Freemasonry in Weblogs
A Brother's Blog
Robert's Masonic Journey
Freemasonry in Oregon
Ashland Masonic Lodge No. 23
Grand Lodge AF&AM of Oregon
Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Oregon
Belt Lodge No. 18
Sunnyside Lodge No. 163
Information about Freemasonry
Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry
Masonic Research and Renewal Center
Difficult Questions about Freemasonry
Essays, Articles, and Questions about Freemasonry
Internet Lodge 9659
Other Grand Lodges
United Grand Lodge of England
Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas
Grand Lodge of Sweden
First Masonic District, Grand Lodge of New Jersey, F&AM
Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland
Wed, 16 Mar 2005
The typical lodge officers' line around here operates in a manner that never really
provides any real competition. A brother becomes Master by being appointed Junior
Steward and working his way up, and the elections held for the three principal
officers is really just a formality. However, after reading Laudable Pursuit at Solomon Center, I have decided that even if I
won't have any competition in the November election, I will start
working on some sort of "running platform" so the brethren voting for me
will know what I've got in mind. Here are some of my ideas:
- All stated communications will be opened on the Entered Apprentice degree.
- There will be Masonic education at every meeting.
- Ashland Lodge will continue to take part in the annual table lodge.
- At least twice during the year, Masonic speakers will be brought in from outside
- The lodge picnic in the summer will actually be a picnic!
I also think that perhaps my year in the East should have some sort of motto or
theme. The sitting Master and I have been trying to push a program focusing on the
seven liberal arts and sciences, and something revolving around that subject would
make a good motto. My year is some months off, but as I prepare for it I will
continue to post thoughts, ideas, and musings here.
Several upcoming events are worth mentioning. Tonight at 7:00PM there is an Entered
Apprentice degree at Medford Lodge No. 103. I am not sure if I will be able to make
it, but I will still encourage any Masons in the area to attend and show the lodge
their support. Besides, it is always quite impressive when a lot of side-liners are
The first weekend in April is the Grand Sessions of the York Rite for Oregon. It
will be held in Coos Bay and I will be there at least for the Grand Chapter meeting
representing Siskiyou Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons. I'd love to meet up with
any local Masons and chew the fat at a local pub or something.
Finally, near the end of April is the Senior Warden's Charge, which is a special
event for the Senior Wardens of all Oregon lodges put on by our Grand Lodge. It's
three days of tutorials, classes, and ideas aimed at helping our Wardens become
better leaders and preparing them for their years in the East. This event will be up
in Forest Grove and, once again, I would love to meet up with some local Masons.
Thu, 10 Mar 2005
Today is the fifth anniversary of the birth of this weblog. Instead of hunting
around for other links on the web, I thought instead I would link to some past
entries with notable dates, so we could all reminisce together.
- My first entry was way back on March 10,
- On May 12, 2000, I talk about my
initiation the night before.
- My Fellowcraft degree was also a pretty
exciting time, and back on August 15, 2000, I spent some time discussing that.
- Finally, on November 27, 2000, I discuss
receiving my Master Mason degree.
- September 30, 2001, is my first post after
becoming a Royal Arch Mason.
- My installation as Junior Deacon and my
upcoming installation as Royal Arch Captain were discussed on December 3, 2001.
- And my installations as Captain of the Host
and Senior Deacon took place the next year, from the December 23, 2002,
Activity here has been a bit sporadic at times, unfortunately. I took a long break
between the last post in 2001 and April of
2004. Since then, I have missed posting about my involvement in a great deal of
degree work, my Scottish Rite degrees, and my installation as High Priest of the
Royal Arch chapter. It's been a busy time. I've sat in the east precisely twice
during blue lodge meetings: once to confer an Entered Apprentice degree, and once
during a step-up night when the Master was gone. Next year, I should be Master of
the lodge. In just five years, I will have gone from the northeast corner to
presiding in the East. Quite a journey!
Thanks to all of my readers for following along. I've got no plans to stop writing
about Freemasonry yet, and hope to have lots of great information shared here in the
Sun, 06 Mar 2005
I came across an article titled Freemasonry
by Ding Cervantes on the Sun.Star Pampanga, an online
news magazine based in the Philippines. The article claims to have the answers to
Freemasonry's nature and origins, and then proceeds to unload such a heap of
falsehood and lousy research as to make the
AskMen.com article look like Pulitzer Prize material. Cervantes claims that
Freemasonry's origins lie in some murky meeting between the Elders of Zion and Adam
Weishaupt in 1773, which sounds like it came right out of
The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a horrible
antisemitic load of tripe that's been discredited since the early 20th century (see
A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion).
That an author can base an article on that sort of crap and still get published is
certainly a smear on the Pampanga's name.
The history of Freemasonry has been discussed many times before in this weblog, and
I'd encourage new readers to check out
The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland's Century, 1590-1710 by
David Stevenson, which I reviewed last
The Freemasons by Jasper Ridley. Together the two
of those can give a fairly accurate overview of what we know of the history of our
fraternity, both before and after the formation of the first Grand Lodge. In
short, Freemasonry's origins can probably be traced back to operative Scottish
stonemasons in the late 16th century. Developing underground for more than a
century, we became a public "secret society" in 1717 when a group of London lodges
met and decided to form the first Grand Lodge.
The article goes on to claim that Freemasonry was responsible for the French
Revolution, Napolean, the first League of Nations, the assassination of the Romanovs,
and Cagliostro's diamond necklace affair.
And, of course, this article is just part one. That means there will be
more. I am sure we are all quivering with anticipation.
As for the Bavarian Illuminati, they were never tied to the mythical
Elders of Zion, and a quick browse through
The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders
can illustrate a nice and succinct history of that short-lived organization. Formed
in Frankfurt in 1776, Adam Weishaupt's Illuminati were a group of
free-thinking anti-Christian pseudo-humanists. Apparently atheistic, they believed
in the "perfectibility of mankind" and were prepared to pursue their goals through
some revolutionary political means. While they did claim a number of prominent
members, such as Johann Wolfgang Goethe, they probably never numbered
more than 2,000 and were suppressed in 1785.
Weishaupt did make an effort to infiltrate German Freemasonry and it's quite probable
that much of his recruitment happened within the fraternity. When one examines their
list of degrees, it is obvious that at least a few ideas and titles were borrowed
from the Craft as well. But, in conclusion, I think it's easy to see that Ding
Cervantes has his facts horribly, horribly wrong, and really shouldn't be
perpetuating such depressing falsehoods and lies.
Fri, 04 Mar 2005
When National Treasure came out last year, I skeptically went
to see it with a brother from the lodge. I wasn't expecting much, especially after
reading that horribly inane book, The Da Vinci Code, and seeing
Raider movies. Thankfully, National Treasure did not disappoint me. It
was an entertaining adventure filled with Masonic mystique, great-looking antiques,
and clever shenanigans. The audience still has to overlook a few groaners, and there
were a couple instances where my suspension of disbelief was badly jarred, but
overall I recommend this movie for all Masons and those interested in Masonry. I
don't want to give too much away, but I can say that it's nice to finally be
portrayed as the good guys for once!
Once again I've been crawling the Internet in search of weblogs mentioning
Freemasonry. The most significant new find I have is an article on Blogcritics.org called A Masonic Primer and
reading list for after seeing "National Treasure", which contains a good list of
books including Bro John
J. Robinson's A Pilgrim's Path. The author, Tom Bux, seems to know what he's talking about.
Yesterday I was contacted by a man who has just petitioned a Prince Hall lodge and
has decided to keep a record of his progress online, too! You can read all about it
at Robert's Masonic Journey.
Good luck, Robert! I look forward to calling you "Brother."
Wed, 02 Mar 2005
This book review is long overdue. Last April the publisher sent me a copy of
The Last Alchemist: Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason
by Iain McCalman, a biographical
study of the career of the famous (or infamous)
Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, an adventurer,
alchemist, and possible charlatan who traveled across Europe in the late 18th
century. To Freemasons Cagliostro is a curious mystery. He was made a Mason at
Esperance Lodge No. 289 in London in 1776, and shortly thereafter founded his
Egyptian Rite, adopting the title of Grand Kophta. This Rite, despite its similarly
themed name, was unconnected to the Rites of Memphis and Misraïm, and
unfortunately most details surrounding it have been lost to history. We do know that
it was an adoptive rite, meaning that both men and women were initiated into its
The Last Alchemist explores Cagliostro's life through a series
of seven of his most famous adventures, from his early career posing as Colonel
Pellegrini in London to his sad death in San Leo prison in Italy, where he was
imprisoned after being convicted of founding a Masonic lodge in Rome. Throughout his
life and career, and indeed throughout the book, the contrasts of Cagliostro's
character are shown. From his alchemical trickery in Latvia to his involvement in
the affair of the diamond necklace in Paris, to his seemingly genuine
efforts to heal and comfort the poor in Russia and his spiritual guidance of his
close friends, it is difficult to know exactly what to make of this bizarre man.
McCalman likewise does not seem to know what to make of him, and instead does an
excellent job presenting these seven vignettes in such a way as to display the
conflicting natures of one of the 18th centuries most recognizable names.
In other news, tomorrow night we begin practicing for a Fellowcraft degree. As
Senior Warden, I've been put in charge. I'll need to learn the "G" lecture and make
sure that all of the spots are filled. After having been in charge of an Entered
Apprentice degree last year, I am not worried and confident that I'll be able to pull
Tue, 01 Mar 2005
I recently read Erasmus and the Northern Renaissance by
Margaret Mann Phillips and enjoyed it a great deal. Phillips is an
excellent scholar and the book provided a rich summary of Erasmus's life and works.
Most interesting to me was Erasmus's involvement and education in a community called
the Brethren of the Common
Life, a sort of religious organization founded in the 14th century by Geert de Grute. While the name
originally reminded me of Freemasonry, the description is more akin to
Herman Hesse's Castalia from his magnum opus
The Glass Bead Game.
Erasmus's relevance to Freemasonry comes from his rich and lasting influence on
Western thought. During his time he was one of the most widely read authors, and
some of his works, such as In Praise of Folly, continue to be
included in recommended reading lists. His moderate stance between the radical
protestantism of Martin Luther and the stubborn conservatism of the
corrupt Church helped shape religious thought during the Reformation and helped to
congeal the seeds that led to the Enlightenment. His refusal to bend to the will of
others was tempered by his respect for his fellow men, and though it is doubtful that
he ever had any contact with the proto-Masonic lodges of the 16th century he stands
as an excellent role model for the modern Freemason.
This year the lodges in our district are trying something new. Every month we're
having a Masters' and Wardens' meeting, in which the principal officers of every
lodge come together to discuss events, coordinate plans, and keep the district in a
coherent state. Last night was the first meeting that I'd made it to and I was happy
to see that one of our most ambitious projects is coming together really well. In
September I wrote about the possibilities of a
table lodge, and I'm happy to say that it's actually going to happen.
We will receive a special dispensation to open Ashland Lodge on June 24th, and I will
be taking the part of the Junior Warden. Others on the committee have done all of
the real work, though, including putting together an impressive menu and an excellent
ritual. I am very excited about this event and I can't wait to attend. There
are a limited number of tickets, so if any of my readers happen to be Freemasons and
you're interested in some fun, drop me an email and
I'll give you the relevant contact information.
Fri, 11 Feb 2005
Loyal readers, let me apologize for being absent for so long. Some
really ugly goings on in my personal life have been keeping me fairly
distracted, and because of this I have not really been inspired to
keep this weblog up to date. This is a shame, I think, because a lot
of great things have been happening for me in Freemasonry, and I'm
going to try to remember all of them now.
First, I did finally receive the Scottish Rite
degrees and am now a Master of the Royal Secret, 32°. It was an
incredible experience and I had the pleasure of receiving degrees from
both the Medford and Roseburg Valleys. Shortly thereafter, I was
elected to and installed into an office in the Council of Kadosh.
Unfortunately, I am so new to everything that I can't remember which
office I hold.
I am also now the High Priest of Siskiyou Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons. This
has been an interesting challenge, as the chapter is really
struggling. It's also the office that I feel strangest talking about,
because it's difficult to explain why Freemasonry is not a religion,
but I can still hold an office called "High Priest." To those of you
reading this who are not Masons, the simple answer is that a Royal
Arch Chapter is governed by three officers symbolizing the authority
figures in charge of Jerusalem during the building of the Second
Temple. The High Priest is the principal officer, corresponding to
the Worshipful Master of the Blue Lodge, and he is assisted by the
King and Scribe, corresponding to the Senior and Junior Wardens
Finally, I am now Senior Warden of Ashland Lodge No. 23. Last night
our Master was out and I sat in the East for the first time. It was
nerve-wracking. I have still not figured out why that one particular
chair feels as if it's about ten degrees warmer than the rest of the
Tue, 21 Sep 2004
There has been a lot of talk in the local lodges about organizing a table lodge lately. Oregon has no
recognized table lodge ritual, and unfortunately we've had non-tiled events in the past called
"table lodges" which were nothing of the sort. Right now there's a group of Masons down here
putting together a ritual to send to the Grand Lodge. For those of you who have never been to a
table lodge, you're missing out!
They are great fun.
Recently on the Masonic Light mailing list, Bro. Peter
Renzland announced that the Toronto Society for Masonic Research now
has a public webpage. It features an impressive list of
papers and links. Head on over and check it out!
Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Back in the early '90s, there was a great television show called Twin Peaks caused a bit of a stir. It was a bizarre romp
through the twisted minds of David Lynch and Mark Frost. The show was packed full of symbolism,
both expected and bizarre, and was so rich and twisted in detail that even today discussions and
arguments attempting to decipher and come to an understanding of its messages are common. Some of
the symbolism may seem similar to Freemasons, including references to lodges, conspiracies, and
Much of this apparently came from Mark Frost, whose
interests in Theosophy and other 19th century movements are revealed in some of his novels (such as
Seven and The Six Messiahs), none
of which I've read. I'd encourage any Freemason to check out Twin Peaks. You can rent the series
on DVD at NetFlix.
In May I talked about hermeticism and it's relationship to
Freemasonry, and during my browsing and reading I've come across more articles and websites
discussing such connections. I continue to think that it is vital for Freemasonry to stop dodging
our many various connections to controversial ideas of the past, and in this light I bring to you "A Basic Historico-Chronological
Model of the Western Hermetic Tradition" by Bro. Trevor Stewart. The article is just as long
and cumbersome as its title suggests, which is why I give you special permission to jump all the way
to part 6, subtitled "Masonic
Initiation of Today Viewed as a Process". Bro. Stewart has this to say about the state of
affairs of esoteric Masonry in the UGLE today:
The general level of Hermetic exploration on a regular basis in English-speaking Lodges is now
minimal. Their present state of philosophical impoverishment has accumulated for more than 150 years
since the compromise formulation which defined Freemasonry in minimalist terms at the union of the
two rival Grand Lodges in London in 1813. That Union created the present UGLE which has formally
shunned making any clear recommendations regarding possible interpretations of symbols or even
propounding any syllabus for systematic study.
While I would never wish to force any Freemason to interpret the Craft as a purely Hermetic pursuit,
I think it is fair to say that recent research into our fraternity's origins give ample excuse for
the modern student to do so.
the Hermetic Tradition" by R. A. Gilbert is a much more readable article, and was
originally published in Gnosis Magazine. He writes, "Of
those Freemasons who were inclined towards occultism at the close of the last century, the majority
were deeply involved in the Theosophical Society, or at least in the teachings that it
propagated." This ties nicely into the symbolic cross-pollination one might notice in the
aforementioned Twin Peaks.
I am very interested in hearing the thoughts of any Freemasons regarding the influences of
hermeticism on Freemasonry, or vice versa!
Wed, 14 Jul 2004
I was tickled when I saw the title of Freemasonry: Shattering The Myth on AskMen.com. The article claims to debunk some common myths about Freemasonry, but
instead perpetuates some weird inaccuracies, including some I haven't heard before. "Possession of a Masonic Bible is
required for membership," claims the author. I guess I'm not a real Mason, then.
Later on he repeats the standard bit about Freemasonry being persecuted by dictators and religious regimes, which is
certainly mostly true, but also gets a few more things wrong, such as his claim that, "The bad rap Freemasonry received,
which has fueled conspiracy theories for years, goes back to 1827." The author's research doesn't seem to have been
very thorough. Anti-Masonic sentiments go back much further than that, and in fact there was at least one tract against
the fraternity published before we went public in 1717. The article wraps up with some more misinformation, and
perpetuates the anti-Catholic myth during its conclusion. I'm glad Freemasonry is getting some publicity, but give me a
break! Maybe they'll use more facts next time, or have one of the world's five million Freemasons double-check the
information they've gathered.
The Sacramento Bee, on the other hand, featured a great article yesterday. Inside the Masonic Temple is a touching
visit to the Masonic Temple Building in downtown Sacramento. The story is one that is undoubtedly familiar to many
Masons, such as the brethren of Sunnyside Lodge
No. 163 whom I featured in one of my earliest articles: a beautiful building
is falling into decay, and the Brethren fight for its upkeep. The author has some nice things to say about the
Sacramento building. The photo gallery accompanying the article is worth seeing, as well.
One of the five-story building's most remarkable features is its extensive terra cotta ornamentation. Statues of Knights
Templar, eyes cast down and holding shields, adorn the ground floor, while cupids cavort above each window. The terra
cotta and brick exterior is glazed a coppery green.
Those interested in helping the Sacramento Masonic Temple may want to take a look at the Sacramento Masonic Fund Raiser
page, which is attempting to raise
$26,000 to help restore the beautiful building. You can also read their excellent article about the building