was the best and last “side degree” catalog the DeMoulin Bros. produced, as this company suffered the same fate that many businesses did with the onset of the Great Depression.  Today, they are one of the largest suppliers of marching band uniforms in the country.  In the broken economy of the 1930’s, the fraternalism items this company produced and sold were not considered a high priority on the “need or necessity” list of many Lodges.  Yet, the side degree specialties that they sold were the very items that increased Lodge membership, their donations to charities and interest in “Lodge Life” itself.  These side degrees added to the “degree of laughter” early Lodge Brethren engaged in when initiating new members!  We have reproduced the DeMoulin Catalog here in its entirety.  Pay particular attention to the various testimonials at the bottom on some of the below catalog pages.  These testimonials were sent in by the Woodmen and Odd Fellow Lodges who purchased this paraphernalia and they described how it worked for them.  (Note:  Although Freemasons joke about “Riding the Goat” with their new initiates they never engaged in this activity inside of any Masonic Lodge.)  In the end you’ll see that the wholesome fun… “light hazing,” endured by the candidates made them feel more apart of the Lodge and fostered Brotherly Love and Affection.

(Legal Notice:  Be advised that Phoenixmasonry, Inc. will not be held responsible for any accidental property damage, injury or loss of life due to any irresponsible manufacture or use of the items listed in or made as a replica shown in this catalog or pictured on this website.)

Now you can get a reprinted copy of this catalog when you purchase

The Extraordinary Catalog Of Peculiar Inventions, by Julia Suits

Table of Contents

Page 1…  About the DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Factory

Page 2… About their different catalogs

Page 3…  About their credentials

Page 4 & 5… The Catalog Index

Page 6… Policies and their Salesman

Page 7…  Terms and Conditions (Their Fine Print)

Page 8…  A Page of Suggestions

Page 9…  A Low-Down Buck  (Their latest goat)

Page 10…  The Rollicking Mustang Goat

Page 11… The Fuzzy Wonder Goat

Page 12…  The Bucking Goat

Page 13… Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat

Page 14… Whiz Bang Aeroplane

Page 15…  The Submarine

Page 16…  Trick Bottom Chair

Page 17…  Trick Chairs

Page 18…  Electric Chair

Page 19…  A Pointed Affair

Page 20…  Bomb Stunt

Page 21…  Electric Bench

Page 22…  The Trick Camera and Surprise Chair

Page 23…  The “Jag” Producer

Page 24…  The DeMoulin Trick Guns

Page 25…  Plate Breaking Stunt

Page 26…  Iron Test

Page 27…  Balloon Ascension

Page 28…   Trick Desk Phone

Page 29…  The Guillotine

Page 30…  DeMoulin’s Patent Lung Tester

Page 31…  Traitor’s Judgment Stand

Page 32…  Drinking the Goat’s Blood

Page 33…  Baby Doll

Page 34… Moral Athletics

Page 35…  Liquid Air Tank & Zig-Zag Road

Page 36… Tooth-Pulling Stunt

Page 37… Trick Mirror / Trick Comb & Brush

Page 38…  Portable Jump Spark Battery

Page 39…  Batteries and Magnetos

Page 40 & 41…  Electric Carpets / Runways / Carpet of Tacks

Page 42…  Stick-Em-Up

Page 43…  Fencing Contest

Page 44…  Tug O’ War

Page 45… Electric Spiked Pathway / Wooden Shoes / A Current Affair

Page 46…  Crossing the Swinging Bridge & The Rocky Road to Dublin

Page 47…  Electric Cane & Embalmed Meat or Bad Egg Test

Page 48…  The Pledge Altar

Page 49…  Sea Serpent

Page 50…  The Human Centipede or Night Mare

Page 51…  Family Skeleton Turned Loose and Electric Blanket

Page 52 & 53… Coffin Stunt or Funeral of Al. K. Hall

Page 54…  Baby Bouncer

Page 55…  Bird Cage

Page 56…  Electric Stretcher

Page 57…  Charleston Girls

Page 58…  The Electric Razor

Page 59…  Golfitis

Page 60…  The Glad Hand & Electric Wheel Barrow

Page 61… The Devil has ‘Em on the the Run

Page 62…  No Man’s Land

Page 63…  Electric Branding Iron

Page 64…  Electric Teeter Totter

Page 65…  Dog Show Stunt

Page 66…  An Electrified Smoke

Page 67…  The Molten Lead Test

Page 68…  Lifting and Spraying Machine & The Muscular Test

Page 69…  Treadmill & The Fountain of Youth

Page 70… Trick Loaded Smokes & Trick Coffee Urn

Page 71…  Spanker / Electric Spanker / Slap Sticks / Stuffed Clubs

Page 72…  The Striking Maul & Greased (?) Pole

Page 73…  Invisible Paddle Machine

Page 74…  Lifting and Spanking Machine

Page 75…  Home Brew

Page 76…  Knife Throwing Stunt

Page 77…  The Branding and Whirling Table

Page 78…  Rejuvenating Machine

Page 79…  Trip Through a Stormy Desert / Trilby Feet / Trilby Hands

Page 80…  Electric Tunnel

Page 81…  Trick Tray

Page 82…  Say It With Flowers

Page 83…  Hulu Hula Bull Dance

Page 84…  Jewish and Swiss Naval Battle

Page 85…  Big Busy Bertha

Page 86…  The Devil’s Slide

Page 87…  Upward, Onward, Downward

Page 88… Thrown of Honor

Page 89…  Sliding Stairs or the Seven Ages / Spikey Block

Page 90… Tunnel of Trouble / Electric Sandals / Roller Pathway

Page 91…  Pillow Fight & The Toss-Up

Page 92…  Pillory & Lycopodium Flash Torches

Page 93…  The Bucking Couch

Page 94… Pie Table

Page 95… Ice Cream Table

Page 96…  The Blarney Stone & Bleeding Test

Page 97…  Saw Mill & Electric Saw and Buck

Page 98…  All Balled Up

Page 99… Deceptive Glasses & Wind Machine

Page 100…  The Rickety Rackety / The Rooter / Telegraph Call and Whistle

Page 101 & 102…  Noise Makers

Page 103…  Improved Song-O-Phones

Page 104…  Table Covers / Crepe Ribbon / Banquet Plates / Wreaths / Plumes

Page 105…  Camp Fires / Wood Alcohol / Rubber Tubing / Tripods / Kettle / Napkins

Page 106…  Letter File / Dater / Rubber Stamp / Ink Pad / Revolver / Cartridges

Page 107…  Emblematic Knife / Burlesque Rituals / 300 Stunts / Parliamentary Rules

Page 108…  Hoodwinks

Page 109…  Masks

Page 110…  Ballot Boxes

Page 111…  Seals & Cases

Page 112…  Gavels / Gavel Block and Case / Spears

Page 113…  Novelties & Masquerade Goods

Page 114…  Theatrical Hair Goods

Page 115…  Masks, Beards & Wigs

Page 116… Beards and Wigs

Page 117…  Large Papier Mache Heads

Page 118… Large Papier Mache Human Heads

Page 119…  Large Papier Mache Animal Heads

Page 120…  Masks of Nations

Page 121…  Masks of Celebrities

Page 122…  Skeletons, Skulls, Etc.

Page 123… Smoking Camel & Cow Bells

Page 124…  Animals

Page 125 thru 130… Burlesque Costumes

Page 131 thru 134…  Burlesque Costumes

Page 135 thru 138…  Burlesque Costumes

Page 139 thru 142…  Race Costumes

Page 143 thru 146… Costumes

Page 147 thru 150… We Manufacture Uniforms

Page 151… Sashes for Marshal

Page 152 & 153…  Swords and Sword Belts

Page 154… Picnic and Parade Umbrellas

Page 155…  U. S. Flags / Bunting / Stands / Belts / Staffs

Pages 156… Banners

Page 157…  Badges

Page 158…  Lodge Furniture / Chairs / Altar and Pedestal

Page 159…  DeMoulin’s Portable Lodge Stereopticon

Page 160…  Gongs

Suggestions & Directions for Introducing and Using our Burlesque and Side Degree Paraphernalia

Pages I, II, III, IV, V

A Novel Way to Introduce the Goat – Trick or Surprise Chair – De Stink or Bad Egg Test – Courage Test, or Meat Test – The Trick Camera – The Devil’s Slide – The Cannon

Pages VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

Trick Guns – Back-Action Gun – Electric Branding – The Pledge Altar – The Molten Lead Test


The Spikey Stool – The Mutoscope – Trick Coffee Urn – Treadmill – The Guillotine – Trip Through a Stormy Desert – Moral Athletics – The Electric Wheel Barrow – Electric Carpet – The Tack Test


The Electric Carpet (another way) – The Electric Spiked Pathway – A Current Affair – Crossing The Swinging Bridge – Rocky Road to Dublin – Electric Razor – The Jag Producer – Invisible Paddle Machine – Improved Lifting and Spanking Machine – Lifting Machine – The Muscular Test – DeMoulin’s Patent Lung Tester


Traitor’s Judgment Stand – Tunnel of Trouble – Baby Doll – Striking Maul – “Upward, Onward, Downward” – The Wireless Trick Telephone – Pillow Fight – The Toss Up – Pillory – Throne of Honor – Liquid Air Tank – Zig Zag Road – Cleanliness is Next to Godliness – The Coin Test – Electric Fountain


Spanker – Trick Mirror – The Blarney Stone – Bleeding Test – Electric Saw and Buck – The Bucking Couch – The Saw Mill – Deceptive Beer of Wine Glass



Brought to you by Phoenix Masonry


The Extraordinary Catalog Of Peculiar Inventions – A Review


The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions

Every once in awhile you come across a book that is so out of the ordinary, in the subject field that your are studying, that it intrigues your fancy. Such is the book that Julia Suits has written about fraternal society initiation equipment. And equipment in this context covers a lot of ground.

The title of Suits’ book is The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions: The Curious World of the Demoulin Brothers and Their Fraternal Lodge Prank Machines.

Now before all you stiff and proper Freemasons get your knickers in a twist, you will be happy to know that most of this “foolishness” was never sanctioned by Freemasonry or by the Odd Fellows either.

So if Freemasonry, by and large, was not using all this prank paraphernalia, who was? The most notable organizations who succumbed to the prank phase were:

There were lesser known orders such as:

Then there were the “Spoof Orders” who ridiculed all Fraternal Societies. The Clampers (E Clampus Vitus) and the Hoo-Hoos (The International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo Inc.) were two of the most well known.

The heyday of fraternal orders were the years from 1890-1920. During that stretch of time even medium sized towns could boast of approximately 15 different fraternal orders meeting in various places. It was not unheard of for a member of one order to belong to several others also. To spike interest in an era of stiff competition for membership between fraternal societies, many fraternal orders, other than Freemasonry, decided that the way to go was “to spice things up a bit” and have some fun, at the expense of others of course.

David Copperfield in his foreword to the book tells us:

They (The DeMoulin Brothers) were subversive, the brothers, in the way artists are subversive. They satirized sobriety and high seriousness; they tossed pomp on its ass and made dignity pee in its pants. They were Lords of Misrule, and their marvelous devices were tools available to anyone who wanted to have fun at someone else’s expense, one of the finest forms of fun there is. Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke (I don’t know who said it first. I know it’s not in the Torah). Every oversized ego is in need of deflation. Every overly solemn occasion is in need of someone willing to fart. This stuff is more than just fancy pranks. It’s Americana.

And that is precisely what Suits does in her book – offer us a tongue-in-cheek look at America a hundred or so years ago, a time that was the heyday of fraternal societies that abounded in every city and town from coast to coast. These societies were the centers of help, aid and assistance for those in need as well as social and entertainment centers. Most of them are long gone and the manner in which Americans associate and entertain themselves became far different with the advent of the Great Depression and WWII, so different that DeMoulin printed its last prank catalog in 1930.

Suits puts it this way:

It (this book) is a lens, or if you prefer, a kind of time machine. Its wiring may zap you; its eccentric wheels may cause you to catch your bearings – but get in. You’ll enjoy the ride.

The DeMoulin Brothers were the leaders in the field of prank devices. Yet fraternal prank machines were only part or their business. They also made furniture, church furniture and pews as well as Lodge furniture. They did upholstering, iron machine work and iron forgings, iron, brass and aluminum castings, art and scenic painting. They made swords, jewelry, uniforms, caps and gowns, head gear of all kinds, costumes, regalia, badges and button novelties and much more. To promote their business they followed the Montgomery Ward model of marketing later adopted by Sears & Roebuck – print and distribute sophisticated, professionally designed, artistic and detailed catalogs. Instead of the radio, TV and Internet advertising of today, DeMoulin sent out catalogs everywhere. For the most popular fraternal societies there were specific catalogs for each Order. Then there was the “Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties, Paraphernalia and Costume” catalog for everybody.  The first catalog was printed in 1895 for the Modern Woodmen of America. The last prank catalog was printed in 1930.

The first prank was devised by Ed Demoulin, a Woodman, for the Greenville, Illinois Woodmen Fraternal Lodge. It was called “The Molten Lead Test” and involved forcing the hands of a candidate into a cauldron of fake molten lead.

From there the DeMoulin Brothers produced a ton more of prank paraphernalia, some of which were quite intricate.

Suits classifies them into a few different categories. There was the Side Degree fun work equipment, Factory Goats, The Shockers, The Mechanicals and The Wearables.


In this category some of what you could find was:

  • The Throne of Honor
  • The Whirling Elevator
  • The Tunnel of Trouble
  • The Striking Maul
  • The Greased Pole

riding the goat, goat ride, prank, hazingFreemasons would often tease their candidates with a threat of having to “ride the goat.” However, other fraternities actually used goat riding in their initiations.

The DeMoulins, Suits tells us, patented and manufactured at least thirteen varieties of mechanical goats. So famous were they for their goats that the DeMoulin enterprise was often referred to as “The Goat Factory.”

Many of these mechanical goats sat astride wheels with their hubs off center. This made for a bouncy ride. A few goats ran on a track that could be tipped up and down. Then there was the Ferris wheel goat. A double hump camel was sneaked in amongst all these goats for variety. It worked on the DeMoulin goat principle. Suits blends into equipment description a healthy amount of “goat stories” that will tickle your fancy.


Here the gag is juiced up with electrical current.

Just some of the devices are:

  • The Glad Hand
  • The Electric Branding Iron
  • The Electric Wrench
  • The Treadmill
  • Electric Carpets
  • Electric Tunnels
  • The Electric Cane
  • The Electric Teeter Totter
  • The Human Centipede
  • The Electric Bench
  • The Electric Hammock

Electricity was just coming into wide use at this time and it was the “in thing” to experiment with.

These included:

  • The Bomb Stunt
  • The Saw Mill
  • The Sliding Stairs
  • The Ocean Wave Boat
  • The Wireless Trick Telephone
  • The Lung Tester
  • The Pie Table
  • The Guillotine
  • The Flying Machine
  • The Submarine
  • The Mutoscope

Abundant in this category were a number of trick chairs and spanking machines


This category deals heavily with regalia and costumes. You will find masks, wigs, and beards, papermache human heads, animal heads, animal masks, nationality masks, animal costumes, burlesque costumes, Indian costumes, Zouave uniforms (see below), race costumes, and assortment of hoodwinks, handcuffs, cowbells, outlaw costumes and the DeMoulin famous Smoking Camel.

It’s a good bet that nobody else will write a book such as Suits has penned. Her book will be a very distinctive one of a kind. The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions: The Curious World of the Demoulin Brothers and Their Fraternal Lodge Prank Machines – from Human Centipedes and Revolving Goats to ElectricCarpets and is a well presented, well organized and thoroughly entertaining piece of work. It is heavily illustrated while at the same time interwoven with human interest stories. This book is a showcase of a bygone era. It is history and a peek into American culture of a hundred years ago. Suits has the distinctive knack of not saying too much. This lets the readers create their own vision of how this material might affect them. She doesn’t try to structure the imagination of the reader; rather she just whets their appetite and then leaves it up to the reader’s mind to do the rest. That’s good writing. And this is a book you will want prominently displayed on your bookshelf.

You can find The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions: The Curious World of the Demoulin Brothers and Their Fraternal Lodge Prank Machines on Amazon.

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.”

20th century Texas history, African American, community

Book Review: Blind Lemon Jefferson

Dr. Bro. Robert UzzelI first met Dr. Bro. Robert Uzzel three years ago at a Grand Session of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. Later I had a more in depth conversation with him at a Phylaxis Convention. Brother Uzzel came over to Prince Hall from the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1981. He has a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Baylor University. He has taught religion and history at various Dallas area colleges and at one time was chairman of the religion department for Paul Quinn College. He has also spent some time as a Texas state social worker. And since 1975 he has been a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He served for awhile as Grand Historian for the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. Plus he is also an accomplished author.

20th century Texas history, African American, communityLast year I reviewed Uzzel’s book, Prince Hall Freemasonry In The Lone Star State. This time around I am taking a look at his book, Blind Lemon Jefferson.” It is not a Masonic book, rather a look at early 20th century Texas history and a mirror into the African American community of that time. It also heralds a great man and a trail blazer in the development of American Blues music. Without Uzzel’s comprehensive work on the life and legacy of Blind Lemon Jefferson, it is possible that this first successful blues recording artist would all but be forgotten outside the music community.

Blind Lemon’s peers, protégés, successors and performers in other musical strains all pay him due respect, however. Other great blues performers that followed him, T-Bone Walker, Josh White, Texas Alexander, Smokeyy Hogg, Lonnie Johnson, Sam ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins and even Bessie Smith bear his imprint. He is also said to have influenced Harry James, Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong and Tommy Dorsey. Bunk Johnson and Jelly Roll Morton paid him tribute in the development of their styles.

The 1960s saw resurgence in Blind Lemon’s music, with such artists as Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Steve Miller and Ray Orbison adopting some of his music and/or style.  Especially enamorate of Blind Lemon was Bob Dylan who recorded Lemon’s See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.

Uzzel tell us:

“Dylan, future king of folk-rock and poet for the social activism of the 1960s, was also described as part of that same tradition begun so eloquently by Blind Lemon. And indeed, while listening to Lemon Jefferson’s 1920 recordings, it is difficult not to hear traces of a young Bob Dylan some forty years later. The distance from the bottomlands of Central Texas to the folk clubs of Greenwich Village and from the country blues to rock ‘n’ roll is a short one.”

Carl Perkins performed a rockabilly version of Lemon’s “Matchbook Blues,” the Beatles recorded an adaptation of the same song and Elvis did the “Teddy Bear Blues.” And the rock group Jefferson Airplane, aka Jefferson Starship, paid Blind Lemon the ultimate tribute by naming themselves after him.

Even the great BB King acknowledges that he got a lot of his “stuff” from Blind Lemon.

Lectric Chair Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson


I want to shake hands with my partner
and ask him how come he’s here.
I want to shake hands with my partner
and ask him how come he’s here.
I had a mess with my family
they goin’ to send me to the electric chair.

I wonder why they electrocute a man after
the one o’clock hour of the night.
I wonder why they electrocute a man after
the one o’clock hour of the night.
Because the current is much stronger
when the folkses turn out all the lights.

I sat in my electrocutin’ room,
my arms folded up and crying.
I sat in the electorcutin’ room,
my arms folded up and crying.
But my baby had to question
whether they gonna electrocute that man of mine.

Well they put me in a coffin
to take me all the way from here.
Well they put me in a coffin
to take me all the way from here.
I’s rather be in some new world
than to be married in the ‘lectric chair.

I seen wrecks on the ocean
I seen wrecks on the blue sea
But my wreck that wrecked my heart
when they brought my electrocuted daddy to me.

There are many different kinds of blues. Blind Lemon’s was a country style. No piano or band accompaniment for him. His work is often called a “holler.” Uzzel tells us that Blind Lemon sang the Texas blues,

“rooted in the Central Texas soil, characterized as having a great deal of ‘moaning and droning’ but as less percussive and with lighter emphasis on individual notes than the Delta blues.”

“The music of Blind Lemon Jefferson was an expression of archaic or country blues. This style, which is regarded as the first phase of the blues as an established form, is characterized by non-standardized forms, unamplified guitar, and spoken introductions and endings. At times, country blues performers were known to use ostinato patterns in the guitar accompaniment, bottlenecks on the frets of the guitar, and rough, growling tones, with falsetto voice used for contrast or emotional emphasis. This style stands in contrast to the classic or city blues style, which developed during the 1920s and was characterized by standardized form with regular beginnings and endings and two or more instruments in the accompaniment.”

Uzzel comprised material for this book over many years – decades. That gave him the opportunity to interview hundreds of people who knew Blind Lemon or had talked to him at one time or were influenced by him, adding a reality to the book that would have been missing without them. You will find pictures of some of these interviewees included in this work. Uzzel chronicled the effort to provide a new headstone for Blind Lemon’s grave and the effort for other historical recognition of which he was often a part of. He attended the 2001 Blues Festival in Wortham, Texas, Blind Lemon’s birthplace. There is much merit to be said for 30 years of research.

Blind Lemon Jefferson by Robert Uzzel is a well written, well documented book by an author who has a keen insight into the African American community and who has the knowledge, training and expertise in the fields of religion and history. Rather than a personal adulation of a music fan, this book is a factual representation of reality – a glimpse into the early 1900s, especially of those who were struggling, and a tribute to an icon of the music world whose legacy will now live on. Thanks to Robert Uzzel, well done!

I stood on the corner and almost bust my head.
I stood on the corner and almost bust my head.
I couldn’t make enough money to buy me a loaf of bread.
My girl’s a house maid and she earns a dollar a week.
My girl’s a house maid and she earns a dollar a week.
I’m so hungry on pay day, I can’t hardly speak.
Now gather round one, people, let me tell you true facts.
Now gather round one, people, let me tell you true facts.
That tough luck has struck me and the rats is sleepin’ in my hat.

Tin Cup Blues – Blind Lemon Jefferson

The Book Of Fate

I just completed a week’s vacation where I did what I love to do most. And that is lay back and put my feet up with a good “escape” book. No heavy reading allowed on vacation.  My favorite “get away from it all,” fiction fantasy escape is a good murder mystery. I am addicted to them.  And among this genre my absolute favorite is the legal thriller or courtroom drama.

I have long since graduated from Perry Mason and Ellery Queen and now follow authors John Grisham, Scott Turow, David Baldacci, John Lescroart, Robert Tanenbaum and Richard North Patterson. These I can obtain at no cost from my local public library.

book of fateThis vacation I picked up a book by Brad Meltzer. Although he is grouped with the legal thriller crowd I would classify his work as more of a puzzle thriller. What attracted me to Meltzer’s The Book of FateContemporary Literature) was the square and compasses pictured on the front cover.

The bad guy in this story is a mentally deranged fellow named Nico who thinks that the Freemasons are out to grab political power to destroy the earth. And the proof of their perfidy Nico says is the layout of the streets of Washington, D.C. and an upside down pentagram in a circle.

Connecting the dots of these landmarks on a D.C. map – One – Dupont Circle, two – Logan Circle, three – Washington Circle, four –  Mount Vernon Square and five – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue gives you the upside down pentagram.

Then Nico says, “Start at the Capitol and run your finger down Pennsylvania Avenue, all the way to the Jefferson Memorial – his own shrine! Now go to Union Station and draw a line down Louisiana Avenue, then on the south side of the Capitol, draw another down Washington Avenue. The lines will connect in front of the Capitol.”

And what do you get? Nico’s friend who he is explaining all this to retorts, “The compass and square. The most sacred Masonic symbol………pointing right to the doorway of the White House….all that power in one place. Why would–? What’re they doing trying to take over the world?’

“No,” Nico said coldly, “They’re trying to destroy it. They want the Antichrist.”

The plot is very interesting and flows well. The story revolves around Presidential politics and a conspiratorial collusion of agents from the Secret Service, FBI and CIA selling to the White House information, mostly terrorist tips. There is plenty of spy stuff, intrigue and codes to be broken. But there really is no need for the Masonic conspiracy theory. In fact it doesn’t really fit and looks like it was just thrown into the middle of a story for effect or bias.

If you go to Meltzer’s website you can see, Masonic maps and  members, some of which is also in the book.

But Meltzer says this on his website:

If you’re reading this, you’ve either read The Book of FateContemporary Literature)—or you’re now trying to ruin the Masonic surprises in The Book of Fate. Either way is fine, surprise-ruiner. We think the Freemasons are the ultra-coolest kids in the cafeteria—not just because they’re a secret fraternity (or as they like to say, a fraternity with secrets)—but because they’ve spent the past few centuries pulling off some of the most amazing and mind-blowing magic tricks right under all our noses.


The Freemasons are one of the world’s most secret and powerful fraternities. To this day, they wield their power in ways you’d never believe. But the question remains: who are their members? You won’t believe it.

I realize that this book is dated, released in 2006. Just the same it is evident that Meltzer is a conspiracy theorist and a Masonic detractor.

I don’t think I will be reading anymore of Mr. Meltzer’s books.

Be All You Can Be in Occult America

Occult America by Mitch Horowitz

I just had the pleasure of finishing Mitch Horowitz’s book Occult America and am a bit surprised at the story it tells, and some of what it doesn’t.

Only recently did I come across the 2010 Bantum Books edition, (the first edition published in hardback in 2009) and it was the sub headline of the books title Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation, that grabbed me, making an interesting premise to open the cover and start reading the book.

Once started, it delivers – developing a body of ideas creating an evolution of thought influenced in an era before the Catholic witch trials of Cagliostro and began in the new world with the voyage of the Quaking Shaker Ann Lee (later to re-dubbed Mother Ann) who traveled from Manchester in 1774 to New York with a cohort of 8 followers who together cobbled resources to form a small religious colony in Niskayuna near Albany.

Horowitz takes on a daunting task, the challenge of not sounding encyclopedic and pulling a variety of disparate pieces of Americana together to tease this occult history out from the facts.  In some ways, the telling of Occult America mirrors the troubled story of Mother Ann that Horowitz introduces us to in the opening of the book, inauspiciously to the unintentional spread of ideas everywhere.

So as not to ruin the fun of discovering the secret history for yourself Occult America links together a progression of thought, in an age not known for its wide degree of communication, that at its present day apex has shaped the widest segment of religious and spiritual thought to such a degree that, Horowitz suggests, shaped the 1980 to 2001 “Be all you can be” slogan of the U.S. Army as a mantra of sorts to the ultimate of New Thought self development.  His suggestion is that many aspects of the New Age philosophy (what was at first called “New Thought”) have become integral to much (if not most) of out day to day life.

Sydney Omarr, son of a grocer and housewife, was at one time dubed by Time magazne Astrology’s “most skillful and sober public protagonist.” In Occult America, Horowitz explores how Omarr went from magic shop cruiser and Atlantic City fortune teller to the grandfather of modern newspaper astrology still published in newspapers today.

How so, you might be wondering?

Just a few of the ideas that were at one point considered occult include the evolution of human consciousness, the connection of the mind-body-spirit health, and the ever growing trend of people moving (which data supports) away from organized religion to pursue instead a spirituality.  All of these various aspects, he says, have a root in the developments of the past 200 years through this subculture of Americana.  For those who may not remember, even the Scottish Rite Journal was titled the New Age for many years and represented a fraternal flag ship to the movement.

In some respects, you could bookend Occult America with Jeff Sharlet’s The Family because as the Family chronicles the rise of the Fundamentalist religious right, Horowitz traces a line through the various sub culture movements that transmitted one idea to the next movement and so on.  As a Masonic reader you will be interested to know that at points he acknowledges the presence of Freemasonry as well as other esoteric/occult groups as major players to the dissemination of ideas.

What the book doesn’t do, which might be a product of necessitating many more pages, is chronicle the earlier presence of occult ideas that at the time were a regular part of the American landscape.  For instance, it’s impossible to look at the early American development without seeing Freemasonry (Washington was inaugurated on a Masonic bible which speaks to its presence) as a major contributor in many earlier instances.  Horowitz does touch on this earlier history, but he starts his telling with the founding of Mother Ann’s religious Shaker colony and its promulgation of ideas forward.

Ouija Board, talking board

One of the more entertaining chapters that I enjoyed was the lineage of the Ouija Board, started in the age of séances and the selling of spiritualism.  He makes a very good case for how the rapping tables and automatic-writers of the burgeoning psychic era moved from formalized sitting room sessions to game boards made by Hasbro (now Glow in the Dark) to sit between two kanoodling lovers knees playing slide the planchette.

(I did stumble across a cool glass topped octagonal Tree Of Life Ouija board that’s worth looking at here.)

You can almost sum up the history of the Occult in America in the story of the Ouija Board, from the home spun to the highly processed and manufactured message, but to do so would omit so much of the rich history that the Occult has traced through America, and Horowitz has really captured in an album of snapshots of our esoteric landscape starting with Mother Ann, who was at the time called by her followers “Christ returned in female form.”

I definitely recommend Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation as a fun and light read into the heavy and often deeply woven history of the New Thought/New Age America we live in today.

Hidden Wisdom – Not So Hidden Anymore.

If Manly P. Hall’s Secret Teachings had a companion book, I think that Richard Smoley and Jay Kinney’s Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions would be it.

Hidden Wisdom, Western Mystery TraditionEvery bit as dense as Hall’s Secret Teachings but much more down to earth and embedded in the “real” rather than the idealized reality – which is saying a lot. For most who take the journey of exploring the esoteric side of life, its can very fast become a confused mess of who’s who and what group is doing what. And, while Hall’s book looked at the big picture ideas of the Traditions, Smoley and Kinney’s gets to the heart of the matter, like a topographical map leading the curious reader through the forest of ambiguous trees of mystery traditions, esoteric groups, magical workings, and alien abductees. Literally, the book covers in some grounded aspect topics ranging from Hiram Abiff to Zoroastrianism.

Originally published in 1999, the work links many a missing connection in my own mind to things that I had only started to consider as connected and delved into areas of the Western Tradition that I had disassociated all together, including the workings of Gurdjieff or the more contemporary mix and matching of the New Age spirituality movement. Both of these are modern day examples to a Tradition that the authors trace all over the planet for the contributions of our present tense here and now.

Why do we overlay the Kabbalah with the ideas of Yogananda? And just how influential was Gnosticism to other Christian Mysticism or the Rosicrucian’s? How is the growing Neopagan movement allied to the conscious egotism of the Church of Satanism’s Anton LaVey? And it explores the disconnection between Islam and Sufism, two traditions born from the same peoples with radical differences.

What the Hidden Wisdom does not do, perhaps for good reason, is attempt broader connections between these disparate ideas as doing so would make it a commentary of opinion rather than a guide book to the esoteric traditions. Quite literally the work takes the reader step by step through the pantheon of what is considered the Western Mystery Tradition without validating or invalidating their ideas.

I think if given the opportunity, each of the chapters could themselves be evolved into books unto themselves, as the material they cover is rich and full of depth. It’s because of that depth that the Hidden Wisdom takes on the attributes of an Encyclopedia though written in the very easy to read language as that of an interesting history professor. The work is truly that intelligent and engrossing. And, if the written material isn’t enough to satisfy the curiosity, the books offers nearly 20 pages of Bibliographical reference for further inquiry.

In finishing this book my only wish about it was that I had come across it years ago when I first set foot upon this path of discovery. I would highly recommend the work to anyone just starting out or years into their discovery as it lays out the connections and origins so often glossed over in the source material of many of western traditions themselves. I can say, it will sit right besides Hall’s Secret Teachings as the go to source check in grounding the ethereal with the material origins.

You can find the book Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions – Revised Edition in booksellers and at Amazon – ISBN-13: 978-0835608442.