king Solomon, black arts, magick

Solomon the Magician

Solomon the Magician

By Brother Isaiah Coffey

Peace and blessings to all Divine Immortals

Magick has been equated with the act of being sinful, evil, sinister and ungodly even, however, nothing could be further from the Truth. Many are not aware that we use magick in some form or fashion during our daily lives. Prayer, itself, is even a form of magick. Anytime one calls for his surroundings, context or environment to change and to conform with a will and desire and invokes this change by means of a greater power… that, of itself, is a form of magick. [Reference – 1st definition] One will find this basic definition within countless esoteric literature. I did not construct this particular post to offend or to disrespect any one’s particular creed, doctrine or religion; I wrote this post for the exploration of awareness.

I do not subscribe to any religion or creed or particular “God” or theology and I hold no religion greater than the other; however, I do hold in authority the intention(s) of one’s heart; which is my empiricism. I have found that organized religions and their respective Volumes of Sacred Laws can only tell you about the Truth (God – whatever one will like to call it), but Truth must be directly experienced for oneself through ones own Soul. For me, personally, only then can true faith be established; One does that by learning how to go within oneself and connecting with your Higher Nature; in which ever exists in Oneness with Everything. In’lakech. I study the teachings of all faith traditions and utilize their Wisdom to further refine my character, essence, and nature as I continue to spiral upward in degrees towards perfection.

So, with this particular post, that I had originally drafted and sent to my lodge in 2007, it was inspired by a conversation that my lodge Brethren were having in regards to the occult topic of “black magick.” What does magick have to do with Freemasonry? Well, this is just a discovery, among others, that I have come along during my personal journey. Enjoy…

King Solomon's Temple

“G-d appeared to Solomon that night in a dream and said, ‘Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.’

Solomon answered:

LORD G-d, you were always loyal to my father David, and now you have made me king of Israel. I am supposed to rule these people, but there are as many of them as there are specks of dust on the ground. So keep the promise you made to my father and make me wise. Give me the knowledge I’ll need to be the king of this great nation of yours.

G-d replied:

Solomon, you could have asked me to make you rich or famous or to let you live a long time. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom and knowledge to rule my people. So I will make you wise and intelligent. But I will also make you richer and more famous than any king before or after you.”

~ V.S.L. ~ I Kings 3:7-12

Staff, Asclepius

Solomon was the son of a shepherd, and a former Prince himself, who eventually became a King. But how many are aware that the stifled voice of history would also tell you that he was also a magician, or a sorcerer, better yet… an adept of the arts of black magick? Indeed, just like another by the name of Moses who was still practicing Kemetian magick while leading the Israelites out of Kemet (Egypt) under the direction of YHWH. There is a Volume of Sacred Law that possesses a particular book called “Numbers,” and within Chapter 21 one will find a description of the Nehushtan that Moses used to heal the Israelites who were bitten by snakes.

This is what a Nehushtan or Nehustan, also known as the Staff of Asclepius at left.

Now it can be seen as a symbol better known as the “Star of Life” for the medical services.

Star of Life

Some will say that they have also seen two entwined serpents, on a single staff, as a symbol for the medical profession (below).

This particular symbol that you may have seen is known as the Caduceus; which was the staff that belonged to Hermes. This traditional mistake has been carried on for centuries. The true and proper symbol would be the Staff of Asclepius, whose single staff and single serpent was and is the true and original sign of the medical profession. I do not want to engage in severe tangents. One may begin their research regarding these points and the history of why the Staff of Asclepius is the appropriate symbol for the medical profession ——> (HERE).

Returning to the topic at hand, some would imagine that after Solomon conversed with YHWH that he awoke with all knowledge and wisdom the very next day or maybe it was over the course of the next few days, months or years. We’re not certain as to how long it may have taken Solomon to achieve this level of intelligence, but an idea that we may all agree upon is that Solomon has been considered one of, if not, the wisest of men that had ever lived.


A question surrounding the enigma of Solomon’s mind: “How did Solomon gain this knowledge and wisdom?”

We know that he became full of wisdom, but what was the process or by what means or method did he achieve this state of being? It would appear that Solomon did leave the world a clue attesting as to how he gained his wisdom, but this clue was written in an encrypted fashion. This one small fragment of a clue can be found within the Testament of Solomon. [Reference] Before we start, I’d like to draw your attention and point out that as one begins to read this testament, you will see the term, that may be unfamiliar to most, ‘pseudepigraphic‘ within the introduction.

This particular term, which originates from the word ‘pseudepigrapha,‘ basically means that although the text states a particular individual as the author of the text, we cannot ascertain or prove 100% that the author (i.e. Solomon) really wrote the particular text; more than likely because we were not there physically to witness the alleged author (i.e. Solomon) scribe the account. Well if this be the case, then every Volume of Sacred Law should, can and will be considered as pseudepigraphic because no one “physically,” from this current day and age, has been able to witness any of the accounts scribed within the plethora of Volumes of Sacred Laws; unless, of course, you have accessed the Akashic Records (What’s the Akasha you might ask? More info – Akasha Records) which case I’ll have no disputes.

Personally, I thought it necessary to put the argument of the term ‘pseudepigraphic’ to rest before we begin this journey.

The Testament of Solomon – a book voted against at the Council of Nicea – deals with the construction of the Temple by Solomon and his workmen. It has been noted by archaeologists and theologians, at The Temple Institute, that the description of Solomon’s Temple was not of ordinary construction by any means. The work and dimensions of the Temple were extraordinary and according to the words of Solomon himself, all of the workmen that contributed to the extraordinary design were not ordinary men either — half of the workforce were demons summoned by our Order’s first legendary Grandmaster Solomon. These demons were controlled by a signet-ring that Solomon wore that bore a certain symbol. I’ll get to that particular symbol in a moment.

time, weeping, virgin, broken pillar

Over the summer months of 2007, I had a conversation with a Past Master and he had mentioned to me that he had read a book I believe to be entitled The Craft and It’s Symbols by Allen E. Roberts; but don’t quote me on that book. However, he stated that there were two plates (pictures) located in the back and that one of the plates looked malevolent in nature, and that the other plate was of an older gentleman with long hair and beard blowing in the wind. I then mentioned that in alchemy an older gentleman is normally equated with Father Time; even within our very own Craft, there can be found an older gentleman, or “Father Time,” playing in the hair of a Weeping Virgin.

The Brother stated that he was aware of this correlation, but these plates seemed to be “out of place” because the book did not expound on the plates at all and the sole topic of the book was in reference to King Solomon’s Temple. I began to wonder and I remember stating to the Brother that “…there has to be a correlation between the Temple and Time.”

A few weeks later, the same Past Master had given me a copy of a lecture and within this lecture can be found the following statements near the conclusion:

…even the word ‘temple’ meant time. King Solomon’s Temple was emblematic of one year or the time it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun is 365 and 1/4 day or 1 Earth year.

What is interesting to note is that a few scholars and religious historians, such as H. Van Dyke Parunak and Glen Taylor, have stated that the Temple of King Sol-Om-On was actually “constructed as a Sun Temple and was in harmony with the universe and solar calendar.” [Reference] According to a particular Volume of Sacred Law, we are told that Moses was instructed by YHWH to build a tabernacle and Moses was repeatedly warned to make sure he followed instructions precisely because the tabernacle represented heavenly realities.

Quick note: Interestingly, any quick search will show that the name of Solomon may be divided into three syllables:

  1. Sol – Sun (Latin)
  2. Om – Sun (Hindu)
  3. On –  Sun (Arguments between Persian / Egyptian)

Some theologians have likened the tabernacle to a solar calendar because it was perfectly accurate, perfectly usable, and perfectly meaningful as it charted time by hour, day, month, and year. Many theologians would also agree that Solomon’s temple was a permanent and larger scale version of the portable tabernacle that Moses was instructed to build. So it would be safe to presume that Solomon’s temple was emblematic of a solar calendar, or of “time” itself; being that it was a larger version of the tabernacle of Moses. [Reference – pg 120]

I do not want to go to far into this tangent… so I’ll get back on course.

Within this particular Masonic book, that I had mentioned earlier, we have the topic discussion of King Solomon’s Temple, an alleged picture of Father Time and a picture of a malevolent entity. Now where could one possibly find demons, temples and the art of construction all wrapped up within the same content of material? You guessed it…

Demons + Temple (Time) = Testament of Solomon.

Now I’m sure that someone is assured that I’m reaching. Really? Well, if so, then explain this:

Gematria, as many may be aware, is the numerical value of letters. A = 1, B = 2, and C = 3 etc. If we were to gather a basic value of the terms we would have the summation of 141.

  • Demons = 70
  • Temple = 71
  • 70 + 71 = 141

The number 141 really isn’t a number. When we look at it closely 141 we will notice that the number 4 is between two parallel lines.

As you and I both know, parallel is a term in Freemasonry, geometry and in everyday life that refers to a property in Euclidean Space of two or more lines or planes. We should also realize that between the parallel lines isn’t really the number 4 at all… it is actually the planetary symbol for Jupiter.

In case one doesn’t know the correlation between Solomon and Jupiter… it would be Solomon’s Pentacles of Jupiter. I’ve placed an image of each pentacle of Jupiter below with the descriptions that follow after the images (Figures 18 – 21). In Figure 18, notice the symbol of a seemingly Square and Compass, the geometric echoes of the two triangles at the top of the wheel, and the ancient symbol for a female womb. All of these symbols can be found within the layout of the Lodge; even the exterior design of the Pyramid of Khufu can be found within the layout as well, but that is another topic.


When you scroll down and view the Pentacles below, also take notice at the bottom of the wheel the three (3) parallel lines on the right side of the wheel. Here is a side note, remember when I stated that Solomon’s ring bore certain symbols?

Well, I would like to mention that it only takes two (2) parallel lines to form the Star of David on your Masonic ring and three (3) lines, which are polar opposite to a similar square and compass design, to form a pentalpha on your ring.

The importance of a pentalpha? Well it’s the symbol, according to the Testament, that was on the ring of Solomon to summon and control the various entities to build the Temple. Some state that he also used the Star of David, or Jewish Star, as a signet on a second ring to summon and control lesser demons to construct the Temple. However, below are the images for Solomon’s Pentacles of Jupiter:

Jupiter pentacles

Figure 18 — A Solomon Seal for acquiring treasure, improving, growing and succeeding in life. This Solomon Seal is composed of mystical characters of Jupiter. Around it are the names of the angels: Netoniel, Devecia, Tzedeqiah, and Parasiel, written in Hebrew.

The prominent angel on the seal is Parasiel considered the lord and master of treasures and lost secrets. Other angels included, Netoniel the angel of glory, fame and notoriety. Devecia who provides balance, tranquility, peace and quiet. The angel Tzedeqiah, who brings honor, fame, riches, glory. The first pentacle of Jupiter serves to invoke the spirits of Jupiter, and especially those whose names are written around the pentacle, among whom Parasiel who is considered the lord and master of treasures, and teaches how to become possessor of places.

Figure 19 — The Second Pentacle of Jupiter — This is proper for acquiring glory, honors, dignities, riches, and all kinds of good, together with great tranquility of mind; also to discover Treasures and chase away the Spirits who preside over them. It should be written upon virgin paper or parchment, with the pen of the swallow and the blood of the screech-owl.

Editor’s Note — In the center of the Hexagram are the letters of the Name AHIH, Eheieh; in the upper and lower angles of the same, those of the Name AB, the Father; in the remaining angles those of the Name IHVH. I believe the letters outside the Hexagram in the re-entering angles to be intended for those of the first two words of the versicle, which is taken from Psalm cxii. 3:–‘Wealth and Riches are in his house, and his righteousness endureth for ever. ‘

Figure 20 — The Third Pentacle of Jupiter — This defends and protects those who invoke and cause the Spirits to come. When they appear show unto them this Pentacle, and immediately they will obey.

Editor’s Note — In the upper left corner is the Magical Seal of Jupiter with the letters of the Name IHVH. In the others are the Seal of the Intelligence of Jupiter, and the Names Adonai and IHVH.–Around it is the versicle from Psalm cxxv. 1:–‘A Song of degrees. They that trust in IHVH shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.’

Figure 21 — The Fourth Pentacle of Jupiter — It serves to acquire riches and honor, and to possess much wealth. Its Angel is Bariel. It should be engraved upon silver in the day and hour of Jupiter when he is in the Sign Cancer.

Editor’s Note — Above the Magical Sigil is the Name IH, Iah. Below it are the Names of the Angels Adoniel and Bariel, the letters of the latter being arranged about a square of four compartments. Around is the versicle from Psalm cxii. 3:–‘Wealth and Riches are in his house, and his righteousness endureth for ever.’

[Reference – For figures 18-21]

Below, on the left, is a painting, from 1473, by Jacobus de Teramo which depicts Solomon conversing with the Genii, below that is Belial is presenting his credentials before Solomon.

Solomon & Entities

Another similarity, among many, that can be found within our craft and the Testament of Solomon:

  • During the opening and closing of the lodge, the Worshipful Master, who can be seen as a symbolic version of King Solomon, states, within some jurisdictions such as Georgia, that: “The First shall be Last and the Last shall be First.”

During the workings of an Entered Apprentice degree, we should take notice that the WM places a cornerstone in the Northeast corner to further add onto the Temple…

It should be interesting to note that the current brethren of the Lodge would make

Solomon & Entity Bilal
Solomon & Entity Bilal

up the symbolic stones of the unfinished Temple; however, normally, within Operative Freemasonry, the first stone ever to be laid is the cornerstone and then all other stones become apart of the project, but Speculative Freemasonry appears to do just the complete opposite…. we already have the stones (Brethren) that make up the Temple, whereas we continue to add cornerstones to our Temple. Operative is physical in nature, while the Speculative is spiritual (As Above So Below); the two are mirroring opposites of each other.

I would have you to take notice to the 118th verse of the Testament of Solomon that speaks of such a stone being added as the cornerstone to complete the Temple:

“…and the Temple was being completed. And there was a stone, the end stone of the corner lying there, great, chosen out, on which I desired lay in the head of the corner of the completion of the Temple. And all the workmen, and all the demons helping them came to the same place to bring up the stone and lay it on the pinnacle of the holy temple, and were not strong enough to stir it, and lay it upon the corner allotted to it. For that stone was exceedingly great and useful for the corner of the Temple. …. And I Solomon, beholding the stone raised aloft and placed on a foundation, said: ‘Truly the Scripture is fulfilled, which says: ‘The stone which the builders rejected on trial, that same is become the head of the corner.”

According to the pentacles above, it would appear that Solomon obtained his knowledge, riches, honor, and wisdom via magik. Through this magik, he was able to construct the world’s most enigmatic Temple (known to mankind) with the assistance of demonic principalities and humans working together in unison underneath the power of his signet ring with the blessings of YHWH. Imagine… this all began with a simple prayer or invocation within a dream. Within the mind good and evil actually came together in unison for one common cause.

Our speculative (personal and collective) Temple of Freemasonry appears to be constructed by men who have been considered to be “evil from the days of their youth,” according to a Volume of Sacred Law that houses a book called Genesis (8:21). And with a bit of thought, this statement could allow us to perceive that this imperfect or “evil” nature within Man, along with his good, is constructing his inner Temple underneath the signet of a masonic ring, with the blessings of Deity, in which “no man should ever enter upon any great or important undertaking without first invoking the blessing of Deity .”

The seal of a masonic ring subdues, circumscribes and subjects his spirit; squares his thoughts; controls and tames his inner-self all for the construction of a Temple of Conscience which will benefit the external world that comes into his immediate contact — just as the Temple of Solomon benefited all of mankind that came into its immediate contact. Truly your temple, as with Solomon’s, is a temple that is being constructed with neither an ax, hammer, or any tool of iron or metal that is capable of being heard by the physical senses. [Reference – bottom of pg 182]

Now, if you’re thinking that this is a mere twist of interpretation and coincidence that our Order could be intertwined into the “Craft” (magik), lastly, but certainly not least, the Tyler states that his duties are: “…to keep off all Cowans and Eavesdroppers…;” the definition of a cowan is as follows:

  1. One who is a stonemason working without mortar courses.
  2. A non-Witch or non-pagan.
  3. An outsider, someone who is not a follower of the Old Religion

Not long ago… I was conversing with one of the Brothers at the lodge and I asked: “Why would the Tyler state that he is keeping off someone who is a stonemason (cowan), when masons are emulating stonemasons?” The Brother then replied: “Freemasonry is speculative.” After hearing his reply… I agreed nonetheless. So I therefore disregarded the first definition and payed attention to the latter two. My question which currently stands:

Why would the Tyler state that he is keeping off someone who is a non-Witch, or non-pagan, and/or an outsider that is not a follower of the Old Religion?

Do a search on the terms “Old Religion” and see what comes back.

Grandmaster Sulayman
Grandmaster Sulayman

I did an image search for a depiction of King Solomon and the picture at right is one of the first results, among many, that came back in my results. His left hand looks a bit unnatural… don’t you think? Finally my Brethren, I’ll close with the words of King Solomon himself:

“… though I marveled at the apology of the demons, I did not credit it until it came true. And I did not believe their words; but when they were realized, then I understood, and at my death I wrote this Testament to the children of Israel, and gave it to them, so that they may know the powers of the demons and their shapes, and the names of their angels, by which these angels are frustrated. ….. Wherefore I wrote out this Testament, that ye who get possession of it may pity, and attend to the last things, and not to the first. So that ye may find grace for ever and ever. Amen.”

~ Grandmaster Sulayman

Keep the mind attuned to a positive frequency!


Brother Isaiah
11 Tones :: Ahau
W.C. Thomas 112
MWPHGL of Georgia
former owner of the blog: Kingdom of Conscience ~ Osiris

freemasonry, things remembered, next generation, leaving something behind

What Will Be Your Legacy?

freemasonry, things remembered, next generation, leaving something behindThis article comes from RWB Dean Behrens, Senior Grand Warden for the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. The article originally appeared in the Grand Lodge of South Dakota’s publication The Masonic Messenger. You can visit the Grand Lodge’s website here.

What will be your legacy?

Is it too soon, or too late, for any one of us to ask ourselves that question? Just what is a legacy anyway?

I found this definition of legacy online at . Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past. That seems fairly straight forward. The something in this definition could be anything. I like to think that it can definitely apply to your Masonic legacy.

When you became a Mason your Masonic predecessors left a Masonic legacy for you. It included the building you were raised in, perhaps some money in the treasury, a set of principles, beliefs, values, some rules and a bunch of other stuff that only you know about. The intangible parts of this legacy are unique to each new Mason. That is because Masonry will mean something different to each individual Mason. Some have said that this is the only true secret about Masonry. Your Masonry is your secret.

The physical assets you leave as part of your legacy are, of course, important for those Masons you will leave behind. These can ensure that your Brothers will have the ability to meet comfortably and continue to promote Masonry in your community so that they and their community can be the better because of Masonry and its principles. So keep those in mind.

The intangible are perhaps even more important. My experience is that the most valuable person in an organization is the one that is hardly missed when he/she is away for a period of time. They have organized things so well, trained other so well and set such an example that everything works smoothly even when they are not there. Those that do the opposite generally create chaos when they are gone even for a very short time. They have created job security and proved to others how great and invaluable they are to the organization, or so they often think. Be mindful that it can be amazing what can be done if no one cares who gets the credit.

Please keep your legacy in mind in everything you do as a Mason. Not for you, but for those you will leave behind, both in Masonry and in your community.

What will be your legacy?

Dean Behrens
Senior Grand Warden

Human Dignity and Freemasonry Nowadays

By Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr., J.D., PH.D., M.A., 33º 

The human being represents a cosmic reality, a phenomenon of universal value with physical structure and psychological characteristics. The self-recognition of said value and our recognition of the same in others is what we call Human Dignity.

In Latin, the word dignitas meant: appreciation or valuation. Therefore, to say that someone and/or something was “dignified” was equivalent to saying that it was valuable, meritorious, worthy, and possessor of a distinction.

Talking about human dignity, we will be considering that a person has a “human worth”, or that he/she is valuable as human being, which, to some of us may seem redundant for we usually identify as equivalent the concepts of person and human being; However, men and women of all cultures have tended to consider that people have “dignity” when possessing a specific value added to their simple quality of human beings, thus transferring to that circumstantial and adjective dignity the substance of the fundamental worth of which depend all other values attributable to any person.

Thus, the appreciation of “indignity” or specific negative value of the condition of slavery, has, throughout thousands of years, deprived millions of Men and Women of being valued as such, denying them that Human Dignitas which has been recognized solely in “free men”. The person or “role” of slave in the social scene (let us not forget that “persona” meant “theatrical mask” in Latin) deprived the individual of human dignity, making him/her a “head of cattle” or a “thing”, subject to the will of men whom society considered “free and worthy”. In like manner, the condition of women in patriarchal societies has been destitute of full human dignity, as it is the case with undocumented aliens, gay people, disabled individuals, etc., relegating their individual valuation to a “third” or “last level”, and determining rigid social trenches to the development of personal identity. Evidently, it is always about a juridical farce which facilitated and still facilitates the exploitation of men by men. And so it remained a farce for as long as the enslaved individual ceased considering him/herself a human, since nobody could deprive him/her of his/her conscience, which, after all, is the Interior Temple of every human being.

All this can be open to various analyses, with different focuses and different angles, depending on how we approach them studying the psychological motivations which have been determining the structures of all human groups, starting from the horde, the tribe, the clan, the family, etc., or the characteristics of the economical and cultural systems which have sustained these very structures. In the cited examples, enslaved people were not free, women were not strong, and free men were never adequately capable. Liberty, Strength and Intelligence have always been the three powerful dignifying conditions, symbolized by society as Elevated Human Values and whose falsification and substitution have also always given origin to false dignities.

The freedom of choosing in accordance with the natural impulses of our characteristic psychosomatic structure, of that which we call human nature, from the very singularity which is represented by every person, demands knowledge of the reality which surrounds us. There is no true freedom of option, without a previous analysis of the exterior world that can permit us to ponder and measure the risk which our actions might represent to the maintenance of our identity and integrity, since one of the first dictates of our human conscience is to keep on existing in Time and Space joyfully.

The truly human acts are not mere pulsations or responses of reactions to indiscriminate stimuli from the habitat in which the individual finds him/herself, precisely because we possess a discriminatory or selective capacities, ordering abilities, and conscience of our personal entity. The less comparative data we store in our memories, the less our knowledge will be, and the closer we will be to the other species of animals, though bare of the series of vital resources conserved by these. The essentially human acts are always ponderings and/or ministrations that permit us to self-evaluate and value the exterior world within the context of our own circumstances. These evaluations, and not the simple impact of exterior occurrences, produce sentiments which activate our Will in one way or another. The evaluating capacity is Rationality, the function of that which we call Reason, and the sentiments which punctually impulse our will constitute what we call Meaning, Courage, Conviction, Determination and Fortitude. This meaning that inspires human acts is frequently confused with the aim or finality of such acts. Our will is courageously determined when moved by feelings that are not merely animals, but specifically humans.

A pendulous relation between sentiment and reason is established: a first sensation, produced as a result of the capture of an external phenomenon, through the senses, places in due course our capacity for evaluation and ministration by means of the more or less rapid collation of our mental archive of data and experiences. It may be that such first experience can settle in your mind, as a sentiment, or be disposed of. If it is converted into a stable sentiment, it shall determine our Will, motivating our acts and utilizing our rational code of data to reach the desired goal. From there on, it will be Reason the one which will guide our true actions as men and women; However, the misuse of “reasoning” can take us through a chain of analyses, back and forth, capable of making us “re-evaluate” our first sensation and of ejecting that sentiment already settled in our mind, thus altering our will.

The aperture or permanent propensity to favor this pendulous relation between sentiment and reason elevates men and women above the rest of animal species and constitute the essence of Human Initiation. It requires the apprenticeship or education that the pedagogues of all times have striven to obtain, following rules and diverse methods, but failing to give to the genesis of sentiments the importance which it really has, and focusing, most of the time, in the pure intellective value of reason applied to the development of conceptual or intellectual abstractions, without understanding that such should be a second stage of human education.

Those who do not know, cannot or want not to submit their will to the process of self-analysis previously schematically described, generally they tend to confuse their volitions determined by sentiments anchored in their meaning and courage, and not submitted to a rational critique with universal human values, or of permanent human category applicable to all and in everywhere. That close-mindedness my Brethren, is called Fanaticism. Fanaticism walks hand in hand with Ignorance, and very frequently with Personal Avarice, which united as a wicked triumvirate subjugate humanity under the scepter of Intolerance.

The true recognition of human dignity takes effect by recognizing freedom of option, through an education which underlines the importance of values that are essentially human, and which allows each individual to realize said values in him/herself. That is to say, to consider transcending values, values that are not only appreciable within a concrete cultural scheme, but that are beyond mere material or temporal contingencies, as they are symmetrical with the Universal Law reflected in human nature and carved into the very structure of mankind.

Such is, in short, the utopian message of Universal Brotherly Love that should inspire every Free-Mason in his initiatic path.

Reprinted by permission of Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr.

Is CoMasonry The Antidote? – Part 3

By Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr., J.D., PH.D., M.A., 33º
Read  – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 1
Read  – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 2

The pre-revolutionary condition and philosophy of illustration of the era, propitiated the strengthening of the Principle of Equality between a man and a woman, and so it came to pass that both genders became lawfully eligible for membership in the Craft.

To admit a Woman in Lodge, is more than “opening the doors of our Temples to the Lovelier Gender”. It is to interrogate our Inner Tribunal of Consciences over the Eligibility of Women for Induction, in other words, to reflect on their potentials and their undeniable intellectual and spiritual qualifications as human beings; Yet these reflections cannot be carried out in Lodge so directly and openly – it is preferable to induce them by making reference to the “High Priestesses” and “Female Initiates of Ancient Mysteries”, through whom it is tacitly presupposed therefore that Women are “thinking beings”.

In spite of the efforts of many Free-Masons to place women in conditions of Equality, the Official Masonry at the dawn of the XIX century, at best, accepts the Adoption but not the Initiation; this meaning that women may become “adoptive daughters” of Anderson, perhaps even “his sisters”, but never his equals.

Now, in the arts and written press of France, serious, noticeable, and rather loud public  discussions over women joining Free-Masonry began to take place, and to become the habitual topic of debate in almost every social gathering of the period.

In general, we can state that the arrival of English-Styled Masonry in France caused problems, and provoked an uproar in the aristocratic-bourgeois sociability of Paris and other parliamentary capitals dominated in part by women. Since 1730, the year in which the first Feminine Masonic Lodge appeared, there were published a number of literary works that fervently manifested the discontent of Ladies who saw themselves marginalized by “Regular Masonry”. In fact, however, not a single one of those pamphlets and/or books was written by a woman; thus leading us to assert with much certainty, that “The Enchanting Gender” was not considered odd or foreign to the mobilization and activism of many Male Free-Masons who favored the admission of women to the Royal Art.

At the same time, we must be honest, and for the sake of historical accuracy mention that there were Male Masons whom, over-looking the fundamental principles of the Order, invited to their banquets, dance halls and post-official gatherings, numerous loose females, dancers and courtesans, with whom they committed excesses that brought forth a terrible loss of prestige to our Institution in the eyes of the government, the roman catholic clergy, and the society at large; However, since the legalization of Masonic Lodges of Adoption by the Grand Orient of France, there were countless Male Free-Masons who defended the Legitimate Right of Women to participate in Masonic labors; and these actions, of course, provoked an immediate reaction in their detractors. As every day went by, more and more, the arguments over Women in Free-Masonry became a personal dispute between members of the Craft in general – whether they be sympathizers or adversaries of Co-Masonry. Eventually, the debate, or, better stated, the war of ideas between the defenders of the “enchantment of women”, and those concerned-accusers who denounced the “dangers of their weaknesses”, created the propitious soil for the germination of what in due time came to be known as: The Global Feminist Movement.


Masonic Organization in Mexico and Latin America:

Given the fact that during the last 150 years Co-Masonry has gained greater notoriety, relevance and power in the Masonic World at the south side of El Rio Grande in the American Continent, and most of Europe (with the exception of the so-called “United Kingdom”) has long embraced the spirit of True Universal Free-Masonry, I will focus this section of my article in that part of the Western Hemisphere where the most retrograde and deplorable conservative-religious societies still exist, Mexico, Colombia, and Latin America as a whole.

Despite having been duly constituted as Independent Secular Republics, and, as such, having earned their Freedom and Sovereignty among the nations of the world – through the leadership and struggles of Free-Masons precisely, Mexico and most Central and South American countries, have proven to be quite an on-going challenge for the Craft and, most particularly, for the aspirations of women.

For a very long time, in Mexico, Colombia, and other Ultra-Catholic/Patriarchal Latin American countries, the membership of women in Free-Masonry has been considered one of the greatest taboos that, more than anything else, divide rather than unify.

The equivocated interpretation and enforcement of the Landmarks, which, per the so-called “Regular Masonry,” bars women’s admission and equal participation in the Craft, not only ignores the role of Guilds of Women Spinners, Seamstresses, Weaveresses, Women Glass-Stainers/Cutters/Blowers, Sculptresses, Women Engravers, etc. in the Arts of Architecture and Construction, but, it also captures one of the fundamental prejudices of the Puritan English Society of the beginning of the XVIII century, to whom a woman was considered a “thing”, in the juridical meaning of the word, and, as such, she was legally deprived of any and all rights, except, of course, of those dispensated to her by her Master, or better stated, her “Proprietor.”

French Free-Masonry, sponsored in considerable measure by Opulent Ladies of the period, since its very official foundation in 1740, marks a pivotal moment in the consolidation of a more egalitarian society, by taking on the challenge of recognizing the rights of their compatriots of like gender, and with that the possibility of being initiated in a Masonic Lodge. To our contemporary dismay, unfortunately, the prejudices of “Victorian Morals” remain in force at the dawn of the Third Millennium, and they still are the principal cause of Discord and Disharmony among the different visions and bodies of Symbolical Masonry around the world.

Amidst this puritanical phase in Global Free-Masonry, a significant event took place in the less-suitable country, Mexico. Surprisingly and amazingly enough, by the standards of that period and society, the Mexican Masonic Organization, following the tradition of Vanguard Thinking which, since its official birth around the middle of the XIX century has been hoisted by “The Mexican National Rite,” has sponsored the formation of Bi-Gender Lodges, considering women in total equality of conditions, rights and capacities as those of their Male Brothers. There is also much respect to the autonomy, habits, and bylaws fomented among all different Lodges and Grand Orients or Jurisdictions, by recognizing and accepting with like enthusiasm the existence of Masonic Lodges which, are exclusively masculine or feminine.

Thus, in all the Lodges and Bodies amalgamated in the Mexican Masonic Organization, and particularly in the Grand Orients of Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, the participation of women or men in The Order, is accepted – without being obligatory to Lodges that are purely masculine, or, exclusively feminine, respectively.

Moreover, in 1991, the Mexican Masonic Organization welcomed the official birth and constitution of the First Masonic Grand Lodge of Women of Mexico, also known as: “Grand Lodge of Insurgent Women”. Unlike a number of “Co-Masonic” and/or “Para-Masonic” Grand Jurisdictions of Latin America where women are recognized as “Lesser Sisters”, this unique Masonic Body has total recognition. and is endowed with absolute power and autonomy over its laws, decisions, and labors. In 1995, Argentina and Peru followed in their Mexican Brethren’s footsteps, by rejoicing in the emergence and formation of their respective Feminine Masonic Grand Lodges. Presently, with the exception of The Central American Isthmus, there are Co-Masonic and Feminine Grand Bodies in every country of Latin America.


“Gender is in everything; everything has a Masculine and Feminine Principle; Gender is manifested in all planes”, so teaches the ultimate of the Hermetic Laws. With this postulate, the “Thrice Wise Master” guides us through the different levels of Natural Evolution, observing in it how duality is fused into one, in order to create a new being.

This Principle, which relates to Procreation, also shows us the existence of centrifugal and centripetal impulses, which are the forces that support gravitation, be it at the level of minuscule particles, or, of immense Universes.

Of all the Cosmic Purposes, to engender Life is the most sacred and transcendental act. At the microscopic level, the force of attraction makes the negative corpuscles or electrons revolve around the positive-ones or protons. After their obligated courtship, they unite, and thus the creation of a new atom occurs. In the animal and human species the “dance of life” repeats itself with male spermatozoa being attracted by female ovules. When one of the male reproductive cells attains penetration, the miracle of conception takes place.

The same system of procreation reigns at the macro-cosmic levels. In the British Encyclopedia we find that

“… in remote times, the bombardment of comets to the earth could have had an important role in the formation of the atmosphere and the seas. Additionally, these comets could have supplied the organic molecules necessary for the development of life”.

The method of fertilization is then the same – be it electrons, sperm, or comets that fecundate protons, ovules or planets. In like manner, we must apply the Principle of Gender to “traveling” from the “known” to the “unknown” – supporting ourselves in the Principle of Correspondence: “As it is above so is below, and, as it is below so is above”. Only through such application of this Principle shall Free-Masons comprehend and harness its primordial significance and power.

So states Hermes Trismegistus:

The very creation of the Universe also obeys the Principle of Gender.

He adds further: “Gender is manifested in all planes.” This, my Brothers, means that all possibilities of creation – mental and spiritual – are governed by the same Universal Law or Principle. Until the luminous emergence of the “Thrice Greatest Master”, a little over five thousand years ago, this was an occult body of knowledge available only to the Great Sages and High Priests/Priestesses of Ancient Egypt. In it there also secrets of “High Magick”, for only the faithful implementation of this law can bring within our reach the key, with which to command the Sacred FIAT LUX by the power of the Wise.

Brethren, Co-Masonry is already part of our lives – whether we accept it or not; it is in our very Human Faculties; it is part of our natural mechanism, and, accordingly, part of our very Masonic Essence as “Individuals who were first made Masons in OUR HEARTS”. Even at more subtle levels, to procreate is the result of the union of opposites.

A Thought, which is activity and mobility, represents Masculine Polarity, while Emotions and Sentiments, as clear expressions of Receptivity and Repose, and incarnate the Feminine Principle.

In order to physically produce what we desire, we must unite these forces:


Thus, all our individual and/or collective endeavors shall first be conceived in subtle planes. Then, if the Law/Principle of Correspondence allows, the Universe will support it/them and accommodate the circumstances of manifestation (Gestation Process), Once the necessary time has elapsed, we shall invariably see the materialization of that which we created.

Our membership is still declining, regardless of our Enthusiasm, Official Optimism, and the momentary “Increase” of alleged “quality brethren”. It is Time to open our Third Eyes and begin seeing!


All it takes is Humility, Wisdom, and a Sense of Justice and Equality. Are we “Worthy Masons” not characterized by such Virtues?! Are we “Concerned Masons” not worried about the Future of our Institution?! Are we “Enlightened F-r-e-e-Masons” not the Children of Alchemy’s Hermaphrodite Being?! If you responded positively to these questions, there is no need for further disputes and/or discussions – there is only much Amelioration to bring into our Fraternity.

In short, Is Co-Masonry the Antidote?

I have no doubt!

Reprinted by permission of Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr.

co masonry, mixed masonry, women, secret societies

Is CoMasonry the Antidote – Part 2

co masonry, mixed masonry, women, secret societies

By Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr., J.D., PH.D., M.A., 33º
Read  – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 1

Read  – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 3


1.  Alleged “Official Birth” in England

Symbolic or “Speculative Masonry” began to gradually develop during the XVI and XVII in Europe, particularly – though not exclusively – in the kingdoms of England and Scotland.

As the official history relates, on June 24, 1717, four Londonese Lodges gathered to celebrate the Summer Solstice, and to “constitute” the First Grand Speculative Lodge (“Grand Lodge of London”); But, not without the most indignant protest of The Grand Lodge of Operative Masons, which, denounced the “Speculative One” of being Illegitimate and Apocryphal, for many of its subordinate lodges and very leaders (including Anderson himself) had never been affiliated with the Craft – let alone initiated – as “Accepted Masons”.

From that moment on, however, the Grand Lodge of London became the creating source of numerous lodges around the world, which, in turn, were progressively creating their own national bodies (Grand Lodges or Grand orients in every country), all inter-linked by bonds of Solidarity and Mutual Recognition.

In September 1721 (four years later), as a result of the heterogeneity provoked by great errors that existed in all the copies of the Ancient Constitutions, and, at the same time, due to the expansion of Speculative Masonry to Europe and America, the assembly of The Grand Lodge of London charged Pastor James Anderson, chaplain of a subordinate Lodge, with “ordering the old constitutions with a new and better method”. Anderson finalized the assignment in three months and presented his finalized work at the festivity of Winter Solstice of that same year – being thereupon revised by a commission integrated by fourteen erudite masons, shorthly thereafter approved by the same group on March 25, 1722, and subsequently published by William Hunter the following year. In the third article of these “new constitutions”, there is a concrete clause prohibiting women to join the Order. In that sense, Anderson is very clear in stating such prohibition; But, he is rather indifferent in stating the motivations that drove him to such a pronouncement.

2. Emergence in Continental Europe:

Simultaneously, Speculative Masonry started gaining terrain in Continental Europe, mainly in France. In addition to the Irish Lodges that were constituted in Saint Germain in 1690, Free-Masonry attained much strength at the beginning of 1720, under the leadership of the Duke of Wharton, and, posteriorly, under that of Sir John MacLean. The first “londonese styled” election, of which there is historical constancy, was that of Charles Radcliffe, Count of Dervenwater, in 1736, as “Grand Master of the Most Ancient and Most Illustrious Society of Franc-Masons in the Kingdom of France”. The Duke of Anton was the first French Grand Master of the Order in 1738. Later came the Grand Mastership of Louis de Borbon, Count of Claremont and Abbot of Saint Germain from 1743 to 1771, whom at one point was even called “Grand Master of All Regular Masonic Lodges in the Kingdom of France”.

The first french translation of the “Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of London”, better known historically as: “Anderson’s Constitutions”, was made by the Marquis de la Tierce in 1742, twenty years after its first publication in London. In his translation he mentions:

“The famous festivities of Ceres in Eleusis, of Isis in Egypt, of Minerva in Athens, of Urania in Phoenicia, and of Diana in Sitia, had much in common with ours. The celebration of these mysteries contained clear vestiges of the ancient religion of Noah and other patriarchs; they concluded their ceremonies with a feast and libations during which, at the beginning, no one knew of excesses or intemperances, until later when the pagans fell into them gradually. The source of these infamies, was the admission of people from one gender and the other at the nocturnal assemblies of the institution. It was to prevent these abuses that women were excluded from the Order”.

This, could be interpreted as either a tacit or veiled admission that indeed women were admitted to work in Lodge in the past; as a rather poor and quasi-baseless argument to discriminate against women; or, as a political pretext – as the very de la Tierce points out – to keep Queen Elizabeth from joining the Order and using it to her benefit, as she so did with other guilds.

It is possible that due to this draconian transition between the established observance of the real constitution of the Grand Lodge of London and the reissuing of its new general norms (“Anderson’s Constitutions”) which lasted approximately six years, the lodges under its jurisdiction  worked without rituals and unifying norms during the first half of the XVIII century, and this was, of course, reflected in the first Speculative or Symbolic Masonic Lodges of Continental Europe, many of which, due to their involuntary or voluntary disavow of Anderson’s Constitutions, welcomed the initiation of women.

3. Pseudo-Initiatic Androgynous Societies of Masonic Appearance:

In the Pre-Revolutionary French Society, there were many organizations created by the growing Bourgeoisie that participated in the process of creating the “Civil Court” which came to gradually substitute the “Imperial Court”; these organizations were circles, clubs, cafes, academies, literary societies, scientific societies, spiritualist societies, alchemical societies, chambers, halls of lecture and singing, etc. The vast majority of these societies were not only bi-gender, but, were also sponsored by women of great economical, social and political power – mainly the “philosophical halls”, a world of initiates that was dominated by the “Court of Seals” of the Duchess of Maine (1676 – 1753), Director ad vitam of the “Order of the Bee”; the hall of the Marquee of Lambert (1647 – 1733); the “Bureau of the Spirit” of Claudine Guerin de Tencin (1681 – 1749); the hall of the Marquee of Deffand (1697 – 1780); the “Kingdom” of Maria Teresa Geoffrin (1699 – 1777) and the “Philosophical Hall” of Julia de Lespinasse (1732 – 1776).

The pseudo-initiatic societies denominated as: “Androgynous” or “Hermaphrodite” that appeared along the XVIII century, have their origins in like organizations created at the end of Louis XIV’s rule, and other social entities of more profane roots where the openness of membership to both genders was not only normal, but, encouraged. These organizations can be divided in two groups:

Secret Societies which were gallant, licentious, fun-seeking and recreational, platonic and charitable.

“Orders” that parodied Free-Masonry and sought to become their competitors and/or substitutes – something that they did so well, that between 1730 and 1740 public powers/officials mistook them for actual Masonic Lodges in a number of occasions. Among these “Orders” were: the “Con-Fraternity of Figs” in Vienna, the “Order of Liberty“, “Order of Felicity“, and “Order of Anthropocentrism” in France. The “Order of Felicity” proliferated and got to be sponsored by high personages of French politics, economics and society at large. On the other hand, the “Order of Anthropocentrism” took its name from maritime language, a fact, which, in the eyes of the profane world, got them often misidentified with Masonic Lodges of naval origin – aside from having passwords and methods of recognition which made reference to bodily parts of men and women, and, that, as such, had erotic, sexual and licentious connotations.

The “Order of Knights and Nymphs of the Rose” was also famous; its membership was mainly constituted of aristocrats and well known free-masons, such as: the Duke of Chartres (then future Duke of Orleans) who was also Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France.

The “Order of Knights and Ladies of Perseverance” equally pseudo-initiatic, but, less “loud”, was created by notable figures such as: the daughter of Stanislav II, Augustus Poniatowski, Last King of Poland, Elizabeth Lubomirska and her daughters, the Countesses Rzewuska and Potocka, all members of the Masonic Lodge of Adoption “Catherine the Northern Star” which was conjoined with its male counterpart of the same name, constituted under the auspices of the Grand Orient of France, and propelled by Ignatius Potocki. Other notables who held membership in this Lodge of Adoption were the Duke of Chartress, the Count of Artois (future Charles X), the Prince of Ligne, Charles Joseph, future Marshall of Russia, the Austrian Duke of Lauzum. Knight Hospitallier of the Order, and a number of prestigious intellectuals.

During the kingdoms of Louis XV and Louis XVI appeared other pseudo-initiatic organizations of Masonic appearance, such as: the “Order of Medusa“, the “Extirpators of Palisades“, the “Knights of the Dove“, the “Order of the Green Apple“, etc.

Since 1730, aside from these more or less “light societies”, in all of Europe we are able to find fraternities (bi-gender or not) which, amused themselves parodying Masonic secrets and rituals out of mere jealousy, contempt, rivalry and/or imbecile humor.

The Order of Mopses (or Order of the Pug) is perhaps the most famous of the aforementioned organizations which used to mocker Free-Masonry. It was born in Strasburg in 1738, after the official prohibition of Masonry emitted by the Empress Mary Therese, as a consequence of the Papal Bull “In Eminenti”. It was presided by Wilhelmina, sister of Frederick II, King of Prussia. With the exception of the Grand Mistress Ad Vitam, all the Sisters may occupy all the “stations”. In every Lodge, every position or office has two titleholders, a man and a woman. Every six months the presidency of the Lodge is alternated between a Man and a Woman, and their ceremony of Initiation is carried out in accordance with the Inductee’s gender, be it by male or female officers.

It was within that context, in 1736, that Andre Michelle, Knight of Ramsay pronounced his over-misogynous speech before the General Assembly of Masonic Lodges in Paris, and which he later repeated in 1737. His public address had the eventually-failed objective of causing Free-Masonry to be under the control of the Monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church, in order to counterattack the incredulity and socio-political discredit in which the Craft had fallen, due to the turmoil and disorder provoked in considerable measure by these Pseudo-Initiatic Institutions of Masonic Resemblance and, of course, by the misconduct of actual Free-Masons.

All this agitation caused a great deal of tension between the Puritan and Orthodox Masonic Jurisdictions of England and their French counterparts. From then on, the English Free-Masons demonstrated an unbelievable efficiency in generating tidal-waves of anti-feminine literature aimed at justifying the non-admittance of women in Lodge. They had three basic arguments which had been tangibly proven in France, at the hands of the previously referenced “Mixed Pseudo-Initiatic Orders”. Such arguments were: the congenital Feminine Indiscretion which made the respect to Masonic secrecy Impossible; the disorders, conflicts and eventual loss of harmony that could be provoked by the “Beautiful Gender” in a Masculine Lodge; and the risks of being accused of Immorality, Lasciviousness and Libertinism by civil and ecclesiastical authorities.

From that moment forward, one of the most colossal anti-feminist campaigns was launched in all of Europe. These campaigns were clearly manifested in Literature, Music, Theater, and, of course, the Media… What’s new?!

In reaction to this, in 1774 the Grand Orient of France legitimized the Lodges of Adoption (Bi-Gender and Feminine Masonic Lodges). Pierre Louis Gouillard Aine, Parliament’s Attorney, Dean of the Faculty of Law in Paris, Royal Auditor, Officer of the Grand Orient of France and Venerable Master of Sophia Lodge prepared a document containing numerous points in defense of Female Free-Masons. Some of those remarks and arguments were:

“The association of both genders is founded upon Natural Law and one cannot separate from this Principle without rebelling against the tenets of this Immutable Law”;

” What a most satisfying spectacle to see a Lodge formed by Brothers and Sisters animated by the desire of practicing the fundamental virtues of our Institution”;

“Which Philosopher – even the most austere – can refuse the pleasure of contemplating in the same place the two most perfect artworks that were ever sculpted by the hand of Nature?!”

Then, he gives historical proof that indeed Women are capable of safe-keeping the most delicate secrets:

“… when being admitted in many of the Mysteries of Antiquity, like those of the Druids, to whom they were Deservers of all Confidence and Respect, even more so than that which they professed toward men, by having been assigned to the office and dignity of Prophetesses and Sages that were considered the elite of the nation …”

He continues on advocating for the innocence of Sisters in Lodge:

“Some of our Brothers, oblivious to the principles of Art and under false pretenses  of creating a Lodge of Adoption, have gathered incorrigible females with whom to abandon themselves in orgies and the most uncontrollable excesses of libertinism; But, precisely because we have had the disgrace of nourishing in our bosom those unworthy monsters that I call “men” (for I wish not to call them Masons), these spurious brothers, abusing  a title of which they are totally unworthy of, have succumbed to the most execrable superfluities; Can we actually think that the solution is to throw women out of our Temples?, No! Undoubtedly what must be done is to take measures against the perpetrators of these transgressions”.

He then suggested a number of regulative measures to stop the abuses in the Lodges of Adoption – such as the following two:

“To summon, by consent of the majority of the Brethren, to participation in all meetings and special gatherings, which will be indistinctively presided by either the Venerable Master, or one of the Wardens of the Adopting Lodge”;

“Scrupulous Examination of the conduct and state of all female candidates”.

And with this final comment, our French Brethren voted in favor of admitting women into our Order:

“… profiting from lessons of Wisdom that shall be vividly engraved in the hearts of men, when imparted by an amiable mouth which by the sweetness of its accents, shall make the austerity of precepts disappear, and will force us to think of ourselves and to practice virtue …”

From this very moment, many masculine lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of France began to auspice Lodges of Adoption, and, at the same time, to enrich the arguments in defense of Free-Co-Masons (Women Free-Masons), thus creating the Perfect Unification of Human Energies and Labors toiling for the material, moral, spiritual and intellectual progress of Humanity.

All these events gave full or partial pretext or foundation to the “surfacing” or “devising” of an Anglo-Saxon System of Masonry which calls itself “REGULAR” and refuses to “recognize” others, and a “LIBERAL” F-R-E-E-MASONRY, integrated by all those other Sovereign Grand Bodies and Jurisdictions that are “Irregular” in the eyes of our English Styled/Controlled Masonry — An absolute contraposition which seems irremediable still in our days.

Reprinted by permission of Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr.

Is CoMasonry The Antidote? – Part 1

By Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr., J.D., PH.D., M.A., 33º
Read  – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 2
Read  – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 3

While listening to an alarming expose on the declining of membership of “Regular” American Masonry and its apparent inexorable demise, I could not help to wonder if that which has been prohibited, the admission of Women into our Order, is not precisely what and whom we need to insure our survival, and, most importantly, to genuinely live up to our Sacred Principle of Equality. As I gathered my thoughts later on that night, I began to gradually immerse myself in my humble essential library, and proceeded to read, compile, and eventually mold my sentiments and commentaries on paper. The following essay is the result of various sleepless nights that began that same evening.


The eagerness to know the Self and his/her Objective and Predominant Surrounding, in order to achieve Self-Transcendence, is one of the peculiar characteristics of human feeling, thinking and acting.

The perennial problems that Humanity has endeavored to resolve since its very origins, are all alike in their roots, though their solutions have been adapted to “the spirit of times”, that is to say, to the appropriate conditions of a particular civilization in a determined time and place.

Since immemorial times, there have existed ritualistic practices exclusively for men, for women, and/or for both.

Nowadays, it has become frequent to observe the rediscovery or resurfacing of Ancient Schools of Thought and Initiatic Organizations engaged in new ways of understanding and implementing (esoterically and exoterically) the Traditional Science. Among these organizations and schools, Organized Free-Masonry distinguishes itself as the most important of all Initiatic Institutions in Western Europe, America and parts of Asia and Africa.

All these aspects – without prejudice to others that are also worthy of consideration – should be kept into account when asking ourselves and others the questions: “What is Masonry?”, and, “What is Mixed Masonry or Co masonry?”.

As we now begin to reflect, with the purpose of building for ourselves and others the most objective possible vision of what Free-Masonry is in general, and Mixed Free-Masonry or Co masonry in particular, we must try to answer, with the utmost honesty, the following three questions:

  • Have there existed initiatic organizations of mixed and feminine orientation in ancient times, and, if so, did they actively participate in the Art of Architecture?
  • Has there existed a Mixed and/or a Feminine Speculative Masonry, at least since its alleged “official birth” in 1717, and, if so, how has it evolved?

Is it possible, at this point in time, to conceive a Free-Masonry integrated by Lodges of Women, of Men, or, of Mixed Gender among which there can exist a broad respect to their particular preferences of initiatic realization, while, at the same time, having full conscience that they ALL are part of an unique and indivisible entity known as: Universal Free-Masonry?


A Curious Mythology:

Ever since humans left behind their nomadic conditions and became sedentary, they started to manifest their attitude toward advancement and their aptitude for construction. In fact, Construction is one of the most evident characteristic signs of Civilization in all epochs and cultures; However, with respect to determining its objective origins, History is irremediably mixed with Myth, arriving sometimes to some unsuspected extremes.

Charles Bernardin (1860-1939), notable Masonic Historian and member of the Supreme Council of the Grand Orient of France, was able to compile and prove the existence of 206 authors who contended and presented 39 divergent opinions on the origin of Masonry. Amongst these opinions, the most admiration-worthy are the following:

  • At the very beginning of “his constitutions”, Anderson himself asserts that the first Mason was Adam, and that the Great Architect of the Universe inscribed in his heart the Liberal Sciences, and, before all, Geometry, fundament of Masonry and Architecture, which, he later taught to his descendants.
  • Fifteen of the thirty nine Masonic Historians elaborated on the existence of a Lodge at the East of Paradise. Some contend that at the sixth day of the Creation, the issue of women in Lodge was addressed and approved at the Celestial Grand Lodge. Others state that the First Mason was indeed Adam, and from that standpoint Jean Marie Ragon de Bettignies (1781-1866) concluded: “… If our father Adam labored in Lodge, he could not have done it with anyone else, but, with his woman …”.
  • Elian Brault  stated, rather persuasively: “… Given that the Serpent of Genesis approached Eve first, to have her taste the fruit of The Tree of Life, Science and Death, it was Eve evidently the First Initiated, whom, in turn, initiated Adam …”
  • For his own part, Marc Bedarride sustains  that the Patriarch Jabel, son of Lamech, was the first who conceived the felicitous idea of accepting a woman in Lodge. He chose as Grand Mistress his sister Noema, daughter of Lamech and Sella, and sister of Tubalcain. Since the age of seventeen, Noema demonstrated having the most outstanding qualities, by being honest, civilized, gracious, affable, amiable, kind and beautiful. Jabel surrounded himself with other illustrious sisters to help him with his labors – having had their first Lodge meeting at a plain field surrounded by twelve palms, and under a pure and serene sky where Peace, Concord and Harmony reigned.


When some poorly informed people – Masons and Non-Masons – blindedly reject the possibility of a Woman being eligible and/or worthy of Masonic Initiation, whether it be in a Feminine Lodge or a Mixed-one, one cannot help to “sketch” a light smile; for it is clear, even by the accounts and terms of Profane History, that women, in their individual capacities or through their membership in diverse guilds of spinners, weaveresses, carvers, upholsterers, sculptresses, etc. have taken active participation in the Divine Art of Architecture.

Some evidential facts that support the above statement are the following:

  1. The Carpenters Guild of Norwich, a guild that dates from 1375, and to which the Masons of York belonged, recollect that:  “Every year, the Saturday following the Ascension, the Brothers and Sisters get together in a determined place to recite their prayers in honor of the Holy Trinity, in favor of the Holy Church, for Peace and Union of the country, and for the repose of the souls of all defunct, not only Fore-Brothers and Fore-Sisters, but, all friends and Christians… If a member of our Guild dies, his/her Brothers and Sisters should pray for him/her and celebrate a mass for the peaceful state of his/her soul”…
  2. In the archives of York Lodge Number 236, which belonged to the Ancient Grand Lodge of England, in the Orient of York whose origin is immemorial, there is a Manuscript dated in 1693 and transcribed on a lightly mutilated parchment, by which  we find that, during the reception of a neophyte in the 17th century: “One of the Elders picks-up the Book, and He or She who is to be made a Mason places his/her hand on the Book, and then the instructions are given”.
  3. Another fact comes to contradict the exaggerated misogyny of a vast number of Masons, Grand Jurisdictions and Concordant Bodies: There is a great feminine name,    among those “admirable cathedral builders”, that of Sabine de Pierrefonds, daughter of Herve de Pierrefonds, better known by the Germanic name of Erwin Von Steinbach. Sabine participated in the construction of the cathedral of Strasburg, and also sculpted some of the most prominent statues of Notre Dame in Paris. Evidently, however, the construction of these cathedrals, which, usually took up to a couple of centuries to be built, required more than one Master of the Work, and it is highly probable that Sabine de Pierrefonds was not the only woman who toiled in these labors.

On another hand, among those possible feminine receptions of “Accepted Masons”, like those narrated by ancient medieval “Duties” and “Charges”, we can include those of the Masters’ wives, since these “Bylaws” make an invariable reference to them both:

“Thou shall not reveal the secrets or projects of thy Master or thy Mistress…”

(Ancient Constitutions of Franc-Masons, taken from a manuscript written 500 years ago by J. Roberts, Warwick-Lane, 1722, Apprentices’ Bylaws, 1,4,5,7)

The publication of this manuscript was prior to that of “Anderson’s Constitutions”, and it has been found to be more trust-worthy, in light of its antiquity and uniqueness – since in 1724 (seven years after the creation of the alleged “First Grand Lodge”) Anderson simply made a synthesis of various documents, some of which were even second hand; whereas in the case of our aforementioned manuscript, we are in the presence of an unique and complete document. And with respect to the evoked “Mistress”, we can all admit that Sabine de Pierrefonds, artist and sculptress, had to, at the same time, form/train Apprentices and Companions (Fellow crafts). Later on, in due time, the benefits of this Feminine Initiation into “Accepted Free-Masonry” were extended to a female monarch: Queen Anne Stewart, Daughter of James II, who ruled between 1702 and 1714.

To be continued in part 2

Reprinted by permission of Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr.

Long Pine Lodge Thrives

Long Pine Masonic Lodge No. 136

Long Pine Masonic Lodge No. 136

In the small town of Long Pine, Nebraska (population 326), there exists a Masonic lodge that is truly on the upswing. Long Pine is in an area that I am very familiar with and I have many fond memories of the beautiful Sandhills region of Nebraska. However, anyone who lives there will tell you that it is sparsely populated and would probably be considered by most Masons as a region where it would be difficult, if not impossible, to operate a dynamic and growing Masonic lodge. Despite living in this sparsely populated area, Long Pine Masonic Lodge has found ways to make itself a thriving organization of which its members are very proud.

Long Pine has about 37 members, a quarter of which live outside of Long Pine and the lodge members have an average age of 55. Typically, 10 or 11 people attend meetings which is an impressive percentage of its members since many lodges have less than 10 percent of members attend meetings. There are no other Masonic organizations in Long Pine, the Eastern Star and York Rite organizations that used to exist there have disbanded and closed their doors. Faced with the burdens of a dilapidated building and an uninspired organization only a few years ago, the Brothers of Long Pine decided it was time to take matters into their own hands.

The lodge’s web master Alvin Benemerito, a Past Master, says that the organization “Had a resurgence of pride in membership in the lodge” in 2007. The lodge members decided to renovate their facilities themselves rather than hire expensive contractors. The roof was leaking badly and the lodge needed a new heater among other problems. The lodge members donated materials to the renovation and offered their craftsmanship. They replaced the ceiling and Brothers donated refrigerators, ovens, and a pellet stove along with pellets for heat. “We keep telling our members that this is our house,” said Alvin Benemerito. To cover the expenses of renovating the lodge building and maintaining their refinished quarters, the Brothers created a budget and mailed it to all members showing how much they needed to raise dues in order to keep their lodge open. Their straightforward approach worked and the lodge raised its dues from $30 a year to $75 a year. The lodge also rents out part of its facilities to a Brother’s business for $200 a month to cover expenses. The lodge does not do any fund raising. But Long Pine Lodge realizes that it isn’t only the facility which makes the organization successful, but the experience it provides to its members.

With the permission of Nebraska’s Grand Lodge, Long Pine began using the Chamber of Reflection as part of its Entered Apprentice degree conferral. This ceremony requires that a candidate sits alone in a small room prior to his degree where he is asked to write down responses to questions such as “Why do you want to join the fraternity” and “What do you expect from the lodge?” in order to remind him of the reason that he petitioned the lodge. The candidate is given the questions prior to his admission into the chamber of reflection so that he may prepare his answers and the responses are read openly in lodge prior to the degree conferral. This capitalizes a very thorough admission process which involves a formal meeting with candidates to clearly explain the obligations to the lodge that they will assume as a Mason. The lodge also requires that candidates complete the full form proficiency and prefers to not send candidates to any one-day degree conferrals because the lodge wants the work. “We don’t care if it takes them a year to be a Master Mason,” says Brother Benemerito. The lodge also opens in the Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft degree whenever it must in order to keep all of its members engaged in the lodge’s activities as soon as they become a Mason.

The lodge’s members also wear special attire. “We wear dark suits, dress aprons, and white gloves,” says Alvin Benemerito. The aprons are UGLE style dress aprons and the dress instills their members with a sense of pride. Brother Benemerito says that the members have come to regard the lodge meeting as a special occasion. He says that “we come to lodge because we enjoy each others company. We don’t come to lodge to say let’s hurry up, we’ve got to go somewhere.” The lodge recognizes that some Brothers may not have or be able to afford a dark suit so they have acquired a number of suits from Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other sources which are stored in the lodge building in order to be given to a Brother in need. “It becomes a culture, it becomes a custom of the lodge,” says Brother Benemerito. The lodge publishes all of its degree conferrals and events in the local newspaper. Fathers will often see their sons who have just received their degree surrounded by men in suits and purchase a suit for their son to wear when they go to lodge.

The lodge has one stated meeting and conducts a lodge of instruction every month. They have regularly featured educational sessions during which a Masonic paper may be read. However, many of the meetings are consumed with the busy work of restoring the lodge. After every lodge meeting, the Brethren of Long Pine Lodge have a light meal or snack along with a wine tasting. “We’re learning to be wine connoisseurs,” laughs Benemerito before he adds, “They all taste the same to me!” This provides the lodge with fellowship time and the Brethren are very careful to ensure that they do not convert the means of refreshment into intemperance or excess.

The Brothers also participate in a number of activities to enrich the community. They display and retire the flags for the Long Pine cemetery for Memorial Day. The members conduct a Lodge of Military Tribute that they have performed at lodges throughout the state and their travels together have built strong bonds of Brotherhood between them. They have also put on an event for the Child Identification Program, but Alvin Benemerito was very adamant when he said “We do what we enjoy doing, not because we have to do it.” This attitude defines the lodge which operates in order to meet the needs and desires of its members. A number of awards are available for lodges through the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, but Long Pine Lodge does not take the time to worry about submitting the paper work necessary to receive an award.

Brother Benemerito operates the lodge’s website which has two noticeable features. The first is a number of high quality pictures of the lodge which show its impressive regalia, beautifully remodeled facilities, and smiling Brothers. “Pictures paint thousands of words, you can visually see what the lodge is doing,” says Benemerito, who takes pictures at every lodge function and publishes them on-line. The other excellent function of the lodge’s website is a yellow pages section for all of the lodge members’ businesses. These yellow pages help lodge members stay connected with each others’ business services and has been a good incentive for lodge members to remain active.

The lodge members exhibit a great amount of pride in their lodge and do not view Long Pine Lodge as a gateway to other Masonic organizations. “It’s hard to sell something you don’t believe in,” says Brother Benemerito, “We would like to give a special Masonic experience in the Sandhills of Nebraska.”

You can find out more about Long Pine Masonic Lodge and view their numerous photographs at their website.

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Masonic Research and the Pig-Stealing Deserter

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last five years researching both Masonry and the American Civil War, as well as the intersection of those two subjects, and that is why my blog posts have been less frequent of late. Currently, I am in the middle of the final edit for my book on that subject which will be published in early 2010 by the University of Alabama Press and it’s time-consuming work. I had been thinking about Civil War Masonry since I was raised, but it wasn’t until I began looking for Civil War ancestors here at home that the work really started to take shape. In fact, it was over dinner one night some years back that my wife shared an interesting tidbit that got the whole thing rolling. Her great great grandfather, she announced, died in 1863 in “Chimichanga, Georgia,” which made me pause with my fork in mid-air.


“That could have been it,” she said blandly, eating her peas.

halleran-cummingsMy wife has no interest what-so-ever in history, but historically minded folks will recognize the homophone as a reference to the Battle of Chickamauga that occurred in north Georgia on September 19-20, 1863. To suggest to a Civil War geek like me, that someone died within 20 miles of that place in 1863 is the same as saying – yeah, my grandfather worked in a schoolbook warehouse in Dallas in 1963.  So I told her that there were a lot of people who died in Chickamauga, Georgia in 1863 and most of them died from lead poisoning.

I hurriedly finished my peas, and got out the family papers. Sure enough, we found the reference to Chickamauga, and that led to a record’s request to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and some correspondence with the Indiana Historical Society, among others. I think my frau would have been content to just let her great great grandfather rest in peace with his burrito, but by that point I was committed.

Men and women seem to go about genealogy differently. From what I can tell there are two main areas of interest for chick-genealogy. The first going something like this; “What diseases did my grandmothers die of and do I carry the gene for female baldness?” Every genealogy I’ve ever looked at that was compiled by a female described the diseases, maladies, and medical complaints of the ancestor more thoroughly than a coroner’s report. And hers was no exception; that thing was filled with more tumors, lesions, goiters and leprosy than a field dressing station along the Burma Railway in 1942– it’s enough to make you retch.The only thing missing was a tissue sample.

The other interest females invariably have is kind of a scrapbook thingy where they can read old newspaper clippings about what kind of dress the bride wore and paste it all pretty-like in a photo album. So when you’re poring over these things, you’ll come across pressed flowers and scraps of material and old social notices from the Mudburgh, Iowa News Advertiser about the soiree over at Lorraine Hudson née Klingenhoffer’s where the band played until the wee hours of the morning.

This is, of course, vastly different from what guys are interested in – namely, “Did my great-grandfather save the Union by shooting Braxton Bragg in the left nut?” And of course that inquiry carries with it some risk, because although you are unlikely to discover that your Grandfather was awarded three Medals of Honor (you’d already know that), you could find some cool stuff like maybe he was in Pickett’s Charge or something, but you might also just find the eerie line in the official record “Shot for Cowardice” written by some clerk in a spidery hand at regimental headquarters, or “Stole a pig: deserted.”

Probably the best possible outcome is to find out that he was wounded in battle somewhere – accidental shootings don’t count and just leave the impression that the whole family is a collection of idiots. Killed in action is morbidly acceptable, because at least that means he was in the thick of things and aiming at Braxton Bragg’s family jewels, before a crafty sharpshooter cut short the life of a hero. If they survived the war and didn’t come away with a cool eye patch or a wooden leg or something, it’s still OK, but it’s better if they wrote a lot of letters and described desperate bayonet fights among the harried rear guard, or catching a spy or something. Outlawry is acceptable too, but only during wartime and only against the enemy.

You can also check and see if they were Masons. The Grand Lodges maintain detailed records of membership, and they are always a great place to start. You’ll need their full name and the approximate year of birth to determine when they would have been eligible to join. Back then, barring something odd, a man had to be twenty-one to be initiated. Dates of death are also very useful and many families noted those down, so even if you don’t know where the grave-site is, you can often determine the year, if not the exact date of death.

Obituaries, which often survive among the scraps of material and pressed flowers are a big help in this, and also in determining Masonic affiliation because they will generally note if Masonic funeral rites were performed. The better ones will list the lodge name and number. Even if you confirm your ancestor’s Masonic pedigree, you might not find a lot from Grand Lodge unless the Mason was active in lodge. But in genealogy, something is always better than nothing.

If this spurs you on to finding the paladin, or the pig-stealing deserter, in your own family, a few things might help.

For starters, I’d look for letters or death certificates that place them in a particular location on a concrete date. If you can determine that the guy was in, for example, Georgia in 1863 and if he was military age, you’ve got a damn good chance of having either a potential Hero of the Union (or Confederacy, as they case may be) or the bane of swineherds everywhere. Birth and death records are hard to find if the family copies are lost, but they are the baseline – if you find them, you have your ancestor right where you want him — pinned down to time and place and then you can expand your search to government, Masonic and church records. When you finally nail down that the guy was a soldier, NARA will search their enormous collection and find the enlistment records for you for free. You’ll even get a physical description, wooden leg and all.

If you find his apron – let me know.

Originally published under audevidetace

Women and the Ancient Landmarks

The Free-Masonic Institution is an Initiatic, Esoteric, Humanitarian, Philosophic and Philanthropic Order that labors in pursuit of the spiritual, ethical and moral evolution of humanity; It propagates in profane societies the ideals of scrupulous respect for human rights and for the individuality of men and women, in a multinational, multiethnic, multicultural, secular, free and democratic world intended to be the best formula to work toward the positive development of all countries. Free-Masonry works for the defense and diffusion of the principles that consecrate Man, seen and considered as an individual and unrepeatable being, superior vertex of the pyramid of evolution, subject to obligations and duties and beneficiary of inviolable rights defined and protected by free and democratically promulgated laws. Free-Masonry, by making use of any legal mean within its reach, struggles actively against all forms of slavery, torture, violence, discrimination of gender and every limitation of rights stipulated by International Declarations, Treatises and Laws.

In concordance with the previous postulates, I now proceed to revise a small segment of Albert Mackey’s Ancient Landmarks:

Recognizing in Free-Masonry the very principles of Progressiveness, unrestricted Respect for Human Rights, the Dignity of Man and Woman, Justice, Solidarity, Social Progress and the absolute Liberty of Conscience; and accepting the fact that most instituted laws in the U.S. make Intolerance, Injustice and Inequality illegal, it becomes necessary and justifiable to address a long over due topic of concern to all Free-Thinking-Masons: Women and Free-Masonry. This, is a rather ample subject to which I have and will dedicate much time to write about in the near future; However, on this occasion I will only address – briefly – Albert Gallatin Mackey’s XVIII Landmark, in hopes of verifying whether or not this edict is in faithful concordance with the basic tenets and principles of the Order.

The XVIII landmark states in essence that “No Woman, Slave, Cripple, Mutilated Man, Atheist, Mad Man/Fool, Minor and Man in his dotage can be made a Mason”. Given the fact that criminals, minors and men of advanced age are not being initiated into the Craft, and there are no slaves (at least not legally) left in our society, it is necessary for Mainstream “Regular” Masonry to align itself to that tendency to which most Latin American and European countries subscribe: An anti-dogmatic F-r-e-e-Masonry that represents and incarnates the dynamic forces which stand against the static/conservative proclivities that support the concept that Masonry is a cult founded upon religious tenets, and whose dubious original principles – the ancient landmarks –  are immutable until the end of time, and, thus, NO modifications in principles and/or fundaments can be applied to “Original Masonry” without forcing it to cease being so. This prohibition is, of course, against the very Progressive principle of the Order.

It is time to take into consideration that the Landmarks were employed in rather remote times by English operative Masons when addressing the practices, customs, laws and usages of Masonry; and the fact that the migration from Operative Masonry to Speculative Masonry has transformed many of those same customs, laws and usages, just as it has transformed humanity.

We should equally consider that in addition to the “Landmarks of Mackey”, there are also 12 of MacBride, 8 of Pound, 3 of Pike, 24 of Lecerf, 54 of Grant de Louisville, 24 of Lawrence, 27 of the General Assembly of Franc-Masons held in Paris in 1523 and 8 of the Grand Lodge of England. Some of these landmarks are common, others are rather different, and, in some cases, some are in total contradiction with each other. How, then, is a semi-educated Free-Mason to determine which are the right-ones? Which are the “True Landmarks”? How do we establish this? Which are the patterns of reference that should be employed to identify the “Genuine Landmarks”? These, are questions that we, as sensible and aware Free-Masons, must endeavor to answer with utmost discernment. Surely, of course, “Mackey’s Ancient Landmarks” alone will not suffice.

This very controversy is perhaps the most recurring symptom of Spiritual Glioblastoma that, ever since the dubious legal emergence of the “Grand Lodge of London” in 1717, has been rotting the foundation of organized “Mainstream Regular Masonry”: Chronic Politics mutated with Acute Special Interests. Nowadays, just like in the past, the implementation of many and different landmarks obey sectarian, religious, financial and political interests, clearly responding to the sole purpose of exerting exclusivity over the governments of the Craft and introducing a defined orientation, against the principles of Universality and Progressiveness which have characterized Free-Masonry through the ages. Consequently, I find it imperative to determine which of these “landmarks” are authentic and indispensable for the conservation of Nature and the effectiveness of Fraternity, in function with the type of Free-Masonry that we want for the future.

Particularly, I believe that to cast aside women, cripples and other physically incapacitated individuals from organized Masonry and any other institution for mere historical motives, is to live in a virtual reality mode, anchored to a past that is not ours, for, after all, we are only responsible for the Here and Now. The sole qualifications and conditions to belong to organized Masonry are: to be free and of good (verifiable) breeding. I understand, however, that in the XVII and XVIII centuries the first basic qualification was difficult to meet, not only due to the nature of operative labors and intrinsic incapacity, but, due to mere historical and social impositions.

In the context of Women, nowadays the situation has changed, at least in most countries of the secular world. The access of women to education (including University) and their access to the working world  have given our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters a legal standing to preserve, protect and enforce their own liberties, rights and prerogatives before society – precisely the freedoms that they did not enjoy around the time when these alleged “Ancient Landmarks” and the so called “Anderson’s Constitutions” were drafted.

To impede women and the physical disable (Not intellectually disable) the access to any organization (fraternal and/or otherwise) for reasons of gender and physical condition, is to automatically place such organization at the margin of legality – Given the fact that these are rights stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the “land of the free and home of the brave” is an endorser and a well known “world enforcer”.

As a somewhat aware and semi-educated Man and Free-Mason, I believe that it is and must be a question/issue of Time and Maturity to accept into the Craft the human being who seeks to better him/herself as a person and the society he/she lives in, without regard to sex, race, nationality and/or age. Everything else that counters this belief is simple and clear Discriminaion.

Organized Mainstream “Regular” Masonry can no longer ignore that the rights of Women constitute an essential part of Universal Human Rights. At this juncture in the development of humanity, any attempt to defend or perpetuate discriminatory practices against them, can only be based upon the Intention of denying them their condition of Equal under the Law. The struggle for Human Rights has been a Masonic battle, for it was inspired on principles embraced by the Order and brought to the world arena by Brothers.

Free-Masonry is THE institution created for the reflection and action that sets the course and pace for the development of humanity. And if a Woman is part of said humanity, she also has the right to assume this challenge next to us, Men, the ones who have unjustly and fanatically excluded her for such a long time.

Let us remember, my Dear Brothers, that we cannot detain Evolution itself by tying it to the inextricable limits of a Dead Past! Nature is not stationary! Institutions age while Humanity rejuvenates, incessantly! Methods can be spent, the exigencies of Time and Spirit may be modified and doctrines can be corrupted; But, only the “End” remains identical to itself, for we are here “in the Valley” and “it” dwells up-there “in the summit”.

With these reflections and without anything further to add (at this time), I thank you for reading and I embrace you on the Five Points of Fellowship.

Reprinted by Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr., J.D., PH.D., M.A., 33º

Are Illiterates Raising Illiterates?

booksby Br. John Nagy

If you’re old to Masonic Education you know that, for the most part, “average formal Grand Lodge backed” Masonic Education programs exist today as:

  1. Memorizing Degree Catechism
  2. Learning Ritual and floor work
  3. Reviewing the Digest of Law and taking exams based on it
  4. Reading Pamphlets
  5. Perusing Degree Handbooks
  6. Following Officer Manuals

If you’re more fortunate than most, you may even have some Brothers show up at lodge once in a while to provide some interesting tidbits on Masonic history. These are all important and form a stable foundation to continue the necessary support that Freemasonry requires to survive. What is missing though is the kind of education that many Masons are starving for and which Properly Raises them toward the level that Freemasonry was intended to have.

This is a bold statement and one that requires some explanation so let me ask the obvious question, “What are they starving for?” They starve for the truly important aspect of Masonic Education most missing today: how Masonry applies to their lives overall. Without a firm understanding of how Masonry manifests in our lives, what it means and how it helps us Build better lives, the true Masonic lessons are lost, leaving Masons unfulfilled and dissatisfied.

The sad part of this situation is that it is caused by self-sabotage. We Masons are held back because we have falsely labeled ourselves for years. What’s needed to move forward is an earnest effort to dismiss this notion that we are merely “Speculative Masons.” This is blatantly misleading.

Let me place something firmly before you to consider: All Masons who use Masonry to help themselves Build better lives are “Operative Masons;” Masons today do work in and on Stone; it’s not recognized as Stone though, and that is part of the problem. Most of us Masons don’t understand the symbols before us!

Every Working Tool mentioned in Masonic Ritual has Authentic Application in the real world. What is missing though is a foundational understanding as to the application of these tools in our lives today. We don’t see this because the very symbols that are shared within Ritual do not speak to us today as they did in years past. In this respect, Masons being Raised today are symbolically illiterate. They do not have a sufficient Symbolic Education to be Raised properly; which leads me back to the statement I wrote earlier, most Masons are not Properly Raised.

Let me run a few frank statements past you to consider further.

Freemasonry is Building Builders. Sound Building is based on the ability to properly Understand and Work with Symbols. The basis of Symbolic Education is stated within Masonic Ritual. The final Steps Masons must take to prepare themselves for being Properly Raised are alluded to in the FC lecture. The first three of the final Steps are in preparation for understanding and using Symbols as Words; the last four are in preparation for understanding and using Symbols as Numbers. These Seven Steps are important because without a firm understanding of Symbols, Freemasons metaphorically die of hunger in a grocery store jam-packed with food for lack of an ability to access that which is immediately before them.

These last seven Steps are Symbolic in Masonry and were once considered the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences. They were initially used as preparation for serious study in Philosophy and Theology. Without their foundation, the training in Symbols, one could not properly deal with Symbols, also known in some circles as “the Word” or “the Logos.” Masons may go through the motions of being Raised, but until they are capable of raising their level of understanding above the actual words and numbers, they are Symbolically Illiterate, hence they’re unable to read what is before them.

In this respect, Masonry has failed as an organization. As truly successful as Masonry is in preserving our “food locker of symbols,” our Brothers starve and loose interest because they lack access keys to this locker. The saddening aspect of this is that few Brothers understand this; fewer still are willing to work toward changing this.

In general, we Masons as a whole look at increasing numbers, retention of members and ability to “repeat back without firm understanding” as key indicators of our success. They will never be indicators of success – ever!

The challenges we are faced with are based in educating our members in Symbolic Understanding and Use; our problems are based in our Educators not focusing on this; the troubles that are focused on today are a symptom of our not meeting the challenge before us; they are not the cause but we’ll have to live with them until we change our focus.

People support what they can “make sense of” and “use” in their lives. What’s more, when others see how well things are working for Masons, we will attract others in kind. Ironically, if we stick with the basics and educate our members in Symbolic understanding and application, we’ll attract far more members then we could ever imagine.

Building Hiram - Uncommon Catechism for Uncommon Masonic Education by John Nagy

Let’s make a unified effort to give our Brothers the keys to the Masonic locker. All that is required is taking seven simple Steps.

You can hear an interview with Br. Nagy on Masonic Central!

Dr. and Br. John Nagy is the author of the new book:

Building Hiram Uncommon Catechism for
Uncommon Masonic Education Vol. 1.