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Erik's Masonic Journey

Mon, 23 Dec 2002

I have been a very, very bad website maintainer! It's been six months with nary a new entry posted here, and much has happened. Most notably, this month I have been installed as Senior Deacon of Ashland Masonic Lodge No. 23, and as Captain of the Host of Siskiyou Chapter No. 21 Royal Arch Masons. Both were very nice ceremonies, and I am looking forward to this next Masonic year. I have the impression that our Royal Arch chapter is about to undergo a rejuvenation similar to that which has graced our Lodge these past few years.

I have been reading quite a bit about esoteric Freemasonry lately, including some excellent books recommended to me by Bro. Jay Kinney. You can click on these links to buy the books and help support this website, if any of them look interesting.

  • Modern Esoteric Spirituality is a big book with a collection of articles by various authors. It has an interesting article explaining a theory that Freemasonry was originally a form of esoteric Christianity, and that the core parts were watered down when the pure Christian elements were stripped from the ritual in the 18th century.
  • The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates gives one a great overview of the religious and philosophical climate in England in the years just before modern Freemasonry emerged from secrecy. I think that an understanding of Renaissance thought is important in unraveling the more obtuse references in Masonic ritual.
  • The Royal Arch: Its Hidden Meaning by Bro. George Steinmetz is an old classic. If you're a Royal Arch Mason, it's worth reading. Some of the ideas are old and very strange, and I certainly don't agree with all of them, but with all esoteric interpretations, they should be taken with a grain of salt.

In closing, I would like to wish all of my readers a happy holiday season. And remember, this is an especially appropriate time of year to remember those less fortunate than you!

Mon, 22 Jul 2002

This weekend we began painting the ceiling of our lodge room. Our building is just a few years old, having been erected in 1999. It is still very plain and undecorated and there has been a lot of pressure from the lodge to do something impressive with the lodge room. Anyhow, finally a few of us got together and started planning a massive series of murals for the ceiling and walls of the lodge, which we started implementing.

Our first phase is to paint the starry canopy on the uppermost part of the ceiling. I was somehow put in charge of laying out a star chart to be placed there, and chose to use Leo as the center constellation, even though it should be on the southern horizon. It will be the focal point of the starry canopy. We've been trying to figure out what we're going to do with the rest of the ceiling as we make our way down, and there are a lot of ideas. I thought I'd start jotting down some of them and begin trying to put together something coherent.

Here are some websites I found detailing other Masonic murals. Please explore them, and if you can come up with any good mural ideas that you wish you had in your lodge, then drop me a line! We could use some more creative juice coming our way.

Mon, 20 May 2002

As my regular readers know, Bro. Jay Kinney was here on Saturday to give a speech at the lodge. Though the turnout was smaller than I had expected, a good number of guests showed up and our speaker did a really great job. It was also a lot of fun meeting Bro. Kinney and his wife. They're both great people, very intelligent and fun to hang out with. And they have good taste in beer, to boot!

The lodge presented him with a certificate of appreciation, and he presented the lodge with a full set of GNOSIS magazines. That was quite a treat! The audience received Jay very well, and all of them had nice things to say afterward. The event was certainly a success, and as a result, we've already begun talking about inviting another speaker next year.

Many thanks to those of you who attended. As for those of you who didn't, well, you really missed out!

Mon, 13 May 2002

Some of you are probably aware that there's a movement which believes that Francis Bacon was involved with the origins of Freemasonry. He was also supposedly a Rosicrucian. I'm not too sure about all of that, but I know that he was an intelligent, thoughtful man. I was very fortunate to find a 1930s printing of Volume III of the Harvard Classics, containing essays by Bacon, Milton, and Browne. I don't know a whole lot about those last two guys, and reading early 17th century English isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world (imagine reading philosophy by Shakespeare), but I am looking forward to the challenge of working through Bacon's Essays and New Atlantis. Wish me luck!

Hopefully that was a big enough collection of links to keep you busy for a while. Last night, while browsing lostWord and drooling over some of their fine wares, I came across this excellent Masonic jewel copied from the movie based on The Man Who Would Be King by our Bro. Rudyard Kipling. It's beautiful! There's a second pendant available that's equally beautiful, featuring the eye of providence in the square and compasses. Impressive!

Sun, 12 May 2002

I've been pretty busy working on the details for Bro. Kinney's visit next weekend, but in the meantime I've had some time to look around on the net and collect some good links, like I used to.

First, I came across a link by a fellow gamer and Freemason who has posted his personal feelings and experiences about Masonry on the web. It's very well done, and he makes some good points. He's about the same age as me, so it's neat to see that some of our thoughts on the subject are similar. To read more, visit Tim's Freemasonry Page.

I also found an interesting article by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. titled Why My Dog is Not a Humanist, wherein he mentions Freemasonry. I haven't read it yet, but Vonnegut is a great author with a lot of great insight, so perhaps some of you might find it interesting.

Finally, I'm currently reading The Freemasons by Jasper Ridley. It's a great book, and I would recommend it for every Freemason and every Lodge library. Ridley does a great job of looking at the Fraternity from an outsider's point of view and describing what he sees in a frank and honest manner.

Mon, 29 Apr 2002

Many exciting things have been going on in the lodge so far this year. Our new Worshipful Master, Steve Travis, has been keeping us very busy. In March, my wife and I put on a Masonic open house program. We invited brethren from all of the lodges and asked them to bring visitors, and each of us gave a short presentation. Valkyrie did a much better job than I, and got tons of praise. Our lodge secretary asked her to type up her speech so we could send it to the Grand Lodge for inclusion in their newsletter. Once she does this, I'll make sure to post it here so others can read it. It was very moving!

I'm even more excited about our next event. Bro. Scott Carter and I have been working very hard to get Bro. Jay Kinney up to our lodge to give a lecture. He's the former publisher and editor of GNOSIS Magazine and the co-author of Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions. He will be in Ashland on Saturday, May 18th, and will be giving a lecture titled "Is Freemasonry Afraid of Its Own Shadow?" at 5:00 PM at the Ashland Masonic Center. If you're interested in attending, please contact me at erik@aarg.net for more information. Both Masons and non-Masons are invited to attend, and there will be a suggested donation of $6.00.

Earlier this month, a group of Royal Arch Masons from local chapters (well, mostly from Siskiyou Chapter No. 21) accompanied a candidate down to Red Bluff, California. All four of the Chapter degrees were conferred. It was a great experience, and I wanted to thank all of the Red Bluff Masons for their hard work and great hospitality. If any of you are reading this, thanks, guys!

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