There’s a Hole in Our Bucket

The following article originally appeared in Issue 2 of The Masonic Society Journal.
By Stephen Dafoe

North American Freemasonry is on a bit of an infinite loop these days. I don’t mean the type of infinite loop we used to see on the Flintstones whenever Fred and Barney would drive past the same three houses and two palm trees over and over again, but it is close. The type of infinite-loop motif I’m referring to is the type that forms the basis of songs like 99 Bottle of Beer or There’s a Hole in my Bucket. In fact, both songs represent two of the problems confronting many lodges today with respect to our declining membership.

Now, before you turn the page, let me assure you this is not another article lamenting our sagging numbers, nor is it a rallying call for us to rise towards that lofty Masonic pinnacle that was the Halcyon Days of the post-World War II influx. But we will be looking at the numbers, not with an eye towards depression, but with an eye towards resolution. We have a problem, but if we can truly know where the problem lies, and if we can convince enough Masons that this is actually the case, we can collectively begin to work towards fixing it.

What the numbers tell us:

masonic membership, freemasonry, decline

Since 1925, the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA) has been keeping track of the numbers of Freemasons in the United States.

Without launching into a long and boring examination of the ebb and flow of these numbers, let it suffice to say that Masonic membership’s highest point in terms of numbers was 1959, when it boasted 4,103,161 members; its lowest point occurring in 2007, when our ranks had been reduced to just 1,483,449. Ironically, our highest point in terms of membership may well have been our lowest point for Freemasonry, or at least the start of it.

The hand ringers in our fraternity love to hold on to that 1959 membership number like the middle aged bachelor who holds onto the photo of the fashion model he dated in college, as if it were a goal he may yet attain once more. But as both pine away for a desire that has longed since passed the realm of possibility, they begin to tell themselves lies to justify their current situation.

masonic membership, freemasonry, population

As such, our hand ringers have created a long-standing belief that once upon a time Freemasons made up a sizable percentage of the population in American communities. However, if one compares the US census with the MSANA membership statistics, an interesting and revealing picture emerges. In 1930, only 2.66 per cent of the population belonged to the Masonic fraternity. By 1940, that percentage had been reduced to 1.86% – largely due to the effects of the Great Depression, men simply couldn’t afford their dues. It reached its lowest point in 2000, when less than 1 per cent of the US population could say they owned a Masonic apron. But even in the midst of those glory days our hand ringers so love to remind us about, only 2.41 per cent of the population belonged to the Craft. If we divide and multiply these figures to represent a male population of roughly 50 per cent, then we see that even at our highest percentile penetration in 1930, only 5 in 100 American males were Freemasons – this is a far cry from the cries of deep lamentation emanating from the lips of our loudest hand ringing Brethren that once upon a time almost every American male was a mason. And yet, they will cling to that four-million-plus-Masons figure like cat hair to black pants, failing to accept that the much brandied about number represents nothing more than a sociological anomaly. It was that influx of men who swelled the Craft’s ranks between 1945 and 1959 that, in many ways set the tone for the downward spiral towards the Masonic caliginosity we have experienced in the decades since. Although many became dedicated members of the Craft, expanding their learning through books and periodicals, discussions and debates, many who took on leadership rules were attracted by the formality of the ritual, to the point where it became the beginning and end of a Master Mason’s education.

Perhaps the greatest decade for Freemasonry – at  least from a point of research, education and all around Masonic bigness – was  the 1920’s; a decade that saw the creation of the National Masonic Research Society and its publication The Builder, a magazine that offered the words and thoughts of the great Masonic luminaries of the day. It was also a decade where Masons displayed their Masonic pride, not by the number of pins on their lapels, but by the number of elegant buildings on Main Street. It was during the 1920’s that great Masonic buildings including the House of the Temple in Washington DC, The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia and the Detroit Masonic Temple in Michigan transformed from idea to reality. That decade, which I’ve long-argued to be the most enlightening for Freemasonry, saw an increase in membership of just above four per cent.

But then the Great Depression reduced membership roles by almost 25 per cent by then end of the 1930’s. In fact membership continued to decline until America entered the Second World War in 1941, and that is when the anomaly occurred. By the end of the 1940’s, Masonic membership had increased by more than 42 percent, carrying a forward momentum through most of the 1950’s, which saw an increase of 16 percent from the decade before. From this point on membership has been on a steady decline, with the present decade – now about to enter its final year – on a fast track to surpassing the 1990’s, the current record holder for membership seepage.

It is a mistake for us to pine away for a resurgence of the anomaly that was the 1940’s and 1950’s. The WWII soldier returned home and, looking for the camaraderie of the barracks, he sought to find it in fraternal societies like Freemasonry. This inflated our membership roles like a windfall inflates a bank account, but like the lottery winner who does not invest his new found money properly; it is soon piddled away until nothing remains.

Another tale the hand ringers love to tell us, especially those who have more steps behind them than they have left ahead of them, is that men are not joining today like they used to, and that we are losing members from death faster than we can replace them through initiations. Certainly, if one considers “not joining like they used to” to be those post-war Halcyon Days previously discussed, then I’m more than willing to concede the point. However, if there is one myth in Freemasonry that has gained wide currency and firm traction, it is the notion that Masons are dying faster than we can replace them.

What the numbers don’t tell us!

In 2005 I was asked to deliver the keynote address to the Western Canada Conference – an annual gathering of the Grand lines of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Part of my presentation sought to dispel this myth that the Grim Reaper was using his scythe to cut a swath through the fraternity. Whereas, the MSANA numbers only give us the annual bottom line, I was able to look at the big picture closer to home by tracking specifics in our membership statistics over an eight-year period.

masonic membership, freemasonry

What I discovered was that, like the rest of North America, Alberta had a sizable hole in our Masonic bucket; 1,777 of our Brethren had affiliated with the Grand Lodge above, leaving us with a net loss of 1,512 members between 1996 and 2003. But this is not where our problem was because the numbers showed that in that same period of time, 3,118 men had joined, affiliated or renewed their membership in one of our lodges.

In an ideal world, the difference between deaths and new members should have seen Alberta experience a 14 per cent growth in that time, but instead we were dwindling, just like everywhere else. The question was why? Where was the hole in our Masonic bucket that was causing the decline? It wasn’t through deaths; we were clearly finding the men to replace ourselves. The answer was through demits and suspensions for non payment of dues (SNPD); a combined loss of 2,863 over the eight years. When added to the deaths, we had lost a total of 4,640 men, while gaining a respectable 3,118. The hole in our Masonic bucket had been found and, as I’ve learned, it is not an isolated situation.

masonic membership, freemasonry

This past November I was keynote speaker at the Grand Lodge of Manitoba’s Masonic workshop and presented a similar address and findings, chronicling their past six years of data. Like Alberta, Manitoba has a hole in its Masonic bucket, caused by demits and suspensions outpacing new members. Between 2002 and 2007 Manitoba saw 856 men join, affiliate or reinstate their memberships. During that same time, 753 Manitoba Masons have died; again leaving a positive number between membership losses and gains. Like Alberta, their hole is caused by the combination of demits and SNPD’s. In the past six years the province has seen 1,355 men leave the Masonic fraternity.

masonic membership, freemasonry, templars

But the Craft lodge in Canada is not alone in finding it has a bucket with the same hole.

Membership statistics from the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar show that between 2004 and the end of September 2008, 17,470 American Freemasons have become Templars, while 9,576 have taken a demit and another 21,706 have been suspended for non payment of dues. Add to this the 22,546 Templars who have gone on to join their creator, and you have 36,358 fewer Knights Templar marching about.  But perhaps marching about is precisely the problem. Perhaps the men who are joining today are joining to parade about like the sword-wielding Templars of old and disappointed to find only old Templars parading about doing sword drill. It is a question only the Grand Encampment and those who are left remain in her Commanderies can resolve, but like the Craft Lodges, its bucket is leaking primarily from the same rusted out hole.

Towards a solution

Back when I was editor of the short-lived Masonic Magazine, I wrote an editorial titled The Restaurant at the End of the Masonic Universe. Without republishing the editorial here, it told the story of a restaurant that does not live up to its advertising slogan, “We make good food better,” an obvious play on our own slogan “We take good men and make them better.” The editorial, which has received equal doses of praise and criticism, sought to explain in a light manner the malaise affecting Freemasonry today and the true cause for the hole in our bucket.

Every mason has heard the expression “but we’ve always done it that way before.” The fact that it is used as the butt of Masonic jokes serves as proof positive of its longevity and power in maintaining a status quo. But, as we have seen by what the MSANA numbers don’t show us, the status quo is draining our buckets. As the allegory of my restaurant editorial showed, the reason things suck in many lodges is because the men who show up month after month like things that suck. They do so because they enjoy the bland food; not the shoe-leather roast beef and off color green beans, but the Masonic meal that is largely comprised of recitation of minutes, tedious debates over how funds are dispersed and arguments over when and how to salute the Worshipful Master. Clearly these are not the things that appeal to the men who are leaving our ranks. If they were, they’d be with us still. But instead of spending our energies trying to retain them, we devote our efforts to finding their replacements.

For as long as I have been a Freemason, we have been trying to fill a bucket that has a sizable hole in it. Like Henry in the famed children’s song, we have whined through the infinite loop of reasons why we can’t fix the bucket and like Jack in the classic nursery rhyme, have rolled down the hill, our empty bucket tumbling behind us. Like children on a bus trip we have done our rendition of 99 Bottle of Beer by repeating the same pattern ad nausea, as one by one our members – like the bottles of beer on the wall – vanish.

Unfortunately, we are not doing a good enough job  identifying what it is that the men who are joining are looking for, which is – in almost all cases – that which they cannot get any place else – FREEMASONRY! They are looking to be educated in the Masonic Craft, in the art of being a gentleman in a world that has largely forgotten what one was, and in how they can be part of – to quote my jurisdiction’s ritual – “the society of men who prize honor and virtue above the external advantages of rank and fortune.” In short, they want to be taught the things about themselves and the world in which they live that only Freemasonry can teach them. If we cannot teach them because we do not know these things ourselves, then we must learn alongside them. Then, and only then, can the hole in our Masonic bucket be truly repaired and we can return to that growth that once allowed us to select men who would most benefit from Freemasonry’s teaching and most benefit Freemasonry by their character and their conduct.

It will not be and easy task fixing this half-century old hole in our Masonic bucket; but it will not be possible at all until we accept that a failure to do so is the cause of our decline and the harbinger of our demise.

Read: So What? The Dynamic of Masonic Membership.
And, Freemasonry Is Dying.


About the author

Stephen Dafoe
Stephen Dafoe

Stephen Dafoe

V. W. Bro Stephen Dafoe is a past Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, former publisher of Masonic Magazine and the author of several books on the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. In addition, Dafoe is a self-confessed anti-Internet Mason.

Ironically, his website can be found at www.stephendafoe.com.

The Catholic Church and Freemasonry

catholicchurchby John J. McManus.
Prepared for Gate City 2, Atlanta, GA, as the fifth installment of their Religion & Culture series.
Copyright 2009, originally published May 26, 2009 Rev Mr. John J. McManus, JD, JCL
Used with permission.

HISTORICAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND FREEMASONS…WHY ROMAN CATHOLICS ARE PROHIBITED BY THE CHURCH FROM BECOMING FREEMASONS

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gate City II for inviting me to speak with you tonight about a rather difficult topic, the historical relationship between the Catholic Church and Freemasons, and why Roman Catholics have been and continue to be prohibited by the Church from becoming Freemasons. My name is John McManus and in my civilian life I am an attorney who has been practicing law for just over 27 years. I am Roman Catholic Christian from birth, and since my ordination in 2002, I have been a member of the Roman Catholic Clergy as a Deacon, the lowest of the three levels of clerical hierarchy in the Catholic Church. Since 2007, I am also a Canon Lawyer, which means that I have a pontifical licentiate that allows me to practice as a lawyer in the Tribunals, or courts, of the Roman Catholic Church, and also to advise the Archbishop or others regarding canonical issues, or those issues related to the law of the Roman Catholic Church.

papallogo_colorI have provided you with that personal background to let you know that my studies have been related to the Roman Catholic Church and its laws. I am not a Freemason, nor have I studied in any detail, other than for the preparation of this presentation, the laws, rules, creeds, or other constitutive documents of Freemasons. Nothing presented herein is intended to criticize, condemn or otherwise cast aspersions on either Freemasonry or Freemasons, as a group or to any individual Freemason, whether Roman Catholic or not. Instead, this presentation is intended to provide historical and current information on the subject matter that may be used in civil discussions and personal reflections about the issues presented in order that each person may be informed and form their own consciences about the issues presented.

This presentation is being given from the Roman Catholic Church’s point of view, particularly since that is the only point of view I can articulate, and the material presented about Freemasons has been gathered from various sources, primarily within the Roman Catholic literature. While I have examined quite a bit of literature preparing this presentation, I have relied to a great extent on a very fine paper entitled “The Evolution Of The Church’s Prohibition Against Catholic Membership In Freemasonry” by Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins.  For those of you interested in the complete text of that paper, it was published in 1996 in The Jurist, Volume 56, pages 735-755. I was particularly interested in that paper because Msgr. Jenkins was one of my instructors at The Catholic University of America where I received my Juris Canonical Licentiate. During my preparation for this presentation, I had an opportunity to communicate with Msgr. Jenkins about recent developments in this area since the publication of that paper, and those developments have been incorporated into this presentation. I wish to thank Msgr. Jenkins for his kind assistance in this matter.

As the title of that article and this presentation suggest, the Roman Catholic Church has for centuries, and continues to this day, to prohibit its members from membership in Freemasonry. That prohibition remains applicable today in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for all members of the Roman Catholic Church. There has certainly been a great deal of confusion regarding whether this prohibition continues today, engendered in large part by the language of the 1983 Code of Canon Law that omitted the specific prohibition against Freemasonry stated in the 1917 Codex Juris Canonici. In response to this confusion, in November of 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith issued a declaration stating that the prohibition was still in force and that Catholic Masons were barred from receiving Holy Communion. However, that declaration did not quell the debate about that prohibition, and the debate continues. It is my purpose here tonight to address the foundational reasons for this centuries old prohibition, clarify the confusion created by the new Code of Canon law, and explain why the Roman Catholic Church through the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith continues that prohibition today.

As advertised, I will begin this presentation with a look at the origins and historical issues related to this prohibition, then address in passing some of the official canonical documents related directly to that prohibition, then review in some detail the efforts in modern times to reconcile the differences between the parties, and finally address the canonical issues developed by both the 1917 Codex Juris Canonici and the 1983 Code of Canon Law. It is my sincere hope that at the end of this presentation the fundamental inconsistencies between the basic tenants of the Roman Catholic Church and those of Freemasonry will allow at least a better understanding of the prohibition that the Roman Catholic Church asserts in this matter.

In order to understand why the Roman Catholic Church has the authority to prohibit one of its members from belonging to Freemasonry, or to prohibit or allow its members to do or not do other things, it is important to understand a little about the Roman Catholic Church itself. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ himself. To be Catholic, one must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he established the Church with divine authority. The Gospels state that “As the Father gave authority to Christ,” [Jn 5:22] Christ passed that authority on to his apostles [Lk 10:16], and they passed it on to the successors they appointed as bishops.

For nearly two thousand years, through unbroken apostolic succession, bishops have taught the Catholic faith that was received from Christ in the Gospels, Sacred Tradition, and through the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church. The Church is not a democracy. The authority of the Church rests in the Bishop of Rome, The Roman Pontiff, the successor to St. Peter, who Jesus himself selected to guide the Church. It is important to note that this “authority” held by the Holy Father is not power, but a right…it is humble in both its origin, as received from Christ, and in its end, which is to serve as Christ served. In fact, all of the laws and all of the traditions of the Church have one goal, one end, and that end is the salvation of souls.

vatican

The Roman Catholic Church believes that it has an innate right and obligation to speak the truth about all human matters, and that truth is directed at the one primary end, the salvation of souls. And, therefore, throughout the ages, the Church has issued decrees, which are decisions regarding a particular case, and encyclicals, which are writings approved by the Holy Father, and she has held Councils and synods, discussing various issues related to the faith. The most recent Council was the Second Vatican Council held in the 1960’s which has had a significant effect on the law of the Church, and the Church itself. The rules and laws that are articulated by the Holy Father become laws that Catholics must respect and follow because of the aforementioned authority from which they are derived. Willful failure to follow the teachings of the Church has consequences for Catholics, including excommunication in the most serious cases.

The laws of the Church, codified as canon laws, set forth both the requirement and the penalty for not following the teachings of the Church, and there is a judicial process involved in determining whether the law has been broken and what sanction, if any, is appropriate in the individual case.

The best way for me to explain the relationship between the law of the Church and the essential end of human behavior is in a statement by Mother Teresa. She said, “God did not put me on earth to be successful, he put me here to be faithful.” Catholics have an obligation to be faithful to the teachings of the Church, all of the teachings of the Church, and they are not allowed to pick and choose which teachings they like and which they don’t like as if they were ordering from a menu at McDonalds. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Catholics to understand the teachings of their faith, the reasons why the Church teaches as it does, and then live a life accordingly, constantly striving to be faithful to Christ and his teachings.

It was difficult to determine the precise historical origin of the Freemasons, primarily because there is little historical evidence of the Masons before the eighteenth century. It does appear, however, that on June 24, 1717, four independent guilds of stone cutters met in a London inn to form the first grand lodge. It appears that this new order of masons spread to France by 1732, Hamburg, Germany by 1737, and then throughout much of the rest of Europe, including Italy.

On April 28, 1738, the Roman Catholic Church published the first of many condemnations of this new society when Clement XII issued the constitution In eminenti. In that constitution, Clement XII declared the basic tenants of Freemasonry to be a threat not only to the basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, but also to the stability of governments and society. Clement XII imposed the penalty of excommunication reserved to the Holy See on persons who either belonged to or externally supported the society. This document was significant because subsequent popes repeated the condemnations for the next two hundred years. For example, on May 18, 1751 in his decree Providas, Benedict XIV repeated the gravissima damna [the “most serious condemnations”] and appended Clement XII’s constitution to his own decree.

The nineteenth century brought renewed and continued confirmation of the charges and penalties against Masons, particularly Catholic Masons. Here are a few examples:

  1. On September 13, 1821, Pius VII issued his decree Ecclesiam Christi in response to the growing influence of a particular form of Masonry called Carbonarism on the movement to form liberal governments in much of Europe.
  2. On March 13, 1826, Leo XII issued his decree Quo graviora in which he not only reaffirmed past condemnation, he added more condemnations, and he offered a particularly critical view of the influence of Masons on universities.
  3. On August 15, 1832, Gregory XVI in his decree Mirari Vos reaffirmed all previous papal decrees condemning Freemasons, and he added more justifications for the Church’s condemnation of Freemasons.
  4. On October 12, 1869, Pius IX in his decree Apostolicae Sedis that reformed certain automatic [latae sententiae] penalties, retained membership in the Masons among those excommunications reserved to the Holy See. Apostolicae Sedis can be found in Acta Santa Sedis [ASS] 5 (1869) beginning at page 311.
  5. On April 12, 1884, Leo XIII issued his encyclical Humanum genus which was a document dedicated entirely to the condemnation of the Masons and reaffirmed the latae sententiae penalty imposed by Pius IX in Apostolicae Sedis. Humanum genus can be found in Acta Santa Sedis [ASS] 16 (1883-1884), pages 417-433.

The twentieth century canonized the penalties and condemnations of the previous two hundred years. It should be noted here that the law of the Roman Catholic Church, which was developed through Tradition, Sacred Writings, synods, Councils, Decrees and Encyclicals, was not codified in one in a single code of canon law until the Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917. Three canons in the 1917 code spoke directly against Freemasons:

Canon 1240: Canon 1240, Section 1, paragraph 1, denied Freemasons a Catholic burial.

Canon 2335: This canon, with only a few changes, reaffirmed the reserved ipso facto excommunication of catholic masons promulgated by Pius IX on Apostolicae Sedis. The English translation of that canon reads:

“Those giving their name to Masonic sects or other associations of this sort that machinate against the Church or legitimate civil powers contract by that fact excommunication simply reserved to the Apostolic See.”

Canon 2336: This canon levied additional penalties against clerics or religious who belonged to the masons. These penalties included suspension for clerics and loss of active and passive voice for religious.

Other canons indirectly affected Catholic Masons and included:

  1. Canon 1065, Section 1: Denied them the right to a Catholic marriage.
  2. Canon 542, Section 1: Denied them the ability to enter a valid novitiate.
  3. Canon 693, Section 1: Denied them the right to inscribe validly in a pious association of the faithful.
  4. Canon 1453, Section 1: Denied them receiving the right of patronage [support].

Two requirements had to be met for Roman Catholics to incur the ipso facto excommunication set forth in Canon 2335:

  1. They had to have actually enrolled in the membership books of the organization; and
  2. The organization had to be wholly devoted to heretical or subversive ends.

It was easy to establish whether the first requirement was met-all one had to do was examine the membership books of the organization. But it was not as easy to determine when the second requirement had been met. Jenkins poses these questions:

  1. What if the charitable or fraternal organizations were only indirectly associated with Freemasons? Were these included in the ban?
  2. Masonic lodges themselves varied greatly in their teachings and practices. American lodges were far less subversive than most European ones. Did Catholics who joined an American lodge deserve to suffer the same penalty as one who joined a lodge more patently opposed to the Church?

These and other similar questions gave rise to discussions within the Church hierarchy about a new legal attitude toward Freemasons. Those inquiries lead to the hope that the issue would be addressed by the Second Vatican Council. The Second Vatican Council, however, did not specifically address the issue with Freemasons. Instead, it sought to open dialogue with various groups that had been counted among the Church’s “antagonists.”

As a consequence of this new attitude, several groups of bishops began to view the ban on Masonic membership in the light of the particular character of the respective local lodges. This was first done in 1966 by the Scandinavian bishops who determined that each bishop could judge whether or not a particular lodge was acting or teaching in ways contrary to the interests of the Church. If the bishop decided that the lodge was not manifesting such behavior, the bishop was free to determine whether a particular Catholic could join that particular lodge. Similar actions were taken by the bishops of England and Wales, and the French bishops were even allowed by the Vatican to have limited discussions between the Italian grand master and a priest who was an expert in Masonic affairs.

These events lead to perhaps the most significant advance in Catholic-Masonic relations. In March 1969, a commission of three Catholics and nine masons gathered in Innsbruck to discuss their mutual concerns. The commission met under the auspices of the Secretariat for Non-Believers and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. The committee’s dialogue resulted in the July 5, 1970 publication of a document entitled “Lichtenau Declaration,” which declared that, contrary to the Church’s consistent position, the Masons were not a threat to the Catholic Church. The document recommended that all canonical penalties and condemnations be abrogated and relations opened between Catholics and Masons, stating in pertinent part:

“We are of the opinion that the papal bulls concerning the Freemasons are now only historically significant and no longer relevant in our time. We are of the same opinion regarding the condemnations of ecclesiastical law since, in light of what has been said, they cannot be justified by a Church that follows God’s commandment in teaching fraternal love.”

The next significant event in Catholic-Masonic relations occurred in talks that occurred over a six-year period between 1974 and 1980 when representatives from the German Episcopal Conference held talks with a group representing the Grand Lodges of Germany. The conclusion of the German Bishops’ Conference was:

“the Freemasons have essentially not changed. Membership [in the masons] places the foundations of Christian existence in question. Detailed investigations of the Masonic rituals and fundamental ideas, and of their current, unchanged self-understanding make clear: Simultaneous membership in the Catholic Church and freemasons is incompatible.”

Jenkins points out that “the bishops reached their unequivocal conclusion after having first considered the positive elements of Freemasonry, including its humanitarian interests, charitable works, anti-materialist ideology, as well as the excellent personal qualities required of its members.” He states that the bishop’s listed twelve areas of Masonic teaching that were at variance with the Church’s own belief, and with which the Church could never reconcile itself:

  1. The Masonic World-view: The Masons promote a freedom from dogmatic adherence to any one set of revealed truths. Such a subjective relativism is in direct conflict with the revealed truths of Christianity.
  2. The Masonic Notion of Truth: The masons deny the possibility of an objective truth, placing every truth instead in a relative context.
  3. The Masonic Notion of Religion: The Masonic teaching holds a relative notion of religions as all concurrently seeking the truth of the absolute.
  4. The Masonic Notion of God: The Masons hold a deistic notion of God which excludes any personal knowledge of the deity.
  5. The Masonic Notion of God and Revelation: The deistic notion of God precludes the possibility of God’s self-revelation to humankind.
  6. Masonic Toleration: The masons promote a principle of toleration regarding ideas. That is, relativism teaches them to be tolerant of ideas divergent or contrary to their own. Such a principle not only threatens the Catholic position of objective truth, but it also threatens the respect due the Church’s teaching office.
  7. The Masonic Rituals: The rituals of the first three Masonic grades have a clear sacramental character about them, indicating that an actual transformation of some sort is undergone by those who participate in them.
  8. The Perfection of Mankind: The Masonic rituals have as an end the perfection of humankind. But Masonry provides all that is necessary to achieve this perfection. Thus, the justification of a person through the work of Christ is not an essential or even necessary aspect of the struggle for perfection.
  9. The Spirituality of Masons: The Masonic Order makes a total claim on the life of the member. True adherence to the Christian faith is thereby jeopardized by the primary loyalty due the Masonic Order.
  10. The Diverse Divisions within the Masons: The Masons are comprised of lodges with varying degrees of adherence to Christian teaching. Atheistic lodges are clearly incompatible with Catholicism. But even those lodges comprised of Christian members seek merely to adapt Christianity to the overall Masonic world-view. This is unacceptable.
  11. The Masons and the Catholic Church: Even those Catholic-friendly lodges that would welcome the Church’s members as its own are not compatible with Catholic teaching, and so closed to Catholic members.
  12. The Masons and the Protestant Church: While a 1973 meeting of Protestant Churches determined that individual Protestants could decide whether to be members of both the Christian Church and the Freemasons, it included in its decision the caveat that those Christians must always take care not to lessen the necessity of grace in the justification of a person before God.

The German bishops’ statement had a significant influence on the subsequent attitude of Rome toward Catholic-Mason relations, renewing the age-old attitude of distrust and antagonism. The canonical questions about these issues, however, were still to be resolved.

During the period of time between the 1970 Lichtenau Declaration, which indicated a more positive relationship between Catholic’s and Masons, and the German Bishops’ statements in 1980, the code of canon law was being revised. As a direct result of the Lichtenau Declaration, canons 2335 and 2336 of the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law were abandoned early in the code revision process and were not included in the penal law schema of 1973. This has lead to some confusion among the bishops about the Church’s stance toward Masons. In 1974, Cardinal Franjo Seper of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter to select bishops stating that “the law toward masons had not changed, but that its application might be more strictly interpreted in favor of lay Catholics.” In essence what the Cardinal was saying was that the canon’s penalty applied to Catholics who joined a Masonic group “or similar associations that conspired against the Church.”

Therefore, if the particular lodge the Catholic joined did not conspire against the Church, then only one of the two requirements for incurring the penalty of excommunication had been met. Therefore, membership in a neutral lodge would not necessarily bring with it an ipso facto excommunication for the Catholic.

The 1977 coetus for the revision of penal law formulated its draft of what would become canon 1374 of the 1983 code, and it is stated in English as follows:

“A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict.”

Therefore, the revised canon removed the ipso facto excommunication of canon 2335, and it was broad enough in scope to allow for particular legislators to determine when the penalty was warranted and if, or whether, harsher penalties were called for in certain circumstances.

The broad language provided room for what Catholic’s call “pastoral sensitivity” in a particular case. Based upon this canon, it appeared that the decision about whether Catholics were allowed to join a particular lodge was left up to the local legislator, the bishop.

However, the new code promulgated in 1983 did not settle the issue. There are two canons in the 1983 code that most clearly apply to Catholic Masons, although, as indicated, Freemasonry is not mentioned specifically:

  1. Canon 1374 against subversive societies; and
  2. Canon 1364 against heretics and apostates.

As indicated earlier in the presentation, on November 23, 1983, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith attempted to resolve the doubt created by the 1983 code revisions and issued Declaratio de associationibus massonicis, the “Declaration on Masonic Associations.” Declaratio de associationibus massonicis can be found in Acta Santa Sedis [ASS] 76 (1984) beginning at page 300. The Congregation stated the following:

  1. The Church’s position regarding the Freemasons had not changed.
  2. Catholic membership in Masonic lodges was still prohibited because Masonic principles were still contrary to the teachings of the Church.
  3. Catholics who did, in fact, belong to Masonic associations were committing grave sin and were, consequently, barred from receiving Holy Communion.
  4. The reason the Masons were no longer explicitly referred to in the new code was due simply to the principles that guided the revision of the law.
  5. Local ordinaries did not enjoy the prerogative of determining which Masonic lodges operated against the interests of the Church and which were neutral towards or even supportive of the Church’s interests.

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States did not officially respond to the Congregations 1983 declaration. However, it did ask the Pastoral Research and Practices Committee to write a report on the compatibility of Masonic principles with the Catholic faith. Their report, which is quite brief, was published in the June 27, 1985 edition of Origins [Origins 15/6] at pages 83-84. The committee restated the fundamental conclusions of the German bishops, stating:

“Even though Masonic organizations may not in particular cases plot against the faith, it would be still wrong to join them because their basic principles are irreconcilable with those of the Catholic faith.”

While the Congregations declaration reflects the current law in the Church and Catholics are prohibited from joining the Masons, the debate among Church scholars and canonists about this issue and the related issue of enforcement, application, and the canonical implications of each issue remain.

Veiled Square & Hidden Compasses

By Brother Isaiah Coffey

Namaste

Hopefully this response will find each of you Immortal Light Beings within the best of health, spirits and the 4 immeasurable states of mind: joy, love, compassion and equanimity. As we all are enrolled by the Universe in Earth school, our studies, in respect to truth, will vary as each of us spiral upward in degrees towards Infinity of becoming One again; hence the notion that there will come a point when all truths blend and become Truth. With that said, allow me to bring to the attention one of the lesser known truths regarding the Square & Compass.

 

Square and Compass

Freemasonry stresses the concept that one needs to not only subscribe to a livelihood of high ethics, but that one needs to also lead a life of high moral standards. On the Volume of Sacred Law, within every lodge, Freemasonry presents an incomplete Star Tetrahedron. As many are unaware, just as many have discovered that the Star Tetrahedron possesses the symbol (Pentalpha) that King Solomon used to construct the Temple. Recently I wrote a post regarding Sulayman being a Magician, and I’m sure that some will find it to be quite disturbing only to discover the type of energy Solomon used to raise the Temple was far from ordinary hands — which gives a new revelation to the phrase “…a house not made with hands” — and as to why the Craft most likely terms our new Initiates as “Cornerstones,” and thus they are placed within the Northeastern corner, but this is not the purpose of this post.

As Solomon used the symbol to raise the Temple, so shall we raise our personal Temple by the symbol of the Square & Compass. Once one has raised his personal Temple figuratively, then consciously he is able to raise his Temple literally. While one can gather that the Square & Compass represents the sexual union of a male and female, during the most natural of all positions (Missionary Position), the legs actually form a Square and Compass. The Square would be the feminine principle and the Compass would be the male principle. In the center of this Square and Compass, or sexual union, is the act and/or center of Creation itself… just like our letter “G.” It takes no stretch of the imagination; just look at you emblem. One can also gather the incomplete Star of David, the natural, but non-sexual, fusion of the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Man as well as many other allusions. However, the following would be the most obscure: Merkabah or Merkaba (Light Vehicle).

 

Merkabah

Take notice of the placement of the male and female energy symbols.

Mer – (Light) Ka – (Spirit) Ba – (Body)

The Merkaba is an inter-dimensional vehicle with counter-rotating fields of energy or light (wheel within a wheel) and is housed at the base of the spine along with the serpentine power known as Kundalini or K-energy. Kundalini is an energy that is coiled around the base of the spine (like a snake) and travels along the spinal cord, in a winding fashion, through each of the chakras as one becomes more “awake.” [See Side Note 1 Below]

This vehicle has been used by the Ascended Masters such as Yeshua, Ezekiel, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses, Ankhnaten, Leonardo and many other illumined sages to access various dimensions or higher realms. This vehicle, or the Merkaba, raises the Astral Temple from the 3rd dimensional plane into the remaining 4 dimensions; or the remaining 141 dimensions depending upon one’s school of thought. 141… where have we seen that before? {…chuckling…}

 

Merkabah Leonardo

Do you remember when you were Raised that you changed angles by 90 degrees? Within the study of quantum physics, each dimension is separated by a 90-degree rotation. When you change wavelengths and rotate 90 degrees, you will disappear from this world and reappear in whatever dimension you are tuned-in to. The images that you see on this physical plane or 3rd dimensional realm would change according to the wavelength of the realm that you have entered. Our planet has many different worlds; they are all right here, but most of us are only viewing the maya or illusory realm because the human conscience has been preconditioned to tune in to one particular wavelength.

 

Dimensional Shift

Though one may travel, via their Merkaba, to other dimensional levels, if your consciousness is not fully developed, you will not be strong enough to handle the higher vibrational levels and therefore will not be able to stay for an extended period. Certain beings, however, have managed to move through all the dimensional levels and remain conscious. They are known as Melchizedek’s. The level of a Melchizedek is realized when the consciousness has been fully developed or completely circumscribed and squared.

I can understand that this information can be hard to accept or one may even laugh at it; that is expected. But allow me to ask you a question: When was the last time you dreamed vividly standing up? Other realms (dreamworld) are involuntarily accessed when one changes angles (sleeps); however, these realms can be accessed without changing angles when one has come to master the mind. Many state that dreams are not real; nothing could be further from the Truth. The reason one does not “die” has been explained by one of the first rules of thermodynamics: Energy cannot be created or destroyed; only transferred or transformed. We are all made of pure light and energy. No matter which realm one is experiencing, he or she will and cannot “die.” [See Side Note 2 Below]

The physical body is not energy; it is the electricity (light) and soul, or spirit, that is the energy that propels the body. The only things that are not real are those things that are temporary; such as our current realm on the 3rd dimensional plane. This world is a school for the consciousness — just as the lodge represents the world and is a school for the conscience of a speculative Mason.

 

Lightwoker

The symbols, of the superimposed Square & Compasses, are missing 2 parallel lines that will create a two-dimensional image of the Merkaba. The two parallel lines that are missing are the two pillars that you by-passed and often one will find the emblem within the middle of these two parallel lines, or pillars, in various artworks and depictions. It is up to you to take these keys and place them within their respective lock(s). These two parallel lines also represent a particular work within Alchemy that states “As Above, So Below,” as one pillar correlates to the celestial (Above) and the adjacent pillar represents the terrestrial (Below). It is also up to the work of an alchemist (Freemason) as to whether or not he will realize The Great Work or bring into fruition “As Above, So Below.”

 

Star Tetrahedron Man

A true alchemist will tell you that the “hidden stone” can only be found by journeying inside the hidden earth and then rectifying it. I am inter-mingling different sciences because I am trying to show that it is true that “all roads lead to Rome;” better yet even, all roads lead to Home. On every Masons ring, that bears a Square & Compass, the addition of 2 parallel lines (pillars) will create the symbol, used by Solomon, to raise the Temple. [See Side Note 3 Below]

Not only will these 2 lines create the symbol that Solomon used to construct his temple, and will enable each person to raise their own Temple, but it is also an every day reminder that if one will finish The Great Work and realize “As Above, So Below,” he will then have Raised his own Kundalini, truly become Crown Conscious, and will possess the power to activate the Merkaba at the base of the spine … thereby giving him passage to truly “Travel Light” … (chuckling) … and some thought the phrase was just a figure of speech.

 

Merkabah Energy

[Side note 1: It is interesting to note that before one can “travel” within Speculative Freemasonry, he must first take passage via the flight of winding stairs. Within the realm of metaphysics, it has been overstood that before one can “travel” using their Merkaba, they must first raise their Kundalini — or wind the serpent up the stairs (chakras) of the spine.]

 

Kundalini

[Side Note 2: I know of only Life; death does not exist… death is but a phantom of one’s ignorance and fear. A change, however awful, demonstrates movement and movement is Life; those who have attempted to check the disrobing of the Spirit have tried to create a real death. We are all dying and being renewed everyday, because everyday our bodies have changed to some extent. Each of us are immortals. As a matter of fact, Jeremiah (1:5) stated that the Lord said: “Before you were in the womb, I knew you.” That’s because you and I have always existed. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; only transformed if not transferred.


Think about it… it is impossible to go from mortal to immortality. One has a definite beginning — the other does not; meditate on that for a day or two.

Heaven and Hell are created by the mind… simple concepts to explain a complex truth.

Reincarnation… this simply means to be born anew in another body after death; it does not necessarily mean a “physical form;” however, if this was the case and argument, did not Jesus mention that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnate? Does not a particular Volume of Sacred Law, that houses the book of Revelation, speak of the 2 saints returning in the flesh to preach to the masses? Does not the plethora of Volumes of Sacred Laws teach that you will be given “a new body” if you have “personally confessed or acknowledged your sins and/or karma” and from that point have led a life of “righteousness?”

Now maybe not here (within this place of existence), but sounds to me that somewhere your prana, energy, life-force, consciousness, or vibrational signature will “reincarnate” or take on a “new body” as the energy is transferred and you transform from one manifestation to another.

Each of the Volumes of Sacred Law(s) address particular truths that other respective volumes may fail to mention. When one consolidates these truths… then he’ll find the Absolute. Hence the reasoning our Craft accepts all creeds, or truths, so that one will meet and dwell within the Absolute. Which many are unaware, but at some point in time, one will come to overstand that there is no need to dwell within the Absolute because one will come to self-realization that the Absolute dwells within him and that he is All and the All is One.  The macrocosm exists within the microcosmAgain, the Macrocosm exists within the Microcosm.]

 

Neuron - Galaxy

[Side Note 3: The Square & Compass is also a reminder of man realizing his divinity by perfecting his heart. When one closes the physical eyes, beauty ceases to exist; actions cease to exist because they cannot be witnessed. What remains is/are the intention(s) of the heart and consciousness. It is true that one can become perfect while enrolled in Earth school; all of the illumined sages, that have come before us and presently, have been and are lively demonstrated examples of perfection attained here on Earth school. Each illumined sage attained perfection in the form of flesh. The reason many never realize perfection is because many still judge the action(s) of others — when they should be weighing the intention(s) of themselves — therefore leaving and rendering the judgment flawed; as opposed to an unbiased and perfected judgement of the Self. This concept can be found within one of the Volumes of Sacred Laws I Samuel 16:7 and within the ancient system of Ma’at. Our actions are influenced by our thoughts; when one can can originate intention(s), thought(s) and action(s) from Love and selfless desire… the results will be “perfect.” ]

In closing, I will reaffirm my mental mantra regarding the Craft:

An Entered Apprentice is one who has awakened to self-realization, a true Fellow of the Craft is one who has begun the Path to Enlightenment… while a true Master is one who has mastered the mind.

Mind the mind; the wise tame themselves and if you tame yourself you’re wise.” ~ Buddha

Keep the mind attuned to a positive frequency!

Techqua Ikachi

In’lakech

Ekam Sat

Brother Isaiah

11 Tones :: Ahau

W.C. Thomas 112

MWPHGL of Georgia

…former owner of the blog: Kingdom of Conscience ~ Osiris

mind-of-eden
square and compass, art, illustration, wheat, bell, sun, moon

Mussar and Freemasonry

This article comes from Jeremy Gross, who you may know better as the 47th Problem Euclid and author of the Masonic blog Corn, Wine, and Oil. His blog is very insightful and it is recommended that you visit his site for more thought provoking articles on Freemasonry.

compasssquare2I have been writing a lot about Jewish Mysticism, but for this article, I’d like to share another Jewish tradition that is somewhat more mundane, and yet possibly more profound. There is an ethical tradition in Judaism called Mussar . While the Modern Mussar movement is less than two centuries old, it taps into a tradition that goes back for nearly a millennium. It is part of Mitnagdim (the opponents of the Hasids) Yeshiva study, especially in the Litvisher (or Lithuanian Jewish) tradition. That’s ironic, because I am much more influenced by Hasidic Mysticism, and I’m a Galitzianer (Gallician Jew), and the Litvishers and Galitzianers traditionally butt heads with each other (kind of like a Jewish version of the Hatfields and the MacCoys). But a good set of techniques is precious, so I will take wisdom where I find it.

Modern Mussar practice was initiated by Rav Yisroel Salanter , who studied with Reb Zundel Salant , of Salantai, Lithuania. There is a story that Rav Yisroel was a dilligent student, but a failure in business. After losing his umpteenth job, he went to Reb Zundel in despair. Reb Zundel suggested that he become a rabbi. Rav Yisroel thought about it long and hard, and went back to his teacher. “I don’t know that I can be a rabbi. People will come to me for advice, and life and death may hang on my decisions. People will take on a career and avoid others based on what I tell them. People will marry based on my suggestions. What if I am wrong? I couldn’t bear to have people led astray because of my error. The very idea of it terrifies me.” Reb Zundel replied, “And you’d rather that a rabbi be a man who didn’t worry about his mistakes and their consequences?”

There are many stories about Rav Yisroel’s moral righteousness. During a cholera epidemic, he turned his students away from the Beth Midrash (house of learning) to attend to the sick, even though the disease was deadly and highly contagious. On that Yom Kippur, everyone is supposed to fast, but he encouraged the sick to eat, because he felt that the preservation of life was more important. When the pious sick refused, he publicly ate a piece of cake at the bimah, after Shacharit services, and begged those who felt weak to join him. For this, he was nearly fired as the head of his school, but his mastery of Torah during his exit interview was enough for him to keep his job.

He believed in Mussar, and believed that Mussar was for everyone, men, women, the Orthodox, even those who were lax in their observance. He worried that someone could study Torah and Talmud, the great works of Mysticism, secular knowledge and business, and still not study himself and his own behavior. He felt that without ethical self-examination, other achievements were hollow.

A disclaimer: I have read two books on Mussar, and studied some of two Mussar classics, and I’m about to start a personal Mussar practice. I haven’t started yet. I have all the spiritual authority of someone who has read a few books on Freemasonry, but has never taken any degrees, writing about Freemasonry. I’m hoping that the mistaken things I say next will come out being more truthful than silence, but I’m not guaranteeing anything.

What is Mussar? Mussar is not designed for the tzaddik, the holy man who is incapable of sin. Neither is it designed for the damned soul who is entirely governed by sin. It is designed for those who strive to do good, who sometimes end up doing evil, but are contrite when their evil deeds are pointed out to them. This is similar to Freemasonry, which cannot make evil men good, but can make good men better.

We are endowed with free will, and yet we fall into patterns that are hard to break. When we analyze where we have free will, we find our choices limited to certain things, while other things in our lives we are currently powerless to change. Anyone who has tried to break an addictive trait knows what I am talking about.

Mussar suggests that we have certain pivot points, called points of bechirah, where we could follow the inclination towards the good (called the yetzer hatov), or the inclination towards the evil (called the yetzer hara). A bechirah-point is a circumstance in our lives where each inclination has about a 50% chance of controlling the outcome. We have many of these points in our lives, with different issues. In Mussar practice, one observes one’s own behavior and actions, and keeps track of where the bechirah-points are on any given day, and if any new bechirah-points have emerged. The work is to use directed consciousness to tip the balance in favor of the yetzer hatov. What makes it hard is that the yetzer hara is really vocal, really loud and really persuasive. The yetzer hatov is pretty quiet. So one trains to listen to the voice of the yetzer hara and then deny it a victory. The metaphor given is one of a battlefield for your soul, with individual actions as soldiers, where some land is occupied by the yetzer hatov, and other land is occupied by the yetzer hara. The places where they share control is no-man’s land, and where they each control about 50% is the front line. One approaches the field of his soul like a general, planning battles, opening salients, and pushing the forces of the yetzer hara back. The yetzer hara is where excuses not to go to lodge this month come from, what urges you to eat a second piece of cake, what impels you to put a cigarette to your lips and persuades you to light it. The yetzer hara is always talking, which is why meditation is a practice designed to silence the inner monologue. The yetzer hatov is very hard to hear, most of the time. It takes silence for it to find a voice.

Mussar says that each of us has a spiritual curriculum, individually tailored to us personally. The two comparison examples given in the literature are, on the one hand, the master thief, raised by thieves, surrounded by thieves, who makes a living off of thievery. While stealing is against the Ten Commandments, the master thief does not struggle with the ethics of stealing on a day-to-day basis. But if the master thief were to be caught, he might have to kill the person who caught him. Or run away. The master thief is not a murderer. Yet. Killing someone now would be submitting to the yetzer hara. Running away without harming the other person would be listening to the yetzer hatov. The second example is that of the pious rabbi who obeys all of the commandments in the Torah. When it comes time for him to give the charity commanded of him by his religion, does he give away his money joyfully, or does he have a pang of regret? The pang of regret before a generous act is the voice of the yetzer hara. The thrill of joy before a generous act is the feeling of the yetzer hatov.

The Mussar practitioner makes a list of thirteen traits of the soul, called middot, that he would like to cultivate, and devotes a week to working on each one. The classical thirteen middot are equanimity, patience, order, decisiveness, cleanliness, humility, righteousness, frugality, diligence, silence, calmness, truth, and separation (isolating oneself when one is unable to behave appropriately). Other middot include fear of God, modesty, trust in God, and generosity. One is free to choose any thirteen virtues that he feels is relevant to himself. At the end of 13 weeks, it begins again. After four cycles, he makes a new list. He keeps a daily journal of what bechirah-points were challenged, and what the outcome was each time.

Also, the great classics of Mussar are consulted, often with a study-partner or chevrutah. The two chaverim take turns reading a paragraph each, and then debate their meaning. This dialectical process has many benefits. It encourages each partner to keep up with his partner, it gives each student a perspective other than his own, and each partner watches over the other to ensure that neither is overwhelmed or loses interest.These classics include Orchot Tzaddikim (The Ways of the Righteous), Mesilat Yesharim (The Path of the Just), by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, Tomer Devorah (The Palm Tree of Devorah), by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Chovot ha-Levavot (The Duties of the Heart), by Rabbi Bahya ibn Pakuda , and Cheshbon ha-Nefesh (An Account of the Soul), by Rabbi Menahem Mendel Leffin (inspired by Grand Master MW Benjamin Franklin’s idea of the Thirteen Virtues). Because Freemasonry has influenced this practice, there is no reason why this practice cannot in turn influence Freemasonry.

Indeed, this whole practice of Mussar seems strongly congruent with Freemasonry. We are instructed to subdue our passions and improve ourselves in Freemasonry. We are given working tools for this purpose, and given some instruction as to their use. But how many masons do you know say to themselves, “I feel like I’m stuck. There is the rubbish of the Temple from past labors in the quarries I no longer need to harbor, gumming up the works. I need to apply the Common Gavel to them, shaping my Ashlar from Rough to Perfect. I also feel like the hinge on my Compasses is a bit sticky– it might need Oil.”? It seems to me that a version of Mussar tailored to masonic usage might give us techniques for using our working tools more effectively.

I’ve studied some of Mesilat Yesharim and Tomer Devorah, and although they are beautiful texts, I don’t believe these are very accessible to someone outside of Jewish scholarship. I studied them with a rabbinical student who was able to translate the Hebrew (we used bilingual translations), locate each scriptural or Talmudic reference, and explain some of the subtleties. Both authors were passionate mystics, and wrote mostly about Jewish mysticism and esoterica, and their works reflect their mystical intents. I think the introduction to Mesilat Yesharim is brilliant. But none of the above books would be entirely appropriate for the average Freemason to study. While I think the partner study of Mussar classics is a necessary component of the technique of Mussar, I’m not well-versed enough in masonic scholarship to provide appropriate substitutes specifically tailored for a Freemason looking to do ethical contemplation. One might start with Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, but I’m sure that better examples exist. At the very least, finding a Brother, expressing the intent to do Mussar together, checking in with each other on a periodic basis to gauge progress, and possibly reading a suitable book of ethics together would be a good start.

masonic author, 20th century, Carl Claudy

What is the Lodge?

Masons often work to improve lodges by performing a number of tasks. Many actions have been taken or proposed in order to create better lodges and much debate has taken place about the proper way to improve Masonic lodges. However, in order to improve a lodge it is important that Masons take a step back and consider just what the term lodge means.

Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

Albert Mackey

Mackey gives three definitions of the term lodge in his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. The first definition is “a place in which Freemasons meet.” The second refers to the congregation of members which constitute the lodge. This definition compares the term ‘lodge’ to the term ‘church’ which refers to both the members of the organization and the building. The final definition that Mackey creates says that “the lodge, technically speaking, is a piece of furniture made in imitation of the Ark of the Covenant.” Mackey states that as the Ark contained the law of the Hebrews, the lodge contains the Book of Constitutions and the lodge’s warrant.1

Mackey’s definitions are somewhat different than the definition given in Masonic ritual:

The lodge is composed of a constitutional number of Masons, duly assembled, with the Holy Bible, square and compasses, and a charter or warrant empowering them to work.

So perhaps the literal definition of the word ‘lodge’ may be: an assembly of Masons with a warrant to work by a recognized grand jurisdiction or a word which refers to the meeting place of a group of Masons.

However, the lodge also has a symbolic meaning. Carl H. Claudy says:

The lodge is a symbol of the world. Its shape, the “oblong square” is the ancient conception of the shape of the world. The Entered Apprentice is taught its dimensions, its covering, its furniture, its lights, its jewels, and will learn more of it as a symbol as he proceeds through the degrees. Although a symbol of the world, the lodge is a world unto itself; a world within a world, different in its customs, its laws, and its structure from the world without. In the world without are class distinctions, wealth, power, poverty, and misery. In the lodge all are on a level and peace and harmony prevail.

masonic author

Carl Claudy

Considering Claudy’s explanation of the lodge as a symbol, it is clear that the lodge has little to do with the brick and mortar of which the building is composed. The lodge is a peculiar society, a Brotherhood which is able to live by the Utopian ideals that the profane world can never realize

Therefore, to improve the lodge is to improve the Brotherhood. It matters not where the lodge meets or the condition of its building. Filling the coffers of Masonic bodies or accumulating numbers will not necessarily improve the Brotherhood.

Instead, the focus must be on improving the Brotherhood through the self-improvement of its members and the relief of its distressed.

A lodge is at least seven Masons with a warrant empowering them to meet and to practice Masonry. It is no more, it is no less. In order to improve the lodge, we must improve the Brothers which constitute that body. That is the only path to improving Masonic lodges.

1. Mackey, Albert G. Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences. p. 449-451.

2. Claudy, Carl H. Introductory to Freemasonry—Entered Apprentice

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.

medical-symbol

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.

Pentalpha
Pentalpha

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!

In’lakech
Namaste

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 www.thefreedictionary.com . 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?

Fraternally,
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.

STATE OF CO-MASONRY IN OUR DAYS

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.

CONCLUSION = GENDER IS IN EVERYTHING

“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:

THOUGHT plus EMOTION equals MANIFESTATION.

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!

THERE ARE PLENTY OF ELIGIBLE AND WORTHY WOMEN OUT THERE!

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

SPECULATIVE ERA

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.