Of The Masonic Society
“The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligence of her disciples.” - Albert Mackey
n May of 2008, a significant group of passionate Masons came together to create what aims to be nothing less than the premier North American research society in Freemasonry. Called simply The Masonic Society, we are brothers who have a deep and abiding desire to seek knowledge, explore history, discover symbolism, debate philosophies, and in short, seek to chart a path for the future of Freemasonry. The goal of The Masonic Society is not just to look backward at the history of Freemasonry, but to foster the intellectual, spiritual and social growth of the modern Masonic fraternity. Our name intentionally alludes to the Royal Society, the innovative organization of visionary men who were at the forefront of the Age of Enlightenment, many of whom were present at the formation of what became modern, speculative Freemasonry. Likewise, our The Masonic Society will be at the forefront of a new age of Freemasonry, and we intend to be a vibrant, active community within the fraternity. To that end, The Masonic Society extends the hand of assistance and cooperation to individual Masonic research lodges in North America. It is the desire of The Masonic Society to be a partner with these lodges, to give their members the regular opportunity to publish their papers for an international audience, to applaud their achievements, and to publicize their activities. The Masonic Society is also forging a special relationship with those bodies that meet annually during Masonic Week, as well as the Grand Encampment, Knights Templar and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association. While not designed as a York Rite-specific research group, The Masonic Society especially encourages examination of this branch of Freemasonry. Fellows of the Masonic Society will be named each year, in recognition of their contribution to the body of knowledge of the fraternity, through their writing, their Internet presence, their service to the Society, or their labors for Freemasonry. Full membership in the Society is open to Master Masons who are members of regular, recognized grand lodges that are in good standing with the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America (CGMMNA), or a grand lodge in amity with a member grand lodge of CGMMNA. While we are not connected with that body or with any one grand lodge, it is our desire to work within the established system of Masonic recognition and regularity that exists in North America. Non-Masons, libraries, lodges, and members of other obediences may certainly subscribe, as well as contribute, to the Journal. Advertising is something rarely seen in Masonic magazines these days. The Journal accepts advertising from businesses of interest to Freemasons, giving them the opportunity to inform brethren about their products. From the start, it has been our intention to do much more than simply sell a magazine. The Masonic Society is a true membership organization, and The Journal is just a part of creating a bond between new friends. Ultimately, The Journal is a reflection of our members and their interests. It is our goal to make it informative, enlightening and entertaining, and unlike any other Masonic magazine you may have seen. Its contributors are published Masonic authors whose books you may own, academic authors who are not Masons but who have made a study of the Craft, and brethren from the lodge down the street. Welcome, then, to our premiere issue. We look forward to your input, your participation, and your fellowship.
The Journal of the Masonic Society Editor in Chief Christopher L. Hodapp 317-842-1103 email@example.com 1427 W. 86th Street Suite 248 Indianapolis IN 46260-2103 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, Summer 2008, Volume 1, Number 1 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.
2 • Summer 2008
The Journal of The Masonic Society Summer 2008 Sections
4 President’s Message
News of the Society
Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings
39 From The Editor
The Ceremonies of St. John the Baptist and the Circle of Swords Contained Within the Entered Apprentice Degree By James W. Hogg
The Story of the Lost Word and the Power of Myth By John L. Cooper III
Masonic Treasures 27
Georgia’s Solomon Lodge No. 1 and Westville Masonic lodge
The Free-Masons Surpriz’d
The Initiation In The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite By Leon Zeldis, 33
Research by Owen Lorion
25 Lodged in the Canon by S. Brent Morris
Written In The Stars
by Michael halleran and Martin Faulks
Ethiopia in Freemasonry By Timothy Hogan
I Am a Freemason Because... By Daniel Ellnor
COVER: This month’s cover features Der Bücherwurm (The Bookworm), painted in 1850 by the Bavarian artist and poet Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885).
Summer 2008 • 3
The Journal of The Masonic Society
The Missing Working Tool By Roger S. VanGorden
elcome to The Masonic Society and our inaugural issue of The Journal. We hope you will find this issue inspiring as well as educational. It is our hope that your membership in our gentle society will be a long and treasured one. For The Masonic Society to prosper, your involvement, as well as interest, is necessary. The magazine and discussion forum are places for you to not only learn, but also to share. Each of us is a student as well as a scholar of Freemasonry. We each have our special areas of knowledge and interests. We should share and learn with each other in a spirit of brotherly love and friendship. This brings me to the title of the article, the missing working tool. The late Masonic author John Robinson once noted that there is a working tool which undoubtedly our operative brethren used, but appears missing from our work. That tool was the wedge. Of course there may exist a degree in which the wedge plays a significant role. However, to most symbolic lodge degrees this tool does not exist. Yet, to our operative brothers the wedge was an important instrument. How else could they have separated the stones in the quarries without such a tool? We are taught to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection. Brotherly love and affection binds us to each other just as cement binds the stones of a building to create one common mass. So, let brotherly love and friendship unite our gentle society as an edifice of knowledge and understanding. Let us learn from each other by sharing our interests and ideas, thus enriching our Masonic experience. We can only accomplish this by seeking each others’ welfare and happiness. A wedge will stop us. Let us promise to see that the wedge remains a missing working tool. 4 • Summer 2008
Research by Owen Lorion
Research is such a funny thing — I marvel at it daily. Some do it, oh!, so grudgingly While others do it gaily. Some spend days, or weeks, or years Donating hours freely While others will not turn a leaf Without demanding, “Pay me!” Some think that Research starts and ends With, say, a dictionary. While others hoard on their own shelves A bursting library. These are they who fondle tomes With reverence, and gently; Not those who only read a book As oft as Comet Halley. Some there are for whom archives Are sweet as any daisy; While others think that musty books Smell more than slightly gamey. So let them watch their football bowls, Or bowl in their alley. We’ll talk about our own Research, Or search for what is, is really. And if we don’t always agree Upon each cherished theory, Well, intellectual debate Can still be quite a melee! Written for The New Mexico Masonic Lodge Of Research, and read during a presentation at their meeting January 15, 2000.
The only difference between a rut and the grave is the depth.
The Journal of The Masonic Society
News of the Society
asha Beresiner has been appointed Grand Librarian of the Regular Grand Lodge of Italy. Yasha is a Past Master of London’s Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076. He is also a member of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel. He speaks several languages (including Italian) and runs a Londonbased collectibles company specializing in Masonic, maps, atlases, playing cards, paper money and related items, and he is a certified London guide. • rturo DeHoyos and S. Brent Morris have coauthored Committed To The Flames: The History and Rituals of a Secret Masonic Rite (2008, Lewis), a decoding and transcription of the “Folger Manuscript,” Robert Folger’s secretive attempt to bring the Rectified Scottish Rite to the United States. The book presents the Rectified Scottish Rite’s Craft degrees, as well as Folger’s complete transcriptions of the Rose Croix Craft ritual, seven degrees of “Egyptian Masonry”, and more. Brent is the current Master of London’s Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, the first U.S. Mason to hold that office. He promises to buy the first pint for any American who visits his last meeting in September. • hristopher Hodapp and coauthor Alice Von Kannon have teamed up for their second book together, Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies (2008, Wiley). • imothy W. Hogan has published two books this year. The Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual (2008, Lulu) describes the symbolism of Masonic passwords, signs, due guards and rituals that relate to the stages of the alchemical process. Revelation of the Holy Grail (2008, Lulu), written under the pseudonym Chevalier Emerys, explores facts and oral history related to the Rosicrucians, Martinism, the Knights Templar, and other esoteric Orders. • ichael Poll has edited Masonic Enlightenment: The Philosophy, History and Wisdom of Freemasonry (2008, Cornerstone Book Publishers). It is a treasure trove of works by classic authors of the Craft, including Roscoe Pound, H.V.B. Voorhis, Joseph Fort Newton, H. L. Haywood, and more.
Michael has also recently reissued a new edition of William Denslow’s 10,000 Famous Freemasons, completely re-typeset, with the entries from its later addendum inserted into the work in their correct placement. An exhaustive research work that every library should have. • tephen Dafoe will follow up his 2007 history of the medieval Knights Templar, Nobly Born (Lewis) with two very different projects. The Cross and the Compasses (Lewis), due in September, tells the detailed, circuitous and little-known story of the origin and development of the Masonic Knights Templar. And in November, he and artist Bob Prodor will tell the tale of the medieval Templars in a series of four comic books, called Outremer (Templar Books).
R. Theron Dunn, R.I.P.
t is with great sadness that we announce in our first issue the passing of one of our members to the Celestial Lodge. When the Society opened its doors officially in May, among the first to join was Brother R. Theron Dunn of Riverside, California. Indeed, within hours of signing on, he quickly posted several of his essays to the Society Internet Forum. And then, less than two weeks later, we were shocked to learn of the sudden death of our brother, after a ruptured ulcer led to massive kidney failure. Brother Dunn was a prolific internet Mason, whose postings could be found on nearly every Masonic forum, blog and listserv available. Our deepest condolences go to his wife Barbara, and to all of his family. To the literally hundreds of Masons who regularly conversed with him around the world, he will be sorely missed. A fund has been set up by Theron’s brother, James, to assist the family in funeral and other expenses in the coming months. Theron Dunn Memorial Fund Washington Mutual Bank Acct#0401-0000041531-6 All checks should be payable to “Barbara Dunn” 22882 Giant Fir Place Canyon Lake, CA 92587 Died May 13, 2008
Summer 2008 • 5
The Journal of The Masonic Society
News of the Society
ithgreatprideandappreciation,TheMasonicSocietywelcomesthefollowingbrethren as Founding Members, as of August 1st, 2008.
Percy Aga Erastus Allen Clarence A. Anderson Paul Anderson John A. Argue Don Arnett Scott Arnold Antonio Aveledo Rick Baca Sam Bachir Paul Bailey Jeffrey Ballou James Baum John Belton * Yasha Beresiner * Edward Berry Paul M. Bessel * Brian P. Bezner Brad Billings George W. Black Frank Blades Dr. Richard B. Blaettler Ron Blaisdell Manuel Blanco J. L. Boggess James E. Bonine Timothy Bonney * Clayton J. Borne III Martin L. Borton Ricks M. Bowles Jay A. Brannam Stephen S. Brettell John Bridegroom Nathan C. Brindle * Sean M. Britton Aubrey Brown Sr. Harold E. Brown Steven Brown Justin M. Budreau * Jason Bunnell William Burkle Chris Bursian Robert Bussey Mark Campbell Charles S. Canning Bruce F. Carmichael Allan L. Casalou * Jeff Cass David Catten Michael A. Chaplin, MD Eric Charpentier Larry W. Chavis Jack Chekijian Kenneth L. Christianson Charles Christie Christopher Chrzanowski Robert B. Church Bruce W. Clark Henry Clayton, Jr. James Coleman 6 • Summer 2008
Douglas Collins Michael Comfort Thomas Conn Ted Connally Edward T. Conner Jason Connors Mark Conrad * James Conway Robert R. Cook John L. Cooper III * Matthew Copple Douglas Cormier Chad Cornelius Nick Corvino Bretton Cox Chuck Cunningham Glenn Cupit Allen E. Curtis Stephen Dafoe * Harold Davidson Bill Davis Kenneth Davis Robert Davis * Tom DeRue Eric Diamond * José O. Díaz Robert F. Dickerson Paul Dierickx James R. Dillman Kirk Dimitrakis Tony Dintino R. Stephen Doan * Clifford R. Dobbins Shawn Dougan Jaime Drury Theron Dunn Richard Durso Dennis T. Dyer Jason Eder James Eding Bill Edwards Brent Ellis Daniel Ellnor Barry Ellsworth Matthew S. English Bharat V. Epur Matthew Ernewein Shawn Eyer * Henry Fair Reed Fanning Josh Featherstone Errol Feldman Val Finnell Harold D. Ford Louis Fradette Mark E. Furber John A. Gallant Nigel J. Gallimore Dr. Christopher S. Gamble Bruno Gazzo *
Kenneth Gibala Christopher A. Glenn Bruce Glover Russell Godt Tim Gomez Josiah J. Goodwin Harry D. Greene Leif E. Grutle GJW Hagenaars Gregg Hall Edward Halpaus * Juhana Hame Byron E. Hams Scott Hapworth Trevor Harris Joey Harrison Alan Hart Terry Hastings Chris Hatton Frederick W. Hayes George R. Haynes Keith Head John R. Heisner * Todd Helton Kent Henderson * John Hendrickson Ralph A. Herbold Marco A. Hernandez David R. Hill Jim Hinkley Jay Hochberg * Christopher L. Hodapp * Kurt Hoffman Ted Hogan Timothy W. Hogan Jim Hogg Geoff Holbrook Darrell Hook Scott A. Horstmeier Jonathan Horvath Bill Hosler Tom Hostetler Joseph M. Howell Bruce E. Hudson Richard Hunker Rex R. Hutchens * Jason Intardonato Charles E. Ivy Thomas C. Jackson Thomas W. Jackson * Benjamin D. Jones Jeffrey A. Kaplan John M. Karnes Mark R. Karweick Michael J. Kastle Adam G. Kendall * Kenyon Killinger Christopher Kimmel Edward L. King * Nelson King Paschal A. King, Jr.
Kerry D. Kirk Mike Kirkland Darren Klem Frederick G. Kleyn III * Robert Knight Greg Knott William H. Koon II * Ivan Kotcher John J. Kuczynski Eric Kuntz Anthony J. LaCava Michael F. Lakat James Landerkin James R. Lansford Norman B. Leeper Gerald Leighton Francesco Lella John Liley Michael Lim David Lindez Brian S. Lobb Robert Lomas * Daniel J. Longley Owen K. Lorion George Lucero Harry B. Lyon George S. Mabry Jay Marksheid Albert Martin Bryan H. Martin Lee S. Martin Michael D. Martin Paul S. Martin Ronald Martin * Ronald D. Martin II Alan Martinez David A. Marvelli Richard E. Massad Jamie McCall Russell McGregor Kevin McKaye Peter McKeon Rev. Mark E. Megee Hector H. Menke Floyd Merrell William J. Miklos III John Miles Monte M. Miller Peter Millheiser Mark Mills Christopher Missick Jason Mitchell William Mitchell William J. Mollere Mark Monnier Dean Monroe Matthew M. Morris S. Brent Morris * Bill Moses Charles W. Munro * Don Myers
Louis Myers Jeffrey D. Naylor * Warren Neisler Jeremy Newman George E. Noon Richard Num * Shawn Oak Rodolfo Olano Steinarr K. Omarsson Stephen Osborn Dr. David H. Owen Mitchell Ozog Anthony Palik Francis Parrella Nick Pavlidis Kenneth R. Pease Greg Perkins Carmine Pescatore Colin Peterson Sam Pitassi Michael R. Poll * Stephen J. Ponzillo III Michael Poole Gilbert Porter Richard J. Powell Ryan K. Priester W. B. Pruitt * Jeffrey Queen Christian Ratliff David L. Revels * Greg Riley Mark G. Robbins Christopher Roscher Daniel Rose Alton G. Roundtree * Root Rutan Alex Ruthmann Harry Sanders Mark R. Sandstrom Norm Sanford Bill Sassman Eric Schmitz * Jason Schneider Daniel Schulz Allen Scott Michael Sellick * Naresh Sharma Aaron Shoemaker * Cory Sigler * Jay C. Simser Duncan Skinner Daryll Slimmer Carson C. Smith Charles Smith Brian G. Spooner Dr. David E. Stafford George W. Stamp Michael Stanford Graham Stead James Stevenson Gregory Stewart
James Stewart Mark Stought Mark Tabbert * Aaron Taylor Joshua Taylor Raymond Telnock Lance Ten Eyck Craig L. Thighe Chris Thomas Michael Thomason Lorenzo E. Tibbits Rev. Terry L. Tilton Phil Toomey Mark Toon Terry L. Turner Trevor Twining Jay Underdown Ted Upton Dr. Robert L. Uzzel Wilbur M. van Over Roger S. VanGorden * William Vassily Duane L. Vaught * Gordon Vincent Irwin Vines Glenn Visscher Carl D. Wade Frederick I. Waldron Allen L. Walker Phillip N. Walker Christopher T. Warrick Bob Weed W. A. Wells Robert E. Welsh Amzie Wenning Craig Wepprecht Harmon Weston Collin White Thomas White Henry Wierzbicki Randy Williams Terence P. Williams James Willoughby William Wine * Steve Wittberger C. D. Wofford Robert M. Wolfarth John Womack Douglas Wood John P. Woolf Sr. J. B. Wright Saul Yaros David Young Bruce Zawalsky Leon Zeldis * Shawn Zoladz Robert Zuniga
* Founding Fellows
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings August 22-23, 2008 8th Annual California Masonic Symposium “Women & Freemasonry” Grand Lodge of California, San Francisco, CA Presenters include John L. Cooper III, Janet Wintermute, and Robert G. Davis, the 2008 Henry Wilson Coil lecturer. www.freemason.org/documents/symposium08.pdf August 23, 2008 Northwest Indiana Masonic Education Seminar Highland Masonic Temple, Highland, IN, hosted by Garfield Lodge No. 569. Master Masons only, $10 registration. Speakers: James MacNabney, author of “Born In Brotherhood”; Marvin L. Ford “Ant-Masonic Presidential Candidates”; Lawrence V. Kaminsky, “The Holy Sts. John”; John Bridegroom, “Enochian Ties To Freemasonry”; James Dillman, “Indiana Freemasons’ Hall”; Christopher Hodapp, author “Freemasons For Dummies.” Contact Colin Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org August 23, 2008 Grand Lodge of Virginia Masonic Education Seminar Scottish Rite Center, Roanoke, VA Speakers: Mark Tabbert (“American Freemasons: Past, Present and Future”), W:.B:. W. Kirk MacNulty (“The Secret Identity of Masons”), and W:.B:. S. Brent Morris (“Itinerant American Masonic Lecturers”). August 28-30, 2008 67th Triennial Session, General Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons International; and 43rd Triennial Session, General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International Hyatt Regency Hotel, Indianapolis, IN www.yorkrite.org/ggcc308.html September 9-13, 2008 Annual Session of the Supreme Council 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of Canada Pacific Ballroom Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia www.scottishritemasons-can.org October 4, 2008 Rose Circle Research Foundation 2nd Annual Conference Masonic Temple, 71 W. 23rd St., New York, NY Christopher McIntosh, author of “Eliphas Lévi and the French Occult Revival”; R. A. Gilbert, 1977 Prestonian Lecturer and coauthor of “Freemasonry: A Celebration of the Craft.” More info: www. rosecircle.org October 7, 2008 Scottish Rite Valley of Northern New Jersey Lincoln Park, NJ. Author, Prestonian Lecturer and Educator (GLoS & UGLE) Trevor Stewart will be traveling from Scotland to speak. Topic: “The Nature of Masonic Initiation.” Open to Master Masons. 7:30 PM. October 8, 2008 Alpha Lodge No. 116, East Orange, NJ Trevor Stewart, guest lecturer. Topic: “The Pillars.” 7:30 PM
October 11, 2008 Academy of Masonic Knowledge Freemasons’ Cultural center, Elizabethtown, PA. “Educating Newly Made Master Masons” www.pagrandlodge.org/programs/academy/ October 18, 2008 Festival of the Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL) Middle Temple Hall and the Temple Church, London. 400th anniversary of the charter by King James I confirming the Inner and Middle Temple’s ownership of the freehold of the Temple on condition they maintain the Temple Church. www.amull.org.uk November 19, 2008 Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, London Author Phillipa Faulkes: “The Life & Death of Count Cagliostro & His Egyptian Rite” www.canonbury.ac.uk November 29, 2008 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Highlands-Unity Lodge #168, Jasper Lodge #14, Fiat Lux Lodge of Research #1980 and West Edmonton Lodge #101 will hold their annual feast and guest speaker presentation. This year’s speaker will be Adam Kendall, the curator, manager, historian and manager of collections at the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry at the Grand Lodge of California in San Francisco. November 29-31 Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia - Triennial General Assembly Melbourne, Australia February 11-14, 2009 Masonic Week Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel, Alexandria, VA. www.yorkrite.com/MasonicWeek/ February 13, 2008 The Masonic Society First Circle Gathering 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. www.cgmna.org April 17-19, 2009 44th Masonic Spring Workshop Delta Lodge, Kananaskis, Alberta Featured speakers: Dr. Earle Sharam, Jim Roberts. www.masonicspringworkshop.ab.ca/ April 24-26 2009 60th Midwest Conference on Masonic Education President Abraham Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center, Springfield, IL. Call for papers: Implementing Masonic education programs; and actual Masonic education content. See web site for more information. www.midwestmasoniceducation.com May 29-31, 2009 2nd International Conference on the History of Freemasonry Grand Lodge of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. Call for papers has closed. www.ichfonline.org May 2011 3rd International Conference on the History of Freemasonry George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Alexandria, VA Summer 2008 • 7
The Journal of The Masonic Society
orshipful Brother Jose Diaz, a Past Master of Ohio's York Lodge No. 563 and an Associate Professor of History, is currently teaching a freshman seminar course entitled “From National Treasure to The Da Vinci Code: Freemasons, Fact, and Fiction” at Ohio State University. The course syllabus states that by the end of the seminar, students will be able to understand the origins and history of Freemasonry and its role in American popular culture, as well as understanding arguments for and against Freemasonry. Diaz reports that, at one point, the class had the longest waiting list of any at OSU. • he ninth World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges was held in Washington D.C. May 810, 2008, and attracted more than 750 Freemasons from 150 countries. It was the largest international gathering of Freemasons in the District since the U.S. Capitol cornerstone was laid in 1793. Presentations included:
• Cultivating ethical behavior in a civil society • Brotherhood of Man: countering fanaticism, intolerance, and tyranny • Guarding Against Manipulation: countering forces trying to infiltrate lodges for their own objectives • Maintaining Grand Lodge Integrity: preventing schisms • Strengthening civil society: assisting civic groups to establish worldwide partnerships for the betterment of humanity • Developing and promoting cultural and academic exchanges among Masons worldwide Attendees were treated to several special events during the Conference, which included tours of the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and an opening night reception at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Congratulations to Most Worshipful Brother Akram Elias, Grand Master of the District of Columbia, and to Masonic Society Founding Fellow, Tom Jackson, the Conference's Executive Secretary. • 8 • Summer 2008
fter the success of last year’s first International Conference on the History of Freemasonry in Edinburgh, Scotland, more is on the way. The 2nd ICHF will be May 29th-31st, 2009, and it is now expected that the event will be a biannual conference. The intention is to allow contributors ample time to submit proposals during the call for entries, and, if accepted, to then write their papers. Power Point proposals are encouraged. From the Grand Lodge of Scotland’s web site: "ICHF is quite different in that it is the only conference in the world that brings together academics who are studying aspects of Freemasonry with Freemasons and members of the public..." "It is intended that ICHF will be a biennial event. 2009 is special to Scots as it marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of the National Bard Brother Robert Burns. It is to be hoped that some of the papers at the conference will cover, for example, the impact that Freemasonry had on the life and work of Brother Burns. " More information is available on the conference web site www.ichfonline.org • n Wednesday July 16 , 2008, the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario voted to recognize the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Province of Ontario and Jurisdiction, at their 153rd Annual Communication in Toronto. That leaves the Grand Lodge of Newfoundland & Labrador as the last Canadian grand lodge that does not recognize any Prince Hall body. Eleven U.S. mainstream GLs remain that currently do not recognize Prince Hall Masonry: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. • hings are looking up for Freemasons in Russia. Oh, sure, ex-KGB strongman Vladimir Putin is still running things, even though his constitutional term limit as president ended this year. Putin’s handpicked successor was Dmitry Medvedev, and it was no surprise that he walked away as the winner. Also in the race were perennial candidates—think Ralph Nader and Pat Paulsen for the borscht and
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Masonic News vodka crowd: nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who once pledged “a man for every woman, and a bottle of vodka for every man”; and Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the Communist Party, who’s always flacking for free tractors for farmers. But the fourth name on the ballot was different this time. Andrey Bogdanov, age 38, is the head of the Russian Democratic Party, and a fierce advocate of Russia’s integration into Europe. He is also the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Russia. Bogdanov was elected Grand Master in June 2007. The grand lodge was chartered by the Grande Loge Nationale Française in June 1995. During a debate, when the question of his Masonic activities came up, he replied that he keeps it away from politics, but he considered Freemasonry to be a “super patriotic organization.” • he recent flooding in Iowa mobilized Masons to help. On July 18th, thirty brethren from Minnesota boarded a bus for Cedar Rapids, and spent the next day clearing debris and cleaning area small businesses. Also on their cleanup list was assisting the Iowa brethren of Vinton Lodge No. 62. • n Sunday, June 22nd, 2008, the office of the Scottish Rite valley of Chicago was burglarized, and several of the Valley’s precious medals and historic jewels were taken from their vault. These include:
• Past Presiding Officer Jewels of the Lodge of Perfection; Council Princes of Jerusalem; Rose Croix; and Consistory; each inscribed “Property of AASR – Valley of Chicago” and properly numbered • 33° Member Jewels • Diamond Membership Pins • Dudley and Elgin Masonic Watches • Lapel Pins, Oriental Consistory • Past Presiding Officer Jewels from various Grand York Rite Bodies • Past Master Jewels from various Masonic Lodges • Other Masonic Jewelry and Historic Medals.
Should you happen to come across any suspicious items, on Ebay or other auction sites, please contact Gregory R. Klemm at (800) 774-3467, ext. 302, or at email@example.com • o far, 2008 has been a boon for the Knights Templar in the popular culture. The May 5th edition of the Hollywood Reporter announced that Universal Studios will be bankrolling The Knights Templar, based on a script by Adam Torchia and Justin Stanley, to be directed by Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov ("Night Watch"). The film will tell the story of the Knights Templar, fresh from the Crusades, fending off an army of vampires attempting to destroy the Holy Grail. Vampires. And Templars. And the Holy Grail. And vampires. Meanwhile, NBC has announced it will be making its first mini-series in more than a decade, based on Raymond Khoury's bestselling novel, The Last Templar. The story centers on New York archaeologist Tess Chaykin (Mira Sorvino), who investigates the Knights Templar after a group of masked horsemen steal a medieval artifact from the Metropolitan Museum. If you take your Templarism a little less seriously, kidvid network Nickelodeon is producing an animated film of The Mice Templar, based on a comic by Mike Avon Oeming and Bryan Glass. For computer game lovers, Hellgate London tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic London overrun by demons. Defending the desperate human survivors are the Templars, "a secret society preserving the rites of the original Knights Templar, (who) mix futuristic technology with ancient artifacts to create powerful weapons and armor perfect for short-ranged and melee attacks." Apparently, those “ancient artifacts” include lots of all-seeing eyes and Masonic squares and compasses. For the esoterics in the audience: "The Cabalists are students of the dark arts and edges of science which often leaves them standing right on the line between good and evil. Their mystifying spells make them suited for mid-range combat." Nahmanides would be proud. • peaking of Templars, one of only eight hundred bilingual copies of the Vatican’s Processus
Summer 2008 • 9
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Masonic News Contra Templarios, containing the document known as the Chinon Parchment, will be made available to American scholars by the Grand Lodge of New York’s Chancellor Robert C. Livingston Library. The reprinted documents contain evidence that the Templars were secretly absolved of heresy and wrongdoing by Pope Clement V. • s of January 2008, visitors to Rosslyn Chapel can just leave their cameras in the car: amateur photography inside the famed Scottish chapel is now prohibited. Chapel authorities say they are doing this for “health and safety reasons.” It seems that videographers are tripping and falling on the uneven floor slabs as they peer into their viewfinders instead of watching their step. And still cameras? Apparently, the flash bulbs cause epileptic seizures in some patrons, so they have been forbidden from the Chapel, too. But don’t worry. The gift shop has plenty of souvenirs to make up for the loss of that keepsake photo you won’t be able to take. The incredible waves of tourists visiting the Chapel in the wake of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code have brought great piles of loot to the treasury of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, yet there have been recent visits by Trust officials to Masonic organizations, seeking donations. A growing number of Scottish Masons have taken issue with the long-standing legends of any connection between Rosslyn Chapel and speculative Freemasonry, and several have urged healthy skepticism on the subject. • he George Washington Foundation and the National Geographic Society have sponsored a seven year archeological dig at the site of George Washington’s boyhood home, Ferry Farm, on the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg. Evidence suggests that Brother Washington was not born and raised in a humble log cabin as is sometimes presented in fanciful 18th century illustrations, but in a fairly comfortable 2-story house, with 8 rooms. Pretty posh digs for the period and area, apparently. The find is important, because the exact site of Washington’s childhood home was unconfirmed until this month. The stone foundation has been
10 • Summer 2008
unearthed, which included evidence of a known fire in the home on Christmas Eve in 1740. Thousands of artifacts have been discovered, helping researchers to get a better physical and economic picture of young George’s upbringing. No hatchets have been found, for Parson Weems fans. A few hoe blades, but no cherry tree-felling equipment.
(Photo by Adrian Coakley, ©2008 National Geographic)
The most intriguing item uncovered, for Freemasons anyway, was a clay pipe bowl, decorated with Masonic symbols on four sides. Washington joined the lodge in Fredericksburg in 1753 while living at Ferry Farm. “One can’t say this is George Washington’s pipe, but we can certainly wonder about that,” says David Muraca, director of archaeology at the George Washington Foundation. The Foundation plans eventually to recreate the Washington home on the site. The National Geographic Channel will air a documentary about the project, “The Real George Washington,” in November. • new grand lodge has formed that is making itself known across the Internet. The Grand Orient of the United States of America received a statement of amity and a patent in July from the Grand Orient of France, permitting the new U.S. organization to use their rituals. The body’s newly elected Grand Master is John Slifko, who has been involved in past years with the Grand Lodge of California’s Masonic symposia. The formation of the GOofUSA has generated
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Masonic News much heated debate and discussion throughout the Masonic blogosphere. According to its web site, the Grand Orient of the USA has eight lodges (including Halcyon Lodge in Cleveland, which is involved in a lawsuit concerning their recent breakaway from the Grand Lodge of Ohio), and they style themselves as practicing “Traditional Cosmopolitan Freemasonry.” Such a “tradition” is mostly “traditional” only in the Grand Orient style of Freemasonry, popularized in France. There is no requirement for a personal belief in a Supreme Being, and no volume of sacred law is
required on their altars. The GOofUSA is seeking to expand itself by allying with female and mixed gender lodges that are already at work in North America (George Washington Union of Freemasons, Grand Orient de France in North America, Women’s Grand Lodge of Belgium in the USA, and Feminine Grand Lodge of France in North America). The overwhelming majority of the world’s regular, recognized Freemasons regard such organizations as clandestine.
New York's Allied Lodge No. 1170 Hosts Annual Unity Meeting By Jay Hochberg
o choose an apt name for the place where four lodges representing three jurisdictions come together to celebrate a Unity Meeting, it wouldn’t be necessary to invent one, because Allied Lodge No. 1170 in New York City was that place on May 19. The lodges spreading the cement of Brotherly Love with Allied were Shakespeare Lodge No. 750 and Boyer Lodge No. 1. Allied and Shakespeare are at labor under the Grand Lodge of New York, and Boyer is the founding lodge of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York. In addition, a delegation from Alpha Lodge No. 116 of New Jersey, the lodge from which Allied descends, rounded out the foursome. The occasion landed only two days before the thirty-third anniversary of the chartering of Allied Lodge. Explaining for everyone’s benefit the purpose of the meeting, W. Bro. Wesley Ally, Master of Allied Lodge, told his audience of the days prior to visitations between brethren of GLNY and MWPHGLNY lodges. The idea of recognition is not to have only grand officers visit each other, he explained, but to have brethren cross the jurisdictional divide to sit in lodge together. Getting more into the history of this Unity Meeting tradition, it was noted how Boyer Lodge was the first lodge of African-Americans in New York; that originally Shakespeare Lodge was the first lodge of caucasian Masons under the Prince Hall Grand Lodge; and that Allied was the first lodge in New York with an integrated membership from its
inception. Hosting privileges for the Unity Meeting rotate yearly. There were many expressions of spiritual oneness throughout the program, bringing together families as well as Masons. RW Bro. Samuel H. Williams, the first candidate to petition Allied Lodge, was introduced. The Worshipful Master of Boyer Lodge spoke on the history of Prince Hall Masonry in New York. Mrs. Joan Lloyd, wife of District Deputy Grand Master Alonza Lloyd, read Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman.” Mrs. Ellie Duran, wife of Shakespeare’s Master, W. Bro. Julio Duran, spoke on what she called “inspirations of women,” including belief in a higher power, selflessness, patience, and achieving balance in all life’s undertakings. Mr. Emerson Ally, elder brother of Worshipful Master Wesley Ally, performed as a one-man jazz combo, wielding his Stratocaster and a MacBook to play several standards throughout the night. “Music, literature and history,” said W. Bro. Duran, “three things important to my mind, body and soul.” It may have been RW Bro. Lloyd who summarized the evening succinctly with a definition of unity from Webster’s: “A condition of harmony; continuity without deviation; a combination or ordering of parts in a literary or artistic production that constitutes a whole or promotes an undivided total effect.” That effect was achieved at Allied Lodge that night.
Summer 2008 • 11
The Journal of The Masonic Society
here has been much work afoot at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. A new exhibit opened in May, explaining the story of American Freemasonry, and providing a long-needed source of information to non-Masonic visitors. The exhibit is divided into three main sections, chronologically representing the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s, with each section represented by a prominent American Freemason of that century: Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, and Harry S Truman. The new exhibit is part of a major reworking and much needed modernizing of the Memorial's exhibit spaces, as it counts down to the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Memorial Foundation in 2010. Next up are changes to the Grotto exhibit and the addition of other appendant bodies. And a Freemasonry exhibit will be added to nearby Mount Vernon, Washington’s home, later this year, using pieces from the Memorial’s vast collection.
the Masonic Society
Become a member...
Please fill out this form and mail it with payment (check or money order drawn in US Dollars for the appropriate amount) to: The Masonic Society; Membership; 1427 W. 86th Street, Suite 248; Indianapolis, IN 46260-2103
Name (First)____________________________________________ Last___________________________________________ Name as you would like it to appear on your membership materials (card and patent):
______________________________________________________________________________________________ Address:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City ______________________________________________State/Province___________________________ ZIP or Postal Code _______________ Country ____________________________________________________ Email address ________________________________________________ Please choose one of the following: o Regular Membership (1 year - US/Canada) $39.00
o Regular Membership (1 year - outside of US/Canada) $49.00
I certify that I am a Master Mason 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.)
Year made a Master Mason_________________Mother Lodge Name & Number ____________________________________________________ Grand Lodge of __________________________________________________________________________ Subscription to the Journal of The Masonic Society ONLY o Subscription Only (1 year - US/Canada) $39.00 o Subscription Only (1 year - outside of US/Canada) $49.00 And please give us a bit of information about your reason for subscribing:
oFreemason from jurisdiction NOT in amity with Conference of Grand Masters of Masons of North America or a member grand lodge. oLibrary or Museum
Join online and pay with credit card via Paypal at www.themasonicsociety.com 12 • Summer 2008
The Journal of The Masonic Society
he magnificent 1926 Detroit Masonic Temple has seen difficult times over the years. With its 14 stories and 1,000 rooms, the largest Masonic building in the world is surrounded by a troubled neighborhood, just far enough from the city’s revitalized center to miss economic redevelopment and throngs of tourists. Worse, over the last five years, its Masonic tenants have fled—both the Shrine and the Scottish Rite abandoned their dedicated, specially designed sections of the Temple for lesser buildings in the suburbs, leaving a handful of lodges to fend for themselves. By the beginning of this year, the Temple owed $123,000 in back taxes. In spite of its setbacks, the Temple has remained a strong part of the Detroit community, with Broadway road shows regularly appearing in its 4,400 seat auditorium. And its vast collection of lodge rooms, ball rooms, dining areas, and three theatres play host to weddings, plays, receptions, business meetings, and even the local roller derby team. In February, local business leader Michael Ilitch’s Olympia Entertainment came to the rescue to save the Temple from an uncertain future. Founder of the Little Caesar’s Pizza chain, Ilitch and his wife Marian have become entertainment moguls in Detroit, owning the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, and a sprawling sports and entertainment district that includes Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre, Hockeytown Cafe and the potential
site of a new Joe Louis Arena. His wife’s separately owned Motor City Casino is a few blocks west of the Masonic Temple. The Masonic Temple Association will continue to own the Temple while Olympia will manage all of the facility’s commercial operations, book shows and concerts. One of Freemasonry’s greatest landmarks has been saved, and may indeed once again become a shining centerpiece for the Detroit community. • ongtime secretary of the Masonic Book Club Robin Carr has decided to retire after laboring for many years as one of the unsung heros of the Masonic publishing world. The Masonic Book Club has, since 1970, issued a book each year, in many cases reprinting what might otherwise have been a lost treasure from the past. The books are printed as a limited edition, and each one is numbered. The 2008 book is Dr. George Oliver’s Antiquities of Freemasonry Comprising Illustrations of the Five Grand Periods of Masonry from the Creation of the World to the Dedication of King Solomon’s Temple, originally published in 1823. Illinois Masons Barry Weer and John Dorner have taken over the reigns of the Club. To join, send a check for $20 US & Canada ($25 for members in other countries) to Masonic Book Club, P. O. Box 1563, Bloomington, IL 61702-1563. (Longtime members, please note their new address.) Some previous years’ books are available in very limited supply,. For more information, check their new web site at www. masonicbookclub.org
he Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction has introduced an outstanding Masonic education program for its members. The Master Craftsman Program is a 6-part correspondence course that provides in-depth understanding of the AASR-SJ degrees, utilizing as textbooks The Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide by Arturo de Hoyos, and A Bridge to Light by Rex Hutchens. It can only be hoped that the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction follows their lead.
Summer 2008 • 13
The Journal of The Masonic Society
The Ceremonies of St. John the Baptist and the Circle of Swords Contained Within the Entered Apprentice Degree By James W. Hogg
ne of the most wonderful things about our fraternity is its international diversity of different worldwide rituals descending back over two hundred years covering the three Craft degrees. In the United States, for the most part, most of the work is rather similar, having derived its existence from the same pedigree of ritual, known generally as the Preston/Webb version of the ritual. However, one finds fascinating things when one studies Craft degree rituals from other sources. Here, I will briefly discuss the Ceremony of St. John the Baptist and the Circle of Swords. These are elements contained within the Entered Apprentice degree and found in the following rituals: Albert Pike’s version of the three Craft degrees found within his work titled Porch and the Middle Chamber: BOOK OF THE LODGE; The Blue Degrees of Henry C. Atwood’s Cerneau Supreme Council, 33º, AASR, Sovereign and Independent State of New York; the rituals of the Regular Grand Lodge of England1; the Schröder work; the Bristol working from England; and the Craft rituals of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Note, however, that this is not a complete list. One will not find these elements contained in the Preston/Webb versions of the work. A few words about Albert Pike’s work are in order at this stage. Many of the concepts of Pike’s writings represent his personal interpretations of what he believed the various symbols meant. Porch and the Middle Chamber: Book of the Lodge is such a work. This work represents Pike’s written rituals and accompanying instructional materials on how he would have seen the first three degrees of masonry conferred in the Scottish Rite tradition. According to Leon Zeldis2, Pike’s rituals
for the three degrees have only a distant relation to the actual Scottish Rite work that originated in France and spread throughout the world where the languages had their derivation from Latin. Apparently, Pike mercilessly expanded upon the language of the degrees, embellishing them with many elements of his esoteric knowledge. Consequently, Pike’s rituals now have nothing to do with those which Brother Zeldis has observed in actual practice in the approximately ten countries he has visited that are practicing the Scottish Rite version of these degrees today.3 Pike actually bears this out by admitting so himself. In the “Introductory” to his work Porch and the Middle Chamber, he states that he prepared these rituals himself from manuscript rituals he possessed from France. He also states “The old work is here much enlarged; and the lectures of instruction have been in part written and in part compiled by himself [Pike].”4 Additionally, Pike’s Porch and the Middle Chamber was not intended to be a set of degrees to be conferred in a Masonic Lodge. He wrote this material as an instructional tool only; a work meant to be studied thoroughly before a candidate presented himself for investiture with the Fourth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. With this knowledge, the reader is encouraged to study this work, as it is most erudite and enlightening. Let us now fast forward to the portion within the Entered Apprentice degree where one will find these elements. In Albert Pike’s version of the degree, after taking the obligation, the candidate is returned to the preparation room. He is then brought back into the lodge room, west of the altar, blindfolded. Upon being brought from
“The character of John the Baptist was a forerunner of the teachings of Fraternity, Equality, and Liberty – all qualities of character admired by all Freemasons. His life and death provide a remarkable example of fidelity to honor and truth.”
14 • Summer 2008
The Journal of The Masonic Society
darkness to light, he then experiences the ceremony of St. John the Baptist, where he finds on the floor a headless body with a severed head nearby.5 In Atwood’s Cerneau Rite ritual, the severed head representing John the Baptist is on a table and is combined with the ceremony of the circle of swords. The following is the story of John the Baptist according to the Pike ritual. John the Baptist, who was an Essenian preacher, preached reform in the desert country near the Jordan River. He boldly rebuked the Pharisees and preached for human equality along with triumph of good over evil in the Lord’s Salvation. He advocated that the civil authorities should not be permitted to over-assess and collect taxes from the people over and above what the law required. He also criticized Herod in connection with his sinful activities with his brother’s wife. This revengeful woman sought the death of John the Baptist. However, Herod instead had him imprisoned without the benefit of a trial for no offense that violated any law. On the occasion of Herod’s birthday, when this revengeful woman’s daughter was dancing before him, in the presence of his lords and captains, the woman obtained Herod’s promise to grant the daughter whatever she might ask. Her mother prompted the daughter to ask for John the Baptist’s head. This ceremony demonstrates the very essence of despotism and tyranny where one is imprisoned without the benefit of trial for that which is not a crime defined by law. The character of John the Baptist was a forerunner of the teachings of Fraternity, Equality, and Liberty – all qualities of character admired by all Freemasons. His life and death provide a remarkable example of fidelity to honor and truth.6 At the time the candidate experiences this ceremony [in Atwood’s Cerneau Rite], he finds a circle of brothers with their swords drawn and pointed at his heart. He is informed that should he violate his solemn obligation, these shining blades aimed at his heart, along with the severed head of John the Baptist on the table before him, typify what will happen to him as punishment and revenge for his transgressions.7 In Pike’s version of this degree, the candidate faces the circle of swords after being escorted out of the lodge room, blindfolded, following the ceremony of St. John the Baptist. Upon being brought back in, the candidate is informed that “In the array of swords that now surrounds thee, my Brother, there is nothing at which to be alarmed. Now they are not directed against thee. On the contrary, they are drawn to defend thee until the death, because
we have thy obligation, which makes thee a Mason, and we believe thee to be a man of honor and good faith.”8 It should be noted here that the Louisiana work also contains the Ceremony of St. John the Baptist, and the circle of swords, taking place in that order, following the obligation.9 The Regular Grand Lodge of England ritual also contains the circle of swords ceremony following the obligation. In the Schröder work, the candidate experiences the circle of swords after assuming a severe oath, which we refer to as the obligation. The Master tells the candidate that it may seem peculiar to him that he was presented with the severe penalties for violating the obligation. He then invites the candidate to look upon the brothers for the first time. The Junior Warden briefly removes the blindfold and the candidate sees a room illuminated by one weak light of a flame burning in a single vessel containing wine spirits. Before him, he sees all of the Brethren standing there with their swords drawn and directed at him. The Master then informs the candidate that should he prove to be a traitor, none present would rest until they avenged such an act with his blood. The candidate is again blindfolded. Next, the lights in the room are illuminated to their brightest point. The Master then informs the candidate that, just as he was to view the vengeance being horrible to the traitor, he is also to view the joyousness of the light by which he now sees the righteous man. When the candidate’s blindfold is removed, he is exposed to a flash of light. He then sees the same Brethren standing erect with their swords pointing upward. The Master then tells him that these same brothers will stand ready to defend him and are ready to sacrifice their blood and lives to do so. The lesson taught by this ceremony is that the grandeur of the world passes away just like the smoke he saw after the flash of light when the blindfold was removed.10 Both the Craft Ritual in use in Ireland and the Bristol Working in England also use a version of the circle of swords. In Ireland, after the candidate is brought from darkness to light after the obligation, he views some brothers holding swords or daggers pointed at him and some brothers extending their right hands towards him. The lessons here are equivalent to those mentioned above. The Master, believing the candidate to be true and trusty, asks the brothers holding the weapons to lay them aside and extend their right hands to welcome him into the fraternity.11 In the Bristol Working, after the candidate is brought from darkness to light after the obligation, he views six brothers in a semi-circle, including the Inner Guard, with swords, held horizontally and pointed at Summer 2008 • 15
The Journal of The Masonic Society
the candidate, while the Master explains the three great and lesser lights of Freemasonry. He then explains the lesson to be learned from the circle of swords ceremony, which again is equivalent to what has been previously presented here. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the candidate is then conducted to the Northeast corner of the Lodge for instruction in the working tools.12 In the Regular Grand Lodge of England ritual, the candidate experiences the circle of swords ceremony right before being led from the lodge room to be reinvested with that of which he had been divested. When he returns fully clothed, it is with a blindfold. When the blindfold is removed, he sees all the brothers assembled in a circle in the center of the lodge room, each holding one another’s hands, with arms crossed right over left. This is called the Chain of Union. There is a space left for the candidate to join this circle in the west. Immediately behind him stand his proposer and seconder. At the conclusion of this ceremony, he is conducted to the Master’s throne and declared an Entered Apprentice in a “knighting” ceremony done with a sword, followed by a fraternal embrace. After the instructions on the signs, grip and word, followed by the apron presentation, he receives the triple battery of welcome followed by the Triple Acclamation of “Huzza, Huzza, Huzza.” This acclamation means “this is my strength.” Footnotes 1
The author possesses copies of all three Craft degree rituals currently in use by the Regular Grand Lodge of England. These rituals, which all bear a copyright notice dated 2005, contain within their titles that they are in accordance with the Ancient & Accepted Rite.
one will find this illustration. 6
Albert Pike. Porch and the Middle Chamber, Supra. pp. 111113. 7 Ibid. pp. 113-114. Also see Art deHoyos, ed., The Blue Degrees of Atwood’s Cerneau Supreme Council Old Scottish Craft Ritual Fragments, pp. 27, 28. 8
Albert Pike. Porch and the Middle Chamber, Supra. p. 116.
See Ritual of the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason Degrees for Exclusive Use of the Scottish Rite Blue Lodges F. & A. M. Prepared and Printed by and Under the Auspices of Kosmos Lodge No. 171, Union Lodge No. 172, Albert Pike Lodge No. 376, Paul M. Schneidau Lodge No. 391 Working Under the Jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana. This work was published privately in New Orleans in 1932, and revised in 1963, for the exclusive use of certain lodges in Louisiana. 10
Alain Bernheim 33°& Arturo de Hoyos 33°. Introduction to the Rituals of the Rite of Strict Observance. Heredom, Vol. 14, 2006. p. 72. In this work, The Rite of Strict Observance is dealt with in a very thorough manner by these two authors. In appendix 2, which begins on p. 67, one finds the ceremonials of the opening and admission of candidates for all three of the Craft degrees. This work was translated from German to English from Ritualsammlung, a work written in the German language by Friedrich Ludwig Schröder. Consequently, this original German ritual work is known by Masonic scholars as the Schröder work. 11
Anonymous. Irish Ritual of Craft Freemasonry as Worked Under Warrant of The Grand Lodge of Ireland. (Boston & New York: Poemandres Press, 1996). pp. 15, 16. 12
Charles E. Cohoughlyn-Burroughs. Bristol Masonic Ritual, The Oldest and Most Unique Craft Ritual Used in England. (Kessinger Publishing, undated) p. 16 – 18.
Leon Zeldis is a Past Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for Israel. 3
From a personal email communication from Leon Zeldis to the author dated September 14, 2006, of which a copy is in the author’s research notes. 4
Albert Pike. Porch and the Middle Chamber: BOOK OF THE LODGE. (New York: Macoy, 1872), p. 10. Note: this work was re-published as an undated paperback reproduction by Kessenger Publishing and is commercially available, although the quality of the printing is poor. The Kessinger work includes 67 pages immediately before Pike’s work titled “The Porch and Middle Chamber -- Book of the Lodge Secret Work.” 5
See Albert Pike, Liturgy of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, Part 1, I. to III., (Charleston, A:. M:. 5638), p. 71 where 16 • Summer 2008
James W. Hogg is an attorney at law, admitted to the Bar
in Florida, Georgia, and the District of Columbia. He is a Past Master and Perpetual Member of Fort Myers Beach Lodge No. 362, having also served the Grand Lodge of Florida as District Deputy Grand Master of District No. 29. He is also a member of Internet Lodge No 9659, E. C.; and Lodge Ireland No. 2000, I. C.
The Journal of The Masonic Society
The Story of The Lost Word and the Power of Myth By John L. Cooper III
he story of the Lost Word in Freemasonry is often obscured by its association with the story of Hiram Abiff. Both stories are actually myths used by Freemasonry to convey important truths. But because the story of the Lost Word is so closely associated with secret material in several Masonic degrees, discussion of the story by Masonic writers is less common than discussion of the story of Hiram Abiff. The story of Hiram Abiff might more properly be called a “legend”, while the story of the Lost Word might be more properly called a myth. The dictionary defines “legend” as “a story coming down from the past, especially: one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable”. 1 A “myth”, on the other hand, as “a usually traditional story of ostensible historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.” 2 While this distinction may be somewhat arbitrary (Is Santa Claus a legend or a myth?), for purposes of understanding the power that a myth brings with it is useful to consider the story of the Lost Word as a myth because it “serves to unfold part of the world view” of Freemasonry. In this sense, it is a myth—and I would suggest that it is a very powerful one that needs to be better understood as such by Freemasons. The author Joseph Campbell made the study of myths his lifelong passion. Before his death in 1987 he participated in a dialogue with Bill Moyers which resulted in a six-part PBS series called “The Power of Myth,” which appeared on public television in 1988. The interviews by Bill Moyers also resulted in a book of the same name, first published the same year, and using material which did not make its way into the public television series. Campbell was well aware of the connection between Freemasonry and mythology. In the book The Power of Myth, the following dialogue appears during a discussion about the symbolism of the Great Seal of the United States: MOYERS: Aren’t a lot of these [symbols on the Great Seal] Masonic symbols?
CAMPBELL: They are Masonic signs….. The information [contained in the symbols on the Great Seal] would have been found in Thomas Jefferson’s library. These were, after all, learned men. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment was a world of learned gentlemen. We haven’t had men of that quality in politics very much. It’s an enormous good fortune for our nation that cluster of gentlemen had the power and were in a position to influence events at that time. MOYERS: What explains the relationship between these symbols and the Masons, and the fact that so many of these founding fathers belonged to the Masonic order? Is the Masonic order an expression somehow of mythological thinking? CAMPBELL: Yes, I think it is. This [i.e. the Masonic order] is a scholarly attempt to reconstruct an order of initiation that would result in spiritual revelation. These founding fathers who were Masons actually studied what they could of Egyptian lore. In Egypt, the pyramid represents the primordial hillock. After the annual flood of the Nile begins to sink down, the first hillock is symbolic of the reborn world. That’s what this seal represents. 3
Campbell believed that myths performed important functions in all religions and in all societies. As the dictionary definition says, they “unfold part of the world view” of a religion, or of a society. And a core myth in Freemasonry is the Myth of the Lost Word. The myth is a simple one on its surface. It begins with a supposedly non-mythical figure, Solomon, King of Israel, who wants to build a magnificent temple in his capital city of Jerusalem to the God of Israel who, up to this time, apparently had no fixed abode, or at least not one worthy of him. Solomon then forms an alliance with Hiram, the king of the city-state of Tyre on the coast of Lebanon, to furnish wood for the interior of the temple (the building itself was to be made of stone), and who also put King Solomon onto a man who could be the architect of the building. This man was also called Hiram—identified with Hiram (or Huram) in the Book of Kings, and who, in that work, was credited with having cast the two giant pillars Jachin and Boaz which Summer 2008 • 17
The Journal of The Masonic Society
were to stand at the entrance of the temple. This story is enshrined in the Legend of Hiram Abiff, and while it is not the same as the Myth of the Lost Word, the Hiramic Legend became attached to it at some date. The Myth of the Lost Word then says that King Solomon, King Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff made an agreement amongst themselves that when the temple was completed, the workmen building it would be released from their obligations and sent to other countries to find work. In order to prove that they were skilled workmen they would be given a means of proving that they were master stonemasons—a “password” of some sort. The three further agreed amongst themselves that they would not give out this password to anyone unless and until the temple was completed, and then only when the three of them were physically present to do so. Then tragedy strikes. Hiram Abiff is murdered by three Fellow Crafts who are consumed by greed to get the password before the temple is finished—presumably because they want to leave the job early and get on with earning money in foreign lands. The Legend of Hiram Abiff doesn’t explicitly state the motive for the murder, except (in certain rituals) to note that these three were “more hardened in villainy”. But once the deed was done, there was no going back. The password which would have been given to everyone when the temple was completed could not now be given because of the pact the three had made. The original password was now “lost” to the remaining workers on the temple, and when the temple was completed they would have to be given a substitute “password”. And so a new “word” was created to replace the original—but it was not as good as the original, and therefore was called the “substitute word”. Myths are self-contained stories. They have an inner logic, but the application of an external logic to them often destroys the meaning of the myth. In the case of the Myth of the Lost Word external logic makes the story rather absurd. Why did King Solomon, Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff make such an agreement in the first place? And if they did, and if the first password was lost through some accident, why was a new password worth less than the original? If the purpose was to prove that the workmen were master masons and thus entitled to master masons’ wages while traveling in foreign lands, why wasn’t the new word just as valuable as the old one? Was this “word” really a “password”? Or is there
more to the story here than meets the eye. Is there some symbolic or metaphorical significance to this strange myth? Clearly there is, or the myth would have disappeared long ago. Students of Freemasonry have long sought other meanings in this myth besides the surface meaning of the story. Degrees of Freemasonry beyond that of the Third Degree focus on the content and meaning of the Word that was lost. The meaning is said to be found in the fact that the Lost Word was actually the mystical “name of God”, and that its recovery is an allegory for the recovery (or discovery) of the meaning of God himself. That may be all well and good in the context of these additional degrees, but it does not fit the primary Myth of the Lost Word in the Third Degree very well. If Solomon, and his colleagues, intended to give the workmen the True Name of God as a password when the temple was completed, why would this have been a better password than the substitute? The explanation of the Myth of the Lost Word as the True Name of God fits well with the Royal Arch and the Perfect Elu degrees, but not as well for the primary myth itself. Does that mean that the myth has no meaning and should be discarded? Joseph Campbell makes this observation:
“King Solomon and his two colleagues didn’t factor in human greed. ”
18 • Summer 2008
“No good is accomplished by throwing the message out. All the messages of myth ….. are talking about that which constitutes the values of one’s life, and of all lives. Finally, the message is right there, in this very thing that seems to be blocking you because it is taken literally instead of metaphorically. Then, especially as all the different horizons within which myth has grown up are broken, we realize that, since we are all together on one planet, we must begin to read our own mythology as something that refers not just to us, but, as in conjunction with all mythologies expressed through metaphor, to everyone.” 4
Taken in this light, the Myth of the Lost Word can have a meaning wholly to itself without the need to bring in meanings from additional degrees beyond the Craft. And since a myth does not have to have a single meaning, it is possible to posit a meaning which applies to the level of the Third Degree of Masonry without denigrating other possible meanings. I would therefore suggest that there is a meaning in the Myth of the Lost Word to be found in the Third Degree of Masonry alone, and that it has to do with a metaphorical understanding
The Journal of The Masonic Society
of frustration of purpose and the substitution that is often required when that which is broken cannot be restored to its pristine condition. If the Myth of the Lost Word is recast into a different context, this meaning becomes more clear. Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff had the perfect plan. They would build the most magnificent building to the glory of God that the world had ever seen. Not only would it be perfect in design and execution, but it would result in the permanent prosperity of those engaged on the project. To this end they made an agreement—an agreement not only with themselves, but metaphorically with all those who would build this splendid structure. When the temple was completed—if found worthy—each and every one who helped build it would share in this glory by being given the means of proving that they were the most skilled of builders the world had ever seen. They would be given the means of identification as the builders of this temple, so that they could travel elsewhere and spread the knowledge and skills that they had learned in building the Jerusalem temple. The fame of what they had built would guarantee permanent prosperity for them, and mark them as “the best of the best.” But something went wrong. Although the myth says that during the seven years required to build the temple no “envy, discord nor disharmony” was supposed to disturb their labors, the system broke down. Three Fellow Crafts decided that they did not want to play by the rules. Greed drove them to demand an “early payment” even though the temple was not complete, and their passion to accomplish their object led to the murder of Hiram Abiff. The Myth of the Lost Word then goes on to say that this deed destroyed the original plan which had been so carefully crafted by King Solomon and his two colleagues. The original plan could not be carried out because greed had destroyed the possibility of carrying out that plan. And so, with the death of Hiram Abiff, a new architect had to be chosen, and a new plan substituted for the promised reward for the faithful craftsmen. Why was this so? The myth itself does not say, but if it is a metaphor for the experience of life itself, then the message becomes clear. Once something is broken it often cannot be fixed. History is filled with decisions that are made which result in disastrous consequences for humanity. And once a decision is made, it cannot be undone. World War I was started when the two great alliances in Europe each believed that the other would back down when challenged. That didn’t happen, and
millions of lives were lost as a consequence. World War II may have been triggered when political leaders believed that Hitler could be talked out of his aggression - only to learn too late the consequences of his rearmament policy. And so it goes. The Myth of the Lost Word can still speak to us across the centuries. It tells us that the best of plans may never come to fruition, not because of lack of intention, but because of some unforeseen consequence that was never anticipated. And it tells us that once some things are destroyed, the original cannot be restored. We are left with having to piece together a substitute - with making do with “second best” because of things beyond our control. King Solomon and his two colleagues didn’t factor in human greed. They metaphorically designed a plan for the building of the temple which did not take human failing into account. And if we, too, build our plans without taking such things into account, we, too can expect that the “unexpected” can derail our best of plans. But derailment is not the same thing as extinction. The temple was still built, and the workmen still received the reward of their labors. They just didn’t receive what had been originally contemplated. That, too, is a valuable lesson to learn. The Myth of the Lost Word is not a story of hopelessness, but rather one of pragmatism and of hope that grows out of a clearer understanding of human frailty. We may not achieve what we originally intended, but in a real sense, we do achieve the end result anyway. The temple was still completed. The world still remembers its magnificence. And the workmen still received their wages. As Joseph Campbell said, “…the message is right there.” We have but to look. Footnotes Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, “legend”. Ibid. “myth”. 4 Flowers, Betty Sue, Editor, Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth - With Bill Moyers (New York: Doubleday, 1988, Apostrophe S Productions, Inc., pages 36-37. 5 Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That, Edited by Eugene Kennedy (Novato, California: Joseph Campbell Foundation, 1991), page 49. 1, 2 3
John L. Cooper III is a Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of California. He is a Board member of the Masonic Restoration Foundation, and a Founding Fellow of the Masonic Society.
Summer 2008 • 19
The Journal of The Masonic Society
The Initiation In The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite By Leon Zeldis
he Initiation in the craft degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) is completely different from the ceremonies currently performed by most lodges in the English-speaking world. It draws its symbolism from various esoteric sources, from Alchemy and Cabbala, from Gnosis and Rose-Croix. Alchemic elements suffuse all of the craft degrees of the Rite, the hidden message being that these degrees transform the profane candidate into a new man, a person who has purified his mind and his spirit, just as the alchemist attempted to purify vile matter to make the philosopher’s stone. In my opinion, the AASR Initiation is a complex three-stage process, encompassing the entire sequence of all three ceremonies of Initiation, Increasing Wages (Passing), and Exaltation (Raising) which represent the Purification, Maturation and Sublimation of the candidate, respectively. However, when speaking of Initiation in this paper, the reference will be to the ceremony of the first degree only. This paper intends to describe and explain the main elements composing the first stage of personal evolution, which in the AASR, as in all other Masonic Rites, is known as the Initiation of the candidate. This initiatory ceremony is the one which differs the most from the English tradition. Although the ceremonies of the second and third Degree are also different, their main symbolism and their structure are very similar and a comparative study would yield few new insights, as the Initiation ceremony does. The terminology used in AASR lodges is somewhat different from that of lodges working in other Rites. There are Experts instead of Deacons, an Orator in the place of the Chaplain, and his duties are quite different, but there is no need to go into these matters in this paper. The description and analysis of the ceremony presented here represent only one version. The AASR is not a monolithic institution. In the course of centuries, every Grand Lodge has elaborated its own version of the ceremonies which, although fundamentally similar, do differ in details. To give just two examples, in one 20 • Summer 2008
Grand Lodge, the officers of the lodge include only one Expert. In most others, there are two. In some rituals the Candidate is asked at a certain point to allow some of his blood to be drawn. In others, he is told that a mark will be branded on his breast. In both instances, the threat is not carried out, of course, and an explanation is provided instead to the Candidate. This paper, then, must not be taken as representing a normative version of the ceremony, but simply one version among others. The candidate for Initiation is met at the entrance of the lodge building by a member of the lodge, preferably one known to him. Once inside, he is blindfolded and conducted to the Chamber of Reflection (CHOR). Since the CHOR is usually located at a distance from the entrance, all the brethren that the conductor and his ward meet on their way are careful not to make any noise, to speak, and of course, to never touch the candidate. Inside the CHOR, the conductor removes the blindfold, tells the candidate to take a seat, observe and reflect on all the signs and objects he finds around him, and then write his Philosophical Testament. The CHOR, which represents a cavern, consists of a small room entirely painted black, or with black curtains all around. It contains numerous symbolic elements which will be described below. The only furniture in the CHOR is a small table and a chair; on the table are placed a candlestick (1 or 3 candles), small dishes with sulfur and salt, sometimes a vial of mercury, a skull, sometimes a jug of water, glass, and a morsel of bread, the Philosophical Testament, pen or pencil. On the walls hang signs such as: ‘If curiosity brought you here, go away!’, ‘If you want to live well, think of death’, ‘If you want to hide something, you will be exposed!’, ‘Do not expect to gain material benefit from Freemasonry’. A separate sign, close to the skull, says ‘I was what you are; I am what you will be’. Also on the wall hangs the image of a cock, hourglass and scythe. The cock was sacred to the god Mercury (Hermes) and mercury, together with sulfur and salt, are the three alchemical principles. In Cabbala, these are related to the three “mother letters”: Alef (air-salt),
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Mem (water-mercury) and Shin (fire-sulfur). A separate sign displays a single word, or rather an acronym: V.I.T.R.I.O.L. Vitriol is an old name for metallic salts of sulfuric acid. In esoteric writings, however, it is the acronym of a Latin inscription often found in alchemical iconography: Visita Interiore Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem; that is: ‘Go inside the earth, by purification you will find the hidden stone’. This stone is understood to be the philosophers’ stone, or it may represent the soul of the alchemist. The place of stone in Masonic philosophy and rituals cannot be overstated. 1 All these elements are intended to put the candidate in the proper frame of mind for the following ceremony where he will play the central role. The CHOR, as stated above, represents a cave, a place inside the earth, with all that it symbolizes: entry into the earth, the subterranean kingdom of the dead, as well as a symbol of the uterus, so that coming out of the cave and returning to the world is a symbolic birth. 2 Coming out of the CHOR, the Candidate is regarded as having been purified by earth, one of the four elements of antiquity (earth, air, water and fire). The CHOR is also likened to the athanor, the alchemical furnace, hermetically closed, where the dross is removed from the candidate to allow him to receive the light. 3 The Philosophical Testament is mainly intended to strengthen the feeling of expectation of the candidate, making him intensely aware that the step he is going to take will mark a radical transformation in his life. The testament is a sheet of paper with a large triangle drawn on it; within the triangle are four questions, leaving a few lines for each answer: What are man’s duties towards God? What are man’s duties towards his fellow men? What are man’s duties towards himself? What memory would you like to leave of your life on this earth? 4 At the bottom of the page there is place for the date, and a dotted line for the signature. The candidate is instructed to write very brief answers, and to be perfectly honest in his replies. While the candidate spends about half an hour in the CHOR, the lodge is opened in regular form, and all the usual preliminaries are completed: reading and approving the minutes of the last meeting, correspondence, welcoming visitors. At the proper time, the Director of Ceremonies,
brandishing a sword, is sent to the CHOR to pick up the Testament. He pierces it with his sword, returns to the lodge and presents it to the Orator to be read. No comments are made. The Orator keeps the paper, for at the conclusion of the ceremony he will turn it over to the Director of Ceremonies who proceeds to burn it, while the Orator explains to the neophyte that his words will be kept in the safe repository of his brethren’s memory. Now, the Second Expert, who replaces the Junior Deacon in other Rites, is sent to the CHOR. He divests the candidate of his ‘metals’, that is, all coins and bills, and all detachable metallic objects, such as rings, watch, pen, etc. He also arranges the clothing of the candidate as indicated in the ritual, which on this point is similar in all rituals. The candidate is blindfolded again, and is led to the door of the lodge, where he is instructed to give several irregular blows (and not “three knocks”) on the door. This is called an ‘alarm’, and after a short exchange, the WM gives the proper instructions to allow the candidate to enter the lodge. A few steps inside, he feels a sharp instrument touching his naked breast, and he is told that this represents the remorse he will feel if he ever breaks the promises he will make during the ceremony. Following a long dialog of questions and answers between WM and Candidate, mainly dealing with principles of morality, he is taken out of the lodge room and made to walk aimlessly for a while before returning. This is a symbolic journey representing his life in the profane world where, lacking the Masonic light, he has no spiritual direction, but now he will enter a new stage in his life where his steps will be straight and directed to the Orient, the source of light and life. When returning to the lodge, he is made to bend down, as if entering through a small opening. In ancient times, initiations took place in caverns, and this procedure reflects that tradition. 5 At a certain point, the candidate is made to drink a sweet liquid, which after a moment turns into a bitter one, the lesson from this episode being that he should always remember that sorrow in life often follows happiness, so he should never lose sight of the fickleness of fortune, never being too exuberant in good times, nor falling into depression in the hard ones. This is also the Cabbalist’s view, that opposites involve one another, or in the words of the Cabbalist: the world is revealed in its opposite. This concept also finds expression in the checkered pavement of the lodge, where one cannot decide whether there is a white pavement with black squares, or a black pavement with white squares. The same idea is also evident in the Summer 2008 • 21
The Journal of The Masonic Society
depiction of Yang-yin in Oriental philosophy. The candidate is also requested to make a donation to charity. A brother, generally the Almoner, approaches the candidate holding the charity bag, and asks him confidentially to contribute something for the assistance of widows and orphans. Of course, if the preparation was well done, the Candidate has no valuables left. The Almoner then proclaims in a loud voice: ‘He says he has nothing’. This is significant, because the candidate still has much to give, his love, his time, his care, all part of the Masonic concept of charity, but since he is blind, not having yet received the light, he doesn’t know it. Should the candidate spring some money from a hidden pocket, the ceremony must be started again from the beginning. This is also a tradition from Alchemy, because the metals could interfere with the alchemical process of transmutation that the candidate must go through. 6 After a brief prayer the candidate is specifically
also a symbolic rebirth. In Islam, too, the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Haj, is an obligation to be fulfilled at least once in a lifetime. The candidate is at the same time the symbolic Hero who must travel in order to fulfill his mission. “Heroes are almost always travelers (Gilgamesh, Dionysus, Hercules, Mithra, etc.). Traveling is an image of aspiration, desire never satisfied which nowhere finds its object” (Jung, Symbole der Wandlung). The symbolic journey is also a reminder of our passing through life, a transit between birth and death. The candidate must “travel” in all three ceremonies of the craft degrees. In the first (the Initiation) he makes three circumambulations, which will be described below, at the start facing the terrors and obstacles in his path, being blind and powerless. Then he hears the clash of swords and fears for his life, being unarmed. This is the preparatory stage, to teach him humility and at the same time to purify him for
he symbolic journey is a reminder of our passing through life, a transit between birth and death.”
asked on whom would he place his trust when facing the most difficult trials of his life, and the answer should be God (and should the answer be negative, the ceremony is suspended and the candidate is turned away!). Having this confidence, the WM assures him, he should have no fear of what will come next. He is led to a chair and left sitting for a few moments, while the lodge maintains complete silence. The candidate is warned again that he is going to pass through severe tests, and that he is free to retire now, should he wish to do so. Having received his consent, the Candidate is now led by the Second Expert (Junior Deacon) in three clockwise (“dextrorsum”) circumambulations around the lodge. These are symbolic journeys, in some rituals called “mysterious journeys”. Travel, exploration and discovery are key elements of fable and legend. Whether for Jason, Ulysses, Abraham or Jacob, their journeys are an indispensable factor in their individual development. The Hebrew people, collectively, had to travel for forty years before they could enter the Promised Land. Pilgrimage, the travel to a specific shrine, is an important component of most religions. The pilgrimage to Jerusalem, three times a year, was an indispensable part of Judaism when the Temple was in existence. The labyrinth existing in many medieval churches allowed the faithful to make a symbolic journey to Jerusalem by following the winding course of the labyrinth to its center. Coming out was 22 • Summer 2008
his next stages of development. His third transit in this first degree, in total silence, represents the travel inside himself, the VITRIOL experience. During the journeys in the second degree he holds various building tools. He must build “dungeons” for the vices and also temples for the virtues. The last journey, of course, that of the third degree ceremony, ends at the grave, from which he emerges a new man, a Master Mason. Returning to the journeys in the first-degree ceremony, at this point the conductor assumes a new name: ‘Brother Fearsome’. During the first circumambulation, the candidate stumbles over obstacles while the brethren make a wild cacophony stomping their feet, striking the floor with their swords, etc. The candidate, however, must never be touched, except for the conducting ‘fearsome’ brother who is holding his arm. The noises and obstacles represent the profane world, the clash of interests, war, hatred, the constant struggles of the world. This journey represents purification by air. Symbolically, air and fire are the “subtle” elements, active and masculine, while water and earth are feminine and passive. Air is associated with breath, with life, creation. After spending the first moments of his initiation being purified by the earth, the candidate receives the vital breath of air to be reborn. During the second journey, the only noise heard is
The Journal of The Masonic Society
the clashing of swords. The candidate finds no obstacles in his path, but he may fear for his life, being unarmed. At the end of the journey, his hands are washed and he is purified by water. Although his travel is now easier, the candidate is still blind. The water that washes his hands is the source of life. In Genesis, the spirit of God hovers over the water before creating the earth. Scientific theories claim that life on earth began in the primeval ocean. The salinity of blood is similar to that of seawater. The symbolic rebirth, then, must be connected with water. 7 I’ll conclude this part with a phrase communicated by Brother Hector Villafuerte de Miguel, who wrote: “Water in a glass is transparent, but in the ocean it is dark. Small truths have clear words, but great truth has a great silence”. 8 Finally, the third symbolic journey is conducted in absolute silence. No obstacles stand in the way of the candidate. This is the experience of traveling inside himself, the VITRIOL, the process of recovering the archetypical memory. At the end of his journey, the Candidate’s hands are purified with fire. The control over fire is the oldest, most primitive step of man in his long journey to civilization. Fire is the indispensable tool of the potter and the smith, the cook and the alchemist. For Paracelsus, fire is the same as life—both, to survive, must consume other lives. Appropriate explanations are given to the candidate after each journey, making clear its symbolic meaning. Now that his gross matter has been purified by the four elements, the Candidate is ready to embark on his journey of personal discovery and development, in accordance with the precepts of Freemasonry. A question could be asked, why not have four symbolic journeys instead of three? After all, the Candidate is purified by the four elements, but only air, water and fire are the subject of the three journeys and the first purification is static, inside the earth. The explanation, again, is Cabbalistic. For the Cabbalist, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet hold great symbolic and mystical significance and power. Three letters are held in special reverence and are called the “mother” letters: aleph, mem and shin. These also represent air, water and fire, respectively; the same sequence of the “symbolic journeys” of purification. 9 The Candidate pronounces his oath never to reveal the secrets of Freemasonry, and his blindfold is withdrawn.
This is a most dramatic moment in the Initiation ceremony. Receiving the light is a symbolic rebirth. In Spanish, in fact, giving birth is called “alumbrar”, giving light. In some rituals, at this point the candidate is surrounded by brethren holding swords which are pointed at him, and the WM explains that this means that Freemasonry will punish him if he violates his promise, but also will protect him in all circumstances, whenever he tries to fulfill his duties. At the end of the Initiation ceremony, the new brother receives two pairs of white gloves, one for himself and the other for his wife or ‘the woman he most respects’. This is a very old Masonic tradition, dating from the beginning of Speculative Freemasonry, and probably much earlier. 10 The symbolism is simple: never let your hands, purified by the Initiation, be soiled by vice – where the word “vice” embodies all sins and crimes that degrade humanity. After investing the Candidate with his white apron, he is instructed in the “secrets” of the degree, which in the AASR consist not only of words, signs and tokens, but also the “march” (the steps when entering the lodge, different in each degree), the “battery” (hand clapping, also different according to the degree), and the “age” (the symbolic age of the Apprentice, Fellow-Craft or Master Mason). The “march” in the three symbolic degrees is the steps which must be executed by the Mason who enters the lodge after it has been opened. In the first degree it consists of three steps, the second longer than the first, and the third longer still, directly pointing to the East. This represents the Mason’s urgent desire to approach the source of light. Three, the number associated with the Apprentice, has innumerable symbolisms, but perhaps the most important one is that it combines male and female (1 and 2) being a synthesis of both. This is also represented in the CHOR, where salt is the combination of sulfur (the masculine, active principle) and mercury (the feminine, passive principle). In Cabbala these principles are fire and water, and the link between them is air. 11 The neophyte (literally: newborn) is conducted to take a seat in the East, to the right of the W. M., the place where the cornerstone of a building is laid at the beginning of a construction. The neophyte symbolizes the stone, and this conflation of man and stone is found in all mythologies. Summer 2008 • 23
The Journal of The Masonic Society
A brief lecture given by the Orator underlines the main teachings of the Order, and provides some explanations of the ceremony. The Neophyte receives back his “metals” and also a spray of roses. This is not only a nice gesture towards his wife, but also a reminder about the secrecy he must preserve about the ceremony he went through. The rose is symbolic of secrecy and silence. According to legend, the expression “sub-rosa” (confidentially, in secret) derives from an ancient custom of hanging a rose over the council table to indicate that the debate should be kept secret. A parallel Masonic expression is “under the mallet”. In some rituals the neophyte also receives his working tools and performs his first Masonic work, striking the rough stone with hammer and chisel. One final observation: The explanations I have given are mine personally, and do not reflect any official or authorized interpretation of the ritual. I invite you to continue exploring these symbols and you will probably find or work out other interpretations. This is the beauty of Masonic symbolism.
See my paper “The Symbolism of Stone” in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. 106 (1993), London, October 1994. 1
Cf. Cirlot, J.E., A Dictionary of Symbols, sub voc. “Cave”, Dorset Press, 1991. 2
I owe this insight to Bro. Francisco Ariza, in his conference Masonería y Alquimia, pronounced in the Arús Library of Barcelona, January 20, 2005.
The first three questions are universally the same. In some rituals this last question is omitted. In the Argentinean ritual, there are five questions, the last two dealing with what benefits does the candidate expect to get from Freemasonry and what can Freemasonry expect from him. .
See, in this connection, the chapter on “passing through the narrow door” in Mircea Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane, English translation by Harcourt, Inc., 1959.
See Mircea Eliade, Forgerons et Alchimistes, Flammarion, 1956. English translation: The Forge and the Crucible, 1962.
“Breaking the water” is the first sign of impending childbirth.
E-mail dated April 9, 2002.
These letters have numerical values 1, 40 and 300 respectively. Their sum, 341 and the sum of their figures (3+4+1=7) comprise al the principal numerical symbols.
Bibliography Cassar, Andrés, Manual de la Masonería – o sea El Tejador de los Ritos Antiguo Escocés, Francés y de Adopción, 1860. Eliade, Mircea, The Forge and the Crucible, University of Chicago Press, 1962. Jung, Carl G., Symbole der Wandlung, Rascher, Zurich, 1952. Kaplan, Aryeh, The Bahir Illumination, Weiser, 1998. Instruction au Premier Degré Symbolique, Grade d’App., Rite Ecoss. Anc. Et Acc., Grande Loge de France, 1925. Liturgia para el grado de Aprendiz Masón, R:.E:.A:. y A:., Gran Logia Nacional de Colombia, 1947. Liturgia del Grado de Aprendiz, Gran Logia Valle de Mexico, Mexico, D. F., 1969. Origine et Evolution des Rituels des Trois Premiers Degres du Rite Ecossais Ancien et Accepté, “Ordo ab Chao”, N° 3940, Supreme Council of France, 1999. Ritual del Aprendiz Masón, Grand Lodge of Argentine, 1982. Ritual de Primer Grado, Aprendiz Masón, Rito Escocés Antiguo y Aceptado, Logia La Fraternidad #62, Tel Aviv 1983, Second Edition, Jerusalem 1998. Ritual del Aprendiz Masón, Grado Primero del Rito Escocés Antiguo y Aceptado, Grande Oriente Español, Madrid 1979. Ritual para el Grado de Aprendiz, 14th Edition, Caracas 1973, Grand Lodge of Venezuela Rituel du Premier Degré, Rite Ecossais Ancien et Accepté, Grande Loge Nationale Française, s/d. Notes 24 • Summer 2008
See my article The Place of Gloves in Freemasonry’, The Philalethes, Vol. LIV, N° 4, August 2001.
For the symbolism of numbers, refer to The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers, by David Wells, first published in 1986 and reprinted many times.
Leon Zeldis was initiated in América Lodge No. 86 in Santiago, Chile in 1959. He moved to Israel in 1962, and is a founding member of La Fraternidad Lodge No. 62 in Tel Aviv—the first Spanish-language lodge in Israel. In 1995 he was named Honorary Assistant Grand Master in the Grand Lodge of Israel. He is a Past Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the AASR of the State of Israel, and a Founding Fellow of the Masonic Society.
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Lodged in the Canon by S. Brent Morris
he adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes as related by Dr. John H. Watson provide the reader not only with exciting tales of mystery and detection but also with a delightful glimpse into late-Victorian and earlyEdwardian life in England. An important aspect of middle and upper-middle class male sociability of that era was the fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The Freemasons are mentioned briefly in four of the adventures, and their mention gives us some insight into the character of Holmes and Watson (and peripherally into the character of Dr. Watson’s literary agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). Freemasonry in Victorian England When Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, Freemasonry had become part of the accepted social activities for a gentleman. It was a place to gather with friends, where rank and station meant much less than on the outside. The Duke of Sussex was Grand Master of England in 1837, and his participation represented the general approbation given the fraternity. Victoria’s son, Albert Edward, later served as Grand Master when he was Prince of Wales, and when he ascended the throne as Edward VII, he was succeeded as Grand Master by his brother, the Duke of Connaught. As an indication of the widespread nature of English Freemasonry, the 2,076th English lodge, Quatuor Coronati, was chartered in 1884. Sir Charles Warren, an explorer and archaeologist, was the first Master of Quatuor Coronati, a lodge devoted to the history of Freemasonry and limited to no more than forty members at any time. Their annual transactions, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, have been published since 1885 and could be called the Baker Street Journal of Freemasonry. Sir Charles served as Metropolitan Police Commissioner from March 1886 to November 1887 during the Jack the Ripper murders. Stephen Knight latched upon the Masonic membership of Warren and built it into a complex Masonic conspiracy to explain the Ripper murders that was published in Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. Knight’s fantasy in turn served as the basis of the 1979 pastiche movie, Murder by Decree, in which Sir Charles Warren “is confronted
by Sherlock Holmes who claims special knowledge of The Royal Order of Freemasons giving him some strange and curious signs and identifying Sir Charles as a 33rd Degree Mason by the insignia on his ring. (Sir Charles, in fact, only reached the 30th Degree….)”1 Other prominent Victorian-era Masons include Sir Arthur S. Sullivan, the composer, Sir William S. Gilbert, the librettist, Anthony Trollope, the author, Rudyard Kipling, the author, Frédéric August Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty, Sir Richard Francis Burton, the explorer and translator of The Arabian Nights, Mark Twain, the author, Alphonse Mucha, the Czech artist, Harry Houdini, the magician and antispiritualist crusader, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author and spiritualist. Freemasonry in the Canon Freemasonry is mentioned briefly in only four adventures, but it is possible to make a few tentative deductions from them. Let us consider each in turn. A Study in Scarlet. As Sherlock Holmes investigates the murder of Enoch Drebber, he asks Inspector Tobias Gregson, “What did you find in the pockets?” Among the items Gregson listed from Drebber was a “gold ring, with Masonic device.” The device was probably the well known square and compasses, and as Drebber was American, there was most likely a letter “G” in the center of the tools, standing for both geometry and God. British and European Masons usually don’t use the “G.” Drebber was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. The Prophet Joseph Smith was a Mason and helped initiate over 1,000 Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois, where he was eventually murdered while being held in the Nauvoo jail. His brother Hyrum and Brigham Young were also Masons, so it would not be surprising to find an early Mormon who was a Mason, even though later events soured relations between the LDS Church and Freemasonry for decades. A Scandal in Bohemia. Sherlock Holmes watched the habits and the house of Miss Irene Adler while disguised as a horse groom. He says to Watson, “There is a wonderful sympathy and freemasonry among horsy Summer 2008 • 25
The Journal of The Masonic Society
men. Be one of them, and you will know all there is to of such jewelry may be misconstrued as a discreet know.” We can deduce little special about Holmes’ use advertisement thereof for improper purposes.”3 This is of the term, which emphasizes the well known closeness not secret or even private information, but it is certainly something that wouldn’t be known from a casual study and friendliness of the fraternity. The Adventure of the Retired Colourman. Holmes of the fraternity. sends Watson to gather information on Josiah Amberly, Wilson wore an “arc and compass breast pin,” not a retired manufacturer of artists’ supplies. When Watson the much more common square and compass. Since reports back, he says that he thinks he was followed by 1814 in England, the arc or protractor and compass has a “tall, dark” man. Holmes adds, before Watson can say been the emblem of a Past Grand Master. The pin is rarely seen since English Grand Masters usually serve so, that the man was mustached, wore dark glasses, and a Masonic tie-pin. This turns out to be Mr. Barker, and for 20–30 years, and they have been selected from the nothing else is said about his Masonic jewelry. nobility for nearly 300 years. However, in the United The Red-Headed League. When Sherlock Holmes States the arc and compass pin is the most common first meets Jabez Wilson, he says, “Beyond the obvious emblem of a Past Master of a lodge. With thousands of facts that he has at some time done manual labour, that lodges generating a new Past Master each year, such a he takes snuff, that he is pin is not uncommon. The mystery then a Freemason, that he has been in China, and that he is not how Sherlock has done a considerable Holmes identified the amount of writing lately, pin, for surely a man I can deduce nothing who studied cigar ashes would be familiar with more.” When Wilson presses him on how he the identifying jewelry of knew he was a Freemason, all sorts of organizations. Rather, the mystery is Holmes says, “I won’t insult your intelligence how Jabez Wilson came by telling you how I read to have such a pin. A quick check of a list that, especially as, rather against the strict rules of Freemason Sir Charles Warren is confronted by Sherlock Holmes as of English Past Grand Masters reveals that your order, you use an Dr. Watson looks on, in Murder By Decree (1979) Jabez Wilson’s name is arc and compass breast conspicuous for its absence. Perhaps in his travels he pin.” Because Jabez Wilson was a client and needed a resided long enough in America to affiliate with a lodge demonstration of Holmes’ techniques, he was identified as a Mason and then politely reprimanded. Mr. Barker, and become its Past Master. It is more likely that he came Holmes’ “hated rival upon the Surrey shore,” on the across the pin in a pawn shop for a good price. If Wilson were a casual Mason, one who joined to rub shoulders other hand, needed no such demonstration and did not with those he considered to be above his station, then receive a reprimand. In fact, it was Watson who observed the Masonic pin, and Holmes deduced its presence from he might not have appreciated the subtle distinction between the arc and square in the pin, and snatched it up previous experience with Barker. for his personal and incorrect use. Holmes’ statement indicates remarkable knowledge about the customs of the fraternity. Since the late The Adventure of the Norwood Builder. The “unhappy 1700s British and American applicants for Masonic John Hector McFarlane” presents himself to Holmes as a client and is told, “Beyond the obvious facts that you are membership must declare in writing that “Unbiased a bachelor, a solicitor, a Freemason, and an asthmatic, by friends and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, I freely and voluntarily offer myself a candidate for the I know nothing whatever about you.” Watson was able 2 mysteries of masonry.” There is no formal rule against to follow these deductions and in particular observed English Masons wearing Masonic jewelry, but it has McFarlane’s watch-charm. We are not told which of been discouraged within their lodges since the late several Masonic emblems was on the charm, but it gave 1800s. “English Masons are exhorted not to misuse away his Masonic membership. their membership [for personal gain] and the wearing Our attention is drawn to the curious incident of the 26 • Summer 2008
The Journal of The Masonic Society
watch-charm on the client. Holmes said nothing to his client about wearing such jewelry as he did to Jabez Wilson. That is the curious incident. Here again we see Holmes’ remarkable knowledge of the fraternity. McFarlane’s name indicates Scots descent. Cecil A. Ryder observed in “A Study in Masonry,” that McFarlane “would probably have received his Masonic degrees in Scotland. It is not unusual for Scots Masons, who are not forbidden to do so, to wear the insignia.”4 The Source of Holmes’ Masonic Knowledge The superficial conclusion is that Sherlock Holmes was a Freemason, given his detailed knowledge of the fraternity. This deduction flies in the face of what we know about Holmes as a social creature. While not lacking in social graces, the great detective did not seek out human companionship or maintain close friendships, except perhaps with Dr. Watson. In contrast, a Masonic lodge is a celebration of sociability and friendship, a place where men gather for the purpose of enjoying each other’s company. It would be fair to describe a Masonic lodge as an “Anti-Diogenes Club,” and this does not seem the sort of organization that would be attractive to Sherlock Holmes. Further, recall that Holmes tells Jabez Wilson that wearing an arc and compass breast pin is “rather against the strict rules of your order.” Had Holmes been a Mason, he would have referred to “our order.” I believe that the source of Holmes’ familiarity with Masonic customs came from his chronicler, John H. Watson, M.D. As a veteran, Watson would have enjoyed the male-bonding experiences of the army. His outgoing and sociable nature would have fit naturally into a Masonic lodge. In his many discussions with Holmes, it would have been natural and not at all improper to explain the subtleties of Masonic jewelry and the different customs between English and Scots and other Masons. Now, we must ask, was Watson an active Mason. The absence of any other mention of the fraternity in the Canon would indicate that Watson was very discrete about his membership, perhaps not wanting to use it for personal gain by attracting readers who might not have otherwise been interested in his writing. Watson would have preferred his literary efforts to stand or fall on their own merits. Of course the evidence could also support the contention that Watson was inactive, perhaps because of the pressures of his medical practice or because the fraternity did not meet his needs. It is illustrative if we compare Watson’s career to a
contemporary medical and literary colleague, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Dr. Doyle joined Phoenix Lodge No. 257 in 1887 and withdrew his membership only two years later in 1889. He remained unaffiliated and inactive until 1901 when the Lodge of St. Mary’s Chapel in Edinburgh invited him to a meeting to give a toast to the “Immortal Memory of Queen Victoria,” and they afterwards made him an honorary member. Doyle rejoined Phoenix lodge in 1902, but withdrew again in 1911. There is no evidence that he every participated after that. Some insight to Doyle’s disaffection with Freemasonry can be found in one of his Professor Challenger stories, The Land of Mist. A character is described as “a pompous ass named Weatherby. He is one of those who wander about on the obscure edges of Masonry, talking with whispers and reverence on mysteries where no mystery is. Spiritualism, with its very real and awful mysteries, is, to him, a vulgar thing because it brought consolation to common folk.”5 We can understand the Masonic references lodged in the Canon with the simple insight that John H. Watson was a Freemason. Like his fellow author of that period, Arthur Conan Doyle, Watson apparently found that the fraternity did not satisfy his needs as he had hoped, and so he became inactive. But even if he withdrew his membership from his lodge, I am confident that he never forgot the principal teachings of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Footnotes
Yasha Beresiner, “Arthur Conan Doyle: Spiritualist and Freemason,” Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry, www. freemasons-freemasonry.com/beresiner10.html, accessed March 8, 2006.
William Preston, Illustrations of Free-Masonry (London: The Author, 1772), pp. 210–11.
Robert T. Runciman, “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and Freemasonry,” Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 104 (1991), pp. 178–87.
Cecil A. Ryder quoted in Runciman, p. 185.
Beresiner, “Arthur Conan Doyle.”
S. Brent Morris is the managing editor of The Scottish Rite Journal, and is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry. He is Past Master of Patmos Lodge No. 70 or Maryland, and is the Master of London’s Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 for 2007/2008. He is also an Associate Professorial Lecturer at George Washington University, teaching a graduate course in cryptography. In things Sherlockian, he is a member of Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City, Maryland, The Master’s Masons, and Moriarty’s Mathematicians. He is a Founding Fellow of the Masonic Society. Summer 2008 • 27
The Journal of The Masonic Society
he Masonic Society is not just about the written word. We are dedicated to the creation and preservation of all varieties of Masonic research, art, architecture, and collectanea. Each issue of The Journal will present Masonic "treasures" from around the worldâ€”lodge rooms, buildings and artifacts that are unique to our fraternity. Solomon's Lodge No. 1 in the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. Built in 1734, it is the oldest continuously operating Masonic lodge in Georgia. Photo by Christopher Hodapp 28 â€˘ Summer 2008
The Journal of The Masonic Society
stablished in 1966, Georgia’s historic Westville is a living history museum that depicts a working town in 1850. Prominent in the village is the Westville Masonic Lodge. Several of the twenty-seven historic buildings in the museum were originally located elsewhere and moved to the site for preservation, and such is the case of the lodge. The Westville Lodge is located upstairs in an 1831 school house which was moved into the museum from the nearby town of Lumpkin in 1973. The building is well-traveled. It was first used as an academy for poor boys, and then a girls’ school, before Cross Lodge No. 12 purchased the building in about 1850. The Lodge fell on hard times during the Civil War and Reconstruction, giving up its charter. It was re-established as Cross Lodge No. 173 in 1885, when the building was moved from its original location to the courthouse square in Lumpkin. Westville is the building’s third location. Westville’s lodge room is unusual in that it is still home to a working lodge, along with being open to the public in a living museum setting. The paintings on the walls are not original—they were added in the restoration of 1973 to represent decor of the period. Photo by Marvin Von Almen Free-masons Surpriz’d, or the Secret Discover’d A true tale from a Masons Lodge in Canterbury
The Chamber Maid Moll, a Girl very fat, lay hid in the Garret as sly as a Cat; To find out the secret of Masons below. Which no one can tell, & themselves do not know. Moll happened to slip & the Ceiling broke through, & hung in the posture you have in your View; Which frightened the Masons, tho doing no evil, Who stoutly cryed out, the Devil, the Devil! With Phis:white as apron the Mason’s ran down, & called up the Parson, his Clerke & the Town. To lay the poor Devil thus pendant above, Who, instead of old Nick, spy’d the Temple of Love. Comeall prying Lasses take warning by Moll, The subject of this, the Print & the Drole, To get at a secret, which ne’re can be known, By an unlucky slip, she Dis-Cover’d her Own. & the Masons may learn, without touching Hoops, That some of their Brothers are not nincompoops. That Parson and Clerke, with their sanctified Faces, Had a Peep at Moll’s Rouser, & just so the Case is. Printed for Carington Bowles at No. 69 in St. Pauls Church Yard
Summer 2008 • 29
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Ethiopia in Freemasonry By Timothy Hogan
had a revelation the other night that I thought I would share. It has been bugging me ever since a recent practice for a third degree in Colorado work as to why the ruffians seek to escape to Ethiopia via ship, but are ultimately turned away by the ship captain due to the fact that they don’t have King Solomon’s pass. My grandfather once told me that it had a symbolic meaning, and it should not be interpreted literally, but he never told me what it was. True, as some scholars have pointed out, the country of Ethiopia is associated with the Queen of Sheba- a wife of King Solomon, and the Kebra Nagast text suggests that their son Menyelek stole the Ark of the Covenant from King Solomon and took it to Ethiopia where it resides today- (the Ark being important in certain later Masonic rituals). The Ark itself was stored in the Sanctum Sanctorum of King Solomon’s temple, and with no Ark to fill this sacred space, it would be an unfinished Sanctum Sanctorum indeed. In fact, the Queen of Sheba and the Ark are also featured on many of the cathedrals of Notre Dame in France, and some have also associated the Queen of Sheba with the mysterious “black Madonna” statues that have likewise been found at many cathedrals in Europe, and which were based on the idea of Solomon’s Temple. The Kebra Nagast text is one of many Coptic texts from Ethiopia which are recognized as apocryphal. The text itself suggests that the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia was founded by the son of King Solomon, Menyelek, who had supposedly stolen the Ark. Aside from the story of the Ark being taken from King Solomon, the Kebra Nagast text also discusses some of King Solomon’s travels in his air ship, which allowed him to travel the distance in a few hours in the time that would take a person on foot three months to travel. The text says he inherited the “heavenly carriage” from his forefather (presumably David)1. According to the text, Ethiopia 30 • Summer 2008
was a get-away home for King Solomon, where he would fly in for refreshment and relaxation, and obviously to hang out with the Queen of Sheba. To this day there are flat mesas in India and Iran that are called the “Thrones of Solomon”, which legend likewise suggests that King Solomon flew in and landed on. All talk of flying aside, the Kebra Nagast text indicates that Ethiopia was a special place to King Solomon, and the Master Mason degree suggests that for whatever reason the ship captain who had King Solomon’s pass was going to Ethiopiawhich is “the very place” that the ruffians were hoping to go as well. Ethiopia is also the origin of another text linked to Freemasonry, known as the Book of Enoch. This text had resided in Ethiopia for 1,500 years prior to its discovery and translation into French and English in Axum by James Bruce in 1765. Bruce was a Freemason at Lodge Cannongate Kilwinning, and he was a descendant of Robert the Bruce. Bruce presented his translation of the Book of Enoch to the King of France, and on his return to London he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. What is striking about the Book of Enoch is that it contains text that is also found in early Masonic ritual—even though this Masonic ritual was being practiced before the discovery and translation of the Book of Enoch. This has led some researchers to draw in the Knight Templar theory of Freemasonry origins, as the Knights Templar are known to have been very active in Ethiopia in the 13th century. The theory is that they too had come across the text at that time and preserved it- only later to be incorporated into Masonic ritual2. “Ethiopia” was also used as a term to describe a land of dark-skinned people in general, and as such, early map makers and explorers associated the name “Ethiopia” with everything from Egypt to India.
The Journal of The Masonic Society
(Sometimes the words “Ethiopia” and “India” were likewise interchangeable, which also explains the confusion with why the native indigenous Americans came to be known as “Indians”.) Some have seen in this symbolism the idea that Freemasonry has retained a tradition from earlier cultures outside of Europe—with Egypt being the prominent source. At many times in the past the land of Egypt itself was referred to as Ethiopia. If the ruffians sought the secret of a Master Mason and couldn’t get it from Hiram, perhaps they symbolically sought to try and obtain these secrets from a Masonic country of origin? However, I felt like there had to be more to the meaning and symbolism behind Ethiopia. There was something about the word “Ethiopia” which seemed to have significance when the symbolic alchemical “green language”, or “language of the birds”, was applied. I looked through all my books on Freemasonry and all my alchemical books and couldn’t find anything specifically related to Ethiopia, however. Ethiopia is mentioned as existing in the Master Mason ritual, but I have not found a Masonic researcher who could explain why it was there. In fact, what I did find is that in the Emulation Ritual of Great Britain, this Ethiopia reference doesn’t even exist. However it does exist in the Scottish system and certain other systems in Europe—though some say the very origin of it comes from American Freemasonry. So I had to ask, why was it put in there? From my perspective, everything in Masonic ritual was added for a reason, and a place like Ethiopia wouldn’t be added arbitrarily. There are two theories behind the word “Ethiopia”. One theory is that it comes from the Egyptian words Etop-Bia, which translates as “truth of the higher land”. This may loosely have some association with why the ruffians sought shelter there- but personally, I think this may be forced interpretation as to why it was inserted into the third degree. In fact, if it was introduced into American Freemasonry in the late 1700s, it is hard to conceive of it being put in due to the meaning of its Egyptian translation. Most words of significance in the symbolic lodge of Freemasonry have either a Hebrew, Greek, or Latin origin. The other theory behind the word is that it comes from the Greek Aithiops—or Aithiopia. Now the meaning behind this is very relevant in my mind, especially from an alchemical standpoint. “Aithio” means “to scorch” or “to calcinate” in Greek, and was associated with fire. The Greek word “ether” or “aither” has similar origins, and related to the idea of “heavenly fire” or “divine fire”. “Ops” translates as “face” in Greek. So it has been
suggested that “Aithiops” meant “scorched face” or “black” and therefore referred to the color of the skin of the native inhabitants of that country. This may be its origin, but it still doesn’t explain why it would be put in Masonic ritual unless the word itself had a symbolic meaning- like the second degree password meaning “I revere a stone” in Greek3. However, if we remember that all the symbolism associated with the third degree is centered around fire, including: the penalty of the obligation, the password and what he did, the shape of the MM’s apron being an old alchemical cipher symbol for a calcination dish, and the Master Mason’s grip being in the form of the Hebrew letter “shin” (which was associated with fire in the Hebrew Qabbalah), then it begins to make sense why a reference to “scorching” or “calcination” may be in there. Qabbalistic traditions have associated the abdomen with water, the chest with air, and the head with fire, and the Master Mason’s penal sign likewise separates the water element so that air and fire exist—also mentioned in the penalty of the obligation for the 3rd degree. Fire appears again and again in the third degree- emphasizing it as a symbol. However, what about the “face” part- or the “ops” in Aithiops? In order to understand this, we need to look at it alchemically. In alchemy, right after you have leached the oils out of an herb through distillations (which has been associated with the second degree and the heart and vital parts of the herb being flown to the highest pinnacle of the distillation tower or Aithenor), you then “kill” the herb by calcinating it with fire so that you can liberate its salts. One of the terms for the residual matter that you torch is called “caput mortum” in alchemy—coming from Latin and meaning “dead head”, (which is alluded to with the first degree penal sign)4. Obviously a “head” symbolically has a “face”- so to “torch the face” in Greek would be “Aithiopia”. In this light, we see that the ruffians destroy Hiram and try to go to Ethiopia, just like in alchemy you have to destroy the herb and then “calcinate its face”—after which you can “raise it” back to life through the alchemical process. Ultimately the ruffians cannot accomplish the travel to Ethiopia because as Fellow Crafts, they don’t have King Solomon’s Master Mason pass associated with fire. If they did have the password associated with metallic operations by fire, then they could accomplish the calcinating associated with the word “Ethiopia,” ultimately gaining the secrets of a Master Craftsman. This seems to make sense in light of the other alchemical associations, and it would explain why Ethiopia was inserted into the ritual. After the fact, within the degree lecture, we learn that Hiram’s Summer 2008 • 31
The Journal of The Masonic Society
monument consists of a virgin weeping over a pot of Hiram’s ashes (among other things), thus suggesting a cremation had occurred with Hiram- again relating back to the idea of calcinations by fire. Many early American Freemasons were practicing alchemists, Benjamin Franklin being one of them. So, if “Ethiopia” was inserted into the third degree ritual by the early American Freemasons, then this alchemical theory should be considered as a possible reason as to why. Perhaps it was also inserted for other symbolic reasons; as with everything in Freemasonry, there are multiple levels or layers of meaning. As mentioned, the Book of Enoch was discovered in Ethiopia and translated by a prominent Freemason of Scottish descent in 1765, and maybe American Masons caught wind of this and thought it needed to be part of the ritual. Freemasonry is a house of many keys, but we need to figure out which locks they go into. Ethiopia is a symbol associated with King Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant, Egyptian mysteries, and alchemy—all of which have their place within the rituals of Freemasonry. Therefore all of these possibilities need to be carefully considered when trying to interpret its role in the Master Mason degree. This one place, Ethiopia, which is found within the third degree
and which at first glance appears a random and irrelevant place of travel, therefore seems to have tremendous implications within the corpus of Masonic history and arcana. 1
The Queen of Sheba and Her Only Son Menyelek (Kebra Nagast), translated by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge, Dover, London, 1932.
Uriel’s Machine, Knight and Lomas, Fair Winds Press, Gloucester, 2001. 3
“I revere a stone” in Greek.
The Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual, Timothy Hogan, Lulu ISBN: 978-1-4357-0440-4, 2007. Timothy Hogan is a PM of East Denver #160, and member of Enlightenment #198 and Research Lodge of Colorado. He is a 32* KCCH in the AASR SJ, a KT in the YR, PSM of East Denver AMD Council # 425, and member of the Royal Order of Scotland and the SRICF. He is author of Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual, and Revelation of the Holy Grail, and has served as Senior Editor of the magazine L’Initiation.
Handcrafted Masonic Rings and Fine Jewels
www.mastersjewel.com PO Box 5519, Pine Mountain Club, CA 93222 661-242-2374 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Journal of The Masonic Society
Written In The Stars
By Michael A. Halleran & Martin Faulks ne of the problems with modern policing,” the white-haired man said, without looking up from his copy of the London Times, “is this obsessive focus with evidence. It’s people that commit crimes, not DNA samples. You need to focus on understanding more about people, DCI Crockshaw.” The detective chief inspector settled into his usual seat in the Longwei Tea Room near Covent Garden, in metropolitan London. “You’re early today, Jason.” “Yes, well, it was my turn to buy the tea,” he said looking up from the news, a slight smile on his long face. “You should expand your consciousness, Matthew, at least once in a while.” He gestured to the small porcelain cup of greenish tea. “You know I don’t like your teas. What is it?” “It’s Tieguanyin and it’s exquisite. It’s only served on very special occasions in China, but I find it gives me a certain clarity.” DCI Crockshaw sipped tentatively, “It’s bloody awful, Jason.” “Tea lets one forget the din of the world.” “I prefer Typhoo.” “Yes. Well, I’ve prevailed upon Mr. Yih to stop serving you Typhoo for the time being. But you didn’t come this morning with fine tea in mind. You’re here to ask me about the astrologer.” “You’re unusually perceptive today, Jason. It must be your… Ten-Quinine,” DCI Crockshaw said, pointing to his still brimming cup. “Tieguanyin. And you’ve arrested the wrong man.” “And what makes you think so? He gave a full confession, you know. It was short, but more than enough to convict him. There’s physical evidence as well. His prints are all over the murder weapon, and DNA evidence will confirm her blood under his fingernail...” He stopped short as the proprietor, Mr. Yih came to the table with another small pot of tea, addressing Jason boisterously in Chinese. Crockshaw, whose written reports sometimes suggested that he had difficulty enough with English, let alone a foreign language, studied his friend, who chatted breezily with Mr. Yih. Fluent in half a dozen Asian languages, French, German, and of all things, the Maghrebi Arabic dialect, Jason Tolbort 34 • Summer 2008
was unusual in both form and substance. Although not yet forty-five, his hair was completely white, slightly long and unkempt, but his countenance was that of a much younger man. He had a powerful build, but rather than accentuating this by presenting himself smartly, he invariably appeared in public in a rumpled suit and tie, eccentric and dishevelled – his energy wore out even new clothes quickly. And his energy was considerable. A world-class kend-ka, he took second at the Kendo World Championship in 1995, before renouncing the sport and devoting himself fully to his spiritual disciplines, which included both oriental and occidental philosophy, among which Freemasonry figured prominently. Before his thirtieth birthday he became the youngest full professor of Occidental and Oriental philosophy at King’s College. Lately his passion was tea. “Mr. Yih wishes to know how you like the Tieguanyin?” “It needs cream and sugar,” Crockshaw said without missing a beat. Jason translated and Yih clucked his teeth and laughed before hurrying back to the kitchen. Crockshaw leaned forward. “Listen now, Jason, why do you think we’ve got the wrong man?” “We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” Jason stated with a smile. “More fortune cookie philosophy? I mean, look, this should be an open and shut case… but, well, there’s something not right about it.” “It’s all about emotion” remarked Jason, contemplating the porcelain cup, and apropos, apparently to nothing. “Matthew, let me ask you: what is calmness?” Jason always had an air of discipline about him, not the harshness of military discipline, but an economy of phrase, calm, good humoured, but with a certain neatness, as if he were bringing order to the universe with each word. Matthew paused to think. “It’s when you’re relaxed and don’t want to do anything, I suppose.” “Rather a more passive state than I was thinking of. Your calmness sounds like feeling sleepy,” said Jason. The policeman frowned. Here we go again, he
The Journal of The Masonic Society
thought, the Tao of Detecting. “Okay, well, it’s a feeling that everything is in order and when you don’t have any other emotions.” Jason observed him steadily, “I rather think calmness is the ability to recognize, but disregard emotions; a state of center.” “So to be calm you have to learn to ignore your emotions?” Matthew said. “No, quite the opposite. Calmness requires attenuation to emotions, but also freedom from them.” “I don’t follow you.” “Listen, I’ll explain.” said Jason. “Imagine your mind as a kingdom, and your consciousness is the ruler – like the King on his throne. That entire panoply of your emotions serves as advisers in the royal court. For example, our anger advises us on matters of war as a general does. Emotive love pleads for us to help and care for others like a social adviser. Fear advises us on areas to avoid and about possible danger of any kind. Each emotion advises us how to act. These advisors are useful and worth listening to, and if ignored, they become insistent. There are some spiritual paths that preach destruction of your emotions. These paths in effect are turning one’s troops on themselves. Without advice from our emotions life can be very hard, and by abandoning emotions or refusing to consult them, one discards thousands of years of human evolution and spurns God-given instincts that serve and protect us.” “You’ve completely lost me, my friend,” Crockshaw said, “I’m asking you about the Primrose Hill murder, not about what Lao Tzu had to say about love.”
“The metaphor applies nonetheless, but perhaps it’s a bit Eastern for your taste.” He withdrew a pen from his coat pocket and produced his business card. On the back he drew a circle inside two parallel lines in the center of which he placed a dot with a flourish. “An illustration,” he said, “what do you see?” “A point within a circle.” “Exactly. The point is the individual and the circle is boundary beyond which he cannot allow his passions, or emotions, if you will, to trespass.” “And the lines?” Matthew asked. “One’s system of beliefs. Faith. Spiritual teachings.” “And if you have none? What then?” “Then you have only the point. You must apply
the compasses of philosophy to circumscribe your boundaries. No circles: no boundaries – in short, you are adrift." “Is this more Freemasonry?” sighed Matthew. “Of course,” said Jason with a smile. “But these principles are common to many spiritual paths. And the astrologer is a case in point.” “The astrologer is a Freemason?” “Certainly not,” Jason said, patiently, “but Masonic philosophy is helpful in situations such as these. Whatever else he might be, the astrologer is no murderer.” “The facts suggest otherwise…” said Crockshaw, more to convince himself, than Jason. “Tell me these facts.” Jason closed his eyes to listen to the response. “Gregory Jenner, as we know, is a nationally known astrologer and author of numerous books on astrology. He bills himself as “The Astrologer to the Stars….” Lots of celebrity clients, dozens of television and radio appearances – very high profile. At the bottom of it, though, he’s a hack, if you want my opinion, but regardless. Background investigation shows that beneath the veneer of celebrity and apparent respectability, Jenner was Jack-the-Lad – a world-class womanizer. Educated at Rugby, Cambridge, grandfather was a baronet, father fared poorly in his investments, small family estate in Leicestershire. Parents died when he was 23. Pissed away his inheritance. His penchant for women was only slightly second to his penchant for spending money… It already sounds like a cheap murder mystery, dunnit?” Matthew said, referring to his notebook. “Quite. Still, I should have thought he’d done quite well with his scribbling,” Jason mused. “He’s written five or six best-sellers. Money From the Stars was his last one, wasn’t it?” “Yes, some sort of astrological investment scheme, or something. Rubbish of course. By all accounts, though, he’s massively in debt: spends three quid for every pound he earns.” Crockshaw leafed through his notebook, “Last Friday night, he attended the gala for the newly refurbished Claridge’s restaurant. Arrived alone, but departed with Amanda Anderson…” “The murder victim.” Jason interjected. “…Yes… she was 34, rich, twice divorced, a Hollywood fixture, and heiress to the Anderson oil fortune in Oklahoma, recently re-married to Michael St. John-Harrison…” “The industrialist and former shadow Minister of Trade, is that right?” Summer 2008 • 35
The Journal of The Masonic Society
“Yes, the same. He is 56, no children, home in Hertfordshire, keeps a flat in Mayfair. By all accounts not a happy marriage… rumours of infidelity before the wedding cake went stale…” “On who’s part,” Jason asked, “his or hers?” “Hers. Apparently he is devoted to her, not even a hint of infidelity on his part. But she’s another story entirely -even her friends describe her as ‘wild.’ It’s unconfirmed, but very possible that she had a considerable drug habit. Toxicology reports indicate barbiturates in her system at the time of death, but that’s not for release to the public, you understand.” “Of course,” Jason said, “So who discovered the body? More tea by the way?” Matthew grimaced. “A Ms. Lakshmi Patel, employed by Jenner as housekeeper. She arrived at Jenner’s Primrose Hill flat at 5.30 a.m. – found the deceased in the foyer, nude. Coroner estimates she had been dead approximately three to four hours. Cause of death was blunt trauma inflicted by repeated blows to the head. A savage attack.” “And the murder weapon – a cudgel, wasn’t it?” “Yes, a blackthorn cane, about 37 inches long and one inch thick. Hair and tissue samples on the cane match the victim, and Jenner’s fingerprints are all over it.” “Was it his cane?” “Jenner admits it was his cane; the housekeeper confirmed he kept it in an umbrella stand in the foyer.” “The newspaper accounts suggest he wasn’t at home when the housekeeper arrived, is that correct,” Jason asked. “Yes, just so. He returned home about thirty minutes after the responding officers arrived. He was taken in for questioning, and DNA samples were taken at that time. He was interrogated by detectives Reid, Philmott, Anderson and myself. During the interview he refused counsel and answered questions willingly; seemed rather glib at first. For some time he maintained that he left the flat at 2.30 a.m. after an argument with the victim, who he insisted wanted to leave her husband, but he denied killing her. By the time I was called in, he appeared to be somewhat fatigued. When I presented him with the DNA evidence, he caved in and confessed to beating her to death after she threatened him with exposure to facilitate a divorce. Short and sweet, but as I said, sufficient for a conviction.” “The interrogation was lengthy, wasn’t it?” Jason asked quietly. Crockshaw hesitated, “A little over 50 hours. Long,
but I’ve seen longer.” “Have you ever had a false confession in your 20 years of policing, Matthew?” “Once. And he was a raving lunatic, not calm and collected like Jenner.” “Lunacy takes many forms, my friend,” Jason said, pouring another cup of tea, slowly and very deliberately. “There are generally three reasons why someone would wilfully make a false confession. The first is through mental illness, either in terms of competency, or from an organic mental disease that prompts the confession for other reasons. Second, the confessor is coerced into the confession by exterior forces. The third, and least common, is a sacrificial confession in which the confessor acts for the benefit of another, a mother confessing to shield her child for instance.” “I am aware of basic interrogation techniques, Jason.” “Yes, of course, but as we discussed, knowing one’s emotions promotes self-awareness. The point with a circle.” Matthew nodded. “Then it follows that by knowing the emotions of others one may also know them, and to an extent how they will react. Some people don’t keep their own throne and their emotions rule them. I’ve read this fellow’s books. He views astrology as a kind of hedonistic art. The planets are in complete control of our destiny, and they dispense favours like parents to a child. Someone with that pathetic view of the world could never commit murder.” Matthew shook his head, “Why ever not?” “Because,” Jason gestured, “it would involve taking fate into one’s own hands. It would also require a willingness to overcome challenges and take action.” The policeman shook his head. “And is all this because he believes in astrology?” “No, not because he believes in astrology but because he has such a silly, childish notion of it. Despite what you or I might believe, astrology is an art, a discipline freely used by the ancients, that prescribes conduct and teaches its adherents about how to go about one’s life, as do other philosophical methods. And like other philosophies, it’s not a wish list. The world is not here to look after us. I submit that Jenner made a false confession for one reason.” “Which is?” “Coercion. He was simply convinced the interrogation would not stop until he confessed.” “You mean the stars told him to confess?” Matthew 37 • Summer 2008
The Journal of The Masonic Society
asked theatrically. “Not exactly,” answered Jason, ignoring the hyperbole, “but that fate placed him in the situation, and when the truth did not answer, he tried the lie, perhaps trusting that the judge or jury would see things differently.” “But why not ask for counsel? Why confess?” “Because he is spineless! For goodness sake, man.” Jason sighed, edging his way across the seat impatiently. Matthew put out a hand to stop him. “Okay, so who else would have a motive?” “Well, you say this lady was well known for her sleeping around.” “Yes.” “Have you talked to the husband?” Matthew nodded. “What was your impression of him?” “Stolid. Impassive. Stiff upper lip, and quite possibility in denial… Anyway, he just won’t believe that his darling wife would do anything like that. He sees her as faultless.” “Did he ask about the murderer? Is he seeking revenge?” “No” the policeman shook his head, “not at all.” “If your wife was murdered while cheating, would you not be furious? Would you not wish to take revenge or see justice served? I suggest you interview him. I shall see you in a few days and enquire as to your conclusion, and you may buy the tea next time.”
xactly three days later, Matthew arrived on time; Jason was again already seated. He observed Matthew steadily. “So, what have you discovered?” “Well,” began the policeman, “ I thought it prudent to interview St. John-Harrison following our conversation.” “And?” Jason asked expectantly. “You were correct about the husband. We brought him in for questioning and got a full confession. It only took a few questions and then he opened up completely. It seems he was starting to grow suspicious of his wife’s activities or perhaps starting to feel ready to face them. He had a friend watch at the party and follow her to Jenner’s flat. He got a phone call in the night informing him of his wife’s location, which phone records confirm. Surveillance video that we’d not consulted because of the 38 • Summer 2008
astrologer’s confession, near the flat also caught sight of his Rover. By the time he arrived at Jenner’s front door, he heard an argument between his wife and Jenner, who was already her lover. A rather heated argument, and before he knew it the astrologer had burst out of the door and ran straight past him down the stairs. He entered in a state of rage, confronted her in the foyer and killed her savagely with Jenner’s stick before fleeing back to Hertfordshire.” “And Jenner?” Matthew fidgeted with a serviette. “I re-interviewed him yesterday. When he arrived back at his flat, he attempted some first aid but soon realized she was already dead, which explains the blood samples taken from him. In a panic, apparently, he left again, only to return after the detectives were on the scene.” “And did he tell you why he had falsely confessed?” “Only that he wanted ‘it to be over,’ which seems a daft way to answer to a charge of murder. But what I want to know is, how were you so bloody sure?” “It’s people that commit crimes, not DNA samples. You need to focus on understanding more about people, my friend.” “But how do I learn more about people?” asked Mathew. Jason smiled and leaned his fingers against his lips. “Dear boy, emotions are known forces in a human. To know the actions of others you must first know yourself.” Motioning to Mr. Yih, Matthew called out, “Two Typhoo, please.” Mr. Yih frowned, and looked enquiringly to Jason. The Masonic mystic only nodded. Michael A. Halleran, is a member of the traditional observance Mount Zion Lodge No. 266 in Topeka, Kansas, and Emporia Lodge No. 12, AF&AM in Emporia, Kansas where he currently serves as Junior Warden. He received the Scottish Rite’s Mackey Award for Excellence in Masonic Scholarship for his article in Heredom, Vol. 14 (2006), and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Rite Journal. A practicing attorney in the area of governmental law, and a freelance writer, Bro. Halleran is the coauthor of a regular column for Upland Almanac and his most recent collection of hunting and field humor may be found in Reverse Points; Bird Dogs Reconsidered by Ugly Dog Press. A devoted husband and father, he studies Freemasonry in the American Civil War and the traditions of military lodges worldwide. Martin Faulks, is currently Worshipful Master of his mother lodge, Burlington Lodge No. 96, in London, England and is Past Master of Cabbell Lodge No. 807 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. He is the marketing manager of Lewis Masonic, the world’s oldest and largest Masonic publishing company. His greatest loves are Masonry and martial arts; being well studied in both, he has written several books on each subject.
The Journal of The Masonic Society
FROM THE EDITOR
Keys, Rocks, Cigars & Symbolism by Christopher l. Hodapp
an Brown made a big mistake. After telling everybody that his sequel to The Da Vinci Code would be a novel about the Freemasons and Washington DC called The Solomon Key, he didn’t publish anything for the next five years. Probably a stellar case of writer’s block. Consequently, the world has had way too much time to second guess every possible plot point, landmark and potential clue he might use. And I suspect every time a National Treasure movie comes out, his wife has to spend three days talking him in off the window ledge. When I was researching my own book, Solomon’s Builders, I was reading Bob Arnebeck’s Through A Fiery Trial, a mind-numbingly detailed account of the building of the new Federal City. In the stories of 1793, I came across a reference that leapt off the page, screaming “Dan Brown Alert.” In colonial days, the first solid ground on the marshy north shore of the Potomac, just north of where the Lincoln Memorial stands today, was an outcroping of rocks jutting into the river. On several old maps it is cryptically labeled the “Key of All Keys,” and for many years it bore a surveyor’s benchmark. But it’s more popular name was Braddock’s Rock, reportedly because British General Braddock and his red-coated soldiers, accompanied by the young British Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, landed there in 1755. This giant rock later became a quarry, and it was said to have furnished stone for the foundations of both the White House and the Capitol. About 1832, when the old C&O canal was extended below Georgetown to connect with the Washington City Canal, nearly all that was left of the original Braddock’s Rock was blasted away. All the riverside swamps have long since been filled in, and the land raised above the level of the original surface. During colonial times, the hillside above the rock was known as “Observatory Hill.” British naval ships frequently docked there to off-load troops and supplies. And in the early days of the building of Washington, the Old Naval Observatory was built on top of it. Now, if you are a fan of David Ovason’s book The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital, then all this observatory business does have a Masonic connection, since Ovason contends that the Masonic designers of Washington were all obsessed with the zodiac. The Old Observatory still stands in what is now the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery complex, just north of the Lincoln
Memorial, up the hill from the “Key of All Keys.” The original dome can still be seen; it was here that astronomer Asaph Hall, in 1877, discovered the moons of Mars. At this point, I was so excited I didn’t know which way was up. I just knew that the “Key of All Keys” was some kind of esoteric reference. It had astronomical connections, Masonic connections, was in the nation’s capitol, and had an occult name that just had to mean something big. In The Royal Secret written in 1923 by I. Edward Clark, an entire chapter is devoted to a very different “key of all keys”: “There is a key to every Mystery, and every such key has been so effectively hidden that centuries have elapsed, in some cases, before its discovery. . . . The swastika is the key of all keys, and a knowledge of the numerals of the Hebrew alphabet is necessary to unravel the Mysteries attached therein.” Great. A Hebrew swastika. It was a small setback, even if the swastika in 1923 hadn’t yet acquired its creepier, more sinister reputation. Still, I knew there had to be a symbolic explanation, and I knew I was on the trail of a Very Big Secret, one that even Dan Brown hadn’t uncovered. Adding to its Masonic allure, its location is directly east of what was Mason’s Island (now Roosevelt Island, named after Freemason Teddy Roosevelt). Better yet, the rock was chipped away and used as foundation stones by Masonic architect James Hoban for both the White House and the Capitol Building — both of which had cornerstones laid by the Freemasons. Which means both buildings contain jigsaw pieces of the “Key Of All Keys.” With understandable excitement, I perservered through one windy article or journal after another in my lone quest to uncover one of the lost secrets of Masonry. At last, I discovered a crushingly anti-climactic explanation of the Key, from one Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan in his 1914 History of the National Capital. He explained that it was simply a variation of the phrase “quay of all quays.” I remembered then that, on holiday in the Bahamas, I saw the locals detecting tourists by their pronounciation of the word - islanders always pronounce it “key.” Such is the shifting sand of the history of pronunciation. So, after weeks of research and pondering and searching for an ethereal meaning behind an intriguing and obscure reference, it turned out to be just a very big rock that was a really good place to tie up your boat. Or as Freud famously said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Summer 2008 • 39
I am a Freemason because... By Daniel Ellnor I am a Freemason because... I believe there is good in all people, but all people are not good. I believe that adversity makes you stronger and the journey is, sometimes more important than the end. I believe that faith, hope, charity, mercy and justice bind all good peoples of the earth, regardless of nationality or creed or religion. I believe that a person should never stop looking, seeking, learning, doing, giving and receiving light. I believe there is something more. I believe hate, bigotry, injustice, are all fought not in public, but in the recesses of my own heart and if they can be conquered there then they can be conquered anywhere. I believe life ( GAOTU, Nature, whatever you want to call it) will show you the way to happiness if you are looking in the right direction and have your glasses on. I believe death is a beginning not an end. I believe what you give into life you get back, good and bad. I believe when the dark night comes and all is quite, and you hear nothing but the sound of your breath that the true secrets of Freemasonry are these things and maybe more.
The Masonic Society 1427 W. 86th Street, Suite 248 Indianapolis, IN 46260-2103
Published on Sep 1, 2008