Thursday, August 31, 2006

Welcome "Guerilla Masonry"

Guerilla Masonry

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to the most recent blog added to the aggregator at www.KingSolomonsLodge.org, "Guerilla Masonry." It is not new, the first posts being from February 2006, but it somehow slipped under the radar when I was previously scouring for quality Masonic blogs. Lets show our support for this brother's efforts by making a special effort to read his posts and help catch him up on the late start here.

KingSolomonsLodge.org Email Subscription

For those who prefer email over feedreaders, or don't yet know or intend to know what a feedreader is, King Solomon's Lodge - The Path to Masonic Blogs is now available by Email subscription!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blogger Recent Comments

For anyone who has been feeling jealous of my Recent Comments sidebar module, a feature which is scarce to be achieved with Blogger, I am pleased to announce that it is now freely available for anyone using Blogger from this site. Just sign up, go to Recent Comments for Blogger, click "Add", copy and paste the generated address into your Blog's "Comment Notification Email" and copy and paste the Javascript snippet into your Blog Template. That's it! Enjoy.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Past Master

Tonight I received the Past Master degree in York Rite (August 21, 2006). It was better than I expected. I had relatively low expectations for it, basing my knowledge off of the Public Installation of Officers for Blue Lodge that I have witnessed. It was a little more involved. Kudos to our long departed Brother Thomas Smith Webb who first incorporated this ceremony into York Rite, for improving it to the point where it can rightly be considered a degree of its own.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Masonic Fellowship

Last night, I went over to one of my Masonic brother's homes with another Lodge member. We kicked back, shared stories, and had a good time. There was some beer involved on their part -- I don't drink, and I was pleased that they respected my choice and provided me with a nice vanilla soda. Being men with integrity and morals, I knew I could count on them to respect my own decisions, and don't think I would have even gone if it had been with anyone other than my lodge Brethren.

Anyway, we had a great time talking and it was just very relaxing after an evening of degree rehearsal.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Psalm 133 (A Song of degrees of David.)

Jack Chick Reading List

Was cruising over Jack Chick's anti-Masonic material, and ran across a list of names, which he claimed are occultists or sorcerers in the Masonic fraternity. While I cannot vouch for all or any of this information, I thought to myself: Geez, this looks like a good reading list of charismatic, and unique authors, whether or not they are all Masons, and at least some of them are. Remember, I do not take responsibility for the statements made in this list, it is attributed to chick.com:
  • Arthur Edward Waite - occult writer and Masonic historian.
  • Dr. Wynn Westcott - member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and founding member of the occult Order of the Golden Dawn.
  • S. L. MacGregor Mathers - co-founder of the Golden Dawn.
  • Aleister Crowley - master satanist of this century and founder of the anti-christ religion of Thelema.
  • Dr. Gerard Encauss√© - (Papus) masterful author, teacher of the Tarot and leader of the occult Martinistes society.
  • Dr. Theodore Reuss - head of the O.T.O., a German occult/satanic society which made Crowley its head for the British Isles.
  • George Pickingill - the master warlock (male witch) of 19th century England, leader of the "Pickingill covens."
  • Annie Besant - leader of the occult Theosophical society and Co-Masonic hierarch. (Yes, there are female Masons!)
  • Alice Bailey - founder of the New Age organization, Lucis (formerly Lucifer) Trust.
  • Bishop C. W. Leadbetter - Theosophist, mentor to the failed New Age "Christ", Krishnamurti, and prelate in the occult Liberal Catholic Church.
  • Manly P. Hall - Rosicrucian adept, author, founder of the Philosophical Research Society.
  • Gerald B. Gardner - founder of the modern Wiccan (white Witchcraft) revival.
  • Alex Sanders - self-styled "King of the Witches" in London and one of the most influential leaders of Wicca after Gardner.
A fascinating list. I would argue that the Masons in this list indeed, for the most part, bring credit rather than discredit to the Craft. Not to mention that they help keep all the fudies scared away from our ranks.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Masonic Information Updated

Greetings Brethren,

I have just done extensive reworking of the Masonic Information section available through the links in the upper right portion of www.kingsolomonslodge.org.

I would encourage you all to read through it to help me improve its content. I know there is still much room for improvement, for example, I would like eventually to have short degree summaries available for as many of the rites and bodies as possible.

I am at this time keeping the "Masonic Information" section limited to bodies concordant, appendant, and open to members of regular (recognized) Craft Masonry as defined by general consensus of the United States Grand Lodges. (Meaning that Prince Hall is considered recognized.)

There is also room for a Comment thread at the bottom of each page, which I am experimenting with.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Some New Masonic Vocabulary

I heard some new Masonic terms, and I thought I'd share them. The more common one first, which many of you may already be familiar with:

GRAND EAST: The place where the Grand Lodge holds its communications and from which place the edicts are issued. (Definition from http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/masonicdictionary.htm )

But today I read something about "Grand West"

After some research, the meaning seems to be either of these, depending on the jurisdiction:

1) The Deputy Grand Master, or Grand Senior Warden.

2) ALL of the Past and Sitting Masters of any Lodge, or (and perhaps the same people), the Voting Members of a Grand Lodge.

What if "The Solomon Key" does something else?

I'm going to play a game of "What if?":

What if Dan Brown's upcoming book, tenatively titled "The Solomon Key," spurs support for some controversial history or controversial interpretations of Masonry that some of the Brethren accept, while some are indifferent, and others fervently reject? Many people have been wondering what the fraternity will do to handle the publicity, in order to capitalize on it and reap the harvest of those men whom it may attract to the Fraternity.

However, if "The Da Vinci Code" has taught us anything, it seems to have divided opinions of the Christians (whose own history was the subject) right down the middle. Many people heralded the message of The Da Vinci Code, and encouraged study of Brown's, and other alternative views of their history, while many more have treated it as a heretical view, necessary to be defended against.

This disagreement had all the potential to create a schism in Christianity, except for one thing - Christianity is already schismed. There are so many churches and many of them recognize each other, but they agree to disagree on many of the finer points of their doctrine and theology.

Freemasonry, at least in the United States, is not schismed in this manner. Or, rather, any schism that exists is unbalanced, because the "regular" Grand Lodges outweigh any other competing system by an incredibly enormous amount. So what if the content of this book presents something which gains equally strong opposing views by members of The Craft? Views that some of the Brethren will welcome as a valid attraction for new candidates, and others will utterly reject as "clandestine views" (or, "heretical", as it may be.)

If this happens, will we be prepared to maintain harmony within the Lodge? Can we respect our fellow brethren, if they think things, and even encourage things different than our own personal views? Can we survive through a 50/50 split opinion on a popular and relevant topic?

I'm making no claims as to what the issue itself might be, merely looking at Dan Brown's track record, and he sure seems to know how to pull the right strings.

If you haven't already, you may want to listen to X-Oriente #005 The Perfect Storm in connection with this post, as it was part of my inspiration to write this.

Lesser Light in the Court

I went to court today to give my plea concerning a speeding ticket. I was sad to see that the court room was not at all like the ones depicted on TV, with all the beautiful woodwork and paneling. But most of all, I was amazed that a gavel was not used in this court to rap people down.

Everyone did arise while the Judge entered the room, so there was a little bit of ceremonial left.

What's with the lack of a gavel? Is this some type of Counter-Conspiracy? I feel sort of sleighted.

Monday, August 07, 2006

UGLA's childish statements

I was reading a page, written by the new "UGLA", that has been getting some press in the blogs lately, at http://www.modernfreemasons.org/choices.htm and I feel a need to respond to it:
‘Antient’ Freemasonry is the most common form of Freemasonry found throughout the United States. It is a social fraternity composed primarily of men aged sixty-five and older that collects monies for its various charities.

I am twenty five years old. I have rarely if ever seen our Blue Lodge collect monies for "various charities."
It is perhaps most easily identified by Shriners wearing their red rhinestone covered fez's collecting money at intersections. In many areas of the country it is divided along racial lines with African American Freemasons not being recognized as legitimate Masons.

I have never seen anyone wear a red fez in my Blue Lodge. The Shrine Club is an appendant body, which should stand on its own merits and have its own identity. "In many areas of the country" is misleading. There are a few of the southern states that are not yet racially integrated, but the majority of Grand Lodges in the U.S. are racially integrated. I have in fact sat in Lodge with racially diverse Brethren, and I am in one of the "whitest" towns in the country.
Its membership is predominantly protestant in religious orientation, and in some areas of the country it is relatively intolerant of other faiths.

I missed the memo on this one. I am a Mormon, and an unusual one at that. I heard that Masonry makes no requirement of a Man's religious faith except that he have belief in a Supreme Being. I have never seen this violated, and in fact, I do not even know the specific denomination or creed of most of my Lodge Brethren. I only assume they are mostly Christian because we are in a place where most people are Christians. On the other hand, I also assume that there are more non-Christians in Masonry in Oregon proportionally than other groups, because we are more welcoming and tolerant of people of other faiths.

'Antient' Freemasonry has many appendant bodies such as the York and Scottish Rites, and others too numerous to mention. Many of these are by invitation only and usually require that you have a lengthy list of Masonic titles associated with your name before being invited into membership.

Yes, we have appendant bodies, and some of them have prerequisites, and some of them are invitational. However, the prerequisites are in terms of degrees attained and service rendered to the fraternity, not Masonic titles.
Joining 'Antient' Freemasonry is much easier than either Co-Masonry or 'Modern' Freemasonry. Many of the 'Antient' Grand Lodges hold "All the way in a day classes" where you can join in the morning and be a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason by the end of the day. If you are looking for a unique and inexpensive social club you may want to consider learning more about 'Antient' Freemasonry.

I abhor the idea of one day classes, and give my condolances to the brethren who have to put up with them, and those who pass through them. I consider Masonry far more than a social club. And, I see it as entirely un-Masonic to advertise it as a social club and refer people to a list of Lodges as has been done on this site. The UGLA seems not to be demonstrating brotherly love, but rather, childish bitterness or vengeance towards the Brethren of a fraternity that has obviously offended them in some way. They must not even care about recognition, or they would not be characterizing traditional Freemasonry in such a poor manner. Fortunately, the type of boys who would schism from the fraternity instead of seeking to make it better
are exactly the type we don't need in our ranks. We're looking for Masons, who are interested in working stones and making them fit for the builder's use. If the stone was already perfect, there would be no need for workmen in the quarries.

I am proud to be a Mason, and I feel honored to be currently going through the York Rite. I am part of an ancient heritage, and although there is much error and poor judgment in the way Freemasonry is handled, yet there are many things perfect. I want to improve the Fraternity, and that starts by helping our Brethren to improve themselves in Masonry.

I hope the UGLA does succeed in some measure. Having competition out there will be good for Masonry in the United States. It may give us strengthened motivation to step up to the challenge and be good and true ancient Masons.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Masonic "Clubs" and Masons-at-Heart

I was listening to back-episodes of The X-Oriente Podcast and was intrigued by two things I heard in an interview with the then-Grand Master of Masons in Illinois.

1. The idea of Masonic "clubs" existing at Universities. Not Lodges, not able to confer any degree work, but with Masonry as a topic, and welcoming those interested to learn more about its history. Contrast this with the typical college fraternities. This seems like an excellent idea to open the knowledge of the fraternity to young people who would be interested in learning of it.

2. If I remember correctly, it was stated that the GL of Illinois receives somewhere around 15 emails a week from people online who are interested in the Masonic fraternity. And, most of these are in the age of 18 to 30. This tells us where our ripe avenue of anxious Mason-at-heart are waiting. We need to tap this resource as a fraternity.

The X-Oriente podcast is excellent, and shows that some hard work and dedication went into making it, and I encourage all of you to listen to it as you have time.

Podcasts and the Lodge

I decided to download a few of the podcast shows from X-Oriente and The Digital Freemason and burn them off on a CD so I can listen to them on the go. But, more importantly, I have decided to drop them off at the secretary's desk of my Lodge and encourage sharing them with the other brethren who may not be as technologically savvy but do know how to play a CD.

Does anyone else think this would be a good idea, or a neat way to get some of the less technically inclined Brethren to have cravings to participate online?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New Atom Feed for Freemasons

The Masonic blog aggregator at www.kingsolomonslodge.org now has an Atom feed to syndicate the most recent 20 posts from the "Bloggers of the Craft" section. The URL to the feed over at feedburner is:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/KingSolomonsLodge

King Solomon's Lodge - Path to Masonic Blogs

I'm also proud to announce that we have two high quality Masonic podcasts syndicated in the aggregator, as well. Enjoy!