Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I would like to begin by wishing everyone a very "Happy Holiday Season"! With all the commercialism that is now associated with this time of year, it is very easy to forget what is truly important. I wish you & yours all the best. The animated Masonic "Season's Greetings" image is courtesy of Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry. Visit the site, it is one of the best Masonic sites on the internet. My apologies for not crediting them with the image when I first posted this message...
Since my last posting, a lot has gone on in my life here in Syracuse, NY. I was in the middle of my Official Visits when I last was here, but I have since completed all of them except one. My own Lodge, Morning Star No. 524. I was all set to go on December 3rd when we had our first snow storm of the season. I cancelled my visit & rescheduled for January 7th, 2008. Hopefully the weather will cooperate better then. We had our second storm last weekend - not even Christmas yet & I am sick of my snow blower.
On December 5th, my step-son, Steve & his wife, Michelle welcomed their first son, Ian into the world. Everyone in the family is absolutely "over the moon" about the baby with everyone jockeying to hold him.
On the previous Saturday, I was privileged to be initiated into Glencairn Council No. 14, Order of Knight Masons, in Albany, NY. The Grand Council of Knight Masons of the United States of America is an invitational and honorary body created to, among other things, "perpetuate the ancient rituals of the Irish Masonic Canon, (the "Green" degrees) by promoting their frequent and regular conferral inits constituent councils, and by its expectation that such conferral will be executed with an accuracy, a precision, and a dramatic power congruent with the highest traditions of the Masonic institution." I became a citizen of Ireland this summer and I thought that it would be very fitting to accept their invitation. See their website to learn more about them.
Back in October, I managed to not post anything about the 700th Anniversary of the arrest of the Knights Templar. I wasn't because I didn't want to, in fact I was quite ready to, but time constraints kept me from getting here. The Templars are, in fact, related to my story concerning my Masonic membership. I had read John J. Robinson's book, Born In Blood, and found his theory concerning Freemasonry's descendency from the Knights Templar to be very interesting. My interests in the Templars continues and in future posts, I will pass on some non-fiction as well fictional book recommendations concerning them.
Another Templar related item for me is the Order of DeMolay.
"DeMolay is an organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience, DeMolay opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. DeMolay combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among members in more than 1,000 chapters worldwide."
We are in the infancy stages of trying to resurrect a chapter here in the Central New York area. It has been a few years since we had a chapter in the area so wish us luck!
Finally, I wouldn't be doing my Librarian duty if I didn't recommend a book. I recently finished Mark Stavish's "Freemasonry: Rituals, Symbols & History of the Secret Society" which is a great introduction to the esoteric elements that can be found within the Fraternity's , well, rituals, symbols & history. It is easy reading and has a great introduction by Brother Lon Milo DuQuette. The group mentioned in his introduction sounds like it practices Masonry as a Path - I wish more could be known about it. Brother Stavish is, for those in the dark, the proprietor of the Institute for Hermetic Studies. If you have an interest in Alchemy, please check out his website and other books.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
As someone who likes to promote Masonic Education in all its formats and, as a Professional Librarian as well, I would like to bring to your attention, "The State of Masonic Education."
This will be a Masonic lecture and discussion to be held on Monday, December 10, 2007 at La Petite Auberge Restaurant, 116 Lexington Avenue at 28th Street in New York City. It is presented as part of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York's Library Dinner Lecture Series.
The Panel for the evening will Researchers & Scholars from the Quatuor Coronati Lodge in London, the "premier lodge of Masonic research:
- S. Brent Morris (Worshipful Master & 1st native-born American to hold that Office)
- Peter Currie (Senior Warden & Editor of Ars Quatuor Coronati)
- Yasha Beresiner (Past Master, lecturer & published author)
- Trevor Stewart (Past Master & Prestonian Lecturer)
- John Wade (Sheffield University's Centre for Research into Freemasonry)
It looks to be a great evening for anyone with an interest in things Masonic that goes beyond the usual watered down education that many get. S. Brent Morris is, of course that author of many an article for the Scottish Rite Research Society as well as "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry."
My only complaint about this event is that it is held on a Monday instead of on a weekend. Many who would like to attend are, like myself, working stiffs from places other than New York City and it would be far easier to make plans for a weekend get away. Livingston Trustees take Note for the next lecture!!!
Go here for more information.
Monday, August 27, 2007
The other project that I was interested in getting together was a trip to Washington DC - our nation's Capitol, a town with alot of Masonic connections and perhaps the coolest city on the planet. I asked one of my "Fellowship & Family Involvement" Chairmen, W.'. Richard Torrey to see what he could put together and, boy, did he not disappoint!
On Friday, August 17th, we packed 49 people onto a bus & headed to DC for a fun-filled time. While many of us knew each other, there were a few that we were meeting for the first time but we all quickly became fast friends. We visited many of the usual spots - Washington Monument, National Mall, National Archives, the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress, just to name a few.
About a dozen of us went to a Mets-Nationals baseball game and were surprised to find more Mets fans at the game than those cheeing for the Nats. How can a team with such a weak following justify the money that is being put into a new baseball stadium when a soccer team in the same city pulls many more fans & is having a hard time getting a stadium deal together? Can you tell that I am a soccer fan? Go DC United!
We had hoped to visit the House of the Temple, the headquarters for the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction but with the Joint Supreme Council session starting the week after our visit, it was closed to visitors. Perhaps a good reason for another trip. We did visit the magnificent George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA. This a fantastic place to see even if you are not a Mason. For the Mason, it can almost seem like a pilgrimage of sorts. Lots of photos were taken without, within and from the top. Check it out the next time you are in DC!
All in all, we had a great time despite a bus driver that seemed to get lost turning around. Everyone took it in stride and enjoyed it for waht it was - a great town to visit and great company to do it with. I would like to send out a huge "Thank You" to W.'. Richard Torrey and his wife Ann for all their hard work in getting this weekend together & insuring that all were well taken care of and having a good time. Great Work!!!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
But if you really want to sink your teeth into some serious Masonic material, I highly recommend the following three books:
Also from Brother deHoyos is last year’s “Symbolism of the Blue Degrees of Freemasonry, Albert Pike’s Esoterika” which I have previously mentioned here. These two books alone will provide years of study for the esoterically bent Freemason.
I would also like to recommend Brother W. Kirk MacNulty’s “Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance”. This book is beautifully put together with lots of Masonic information and many illustrations and photographs that I haven’t already seen a million times.
Buy these books, recommend them to your Masonic & Public Libraries, but more importantly, read these books and spread their Masonic Light onto your Brethren.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The only low point in my opinion came from the guest speaker at our Grand Master's Dinner on Monday evening, former Wisconsin Governor and now Presidential Candidate Tommy Thompson. The speech mostly came off as something of a political statement concerning many of his accomplishments while Governor and US Secretary of Health and Human Services. Now, I will be honest with you. I don't care for political speeches from anyone - it doesn't matter what the party is. I think a quick reading of his biography would have been sufficient and then a speech detailing how Freemasonry has helped shape his life & ideals would have been quite appropriate. I guess you can't please everyone.
A number of Bibles were used during the two days including the infamous "George Washington" Bible on loan from St. John's Lodge No. 1. Pictured, I believe is a 16th Century Bible on loan from Francis Lewis Lodge No. 273. It was printed by Henry Middleton in 1585, 35 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Pretty impressive!
Friday, May 04, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
My mind is just spinning. What is going on in this world? What would possess someone to take a gun and begin shooting people? How can someone think that a racist comment would be funny? Why is the paternity of some innocent child suddenly our business?
It really seems like the world has completely come unbalanced (the weather would seem to support that idea as well - I am really sick of snow right now). Everything is done to the extreme while moving at break neck speeds. I think that it would do us all a great service to slow down and consider our choices in life and their impact upon those around us. It seems to be the new American Way to take drastic means to an end while laying the resposibility of the consequences on other folks.
That needs to change. Let's start within our Masonic Lodges - it's what were are supposedly there to do right? Find balance - maybe while standing between two columns (a little Fellowcraft Degree symbolism for those of you not following along). Leadership and responsibility skills can be grown & developed within our Lodges. But we need to take it outside its walls.
It's a mad world out there. I challenge all Masons around the world to step up and begin bringing some balance to their communities. It has to start somewhere...
Thursday, March 22, 2007
A couple of days ago, I participated in smething that helped me remember. It wasn't a lengthy discourse on the symbolism of the "All Seeing Eye" but something much simpler. I was asked by the Master of my Lodge if I could accompany him and a Past Grand Master (also a member of my Lodge) to present a 50 year pin to a Brother (with a capital B) who is very ill and living in a nursing home. Now, this is something that I admit I am not very comfortable or good at doing, but I agreed to go. None of us knew the Brother in question - he belonged to a Lodge that "merged" with ours nearly 10 years and we had never met. When we arrived, it was very clear that this Brother was extremely ill. Fortunately, his wife was present and we were able to present the plaque & pin to her for which she was very grateful. We had the chance to learn more about our Brother, his life & family. We reminded his wife that we were there should she ever need anything.
We reminded ourselves that this is what Brotherhood was all about. This is why we are Freemasons.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
In my district here in Syracuse, NY, I offered up the following Masonic New Year Resolutions (adapt them, as you will for you own jurisdiction):
- Improve your Ritual work. Our AGLs are available to assist with your upcoming Degrees – remember: a candidate’s first real impression of Freemasonry comes with his Initiation in the Entered Apprentice Degree. 1) Improve your Ritual work. Our AGLs are available to assist with your upcoming Degrees – remember: a candidate’s first real impression of Freemasonry comes with his Initiation in the Entered Apprentice Degree. RW Dick Gilbert & VW Kevin Parker can help you make that first impression. Let them help you. They are also planning a Lodge of Instruction & Ritual Competition in March. See their column for more details.
- Further your Masonic Education. The job of the Grand Lodge Staff Officer is to attend to the Masonic Education of the Brethren in his District. RW Larry Egnaczyk will finish the “Masonic Development Course” this month & will soon follow it with either “The Road to the East” or the new edition of the “Leadership Development Course”. If you would like to learn more about Masonry and improve your leadership skills, plan on attending one of these courses. Watch his column for more information. You can also take advantage of the Livingston Masonic Library or the Masonic University of New York (MUNY) – you can find their links on the Grand Lodge website (www.nymasons.org)
- Attend Masters, Wardens & Deacons sessions. This meeting on the 4th Wednesday of each month is an excellent opportunity for you to learn what is happening in the other Lodges of the Onondaga District and to discuss issues that are important to Masons & Masonry. This meeting is not just for the Masters, Wardens & Deacons of our Lodges – anyone who is interested is more than welcome to attend. Our next meeting is on January 24th at the Memorial Masonic Center in North Syracuse at 7:30 PM.
- Make an effort to attend Masonic Funeral Services. There is nothing more embarrassing than having only a couple of Brothers show up to a service after a family has asked for it. Freemasonry obviously meant a lot to the deceased Brother & his family because they have asked for the service. Make an extra effort to show them that it means a lot to you as well. Worshipful Masters: if you know of a Masonic Service, please email the details to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it onto the other Masters, who, I would hope, will forward it onto the Brothers for whom they have email addresses, and get the word out.
After my post about Esoterika Lodge, I received calls from a Brother from that Lodge and another in Minnesota offering their encouragement. So far, I haven't heard from anyone in this District interested, but I will see.