2016 PLEDGE AFFIRMATION BY BOB ELSLOO, GM
AS IT WAS, AS IT IS AND AS IT SHOULD BE
READING MASONS & MASONS WHO DO NOT READ
AND MUCH MORE...
CRAFT • CAPITULAR • CRYPTIC • TEMPLARY • A.A.S.R.
THE LOST WORD
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From the EditorGuest writer Mark Stavish, of the Welcome to Volume 3 of the Rocky Mountain Mason. We’re especially pleased to include an article by W.Bro. Robert Gilbert in this edition. W.Bro. Robert is a Past Master of Quattor Coronati Lodge in London, and a past editor of their annual periodical, Ars Quattor Coronati. We hope you enjoy his Rosicrucianism: What It Was, What it Is, and What is Should Be (page 10). His is a lively pen that combines solid research with some deft turns of phrase. Well worth the read. Our Grand Orator – now Grand Lecturer – R.W. Bro. Kevin Townley shares his Grand Oration for your enjoyment and worthy reflection (page 28). In our quest to provide relevant content of interest to Masons, we have included a news article on the terrorist organization, the Islamic State, detailing their shadowy organizational structure and the emergence of their unlikely leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. If you are unfamiliar with the history of how this violent extremist group came to be, this might be a compelling article to read (page 18). Most Worshipful Brother Michael McMillan continues his successful series on Stations and Places (page 24) detailing the duties of the Officers in Lodge assembled. This particular series has received commendation from Brothers across the State, relayed to me personally during my frequent visits to Lodges roundabout, especially form younger members in our Fraternity. Take a look.
Institute for Hermetic Studies in Pennsylvania, returns to our pages with a dissertation on The Lost Word and the Masonic Quest (page 36) touching upon the powers of speech. Patrick Dey, a relatively new Mason, soon to be knighted in the Order of the Temple, and Junior Steward of Research Lodge of Colorado, provides a humorous account of how early Lodges most likely met (A Constituted Lodge, page 42). Too often we romanticize the past and elevate the Craft as some high-brow preserver of the hidden mysteries. More often, it seems, there was another side to “traditional” masonry overlooked: Lofty notions, perhaps. Human frailty, of course…. Finally, it was my honor to be invited to provide the keynote address at Acacia Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M.’s bi-annual Robert Burns Table Lodge in Cheyenne Wyoming. Read about this fun-filled evening on page 52. Table Lodges are making a comeback, and rightfully so. Few occasions better afford enjoyment of that peculiar characteristic of Masons – fellowship. We’ve also reprinted the Burns Roast, which ended the address, poking good fun at our patron Bard. We hope you enjoy this poem and all the other pages in this magazine we labor to produce. Sincerely and fraternally, Ben Williams Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Rocky Mountain Mason
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Table of Contents
Dr. Robert A. Gilbert is a retired antiquarian bookseller and author who has written and edited many
READING MASONS & MASONS WHO DO NOT READ By Albert Mackey
books on Freemasonry, Western esotericism and spirituality. He has been the librarian for the Ancient & Accepted Rite in England and Wales, and for the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. He is a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the preeminent research Lodge in the world. For six years he edited the research journal Ars Quatuor Coronati. Mark Stavish is the director of the Institute for Hermetic Studies based out of Pennsylvania, and the au-
thor of several books including The Path of Alchemy; Between the Gates,Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, and the Body of Light in Western Esotericism; Kabbalah for Health and Wellness; and Freemasonry, Rituals, Symbols & History of the Secret Society. He is a member of Wyoming Lodge No. 468 F. & A.M. under the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Kevin Townley , the Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Colorado, has been a student and teacher of
the Western Mysteries and Ageless Wisdom for nearly 40 years. Kevin, once a Carmelite monk, worked several years in a full time laboratory dedicated to the practical study of alchemy and spagery and was a cofounder of the Hermetic School, the Philosophers of Nature. He has served three times as Master of his lodge. He is the author of The Cube of Space, and Meditations on the Cube of Space. He re-published Henry Pellham Bromwell’s work, The Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry, and is completing a work on Masonry entitled, A Divide Brotherhood: The Fall and Rise of Masonry in the 21st Century Wayne Arner is a Past Master of South Denver Lodge No. 93 A.F. & A.M. and is ever-present in Mason-
The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligence of her disciples... Page 6
ROSICRUCIANISM By Dr. Robert A. Gilbert A survey of what Rosicrucianism has been thought or believed to be, and how it was, and is, perceived and interpreted by those within it and those without... Page 10
THE INVISIBLE SHEIKH AND THE RISE OF THE ISLAMIC STATE By Ben Williams
IS's shadowy organizational structure and the emergence of their unlikely leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.… Page 18
STATIONS AND PLACES By Michael McMillan In part 3 of this multi-part series, we look at the duties of the Wardens and other elected officers... Page 24
ic circles throughout Colorado. A respected voice in Masonic affairs, he currently serves as Treasurer for the Scottish Rite in the Valley of Denver. 2016 GRAND ORATOR’S ADDRESS By Kevin Townely John Moreno is an award-winning photographer who runs Lost Images Photography in Edgewater, Col-
orado. He is the in-house photographer at the Denver Consistory for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Denver. His photos have appeared in the periodical of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, The Scottish Rite Journal. His photos have been nationally recognized, winning the People’s Choice Award (multiple times) in the Journal’s annual photo competition. Michael McMillan is a Past Grand Master of Colorado and active in many of the Masonic bodies. He is
a member of several lodges in Colorado and also a member of a Scottish lodge. He spent most of his corporate years working in sales and marketing, but also worked in many other fields. He currently divides his time between speaking on various issues, both Masonic and others, writing, building furniture and musical instruments, and generally enjoying life.
A transcript of the Grand Orator's address given on January 22, 2016, at the Grand Lodge of Colorado... Page 28
ARE WE REALLY LISTENING? By John Warren Masonic Bodies are, with few exceptions, experiencing membership declines, with all the problems that entails... Page 34
THE LOST WORD AND THE MASONIC QUEST Patrick M. Dey is an architectural technologist working in Denver, with a Masters of Architecture from
the University of Colorado at Denver, with a focus in Classical Architecture. Having long focused his studies on mysticism, symbolism, and mythology in architecture, he was inevitably drawn to Freemasonry. He has lectured on symbolism of the Second and Third Degrees. John Warren is a true Colorado native, he was born in La Junta. He moved to Denver in 1997. He
was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in 1991 and joined the Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shrine in 1992. He’s a member of the York College of North America and the Red Cross of Constantine. He was coroneted a 33º Honorary Inspectors General in 2013. He currently serves as treasurer for South Denver Lodge No. 93 A.F. & A.M.
By Mark Stavish Excerpts from Freemasonry –Rituals, Symbols & History of the Secret Society... Page 36
A CONSTITUTED LODGE By Patrick M. Dey A brief survey on the early history of lodges and their nomadic situation... Page 42
VIVAT!, VIVAT!, VIVAT! By Ben Williams Ben Williams, Editor-in-Chief, is a Past Master of Norwood Lodge No. 111 and Telluride Lodge No.
56 A.F. & A.M in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. He currently serves the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Colorado as the Eminent Grand Generalissimo. He has worked multifariously as a soil scientist, an award-winning journalist, a waiter, a ski instructor, a banker, among other haphazard occupations, before becoming a Registered Patent Agent authoring patents on behalf of inventors. He lives in Littleton, Colorado, with his wife, Tiffany. Pablo Colomban, Layout Editor, is the Senior Warden at Denver Lodge #5 for 2016. He is also a
member of the Scottish Rite at the Denver Consistory. Pablo brings with him over 10 years of experience in magazine art direction, branding design, and web design. He is a graduate from Florida Atlantic University and now lives in Denver with his wife Annie and their two sons.
The keynote address at Acacia Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M.’s bi-annual Robert Burns Table Lodge in Cheyenne Wyoming... Page 52
TO THE IMMORTAL MEMORY OF ROBERT BURNS
By Ben Williams A brief history of Robert Burns (1759 – 1796), the poet laureate of Freemasonry... Page 54
Rocky Mountain Mason
Reading Masons & Masons Who Do Not Read A few words from Albert Mackey (1875)
Rocky Mountain Mason
suppose there are more Masons who are ignorant of all the principles of Freemasonry than there are men of any other class who are chargeable with the like ignorance of their own profession. There is not a watchmaker who does not know something about the elements of horology, nor is there a blacksmith who is altogether unacquainted with the properties of redhot iron. Ascending to the higher walks of science, we would be much astonished to meet with a lawyer who was ignorant of the elements of jurisprudence, or a physician who had never read a treatise on pathology, or a clergyman who knew nothing whatever of theology. Nevertheless, nothing is more common than to encounter Freemasons who are in utter darkness as to every thing that relates to Freemasonry. They are ignorant of its history -- they know not whether it is
a mushroom production of today, or whether it goes back to remote ages for its origin. They have no comprehension of the esoteric meaning of its symbols or its ceremonies, and are hardly at home in its modes of recognition. And yet nothing is more common than to find such socialists in the possession of high degrees and sometimes honored with elevated affairs in the Order, present at the meetings of lodges and chapters, intermeddling with the proceedings, taking an active part in all discussions and pertinaciously maintaining heterodox opinions in opposition to the judgment of brethren of far greater knowledge. Why, it may well be asked, should such things be? Why, in Masonry alone, should there be so much ignorance and so much presumption? If I ask a cobbler to make me a pair of boots, he tells me that he
only mends and patches, and that he has not Iearned the higher branches of his craft, and then he honestly declines the offered job. If I request a watchmaker to construct a mainspring for my chronometer, he answers that he cannot do it, that he has never learned how to make mainsprings, which belongs to a higher branch of the business, but that if I will bring him a spring ready made, he will insert it in my timepiece, because that he knows how to do. If I go to an artist with an order to paint me an historical picture, he will tell me that it is beyond his capacity, that he has never studied nor practiced the comportion of details, but has confined himself to the painting of portraits. Were he dishonest and presumptuous he would take my
order and instead of a picture give me a daub. It is the Freemason alone who wants this modesty. He is too apt to think that the obligation not only makes him a Mason, but a learned Mason at the same time. He too often imagines that the mystical ceremonies which induct him into the Order are all that are necessary to make him cognizant of its principles. There are some Christian sects who believe that the water of baptism at once washes away all sin, past and prospective. So there are some Masons who think that the mere act of initiation is at once followed by an influx of all Masonic knowledge. They need no further study or research. All that they require to know has already been received by a sort of intuitive process. Rocky Mountain Mason
The great body of Masons may be divided into three classes. The first consists of those who made their application for initiation not from a desire for knowledge, but from some accidental motive, not always honorable. Such men have been led to seek reception either because it was likely, in their opinion, to facilitate their business operations, or to advance their political prospects, or in some other way to personally benefit them. In the commencement of a war, hundreds flock to the lodges in the hope of obtaining the “mystic sign,” which will be of service in the hour of danger. Their object having been attained, or having failed to attain it, these men become indifferent and, in time, fall into the rank of the non- affiliates. Of such Masons there is no hope. They are dead trees having no promise of fruit. Let them pass as utterly worthless, and incapable of improvement. There is a second class consisting of men who are the moral and Masonic antipodes of the first. These make their application for admission, being prompted, as the ritual requires, “by a favorable opinion conceived of the Institution, and a desire of knowledge.” As soon as they are initiated, they see in the ceremonies through which they have passed, a philosophical meaning worthy of the trouble of inquiry. They devote themselves to this inquiry. They obtain Masonic books, they read Masonic periodicals, and they converse with well-informed brethren. They make themselves acquainted with the history of the Association. They investigate its origin and its ultimate design. They explore the hidden sense of its symbols and they acquire the interpretation. Such Masons are always useful and honorable members of the Order, and very frequently they become its shining lights. Their lamp burns for the enlightenment of others, and to them the Institution is indebted for whatever of an elevated position it has attained. For them, this article is not written. 8
Rocky Mountain Mason
But between these two classes, just described, there is an intermediate one; not so bad as the first, but far below the second, which, unfortunately, comprises the body of the Fraternity. This third class consists of Masons who joined the Society with unobjectionable motives, and with, perhaps the best intentions. But they have failed to carry these intentions into effect. They have made a grievous mistake. They have supposed that initiation was all that was requisite to make them Masons, and that any further study was entirely unnecessary. Hence, they never read a Masonic book. Bring to their notice the productions of the most celebrated Masonic authors, and their remark is that they have no time to readthe claims of business are overwhelming. Show them a Masonic journal of recognized reputation, and ask them to subscribe. Their answer is, that they cannot afford it, the times are hard and money is scarce. And yet, there is no want of Masonic ambition in many of these men. But their ambition is not in the right direction. They have no thirst for knowledge, but they have a very great thirst for office or for degrees. They cannot afford money or time for the purchase or perusal of Masonic books, but they have enough of both to expend on the acquisition of Masonic degrees. It is astonishing with what avidity some Masons who do not understand the simplest rudiments of their art, and who have utterly failed to comprehend the scope and meaning of primary, symbolic Masonry, grasp at the empty honors of the high degrees. The Master Mason who knows very little, if anything, of the Apprentice’s degree longs to be a Knight Templar. He knows nothing, and never expects to know anything, of the history of Templarism, or how and why these old crusaders became incorporated with the Masonic brotherhood. The height of his ambition is to wear the Templar cross upon his breast. If he has entered the Scottish Rite, the Lodge of Perfection will not content
him, although it supplies material for months of study. He would fain rise higher in the scale of rank, and if by persevering efforts he can attain the summit of the Rite and be invested with the Thirty- third degree, little cares he for any knowledge of the organization of the Rite or the sublime lessons that it teaches. He has reached the height of his ambition and is permitted to wear the double- headed eagle. Such Masons are distinguished not by the amount of knowledge that they possess, but by the number of the jewels that they wear. They will give fifty dollars for a decoration, but not fifty cents for a book. These men do great injury to Masonry. They have been called its drones. But they are more than that. They are the wasps, the deadly enemy of the industrious bees. They set a bad example to the younger Masons - they discourage the growth of Masonic literature - they drive intellectual men, who would be willing to cultivate Masonic science, into other fields of labor - they depress the energies of our writers and they debase the character of Speculative Masonry as a branch of mental and moral philosophy. When outsiders see men holding high rank and office in the Order who are almost as ignorant as themselves of the principles of Freemasonry, and who, if asked, would say they looked upon it only as a social institution, these outsiders very naturally conclude that there cannot be anything of great value in a system whose highest positions are held by men who profess to have no knowledge of its higher development. It must not be supposed that every Mason is expected to be a learned Mason, or that every man who is initiated is required to devote himself to the study of Masonic science and literature. Such an expectation would be foolish and unreasonable. All men are not equally competent to grasp and retain the same amount of knowledge. Order, says Pope Order is heavenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first law and this confest, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest, More rich, more wise. All that I contend for is, that when a candidate enters the fold of Masonry he should feel that there is something in it better than its mere grips and signs, and that he should endeavor with all his ability to attain some knowledge of that better thing. He should not seek advancement to higher degrees until he knew something of the lower, nor grasp at office, unless he had previously fulfilled with some reputation for Masonic knowledge, the duties of a private station. I once knew a brother whose greed for office led him to pass through all the grades from Warden of his lodge to Grand Master of the jurisdiction, and who during that whole period had never read a Masonic book nor attempted to comprehend the meaning of a single symbol. For the year of his Mastership he always found it convenient to have an excuse for absence from the lodge on the nights when degrees were to be conferred. Yet, by his personal and social influences,
he had succeeded in elevating himself in rank above all those who were above him in Masonic knowledge. They were really far above him, for they all knew something, and he knew nothing. Had he remained in the background, none could have complained. But, being where he was, and seeking himself the position, he had no right to be ignorant. It was his presumption that constituted his offense. A more striking example is the following: A few years ago while editing a Masonic periodical, I received a letter from the Grand Lecturer of a certain Grand Lodge who had been a subscriber, but who desired to discontinue his subscription. In assigning his reason, he said (a copy of the letter is now before me), â&#x20AC;&#x153;although the work contains much valuable information, I shall have no time to read, as I shall devote the whole of the present year to teaching.â&#x20AC;? I cannot but imagine what a teacher such a man must have been, and what pupils he must have instructed. This article is longer than I intended it to be. But I feel the importance of the subject. There are in the United States more than four hundred thousand affiliated Masons. How many of these are readers? One-half - or even one-tenth? If only one-fourth of the men who are in the Order would read a little about it, and not depend for all they know of it on their visits to their lodges, they would entertain more elevated notions of its character. Through their sympathy scholars would be encouraged to discuss its principles and to give to the public the results of their thoughts, and good Masonic magazines would enjoy a prosperous existence. Now, because there are so few Masons that read, Masonic books hardly do more than pay the publishers the expense of printing, while the authors get nothing; and Masonic journals are being year after year carried off into the literary Acaldama, where the corpses of defunct periodicals are deposited; and, worst of all, Masonry endures depressing blows. The Mason who reads, however little, be it only the pages of the monthly magazine to which he subscribes, will entertain higher views of the Institution and enjoy new delights in the possession of these views. The Masons who do not read will know nothing of the interior beauties of Speculative Masonry, but will be content to suppose it to be something like Odd Fellowship, or the Order of the Knights of Pythias - only, perhaps, a little older. Such a Mason must be an indifferent one. He has laid no foundation for zeal. If this indifference, instead of being checked, becomes more widely spread, the result is too apparent. Freemasonry must step down from the elevated position which she has been struggling, through the efforts of her scholars, to maintain, and our lodges, instead of becoming resorts for speculative and philosophical thought, will deteriorate into social clubs or mere benefit societies. With so many rivals in that field, her struggle for a prosperous life will be a hard one. The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligence of her disciples.
Portrait of Albert Mackey
Rocky Mountain Mason
Rosicrucianism: As it was, as it is and as it should be
By Dr. Robert A. Gilbert
As a prelude to this paper let me set your minds at rest. I am not going to relate a tedious tale of every incident and aspect of Rosicrucian history – although I must, of necessity, present a coherent and more or less linear narrative that takes in the more significant events, with a number of odd episodes by way of light relief. My concern is rather to provide a survey of what Rosicrucianism has been thought or believed to be, and how it was, and is, perceived and interpreted by those within it and those without. This takes in, of course, the views of would-be Rosicrucians, self-styled Rosicrucians, sceptical opponents and historians, both objective and fanciful.
1. The best guide to the complex bibliography of early ‘Rosicrucian’ manuscripts and publications is Carlos Gilly, Cimelia Rhodostaurotica. Die Rosenkreuzer im Spiegel der zwischen 1610 und 1660 entstandenen Handschriften und Drucke. Amsterdam, 1995. For Rosicrucianism in general, see also, F. Leigh Gardner, A Catalogue Raisonné of Works on the Occult Sciences. Vol. 1. Rosicrucian Books…. Second Edition, Privately Printed, 1923. 10
Rocky Mountain Mason
y aim is to arrive at an understanding of what Rosicrucianism really is, so let us begin with a working definition. You will all have your own ideas about this (there are some 218,000 web pages under the heading ‘Rosicrucianism’), but I shall define it briefly in this way: Rosicrucianism is a spiritual philosophy developed four hundred years ago by a dedicated group of devout German Lutheran theologians, who were enthused by the ideas of Paracelsus, a controversial, hermetic physician and alchemist who practised and taught in the early 16th century. This brings us to the questions around its origin. Exactly when and where did Rosicrucianism first appear? Who founded the movement and why? The first question is easily answered. The first public announcement of the Rosicrucian fraternity was in 1614, when the first manifesto of the Order, the Fama Fraternitatis (the ‘Good Report of the Fraternity’) ‘of the Laudable Order of the Rosy Cross’, was published at Cassel in Germany. It was an odd little book, combining a mythical history with an ambitious program of spiritual reform, presented in allegorical language and wrapped up in strange, esoteric symbolism. The text, in German, was also sandwiched between a satirical plea for a ‘Universal and General Reformation’ and a brief reply to the Fama. Other books rapidly followed, and before we come to the second question, we must look at what these were. A second manifesto, the Confessio Fraternitatis R.C., written in Latin, appeared in 1615, to be followed rapidly by a combined edition of both texts, with the Confessio in Latin and in German translation. The Confessio is shorter on words than the Fama, but
much stronger on polemic, combining a rationale of the Order, with an emphasis on its Protestant character and a vitriolic attack upon the Church of Rome. One year later came the Chymische Hochzeit – the ‘Chemical Wedding’ – of Christian Rosencreutz, which is often described as the third manifesto although it is quite unlike the other two and was written ten years earlier. It is a literary tale, of a kind often described as ‘Christian mythology’, rather than a program of reform and it is best described as an alchemical ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. Its significance lies also in introducing the character of Christian Rosencreutz, who is travelling to the wedding as an honoured guest. There was an immediate demand for the manifestos: between 1614 and 1617 nine editions of the Fama, seven of them including the Confessio, were printed, and the Chemical Wedding ran to three editions in 1616. And then – nothing. The Rosicrucians disappeared, but the public – or the little part of it that concerned itself with the Fraternity – still desperately sought them, denied them, supported them, pretended to be them or condemned them, by way of a stream of books pamphlets and broadsides, for the next ten years and more.1 The wider world, however, remained supremely indifferent to the ways and the very existence of the Rosicrucians, who continued to be silent and invisible. So how was the myth perpetuated and how did it transmute into reality? The story begins with the authors of the manifestos, their time and their aims. As to authorship, we can be certain of only one book: the Chemical Wedding which was the work of a young Lutheran student, Johann Valentin Andreae (1586 – 1654; he
was not ordained as a minister until 1614), who had completed his ‘Ludibrium’, or ‘Fantasy’, by 1605. It circulated within and beyond his circle of colleagues at Tubingen – notably Tobias Hess and Christoph Besold – and it is within this group that manuscripts of the Fama appeared in 1610 and 1611, but which of them wrote it, if any, is unknown. Certainly Andreae, who is often claimed as the author, consistently denied that he had written it. Equally uncertain is the authorship of the Confessio. But in many respects the Fama and Confessio do reflect the ethos of the Tubingen Lutherans. They lived in a time of political and religious flux, and believed strongly in ‘personal religion’ – combining deep biblical study with contemplative prayer and devotion, all in a sacramental context. They felt also an urgent need to promote a practical way towards a new spiritual reformation of society, and it is this that is set out, in allegorical form with much use of symbolism, in the manifestos. Their familiarity with hermetic, especially Paracelsian, thought and alchemical symbolism is very clear in the Fama, and they used their knowledge to good effect. However, it must be emphasised that the authors were not occultists: they were staunch Protestants who clearly placed the Bible, not hermetic or alchemical texts, as the one book to be studied and followed above all. Now here I should remind you, briefly, of the narrative content of the Fama. It is an allegorical story of the religious pilgrimage of one CR (i.e. Christian Rosencreutz), that describes his travels in the Middle East and North Africa in search of spiritual knowledge and understanding, and his subsequent founding, on returning to his native Germany, of a religious Brotherhood – but with the brethren living in the secular world – dedicated to healing the sick, to personal piety and to the reformation of society. The rules of the Brotherhood are set out, and there follows an account of his death, in 1484 at the age of 106 years, the discovery and opening of his tomb 120 years later, and a detailed description of the rich symbolic imagery of this vault, its ever-burning lamp and the tomb itself – which contains the perfectly preserved body of CR. Given this sensational and enigmatic text it is not surprising that the Fama stirred up controversy. Thus far the origins, but what was it that was originated? From the text of the Fama the Fraternity would appear to readers to be a Protestant quasi-monastic teaching Order designed to promote Christian esotericism, i.e. a bible-based Christian faith expressed in terms of traditional Western Hermeticism. So, does this reflect the purpose of the authors in writing and disseminating the manifestos? They could have reasonably hoped that such an aim would be evident from the narrative of the Fama and Confessio and from their symbolism. The very word ‘Rosicrucian’ is derived from the conjoining of the Rose and the Cross, and these specific emblems would have been seen not only as symbols of Christ and His sacrifice, but also as elements of the personal seal of Martin Luther and of
the badge of the Andreae family.2 If this was their aim, then they were to be rapidly disabused. A few serious enquirers and interpreters – notably the alchemist Michael Maier and the hermetic philosopher Robert Fludd – believed in the reality of the Fraternity and took them seriously, albeit in a more esoteric light, but most published responses simply presented their authors’ personal sympathy or antipathy and did not engage in any considered analysis of the texts. The manifestos certainly inspired some marvellous alchemical and other engravings, but none of these throw any light on the Fraternity as such. We must, then, rest content with the realisation that we know only what the Rosicrucian Fraternity would have been, if Christian Rosencreutz and his Brotherhood had ever existed in this world – for which not the slightest evidence of any value has ever been discovered. But the myth remained and we must now look at how it was perpetuated and the strange flowers that it propagated. For thirty years after the decade of the manifestos Europe was racked by war and the Rosicrucian furore was submerged by larger concerns, but the manifestos survived. They were soon known in Britain by alchemical enthusiasts, by or for whom translations of the Fama and Confessio were made from the early 1620s onwards. Six surviving manuscripts3 are known, but there is no common connecting spiritual or political link between the owners or transcribers, other than an interest in alchemy and, possibly, in what might be called proto-Freemasonry. The manifestos were eventually published in 1652 by the alchemist, and Anglican priest, Thomas Vaughan, who states that the translator is unknown but that he received it from ‘a Gentleman more learned than myself ’ whom he does not name. This was probably his friend Sir Robert Moray, the first recorded non-operative initiate into a masonic lodge (in 1641), who had access to a manuscript copy. Two other manuscripts, one written in his own hand, belonged to Elias Ashmole, the antiquary and alchemist who was, like Moray, one of the earliest known freemasons. Both men were also founders of the Royal Society, but it is unwise to propose guilt by association and to make a necessary link between the society and
2. Luther’s seal (above) shows a cross impaled upon a heart within a rose. The Andreae badge has four roses between the arms of a St. Andrew’s cross. 3. The earliest belonged to Sir George Erskine and was probably copied by a fellow Scot, Sir David Lindsay, whose ms is dated 1633. The first English example, made before 1630, belonged to Sir John Eliot. All these seem to be based upon an earlier, now lost, translation. Rocky Mountain Mason
4. Newton’s comments about the Fraternity are written in his copy of the Fama. It is now in the Mellon Collection at Yale University Library. 5. The Hermetick Romance: or the Chymical Wedding. Written in high Dutch by Christian Rosencreutz. Translated by E. Foxcroft. [London], A. Sowle, 1690. 6. A.E. Waite, The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. 1924 p. 388. 7. Gardner, op. cit., p. 44. Frederick Leigh Gardner was an excellent bibliographer and a prominent member of the SRIA. 8. The pamphlet was a political satire by a high Tory, for the ‘Green Ribboned Cabal’ was a Whig club of the time. 9. The full title of the book is: The Muses Threnodie, or, Mirthfull Mournings, on the death of Master Gall. Containing varietie of pleasant poëticall descriptions ... with the most remarkable antiquities of Scotland, especially at Perth. Edinburgh, George Anderson, 1638. 12
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Rosicrucianism: Isaac Newton was also an early Fellow of the Royal Society, but he dismissed the ‘supposed Rosy Crucian society’ as an ‘imposture’.4 At this point we must make our first foray into the minefield of the connection between Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, but first let us dispose of other, possible early English Rosicrucians. Newton was not a Rosicrucian, but he was an alchemist, and his alchemical circle included Ezekiel Foxcroft, who published the English translation of the Chymische Hochzeit in 1690.5 Foxcroft also was not a Rosicrucian, nor – surprisingly – was the occultist, and shameless plagiarist, John Heydon. Between 1658 and 1665 he published nine books concerned with Rosicrucianism, all of them derivative from other authors – Waite described him as ‘the prototypical thief of English occult literature’6 – although he states specifically more than once that he is not a member of the Rosicrucian Order. Given all of this it is surprising to find Frater F.L. Gardner, an active member of the SRIA, claiming that ‘[Heydon] appears to have gone through the lower grade of the R.C. Order and to have given out much of this to the world’.7 Which comment teaches us that even usually objective writers can let credulity overrule common sense when they desperately wish patent nonsense to be the truth. Other writers of the time refer to the Rosicrucians, but not in any depth and usually in satirical terms. Occasionally they drew a link between Rosicrucians and freemasons, as with a derisive pamphlet of 16768 that, ‘gives notice that the Modern Green-ribbon’d Caball, together with the Ancient Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross; the Hermetick Adepti and the company of Accepted Masons intend all to dine together …’ Which,
of course, they did not do, any more than they had ever done. It is true that such a connection had been implied forty years earlier, in 1638, in a poem by Henry Adamson. His book, The Muses Threnodie,9 includes the lines, ‘For we be brethren of the Rosie Cross; We have the Mason-Word and second sight, Things for to come we can foretell aright.’ But wrenching these lines out of their context, which relates to the collapse of a rebuilt bridge over the River Tay, cannot alter the fact that in the poem – a wry account of the town of Perth – the author was using the two terms in a derisive way. In no sense can it justify the claim that this is, ‘Historically the earliest evidence linking Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry’; even less that it supports the notion that ‘Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry have been connected since time immemorial.’ But it would seem that the spirit of Frater Gardner still lives, for these unfortunate claims appear on the official web-site of the SRIA. So was there any connection between the two Fraternities during the 17th century? There is indeed one way in which they were definitely linked: for the century that followed the appearance of the manifestos neither Fraternity existed at all in the real world. Only after 1700 can we find their certain presence, and before we examine that we should digress and consider how the ideals of the Fraternity of R.C. travelled beyond Europe. The authors of the manifestos were not the only German Lutherans who wished for a more vibrant form of Christianity than the dry formalism of the time. What Albert Schweitzer called ‘interior Protestantism’ was first seriously propagated by Johann Arndt in his book True Christianity (1605 onwards) – a known influence upon Andreae and an inspiration for the men who would develop the spiritual movement of Pietism (effectively the practice of piety in one’s inward and outward lives), which stemmed from the principles set out, in 1675, in Philipp Spener’s highly influential book, Pia desideria (Pious desires). Some of the early Pietists, notably Gottfried Arnold, were strongly influenced by the ideas of Jakob Boehme, the German mystic who made great use of alchemical language and imagery. Arnold is also significant in a Rosicrucian context because, in 1700, he was the first to offer a cogent argument in favour of Andreae as the founder of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. Another Pietist follower of Boehme was Johann Jacob Zimmermann, who, in 1693, set out with a group of followers to establish a religious settlement in North
America. Zimmermann died en route and his pupil, Johannes Kelpius (1667-1708), took his place as magister, or leader. The group of some forty young men eventually settled on the banks of the Wissahickon, near Philadelphia, in what was effectively a monastic community, known, because of their millennial views, as ‘The Woman in the Wilderness’ (Rev. 12:6). In many ways they paralleled the Fraternity of the Fama: they were ascetic and celibate, but they did not separate from their neighbours; they taught, held public religious services, and practised medicine. There is no evidence that Kelpius saw himself as a Rosicrucian, but he was familiar with hermetic philosophy and deeply read in the works of Boehme. He also accepted that his followers need not remain celibate, and one married ‘worthy person’ – Christopher Witt, a practising English physician – proved to be an ideal successor, for he set up in practice in Germantown. It must be stressed, however, that neither the Wissahickon brethren, nor the members of the later Ephrata Cloister, founded in 1732 by another Pietist, Conrad Beissel, considered themselves to be Rosicrucians. Their way of life was in harmony with the rules laid down in the Fama, but there is no evidence that they were even aware of the manifestos. For any movement or society in America that can justifiably be labelled ‘Rosicrucian’ we must wait until well into the 19th century, so we shall now return to Europe, specifically to Germany. The emphasis on alchemy as a central feature of Rosicrucianism began with Michael Maier. He defended the Fraternity, and emphasised their gold-making ability, in Silentio post Clamores (1617). A year later he published Themis Aurea. The Laws of the Fraternity of the Rosie Crosse,11 which is an elaborate commentary on the rules of the Rosicrucians, painting them in glowing colours as devout students of the mysteries of nature, selfless alchemical physicians. Maier did not pretend to be a member of the Fraternity and offers no guide to entering it, but he sowed an alchemical seed that germinated slowly. It flowered in 1710 in a book by one ‘Sincerus Renatus’, i.e. Samuel (or Sigmund) Richter, a Silesian pastor who was a Pietist, competent chemist, enthusiast for Paracelsus and Boehme, and would-be Rosicrucian. His book offers much from its title, (in English) ‘The True and Perfect Preparation of the Philosophical Stone, by the Brotherhood of the Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross’.12 What it delivers is an enigmatic and highly complex account of the alchemical process, together with a detailed list of the Laws of the Brotherhood – under fifty-two heads, as opposed to the six simple rules of the Fama. These Richter rules – which they can justly be called as there is no evidence that Richter obtained them from any Rosicrucian or other esoteric Fraternity – set out the way in which the Brethren should interact with each other and with the secular world; the ceremonial form of reception into the Fraternity; its
governance, conditions of membership and the mode of mutual recognition. There are many departures from the rules of the Fama: Catholics are permitted to join; the head of the Fraternity – the Imperator – is elected for life, rather than the ten years’ office that had, supposedly, applied until then; and brethren shall not marry (yet ‘it shall be lawful for a member to take a wife if he very much desire it’, although hereditary membership is discouraged). Such a catalogue of restrictive regulations shows this Order to have been very different from that of the manifestos, which had no ceremonial content and no contradictions. Perhaps this results from the addition of ‘Golden’ to the Rosy Cross, but it is more likely that these fantastic rules represent a fantasy Order, for Richter’s Order vanished with his passing. The name and alchemical content would, however, reappear fifty years later, but only after a new element had been introduced: that of Freemasonry. Which brings us back to the masonic connection. Whatever masonic activities may have preceded it, there was no organised Speculative Freemasonry before 1717, when a Grand Lodge was established in London. It did not take long for a supposed connection with Rosicrucianism to surface. One of the early references was a mock advertisement of 1725 (repeated in 1730), which notes that ‘there is a Society abroad from whom the English Free-Masons … have copied a few Ceremonies and take great pains to persuade the World that they are derived from them, and are the same with them. These are called Rosicrucians, …’13 Of this ‘Society’ nothing else was said, if for no other reason than that it did not exist. But in the public mind Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism became linked, with a tacit assumption that there must have been Rosicrucian rites and ceremonies of some kind. And this notion led to the development, especially in continental Europe, of additional degrees, which if not strictly Rosicrucian, utilised the symbolism of the Rose and the Cross. A ritual for a specific Rose-Croix degree was completed by J.B. Willermoz by 1765, but it is clear from a comment by Baron Tschoudy – in his L’Etoile Flamboyante (1766) – that this degree was, ‘not that of the inextinguishable lamp but the Rose-Croix properly called ‘or Mason of Heredom’ though in truth it is no more than a new type of Masonry or the Catholic religion put in a degree.’14 Evidently there was no connection to the Protestant ever-burning lamp in the vault of Christian Rosencreutz. And yet, by the late 1750s Richter’s Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross had been re-invented and put into masonic dress. It seems to have grown out of a ‘Society of Golden Rosicrucians’, postulated by the alchemical writer and freemason, Hermann Fictuld, in his book Aureum Vellus (1749). This new ‘Order of the Gold and Rosy Cross’ was probably founded in 1757 – certainly before 1761 – and was unlike earlier, claimed Rosicrucian bodies in that it actually existed.15 It was active in Germany, Austria and
11. This is the title of the English translation of 1656. The original title is: Themis Aurea, hoc est de Legibus, Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis …. (Frankfurt, 1618). 12. S.R., Die wahrhaffte und volkommene Bereitung des philosophischen Steins der Brüderschafft aus dem Orden des Gülden und Rosen-Creutzes …. Breslau, 1710. An English translation of the alchemical part of the text, with an introduction by the present writer and the text of the ‘Laws of the Fraternity’ from Waite’s version, was published by the Teitan Press in 2013. 13. Quoted in A.C.F. Jackson, ‘Rosicrucianism and its Effect on Craft Masonry’, in AQC 97 (1984), p. 121. 14. Quoted in A.C.F. Jackson, Rose Croix. The History of the Ancient and Accepted Rite for England and Wales. London, 1987, p. 26. 15. For an account of its history, see, Christopher McIntosh, The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason. Eighteenth-Century Rosicrucianism in Central Europe and its Relationship to the Enlightenment. Leiden, 1992. Rocky Mountain Mason
"Rosicrucianism is a spiritual philosophy developed four hundred years ago by a dedicated group of devout German Lutheran theologians, who were enthused by the ideas of Paracelsus, a controversial, hermetic physician and alchemist who practised and taught in the early 16th century."
16. Der Rosenkreuzer in seiner Blösse ... hingestellt durch Zweifel wider die wahre Weisheit der so genannten ächten Freymäurer oder goldnen Rosenkreutzer des alten Systems von Magister Pianco, …. Amsterdam [Nuremberg], 1781. The author is unknown but may have been either Hans Carl von Ecker und Eckhoffen or Friedrich Gottlieb Ephraim Weisse. An English translation was edited by A.E. Waite in 1905, and a facsimile of his typescript was privately printed in 2000. 17. Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer, aus dem 16ten und 17ten Jahrhundert: aus einem alten Mscpt. Zum erstenmal ans Licht gestellt: … Altona, 17851788 3 vols. The whole work can be downloaded in digital form at (http://digital.library. wisc.edu/1711.dl/HistSciTech. GeheimeFiguren). An English translation was published at Chicago in 1935. 18. It was transcribed in 1804 by Bacstrom’s friend and fellow alchemist, Alexander Tilloch. A later version, made by Frederick Hockley in 1833, was published by A.E. Waite in his The Real History of the Rosicrucians. 1887, pp. 409-414. 19. Quoted in Joscelyn Godwin, The Theosophical Enlightenment. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, 1994, p. 116. 20. These appeared in 1680, with the satirical imprint ‘at the Sign of the Rosy-Crucian’, and 1714, in which the sub-title reads: ‘a diverting history of Rosicrucian Doctrine of Spirits’. 14
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Eastern Europe for some thirty years, with a somewhat chequered history. This, however, is well recorded. We also know much about its membership; we have the rituals of its sequence of grades, and, equally if not more important, its magnificent collection of pictorial symbolism. The Order does appear to have been more masonic than Rosicrucian; rather more Catholic than Protestant; introducing Unknown Superiors, or Secret Chiefs; and reactionary rather than in favour of reform (spiritual or social); although the emphasis on alchemy remained. In 1777 The rituals of the Order were revised, but four years later they were made public, to the embarrassment of the Order, by one ‘Magister Pianco’.16 There were nine grades, each with a Latin title, and these have formed the progressive structure of every ceremonial Rosicrucian Order down to the present day. The symbolic imagery was also made known outside the Order with the publication at Altona, in 1785 and 1788, of a magnificent collection of extraordinary engraved plates in three folio volumes.17 Alchemical symbolism predominates, but there are also apocalyptic and Trinitarian imagery, emblems of Christ, number symbolism, images of Luther’s seal and of the Gold and Rosy Cross. In its published form this impressive work represents the last flowering of masonic Rosicrucianism in the era of the Enlightenment, but the collection may not have originated within the Gold and Rosy Cross Order, as manuscript versions exist, in French and German, that date from the 1760s. Some of these probably circulated in North America and further afield, and they were not necessarily produced within masonic circles, for there was at least one Rosicrucian society of the time that was wholly non-masonic. This ‘Society of Rosa Croix’ was active on the then French island of Mauritius in the 1790s and probably earlier. It was led by the Comte Francois de Chazal (1731-1795) who, on 12 September 1794, initiated into the society Dr. Sigismund Bacstrom, a naval surgeon, physician and chemist who was also an enthusiastic alchemist. Bacstrom’s detailed account of the Obligation, which was the major part of his initiation, has survived and is widely known.18 It is reminiscent of Richter’s set of rules but is more coherent and more sensible. The society is stated to be separate from Freemasonry and there is a significant innovation – justified at great length – in the provision for initiating women: ‘We will not hesitate to receive a worthy woman into our Society’. Alchemical practice, mutual
aid and an upright life are all emphasised. Nothing is known of other members and it seems likely that this society did not long survive de Chazal’s death. Indeed, by the end of the 18th century organised Rosicrucianism of any kind seems to have faded away and apart from Rose Cross degrees in some masonic rites there is no evidence of meaningful Rosicrucian activity anywhere, to any significant degree, throughout the first half of the next century. Except, of course, for charlatans such as Francis Barrett, author, or rather editor, of The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer (1801), who claimed to be a ‘Frater Roseae Crucis’, and offered – at a price – to initiate pupils ‘into the highest Mysteries of the Rosycrucian Discipline’.19 In reality he was peddling magic, and the fraternity lived on only in literary fiction, sometimes being wrongly identified. If we except the Chymical Wedding, such fiction began with Le Comte de Gabalis (1670) by Montfaucon de Villars. This is a satire on occult beliefs, especially in Paracelsian elemental beings, but it has no Rosicrucian content – except on the title-pages of the early English translations.20 But to the public its content became a part of mythical Rosicrucianism, as did the pursuit of the Elixir of life by the wicked Rosicrucian adepts in William Godwin’s tale, St. Leon (1799) and Shelley’s St. Irvyne, or The Rosicrucian (1811). Of Shelley’s novel Gardner wrote – in another bout of credulity – that it was ‘founded on facts obtained from the Order’. A more influential ‘Rosicrucian’ fiction was Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni (1842), again based upon the use of the Elixir to attain immortality. Its significance lies in the Preface, in which the narrator obtains a manuscript in cipher (the text of the novel) of the book from ‘D’, a learned, esoteric bookseller and supposed Rosicrucian. Lytton’s readers would have identified ‘D’ as John Denley who was a real bookseller specialising in occult works, although not a Rosicrucian, and Zanoni was destined to add the notion of texts in cipher to the Adepts, Secret Chiefs, and initiatic grades that would become the hallmarks of Victorian Rosicrucianism. And although I am stretching the time-span, we will now pass from ‘as it was’ to ‘as it is’. The first open appearance of a Rosicrucian Fraternity in Britain, in the 1860s, was also the beginning of open, and lasting, masonic Rosicrucianism. There is so little archival evidence of the conception and birth of this specific Fraternity (the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia), so many contradictory statements, and so much use of ‘smoke and mirrors’ by later ‘internal historians’ of the society with vested interests, that we shall probably never know the true facts. It will thus be wise to stick to the few certainties that we do have. We know that on the last day of 1866 two English freemasons, W.J. Hughan and R.W. Little, were admitted to the grades of Zelator and Theoricus in a Rosicrucian society meeting in Edinburgh. All we know of this body is that in its original form it was supposedly not restricted to freemasons, although a
surviving manuscript version of its Obligation, dated 1857, is strongly masonic in tone. By 1865 the society was presided over by Anthony O’Neal Haye, a friend of Hughan and a prominent Scottish freemason, who had set about revising its rituals. During their subsequent visits to Edinburgh Haye conferred on Little and Hughan the remaining grades of the progressive series (the titles of which were those used in the defunct Golden and Rosy Cross Order). They also received a charter to establish an English Rosicrucian society on similar lines, which included the restriction of membership to Christian freemasons and a clear statement that apart from this qualification, the society ‘is no otherwise connected with the Masonic Order’. The first meeting of what would become the Metropolitan College of the ‘Society of Brethren of the Rosy Cross’ – the original name, which was rapidly changed – was held at Aldermanbury in London, on 1st June 1867, with Little as its Master-General. The society soon found its feet and began to thrive, establishing colleges outside London, publishing a journal and introducing the kabbalah into Rosicrucianism.21 It also survived such crises as the demise of the Scottish body, Little’s attempt to absorb the society into the purely masonic Order of the Red Cross of Constantine, and Lord Lytton’s fury at unwittingly being made ‘Grand Patron’ of the Society.22 The SRIA also played a significant role in the open expansion of masonic Rosicrucianism. In 1873 the ‘East of Scotland College’ was established at Edinburgh, forming the basis, in 1876, of a revived, independent Societas Rosicruciana in Scotia, and it was through these two British societies that viable, independent masonic Rosicrucian bodies were established in North America. In Canada, in 1876 (by an indirect route, involving the purely notional Societas Rosicruciana in Graecia, of the Prince Rhodocanakis) and in the United States in 1879 (from the SRIC). Of course, such chartering was not really necessary, as John Yarker pointed out to Col. Macleod Moore, the future Supreme Magus in Canada, in 1876: ‘It is but fair to inform you that the English Society of Rosicrucians hold under no warrant and have no authority to start the rite other than what you would have yourselves’.23 The whole story of the origins of American masonic Rosicrucianism is far more complex than this very brief outline suggests, but there is no need to elaborate on it here – you will, in any case, be familiar with both the origins and the subsequent history of what soon became the SRICF. That history is fully, accurately and honestly recorded – which, alas, cannot be said for the SRIA. The third Supreme Magus of the SRIA was Dr. William Wynn Westcott, and during his period of rule – 1891 to 1925 – there was an unfortunate return to the fantasies and the whole panoply of false history that began with Christian Rosencreutz. His year of birth was said to be 1378, and it may have been intended as
a symbol of the decline of the Roman Church, for in 1378 the great schism began, with one Pope at Rome and another at Avignon, a foreboding, perhaps of the greater upheaval of the Protestant Reformation. Westcott’s rewriting of history served no such grand design. He simply sought to remould Rosicrucian history as he wished it to be rather than as it was, and knowingly falsified the records of his own society and of individual Rosicrucians (real or presumed). The SRIA was essentially a study society with rituals, that concerned itself with the theory of esoteric spiritual philosophy. Westcott wished to follow a more practical path, and so in 1888 created, with the aid of fellow members of the SRIA, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: a ceremonial Order, open to non-masons and to women, that concerned itself with the practical aspects of western esotericism. Within its elite Second Order divination and magic were taught in the context of the symbolism of the Rosicrucian vault – a fantastic diversion of the traditional Rosicrucian stream into fantastic channels. Within the SRIA Westcott simply distorted history. Between 1900 and 1916 Westcott wrote three ‘official’ papers on the history of the SRIA. Each one became more outrageous than the last: predating its foundation; inventing a bogus pedigree (rather than forging it as he did for the Golden Dawn); altering records and dates relating to members (but only when
21. The journal appeared, under a variety of titles, from 1868 to 1879. It was first a quarterly, called simply The Rosicrucian; then The Rosicrucian and Red Cross, and lastly The Rosicrucian and Masonic Record. It was edited, in name at least, by R.W. Little – the true editor was Dr. W.R. Woodman. In 1885 the Metropolitan College began to publish its Transactions, which continued to appear until going in to abeyance in recent years. 22. Lytton had been elected to this office – without his consent or knowledge – in July 1870. When he became aware of this honour, in December 1872, Lytton objected strongly and his name was removed. 23. Quoted in H.V.B. Voorhis, Masonic Rosicrucian Societies. New York, 1958, p. 74. Rocky Mountain Mason
24. For a more detailed account of Plummer’s society, see R.A. Gilbert, ’The Lost Step-child: The tale of the Societas Rosicruciana in America’, in Golden Dawn. The Proceedings of the Golden Dawn Conference London – 1997. Edited by Allan Armstrong & R.A. Gilbert. Bristol, 1998, pp. 137-155. 25. It may be noted that A.E. Waite, referring to his Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, wrote ‘It is a path of symbolism at its highest and has cut itself adrift as such from all occult adventures, the mendacious inventions and fraudulent connotations of the past.’ (The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. 1924, p. 628.) 16
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they were safely dead), and effectively defrauding history. He certainly improved the fortunes of the SRIA, but at a great moral cost, for Westcott was not a mistaken historian – he was an out and out liar, who damaged both the reputation of his society and the public perception of Rosicrucianism. The damage to the society was repaired, but in large measure it was Westcott who was responsible for the influx of occultism into Rosicrucian bodies and for the effective de-Christianisation of Rosicrucianism. So let us look at the progress of non-masonic Rosicrucianism since the mid-19th century. It was beset by other rogues than Westcott, men such as Hargrave Jennings, who in 1870 published The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries, a chaotic mass of misinformation on phallic worship and various esoteric topics, but with almost nothing on the real Rosicrucians. Despite this the book colored public perceptions, for it was widely read, often reprinted and far more commercially successful than A.E. Waite’s accurate and sober counterbalance: The Real History of the Rosicrucians (1887). Non-Christian Rosicrucianism also appeared in the United States through the efforts of a spiritualist medium, P.B. Randolph, who was also a self-styled Rosicrucian. From 1861 until his death in 1875 Randolph produced a series of controversial, speculative studies on the soul, on seership and on sex. The first of his specifically ‘Rosicrucian’ works was The Wonderful Story of Ravalette … or the Rosicrucian’s Story (1863), in which Randolph’s esoteric speculations are presented in the form of a novel, much after the manner of Zanoni. By this time Randolph had established a ‘Rosicrucian Club’ at Boston, later transforming it into the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis which continued under his successor, F.B. Dowd, at Philadelphia. He was eventually followed, in 1922, by Reuben Swinburne Clymer, who revitalised the Order, instituted a publishing programme and brought it to wider public notice while remaining very far from the Rosicrucianism of the Fama. While this FRC was progressing, another Rosicrucian body was being created in Boston by S.C. Gould, a former member of the Massachusetts College of the SRIUS (as it then was). Gould believed that the college and society had ceased to work, and he sought to revive it with the help of G.W. Plummer, a young mason who had been directed to Gould – with no malicious intent – by Westcott in 1906. By 1909 Plummer had received all the grades up to the Ninth and in 1912 he re-established (as he thought) the
Societas Rosicruciana in America at Grantwood in New Jersey. By this time the SRICF was regenerated, and no masonic Rosicrucian society recognised Plummer’s Order. In response Plummer removed the masonic requirement for membership, admitted women and adopted the ceremonies of the Golden Dawn. His SRIAm proved to be resilient and it still exists, on a small scale; a notionally Christian body but heavily esoteric in its ethos.24 The final ‘occult’ American Rosicrucian body to consider is the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, the creation of Harvey Spencer Lewis, who launched it in New York City in 1915. Despite a very chequered history, a virtual war with Clymer’s FRC, and a series of scandals and damaging internal divisions, AMORC thrives as a commercial, teaching body, maintained by skilful advertising campaigns and the inability of the public to distinguish true Rosicrucianism from its imitations. It may be noted that because AMORC offers irregular masonic initiation it has, since 1929, been a proscribed body for freemasons under the obedience of UGLE. There are many other ‘Rosicrucian’ organisations on every continent, mostly claiming an ancient lineage that they do not possess. They may descend from French and German societies of the late 19th century, all rooted in magic, kabbalism or Theosophy, but for the most part they bear no relation to the Rosicrucianism of the manifestos. What is notable is that very few of them – with the exception of regular masonic Rosicrucian societies – require profession of the Christian faith from their members, which indicates that there is now a clear division between those bodies that see Christ in the symbol of the Rose and Cross, and those that do not. But this is not an historical and geographical catalogue, it is rather a survey of perceptions, so let us move on to Rosicrucianism as it should be. What, then, do we have at the present day? Setting aside masonic Rosicrucian bodies, we have dozens of competing, public ‘Rosicrucian’ organisations – the largest and best known being commercial rather than ‘not for profit’ – soliciting membership with the lure of revealing ‘the mysteries of the universe, nature and humans themselves’ within an elite Order. It is the image presented by these bodies that is perceived by those outside – the naive, internet-informed general public – as the true nature of Rosicrucianism. It is error posing as truth. So what is the truth about the Fraternity of the Rose and Cross and its philosophy? It is simply a spiritual philosophy put into practice. But what kind of spiritual philosophy and what manner of practice? Let us go to the source and look at the manifestos, not at the later commentaries, pseudo histories and added layers of occultism.25 You will find that the Confessio underpins the contemporary theology of the Fama, while the Chymical Wedding is concerned with the journey of the individual soul. The nature of Rosicrucian philosophy and the
manner of putting it into practice will be found in the Fama. It is important to bear in mind that the Fama is not an historical document: there was no such person as Christian Rosencreutz and his fraternity never existed. But the mythical CRC clearly emulated the life of Christ. He learned from, and debated with, wise elders, as the boy Jesus did in the Temple; he called a number of disciples to him, to propagate the truth; and he healed the sick. That he and his followers were devout Christians is also clear from the texts of both Fama and Confessio, which were the work of professed Lutheran Christians. The six rules of the Fraternity26 are simple, direct, and designed to encourage like minded pietistic Christians to come together and establish similar communities in which they could worship God, study the mysteries of God’s creation and demonstrate practically love for their fellow men. The brethren are told to dress unobtrusively in the current fashion of the country (as was the case in the early Church); to come together every year in a dedicated meeting place; and to use the symbol of Christ to identify one another. The sixth rule – to remain secret for one hundred years – was already redundant. What remains are the two rules that set out the essence of Rosicrucianism: to devote oneself to healing the sick, in body, mind and spirit, freely and for no material reward, and to find a worthy successor to continue one’s life work. The first rule is paramount, and emphasizes implicitly the moral imperative that spiritual gifts and spiritual teaching are free and cannot be sold (something that Simon Magus failed to realise). But what of the Paracelsian and other hermetic elements of the vault and its contents? ‘Nature Philosophy’ concerns the unveiling of the mysteries of nature, and this is one role of the Fraternity. Their work in this field uses symbolic language and rich imagery in understanding God’s creation, but it is no less consonant with their Christian faith because of this. And the books they study are all subordinate to ‘the Holy Bible [which is] a Rule of their life, and an aim and end of all their studies’, as the Confessio states – just as it emphasises the need for an orthodox understanding of the Bible. Frances Yates gave this answer to the question, ‘What did Rosicrucianism stand for?’: ‘To the genuine Rosicrucian, the religious side of the movement was always the most important. The Rosicrucian attempted to penetrate to deep levels of religious experience through which his personal religious experience, within his own confessional affiliation, was revived and strengthened.’27 That affiliation was, of course, Protestant and specifically Lutheran – but we have no need to maintain that restriction. Indeed, it would be wrong to remain fixed in the pattern of life and thought of four hundred years ago, we must move beyond it. Thus Rosicrucianism should be open to Trinitarian Christians of all denominations,28 and other rules should also be relaxed. We
already accept that Rosicrucians may be married, and we should also be open to women as members of the Fraternity. We must also be more aware of the spiritual goal of the Fama: to lead men to true religion, to a direct experience of God, by prayer, contemplation and devotion, but as an adjunct to, and not a replacement of, corporate acts of worship. For this, symbolic and allegorical language is essential, because there is no adequate everyday language to express such experiences, and experiential spiritual concepts do not fit easily into the technical language of theology. This is all well and good, but in practical terms how can we do it ? Not by ritual and ceremony alone, as the authors of the Fama realized, for the manifestos make no mention of ceremonies of any kind. We must also become well versed in meditation and in dedicated contemplative prayer – both as individuals and as small communities. But it is not easy. Even such a body as A.E. Waite’s Fellowship of the Rosy Cross fell into the trap of obsession with the minutiae of ceremonial, from which it has never fully escaped. Our method, then, should be to follow the essence of the manifestos, while not burying ourselves in the verbiage of Rosicrucian texts or binding ourselves with the chains of traditional ceremonial forms. To sum it up, the true Rosicrucian should be a professing Trinitarian Christian, actively following Christ’s commands to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. The one by striving towards Divine Union, and the other by healing the sick, in the broadest sense of body, mind and spirit, and by giving out the spiritual knowledge and understanding that we gain from probing the mysteries of creation in every aspect. All this in the context of an active Fraternity working for the spiritual benefit of all. Which leaves us with the elephant in the room: what of ‘Masonic Rosicrucianism’? Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry are distinct by nature: the one is purely religious, the other is neither ‘a religion nor a substitute for religion’. The two ways are not incompatible and a man can legitimately and usefully follow both – for each way represents a noble endeavour – but only in separation: attempting to unite them results only in dilution and diminution. They are both inevitably devalued and demeaned by corporate association in any form of institutional union. A society or Order that mixes the two reduces both by diminishing their specific traditional goals: the Rosicrucian seeks the direct experience of God and personal union with Christ; his is a path of personal religious devotion within the Christian faith. The freemason is following an unfolding path in this world that leads to his better appreciation and practice of private and public morality; Freemasonry is avowedly deistic but is not specifically Christian. It is the way of the good man in this world, the Rosicrucian vision is of our life with God in eternity. Let us respect them both, but as separate ways of moral advancement in this world and of spiritual advancement in the next.
26. In Vaughan’s translation they are as follows: 1. That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis. 2. None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one certain kind of habit, but therein to follow the custom of the country. 3. That every year, upon the day C., they should meet together at the house S[ancti] Spiritus, or write the cause of his absence. 4. Every Brother should look about for a worthy person, who after his decease might succeed him. 5. The word CR should be their Seal, Mark, and Character. 6. The Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years. 27. Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment. London, 1972, p. 222. 28. That is, members of any Church that professes the essentials of the Christian faith: belief in God as creator and sustainer of all that is; perceived by us as a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; belief in redemption through the life, death and resurrection of Christ; and in the efficacy of divine grace.
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The man now known as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, was born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al Badri al Samarrai, probably on July 28, 1971, in Samarra, a town about 80 miles north of Baghdad.
ost accounts of his early days are unremarkable. Reports from associates and rivals alike paint a bland picture: He was terribly short sighted. He had a nice voice. He was very polite. He was a good soccer player…. No other facts are really verifiable – he has maintained a secretive past – introspective, conservative, retiring – a mystery that has only helped cement his ascendency today. What is known, though, is that Baghdadi moved his family to Tobchi on the outskirts of Baghdad when he was about 18 years old. His parents were poor but religious, he was raised in the Sunni Salafist movement – a conservative reform movement that harkens to the earliest days of Islam in attempts to restore Sunnism by first returning to Sharia law. So he took up residency adjacent a mosque in Tobchi, and was sometimes seen to lead the prayers there. But, according to witness accounts, despite propaganda released subsequently by IS, he wasn’t an Imam. “He was insignificant,” the leader of the Islamic Army of Iraq, Ahmed al-Dabash, told the Daily Telegraph in 2014.1 “He used to lead prayers in a mosque near my area. No one really noticed him.” He was not known to engage in the insurgency, Dabash said.2 A neighbor of his, and member of the same soccer team who described Baghdadi as their “best player”, also told the Telegraph that Baghdadi was shy and collected.3 “He didn’t show any hostility to the Americans. He wasn’t like the hot bloodied ones.” Abu Ali said. “He was a quiet person, and very polite.” But stories of his conservatism were also reported. His neighbor, Abu Ali, told the press in 2014 that once, when Baghdadi was walking passed a wedding in Tobchi, he noticed the men and women dancing together and, alarmed, he entered the building hurriedly. “How can men and women be dancing together like this,” he is alleged to have said. “It’s irreligious.” He stopped the dance. 4 But, for the most part, there was nothing salient about this bespectacled man with a penchant for a literalist reading of the Koran and a talent at soccer. At least, not until sometime after 2004. Earlier that year, the owner of the Tobchi mosque, and Baghdadi’s landlord, pressed Baghdadi to join the Islamic Party in Iraq. But Salafism rejects political affiliation – only adherence to the law of God is recognized, and such assemblies of man are seen to make a mockery in number of the one true path. Apparently the disagreement was enough to send Baghdadi away. Then, in early 2005, the dislodged Baghdadi was picked up in Fallujah as part of a U.S. dragnet, and detained (along with tens of thousands of others)
By Ben Williams
at Camp Bucca. Here, ironically, he was thrown into close association with leaders of al Qaeda and ex-leadership of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party, remnant in the Iraqi military. It appears likely he was radicalized by these terrorists – and perhaps also by the botched interrogations – at Camp Bucca. After that stint in captivity, something had changed. He was released in 2009 when the camp closed, as no apparent threat.5 His calm eyes must have belied a deep-welling undercurrent, and the sincerity of his last words to the guards there, “I’ll see you guys in New York,” apparently went unquestioned.6 On 16 May, 2010, following the death of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), who was killed by coalition forces on April 18,
1. Ruth Sherlock. “How a talented footballer became the world’s most wanted man, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”. The Daily Telegraph. November 11, 2014. 2. Dabash told the Telegraph that, fighting in the insurgency, he had known the al Qaeda leadership personally, including their putative leader, Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, who was killed by U.S. strikes in 2006; “he was closer than a brother to me,” he is alleged to have said. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. The duration of his detainment is often contradicted. Some sources say only 10 months. See The Islamic State, by The Soufan Group, November 2014. 6. See “I’ll see you guys in New York: US commander who was ordered to release captured ISIS leader-to-be in 2009 reveals chilling parting words of fanatic now leading extremist march on Baghdad.” The Daily Mail. June 14, 2014. Rocky Mountain Mason
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2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was announced as the new leader for the then heavily degraded organization. Apparently not even members of the AQI were expecting that. “It’s still a mystery why they chose specifically Baghdadi to lead,” Hasham al-Hashimi, a security strategist in Iraq who has met Baghdadi, told the Daily Telegraph in 2014. Apparently, with urging from Haji Bakr, an ex-Colonel in Saddam’s elite Iraqi Revolutionary Guard, who’d met Baghdadi as a detainee at Camp Bucca, nine of the eleven members of the ruling Shura Council voted for him. 7 One thing’s for sure, though, under the new leadership the attacks began again in earnest. Between March and April, 2014, the newly dubbed Islamic State in Iraq (“ISI”) claimed 23 attacks south of Baghdad. Then, after eulogizing the death of bin Laden in May, Baghdadi’s group attacked Hilla, 60 miles south of Baghdad, killing 24 policemen and wounding 72 others. Next, on August 15 the ISI set off a wave of coordinated attacks, beginning in Mosul, killing at least 70 people. On August 28, 2011, they bombed the Umm al-Qura Mosque in Baghdad, killing the Sunni lawmaker, Khalid al-Fahdaw. Baghdadi next initiated a rigorous car bombing campaign, starting in late December, 2011, killing at least 63 people and wounding almost 200 in just four days. These were targeted attacks, striking at the Mahdi Army of the Shia warlord, Muqtada al-Sadr.8 Initially, when the civil war broke out in Syria, Baghdadi denied his troops from taking part – his focus was in Iraq. But as the war developed, opportunities for territorial gains incentivized an ISI presence there, and nine members of the ISI leadership were dispatched across the border under the direction of Abu Mohammed al Golani, who held ties with al Qaeda groups operative in that theater. Soon the Syrian war, which went viral online, brought many new recruits, and Golani was able to set up a workable operation. He called his force Jabhat al Nusra li Ahl al Sham (“The Support Front for the People of the Levant” or the al-Nusra Front) and received help from al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as from Baghdadi’s group. By 2013 the war in Syria had radically outpaced the skirmishes in Iraq, and the number of recruits flooding into Syria had made Golani’s group an effective force, one to be reckoned with. No doubt impressed, Baghdadi tried to assert his authority and leadership over them (he announced that al-Nusra had
been formed by ISI and that the two groups were set to merge), but Golani remained loyal to al Qaeda, and appealed to al Qaeda’s leader, Zawahiri. He’d heard nothing about any merger, and publicly contradicted Baghdadi’s assertion. Zawahiri ruled against Baghdadi, ordering the groups to remain separate, and ordered Baghdadi to reduce the ISI’s presence in Syria. But, despite Zawahiri’s orders, Baghdadi refused to acquiesce and, in February 2014, al Qaeda officially disavowed any connection with the ISI, which Baghdadi had already renamed the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (“the Levant”) –ISIS, or ISIL, depending on your preference. Their acts of heartless violence were already notorious. Baghdadi proved to be an effective and persistent brand, however. With the support of ex-Ba’athists and the Shura Council behind him, he began an effective campaign, one cast in an image of bloodshed and unflinching violence in the face of great and imperialistic odds. His team proved skilled with social media, recruiting through Facebook and Twitter, and producing an online magazine, Dabiq, in English. They destroyed ancient sites as pagan atrocities, and skillfully honed the international press. He also received a surge of support from Amr al Absi, a Syrian born in Saudi Arabia who’d lost his brother while leading a group sympathetic to ISIS on the battlefield: He’d been killed by other rebels. ISIS’s forces were also deadly efficient – well disciplined and apparently fearless – and recognizably infectious on the battlefield. Tales of their pursuits and feats of violence spread, and recruits began to draft away from the other rebel groups, flooding to support ISIS. ISIS rapidly became the dominant force in Syria. According to the Guardian newspaper, ISIS absorbed 80% of al Nusra’s forces.9 Thus, on June 29, 2014, after the conquest of Mosul in Iraq and the maintaining of Syrian oil fields, Baghdadi announced the creation of the Islamic State – a self-proclaimed sovereignty under Sharia law, that effectively dissolved the border between Syria and Iraq, and spilled over into Libya, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. On July 4, a man purporting to be Baghdadi was videoed giving a sermon at the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, where he identified himself as the world leader of all Muslims and called on the faithful to join the Islamic State. The population of the area under IS’s control is already estimated to be around 8 million.
7. See The Islamic State, by The Soufan Group, November 2014. 8. See “Al Qaeda in Iraq clams Baghdad suicide attack, bombings”. The Long War Journal. December, 2011 9. See “Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith, “Syria’s al-Nusra Front – ruthless, organized and taking control”. The Guardian. July 10, 2013.
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ABOVE: The Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra being blown up by ISIL in July or August 2015. RIGHT: Temple of Bel in Palmyra, which was blown up by ISIL in August 2015
10. See Daragahi, Borzou. “Biggest bank robbery that ‘never happened’ – $400m Isis heist”. The Financial Times. July 17, 2014. 11. See “Islamic State’s Finances, degraded, not yet destroyed”. The Economist. Dec. 12, 2015. 12. See “Islamic State: ‘Baghdadi message’ issued by jihadists”. BBC. November 13, 2014. 13. See “Kayla Mueller murdered by IS, says Yazidi former sex slave.”. BBC. September 9, 2015. 14. See “The Islamic State”. The Soufan Group. November 2014. 22
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Baghdadi then began the complex process of administering statehood, devising provincial governors and creating a bureaucratic system for management and financing from taxes, tolls, levies, oil sales, and sales of seized goods and equipment (including people subjugated as slaves and as hostages for ransom). In governance, IS proved surprisingly effective. This might be due to the fact that the apparatus they replaced was invariably defunctive and corrupt. IS is now bringing food, power, and at least some form of judicial procedure (no matter how fundamentalist) to places where, really anything else has been notably absent. Additionally, IS now controls approximately 40% of Iraq’s wheat production. Despite approximately $3 million per day from oil sales, IS plundered Iraq’s central bank in Mosul in June, 2014, getting away with perhaps $400 million.10 Their monthly revenues are estimated at $80 million – mainly from oil, electricity, taxes and tolls.11 With monthly expenses of only $6 million, there’s plenty of room for financing the State’s doctrine of baqiyya wa tatamaddad – or “remaining and expanding”. And that’s exactly what Baghdadi wills to do, to expand to Spain and into “Rome”, probably a metaphorical reference to a crusading West, and unite all Muslims under his caliphate. Alarmed not only by this rhetoric, but also by the sudden gains in significant ground, the U.S. stepped up air strikes at the end of 2014 and throughout much of 2015. Baghdadi was allegedly injured in October 2014, and fled Ar-Raqqah in Syria to Mosul. He was rebuffed by Zawahiri in October, 2014, when he wrote to him requesting he stop following Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, and instead swear allegiance to the Islamic State. Apparently, Zawahiri did not even reply to Baghdadi, but chose instead to make a public announcement in support of Omar. Then, in November, 2014, Baghdadi was allegedly injured again. But a week later, a recording surfaced on the internet, purportedly the voice of Baghdadi, filled with bellicose rhetoric urging Islamists to “erupt volcanoes of jihad” across the world
and to target efforts in “the head of the snake”, Saudi Arabia. He said that fighters for IS would never stop, “even if only one solider remains” and that they would “break the borders” of Jordan and Lebanon and “free Palestine”.12 Baghdadi was then apparently injured again on January 20, 2015, following air strikes on Al-Qa’im, and fled back to Syria. Jordan then bombed him back to Mosul, after two days of almost continuous attacks – 56 airstrikes, reportedly killing 7,000 IS militants. Reports of Baghdadi’s death, though, were unsubstantiated. Then on, August 14, 2015, Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker from Prescott, Arizona, was snatched and allegedly forced into submission and married to Baghdadi. She was repeatedly raped before being killed, allegedly by Baghdadi himself.13 Despite reports of over 10,000 casualties from air strikes in 2015, IS still claimed responsibility for the a number of effective attacks outside its borders, including the Paris attacks, the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268, the Beirut bombings, and the killing of Jaafar Mohammed Saad, the governor of Aden. No doubt, they are proving remarkably tenacious. This is partly due to the sense of order and purpose they bring to the otherwise neglected region, and because of the financing they’ve managed to procure. Additionally, Baghdadi’s low profile leadership style lends mystique to his seat and confusion among his enemies. Before the video surfaced on July 4, 2014, there were only two reportedly authentic pictures of him. Many of his subordinates don’t even know what he looks like. Most of the leadership haven’t even met him – and some who have report he wears a mask to cover his face.14 This is an interesting tactic. Even if he is killed, the relative anonymity he wields could establish some kind of self-sustaining legend – something akin to the Dread Pirate Roberts of the Princess Bride fame – where a successor assumes his identity to continue IS’s directives with all the loyalty and fearsomeness his name commands. Moreover, he may have been
captured and released already – we know he cuts an unassuming figure and, apparently, is capable of disingenuousness and dissembling. This explains the several reports of his capture and death which, apparently, have proven incorrect. Ultimately, it’s perhaps impossible to know, really, who is in control of IS. After all, the members of the top Sharia Council – supposed to exist of six imams capable of discerning Divine law – is relatively unknown. Baghdadi did make a claim of authority, allegedly issued from a council of scholars, when he announced his caliphate. To many (including Muslims), that was just hot air – like claiming direct decadency from the Prophet – some means to cement ethos among the unenlightened. But what if it were true? Al Qaeda often uses a face to cement leadership and encourage followers. Think of Bin Laden.
Or Zarqawi. A sort of fatherly presence, a seat of authority. But IS is using a branding strategy altogether different. It seems to prefer mystery and anonymity in leadership, buoyed by an online presence and media campaign that associates heinous acts with unbridled Divine purpose. The remarkable terror not only helps vacate grounds as enemies run from the advancing force, it also associates a ruthless adherence to doctrine in the mind of the muddled believer searching for meaning. Everyone wants to make history. The disaffected, then, are readily swept into the fantasy of great deeds, magnified by their finality and incredible severity. It’s alarming to consider that IS could be a tool of other, more hidden influences. But Baghdadi’s most enduring quality, as odd as it may seem, might well prove to be his abnegation.
2004 Zarqawi joins al Qaeda. Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is formed.
Ancient Sites Destroyed by IS
2005 Zarqawi forms the Mujahedeen Shura Council, a group of influential officers in separatist groups
July 2014 Prophet Jirjis Mosque and Shrine, in Mosul and the alleged site of Jonah’s Tomb.
2006 Zarqawi is killed in a U.S. airstrike. Abu Hamza al Muhajir rises as leader, but defers to Abu Omar al Baghdadi under a new group, Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).
February 2015 Mosul library, including thousands of books and its collection of 18th century manuscripts and Ottoman-era books.
2010 Abu Hamza and Abu Omar both killed, ISI is severely degraded despite secularist ties with ex-Ba’athists. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi voted in as new leader by the Shura Council, 9-2.
March 2015 Ancient city of Hatra, estabklished c. 300 B.C.
2011 Syrian civil war creates instability which, eventually, ISI seizes upon to make territorial gains including oil fields. Baghdadi sends nine members of ISI, headed by Abu Mohammed al Golani, to Northern Syria. With the assistance of Zawahiri, and al Qaeda, Golani creates Jabhat al Nusra li Ahl al Sham. Syrian war goes viral, attracting thousands of new recruits.
2012 ISI conducts “breaking down the walls” campaign, freeing members form prisons
2013 Baghdadi attempts to assert authority over Golani, who appeals to Zawahiri and al Qaeda. Zawahiri cannot reconcile the groups.
February 2014 Baghdadi’s ISI and al Sham (the Levant) (ISIS) is disavowed by al Qaeda. With the help of Syrian born Amr al Absi, Baghdadi establishes himself in Syria and draws recruits from al Nusra.
June 2014 ISIS captures Mosul. July 4th, Baghdadi appears for the first time on video giving a sermon at the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul wherein he announces the creation of Islamic State – a carved out sovereignty for the faithful, with himself as Caliph, as determined by an unnamed council of Islamic scholars.
April 2015 Mosul museum – including 173 original pieces of antiquity. Ancient City of Nimrud, built c. 900 B.C. Assyrian capital of Khorsabad, built by King Sargon II c. 717-760 B.C. Source Cullinane, Susannah. “Tracking a trail of historical obliteration: ISIS trumpets destruction of Nimrud. CNN. http://www.cnn. com/2015/03/09/world/iraq-isis-heritage/
Dabiq, ISIL's online magazine
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Part Three: The Wardens and other elected officers +3 and a spare By Michael McMillan
We have discussed most of the appointed officers in past articles and how they are sometimes viewed as being inferior or unimportant. Now let’s move on to the “junior” elected officers and others who are vitally important to the operation of the lodge.
he Wardens are more than just “ladies in waiting” as they are sometimes called and have vital functions to perform as well as being the probable future of our lodges. Merely listening to the recitation of their duties in the opening ritual and during the installation ceremony should be enough to convince you of the necessity of their attending every function of the lodge while holding these offices. Without their full participation the work of the lodge can grind to a halt resulting in wasted opportunities and insufficient planning for our future. I am very happy to see a changing situation in many lodges wherein there are fewer, or no, Past Masters sitting in the stations. This is not always possible, but it is a goal all should be striving to achieve. The Junior Warden in many lodges has a variety of responsibilities that he should perform and which constitute training for his possible advancement to the East. Not only is he in charge of the Stewards who will be serving the Brothers during the hours of refreshment, but he is traditionally in charge of either preparing or procuring the meals for our various social functions, table lodges, and hopefully the refreshments that should be a part of every Masonic meeting. In my experience these times often provide more Masonic education than our stated communications since there is no business to be conducted and which allows for freer conversation.
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The Brethren get to socialize and keep up with each other’s lives outside the lodge, thereby promoting the Friendship and Brotherly Love we so often speak of during our rituals. Of course there is often the session of “parking lot Masonry” after the meeting. The Junior Warden is often in charge of several committees as well, and these are the things that prepare him for higher office and help provide some of that leadership training that is so often promised when talking to prospective and new members about the benefits they will receive from belonging to the Craft. I don’t want to digress into that discussion since it is pet peeve of mine, so perhaps I will write about it on another occasion. These committees are necessary to the proper functioning of the lodge since they will usually consist of preparing the budget for the coming year, checking over the finances and records of the lodge, scholarship applications, and others that are the usual custom in that particular lodge. In other jurisdictions they can vary widely from these, but they are still essential and merit his full attention and effort. The old adage about the “5 P’s” (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance) is true and useful to remember. The Senior Warden is in a rather unique situation since he is the most likely candidate to assume the Oriental Chair in the coming year and therefore needs to spend much of his time preparing for that probable
outcome. He needs to be thinking about his appointments to the various committees and the junior officers who he may or may not want to advance. If there is an officer who is consistently not performing his duties the SW should have a serious discussion with him and see if he is really committed to serving his Brethren rather than blindly advancing him to the next chair. If the Senior Warden feels he is not, he owes it to his lodge to appoint someone who will be present and proficient. I have seen many lodges flounder and fail over the years due to moving Brothers up the line who are not willing to do what is necessary for the betterment of the Fraternity. Another of his critical items is to plan a calendar for his upcoming year so that he has some idea of what he is going to do instead of walking into the lodge and asking â&#x20AC;&#x153;What are we going to do tonight?â&#x20AC;? and just winging it through the year. Now, I will be the first to admit that his plans will probably not come to pass without some changes since there are several things he has not control over such as degree conferrals. He should have a general outline of the year with such things planned as speakers and other forms of good Masonic education and special events or awards that may be part of the usual year in his lodge or that he wants to have during his year. Yes, he is still subject to being elected, but without a plan he is going to be lost at worst, and playing catch up at best. Now for the other officers I have not discussed which are the Secretary, Treasurer, Chaplain, Marshal, Director of the Work, and perhaps Musician. These positions are often filled by Past Masters and
are a good place to utilize their talents and experience as well as keeping them active in the lodge and its affairs. The Secretary and Treasurer work so closely that in some lodges it is often difficult to see the difference on the surface, but their individual responsibilities are clearly delineated in the opening ritual. If it involves the funds of the lodge it is completely the duty of the Treasurer to keep the records and to be able to account for any monies collected or spent whenever asked. Often the Secretary takes care of the day to day writing of checks and he collects such things as dues and any other assessments as well as special donations, but it is clearly stated that he turns them over to the Treasurer. The Secretary has a number of other duties and they are time consuming enough that lodges often pay them a stipend. Of course they keep the minutes, gather and write correspondence, collect monies, and send reports to the Grand Secretary concerning membership and other things that take place in the proper functioning of the lodge. They often see to putting out the Trestle Board to the members to keep them informed of the upcoming events in the lodge and perhaps reports of sickness and distress. This is a list that could go on for a long time, but there is not much point in listing every little detail in this article since they can be quite extensive. One thing I want to warn against though is letting the Secretary essentially run the lodge. Yes, they are usually Past Masters and have experience that can be of great help to the Worshipful Master, but he is still the man with the hat and Rocky Mountain Mason
Stations & Places gavel and ultimately responsible for all the things that take place there. The Chaplain is the Brother who keeps our eyes on the Three Great Lights and reminds us of our obligations. He gives a prayer at the opening and closing of the lodge, but should be also be called upon at other times such as when remember our sick and distressed Brothers and especially those who have passed on to the Celestial Lodge over which the Grand Architect presides. Given the stated nature of our lodges, that all good men of faith can be Freemasons, he should be careful to avoid prayers that are not inclusive of all the members. In some lodges there are visual reminders on the Altar of the multiple religions practiced by our Brothers, but even if they are not placed on the Altar we need to be aware of their presence in the lodge. The Marshal is often called upon to escort the Chaplain to the Altar for the benefit of prayer, and he frequently is used in presenting the flag. This is another area of some discussion among the Brethren that can get rather heated. The presentation of the flag and pledge of allegiance are not part of the Colorado Ritual, and should properly be done after the opening ritual is over, and if the flag is retired at the end of the meeting it should be done either before beginning the closing ritual or after. Some lodges avoid this situation by not reciting the pledge, so I would remind any who visit other lodges that the customs of the particular lodge should always be observed. Also, we frequently have visiting Brethren and perhaps some members who may not be citizens of the United States, and their feelings should be taken into account when asking for the Brethren to join in the pledge. A Director of the Work is one office I believe should exist in every lodge since it is his duty to train the Brethren in the performance of the ritual and make sure it is properly performed with the dignity it deserves. He needs to work closely with the District
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Lecturer and see that the required examinations take place every year as required in Book of Constitutions. This is a great office for a Past Master since he should have learned all of the ritual while progressing through the chairs prior to sitting in the East. A good tool for him to use to assist the Brethren in tracking their education is a chart available in our publications in Colorado that show the various lectures and other parts that should be learned by the officers while advancing through the chairs. The lodge Musician is an office that used to be fairly common but has fallen by the wayside. Perhaps it is due to the fact that not as many people study music, particularly the keyboard instruments, as in the past. The addition of live music can add a lot to our rituals since the musician can vary the tempo and expression to fit what is actually happening. Even if this is not possible in your lodge I would ask you to consider appointing a Brother to use recorded music appropriate to the occasion, either of his choosing or using the CD available from the Colorado Grand Lodge office. If you choose to use music, please use it during your practice meetings so it can flow smoothly and add to rather than distract from the ceremony. Again, this is not a comprehensive list of the duties of these officers, just those which are often part of their obligations and other things I have seen in my travels. Please discuss these and see if your lodge can do better than it is currently doing and consider making any changes that will help your lodge function at a higher level while not violating any of our rules. In the final article of this series I will discuss the â&#x20AC;&#x153;High Heid Yinsâ&#x20AC;?, i.e. the Worshipful Master, Past Masters, and Past Grand Masters. Being one of the last one mentioned gives me an insight that is available to few in the Craft and I hope to offer things you may never have considered about those serving in a demanding and often difficult position.
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2016 GRAND ORATOR’S ADDRESS
GRAND ORATOR • GRAND LODGE OF COLORADO • JANUARY 22, 2016
M.W.G.M, Past G.MM, Distinguished visitors, and Brethren all.
n standing up here today as I did last year one might think there would be a sense of Déjà vu, but alas it is more like a case of vuja-day, which means there was no initial and clear idea or sense of knowing what to say. This is said in the sense that independent of what was said last year there is new territory to be covered this year. First I would like to express a great appreciation and a sense of honor to be here. I would also like to express the gratitude I feel toward our Grand Master for the opportunity to serve this Grand Lodge yet again and for the excellent leadership he demonstrated to our Grand Lodge. I hope that you all had a great holiday and that you are ready for the new Masonic year that lies ahead. This year for Christmas I received from my beloved something that goes from 0 to 250 in about 3.5 seconds. It is called a bathroom scale. One might be insulted by such a gift. In the final analysis it was an attempt to direct my attention toward my health. It was in fact a loving gift. Few appreciate it when we are faced with the obvious, even if in our best interest. The messenger takes a risk when pointing out some issues that may be painful to the recipient. So today I get to be the messenger to so many distinguished masons, friends, and brothers. While not one of us has a monopoly on the truth, nor the definitive panacea for the restoration of the Craft, many ideas have arisen that might enable the re-establishment of Masonry to the lofty place in the world it once held – and is destined to hold again. The big question that lies before us is how much dissolution of the craft is necessary before we arrive at a more correct view of the nature and purpose of Masonry? With such excellent tenants, maxims, and teachings presented in the allegories of our ceremonials, and revealed to our consciousness by our intricate system of symbols, we should rest assured that such an awareness can be obtained by those who will take the time to travel the path of revelation. Without this concerted effort, restoration will not be possible.
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I would like to use an allegory here to describe a situation the entire institution of Masonry is faced with. When our national leaders first decided to create a space program we looked at the end goal for that endeavor, which was landing on the moon. That was a great vision, yet before that vision could be implemented there was much foundational work that needed to be done. The science needed to be developed to create the required vehicles that could travel the necessary speed to break the earth’s orbit. That speed remains about 25,000 miles an hour. If you are not at least traveling at that speed you cannot break the earth’s orbit. Consequently, without the ability to reach these speeds, space travel is impossible. It is my hope and desire that each of us is able to make the long and difficult journey that Masonry has laid out for us. That is the arrival to that lofty state called an enlightened mind. That enlightened mind is the foreign country wherein we work and receive Masters Wages. While the enlightened mind is the present goal for all blue lodge Masons, whether we are aware of it or not, there are the necessary steps required before the eagle has landed. Like the trip to the moon there are preliminary steps required. Rituals need to be memorized, and embodied; a capacity for leadership needs to be developed, by first learning to obey, and to keep and maintain our obligations. Subduing our passions, and polishing and adorning the mind are requirements – and not just a good idea. Do we actually honor and hold sacred the duties that that are placed in our care? Are we becoming the “they” who have taken on and shouldered the responsibility of our lodges? Have we studied our ceremonials, examined our lectures and read the several booklets, Officers Handbook, Unified Floor work, the Clear Text Key, and the Book of Constitutions, that have been prepared for our instruction? If we have not, confusion will ensue. There is nothing more abhorrent and counter to Masonry than chaos and confusion.
In the many professions in the world there is always a proper training in the nature of each profession. There are tools and skill sets attendant to any particular labor. A carpenter has his tools, a surgeon has his, and a hi-tech professional has his. Knowledge of the purpose and application of particular skills and the use of appropriate tools increases the effectiveness of the one who wields them. Lack of knowledge of the purpose and technique for using a skill set or a tool can result in delay and perhaps failure to achieve the objective relative to the labors at hand. This is as true of Masonry as it is of any other profession. As I pondered on what to say on this day it occurred to me to investigate some of the basic resistances that often arise in the minds of many brothers as they attempt to find their way and establish their orientation within the context of Masonry. The newly initiated E.A. and recently passed F.C. are left with the question, what’s my next step? The newly raised M.M. might ask, how do I fit in and what are my duties in the lodge? Having been a secretary for the past 13 years I have observed that many E.As. and F.Cs. fall through the cracks because they are not sure what is expected of them or how assertive they should be in asking for help. Perhaps they don’t even know that they are supposed to ask for help. There is often confusion among the members of a lodge as to who does what. Many M.Ms. disappear because they have difficulty in finding their place in the lodge and understanding what is expected of them. Other brethren find themselves in officer’s positions generally unaware of the duties that have devolved upon them and are not properly instructed as to how to proceed. What do you mean I am supposed to provide refreshments or make sure the garments for the degrees are cleaned and prepared? These are not overwhelming problems, but each can prove fatal to a brother’s Masonic career as well as play havoc on the health and quality of work in a particular lodge. There are some lodges that do not experience these problems because there is strong leadership in the installed officers and training available for those who are making their way into the progressive line. Secretaries and treasurers are often placed in a position without an understanding of the need for copious record keeping relative to the minutes and reports as well as the proper transparent accounting of the finances of the lodge. There was one lodge in the northeast part of the state that was missing 20 sets of minutes in a period of three years! This lack of record keeping can have a devastating effect on the history of the lodge as well as access to information as to who received what degree and when. Officers are often fed their lines in our ceremonies because they have not
been properly instructed and, more importantly, have not taken the time necessary to learn their part or perform their ritualistic duties. I have often been told that I am very lucky that I am able to memorize all the degrees and their lectures. My response is, yes it’s true: The more I study them and devote the time to memorization, the luckier I get. All this comes down to a particular part of our Masonic education on the one hand and the application of our attention to the ceremonials that are placed in our care on the other. No candidate for the Mysteries of Masonry has ever passed the great test of Initiation who has not accustomed himself to pass lesser tests every day of his life. These tests involve the familiar things performed from day to day by a conscious effort at self-training, self-reflection, and self-evaluation. Opportunity will always be found in the place where you find yourself at any given time; among the familiar circumstances of daily life, in attention to duty, and in obedience to the voice of the Master Mason within. Your capacity to pass the greater tests and trials awaiting you is dependent upon your ability to meet and surmount the daily lesser ones. Always remember, therefore, that he who is faithful in that which is least is also faithful in much.
It is my hope and desire that each of us is able to make the long and difficult journey that Masonry has laid out for us. That is the arrival to that lofty state called an enlightened mind. That enlightened mind is the foreign country wherein we work and receive Masters Wages. This brings us to the sense of the duty that befalls every brother when taking on the study and memorization as well as the embodying of our ritualistic parts. So many speak of their inability to memorize, yet when consciously applied, with requisite time given to that process of memorization, we discover that we begin to get lucky, that our excuses for our inability to memorize are actually untrue. It just takes time. Take time, then, to study the rituals for, my brothers, it takes time and focused attention. Become an example of excellence in your work and lift your lodge to a new level of Masonic embodiment. You will then enter into the world as a living symbol, a symbol in motion in which you are a part embodying some symbolic part of the life of the Deity. When we become consciously aware of the opportunity that lies before us through the vehicle of Masonry, and all that is attendant to this institution, we can properly prepare ourselves in breaking the
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2016 GRAND ORATOR’S ADDRESS field of our own gravitational resistance. New vistas of awareness will become available to us that were hitherto unknown. If we are duly and truly prepared we will eventually be able to say “the Eagle has landed.” If we have not taken the necessary steps it’s “Huston we have a problem.” Our sense of responsibility for the whole of the Order is often confounded by a sense of us vs. them relative to the members of a lodge and the officers of a lodge. This same principle is magnified even further relative to the constituent lodges and the Grand Lodge. Within the individual lodge we have the opportunity, as a member of that lodge, to voice our opinion and vote on the issues and motions that come before the lodge. We can change our by-laws that govern the constituent lodge, we can vote for the elected officers that will govern the lodge. We can allocate our resources for the lodge purpose. This is at once our prerogative and our duty as a member of a lodge. Do we all recognize that it is up to each individual to assist in steering the direction of a lodge? It is not the they but the we that takes care of the lodge trajectory. The same is true with the voting delegates of a lodge within the context of the Grand Lodge. My brothers, we have the opportunity to shape and direct the course of Masonry in this Grand Jurisdiction. We vote for or against the proposed amendments to the Book of Constitutions. We can bring things up to date! We vote for the elected officers that represent us in the Grand lodge. We vote for the budget that pays for the programs that we wish to see in a particular Masonic year. It is far from being us vs. them. Let us ever remember this! In section 6 of the Book of Constitutions, entitled “fundamental principles,” it clearly states that, “The Grand Lodge, which is but the entire body of the Craft in this jurisdiction, acting through its duly chosen representatives, and restricted only by the landmarks, has the sole power and authority to determine what is and what is not “Masonic,” and to fix the conditions under which one may enter Freemasonry, or, having entered, remain. Its only guide is its best judgment as to what is required by the good of the Craft; and from its decision there is no appeal.” My Brothers from your collective decision there is no appeal. The only title to Masonic office is the best judgment of the brethren voting, or the officer appointing, uninfluenced by solicitation, and exercised with no consideration in mind but the highest good of the Craft. It is probably unecessary to read this to you as most of you have no doubt complied with Section 110 of the Book of Constitutions that all principle officers are required to read the Book of Constitutions 30
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and send in your compliance form within two months of your elections. The main point I wish to make in this section of this Grand Oration is that you are the Grand Lodge, not any external “them” to whom we might like to lay blame for any problems that arise in this Grand Jurisdiction. Brethren, let us take a good look at ourselves and clarify the veracity of this statement and whether or not we fully understand the part we play within the greater whole. Along these lines we have been asked to participate in the revision of the Book of Constitutions in order to bring it up to date. Please do not miss out on this opportunity and sacred responsibility incumbent on each and every one us. The point that I would like to address while having this opportunity to be the loving messenger is the collective nature of Masonry. We have been often informed that masonry is a personal journey and that Masonry is about you. While this is most definitely true, as far as it goes, it is also true that Masonry is about a group life. There is no Masonry without individuals and there is no Masonry without an assemblage of these individuals expressing the collective purpose of practicing Masonry. Each of us must take on the individual responsibility of preparing ourselves to serve the craft. We must engage in the personal study of Masonry’s ceremonials, its doctrines, symbols and history. This is a preliminary step before we can effectively take our place in the larger group context. Not one of us can open a lodge by ourselves. We cannot initiate, pass, or raise ourselves or another brother by ourselves. It is the assembly of Masons within the context of a lodge that performs Masonic labor and not the individual alone. The individual has but to play his part, but that part ever takes place within the context of the larger whole of the lodge. So my brothers, “know thyself.” This requires a clear self-assessment of our individual strengths and weaknesses. Let us prepare and heal our material so we may know our group. Take the necessary steps towards excellence and bring yourself, the individual, within the context of the collective labors of Masonry. Let us call the Craft from refreshment to labor and return Masonry to its destined and lofty place within our world’s society. Then will enlightenment be available to us and we can say with confidence, “the Eagle has landed.” Thank you my brethren for your attention. Most Sincerely and Fraternally, Kevin Townley Grand Orator 2015
Denver Consistory presents
Scottish Rite Classical Music Series
2015-2016 \\ Denver Consistory \\ 1370 Grant St, Denver CO CONCERT I - BEETHOVEN’S 9TH SYMPONY
October 10, 2015 (one performance) The Arapahoe Philharmonic under the musical direction of Brian Patrick Hughes, will present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony along with the Cherry Creek Choral Soloists: Tiffany Blake, Soprano -Sarah Barber, Mezzo-Soprano -Jason Baldwin, Tenor -Steven Taylor, Baritone.
CONCERT II - HANDEL’S MESSIAH
December 11 & 12, 2015 (two performances) Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra, David Rutherford, Music Director, with the Seicento Baroque Ensemble Soloist: Pearl Rutherford, Soprano –Sarah Barber, Mezzo-Soprano -James Baumgarder, Tenor -Steven Taylor, Baritone.
CONCERT III - ALL AMERICAN
March 5, 2016 (one performance) All American-Lakewood Symphony Orchestra, Matt Switzer, Music Director. George Gershwin -American in Paris; Aaron Copeland -Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo; Matt Switzer -World Premier of an antiphonal arrangement for organ and orchestra to be dedicated to the Scottish Rite; George Gershwin -Rhapsody in Blue Piano: Joshua Sawicki.
CONCERT IV - ALL AMERICAN
April 16, 2016 (one performance) Littleton Symphony Orchestra, Jurgen de Lemos, Music Director; Richard Strauss -Opening of Also SprachZarathustra (with organ); J.S. Bach, arrangement by Stokowski -Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Sergei Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No 2 Giovanni Gabrielli-Pieces for Brass and Organ; Camille Saint-Saëns -Symphony No 3 (Organ Symphony), Adagio and Finale Organ: Josiah Hammell.
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ARE WE REALLY LISTENING? BY John Warren,
“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” --- Lloyd Alexander
asonic Bodies are, with few exceptions, provide opportunities to interact with your Brothers. experiencing membership declines, with all It is up to you to choose those activities that best meet the problems that entails. Fewer Brothers your needs.” So it is with the Consistory, so it is with are asked to do more, just to maintain some artificially other Masonic groups as well. set level. This begs the question, where in the heck is There is a Native American proverb that goes everyone else? This situation must be reversed if the something like this: “Never criticize a man until Fraternity is to survive. you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.” Sometimes, But, how do we do this, the handwringers ask? the blinders must come off. Committees are formed; expectations and goals In the March – April 2015 issue of the Scottish are set for whatever the solution de jour is. There are Rite Journal, Grand Commander Ronald A Seale, 33°, some problems in this approach, the biggest two of related his experiences with his grandmother’s hearing which is a lot of these ideas are espoused by Brothers loss and how she would tell people to speak into her who wear blinders and don’t especially care for other good ear where the message would come through loud Brothers opinions and that they also seem to be geared and clear. only towards new Brothers. Many of these “soluThe Grand Commander went on to say, in part: tions?” are doomed for failure from the beginning. “…As leaders within our Fraternity, I wonder if we are Some time ago, I was permitted to sit in on a listening with our good ears. Do we hear – really hear discussion on why we seem to be losing so many – what is being communicated to us by our memmembers. There were a lot of ideas talked about, but bers as to their expectations and needs from Masonic the discussion seemed to focus on newer members membership? …..” I would have to say no, due to the until the question was asked: Why haven’t any of continued declining membership numbers. you (and it was a group of eight or so) not talked "Why haven’t any of you not talked about older members who continue to about older members who pay their dues but seldom participate in any Masonic activities? " continue to pay their dues That simple question was a game changer. but seldom participate in any Masonic activities? That simple question was a game changer. The discussion mentioned above has a good The conversation then moved on to ALL Brothers probability of success because it relies on personal suspended for non-payment of dues, who don’t come contact and is concerned with ALL members, not around anymore for whatever reason and so on and just new members, and most importantly, is not what the Fraternity can do to get them back. Are we geared just to one Masonic group, but in Masonry not maintaining contact with the membership? How in General. can we improve this? How can we get more of the My recommendation then becomes to take off the brethren involved? These are simple questions with blinders and work together. simple answers, but the most important of which boils Alexander Meiklejohn once said: “There is, I down to personnel contact and getting members, new think, in the world, nothing more futile than the and old, involved in Masonic activities. attempt to find out how a task should be done when Former Denver Consistory Secretary Bill Klatil, one has not yet decided what the task is.” 33°, said “Many events and activities are created that Indeed!!
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In the Beginning Was the Word
By Mark Stavish
or the Medieval Christian it is through Mary that the Word was ‘made flesh’. For the operative masons who built the cathedrals dedicated to her honor, geometry expressed these ideals into material form. This power of creation, the ability to take the intangible and turn it into the sensual, the tactile, breathing form itself, is the Lost Word that each Master Mason seeks. It is the power of creation itself, and while he receives a substitute word during his raising, the true Word is one that must be discovered. Mary is the Wisdom Seat, the foundation of all creation in the medieval mind and the Word is her offspring. The power of creation is found in Sophia, or wisdom. Harmony expressed in sound produces music, and in word, a certain rhythm, even chant. This idea of words expressing power over their listeners is embedded in the word, “enchanted’ or to be ‘chanted’ which is derived from the Latin, incantare (in – against, cantare – chant). It is well known that rhythm and rhyming have a particular effect on the consciousness of the listener as well as the speaker, and are an
effective memory device, as well as tool of suggestion or hypnosis. It is no surprise that we see rhyme and rhythm playing an important part in magical incantations of the early homespun variety – known as witchcraft – or in the oaths and obligations of members of another Craft – that of Freemasonry. Through peculiar wording and rhythm, extensive rituals are committed wholly to memory and passed on orally for centuries. In Masonic ritual the candidate for initiation would be blindfolded for the greater part of the ceremony, and only through intense listening to the words of the lodge officers is he capable of discerning what is happening. This detail may sound insignificant to anyone who has not undergone the experience, but for those who have, even decades after their initiation, entire lines from it are memorable because of the concentration given to what is happening around them. The effects of the denial of the sense of sight, the organ wherefrom we receive nearly all of our information on a moment to moment basis, is only accentuated in modern media culture. To be blindfolded and led around a room wherein you know nothing of its
The Lost Word Masonic Quest and the
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design, contents, or the number of people present, is truly a matter of trust and one that heightens the senses – even if only temporarily – to an unusually sharpened pitch. One begins to listen within as much as one listens without. In truth, the entire Masonic initiation can be conceived as an initiation wherein we are listening to the inner Master rather than to the Master of the Lodge. Those who have found the Lost Word have heard the voice of their Inner Master, the God within, and can truly be called Master Masons in both essence and form. The Lost Word has been recovered and is the True Word. The Substitute Word is no longer needed. The Master Hiram Abiff who is slain by three fellows of the craft, represents the desire for humans to have power or privilege which is unearned. It is the false sense of self, derived from identification with the material world, that slays and cuts us off from communion with our true Inner Master, and as such, until we can humble ourselves at the Porch of the Temple, we can not enter, nor received the Word. Until then, a substitute word is given. This substitute is religion.
Religion comes from the root, relig- or to unite, and the goal of most religions is to unite the human consciousness with divinity in some fashion. However, most fall far short of this goal, and instead devolve to media for inculcating moral and ethical virtues through the process of ritual and collective work. As such, true uniting can only occur on an individual level and in the privacy of one’s own meditation chamber; as symbolized by Hiram’s daily meditations in the Porch of the Temple. Jewish Magic
Within qabbala, the possibilities of magic are performed through the use of Divine Names. However, magic was considered to be a rare event, only performed by a pious person in times of emergency, and at physical and spiritual risk to himself. While qabbalistic writings have warnings against the use of magic, there are no universal condemnations of it. This is further complicated by the distinction made between purely physical or material magic, and inner or spiritual magic, when such distinctions in practice are not always clear-cut.
Excerpts from Freemasonry – Rituals, Symbols & History of the Secret Society Copyright 2007 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 551252989. All rights reserved, used by permission and best wishes of the publisher.
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Spanish schools of qabbala made a distinction between schools of practice that they received from the Lurianic tradition using the Tree of Life, and those they perceived as being derived from magical practices based on the Name, or “Masters of the Name.” It is these practices of the “Masters of the Name” that much of Medieval and later surviving magical practices is based, including German and Pennsylvania ‘Dutch’ folk magic.
In truth, the entire Masonic initiation can be conceived as an initiation wherein we are listening to the inner Master rather than to the Master of the Lodge. Within the widespread diffusion of Jews across Europe and North Africa, Jewish magic also took on some of the practices of its neighbors, especially Arab demonology, and German and Slavic witchcraft. The idea of ‘the Jew’ being a powerful magician, capable of conjuring up angels and devils, amplified awe of practical qabbala, and anti-Semitic fears. The ba’al Shem or “Master of the Name” was the archetypal magus of the Medieval period, and whose imitation many Christians sought, despite direct prohibitions by the Roman Catholic Church against magical practices. Magical Writing
Johannes Reuchlin (1455 - 1522)
The belief in special alphabets attributed to angelic or divine sources is a cornerstone of phonetic Jewish magic. It also influences those in which the creation of talismans and magical drawings are also used, in that many of these images were composed of carefully crafted constructions composed of Hebrew letters. The earliest of these so-called ‘magical alphabets’ or kolmosin (“angelic pens”) is attributed to Metatron, the Archangel of the Countenance. Additional alphabets exist, attributed to other Angelic and Archangelic beings, such as Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, in the same fashion that various magical texts are attributed to Hermes, Solomon, Moses, and other important figures. Reuchlin and the Miraculous Name
Reuchlin was born in Pforzheim, Germany and received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Basel in 1477, and a degree in law from Poitiers in 1481. He traveled to Rome as part of the diplomatic corps, before settling in Stuttgart. In 1492 Reuchlin learned Hebrew at the age of forty-seven. This was as difficult year for Jews, and the beginning of several pogroms. Under orders of the new Catholic king and queen, Ferdinand and Isabelle, Jews were ordered to leave Spain, convert to Catholicism, or risk death. 38
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Reuchlin’s knowledge of Hebrew allowed him to study qabbala directly from the original texts, and within two years he had produced his principle work on the subject – De Verbo Mirifico. De Verbo became a sort of Bible on what would eventually be called ‘Christian’ qabbala. In it, Reuchlin claimed to have reconstructed the ‘true’ name of Jesus in Hebrew by taking the Tetragrammaton, or ‘Four Lettered Name’ of God in Hebrew – Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh – and inserting the letter Shin in the middle – YHShVH. This name was quickly adopted to show that the true mission of Jesus was that of Savior, but also to show that within qabbala, there were many secrets that had been forgotten since the time of the first Christian churches. This attempt to ‘Christianize’ qabbala, made it a politically safer topic for Reuchlin and others to study. The position of Jews in Christian Europe was always a precarious one. When Emperor Maxmilian I ordered all books in Hebrew burnt on August 15th, 1509, few might have really been surprised. However, authorities did ask Reuchlin, in what might have been an effort at entrapment for his Jewish sympathies, if he felt it just to burn all Jewish books while leaving them only the Torah. Reuchlin answered “No” and was ordered to appear before the Grand Inquisitor in Mainz to defend himself against charges of heresy. Fortunately for Reuchlin, he was a well-liked man. Representatives from 53 towns in the province of Swabia spoke up on his behalf. To thank him for the great risk he took in their defense the rabbis of the town of Pforzheim supplied him with the documents he would later use in writing De Arte Cabalistica. De Arte Cabalistica quickly became the ‘bible’ of Christian Cabala after its publication in 1516. It was dedicated to Pope Leo X, who had an interest in Pythagorianism. The basic style of De Arte is that of a dialogue between a Pythagorean and a Muslim that is mediated by a Jew who explains how qabbalah contains the oldest of divine wisdom. This wisdom states that the sacred letters and names of things, in Hebrew of course, are not just symbols, but that they carry the very spiritual essence of the thing they are related to. To substantiate his claims, Reuchlin references the Zohar and the magical text, Sefer Raziel (Book of Raziel). Distinctions Between Magic and Mysticism
While magic was seen as filled with dangers, and used mainly for creating effects in the outer world, mysticism, which used many of the same principles, was seen as a means of increasing one’s personal holiness and relationship to God. Through prayer and meditation, it was believed that the individual could ascend the celestial spheres and attain increasing knowledge, love, and wisdom. These spheres, or the Biblical version of Ezekiel’s Vision was later adapted in Lurianic qabbala as “The Tree of Life”. Gershom Scholem, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the kabbalah, states:
“The Kabbalah regarded prayer as the ascent of man to the upper worlds, …Its field of activity in kabbalistic thought is entirely in the inward worlds and in the connections between them…The ontological hierarchy of the spiritual worlds reveals itself to the kabbalist in the times of prayer as one of the many Names of God. This unveiling mystical activity of the individual in prayer, who meditates or focuses his kavvanah (meditation) upon the particular name that belongs to the spiritual realm through which his prayer passing. … The Divine Names are not called upon, as they are in ordinary operational magic, but are aroused through meditative activity directed toward them.” The end goal of these prayers and meditations was complete absorption into the godhead. In so doing, the breach between God and humanity symbolized by the ‘fall’ was repaired, and God became accessible once again. This often revealed itself in the form of ecstasy, sometimes even contagious to those around the one praying, and heightened states of awareness, such as prophesy, healing, and clairvoyance. These phenomena however, were regarded as side-effects of the state, and not a goal in themselves. They were viewed similar to Paul’s advice on the charismas of the early Christians. A sign of grace, but not the act of grace. The Mason Word
In several of the degrees in Scottish Rite and Royal Arch, also known as Capitulary Masonry, or Capstone Masonry, the Secret Word is revealed to the Master Masons present. Prior to this revelation of the Lost Word the Master Mason is given a word, known as the Substitute Word. Unfortunately, the oral tradition of Masonry has meant that in the transmission of this important word of recognition that the pronunciation has been garbled giving rise to two actual words in use. One is predominant in continental Europe and the second in England, the United States, and other primarily English speaking countries. According to Mackey, the second word came into existence and use during the formation of the High Degrees and the influence of the exiled Stuart’s on Freemasonry. What is intriguing about this is that both words have come to have their own unique and specific meaning making both still of value to the Mason on the path of illumination and not simply a card carrier. This value is in part is from the essential Hebrew origin of both words, the other is from the simple meaning of a word, or spoken phrase in Freemasonry and esotericism in general as well. However, in some instance this meaning must be injected into the word, or that word that the sound most closely approximates, because so many Masons were ignorant of the ancient languages, their meaning and pronunciation.
While some Masons will object to ‘revealing’ the Master Mason’s Word, it must be pointed out that these words are easily found on the Internet as well as numerous books on Masonry. It is hoped that they will realize this, as well as that without knowing the additional means of identification, or which world belongs to which jurisdiction, simple knowledge of the sounds will not allow one to pass themselves off as a Master Mason. Pike states:
The Tetragrammaton, or ‘Four Lettered Name’ of God
The True Word of a Mason is to be found in the concealed and profound meaning of the Ineffable Name of Deity, communicated by God to Moses; and which meaning was long lost by the very precautions to conceal it. The true pronunciation of that names was in truth a secret, in which, however, was involved the more profound secret of its meaning. In that meaning is included all the truth that can be known by us, in regard to the nature of God. The Substitute Word
The identification of the Master Mason’s word as the Substitute Word is of critical significance to the Freemason who is paying attention. The ancient religious, philosophical, and esoteric notion of ‘the Word’ is that of divine truth, unquestionable and omnipotent power and authority to create. Thus, if the ‘Word’ is divine truth, then the Lost Word must be that truth either forgotten, ignored, or transformed in some manner during the act of its very expression – just as clay remains clay, but is still modified when it is turned into a piece of pottery. The Substitute Word can be seen as two-fold, either as a failure to find the Truth, as the Fellow-Craft who went in search of Hiram failed to find the Word; or as a temporary bridge to assist one on their search for truth. It is a comforter to aid them until the Word is found. The suggestion of a ‘Substitute Word’ is found in various rituals of the 18th Century, but is not identified as such until later. If the Word is then Divine Truth, the search of this truth is the very reason for the existence of Freemasonry and that each Mason’s obligation and work is to find that Truth. While variations of the Word do not change its essential character, the idea of it is critical to the very existence of Masonry. Without the Word, Masonry is dead. Rocky Mountain Mason
even Christianity, for the consciousness - or soul - this term is easily understood as meaning that Solomon understood the inner voice of his Being. Such notions are radically foreign to modern thinking, but must be reconsidered if the esoteric aspects of Masonry are to be fully understood. It is a proven fact that the very miracles described in the scriptures are possible. They have been done, are being done today, and can be done and are in harmony with the known laws of modern physics. Brother Jean Dubuis a French alchemist wrote:
The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)
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Each Mason is tasked with finding the Lost Word; lost when the Master Hiram was slain. The 12 Fellowcrafts who went in search of Hiram’s body were tasked to return and tell of the first sound they heard, as that would act as a substitute for the Lost Word. The symbolism here is particularly subtle in that the Word is not heard without, only a substitute for it, just as the Word of man is only a substitute for that Inner Word, the Word of God, of the Cosmic, of The Grand Architect of the Universe, that speaks to our heart. This inner voice of God within is the True Word. It is unfailing, ever guiding, and life affirming, not only in the symbolic sense, but literally as the power of creation itself. The Egyptians had complete confidence in the Divine origin and creative power of speech. All living beings, of the material or spiritual worlds, and objects had their origin in the utterance of sound. The entire universe was understood to be under the control of men and gods who knew the sacred speech. In sacred speech, there is complete harmony between the spoken and the incarnate, between the ideal and the material form. Iamblichus regarded the Egyptian language as closest to the original primordial language of the gods, even more so than his native Greek. This belief in the power of names and words is carried over into Judaism, with the sacred four-lettered Name of God, often called the Tetragrammaton in Greek, as being whispered from mouth to ear of the initiate. If it were pronounced aloud, all of creation could be undone. The Masonic Encyclopedia states that the Lost Word is none other than the search for the true pronunciation of this name - Yod Heh Vau Heh. Of course, this doctrine of sacred or esoteric speech finds some of its most sophisticated development in the works of the alchemists and qabbalists respectively, often referring to it as the ‘Green Language’ or the ‘Language of the Birds’, a language Solomon was said to understand. Given the symbolism of the color green for life and the well known use of various birds in Egyptian and Oriental mystical schools, and
“The true Verb (Word), the Verb (Word) of the Bible’s “Fiat Lux!” is the energy which is ceaselessly radiated by the formless being. The Fiat Lux is simply the vibrations of this energy as they are subjected to the law which is dictated by The Being, the Harmony where Beings, the Elohim came from, and all those who use this energy to create the worlds, the bodies of men and light of the sun which is but a pale reflection of this energy. Putting order into this energy results in Time, form, space; without these operations there can be only the Void, the Non-Manifest. Our body, our flesh, our blood are but vibrations which are subject to the ultimate law of vibrations: Harmony. Harmony exists in all realms, but we can get a clear idea of it in the realm of music. We see that some notes, while different, seem to have analogies between them.” This original language is all but lost, and it is the initiates duty to restore it. Just as the 12 Fellowcraft went in search of the Word and found it not, but brought back a Substitute Word, initiates also use a substitute language, or series of languages until this inner Word can be reestablished. Given this meaning, the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, and the idea of the Lost Word in Masonry are more easily understood. In many ways, the Tower of Babel is a fitting story for Masonic study, as it more closely fit’s the Masonic myth than does the Temple of Solomon, for the Temple was completed and destroyed twice. The Tower of Babel, on the Plains of Shinar however, was not completed. For Masons, like humanity after the collapse of the Tower, are confined to speak many languages and as such, encounter difficulty in the world of matter. The unity that we originally had is a faint memory, and the desire to re-establish it is seen in the desire for various forms of cultural, racial, and linguistic purity. Masonry even has an injunction against ‘babbling” or meaningless speech both inside and outside of the Lodge. The only way that this unity can be established is individually, in and through each of us. The working tool to rebuild this Tower is the same as the Temple - the Trowel, for it spreads the cement of brotherly love and affection. Only love can open the door to the true Sanctum Sanctorum that each Freemason must complete and build for himself.
2016 Pledge Affirmation Brethren, It is a profound honor to be serving the Freemasons of Colorado, and representing this jurisdiction when traveling to other venues and jurisdictions this Masonic year. It is humbling and an awesome responsibility not taken lightly. I want to thank MWPGM Dexter D. Koons for a great year, and the opportunity allowing me to roll out this year’s themed SOS “Save Our Society” program at each of our two Annual Grand Lodge Communications during his term. It really helped us hit the ground running with our message, which is all of us taking a reaffirmation in honoring our several obligations everyday. The border of this year’s Grand Lodge pin is emblematic of the border of our beautiful state of Colorado; one border, one jurisdiction, one Grand Master serving all Masons in Colorado. The ship is a two funneled steamship similar to hospital ships used in WW-I, in the days of Morse Code. Thus the “SOS” code on the left side of the pin, representing a call to all of us to Save Our Society, being examples of good conduct, morals and values for the world we live in, using the lessons we are taught as Freemasons. The “SS Freemason” belongs to the world, and reminds us to act and ever walk as upright men and Masons wherever we travel in the world for others to see there is a better way to live.
The SOS Pledge Card reminds us that Freemasonry being the oldest and largest fraternity in the world, has the answer to a more civilized and well mannered society, pledging us to honor our obligations and to live our lives as an example to others. The SOS Affirmation itemizes those obligations which we took in our Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees, reminding us of our belief in God and that we all will be judged on the day we drop the working tools of life. Both should be taken with an exemplar kneeling at the Altar, with his hands on the Holy Bible Square and Compasses, with all those remaining in “V” formation, right hand (the sign of fidelity) on the shoulder of the man in front, left hand over the heart. Afterward, the card must be signed, dated, and always carried as a constant reminder of our own obligations to keep, and used as a tool to remind others when they don’t. Bob Elsloo, GM AF&AM-CO Rocky Mountain Mason
A CONSTITUTED LODGE A Brief Survey on the Early History of Lodges and Their Nomadic Situation
“In effect dispersed until now and wandering in all directions, we had a place neither for our secretariat, nor for our archives, nor for our assembly; without a fixed asylum, we were forced to carry our workshops to the houses of our brothers. Without a Temple, we had neither security nor decency.” — Jérôme de Lelande, Grand Orient
By Patrick M. Dey
ABOVE: Charts for the three degrees dateing back to 1882, courtesy of Lafayette Lodge #91
1. Vidler, Anthony. The Writing of the Walls. Princeton Architectural Press. 1987. Pg. 86. 2. Churton, Tobias. The Golden Builders. Weiser Books. 2005. Pg. 195. 3. Mackey, Albert G. Encyclopædia of Freemasonry. Cf. Cromwell. The Masonic History Company. 1878. 4. Davis, Robert G. The Mason’s Words. Building Stone Publishing. 2013. Pg. 17. 5. W—O—V—n. The Three Distinct Knocks. London. 1760. Pg. 9-10. 6. Ibid. Pg. 18. 7. Ibid. Pg. 19. 8. Coil, Henry Wilson. Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia. Cf. Tiler. New York: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Company, Inc. 1961. 44
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urely every Mason has sat back and wondered, at one time or another, what Freemasonry was actually like in the 17th and 18th Centuries. We are told that many of the things we see in lodge come down to us from time immemorial. So what was it really like to be a Mason attending lodge in the earliest years of modern Masonry? Let us explore this then, for certainly there are remnants of those days curiously preserved in modern Masonic ritual: It is 1740 and we are in Paris. All the brothers have been sent a notification of where we were going to meet in a week’s time. Most likely it is going to be a tavern on the rue des Boucherons or a gambling house on the Rive Droite, but we may get lucky and meet at the Hôtel d’Aumont… but then again it might be at Jean Nicholas’s house again. We will all have dinner beforehand, because we are French and we are Masons, and therefore we love to eat. Some of us are only in it because of the food. After dinner we will go upstairs—wherever we are—for security and privacy, to conduct lodge business. Pierre is supposed to cover the lodge tonight, that is, he is Tiler. Tiling is a pretty difficult job. You have to set up the lodge room and take it back down; you have to stay awake and alert; you have to be able to warn the brethren if a stranger is approaching; and worst of all, you have to be good with a sword. Ever since Clement condemned us two years ago we have not had a peaceful lodge meeting. I heard one of the lodges over at the Hôtel de Soissons was raided by the police two weeks ago, and had their carpets confiscated! How can you have lodge without carpets?! All because the Tiler did not give everyone timely warning to roll everything up and washing everything off and run out the back door before the police arrested everyone. Hopefully one day Freemasonry will be more accepted and the Tiler will just be a job for junior past masters to catch up on some sleep while getting away from the missus.
This is not just a fictitious description. This most likely would have been lodge business as usual for a French Mason practically since the founding of the earliest lodges in Paris in 1726. Masonic lodges began to attract the attention of the police sometime around 1737. The next year Pope Clement XII issued his papal bull entitled In Eminenti Apostolatus which condemned Freemasonry, and as a result police harassment only worsened.1 Then in 1751 a second papal bull against Masonry entitled Humanum Genus was written, this time by Pope Leo XIII. One can really begin to understand why many Masons met in bars, hotel rooms, libertine asylums, and each other’s houses: there was no conceivable means of renting a space indefinitely, much less own a building, to meet securely and without worry. And this was not just the fate suffered by French lodges. English lodges had much the same problem, but only a few decades prior. We know that the United Grand Lodge of England was founded by three lodges at the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in London, England in 1717 on June 24th. They had neither their own building, nor a particularly private place to hold lodge. The Grand Lodge of England was founded in a bar, and probably while drunk. It was rare for any Masonic lodge to actually own their own building prior to 1750, with the exception of the Old Dundee Lodge No. 18 in London. But for England—not being a very Catholic country, unlike France—kept Masonry from establishing any solid roots in a particular building or place under different circumstances than their neighbors across the Channel. Freemasonry had been around in England since the early 17th Century—one of the oldest modern Masonic documents we have is a diary entry of Elias Ashmole’s from the 16th of October 1646 stating that he had been made a Freemason in the presence
of numerous aristocrats and high ranking government officials. 2 Clearly Masonry was already fashionable for non-operative Masons by this time, and that it had probably been around for some time. During this time the English Civil War is taking place, and in 1651 Oliver Cromwell overthrew the monarchy. This revolution simultaneously gave rise to a significant amount of power to those Protestant extremists we know as the Puritans, who would never tolerate secret societies in their country. This is in spite of everything Abbé Larudan says on that matter in his Les Francs-Maçons Ecrasés (1746), namely that Cromwell created the Masons to overthrow the monarchy and establish his rule;3 which has been thoroughly discredited by most serious Masonic scholars. It should be noted that the Puritans forbid Freemasons among their congregation, as did Puritanism offshoots, such as the Mennonites and Quakers. Things eventually began to calm down in England by the early 18th Century, which is consequently around the same time the Grand Lodge of England was formed—this would not have been possible under government and religious persecution—not to mention police raids—only a few decades prior. We have broached upon something here that merits further discussion: namely, the aspects of traditional Masonic lodges and their impermanence that have carried over into modern Freemasonry. Some of the most significant elements from those days are the Tiler, chalk and charcoal and clay, and the carpets. The Tiler’s job was a very serious job, and a lot of significant duties were assigned to him. It was the Tiler’s duty to come into the place where the brethren were to meet and set up the lodge room. This included finding furniture to set up the room, and to draw all the appropriate Masonic emblems and symbols for a particular degree in chalk and charcoal on the clay tile floor.4 This could be easily washed away in case of a police raid, or in order to leave nothing behind for cowans to see. In the anonymous Masonic exposé Three Distinct Knocks we find a figure of the lodge which is to be drawn on the floor. We read: “It is generally done with Chalk, or Charcoal, on the Floor; that is the Reason that they want a Mop and Pail so often as they do: For when a Man has been made a Mason, they wash it out; but People have taken Notice, and made Game of them about the Mop and Pail: So some lodges use Tape and little Nails to form the same Thing, and so keep the World more ignorant of the Matter.”5 The Tiler was also responsible for keeping and distributing the aprons for meetings.6 Apparently very few Masons owned their own aprons. Another duty of the Tiler’s was to buy fruit for the brethren, made various lodge purchases, distribute letters and summonses and personally deliver them by
hand to each brother, and managed the lodge attendance book. In addition, as would be expected of a Tiler, it was his duty to keep track of and keep out suspended Masons, and clandestine and “spurious” Masons.7 Clearly this was not an easy job, but at the same time it was also one of the most respected positions in the lodge, and usually came with a salary or meeting fee.8 Still to this day some lodges, such as Denver No. 5, pay their Tiler. The Masonic drawing A on the floor was known as the trestle board. Sometimes it was drawn on a table, because many early lodges held lodge around a table while eating.9 In fact, many early French lodges were thought of as being little more than eating clubs.10 Leclerc de Douay writes that the “pleasures of the table makes up the principal object of the association.”11 We read in Three Distinct Knocks directly after the passage quoted above how after the trestle board was mopped up the brethren would place a table on the same floor and sit down to dinner and drinks.12 The Masonic custom of Table Lodge is mostly a remnant of the days of dinner society lodges. In fact, the traditional custom of Table Lodge is to call all the things at the dinner by names that craftsmen would use. For example, the plates were called “tiles” and spoons called “trowels”. So it is no surprise to find that the table itself was called the “tracing board” or “trestle board.”13 The fact that the trestle board was the floor itself partly explains the Mosaic Pavement described in the First Degree Lecture, which describes the checkered pavement of black and white tiles, better known in Masonry as the “Indented Tessel”, though sometimes it is just a tessellated border. The checkered floor was probably a Cartesian grid of sorts, a holdover from the days of the operative craft in which a gridded floor was actually used to work out building designs (many times at actual scale). A remnant of the Indented Tessel on the floor may still be found today in some lodge paraphernalia, namely trestle boards with a checkered border. (It should be noted that the terms “tessel” and “tassel” may have been confused in early Masonic catechisms,14 which may explain the knotted tassels on some Masonic trestle boards). Overtime the Tiler would probably find ways of making his life a little easier. Eventually a Tiler some-
ABOVE: An etching of the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in London
9. Carpenter, Audrey T. John Theopholis Desaguliers: A Natural Philosopher, Engineer and Freemason in Newtonian England. The Continuum International Publishing Group. 2011. Pg. 88-89. (=Davis. The Mason’s Words. Pg. 13-14) 10. Vidler. The Writing of the Walls. Pg. 88. 11. Leclerc de Douay to Chancellor d’Agnesseau, 2 May 1744. Essai Historique sur les France-Maçons d’Orléans, 1740-1886. U.P. 1887. Pg. 3. (=Vidler. The Writing of the Walls. Pg. 86). 12. Three Distinct Knocks. 1760. Pg. 11-12 13. Mackey. Encyclopædia of Freemasonry. Cf. Table Lodge 14. Mackey. Encyclopædia of Freemasonry. Cf. Tessellated Border. Rocky Mountain Mason
15. Davis. The Mason’s Words. Pg. 18. 16. Macoy, Robert and Oliver, George. “Cyclopedia of Freemasonry,” General History, Cyclopedia, and Dictionary of Freemasonry. Cf. Carpet. Masonic Publishing Company. 1870. 17. Coil. Masonic Encyclopedia. Cf. Palser Plates.
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where developed tin templates in which to trace the designs upon the floor or table, thus saving himself a great deal of time.15 This may have been the origin of calling the trestle board “the tracing board.” Eventually the Tilers would develop carpets that depict all the emblems of the trestle boards of the degrees,16 which could be easily rolled out and rolled back up, making the setting up and taking down of the lodge greatly more efficient and hasty. The carpet for the Stair Lecture is probably one of the more curious parts of Masonic ritual to any newly made Fellow Craft. The whole scene is simply rolled out on the floor and we walk around on it. Certainly my first impression upon seeing this carpet was: “Really? They have this great building designed specifically as a Lodge of Masons, and no one bothered to build a flight of stairs like this one?” But there are lodges that do have a flight of stairs consisting of three, five, and seven steps in the lodge building (e.g. Golden Masonic Temple in Golden, Colorado, and Highlands Masonic Temple in Denver, Colorado), and some lodges actually use these flight of stairs for the Stair Lecture (e.g. Highlands Masonic Temple). But truly a more traditional Masonic experience is to have the entire lodge, every degree, every lecture, et al. represented on carpets which are rolled out for its specific use and then rolled away. To be able to physically ascend a flight of stairs for the second section of the Fellow Craft Degree is certainly less traditional, and less authentic.
This is because early lodges did not have the privilege of having such a specific flight of stairs to walk up. Meeting in hotel rooms, upper rooms of taverns, or in each other’s houses made it impossible to perform such a task, and so the drawing of the stairs on the floor was done in order to perform the fifteen steps. Eventually this was drawn onto a carpet and the Stair Lecture has remained on a carpet ever since. This in turn illuminates the mysterious Master’s carpet mentioned in the Symbolic Lecture of the Third Degree, which describes three steps “usually delineated on the Master’s carpet.” This is because, like the Stair Lecture carpet, the Master’s Degree had its own carpet. In fact, we find illustrations of lodge meetings in which there is a carpet rolled out on the ground which symbolically constitutes the lodge itself. In the early 19th Century Thomas Palser published a set of seven colored engravings—an exposé—depicting meetings of Masons. These were copied from a similar set of engravings from France published in 174517 by Johann Martin Bernigeroth entitled Les Costumes des Francs-Macons dans leurs Assemblees. So we must bear in mind that these images were published during a time when Masons owned their own lodge buildings, but were copied from a set of images which were rendered when Masons were not so fortunate, and met in hotels and bars, and had their Lodge symbolically represented by a carpet. Two of the engravings, published on January 30th, 1809 in London depict the admission of an Apprentice; the other five, published on March 1st, 1812, depict the admission and raising of a Master.
What is abundantly clear in these images is that, firstly, the room is nothing more than private quarters of an anonymous character, like a hotel or upper room of a tavern or a brother’s house. The rooms are not the same proper lodge room we are accustomed to in modern lodges, but rather of a makeshift character. Furniture is austere and common, and with some drapery for a sense of opulence and mysticism (e.g. Plate III depicts an ouroboros on the drapes in the East). The second notable thing depicted in these images is the fact that everything is done on a rug. The three burning tapers are arranged around the carpet, everyone gathers along its border, and all the emblems appropriate to the degree are illustrated on the carpet. In these engravings we are looking at French carpets, which have some variations from the English carpets we are accustomed to in America, especially with the Master’s carpet. The standard English Master’s carpet is a coffin with a skull and crossbones upon it. The French carpet has an outline of where the candidate will lay, and is dotted with teardrops. Also on the French Master’s carpet we see three footsteps, which are most likely the three steps alluded to in the Master’s lecture, since we see no steps at all on any English Master’s carpets. We see usually on some Master’s carpets a short flight of stairs of three steps, which, as far as I can tell, originates with Jeremy Cross in his True Masonic Chart
or Hieroglyphic Monitor (1826). It appears he simply based this off of George Washington’s apron embroidered by the Marquis de Lafayette’s wife, which, also as far as I can determine, is an original design. Thus the three steps are those from an Entered Apprentice to that of a Fellow Craft to that of a Master Mason, and not stair-steps, as we are accustomed to seeing. The carpets have written on their boarders which way east and west are when laying them out. They even have marked on three corners where to place the burning tapers. The carpet-trestle board defines the ritual space for the lodge18—almost like drawing a magic circle or pentagram before a magic ceremony. The laying out of the carpet or drawing up the trestle board at the opening of lodge and rolling it up or washing it off at the close is not unlike opening chapter with the Circle—called the “Chain of Union” in Traditional Observance, which is taken from the Capitular Degrees—and closing it appropriately. So it is that the carpet simultaneously defined, symbolized, and in essence was the ritual space of all well governed lodges. Travenol wrote that these designs were “properly called the lodge.”19 Eventually these carpets evolved into what are sometimes referred to as charts, because they are usually hung up on the wall, and they depict all the emblems of the degrees. John Sherer’s charts were some of the most popular, designed and produced in 1868, and sold by the Masonic Supply Company.
ABOVE: MM Carpet BELOW, LEFT TO RIGHT: George Washington's apron A Trestle Board from Three Distinct Knocks
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18. Vidler. The Writing of the Walls. Pg. 87. 19.Travenol, Louis. Catéchisme des FrancsMaçons. Limoges. 1744. (=Vidler. The Writing of the Walls. Pg. 87).
FOLLOWING PAGES: These are the early 19th Century engravings published byThomas Palser. Courtesy of Nevada Lodge #4
These charts are really nothing more than the carpets with more emblems, and removed from the floor and mounted vertically. So it is with the Stair Lecture rug and the evolution of the trestle board that we begin to understand what actual traditional lodges would have been like, and how aspects of those nomadic days of Masonry persist in curious aspects of modern ritual. If we were to have a true traditional style lodge meeting we would not have a building, and we would meet at the Ramada Inn on Colfax Avenue or above a bar on South Broadway; the poor junior Past Master would have to draw out every emblem of the degree on the floor, or, if he was crafty enough, paint it on a tarp and lay it on the floor; everyone would be carrying guns (and would not leave them in the lockers in the Tiler’s room in Nevadaville); there would be drinking and food and singing; and to make the most of the experience the police would show up and arrest everyone. But certainly many lodges in Colorado today are quite traditional in regards to what has been outlined above. Old lodges had a lot more pistols, knives, and especially swords handy (see Unterberger’s painting Initiation ceremony in Viennese Masonic Lodge, 1789), so a Widow’s Sons meeting is quite traditional in that regard. Nevada Lodge No. 4 in the winter months is also quite traditional in that they have no idea whether they are meeting in Central City, Golden,
or Denver until a couple of weeks before the stated communication. Research Lodge of Colorado is quite nomadic, in that every meeting is usually held somewhere different in the State of Colorado. Some lodges pay their Tiler for his services. Et cetera. I remember back in 2013 when Boulder Lodge No. 45 and Columbia Lodge No. 14 voted to sell the building to the Boulder History Museum, and during the discussion one of the brethren made the point that the Lodge (with a capital L) was not constituted by the building we meet in, but by the brethren themselves. And while I still regard it as a sad and lamentable day Boulder Masonic Temple was sold, that brother had a very good point. Historically Masons have literally been traveling men—nomads without a proper sanctuary for their organization. The physical space in which lodge meetings were held was inconsequential—the building itself was variable and placeholder. The true essence and spirit of the lodge itself was symbolically represented by the trestle board, which was either temporarily drawn on the floor or table, or depicted on easily transportable carpets. But the actual Lodge itself was the gathering of brethren “dwelling together in unity.” And while it is nice for lodges to have a permanent building to meet in, one that they can call their own, we should do well to remember that the Lodge is the brethren; nothing more and nothing less.
Photo of award 2015 Band
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM COLORADO MASONIC BAND CAMP June 30 - July 4, 2016 This five-day Band Camp will be conducted by the University of Northern Colorado and their band staff. Students are sponsored by Masonic Lodges and affiliated bodies throughout Colorado. The band will play a concert on the UNC Campus July 3th and march in the Greeley Rocky Mountain Stampede Parade, in Greeley Colorado, on July 4th. Check with your Band Director for an application
WHEN: June 30 through July 4, 2016. WHERE: University of Northern Colorado campus, Greeley. Band activities directed by the UNC Band Faculty and Staff. Housing, social and recreational activities hosted by the Colorado Masons.
Talented 9th, 10th and 11th grade students during the 2015-16 school year who are in good physical condition and with experience in at least one marching band instrument. These students may be selected by the School Band Instructor to participate and must be sponsored through a local Masonic Lodge or an affiliated Masonic body.
Free to the student. The cost will be provided in full by the sponsoring Masonic affiliated bodies. The fee covers all Band Camp expenses except transportation to and from the camp.
High School Band Instructors are urged to select three of their most promising students who play different instruments. We will try to give each school at least one scholarship. This will enable us to develop a well-balanced instrumentation.
SCHOLARSHIP: Students attending the Band Camp who intend to continue their music education at the University of Northern Colorado are eligible for consideration of a scholarship provided by the Colorado Masonic Band Camp and the University of Northern Colorado. Additional questions should be directed to: Marvin Feldman at 303-771-2889, email email@example.com or John Russell at 303-841-3600, email firstname.lastname@example.org This is a rewarding and exciting opportunity for your promising band students to attend a firstrate marching band clinic and to meet other students from around Colorado REGISTRATIONS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN APRIL 20, 2016 (Please Post) Rocky Mountain Mason
VIVAT!, VIVAT!, VIVAT! By Ben Williams
Rocky Mountain Mason
obert Burns (1759 – 1796), as you likely know, is the poet laureate of Freemasonry. I’ll spare you the rehashing of his life and times – if you’re not already acquainted with such, you certainly will be as you continue your Masonic journey. So why ruin the fun now? Suffice it to say, Burns died young, probably after a bungled tooth extraction polluted his blood. He was only 37. He’d lived as large as his heart and left 12 children behind (he’d fathered more, but many did not survive infancy). His poetry, love of song and conviviality, as well as the fairer sex of course, have long endeared Brother Burns to Masons everywhere. And rightfully so. Once every two years, then, Acacia Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M., under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Wyoming, gathers at the Shrine Club in Cheyenne to host a table lodge and feast in Burns’ honor. This year, evidently out of other options, Acacia Lodge invited your humble editor up to provide the keynote address, “To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns” (see overleaf for a transcript of this stirring oration). I was greatly appreciative for an opportunity to eat haggis and drink scotch with my Brothers in Masonry, so I rented a kilt (the one I’d ordered in my native Sinclair tartan was not to be completed in time, despite the hefty expense), packed up my wife and a change of clothes, and up we went along I-25 north to that great expanse up there, the Equality State. As any traveler who’s crossed from Colorado to Wyoming this side of the Rockies knows, there’s an amazing phenomenon encountered at the state line. And I’m not talking about the Wyoming State Patrol. For mysterious reasons of unknown geography, the Wyoming wind is immediate and powerful. We survived the road closure, holding the steering wheel at
odd axes of rotation, to meet W. Bro. Alvin Young at the Shrine Club at 224 Iowa St. early Saturday afternoon. Other Brothers were not so lucky – the Grand Master of Masons of Wyoming, Michael Johnson, was cut off somewhere north of the line. Back at the hotel I donned the tartan – the first time, I dare say, I have braved the kilt (especially considering the wind) – left the wife in the capable hands of the lovely ladies of Acacia Lodge, and trundled up to the Shrine Club. Laboring in the kitchen, clad in a “utility kilt” , with apron jacked full of all sorts of implements peculiar to the culinary arts, was the Celtic Caterer, Chef Eric McBride. He was single-handedly preparing an enormous feast for 85 people, including the scratch-made haggis. There were implements of destruction everywhere. The tables were already set up, each clad in a Celtic wrap sporting colorful Celtic symbols and imagery. My favorite was one sporting the signs of the Zodiac around a kind of ouroborous knot. In short order the place was hopping. A hefty contingent of Brethren had driven up from Fidelity Lodge in Fort Collins, and I found I knew a fair number of the Brethren present. We made for the Balvenie. Table lodge was opened in due form and, of course, I noted the differences that mark work in different jurisdictions, and marveled at the similarities all the same; the feast was began in due course, with prayer, flag presentation, pipers piping the familiar highland blasts. Then the program began with a list of toasts too impressive to recount (or remember), all taken with a strange, unknown “specialty wine beverage”, some fizzy wine-like drink for which the table lodge had received dispensation to serve throughout the evening. The Balvenie had to stay in the bar next door, corked. Probably for the best.
Straightaway I noticed the proper mix of formality and conviviality that marks any good table lodge. Too often, it seems, an enthusiasm of younger Masons renders a hifalutin, self-important solemnity that ruins an otherwise joyful evening. Of course, solemnity is appropriate on occasion, and lofty philosophy remains my first love (after my good wife, of course). But that doesn’t mean we Masons can’t have fun, too, does it? After all, in seeking light, should we not then be light-hearted? Burns would think so. And the Burns feast at Acacia Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M. got the balance right. The ritual was exemplary and, true to the fashion sported by our English Brethren who have perfected this delicate and noble art, the evening was punctuated by some toasting with necessary gesticulation to be performed in union: “Right hand to Arms!” The right hand is placed around the “canon” suitably charged with “red [fizzy] powder”. “Ready!” It’s not a question. The canon is raised, arm extended, to the height of the heart. “Aim!” The canon is brought to the lips. “Fire! Good fire! Fire all!” The red powder is consumed in a blaze of bubbles. “Present Arms!” The arm is again extended, followed by a wild series of triplicate gesticulations that orbit the discharged canon in wild array before slamming it tabletop three times - A-bang! – while exclaiming “VIVAT!”, “VIVAT!”, “VIVAT!”, in unison. [Note: vivat is the third-person subjunctive of the Latin verb, vivere, “to live”, roughly translatable as “He lives!” or “[May] he live [long]!” or, ultimately, “To life!”] Now this may all seem quite frivolous to the unsympathetic and all-too-serious reader. But bare in mind, my pious Brother, this simple action serves to unite the Brethren at table assembled, creates an air of
levity hard to suppress, and punctuates the proceedings like a series of well-placed commas. What good poem can read without commas (or at least linebreaks)? Again, Burns would be proud. This action was performed after each of ten toasts presented throughout the evening. But please note, each toast could be quite long previous to the actual “charging of the cannons”. Toasts included welcome introductions, entire recitals of Burns poems (Tam O’Shanter was recited with particular elan by Bro. Kelly Davis), toasts to the ladies, etc., all with no shortage of preamble before. Now, lest you think it all frivolity and mirth, things did turn solemn – and made all the more profound by virtue of sudden contrast – when Bro. Mike Reed recited “To the Flowers of the Forest” for the fallen. Ghosts filled the room. Moreover, this solemnity was enhanced all the more for me personally, seated as I was at the head table proximal the podium with a view behind the speaker standing there, when Bro. Jim Frew took the stand to read the toast to “The Lassies”, as I was able to read the tattoo on the back of his head: “Cancer Sucks”. The knowledge that this tattoo would slowly lose visibility as Bro. Jim’s hair grows back, as day by day he triumphs over the disease, drove the point home all the more. The melancholy soon evanesced though, contemplation of death turned to celebration of life, and after Lodge was closed the Brethren assembled again to sample the Balvenie and share fellowship and good will before heading home. I got back to the hotel near midnight, underneath a high-flung full Moon, and inspired with the romance of Burns’ lyrics (and no small amount of Balvenie, perhaps), awoke my restful wife with some spontaneous verse ushered forth in her honor. She was not as impressed as I’d hoped.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: • Table Lodge ready for opening • Eric McBride, the Celtic Caterer, preparing Celtic cuisine for 85 people • Brethren from Fidelity Lodge No. 193 of Fort Collins • The Haggis is piped in. • The speeches begin • Sampling the Balvenie
BELOW: • Brother Gordon Bell, a native Glaswegian, performs the Address to the Haggis
Rocky Mountain Mason
To theImmortal Memory of
Robert Burns By Ben Williams
Robert Burns is a friend of ours. That much is plain. He is a friend to all humanity!
e lived greatly. Wrote profusely. He loved deeply, even – dare we say - frequently. Even Irresponsibly. He gave freely. He was true to himself, unabashedly. And, yes, he drank, probably excessively. Above all, though – Divinely inspired – he lived humanly. What is it about Burns that makes his memory endure, even now, more than 200 years after his death? In 2006, in a poll run by a Scottish TV channel, STV, the Scottish people voted Robert Burns as the greatest Scot of all time – narrowly beating William Wallace. He’s been on the five pound note, the ten pound note, and verses of his poetry are everywhere. His rewrite of a traditional classic is still sung every year, and its immortal words (even if just those few) are known to all worldwide. Auld Lang Syne. He has more than 59 memorials dedicated to him around the world, including a statue in City Park, in Denver, CO, and one in Central Park , New York City. When you search for “Robert Burns” on Google, over 107 million results are returned. All over the world – including in Japan – men don kilts to annually toast his honor and resurrect his memory immortalized in praise of Scotland. His is an enduring legacy, but what did he leave behind; mere, fragile words? On the one hand, Burns was undeniably a champion for the people – for human rights, gender equality, individual liberty in a time defined by birthright and social position derived of class; he remained a true romantic of the liberal ideal of humanism. And, of course, initiated at Lodge St David at Tarbolton, in 1780, he was a Mason. He supported the movements of the people against the arbitrary authority of the depot, even while he was invited to attend at the heights of society. He loved life, yet spoke out in favor of the French Revolution which had turned bloody and wicked. His was a voice of the common people, yet he plied it with an uncommon talent. He spoke only truth, and truth to power – yet he couldn’t keep his wedding vows. He was loyal, but his first loyalty was to his heart. He was filled with passion, and overindulged perhaps too often – his compasses strode a wide radius. He was a great lover, but not, we might presume, a good husband.
Rocky Mountain Mason
Even while living, he left a line of illegitimate children without a father, tending more to the offspring of his creative genius, perhaps, than to the welfare of his progeny. And he died young – too young – wasted by a youth of hard labor and, with his newfound fame, some excess too, no doubt. But, remarkably, his honor and character survives all these contradictions somehow unsullied. Indeed, it is perhaps true to say, that we love him all the more because of them! There are several reasons we can observe, perhaps, that augment this seemingly peculiar reality. First, I think Burns had sincerity. He never pretended to be someone he wasn’t. His greatest gift was his sincerity – it buoys his verse with the ring of truth, elevates his lyrics with simple veracity unaffected, and undoubtedly made him good company. It’s a gift he gives the reader. Simple truth. Burns speaks only truth – even in the midst of folklore and fantasy, this simple truth is still palpable. His writing is unaffected, and the Scots dialect helps bring his poetry – an art itself too often brought to false heights and lofty affectations – right down to earth, where it belongs. And yet, still it soars. It’s somehow divinely human. And we relate to it, because we know it. We can recognize it as verily as birdsong knows the morning. Indeed, truth is self-evident, more especially when wrapped in verse. Amongst all these words, indeed because of them, within the unaffected Scots dialect peculiar to his pen, truth somehow shines naked and unadorned, suddenly visible for all to see like light glancing off a rippling stream fast-flowing through the craggy outcrops of Scotland’s glorious north. So, when Robert Burns made his vows to Jean Armour, and against the wishes of her father finally gained her hand in marriage in 1788, I have no doubt that he spoke the truth at the altar that day, even while, not long before, he whispered words of forbidden delight to May Campbell – yes: He meant those words too…. Not to mention what he must have said to Elizabeth Paton… and Nancy McLehose… and Jenny Clow, and countless others, I’m sure, as bonnie as the highland heather. He meant each and every word; there was no contradiction because, despite it all, he was honest. He was redundant perhaps, yes, but never duplicitous. He made no bones – a few broken hearts perhaps. But no bones. This is the sort of sincerity that seconds forgiveness. Next, Burns had accessibility. It may seem odd to speak of poetry rendered in Scots dialect as “accessible”, especially to us, but to the time and public of his day it was entirely accessible and must have read like music next to the clipped English of the stuffy gentry. This was new, then – a poet of the people – born of the land “the heaven taught ploughman”. His turns of phrase are legendary, simple enough to have become everyday commonplace – “The best laid plans of mice and men…”, which of course inspired Steinbeck , is a salient example (the full quote is, of course, “the best
laid plans of mice and men gang oft aglay”). His subject matter, though, is also utterly accessible. His themes touch anyone who has faced hardship, known love, or born the brunt of uncontrollable circumstance. His words raise the thirst for justice in the reader, and everywhere he has become the voice of the oppressed – whether the oppressed lover, perhaps, or a peoples striving to drive off the yoke. Perhaps this is why, in 1959, the USSR – a country not well known for its sense of freedom – produced a stamp with Burns’ likeness on? No doubt, these themes, universal and accessible to all, position Burns as the patriot’s poet – the poet of a national identity striving against foreign rule. He famously wrote an ode extolling George Washington for Washington’s birthday that praises the birth of the United States as a beacon of the new world to come. He was a champion of the Romantic movement and, by virtue of his time, he sang in newfound humanism of the enlightenment. There is undeniable music – “that language of delightful sensations” so “intelligible to the heart” – informing his words. It should be no surprise that he wrote the lyrics for over 300 songs, some set to traditional tunes (like Auld Lang Syne, for example) and some to melodies of his own creation. His songs were certainly accessible, folkloric, and sang from tavern and eating house alike. He contributed over 200 songs to the Scots Musical Museum alone, over 100 for the Melodies of Scotland. Burns words have become an indelible part of the Scots identity. When you combine his sincerity with this accessibility, you necessarily arrive at authenticity. And Burns was unabashedly authentic. When his friends suggested he try for the Chair of Agriculture at Edinburgh University, something his popularity might well have helped him attain, granting him a substantial stipend no doubt, and some position as well, he refused. He probably was turned off by the pretenses academia sometimes imbues in its beaks, perhaps. He also refused an offer to work at the Star Newspaper in London – too English probably, too southern, to far away from his glorious Scotland. He was not just authentic in his person, he was authentic to his heart, to his people, and to his country. There’s something wonderful in that. Third, tragedy. The most persuasive of the poetic forms, so Plato taught, is tragedy. And no great artist is made great without a hint of it. It humanizes them, perhaps, forges links of empathy that quickly turn to love. When we think of Robert Burns, no memory any of us evince conjures deceit or affectation. Only exasperation, perhaps, of the one who loves, and if possible, loves too much. There’s some beauty there, tinged with tragedy no doubt, and we love him all the more. This hopeless romantic, a-sea in a world of passion, without time for pretense and convention – just pursuit of what is right and fair and honest, without counterfeit or remorse, so unlike the affected world of assumed airs and social conventions. He stands before Rocky Mountain Mason
us, as his language, plain and unadorned. In his own words, “A Man’s a man for a’ that.” And that he was. Tragedy touched him from the beginning. His brutish subsistence from the land. His impoverished father. A string of bad luck despite a good heart brought his father low. Of nine children born to Jean Armour, only three survived infancy. His love, May Campbell, whom he wed over the shimmering rill by the Waters of Fail, died nursing her brother from typhus. He had nothing, but his freedom. And fine fodder for art. Some of his most critically acclaimed writing was conceived while hard-toiling that rocky land. He suffered bouts of depression – he might have been bipolar, that is certainly one explanation that fits – but equally alcoholism can sway the moods, as it sways the fates, between great highs and lows. But his honesty was honed by this, his satire sharpened, and his humanity nonetheless shines through all the more.
Postage stamps printed circa 1996 in Great Britain to commemorate Robert Burns. Credits from left to right Gwoeii, Solodov Alexey and Neftali / Shutterstock.com
Rocky Mountain Mason
There can be no malice in his actions, it seems to me – just the expanse of a soul resplendent in the glory of existence. His heart was some sort of echo-box, bleeding verses and lyrical melodies. He ran like the highland streams, turning from here to there in the glint of an eye in love with the world. There’s no shame or retraction; one gets the impression Burns couldn’t lie even if he wanted to, and, somehow, those who loved him loved him (as we all do) despite his faults – even more, I say, because of them. After all, Jean stayed with him. And, to his last, he with her. There was true love there, love that was full, if not exclusive. But more than any of these – and in fact by virtue of each of them – it is, I submit to you, Burns’ humanity that defines him, that makes his ghost alive in us this night. Robert Burns was born in 1759, in the house his father built with his own hands. It was a simple house, but one well-built – it still stands today in Alloway, in Ayrshire. His father labored as a tenant farmer, self-taught, who subjected his family in the necessity of the land. He had presence of mind to ensure his children a decent education though, and had the local parishioner instruct them in Latin and the classics. Burns’ tutor, John Murdoch, famously recorded that young Robert “made rapid progress in reading and was just tolerable at writing.” But Robert Burns’ father passed away in poverty. Bobbie and his Brother Gilbert tried to keep the farm going, moving from tenancy to tenancy, never quite making ends meet. It’s what they knew best, but it nearly broke them. The work must have been brutal. When Bobbie wrote out his intent to marry Jean Ar-
mour on April 17, 1786, her father ripped it up, caused Bobbie to stand for rebuke for the local church (where, on three consecutive Sundays, the congregation and minister would pillory the vice and decadency of sins committed), and issued a warrant for his arrest! How about that for a future father-in-law! That same day, at the suggestion of a friend, Burns sent a book of poems, Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, to a printer in Kilmarnock. He was trying to raise money to fund a voyage to Jamaica, to take up a bookkeeping position on a plantation out there. Annual salary, 30 pounds. Certainly better than blood from a turnip. While courting Jean, though, Burns fell simultaneously in love with Mary “May” Campbell. In short order they’d pledged their eternal love over the Water of Fail in a traditional ceremony akin to a Pagan marriage. But May did not go with Bobbie to Jamaica, she died of typhus after nursing her brother in October later that year. His first collection of poems was printed and distributed July 31, 1786 and sold for three shillings a piece. It was an instant success. In November, following May’s death, Burns borrowed a pony, and rode to Edinburgh on a whim, fueled by a positive review by Thomas Blacklock, a Scottish poet there. He knew no one, and just showed up in the city. An affable man, congenial, and evidently likable – with a particular charm for the ladies – he found his feet and some good company. It wasn’t long until he was enjoying many dinners among the literati and high society of that fair city. Despite her father’s protests, Jean married Bobbie in 1788. His second edition of poems had netted him 400 pounds. Jean had already born him twins, in 1787, shortly after he’d rode off to Edinburgh. And Burns already had a son with Elizabeth Paton, his mother’s servant. There were others out there, too. After a short and rapid rise to fame, Burns contracted rheumatic fever in 1795, shortly after his daughter Elizabeth had died. He passed July 21, 1796. His funeral was held four days later, the same day his son Maxwell was born. Over 10,000 people showed up. I believe it is Burns’ humanity that sets him apart. We love him because he is sincere, accessible, authentic, humble, and tragic. We love him because amongst the fragility of humankind he stared into the abyss, and laughed. Perhaps he heard his own voice ringing back, down through the centuries? Gentlemen, tonight I leave you with a poem of my own invention. It is no secret that Robert Burns opposed England, her meddling hand up Scotland’s kilt. It’s no secret that Burns used his prodigious talent to speak his truth to power, and particularly to England and her classist ways. So I think it only proper, if you will permit me, to speak truth to the ghost of Robert Burns. I think Bobbie Burns would appreciate the sentiment. So, without further ado, to the Immortal Ghost of Robert Burns – forgive me as I attempt a wee Scottish brogue...
Toast to Robert Burns! I’m proud to call ya’ brither, Burns, E’en tho’ ya dae perplex me For roundabout your tongue in turns Veerily does vex me – Be’en a man of English birth An’ born there of the gentry When I ‘ear ya’ Scotty words It’s hard not ta’ correct ye. Still, I suffer well, for what it’s worth In love of poetry. You’re a dastardly haggis-loving fool – A skirt wearing, Scottish Nancy It’s hard fa’ me’ to keep me cool When ya’ dialect gets fancy Aye, Bobbie, lad, canna’ ken ye close? Or must we ev’r be ‘part? Cuz truth, I swear, I raise a toast To ye with all me heart! Yes, Brither, there’s a language true That needs no words expressed To mortar bricks, and then to glue Mankind as brithers best It takes not for the outward brood And cares not how ye’re dressed (Obviously) [gesture to kilt wearing personage] But as one great Britherhood Loved by God and blessed (Gloriously!) It views the heart supreme – And weighs by scales of truth. So I tell ya, Bobby, lad That I doan need tha’ proof (Unless it be 100 proof liquor) That a brither’s love for you poor ghost
Can never see ye better For in our hearts ye do ‘ave place To haunt yer merry fun So I give you small wink and smi’ And lift you up me glass And in yer name I take a sip To praise yer Scottish arse [or Art, occasion depending] So na’ with a wee lovin’ nod An’ a rollin’ r from tongue I may be a wee British lad But tonight I’m all Scotsman!
By Ben Williams
So thanks agin, young Bobbie lad For lettin’ us let our hairs doon ‘N eatin’ Haggis ‘ain’ so bad If ya dun ken where it came froom God bless, ya, Bobbie, may you find eternal rest Ever wrapped up with your bonnie lass The one ya’ lov’d the best – An’ yet I know there was more than one So let me make amends – May heav’n find ya in the arms of many women An’ in the esteem of many friends. Aye Bobbie Burns, here’s a toast for yoo! You Scottish wag, and ya’ country brogue Cuz really we love ya through and through You damnable Scottish rogue From Roslyn down to Bannockburn From Glasgow to Aberdeen They’ll sing yer name at every turn And at all th pubs between – They’ll sing yer name the whole night through – To Robert Burns! (But I’ll drink to Saint Andrew.) Rocky Mountain Mason
Pictures by John Moreno unless otherwise noted.
1. Brethren of Kiowa Lodge No. 116 practice for a flag folding ceremony [photo by Ben Williams]
2. Conversations between Grand Masters, M.W. Bro. Dexter Koons and M.W. Bro Richard N. Lewis, of Wyoming. [Photo by John Moreno] 3. W.Bro. Jim Campbell, Mater of Kiowa Lodge No. 116. His family arrived in Colorado in the 1800s after his great-grand father shot a sheriff down in New Mexico. The movie, Hateful 8, was shot on Jim’s cousin’s property out on Wilson Mesa near Telluride, CO, where the daily takes were reviewed by the director, Quentin Tarantino, in none other than Telluride Lodge No. 56 A.F. & A.M. [Photo by Ben Williams] 4. Knights Templar line up to present the Colors at the M.W. Grand Lodge of Colorado Grand Sessions. [Photo by Sue Summers] 5. Scottish Rite presiding officers take their obligation of service at the Denver Consistory. [Photo by Ben Williams] 6. Stephan Munsigner, S.G.I.G. for the orient of Colorado, and M.W. Bro. Ben Crosno, P.G.M., at Grand Lodge. [Photo by John Moreno] 7. Bro. Jack Anderson receives his 60 year pin, presented by then-R.W. Bro. Bro. Bob Elsloo (now Grand Master of Masons of Colorado) [photo by Pati Sawyer Boex] 8. Bro. Gordon Bell, from Glasgow, Scotland, addresses that “Chieftain of the Pudding Race” at the Knights of Saint Andrew, Valley of Denver, annual Robert Burns Celebration. 9. illustrious Brother David Swift leads the haggis. 58
Rocky Mountain Mason
10. Colors presented at the Grand Sessions of the M.W. Grand Lodge of Colorado. 11. Brethren of Pueblo Lodge No. 17 opened the Grand Sessions on behalf of M.W. Bro. Dexter Koons. 12. M.W. Bro. Dexter Koons greets representatives from the Order of the Eastern star. 13. R.W. Bro. Phil Moss before the banquet at Grand Lodge.
14. M.W. Bro. Dexter Koons is escorted to hs place in the East. 15. Richard Silver, Potentate of El Jebel Shrine greets the M.W. Grand Master at Grand Lodge. 16. M.W. Bro. Dexter Koons received an award from the Demolay of Colorado. 17. Prince Hall Affiliate representatives were recognized at the M.W. Grand Lodge of Colorado Grand Sessions. 18. W.Bro. Bradley Pollard, Worshipful Master, receives the Honor Lodge award on behalf of Union Lodge No. 7.
19. M.W. Bro. Bob Elsloo opens a gift from his Line â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a wooden rendition of his pin for FY 2016 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the S.S. Freemason coming to Save Our society. 20. The Masonic family and youth organizations were recognized at Grand Lodge. 21. M.W. Bro. Terence Jackson, P.G.M. P.H.A., shared a few words. 22. R.W. Bro. Vern Turner seated in the West. 23. Installation of the Grand Tyler, Bruce Snelson. 24. Grand Deacons installation at Grand Lodge 60
Rocky Mountain Mason
Gerald Allen Ford P.G.M.(Hon.) By Wayne G. Arner
Rocky Mountain Mason
GM Gerald A. Ford, who passed away on Sunday, February 21, 2016, had a long and distinguished Masonic career which began quite simply, when he was appointed Junior Steward in 1974 of South Denver Lodge #93. His appointment was unique for the time, as he was one of two appointments made for that year, the other being Mike E. Hessel, who preceded Gerry as the Senior Steward, and their individually distinguished careers took off from that time. Gerry Ford served S.D. #93 as it’s Worshipful Master in 1979, and after joining the York Rite, became Grand Commander of K.T. of Colo. in 1993, Grand high Priest of R.A.M. of Colo. in 2005. He went on to become either the highest officer or the Recorder of the El Jebel Shrine, the Colo. Consistory A. & A.S.R., York Rite Sovereign College of N.A., Allied Masonic Degrees, Colo. College of S.R.I.C.F., H.R.A. K.T. Priests, and so many other Masonic Orders that I cannot accurately enumerate them all. He was especially proud of his appointment and
election to the office of Grand Secretary of the M.W. Grand Lodge of Colorado and his subsequent appointment as an Honorary Grand Master of Masons of Colorado after his retirement as Grand Secretary, the only person to be so honored. He was also proud to be appointed for Life as a Trustee of the Scottish Rite Foundation at Children’s Hospital in Denver, and was instrumental in the growth and advancement of “Rite Care” for children with Auditory problems throughout Colorado. He was also a Trustee of the Knight Templar Eye Foundation, which provides Research and Eye care throughout the U.S. through the Grand Encampment of K.T. of North America, for all requiring such help, regardless of age or race. When you look back on the 42+ years of record of our distinguished brother, one must conclude that there is no one in the last 50 years that has served this Fraternity of Freemasonry with more dedication, enthusiasm, and integrity than our beloved Brother. Gerald Allen Ford, 1942-2016.
Put the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gâ&#x20AC;? back in
Geometry by H.P. Bromwell
No Lodge should be without this important book. Sacred Geometry and Masonry by one of the most learned Masons of the 19th Century. Full-color, fold out plates. A
M.W.Bro. H.P. Bromwell, P.G.M.
foremost Masonic thinker of his
was the generation....
No small statement. His contemporaries included:
Albert Mackey & Albert Pike. When Bromwell died, 29 P.G.M.s attended his funeral from across the nation
Every Master Mason should read this book!
Beautiful hardback edition with full-color reproduced plates of sacred geometry, as drawn by Bromwell. A must for any Masonic Library
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