Page 1

The Journal

Of The Masonic Society

Autumn 2008

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THE JOURNAL OF THE MASONIC SOCIETY Editor in Chief Christopher L. Hodapp 317-842-1103 1427 W. 86th Street Suite 248 Indianapolis IN 46260-2103

Come celebrate with us at the

Masonic Societyís First Circle Gathering and Banquet Friday, February 13, 2009 Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Virginia

Guest Speaker: Yasha BeresineróFounding Fellow Banquet cost is $65 per person, and all members, non-members and ladies are welcome. IMPORTANT NOTE: We are honored to be an official participant in the Allied Masonic degrees “Masonic Week” program. Tickets for the banquet are available ONLY in advance through the AMD Week organizers. All Meals MUST have a ticket. All RESERVATIONS must be made by FEBRUARY 1, 2009. No meal tickets will be sold at the HOTEL!

ALL DINNER TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 1ST, 2009! Visit the AMD reservation website at or contact: Paul Newhall 13611 Dairy Lou Court Oak Hill, VA 20171-3342 Telephone Number (703) 598-5077 Email: pnewhall@cox.nett

Hotel reservations are available by calling 1-800-HILTONS Identify the hotel property as the “Hilton Alexandria Mark Center” Rooms may still be available at a reduced rate under the group name “AMD”

Officers Roger S. Van Gorden, President Michael R. Poll, 1st Vice President Rex R. Hutchens, 2nd Vice President Ronald D. Martin, Executive Secretary Nathan C. Brindle, Treasurer Christopher L. Hodapp, Editor-in-Chief Directors Robert G. Davis Fred G. Kleyn III Jay Hochberg Mark Tabbert James W. Hogg Ronald Blaisdell James R. Dillman

The Journal of The Masonic Society Society, Autumn 2008, Volume 1, Number 2 Published by The Masonic Society Inc. 1427 W. 86th Street, Suite 248, Indianapolis IN 46260-2103. Full membership for Master Masons in good standing of a lodge chartered by a grand lodge that is a member of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons of North America (CGMMNA), or recognized by a CGMMNA member grand lodge. (includes Prince Hall Grand Lodges recognized by their counterpart CGMMNA state Grand Lodge): $39/yr., ($49 outside US/Canada). Subscription for non-members: $39/yr., ($49 outside US/Canada). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Journal of The Masonic Society, 1427 W. 86th Street, Suite 248, Indianapolis IN 46260-2103 © 2008 by The Masonic Society, Inc. All rights reserved.

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4 President’s Message



News of the Society


Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings


Masonic News

34 Letters 35 From The Editor

Cleaning The temple by Mark A. Tabbert

15 English Royal Arch— An Historic Accident by Yasha beresiner

Masonic Treasures 25


Masonic Treasures of Washington D.C.

16 Defining Esotericism From a Masonic Perspective

by Christopher Hodapp

by Shawn Eyer

Grand Lodge of Arizona Meets in Copper Queen Mine


On Brotherhood by Robert Wolfarth

Reports 11


Alpha Males: Trevor Stewart Shares new Research at Historic New Jersey Lodge by Jay Hochberg

First Degree Masonic Tracing Board by Greg Stewart

30 There’s A Hole In Our Bucket, Dear Hiram, Dear Hiram by Stephen Dafoe

COVER: This month’s cover features original artwork by Greg Stewart. In his article on page 23, he discusses the symbolism that appears in the Entered Apprentice tracing board.

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President’s Message

Try Freemasonry By Roger S. VanGorden


rother Wayne Guthrie was a columnist for The Indianapolis News as well as Grand Steward and Tyler for the Grand Lodge of Indiana for a number of years during the 1960s. Guthrie often told a story taken from Earl Wolf’s My God and God about another noted newspaperman, Horace Greeley. A young woman whose church was in financial straits and suffering membership woes wrote in desperation to Greeley. She wrote that her church had tried fairs, strawberry festivals, oyster suppers, socials, even mock weddings to no avail. She pleaded to Greeley to suggest something for her little church to try. Greeley responded with a simple two word reply, “Try religion.” Guthrie went on to say that if there are any problems plaguing Freemasonry they can be cured if we would simply try Freemasonry. We have over the course of the past couple of decades tried many things. We have hawked our charities to the point that many members don’t know how to respond to questions about Freemasonry without boasting about our charities. Many lodges have tried open solicitation, one day classes, “open house” promotions as well as billboard, radio, and television advertisements. Of course, don’t forget the fish fries. The television channel which currently calls itself, “History”, has touted Freemasonry more than anyone with the possible exception of the “National Treasure” franchise or perhaps Dan Brown. Here we are in 2009 still scratching out collective heads wondering why our finances are tight and lodges continue to close. Bowling Alone and Robert Putnam aside, we have opportunities. This is especially true in light of the increased interest in politics and other forms of civic engagement. Yes, many men have found Freemasonry by these gimmicks. Many of you are now curling up your magazine in anger over the use of the word gimmick. Gimmicks are not wrong or evil in themselves, but they are gimmicks none the less. Someone may even say trying Freemasonry is a gimmick. Perhaps it is. But, Freemasonry is what we can offer that no one else can. Yes, a handful of lodges have increased their membership by some of the ideas we have tried. But after initiating, passing, and raising these brothers are we delivering on the promise? A man does not need Freemasonry in order to be charitable. He can join a number of organizations if his desire is to collect awards. Fish fries, well, they seem to be the staple of any organization seeking to raise funds. Freemasonry has no

monopoly on deep fried battered cod. If merely getting out of the house is his goal, well, then poker has made a tremendous comeback. So, if we were in a business and sought to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, what would we supply? Well, we can offer men Freemasonry. Freemasonry is something they cannot get anywhere else. We need to apply Greeley’s advice and “try Freemasonry”. One opportunity comes to mind in a recent article found in The New York Times entitled, “Strangers May Cheer You Up, Study Says.”1 The article starts with, “How happy you are may depend on how happy your friends’ friends’ friends are, even if you don’t know them at all.” In many of our officer installation ceremonies we state that a purpose of Freemasonry is to communicate happiness. Each of us has become better men, happier men, simply by creating outstanding friendships with other good men. How many good friends do you have from work, your neighborhood, and dare say your church, compared to the good friends you have from Freemasonry. Try Freemasonry. Improving Freemasonry’s image coupled with expanding awareness is important. More so is the need to return to Freemasonry’s roots and to use a popular cliché, walk the talk. Try Freemasonry. Each of us must try Freemasonry in our daily lives and see that our lodges are doing the same. Your Grand Lodge is not going to grow and improve Freemasonry. Only you working in your lodge can grow and improve Freemasonry. You and your lodge create the image of Freemasonry in your community. Just as the church from the story. The community knew that church from what they were doing and for what they practiced. That church was a fair and strawberry festival. Sound familiar? Are we charities and fish fryers? Try Freemasonry. We have a glorious history, a beautiful philosophy, a unique teaching method, and a brotherhood that each of us treasures. Let’s not allow Freemasonry to become one dimensional. As we enter this new year let us resolve to try a different gimmick, try Freemasonry.

1“Strangers May Cheer You Up, Study Says.” New York Times

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News of the Society


he Masonic Society will mark an historic occasion, auspiciously on Friday, the 13th of February, 2009. Our First Circle Gathering and Banquet will take place at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. This will be our first face-to-face meeting among our members and friends, and it is with great pride that our fledgling Society is a part of the Allied Masonic Degrees Masonic Week. We have said from the outset that the Society was to be more than just a subscription to a magazine—that we hoped membership would help to forge friendships. This is our first step in that direction, and we hope you will be able to join us. Stay tuned for news about future gatherings around the US and Canada. Our guest speaker at the First Circle banquet will be Yasha Beresiner, a Founding Fellow of the Society. Yasha is a published Masonic author and world renowned researcher. Originally born in Istanbul, Turkey to Russian and Greek parents, Yasha was educated in Turkey, Italy, Israel and England. He holds citizenship today in both Israel and England, and is able to speak at least eight languages. Yasha has had a colorful and far-reaching life— everything from receiving a law degree and becoming an Israeli paratrooper (marrying his female sergeant, Zmira between jumps); to participating in the Student Olympics in Tokyo in 1967 (in Judo); to becoming a rare stamp, coin and currency expert; and even certified as a City of London Walks tour guide, where he can be seen leading groups through East End alleyways while dressed as Sherlock Holmes. The Banquet is open to members, guests and ladies, and the cost is $65 per person, and will begin at 6:00PM. Please Note: Dinner tickets are ONLY available from the AMD event organizers. Tickets will NOT be available at the hotel, and must be purchased by mail NO LATER than February 1st, 2009. Visit the AMD reservation website at

or contact:

Paul Newhall 13611 Dairy Lou Court Oak Hill, VA 20171-3342 Telephone Number (703) 598-5077 Email: The banquet will be followed by a board meeting, and all members are welcome to attend. Please join us for this outstanding evening and help us make Masonic history!


Charles W. Munro (1927-2008)


ell, this is a bitter pill. It does not seem possible to be writing this tribute to the tough as nails Texan who beat death down more times than I can count. But, my friend and brother passed away October 4th, 2008. Charles W. Munro was a PM in Canton Lodge No. 98 in Tyler, Texas; Gray’s Harbor Lodge # 52 in Hoquiam, Washington State, and many other Masonic organizations and bodies. In 2000, he was named a Fellow of the Philalethes Society and is one of the Founding Fellows of The Masonic Society. Bro. Munro was a respected Masonic researcher, historian and author. Bro. Munro was a little over 80 years old and had his share of personal high and low points. He always maintained a dry and pointed sense of humor. Get our good Brother Charles in the right mood and he would reduce me to tears of laughter. Bro. Munro retired from a career in law enforcement which spanned serving numerous position in the Houston Police Department and the United States government as a Deputy U.S. Marshall. Bro. Charles was one of the sharpest men I have ever known. His ability to quickly size up a situation or individual never ceased to amaze me. He was good at what he did. He would sometimes give me a sly, off to the side wink and half-grin then proceed to slice and dice some poor individual who all the while thought Charles was some “poor country bumpkin.” He was an ace. He was unique. He was my dear friend and I will miss him greatly. — Michael Poll A few hotel rooms were left as of this writing at a reduced group rate. Contact Hilton at 1-800-HILTONS. Identify the hotel property as the “Hilton Alexandria Mark Center” and the group name “AMD”


n early October, Society member Nelson King was hospitalized with acute liver failure. After over a month in the hospital, along with ongoing treatments, his condition has steadily improved. Thoughts, prayers and best wishes to Nelson and his wife Ellen. Brother King is the editor of The Philalethes magazine.

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News of the Society


ith great pride and appreciation, TThe Masonic Society welcomes the following brethren as Founding Members, September 1st through December 1st, 2008.

Dale M. Adams Ed Adams Louis E. Adams Rafael Aguilar R. Bradley Alderfer Heath Armbruster C. J. Avery Yosef Bahar Mike P. Banagan Joseph Manning Barnhill, Jr. Daniel C. Barston Stephen Batiz Jon Beach Jonathan Beatty Bryan D. Bechler John C. Beck Mark Beecher Steve Bernhardt Chuck Blackner Donald Lewis Borchert Michael D. Boyd Heath Riley Brandenburg Terence Brennan Randy Brill Timothy R. Brinkmeyer John Brobst Edward D. Brown Kevin Michael Brown Michael D. Brumback Gordon Buckner Nicholas La Mar Buonanno

Michael Carpenter Patrick C. Carr Rick Carver Joseph Chi Matthew Christopher Ben Clark Michael D. Clevenger Winfield Cline John Cline Philip A. Cole Reed H. Cole, Sr. Ariston Collander Bruce R. Conley Glen A. Cook Ken Cotter Will Currier Chris Davis Stefan Doomanis William Downey Balvin G. Dunn II Charles R. Dunning, Jr. John Dyson Richard E. Eades James R Eby Brian E. Eckenrode Roger Elliott J. Robert Ellnor IV Jeffrey A. Evans James J. Fahy David Fierro Steve Fishman Casey A. Fletcher Samuel Freeman James C. Gammon

Gerald Bruce Gibbons Robert S. Gilbert Alexander H. Gillespie Leonard Goins Brad S. Goldman, MD James W. Golladay, Jr. Edward S. Graham James M. Graham Christoffer Gramming Richard J. Gregory Gary D. Gudzik Christopher L. Hall Joselito Romualdo Hencotte David M. Herman Stephen Higgins William Highsmith Donald L. Himes Max Hirrill Sanford Holst Brian Hooper Dan Hornseth Edward J. Howard James W. Howell Mathew D. Ingalls Stephen Inzer Timothy Israel Richard L. James Shahaada Jihaad Nicholas Johnson Fletcher Johnston Lonnie Jolma Brian Jovanovic Daniel A. Joy

Albert C. Kaestner Lawrence V. Kaminsky Robert C. Krannig Bob Kumpfer Thomas R. Lehe, Jr. Peter LeTourneux James Leutri Don Littlefield David W. Madara Keith Madden Ashok D. Mahbubani Kevin Main Jason E. Marshall Charles Martin David Y. Matteo Grayson W. Mayfield III William Mays Kevin McCans Robert A. McGehee Bill Millett Jason M Moore David Morales George F. Morrow Allen D. Moyer Paul R. Mundy Chris Murphy George S. Nasra David Naughton-Shires Jeffrey N. Nelson Thomas J. Nervegna Shmuel A. Nevo Danny Newman Simon Q. Juni Oduber Patrick OSullivan

Makia L. Pai John L. Palmer Josep Pascual Bruce G. Pawski Dr. Michael Pearce Stu Pelcyger Brandon Lee Penley Sergio A. Perez Jr. Larry J. Perkins Herb Perry Gregory H. Peters Mark Polansky, Sr. Simon Polkinghorne Mark Pope Lee Porebski Jonathan Portnoy John Read Diego Redondo Ryan Reid Ainsley A. Reynolds Rickey Ricks Q. C. (Tony) Robbins George S. Robinson, Jr. Randy L. Russelburg Terry Ryan Francisco R. Santiago Richard Schlaudroff Russ Schlosser Edward Secrest Terrence G. Sembly Rashied K. SharrieffAl-Bey John C. Sherwood Michael Shirley

Richard K. Shrout James L. Sieber William A. Siebert Russ Silvey Ballard L. Smith Luther A. Smith Matt Smithey Guy Spivey Chip Stamm Robert N. Stutz Franklin M. Suco Robert M. Sullivan Brian Swann Matthew Szewczyk Ronald Tepe Adam Thompson Larry B. Thompson, Jr. Doug Thorstenson Roger Tigner Saul M. Tischler Matthew D. Toth Daniel A. Valles Richard A Vickery III Gord Vokes Johan G.J. Vrieswijk Jason Wamsley Richard D. Wary Brent E. Whetstone Clayton L. Wright Martin Wynn J. H. Yingling Hugh Young


Obviously well-fed Masonic Society Founding Fellows at the Grand Lodge of Indiana’s annual communication in May 2009. LtoR: Christopher Hodapp, James Dillman, Roger Van Gorden, Nathan Brindle.

ounding Fellow W. Bruce Pruitt has recently published a book that contains valuable information for understanding antiMasonic criticisms, and provides assistance in responding to them. The Truth About Freemasonry tackles complaints that laymen have raised about our fraternity: Does it interfere with family responsibilities? Is it truly a completely secret organization? Is it involved in the control of politics? What about the obligations and penalties? Is it a cult? A religion? Anti-Christian? Brother Pruitt addresses each of these issues, and answers them in a logical, and straightforward manner. The answers are not only instructive for Masons, but can equip one to discuss those questions with family, friends, and acquaintances. The 40 page book sells for $9.00 and is available from Dorrance Publishing Company at www. or by phone at 1-800-788-7654.

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Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings December 8, 2008 The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York 2nd annual dinner-lecture. Topic: Freemasonry and the Arts. December 8, 2008 Scientia Coronati Lodge of Research No. 4. Winter Solstice Meeting & Installation of Officers at 7 p.m. Aztlan Lodge No. 1, Prescott, AZ. December 10, 2008 Alpha Lodge, No. 116, Installation of David Lindez as WM Guest Speaker: W. Bro. Trevor Stewart 56 Melmore Gardens, East Orange, NJ. December 13 , 2008 New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education #1786 Lodge opens at 10 a.m. All Master Masons welcome. 100 Barrack St., Trenton, NJ December 13, 2008 Virginia Research Lodge No. 1777 10AM Babcock Masonic Temple in Highland Springs, Virginia. December 13, 2008 Civil War Lodge of Research No. 1865 Babcock Lodge No. 322 in Highland Springs, Va. December 20, 2008 A. Douglas Smith, Jr. Lodge of Research. Installation of officers at 10 a.m. Meets at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Va. December 29, 2008 American Lodge of Research. French Ionic Room at GL of NY (71 W. 23rd St., NYC.) January 16-17, 2009 Texas Lodge of Research 50th anniversary celebration. J.H.Gurley Lodge No. 37, at the Lee Lockwood Library & Museum in Waco. January 20, 2009 Fairless Hills Lodge No. 776 (525 South Olds Blvd., Fairless Hills, PA 19030) Jay Hochberg to speak on the Four Cardinal Virtues. Lodge opens at 7:30. January 31, 2009 A. Douglas Smith, Jr. Lodge of Research. 10 a.m. George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Va. Wednesday, Feb. 11 Edward J. Wildblood, Jr. Lodge of Research Masonic Temple in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. 7 p.m. February 11-14, 2009 Masonic Week Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel, Alexandria, VA. February 13, 2008 The Masonic Society First Circle Gathering Featured Speaker: Yasha Beresiner Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel, Alexandria, VA. February 15-17, 2009 Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America Orange County Hyatt, Garden Grove, CA.

February 25, 2009 The Masonic Lodge of Research of Connecticut New Haven Masonic Temple (285 Whitney Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. March 5, 2009 Thomas Smith Webb Chapter of Research No. 1798 Holiday Inn, 205 Wolf Road, Albany, New York. March 14, 2009 New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education #1786 Lodge opens at 10 a.m. All Master Masons welcome. 100 Barrack St., Trenton, NJ March 14, 2009 Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge Masonic Cultural Center at Grand Lodge’s Elizabethtown campus. 9 a.m. start. March 20-21, 2009 Texas Lodge of Research. Election and Installation. Hillsboro Lodge No. 196 in Hillsboro, TX March 30, 2009 American Lodge of Research. 7:30 PM French Ionic Room at GL of NY (71 W. 23rd St., NYC.) April 17-19, 2009 44th Masonic Spring Workshop Delta Lodge, Kananaskis, Alberta Featured speakers: Dr. Earle Sharam, Jim Roberts. April 24-26 2009 60th Midwest Conference on Masonic Education Pres. Abraham Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center, Springfield, IL. Call for papers: Implementing Masonic education programs; and actual Masonic education content. May 1, 2009 Iowa Research Lodge No. 2. Location and time TBA. May 29-31, 2009 2nd International Conference on the History of Freemasonry Grand Lodge of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. Call for papers has closed. May 2011 3rd International Conference on the History of Freemasonry George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Alexandria, VA August 15-19, 2009 Grand Encampment, Knights Templar of the USA Triennial Roanoke, V VA August 23-25, 2009 Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction Boston, MA October 1-6, 2009 Supreme Council 33° Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction Washington D.C. AUTUMN 2008 • 7

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Masonic Week ï February 12th-14th, 2009 ï Alexandria, Virginia THURSDAY, Feb. 12, 2009 --------------- 8:00 AM --------------Trinity Chapel No. 12, St. Thomas of Acon --------------- 10:00 AM --------------Marvin E. Fowler Commandery No. 7 --------------- 10:00 AM --------------Grand Preceptors Council of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon in the Province of the United States of America ---------------12:30 PM ---------------Festive Board , Trinity Chapel (Members and Wives ONLY) --------------- 2:00 PM ---------------The High Council, Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis --------------- 4:30 PM ---------------Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor --------------- 7:00 PM --------------The Annual Banquet of the High Council SRICF All Welcome (Including Ladies) (Terrace Room) Guest Speaker: John R. Paternoster, IX°, IX°, Supreme Magus, SRIA

FRIDAY, February 13, 2009 --------------- 7:00 AM --------------Convent General - KYCH Breakfast All Welcome (including Ladies) --------------- 8:30 AM --------------Grand Council Knight Masons, USA -------------- 11:00 AM --------------Society of Blue Friars, (All Masons Welcome) ---------------12:00 Noon -----------Lunch (on your own) --------------- 1:30 PM ---------------

Grand College of America Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests Grand Preceptor’s Tabernacle “A” will meet concurrently with the Grand College -------------- 3:30 PM --------------Ceremonies of Installation Installed Sovereign Master Installed Supreme Ruler Installed Commander Noah Knight Commander Red Branch of Erie --------------- 5:00 PM --------------Chevaliers Bienfaisants De La Cite Sainte, (CBCS); (Arbors) --------------- 6:00 PM --------------Royal Society of Knights Occidental, 13th Annual Convivial (Terrace Room East) Social Hour - Dinner - “Ritual Portrayal” All Masons are Welcome! --------------- 6:00 PM --------------The Masonic Society First Annual Dinner Guest Speaker: Yasha Beresiner (Terrace Room West) All Welcome (including Ladies) --------------- 9:00 PM --------------“Royal Order of Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord”, (1st Grade) Open ONLY to OSM members of the AMD. Conferred by visiting Brethren from Great Britain Cost of Degree is $40.00, Jewel and Certificate is an additional $20.00 Money raised will be used for Charity

SATURDAY, February 14, 2009 --------------- 7:00 AM --------------AMD Breakfast Sponsored jointly by tthe he Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for the NMJ & SMJ. Magnolia Room All Welcome (including Ladies) --------------- 8:30 AM --------------Grand College of Rites of the USA --------------- 10:00 AM --------------Nine Muses Council No. 13 (All Masons Welcome) --------------- 11:00 AM --------------Grand Master’s Council AMD ------------- 12:00 Noon ------------Scottish Rite Research Society Speaker to be Announced (All Masons Welcome) --------------- 2:00 PM --------------Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America --------------- 6:00 PM --------------Grand Council AMD Annual Banquet (Terrace Room) All Welcome (including Ladies) -------------- 9:00 PM --------------Ye Antiente Order of Corks

-------------- 10:00 PM -------------Masonic Order of the Bath Note: FRIDAY LADIES COFFEE At 9:00 AM on Friday, Feb. 13, 2008, the Ladies are invited to meet for Coffee in the Capitol. View overlooking Washington D.C. This is an excellent opportunity to meet new friends in a relaxing and friendly atmosphere. Ladies who are interested in attending Friday Nights Entertainment Gathering are to contact Brenda Watson at:

Masonic News


new book, available for download electronically, has appeared about William Morgan and the antiMasonic aftermath of his disappearance in Batavia, New York in the 1820s. The Bright Mason was written by freelance journalist Robert Berry, former reporter for the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. The first chapter is available for a free look at the website www.


rothers Greg Stewart and Dean Kennedy have built a growing audience with their internet podcast program, Masonic Central (Sundays at 9PM live at www.Talkshoe. com or by phone; or downloadable after the broadcast). Paul M. Bessel, S. Brent Morris, Jessica Harland-Jacob, Adam Kendall, Chris Hodapp, Nelson King, and Tim Bryce are just a few of the Masons, authors and educators who have appeared on the show. For more information, see their website,

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Masonic News


he Eclipse Chamber Orchestra opened its 20082009 season at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial on September 28th. Two additional concerts will take place on February 15th and May 3rd, 2009. The orchestra is composed primarily of members of The National Symphony Orchestra and is one of the nation’s premier ensembles for the performance of chamber music. More important is the welcoming of this respected arts group and the public into a Masonic building and a symbol of our national Masonic pride.


peaking of Masons and music, two previously unknown fragments of music by Brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have turned up in a library in Nantes, in western France. A yellowing paper that has been in the library for over a century was found to contain several lines of heretofore undiscovered music and notes, and signed by Mozart. The music had previously been assumed to be a rough draft from one of the 600 known pieces by the Austrian composer. One is a few lines of a “Credo” religious work in D Major. The other is a jumble of notes, possibly a sonata. The pieces are very short, and can be played in a few minutes, but they have nonetheless caused great excitement in the classical music world.


he Selkirk Arms Hotel in Kirkcudbright, Scotland has long sought the proper manner to keep the spirit of famed Scottish poet and Mason Robert Burns burning bright. The hotel is where Burns’ “The Selkirk Grace” was allegedly created in 1794, and it has long been a staple of Burns Night suppers the world over. So, to raise awareness of Scotland’s bard and to remind customers of the hotel’s connection to the prayer, the establishment’s co-owners Chris Walker and Douglas McDavid have immortalized Burns’ portrait and his “Selkirk Grace” on the hotel’s toilet seats. In a BBC article, McDavid is quoted as saying, “We’re so proud of the history attached to the Selkirk Arms and the fact that Robert Burns stayed in this very hotel. . . We need to tell the world that Burns’ memory is alive and well and here in Kirkcudbright.” Now, patrons are urged to be reverently attentive whilst visiting the loo and to contemplate Burns’ prayerful prose,

“Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit.” For inspiration, it certainly beats, “We aim to please. You aim, too, please.”


ave you recently been informed that you have been selected to become a member of something called “The Knights Templar Organization?” An impressive looking letter has made the rounds over the last year or so from a Las Vegas post office box and signed by the especially vainglorious sounding “Count Cristian d’Espery Grand Scion” of the “Knights Templar Organization,” along with a request for a measly fee of $25 to cover the “administrative costs” of an “Award program” of some sort. Needless to say, this has nothing to do with the Scottish Rite or York Rite Masonic organizations. Nor is it connected with the non-Masonic but widely known International Knights Templar (Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani), but the letter is clearly meant to look and sound like something it isn’t.


he 221st meeting of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina AF&AM convened in Winston-Salem on September 19, 2008. The Resolution for Mutual Recognition of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina and Its Jurisdictions, Inc., and the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina officially passed by a vote of 642 Yeas and 328 Nays. On Friday, November 21st, a ceremony was held in the old House Chamber of North Carolina’s State Capitol. At the table where North Carolina’s resolution to secede from the Union was signed 148 years ago, M:.W:.B:. David Cash, Grand Master for the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, and M:.W:.B:. Milton “Toby” Fitch Jr., Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina and Its Jurisdictions, signed the joint recognition resolution in a public ceremony. The following US mainstream Grand Lodges remain that do not recognize Prince Hall Freemasonry: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

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Masonic News


s of November 5th, 2008, by order of Most Worshipful Edward Gilbert, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, F&AM, amity between the Grand Lodge of NY, F&AM and the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia has been officially suspended. According to the order, the Grand Lodge of DC first issued a charter for a new Lodge in a territory already under the jurisdictions of the GLofNY and GL of Scotland without first obtaining their permission to do so. Further, the charter was issued in the name of several Masons who are under formal suspension from the GLofNY. According to the GLofNY, both actions run afoul of rules of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America, and of generally recognized Masonic jurisprudence. At this time, members of the GLofNY may not visit Lodges of the GLofDC nor hold Masonic intercourse with members of the GLofDC, nor permit them to visit tyled New York Lodges. Documents and public messages released by DC’s Grand Master Akram Elias on the GLofDC’s website make the argument that the supposedly suspended New York Masons actually hold proper demits from New York, and there is more to the story concerning the chartering of the lodge in Lebanon. At the time of this writing, attempts by the GLofDC to meet with New York have been ignored or rebuffed, but no other grand lodge has taken any action on either side of the dispute. The Grand Lodge of Scotland has not yet been heard from, but their annual communication is in December. Meanwhile, there seems to be much Masonic activity in Lebanon, from the grand lodges involved in this dispute, as well as from at least a half-dozen irregular or selfcreated grand lodge bodies.


he ancient Hebrew fortified city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, or Elah Fortress, was the Biblical site where the legendary battle between David and Goliath took place. Now, archeologists exploring the area have unearthed what may be the oldest known example of Hebrew writing ever found. A 3,000 year old pottery shard has been discovered by a Hebrew University team (actually, by a teenaged volunteer), that predates the Dead Sea Scrolls by 1,000 years. According to a BBC article, the characters are written in a precursor to the Hebrew alphabet, known as proto-Canaanite. So far, words deciphered on the shard include judge, slave and king, along with a three-letter verb meaning “to do,” which seems to peg the words as Hebrew. It is the longest proto-Canaanite text ever found. Lead archeologist Yosef Garfinkel says the artifact

sheds important light on the period of the reign of King David. “The chronology and geography of Khirbet Qeiyafa create a unique meeting point between the mythology, history, historiography and archaeology of King David.” After slaying the Philistine giant Goliath, David would go on to become the second king (after Saul) of a united kingdom of Israel, and was the father of King Solomon. There is little archeological evidence of King David’s reign (or existence), so this find may be significant in filling in gaps in the historic record.


ooking for a holiday gift for that hard-to-please Freemason? Just in time to contribute to the bailout of the economy, the US Capitol Historical Society has reproduced a replica of the gavel George Washington used at the US Capitol Masonic cornerstone ceremony in 1793. The gavel features a hardwood handle and a cast resin head mixed with particles from the marble from the original House wing steps. It can be yours for a economically stimulating $145.00.


s reported in the last issue, the Grand Lodge of New York’s Livingston Library has acquired one of only 800 copies of the Vatican’s reprint of , the document and supporting works that show the medieval Knights Templar were actually absolved of wrongdoing by Pope Clement V. Word has come that a second copy of this work has been purchased by the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction’s library in Washington D.C.’s House of the Temple.


ongratulations to all brethren who have been elected as Grand Master in their various jurisdictions, but special historical mention is due to Right Worshipful Kwame Acquaah, who was elected as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia in October (he won’t be installed until December 13th). He is the first black Mason to be made Grand Master in a mainstream (not Prince Hall) jurisdiction of the United States.

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Masonic News Alpha Males: Trevor Stewart shares new research at historic New Jersey lodge By Jay Hochberg

W. Bro. Trevor Stewart was back in the United States this fall, undertaking a busy tour of speaking engagements for esoterically inclined audiences from New York City to Oklahoma. Among his stops was an evening at historic Alpha Lodge, No. 116 in East Orange, New Jersey where Stewart holds Honorary Membership. It was there that he presented “Those Two Pillars Again” on October 8 as the companion lecture to one he delivered nine days previously at Cincinnati Lodge in Morristown. This one is “something perhaps not so controversial,” he said, alluding to the excitement of that first lecture’s claim that there is no archeological evidence proving that King Solomon’s Temple had existed. This Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076 knows how to create a buzz in Masonic education circles. His 2004 Prestonian Lecture overturned many conceptions of what Masonry in London was like at the onset of the Grand Lodge era. Subtitled “How the Solomonic Pillars Became Part of the Masonic Ritual – A Personal View of a Key Image,” Stewart reserved this paper for Alpha specifically to unveil two new facts he discovered in his research. “They weren’t always part of our ritual,” he began, “they crept in during the 18th century. They are superb examples of the craftsman’s skill – the stonemason’s skill. You could hardly do better than the pillars described in 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah.” Covering territory familiar to those fortunate to have attended the talk at Cincinnati, Stewart explained how pillars are discussed in Freemasonry’s earliest literature, but these are not the pillars of KST, but were the pillars of the children of Lamech. These were made “to preserve intact the knowledge they discovered,” meaning the arts

and sciences, from destruction by fire and flood, the two methods of destruction these biblical personalities believed awaited the world. To understand Stewart’s theory of how the Solomonic Pillars – and the Temple itself – were adapted into Masonic ritual, it is necessary to suspend belief in whatever tradition influences one’s view of such things, and to consider the facts of more recent history. At the advent of Speculative Masonry, there were three cultural happenings affecting London that were notable enough so that history remembers them today. 1. In the late 17th century, scholars and other authors began publishing several highly influential “extra biblical” texts that proved very popular. Not only were they published in multiple runs, but copies of these books were acquired, and presumably read, by dozens of Royal Society and Masonic lodge members who figured into the shaping of modern Freemasonry. (In researching his Prestonian Lecture, Stewart discovered this upon inspecting the personal libraries of 36 such men.) These writings included travel books authored by those with the means to visit and tour sites of history and legend around the Levant. Those Stewart identified by title are: Orbis Miraculum: or the Temple of Solomon Portrayed by Scripture-Light by Samuel Lee (1659) of which 11 editions were published in five years. The Surprising Miracles of Nature and Art by Nathaniel Crouch (1688). Solomon’s Temple Spiritualized Spiritualized. or, Gospel Light Fetched out of the Temple at Jerusalem by John Bunyan (1688). A total of 29 editions were printed into the 18th century. “It is Christian spiritualizing, but Bunyan, being who he was, you would expect that,” Stewart said. It does AUTUMN 2008 • 11

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Masonic News provide “minute examination” of the two pillars, including as symbols of apostles recognizable to Jew and Gentile alike. 2. Also in this era in London, there was great public fascination with Egyptian obelisks. It was “Egypt mania,” Stewart said, explaining how it was fueled by the illustrated travel books by Sir Robert Moray, John Greaves and others. Greaves, a professor and antiquarian, is credited with having made the most accurate survey of the pyramids in Egypt. Following this same line of discovery was William Stukely, another renowned scholar and antiquarian, but one whose social circle included Isaac Newton and the Duke of Montagu. Stukely was a member of London’s Egyptian Society, which counted a number of Freemasons in its ranks. This connection, Stewart said, leads to the archeological angle of inquiry. Newton was never a Mason, he explained, because he wasn’t the “club type.” But “his disciples who were Masons wanted to apply his science to everyday life.” With their mysterious hieroglyphic messages, Egyptian obelisks may have found their way into Masonic ritual in the form of pillars that contained the archives of the fraternity. 3. London and other major cities were home to several public exhibitions of scale models of King Solomon’s Temple that also provoked much public excitement. Stewart cited four by name, two of which are the new discoveries that brought him to Alpha Lodge’s podium. Perhaps the best known is that assembled by Rabbi Jacob Judah Leon, which was so large it had to be exhibited outdoors. It appeared in Amsterdam in 1675, and later in London, where Royal Society Fellows Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren made a point to see it. In Hamburg circa 1694, another model was made by Gerhard Schott. A theatrical producer, Herr Schott commissioned the construction of the model as a set for an opera titled “The Destruction of Jerusalem.” In 1725, the huge model (“It would fill half this room!” Stewart said.) arrived in London to be exhibited. The third model, and the first of Stewart’s two revelations, involves a mathematician at Cambridge who also was in Newton’s orbit. William Whiston lost his teaching job at Trinitarian Cambridge, thanks to his Unitarian beliefs. In need of revenue, he took to giving pubic lectures around England, one of which was a history of architecture that touched on Solomon’s Temple. His presentation featured his model of KST, and was prominent enough to be publicized in London newspapers. And the second of Stewart’s discoveries on this topic involves Stukely and the Duke of Montagu, the Past Grand

Master of the Premier Grand Lodge. Stewart’s research allowed him to read letters exchanged between the two prominent Freemasons; the correspondence shows that Montagu had constructed his own model of the Temple, per the guidance of Stukely. “We’re gradually moving from the Pillars of Lamech to the Pillars of Solomon,” Stewart added. For further evidence, Stewart looks to Scotland. Citing numerous landmark manuscripts in the corpus of Masonic letters, he told how the Edinburgh House Register Manuscript (1696) is the earliest Masonic catechism that mentions the pillars in the porch of the Temple and alludes to the “Mason Word.” The Chetwode Crawley Manuscript (c. 1700) shows there was a word for Apprentices, and another for Fellows. Dumfries MS No. 4 (c. 1710) is the first to define the names of the pillars. In the Kevan MS (c. 1714 but not discovered until 1954) “we suddenly begin to see King Solomon’s Temple more prominently.” On the English side of Masonic literature from this period, Stewart cites Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723 and 1738, and Robert’s Constitution; and numerous orations from lodges and Grand Lodge; also a variety of ritual exposures. “And then,” Stewart said, “enter the giant: William Preston.” It is this prolific compiler of ritual and author of lectures who gives us the ceremonies most English speaking Masons know today. His Illustrations of Freemasonry is “an encyclopedia of Freemasonry,” Stewart added. “If you wanted to know what Freemasonry was, you’d get a copy of this.” With Jachin and Boaz strongly established in the degrees of Craft Masonry, Stewart explained how they were viewed by the earliest speculative Masons. They were stations to pay wages, one for EAs and one for FCs. French Masons thought they were hollow to serve as tool sheds. Others said they were hiding places for wealth. Or they symbolized light (fire) and dark (cloud). Perhaps they were evidence of secular and religious authority. Or maybe they were depositories of secret wisdom, like gematria or Kabbalah. Concluding, as he often does, on a philosophical note pertaining to today, Trevor Stewart wondered aloud what Solomon’s Pillars mean now. “It is a pity that we do not engage ourselves. Are we speculatives merely reciting words from a page? How will we ever get much further than the Pillars in the Porch of King Solomon’s Temple unless we apply our minds and our hearts to interpreting what they mean to us in this modern age.”

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Cleaning the Temple By Mark A. Tabbert


y Masonic journey began with two temples. In 1994, as a graduate student, I knocked on the door of the old Pittsburgh Masonic Temple and was kindly given a tour by then Secretary of the Scottish Rite Valley, Herb Wolstoncroft. In 1995, while visiting a friend, I toured the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Like the Pittsburgh Temple, I distinctly remember being greatly impressed by the Memorial, but driving away my friend and I were scratching our heads. As young men and non-Masons, we were intrigued by the Freemasons’ “power and glory” to build such a magnificent edifice. But we were confused as to why such a “powerful” organization would decorate its great temple with a disjointed and dated array of Biblical murals, medieval architecture and colonial American curiosities. Despite such confusion, my fascination with Masonic temples led me to my present profession, and, in part, to join the Craft two years later. Since then I have visited great and small temples across the country and have noticed similarities in many of them. Foremost, Freemasons built these temples because they belonged to an order of builders and their Lodge rooms needed to be equal in beauty to the rituals conveyed therein. But outside the Lodge rooms, some of these temples also contained large collections of old regalia, plaques, artifacts and mementos that needed a more pleasing and orderly display. In addition, these temples had an overall tired, worn and outdated appearance. In 2000 I joined one of these old temples when I affiliated with Russell Lodge in Arlington, Massachusetts. Built in the 1920s, it was appointed with brass fixtures, a fireplace and terrazzo floors. It has a two-story high Lodge room, a large banquet room and other social rooms. Well maintained, it was still in need of an overhaul. Along with a few brothers, a compulsive maintenance man and most importantly, a brother’s insistent wife, we started to stir things up. Five years later– fast for Freemasons—the main hallway was painted, the clubroom was cleaned, painted and refurbished, and many other smaller projects were begun and are continuing. The temple is now not only the pride of the Lodge, but a growing asset to the neighborhood. Most important, younger men began visiting the building, asking about Masonry and seeking membership. These young brothers are now proudly

taking ownership for the temple’s future. My motivation to clean the Arlington Masonic Temple came from many sources. It was not simply my compulsive desire to clean and organize (inherited from NorwegianAmerican aunts) or my curator’s impulse to display things in an attractive and educational way. The reasons are tied to why I am a Freemason. I believe my Masonic home should be as welcoming as my own home and my Masonic temple must be a shining light to all those in search of light. If I am charged to build a temple in my heart, if my brothers and I are all workers on the spiritual temple, “that house not made with hands,” then should not my physical Masonic temple be equally beautiful? Now I work at the Masonic temple built by the Freemasons of America as a memorial to our greatest brother and as the national lighthouse of Masonic light. Over the last two years I have listened to Freemasons, both local and national, on their views of the Memorial. I have also observed how visitors understand or misunderstand the Memorial and the Craft. Through continual discussion with the Tour Guides, Executive Director and the Memorial Association Board, we have come to understand why substantial renovations must also be made right here at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Our visitors should be relaxed, welcomed and comfortable so they are open to understand Freemasonry and Freemasons’ reverence for George Washington. We need to improve the facility and reorder the displays for the new generations of visitors and Freemasons. Part of this improvement is to allow visitors to tour the Memorial according to their own interests and schedule. We must find the proper balance between educating and entertaining visitors and between the “telling of” and “selling of” Freemasonry. But beyond this, if we Freemasons are going to have a Memorial dedicated to Washington, then it should also meet Washington’s standards. Washington constantly improved Mount Vernon to make it a happy home for his family. Throughout his life he welcomed a steady stream of visitors and travelers in his home. Yet he was not a “man of the people.” He did not suffer fools or settle for less than the (Continued on page 29)

“Freemasons built these temples because they belonged to an order of builders and their Lodge rooms needed to be equal in beauty to the rituals conveyed therein.”

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English Royal Arch—An Historic Accident by Yasha Beresiner Introduction The Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, a title in use since April 1808, traces its origins to the Most Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter formed on 12 January 1766. At this time there were effectively three separate Masonic organisations active in England: a) the Premier Grand Lodge (1717), who recognised three Craft (blue) degrees only b) the Antients Grand Lodge (1751)who claimed the Royal Arch as the fourth degree c) the newly formed Supreme Grand Chapter of 1766 as an independent Order. Thus from July 1751, the two Grand Lodges mentioned ran at logger heads for more than 60 years, until the agreement from which, finally, the United Grand Lodge of England emerged on St John’s Day, 27 December 1813. It is the compromise to affect a successful Union that led to the very special and unique circumstances of the standing of the Holy Royal Arch under the English Masonic Constitutions. Premier Grand Lodge Organised freemasonry began with the establishment in London of the Grand Lodge of England, the premier and first Grand Lodge in the world, on 24 June 1717. The contemporary press ignored the event, where, nonetheless, the hints of antagonism toward the Craft began to appear as early as 1722. The attacks reached a peak with the publication of Samuel Prichard’s Masonry Dissected on 20 October 1730. All the while, following the adoption of the Hiramic legend in the third degree, emphatic insistence was persistently placed by the Premier Grand Lodge on the tri-gradal system of the Craft, to the implicit exclusion of any other degrees. By now, things were not going particularly well for Freemasonry in England. Clandestine making of masons became rife, unauthorised persons were benefiting from Masonic charity and caused serious concern in Grand Lodge. Sometime in the late 1730s, in order to protect legitimate Masons, the Premier Grand Lodge in its misguided wisdom decided to reverse the first and second degree signs and words. A regrettable decision as the action was seen to be an unauthorised interference with the landmarks of the order. Meanwhile the succession of Grand Secretaries proved inadequate, the appointed Grand Masters were equally inefficient. Grand Lodge ceased to meet regularly. As an extreme example, the five year Grand Mastership of Lord Byron, who had been appointed in April 1747, was totally ineffective. He spent the whole time of his tenure abroad and not once attended any Masonic meeting in England. This dissatisfaction with Masonic proceedings was one of the causes to the developments that now ensued.

The Antients Grand Lodge On 17 July 1751, five lodges in London, consisting entirely of Irish Masons, met as a General Assembly at the Turks Head tavern and founded the Grand Lodge of England According to the Old Institutions. They were formed as a rival body to the existing Premier Grand Lodge of 1717. The new Grand Lodge was soon under the control of its Grand Secretary, Laurence Dermott, an extraordinary and accomplished Freemason who dedicated his life to the cause of the Antients. The premier and earlier Grand Lodge was soon dubbed ‘The Moderns’. Terms that have remained in use to this day. The overt acceptance of the Royal Arch as a fourth degree by the Antients was Laurence Dermot’s way of distancing his Grand Lodge from the Moderns whilst accusing them of ignoring this sublime and significant Craft degree. Indeed, he emphasised its importance in the first edition of Ahiman Rezon, the curious name given to the Constitutions of the Antients first published in 1756, referring to the Royal Arch as the root, heart, and marrow of masonry. The Royal Arch as the fourth degree, together with other orders beyond the Craft, was practised in Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Antients Grand Lodge, by authority of the ordinary Craft Warrant. Grand Chapter The establishment of the Most Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter by members of the Moderns in 1766, took the initiative of the Royal Arch away from Dermot, who took further steps to emphasise the importance of the Order to the Antients Grand Lodge. Dermott initially enhanced Royal Arch activity among the Antients Lodges until that great anomaly in English Masonic history took place, namely the formation in 1771 of a separate Antients Grand Chapter. Such a body never existed nor could it have done. The Royal Arch as a fourth degree among the Antients was only implemented in Craft Lodges. There was no such concept as Chapters among the Antients, so how could there have been a Grand Chapter? In fact the Rules and Regulations of the Antients in their 1794 Constitutions, confirmed the Royal Arch as the 4th degree of Craft Freemasonry giving formal authority, albeit retroactively, to Craft lodges to hold Royal Arch Chapters. The Antients Grand Chapter during its brief history remained (Continued on page 29 AUTUMN 2008 • 15

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Defining Esotericism from a Masonic perspective by Shawn Eyer It is not he who has a parrot-like perfection in ritual as his sole qualification, but rather the one who, so far as time and means and talent will allow, devotes study to the deeper esotery of the fraternity.—Joseph E. Morcombe, Chairman, Grand Lodge of Iowa Masonic Library, 1901 1


sotericism: the mention of the word fills the minds of some with notions of beautiful and ancient truths, and inspires them with curiosity about the inner meaning of the Craft. For others, the term brings to mind unpleasant and tiresome lectures awash in insipid, unlikely and artificial interpretations of Masonry. And for most, it’s a word that is only semi-familiar, having something to do vaguely with mysticism and Masonic secrets. Although definition of the word “esoteric” has been somewhat unclear, it seems that general interest in esotericism is growing. Brethren who are fortunate to belong to growing lodges have likely spoken with recent candidates who readily express interest in Masonry’s esoteric and philosophical explanations. Suddenly, an element of Masonic life that had been relegated to the margins is coming back into view. Of course, this leaves Masonic leaders—at least, those who do not wish to ignore this important rekindling of interest—with the challenge of obtaining some understanding of it, both in order to relate meaningfully to the motivations of these newer members, as well as to include these interests in lodge education and Masonic formation efforts as may be appropriate. The purpose here is to lend definition to the term, particularly as it can relate to Freemasonry. What is Masonic Esotericism? The word “esoteric” by itself simply means something which is understood only by a select or chosen inner group. Things like automotive repair or tax law might be called esoteric. Freemasons have used the word in a different and more traditional sense. It turns out that esotericism is nothing new. The word itself comes to us from the Greek word esôterikos, “inner thing,” and is found in many ancient writings to refer to the inner teachings of a philosophical or spiritual group. Freemasons have historically used the term in three ways, denoting: 1. Any of the elements of the Masonic ritual or lectures which are considered secret (i.e., matters reserved for

the confines of a tiled lodge, or material that is not “monitorial,” as American Masons might say). 2. Any of the meanings which seem to be implicit, more by design than accident, within the Masonic symbolism, ritual and lectures. 3. Any of the subjects generally included under the rubric of “Western Esotericism,” including kabbalah, alchemy, hermeticism and other mystical pursuits which gained in popularity during the Renaissance period. Considering each of these in a little more detail will allow us to shed valuable light on the topic, and give us some ideas as to how to foster responsible explorations of esoteric matters in the future. I.

The Esoteric as Private ...that hieroglyphic bright, which none but craftsmen ever saw.—Burns 2

In the first sense, the word esoteric is used in a somewhat constrained way to refer to those elements of Masonic work which are not for display outside a tiled lodge. In this definition “esoteric” is a condition, denoting private circumstances. It is the intended location of something, rather than its content, which makes it esoteric from this perspective. Of course, the implication is clearly that the things reserved for private communication are so regarded because of their importance. For example, one of the earliest usages of the term

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esôterikos in reference to spiritual tradition is in the essay On the Pythagorean Life by Iamblichus (250–325 C E ), where it is said that the students in the Pythagorean school at first had to listen to their master from behind a veil. Those who passed the probationary period were called esôterikoi, and permitted to sit within the veil and see Pythagoras as he taught them.3 William Preston, the predominant author of the lectures used in American Freemasonry, refers to this portion of Iamblichus’ text directly when he noted in 1801 that the ancient teacher “divided them into the esoteric and exoteric classes: to the former he intrusted the more sublime and secret doctrines, to the latter the more simple and popular.”4 This is one of the earliest Masonic uses of the term esoteric, and it informed how later Masonic writers would conceive of the notion. Of course, also an early example of the word “exoteric,” meaning “those outside.” This simple meaning of “esoteric” as relating to privileged information for members only become widely adopted throughout the fraternity: it is in this fundamental sense that the term is commonly used in Grand Lodge regulations today. II.

The Esoteric as Implicit Teaching He who runs would not care to give careful attention to the development of the idea; and he who stops and thinks would better make the personal effort himself, and thus gain all the good in order to pass it on to someone else by throwing out the suggestion.—T.M. Stewart 5

A more involved concept of the esoteric is closely interwoven with the first definition, and extends naturally from it. Here, the focus is on hidden meanings which might be available within the tradition. Thus the physical arrangement of exoteric and esoteric classes becomes symbolic of the reality of the situation, which is not about physical proximity at all (i.e., “Are we inside or outside the veil?”), but more about insight and comprehension (i.e., “Do we ‘get it’ or not?”). The earliest formal paradigm for understanding of the Craft as imbued with esoteric meaning is probably this section from William Preston’s first edition of the Illustrations of Masonry, published in 1772: The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the devastations of war, have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity. Even the temple of King Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so many celebrated artists, was yet laid in ruins, and escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous force. FreeMasonry, notwithstanding, has been able still to

survive. The attentive ear receives the sound from the instructive tongue, and its sacred mysteries are safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts. The tools and implements of architecture, symbols the most expressive! imprint on the memory wise and serious truths, and transmit unimpaired, through the succession of ages, the excellent tenets of this institution.6 This famous paragraph, so familiar to all English speaking Masons (with slight variations), makes it clear that the “wise and serious truths” of Freemasonry have been able to survive despite hostilities rooted in ignorance and barbarism. While the outer structures—the buildings and monuments created by the legendary ancient Masons—were destroyed, the inner teachings survived because they were safely communicable using expressive symbolism attached to innocuous tools and implements, combined with an oral tradition. This method is said to be so effective that the teachings of Freemasonry escaped the ruthless efforts of its opponents, and are said to be transmitted “unimpaired.”7 This passage from our tradition impressively echoes one of the key findings of twentieth-century political philosopher Leo Strauss, who extensively studied esoteric modes of expression: rise to a peculiar technique of writing, and therewith to a peculiar type of literature, in which the truth about all crucial things is presented exclusively between the lines. That literature is addressed, not to all readers, but to trustworthy and intelligent readers only.... The fact which makes this literature possible can be expressed in the axiom that thoughtless men are careless readers, and only thoughtful men are careful readers.8 The fact that Preston’s encapsulation of the Masonic theory of transmission is phrased in legendary terms and cites persecution in the archetypal example of the destruction and profanation of the Jerusalem temple by the Babylonians does not subtract in any way from the reality that Masonry here “confesses” that the use of symbolism is to effectively protect the “excellent tenets” from ruthless hands. But did Preston imagine two classes of “readers” or initiates—some who would “get it” while others would not? This seems clear from the original form of his Entered Apprentice lecture: Q: Introduced into the Inner Chamber what did you discover? A: The Master and his brethren all zealously AUTUMN 2008 • 17

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employed in investigating the rise, progress and effect of hieroglyphic [i.e., symbolic] learning. Q: What ensued? A: Three judicious observations were made. Q: The first observation? A: That it was a duty incumbent on every Mason to make daily progress in the art; as no end could be more noble than the pursuit of virtue and benevolence: no motive more alluring than the practice of honour and justice, or any instruction more beneficial than the accurate delineation of symbols which tend to improve and embellish the mind. Q: The second observation? A: That objects, which particularly strike the eye, will more immediately engage the attention and imprint on the memory serious and solemn truths. Q: The third observation? A: That Masons have adopted this mode of conveying instruction by allegory and of preserving their tenets and mysteries secret and inviolate; never permitting them to descend within the reach of inexperienced novitiates from whom they might not have been received with due veneration.9 Note that the symbolic mode of instruction is described as being adopted specifically to ensure that the inner meanings are concealed not from outsiders, as one might expect, but from inexperienced new initiates... unfit insiders. Preston defines Masonry as “a regular system of morality conceived in a strain of interesting allegory, which readily unfolds its beauties to the candid and industrious enquirer.”10 That he fully intends to draw a line between the those who perceive the esoteric messages and those who don’t is made even clearer in his Fellow Craft lecture, when he argues that “According to the progress we make, we limit or extend our enquiries; and, in proportion to our talents, we attain to a less or greater degree of perfection.” 11 And this esoteric expression was no innovation of Preston’s. A Masonic song of 1731 says, “Not Force nor offer’d Gold / Can Masons’ Truths unfold,” and a footnote attached to this passage explains that “sublime Truths are not obtain’d any otherwise than by a right Study, and an Endeavour to find out the real Sense, which being always veil’d veil’d, are holy therefore and sacred.”12 Even this early—less than fifteen years after the foundation of the first Grand Lodge—the secrets of Masonry are distinguished from the modes of recognition and particulars of the ritual, and are instead conceptualized as “sublime,” “holy,” and “sacred” matters that are “veiled” and only available to those who perform a “right study” (as opposed to a wrong one) and therefore discover the “real sense” (as opposed to a false one).

The idea of profound truth hidden within words that are openly spoken or written is ancient. Plutarch said, “One of the best sayings of the philosophers is that those who have not learned to interpret words in their correct sense are bound to go awry, both in their studies and in practice.”13 And centuries earlier still, a famous Proverb taught that “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to reveal the same.”14 This chapter of Proverbs has often been considered to be concerned with esoteric transmission; most famously by the medieval philosopher Maimonides.15 And what was true of the written word has also been said of visual symbolism. In reference to the myriad picture books filled with emblematic engravings which were so popular in the later years of the Renaissance period, David Stevenson says: [Words] could never capture the full meaning of the picture, for it was held ‘that the emblems contain a kind of knowledge which cannot be found in discourse’. The pictures encapsulated underlying Platonic ideas, and if studied properly communicated deep wisdom which could not be expressed in words. But the symbols could never be fully comprehended for they held ‘a plenitude of meanings which meditation and study can never reveal more than partially’.... Paradoxically, secrecy and obscurity become an essential part of the great struggle to unlock secrets. Simple and literal language is too shallow, povertystricken and vulgar to convey great truths.16 It is easy to see how esotericism of this second type embodies a richer understanding of Masonic secrecy by recognizing our ability to perceive meaning beyond the literal sense of words, objects and pictures. Deeply tied to the degrees and the symbols themselves, this is Masonic esotericism in its essential and perhaps most important form: the process of interpreting the explicit symbolism and language of the Craft in order to grasp its implicit messages. It is the kind that Antoine Faivre—former chair of esoteric studies at the Sorbonne— typified as an “open secret,” which is available through “a personal effort of progressive elucidation through several successive levels.”17 Tradition teaches us that the exploration of those levels is part of the duty of every Freemason. III.

The Esoteric as a Universal Approach Adam, our first Parent, created after the Image of God, the great Architect of the Universe, must have had the Liberal Sciences, particularly Geometry, written on his Heart; for even since the Fall, we find the Principles of it in the Hearts of his Offspring...—Constitutions of 1723 18

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“Esotericism” is also used in a third sense: as an umbrella term to refer to any number of traditionally secret or highly exclusive spiritual disciplines which have existed either within or alongside more popular philosophical and religious currents. These include certain forms of Christian mysticism (such as Rosicrucianism and Martinism), kabbalism and chariot mysticism in the Jewish tradition, alchemy when viewed as a transformative practice, Pythagoreanism, hermeticism and neo-Platonism.19 Many of the classic expositors of Masonic philosophy have taken the position that Freemasonry represents either the lineal inheritor of these traditions or an attempt to rediscover them.20 For the sake of clarity I will refer to this third definition as Esotericism (capitalized), as it is less of a condition (first sense) or a style (second sense), but a fairly coherent body of ideas. Western Esotericism began to coalesce in the Renaissance through the writings of philosophers such as Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and Judah Leon Abravanel, who would later be known as the Humanists. These writers perceived a deep interconnection between Jewish, Hellenistic and Christian philosophy, and they considered this common root to be a primordial wisdom which would eventually be termed philosophia perennis, “the timeless philosophy.” But the traditions that comprised this Western Esotericism were much older than the Renaissance. Jewish kabbalah had reached its classical stage, in the form of the Book of the Zohar, two centuries before Pico introduced the word “kabbalist” into European language.21 The neo-Platonic elements were even older and dated back to late antiquity.22 Although a direct lineage to ancient tradition remains unverifiable historically, leading Masonic historian David Stevenson has documented the existence of various hermetic and kabbalistic influences among the early Freemasons, dating back at least to the late 1500s, when William Schaw reworked the remnants of older masonic organisation in Scotland into a lodge system of secret societies, and...injected into these lodges hermetic influences. Other aspects of Renaissance thought...led to the conclusion that the mason craft was far superior to all others, with a central place in the advancement of knowledge—and of course knowledge and spiritual enlightenment were inextricably linked.23 This interconnection of science and spirit was always a staple of Masonic literature. From the famous Regius Poem of 1390 to the Old Charges of the 1600s, from the legendary history as compiled by James Anderson in 1723 to the ritual lectures that would echo the same themes, speculative Freemasonry has traditionally tied the Mason’s Craft to primordial wisdom. This theme has been ever popular among Masonic writers.

James Anderson, Laurence Dermott, William Hutchinson, William Preston, George Oliver, Albert Mackey, Albert Pike, J.S.M. Ward and W.L. Wilmshurst all wove this notion into their philosophical frameworks. Anderson put it quaintly with his image of the liberal sciences being “written on” Adam’s heart and transmitted and improved throughout history until inherited by the London Freemasons.24 Pike updated this concept for the nineteenth century when he argued that: Masonry is the legitimate successor [of the mysteries]— from the earliest times the custodian and depository of the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large, and handed down from age to age by an unbroken current of tradition, embodied in symbols, emblems, and allegories.25 Many scholars have been content to reject those who repeat the traditional history as gullible or uncritical, but perhaps they are missing the point. There is more involved here than a list of historical claims to be accepted or rejected; there is a philosophy of history, a worldview rooted in perennialist concepts. Attraction to those concepts transcends simplistic notions of “Adam the Freemason,” and addresses itself to Western Esotericism’s theories of human dignity and the continuity of wisdom owing to its innate location in original man. Through the legend of Solomon’s Temple, this innate quality became connected to outward endeavor, and the Craft’s historical quest for improvement in architecture was sacralized and invested with philosophical implications. The popularity of Western Esotericism among some of today’s Masonic candidates cannot be ignored, nor should it. The literal truth of these myths is beside the point. For the most part, those who study Western Esotericism today do not believe the legendary histories word for word. Instead, they tend to be deeply attracted to the uplifting values of perennial philosophy—values our Masonic forebears often understood and promoted. This kind of Esotericism has a special appeal to many serious seekers in our modern world because it offers more than superficial answers, and asks more than a superficial commitment. It has a venerable history as a part of our Masonic culture. Certainly one need not accept it or adhere to it; but perhaps we ought no longer deny its existence, nor characterize it as insignificant. IV.

Esotericism and the Call of Initiation There stands the majestic tree before you, its ancient roots penetrating deeply into the soil of time, and its leaves and branches covering with their mighty shadow all the pure and good of every clime and country who will come beneath them. Will you ingloriously recline beneath that AUTUMN 2008 • 19

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wide-spread shade, or helplessly lean for support upon its massive and venerable trunk, nor make one effort to pluck the luscious and life-giving fruit which hang in tempting clusters from its boughs?—Freemasons’ Monthly Magazine, 1863 boughs?—

to be: “a subject of contemplation, that enlarges the mind, and expands all its powers; a theme that is inexhaustible, ever new, and always interesting.”29 * * *


As overt interest in esoteric approaches to Freemasonry continues to increase, it is reassuring to understand that, far from being a threat to the fraternity, these interests were part— to some degree, all must grant—of the very foundation of the Craft. This is true in all three senses of the word as we’ve explored it. Masonry utilizes esoteric content because some aspects of the Craft are private. Masonry uses symbolism and language can that only be gradually and variously understood. And at least some influential early Masons were aware of, studied, and adopted certain historical theories from what is today called Western Esotericism. It is true that—among some circles—an esoteric approach has a certain stigma to overcome.27 But we should not sell our philosophical heritage short. Our new members aren’t complaining that there is too much philosophy in Masonry, they are more frequently observed saying that they expected more. Is it time to rehabilitate this word, “esoteric”? It may not be such a hard step to take. After all, unless we believe that every person fully and completely understands the degrees the very moment he first experiences them, we are already in the general vicinity of an esoteric approach—because we are effectively saying, “There’s more there, keep looking.” That’s sound advice for the youngest Apprentice, the wisest Past Master, and everyone in between. We are all engaged upon an individual labor which must be wrought upon our own ashlars, a deeply personal process of gradual development through progressive levels of meaning. As William Preston described our work so poetically: Knowledge must be attained by degrees, and it is not every where to be found. Wisdom seeks the secret shade, the lonely cell designed for contemplation; there enthroned she sits, delivering her sacred oracles: there let us seek her, and pursue the real bliss; for though the passage be difficult, the further we trace it, the easier it will become.28 New vistas of Masonic understanding are opened when we embrace the fact that esotericism is an historical element of the Craft, wholly in keeping with the classical design of the Order. For many, an esoteric engagement represents a vital Masonic duty. They believe that Freemasonry today has only to gain from a reinvigorated esoteric approach which sees our rich initiatic tradition as what it most assuredly was designed

Once there was a man who lived up in the mountains and who was a stranger to civilization—he planted wheat and ate the grains uncooked. Then he happened to come down to the city. A good loaf of bread was served to him. “What’s this?” he asked. “Bread, for eating!” they said. He ate it and was pleased. He asked, “What is this made of?” and they told him it was wheat. Then, he was served a fine cake kneaded in oil. He had a taste and asked, “And now this, what’s this made of?” Once more they said, “Wheat.” Finally, they brought him a delectable pastry in oil and honey, fit for a king. He asked again, and got the same answer. “Well,” he then boasted, “I am above these things; I eat only the wheat which is the very basis of them all.” Because of his ignorant attitude, he would evermore remain a stranger to these delights, which were lost on him. That is how it is with anyone who learns basic principles and then stops short— who fails to become aware of the delights which derive from the deeper consideration and application of those principles.— principles.—Zohar Zohar 2:176 A–B


This article is a summary of a more comprehensive treatment which will appear in volume 1 of Ahiman: A Review of Masonic Arts & Letters (I S B N 978-1-60302-365-8). 1. Joseph E. Morcombe, “Grand Lodge of Iowa Library Committee Report,” Annals of the Grand Lodge of Iowa 17 (1900–01): 146. 2. From “The Farewell to the Brethren of St. James’ Lodge” (1786). 3. On the Pythagorean Life 17.72. The word “esoterick” entered the English language in 1701 via a summary of this passage in Thomas Stanley’s seminal History of Philosophy: “The Auditors of Pythagoras (such I mean as belonged to the family) were of two Sorts, Exoterick and Esoterick: the Exotericks were those who were under probation, which if they well performed, they were admitted to be Esotericks. For, of those who came to Pythagoras, he admitted not every one, but only those whom he liked: first, upon choice; and next, by tryal.” (372) For a useful compendium of Pythagorean teachings, including the text of Iamblichus, see Algis U�davinys’ The Golden Chain: An Anthology of Pythagorean and Platonic Philosophy (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2004). 4. William Preston, Illustrations of Masonry. (London: Wilkie, 1801), 122. 5. Thomas Milton Stewart, Symbolic Teaching, or Masonry and its Message. (Cincinnati: Stewart & Kidd, 1917), 100. 6. Preston, Illustrations (1772 edition), 13–4.

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7. Cf. Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma (Charleston, SC: Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, 1871), where it is even stated not only that the esoteric mode of teaching was adopted “to avoid persecution,” but further that because the symbols have proven so durable, Masonry “smiles at the puny efforts... to crush it out by excommunication and interdiction.” (211) The symbols were chosen “not to reveal but to conceal,” (106) and therefore “He who desires to understand...must read, study, reflect, digest, and discriminate.” (107) “He who would become an accomplished Mason must not be content merely to hear, or even to understand, the lectures; he must, aided by them, and they having, as it were, marked out the way for him, study, interpret, and develop these symbols for himself.” (22–3) 8. Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing (New York: The Free Press, 1952), 25.

latter; despite this, they are often dismissed as uncritical. The opposite is actually true, as they were willing to re-examine their deeply held and widely published beliefs. 21. See the citation from the Zohar after the conclusion of this article for a vivid example of thirteenth century Jewish esotericism. For Pico’s invention of the Latin words cabalistae and cabalici, see Iohannes Reuchlin, De Arte Cabalistica (1516), 1Q. 22. Even the notion of a “timeless philosophy” underlying all of the world’s religions can be found as early as the first century BCE in the writings of Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenized Jew living in Egypt. Cf. Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, Philosophia Perennis: Historical Outlines of Western Spirituality in Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Thought (Dordrecht: Springer, 2004), xiv. 23. Stevenson, Origins, 102.

9. William Preston as cited in Colin F.W. Dyer, William Preston and His Work (Shepperton, UK: Lewis Masonic, 1987), 189. Emphasis added. These words were imported no later than 1797 into American Freemasonry; cf. very similar language in Thomas Smith Webb, Freemason’s Monitor, or Illustrations of Masonry (Albany: Spencer & Webb, 1797), 51. 10. Preston’s original Apprentice degree lecture, as cited in Dyer, William Preston, 207 (emphasis added); cf. similar language in Webb, Freemason’s Monitor, 57. 11. Cited in Dyer, William Preston, 212. Emphasis added. At various points in his lectures, Preston seems to identify the member who is esoterically aware using terms like “contemplative Mason,” “industrious craftsman,” “accomplished scholar,” “experienced artist,” and “diligent craftsman.” 12. From “The New Fairies,” in A Curious Collection of the Most Celebrated Songs in Honour of Masonry (London: Creake and Cole, 1731). The poem, with its original explanatory notes, is reprinted in S. Eyer, Our Wine Has a Spring: Four Centuries of Masonry Poetry (San Francisco: Plumbstone, 2009).

24. See Anderson, Constitutions, 1–48. 25. Pike, Morals and Dogma, 210. Pike eventually rejected the historicity of an unbroken lineage, although the idea remained part of the legendary teaching of the Scottish Rite degrees he propagated. 26. “Symbolism and Freemasonry,” Freemasons’ Monthly Magazine 22 (1863): 242. 27. It is often noted that some who call themselves “esotericists” have been known for superficial and biased interpretations. Part of the difficulty here may lie in the fact that many embrace Esotericism of the third type (as given above) while neglecting esotericism of the second type—or even confusing the two. Indeed, some approach Western Esotericism by studying the published conclusions and teachings of the esotericists of the past, sometimes while disconnected from the root traditions which form the basis of Western Esotericism—sometimes even rejecting them outright. This can result in clumsy, seemingly invalid, and often anachronistic interpretations. However, such an approach should not be identified with the “candid and industrious enquiry” or “right study” recommended in the early Masonic sources as cited here.

13. Plutarch, Moralia 379C. 14. Proverbs 25:2. 15. See especially his Guide of the Perplexed 1:6B–7A & 2.65B–66B. Albert Pike, who was familiar with the Guide, remained particularly fond of this Proverb, using it (in Latin) to conclude his famous Morals and Dogma. 16. David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century, 1590–1710 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 80–1. 17. Antione Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 5.

28. Preston, Illustrations (1772 edition), 86–7. Preston derived this from a nearly identical passage from an oration delivered by Charles Leslie to the Vernon Kilwinning Lodge in Edinburgh, May 15, 1741, the text of which was published in The Free Masons Pocket-Companion (Edinburgh, 1765), 162. This passage forms the basis of the “friendly admonition” or opening charge found in variations of official Masonic ritual; e.g., James Harper, Josiah Randall & Thomas F. Gordon (Eds.), The Ahiman Rezon (Philadelphia: Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, 1825), 188?–9. 29. Preston’s original Apprentice degree Charge, cited in Dyer, William Preston, 188.

18. James Anderson, The Constitutions of the Free-Masons (London: William Hunter, 1723), 1. 19. A summary of useful proposals for a precise definition of Esotericism may be found in Wouter J. Hanegraaff’s article, “On the Construction of ‘Esoteric Traditions’” in Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion, edited by A.Faivre and W.Hanegraaff (Leuven: Peeters, 1998), 11–61; see also the same author’s entry on esotericism in The Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism (Leiden: Brill, 2006).

Shawn Eyer is the Worshipful Master of Academia Lodge No. 847, F&AM of California. He teaches in the liberal arts program at John F. Kennedy University, and edits Ahiman: A Review of Masonic Arts & Letters.

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On Brotherhood by Robert Wolfarth


walked through the old cemetery near my house this rainy morning. I enjoy long walks, and the cemetery is beautiful, quiet, and overlooks the valley. Here in Salt Lake City, most people resting in the cemetery are Mormon. There’s also a fairly large Catholic section. There isn’t a Methodist section, at least none that I’ve found. Perhaps someday I’ll start one. Meanwhile, I find particular solace strolling through the Jewish section for some reason.

My precocious 5-year-old daughter walks with me sometimes. She likes to run her little fingers across the carved symbols on the headstones. She often asks what they mean. “These all have stars!”

“Yes,” I reply, “that’s the Star of David.”

“Somebody put a bunch of rocks on this one.”

“Leave them there,” I reply quietly as we walk.

“Look, Daddy! A Mason!” She knows the symbol well.

“You’re right.” I kneel in front of the stone. “Peace be with you, my brother.” “How come you call him your brother? Uncle Jay is your brother.”

“Yes, he is,” I reply patiently. “But Mr. Aaron here is also my brother.” I rest my hand on the headstone, cool and wet with rain. “Brother means many things. Two men can be brothers by birth, brothers in Christ, brothers in arms, or even brothers by choice, as Mr. Aaron and I are.” “You mean he WAS your brother,” she says, pointing. “This says 1872. He’s been dead for like a million years.” “Maybe so,” I grin, “but he’s still my brother.” “Ew, look at this squiggly writing over here.”

I crouch down. “That’s Farsi. The English is next to it. This says ‘Esfahan’. This man was Persian.” “Is he your brother, too?”

It takes me a few seconds to absorb the implications of the lesson to be learned from her simple question. I stand up straight in silence, hearing only a few drops of rain falling from the pine trees above. “Yes, he is,” I say finally. “Peace, my brother.”

Robert M. Wolfarth, a native Texan, now calls Salt Lake City home. After six years working in defense and foreign policy for the US Congress in Washington, Robert moved into the medical device industry. He is fascinated with systems of ethics as influenced by different societies and religions. Robert is active in his community, the United Methodist Church, and serves Utah’s Wasatch Lodge #1 as editor of The Trestleboard Trestleboard, and Argenta Lodge #3 as Junior Deacon. 22 • AUTUMN 2008

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First Degree Masonic Tracing Board Art & Text by Greg Stewart


racing boards are little known in contemporary American Masonry and are often relics of a bygone era of lodge ritual. Their form and function served to aid the delivery of the initiation like a visual path though a forest of symbolism. Some lodges still employ a carpet or projected images, but few today have all three boards integrated into the degree presentation as aids to the catechisms that we so diligently study. Because this bygone tradition of imagery had stalled out, I felt that it was necessary to re-vision this art form in a contemporary digital medium, which is what you see on the cover. This work is my re-interpretation of the First Degree Masonic Tracing Board. But in exploring its meaning, I felt that it was necessary to reinterpret it with some of the ideas that have become a part of the landscape that is Modern Freemasonry. In doing this, it opened a door of creative expression to ideas that had to date, little visual representation. What follows are some of the ideas that I imparted into the work, as I believe them to have been imparted into Freemasonry. Freemasonry is a tradition of initiation comprised of elements from varying historical and metaphoric sources. As an initiating tradition, its contemporary ceremonies consist of elaborate and dramatic rituals that are little changed in the hundreds of years of their existence but with an origin coming from an older era. These ceremonies today are a means to convey descriptive allegories and elusive metaphors to impart aspects of knowledge held valuable to the tradition that they serve to describe. The degrees of Freemasonry, together,

communicate the sum of these values; where the act of initiation represents a movement, from an external mundane world to an internal spiritual one. The start of that journey is represented here in this illustration of the First Degree Masonic Tracing Board. The objective of this board is to illustrate the movement of the neophyte into the sacred space of the lodge. Physically, that space is represented by the degree itself and is entered into by ones admittance into the fraternity. Spiritually it is the ritual that seeks to reorient the candidate’s uninitiated mind in to something new. What I believe the initiation seeks to achieve is the transformation of the initiate’s perception of themselves, their world, and the dimensions above and beyond and to impart in them about how they relate to each of those spheres in the context of the fraternity. The philosophical idea behind this modern tracing board is to illustrate the purpose and history of the degree to make the candidate aware of their shifting space which is to say that upon entering it, that they are no longer in the realm of the mundane but instead in something far older and holy. To facilitate this shift however, a degree of change is necessary that this artwork seeks to portray. This idea of transformation follows a line of thought before the modern birth of Freemasonry in 17171, from ideas discovered and nurtured in the pre and mid Renaissance2. What I have found is that these texts having had existed from a time before the fall of the Roman Empire had lived in the library of Alexandria3 from earlier traditions bourn out of the flood-waters and sand of Egypt. This is not to mean that the tradition is the same as what those AUTUMN 2008 • 23

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ancient peoples practiced, but rather the passing forward of another tradition, a Hermetic4 tradition of philosophy, where the quest for the individual mystical transformation creates the link to Modern Freemasonry. In its most ancient and primordial state, I believe Freemasonry emerged out of the study of this ancient Hermetic philosophy associated with the deity Thoth, the communicator of the Egyptian Gods, who the Greeks later called Hermes (and the philosopher Hermes Trismegistus), and the later Romans, Mercury. This early tradition of Egyptian “occult knowledge”5 was imparted to those neophyte candidates capable, able, and willing to learn them in a manner as our own initiation practice is communicated today. We find relevance as it is from this connection of communication that has made its way into the tradition of Modern Freemasonry by the very ritual that we study and teach, including past tracing boards and more contemporary ones that you see here. As modern conductors of this art, the transformative alchemy that this board represents is today entirely symbolic. There is no philosopher stone created, nor a literal transformation of lead into gold. Instead what the alchemy of Freemasonry strives to make is the transformation of the untamed rough individual man towards a refined and focused dressed stone contributing towards the betterment of his self and civil society. By these symbols and abstract conceptions, the first degree’s purpose (and the purpose of this illustration) is to shape the initiates perception of the self and motivate them to begin a deeper understanding of their place and its relationship to the divine. This tradition of transformation, rendered by means of alchemy and representational allegory has been handed down over time by both a conscious and unconscious means to teach and instruct us about our journey towards a divine awakening. It is important to remember that this tracing board is only a visual representation of the actual ritual however and is in no way a substitute for the art and experience of the ceremony. Ancient tradition still involves the aspirant’s decision to enter into the sacred space and without that conscious decision, the ritual and symbolism become simply a jumble exotic shapes and disparate images. The beauty of tracing boards for those who take that journey is that it communicates their deeper meanings by visually encapsulating our shared experience of them and our own metaphoric movement into its sacred space, which is at the heart of this images intent. This is but a short foray into the symbolism of the board. Like the tracing boards from the past, the visual is rich in metaphor and meaning and can be interpreted on many layers, each with various meanings. That was my expectation and hope in creating it, that for those that look upon it the symbolic subtext will be explored. It is subjective as they are my interpretations of which I make no apologies for. I do see this historical and philosophical infrastructure in the fraternity to which this board, and its distant cousins, depicts. The end result of this art, and the fraternity, is that we strive to

communicate our tradition and lead the candidate through that symbolic forest to make them a Mason. It is in that process that we impart the trappings from our past and connect to it in spirit and symbol. Similarly, it is in that manner that this tracing board relates to those of its forbearers, by its spirit and symbol, with hope that it no longer remains a relic of the past but something we can connect with today. For more information on this tracing board and the subsequent boards, visit or

(Footnotes) 1 Andersons Constitution, p. 109 2 Churton, The Golden Builder p. 36-37 3 Ibid. 4 Copenhaver, Hermetica p. 1 5 Occult, Obscured

Gregory Stewart lives in Southern California, and is a member of Burbank Lodge No. 406 and Hollywood Lodge No. 355. He is a member of the York Rite and the Scottish Rite, former secretary of the Hermes Trismegistus Traditional Observance Club, and the Masonic brotherhood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not. An active internet Mason, his musings may be found at and He is the host and co-creator of the Masonic podcast

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There’s a hole in our bucket, dear Hiram, dear Hiram by Stephen Dafoe


orth 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 Since 1925, the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA) has been keeping track of the numbers of Freemasons in the United States.1 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 wringers 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. As such, our hand wringers have created a long-standing belief that once upon a time Freemasons made up a sizeable 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. (See Chart 1) 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 wringers 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 wringing 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 1920s; 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 1920s 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 AUTUMN 2008 • 25

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decade, which I’ve long-argued to be the most enlightening for Freemasonry, saw an increase in membership of just above four per cent. (See Chart 2) But then the Great Depression reduced membership rolls by almost 25 per cent by then end of the 1930s. 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 1940s, Masonic membership had increased by more than 42 per cent, carrying a forward momentum through most of the 1950s, which saw an increase of 16 per cent 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 1990s, 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 1940s and 1950s. 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 rolls like a windfall inflates a bank account, but like the lottery winner who does not invest his newfound money properly; it is soon piddled away until nothing remains. Another tale the hand wringers 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

CHART 3 – Alberta

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CHART 4 – Manitoba

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. (See Chart 3) What I discovered was that, like the rest of North America, Alberta had a sizeable 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. 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. (See chart 4) 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 SNPDs. In the past six years the province has seen 1,355 men

leave the Masonic fraternity. 3 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. (See chart 5, page 28) 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.4 But perhaps marching about is precisely the problem. Perhaps the men who are joining today are joining to parade about like the swordwielding 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.5 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 AUTUMN 2008 • 27

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all until we accept that a failure to do so is the cause of our decline and the harbinger of our demise. Notes and comments 1. These records can be found at msastats.asp 2. Alberta statistics taken form Grand Lodge proceedings 1996 – 2003. 3. Manitoba statistics were provided by the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. 4. Statistics courtesy of the Grand Encampment of The United States. 5. The editorial can be viewed in either print or audio/video format. CHART 5

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 shoeleather 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 sizeable 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 honour 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

formation in 1771 of a separate Antients Grand Chapter. Such a body never existed nor could it have done. The Royal Arch as a fourth degree among the Antients was only implemented in Craft Lodges. There was no such concept as Chapters among the Antients, so how could there have been a Grand Chapter? In fact the Rules and Regulations of the Antients in their 1794 Constitutions, confirmed the Royal Arch as the 4th degree of Craft Freemasonry giving formal authority, albeit retroactively, to Craft lodges to hold Royal Arch Chapters. The Antients Grand Chapter during its brief history remained totally subservient to the Grand Lodge of the Introduction The Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, a title in use since April 1808, traces its origins to the Most Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter formed on 12 January 1766. At this time there were effectively three separate Masonic organisations active in England: a) the Premier Grand Lodge (1717), who recognised three Craft (blue) degrees only b) the Antients Grand Lodge (1751)who claimed the Royal Arch as the fourth degree c) the newly formed Supreme Grand Chapter of 1766 as an independent Order. Thus from July 1751, the two Grand Lodges mentioned ran at logger heads for more than 60 years, until the agreement from which, finally, the United Grand Lodge of England emerged on St John’s Day, 27 December 1813. It is the compromise to affect a successful Union that led to the very special and unique circumstances of the standing of the Holy Royal Arch under the English Masonic Constitutions. Stephen Dafoe is a past Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, former publisher of Masonic Magazine in of the Grand books Lodge on of the England, premier andLondon the author of several Knightsthe Templar. In addition, Dafoe is a self-confessed anti-Internet Mason. Ironically, his website can be found at www.stephendafoe. com and his blog at

Masonry Dissected

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Cleaning The Temple (from page 14)

are in danger if we can not rise to Washington’s expectations for us. In the months and years ahead, we will be reorganizing several displays, and in this process, we will refocus on George Washington and Freemasonry. While much is yet to be determined, the first steps are well underway. We have removed many old small displays scattered on the first two levels and rededicated these spaces to their proper functions. We have designated the first floor for Freemasonry. Grand Masonic Hall (formerly Assembly Hall) will be a proper banquet and lecture space dedicated to Grand Lodges who support the Memorial. A display of enlarged postcards of other great American Masonic temples will brighten the hallways, and this spring, the first ever exhibition on Craft Freemasonry will open. On the second floor, the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 Replica Lodge Room has been renovated. The gift shop was moved for better visitor access and to make way for a new display on the city of Alexandria and the construction of the Memorial. We are also gathering busts, plaques and other honors of the Association into its own display area. Looking forward, discussions are underway with many Masonic organizations to create new exhibits. The good news is the Memorial has plenty of room for all. With due wisdom, strength and beauty, the Memorial’s mission and the interests of its patrons will be met. This mission will not only be fulfilled through exhibitions and displays, but through a variety of visitor experiences within the Memorial, in its gardens, Library, Lodge rooms, and on its website. Let me conclude by asking your Masonic name. Are you not “Hiram”? And why was a symbolic marble monument erected to his memory? The reason we build Masonic temples and hold dear to our George Washington Memorial is said at every Master Mason degree— “to commemorate the virtues of so amiable, distinctive and exemplary a character,” and more especially, “That the sweet remembrance of his virtues shall last until time shall be no more.” You are Hiram, I am Hiram, the brother who signed your petition is Hiram, the Master who raised you is Hiram, the charter members of your Lodge and the men that built the Temple you meet in are Hiram. George Washington is Hiram. We are all Hiram and are “linked together in an indissoluble chain of sincere affection of brotherly love, relief and truth.” We are Hiram and we “were fetched out of Tyre and have come to King Solomon to wrought all his work” and beautify the Temple “erected to God and dedicated to the Holy Saints John.” Mark A. Tabbert is the Director of Collections of the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities. He can be reached at

English Royal Arch (from page 15)

totally subservient to the Grand Lodge of the Antients. It was a blatant and unsuccessful attempt by Dermot to counteract and attempt to frustrate the initiative of the Grand and Royal Chapter. The Union Toward the end of the 18th century the possibility of a union between the two rival Grand Lodges became apparent. Special Lodges were set up to promulgate the union and reconcile the ritual among the rival Lodges. Attitudes and developments took a much more positive turn, helped not least by the fact that two Royal brothers, the Dukes of Kent and Sussex respectively, were at the head of each of the two Grand Lodges. Peace and unity was within sight and only the Royal Arch remained a bone of contention. The Antients insisted that the new Constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England should incorporate the Royal Arch as the 4th Degree of Craft. The Moderns continued to maintain that Ancient Freemasonry consisted of three degree and three degrees alone. The compromise that was finally reached found the Antients vindicated. Unlike any other Masonic Constitution, where the Supreme Grand Chapter of the Holy Royal Arch is totally independent of the Grand Lodge, on the insistence of the Antients alone, the oft-quoted opening paragraph to the present General Laws and Regulations to the Constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England, states: By the solemn Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Free-Masons of England in December 1813, it was ‘declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more viz., those of the entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason,, including (my emphasis) the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch’. A Solomonic solution to an historic conflict: English Royal Arch, the happy result of an historic accident. Lodges of Free-Masons of England in December 1813, it was ‘declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more viz., those of the entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason,, including (my emphasis) the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch’. A Solomonic solution to an historic conflict: English Royal Arch, the happy result of an historic accident. Yasha Beresiner is a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076. He has worked as a commercial legal consultant but now is an antiquarian in London. He will be the speaker at The Masonic Society’s First Circle gathering in February 2009. AUTUMN 2008 • 29

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Masonic Treasures of Washington D.C. Text and Photos by Christopher L. Hodapp

The first two buildings of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia are long gone, but their third home was here between 1870-1908. On the day of its cornerstone ceremony, President Andrew Johnson gave every federal employee who was a Mason the day off to attend the event. Today, it is the headquarters of the Gallup Organization. 901 F St., NW


rethren traveling to Alexandria, Virginia for Masonic Week 2009 will find that the Washington D.C. area is a treasure trove of Masonic temples and sights. Some, like the House of the Temple or the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, are justifiably well-known, but there are more places to see and visit that even frequent Masonic visitors to the nation’s capitol may have missed.

The fourth Grand Lodge building was built in 1908, and President Theodore Roosevelt was there to dedicate the cornerstone. The ground floor was home to a movie theater until the building was sold in the 1970s. Today, it is (ironically for a building constructed for a gentleman’s fraternity) the home of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Almost nothing inside remains of the Masonic decor, but the exterior cornices still feature symbols of Freemasonry and the appendant bodies. 1250 New York Ave. NW

The Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia today is located in a smaller home, and a quieter neighborhood. The Grand Lodge offices are here, along with a small museum and a fine library. 5428 MacArthur Blvd. NW

Georgetown Masonic Hall was destroyed by fire in the 1960s, but its replacement was designed to complement its older neighbors. 1212 Wisconsin Ave, NW

Prince Hall Freemasonry came to the District in 1825, and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia has been headquartered in this building since 1930. It is at the heart of the historic U Street Corridor, what was once known as Washington’s “Black Broadway.” 1000 U St. NW

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The magnificent House of the Temple is the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction. It houses one of the largest Masonic libraries in the world, along with the personal library of Albert Pike, and the premiere collection of works by and about Scottish poet Robert Burns. 1733 16th St., NW Naval Lodge No. 41 was first started in the sail loft of the District’s Naval Yard. Its present home, built in 1894 , is one of the finest Egyptian-themed lodge rooms anywhere. The lodge’s brethren took part in the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument, and its obelisk form is echoed in the lodge. 330 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

Almas Shrine stands today in Franklin Square about a block west from where it was built in 1929. (John Philip Sousa was Almas’ band director until his death in 1932.) In 1987 it’s complex tile facade was dismantled and moved over to make way for a high-rise office building. Its ornate entry hides a large, modern auditorium and warren of meeting and dining spaces. 1315 K St.,NW

Singleton Masonic Hall looks deceptively small, but it is home to seven lodges, and some of the oldest in the District. 4441 Wisconsin Ave, NW

Tacoma Masonic Hall is home to ten lodges, and has recently been remodeled with a beautiful cloud-covered ceiling. 115 Carroll St., NW

Washington’s Scottish Rite and several lodges meet in the Scottish Rite Center, a few blocks north of the House of the Temple. 2800 800 16th St., NW

Albert Pike’s statue is the only outdoor statue of a former Confederate officer in the District. It stands in Judiciary Square, to the consternation of anti-Masonic conspiracy theorists everywhere. 3rd and D Streets, NW

The symbolism of the Great Seal, Masonic or not, may be contemplated in detail at the National Archives, or outdoors at Liberty Square 1302 Pennsylvania Ave., NW AUTUMN 2008 • 31

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Alexandria, Virginia The George Washington Masonic National Memorial, atop Shooters Hill in Alexandria, dominates the Old Town skyline. It is supported by contributions from every mainstream Grand Lodge in the United States. Home to Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, the Memorial contains exhibits from most U.S. appendant bodies, along with an extensive museum of George Washington’s belongings and artifacts. The period recreation lodge room displays the trowel and gavel used by Washington at the cornerstone ceremony of the Capital Building. Renovations and updated displays are being prepared for the 100th anniversary of the Memorial Association’s founding.

When a procession of Freemasons assembled to lay the first boundary marker for the new city of Washington in 1791, they gathered first at Gadsby’s Tavern. George Washington really did eat here, along with the next four presidents. 134 N. Royal St.

The city of Washington began here, at Jones Point in Alexandria. The Freemasons dedicated the southernmost tip of the District with a boundary marker, the new country’s first national monument. Along with the Presidential Mansion and the Capitol Building, the Masons laid the three most important cornerstones of the United States. Alexandria was retroceded back to Virginia in 1847. Today, long forgotten, the District’s first boundary marker lies in a tiny stone niche under the Jones Point Light. Jones Point Park

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  

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Letters To The Journal The Missing Working Tool In regards to the Masonic wedge (The Missing Working Tool by Roger S. VanGorden, Issue 1). Yes, it is true, there is no ritual that demonstrates the importance of the wedge. However, could it be that the wedge, however lacking in explanation, is expressed in the whole of Masonic ritual? It is possible to change the point of view as not to drive a wedge between brother Masons, rather driving a wedge between a Mason and the profane world. Keeping in mind that in order to smooth ashlars you must first break a piece away from the mass.

world has instilled upon his mind. Through this, the candidate moves from time to eternity, creating a sacred space in which he and his brothers may dwell. True, there is no verbal explanation given to the wedge, but rather, I believe, the wedge was meant to be felt in the hearts and minds of all candidates passing into the inner sanctorum sanctorum. Mark A. Pope Olathe, Kansas

I am sure few would argue that during the Masonic initiation, a powerful and unmistakable transformation occurs with each conferred degree. During the continued progression forward, the candidate moves further and further away from the influences, dogmas, and preconceptions that the outside

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Broken Windows by Christopher l. Hodapp


ixty years ago, a broken window would get a kid in serious trouble. Neighbors would round up the miscreant and there would be a price to pay for causing the damage. But the proliferation of broken windows, with no consequences for the offenders, signals a lack of control, an erosion of caring, and a devastating loss of pride. Criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling developed the `broken windows’ thesis to explain the growth of crime and decay in urban areas that are plagued by vandalism and unkempt property. The theory goes that if a building has broken windows, graffiti on the walls and trash in the foyer, it encourages – nay, invites – vandalism, crime and further deterioration. If the landlord doesn’t fix the problem immediately, he’s a big part of the problem, because he is providing an atmosphere of decay for the whole neighborhood, whose inhabitants will come to believe their community is a lost cause. I contend that the same theory can be applied to our aging, decaying Masonic buildings. The more we neglect our Temples on the outside, the more they rot spiritually on the inside, spiraling into lethargy and failure. One of the most misunderstood phrases in Masonry is that the fraternity regards the internal and not the external qualifications of a man, and we’ve gone on to believe it about our Temples. The truth is that what is on the outside is a reflection of what goes on inside— both in men and in buildings. We’ve been breaking our own windows. And it’s high time we got a whuppin’ for it. In 1892, the Freemasons of Chicago built the tallest skyscraper in the world, twenty-two stories high, and it remained the tallest building in Chicago for more than thirty years. In 1926 the Masons of Detroit opened the largest Masonic building in the world, home to almost thirty different Masonic bodies, with room for a total of fifty. It had more than a thousand rooms, three auditoriums including one that seated 4,100 people, restaurants, ballrooms, hotel rooms, a barber shop, even an indoor pool. They believed “build it and they will come.” They donated lavishly to their fraternity and constructed splendid Temples for us, designed to last for generations as proud symbols of Freemasonry. And they spent lots of their own money, at a time when there were no tax incentives to do so; nor were there social safety nets for their retirements. Times were tough, yet they still gave much in both time and treasure to Freemasonry for these places we now often treat with such appalling neglect. What our forefathers constructed for the Ages, many now scornfully dismiss as white elephants. In the effort to be politically correct, we don’t call them Temples anymore, but our fathers and grandfathers and greatgrandfathers sure did. These were Temples to the ideals of Freemasonry. Great things went on inside of them, and the community knew who and what the Freemasons were and what they stood for. The Masonic Temple was vital to a community. Balls were held there. Political debates were held there. Visiting celebrities and luminaries were feted there. Immigrant citizens were sworn in there. Today, thousands of people drive past our

faceless buildings and never know what they are. Freemasonry is not a building, and lodges can meet anywhere, but these Temples are a part of our heritage. They are priceless, irreplaceable treasures. And we throw them away at our own peril. The least we can do is protect the best of them until a new generation comes along that cherishes them as our grandfathers did. But as every year ticks by and one more Temple goes away, we will never get them back. And we certainly won’t ever have the vision—or the guts—to build another. When new men see these tumble down places, so obviously uncared for by our own members, why would they want to join us? And if they do join and are treated like bratty interlopers for daring to suggest spending any money to clean up the joint, they won’t come back. My own lodge’s original three-story brick building (sold far below fair market value fifteen years ago) was entirely financed by one individual brother’s gift in 1907 of what would today amount to almost $700,000. We stopped asking our members for money for our own Temples long ago in favor of our Masonic Homes, the Shrine hospitals, the Dyslexic Centers, the CHIPs programs, the York Rite charities, and more. But as wonderful as those programs are, we are making a big mistake if every penny we have goes into them. We don’t ask anymore. We don’t ask ourselves to step up to the plate to collect $2000 for carpeting, or $4000 for a furnace, or $10,000 for a parking lot, or a million for a new building. Churches do, and so do every other kind of community organization, from YMCAs to country clubs. So did Lodges, once. Don’t misunderstand—not every clapboard pigeon roost from the 1920s necessarily needs to be preserved, any more than my rural uncle’s outhouse from the same era. One neighbor’s historic landmark is another’s ramshackle eyesore. In most cases, we really do have too many lodge buildings. We don’t walk or ride a horse to the Stated Meeting anymore, so we no longer need a lodge every five miles as the crow flies. It is a far better use of our resources for there to be many smaller lodges that meet in one common Temple. If we don’t present a dignified face to the outside world and provide meeting places that our old and new members are proud of, we are slitting our own throats. Better for us to meet in a hotel ballroom than in a fallen-down barn of a place that we fail to maintain. At least a hotel will keep it clean, repaired, climate-controlled and well lit. But if we have any desire to really rebuild this fraternity, our Temples need to regain their place at the center of our communities, as they were 60, 80 and a hundred years ago. They need to be places we want to come to, and bring our friends and families to. They need to be comfortable and inviting, places where brethren want to congregate before and after meetings, instead of eating, meeting and fleeing from. That isn’t going to happen with $45 annual dues and no strategic financial planning for the future. AUTUMN 2008 • 35

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Masonic Treasures

On November 12th, 1897, the Grand Lodge of Arizona held its annual communication in an unusual setting—inside of a cave in the mine of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company in Bisbee, Arizona. Discovered in 1877, the Copper Queen Mine was purchased in 1895 by Phelps-Dodge and became one of the largest producers of copper in the U.S., before it ceased operation in the 1970s. Today, the mine is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a popular tourist attraction. Photo: Copyright 1897 by A. Miller, Globe, Ariz. (Library of Congress)

The Masonic Society 1427 W. 86th Street, Suite 248 Indianapolis, IN 46260-2103

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Journal of the Masonic Society Issue 2  

The Journal of the Masonic Society Issue 2, Autumn 2008

Journal of the Masonic Society Issue 2  

The Journal of the Masonic Society Issue 2, Autumn 2008

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