Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Farmers lodge No. 147, Norristown, Indiana 11/1/07

I'll be speaking tomorrow night (Thursday) at Farmer's Lodge No. 147 in Norristown, Indiana. I've never had the opportunity to visit the brethren there, and I am looking forward to it. Many thanks to W:.B:. Chris Hauk and his officers for their kind invitation. If you are in the area, come out for a visit. The meeting opens at 7:00PM – no meal beforehand, but snacks afterwards.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This Week In Michigan

Madness reigns here at HodapphaĆ¼s this week as we wind up the last of the manuscript for the new book, Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies, due out in March 2008.

Amidst the chaos I am headed for Golden Rule Lodge #159 in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a speech on Thursday night (October 25th) at 6:00PM. Brethren from Golden Rule came down to Indianapolis and visited Lodge Vitruvian over the summer, so it will be a real honor to visit them.

Friday night I'll be at the Detroit Masonic Center for another presentation. I'm truly looking forward to meeting up with so many Michigan brethren I have only met electronically over the years. If you are in the area, please stop by and say hello.


Speaking of Lodge Vitruvian, we had our quarterly meeting and elections tonight. Many, many thanks to W:.B:.Phil Garver for a great year as Master. Phil was also Eminent Commander of Raper Commandery No. 1 Knights Templar this year, along with working full time, teaching 12 hours a week, starting a Master's program in Indianapolis, AND commuting to Earlham College two days a week to start on his path to a Doctor of Divinity degree. It's been an exhausting year for him on a whole lot of fronts, and all of his brethren appreciate the time he has been able to devote to Masonry.

Congratulations to W:.B:. Dale M. Adams, PM, who was elected as the Worshipful Master for 2008. I'm looking forward to another great year at Vitruvian. Our outstanding speaker this evening was Past Grand Master Doug Fegenbush, who presented a slide show about the Masonic connections in the Holy Land. Doug's talks are always fun and informative, and tonight was no exception. he's traveled extensively, and we hope to have him back again for more.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Invisible Children"

Alice and I had the distinct honor of attending the Heartland Film Festival's Crystal Heart Awards dinner Saturday evening. Filmmaker Jason Russell and his beautiful wife Danica, and their 5 month old son were at our table.

Maybe you've heard of the documentary Invisible Children, maybe you haven't. Take the time to go to their website and see what the power of determination of Jason and his two young friends have done to make a difference in a part of the world few Americans ever think of.
http://www.invisiblechildren.com The film is incredibly powerful and heartbreaking. But what has happened in the few years since they bought a camera on Ebay and made their unbelievable trip is nothing short of miraculous. It started as a really badly shot documentary by guys who didn't have the slightest idea of what they were doing. But they uncovered a terrible story of children being forced to fight in a civil war, and when they came home, it turned into a movement and a foundation that has raised more than 12 million dollars in less than three years to build schools and to provide the kind of aid in African villages that really helps. All from a grass roots organization that grew out of three white suburban kids going into a war zone and finding out what was really needed.

Over the years at Heartland we've had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting Indiana-born director Robert Wise, Jaimie Redford, actor Jim Caviezel, Karl Malden, Maureen O'Hara, Robert Duvall and many others. But I am impressed beyond belief at the accomplishments of the three men who made Invisible Children.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Indianapolis Monthly article now online

A nice surprise.

Indianapolis Monthly has just this very week changed its website design, and now my October article is suddenly available online. I am, of course, only posting this for friends and family who live out of town, since I know all Indianapolis residents will want to purchase their very own copies and contribute lavishly to a struggling, locally owned publication...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Elias Ashmole – October 16, 1646

On this day in 1646, renowned scholar, scientist, antiquarian, public official and member of the Royal Society, Elias Ashmole was initiated as the first English "speculative" Freemason known to history. There were undoubtedly others – notably, Robert Moray in Scotland – but Ashmole is credited as the first recorded in England.

From his diary:

October 16, 1646 at 4:30 p.m.
"I was made a Free Mason at Warrington in Lancashire, with Coll: Henry Mainwaring of Karincham in Cheshire. The names of those that were then of the Lodge: Mr. Rich Penket, Warden, Mr. James Collier, Mr. Rich. Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam, Rich. Ellam & Hugh Brewer."

His incredible personal collection became the basis for the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University. Read more about him in Tobias Churton's book, The Magus of Freemasonry.

Monday, October 15, 2007

700th Templar Anniversary Aftermath


Many, many thanks to all who came out last night. It was a great experience to be able to put on this presentation on the 700th anniversary of the Templar arrests, as well as having the opportunity to be part of the DeMolay degrees.

What made the day so gratifying were the literally dozens of young men who came up to us afterwards and expressed real enthusiasm for what they had seen. DeMolay boys, York Rite members and even relatives of Templars who were on the sidelines came up, and we heard the same thing over and over and over. "This is what we always think of when we hear about the Knights Templar!" And I've never seen so many photos taken at a York Rite event in my life.

I think it's important for everyone to understand that it is not our intention to detract from the existing Knights Templar concentration on military-style drill teams, nor to seriously suggest that the existing KT uniform be chucked in favor of chain mail and steel helmets. What we represent is simply another aspect of Templary that obviously generates great interest, that has long been ignored by the Masonic Templar Order. Throughout the 1800s when the Templar Order grew, there were literally hundreds of other fraternal groups that styled themselves as "knights." The Romantic Age was almost single-handedly invented by Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe and brave tales of chivalry and knighthood. Those groups largely don't exist anymore, yet new interest in knighthood is growing within the last two generations of men. And I firmly believe that it is stories of the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars' Jedi Knights that keep this flame alive in new generations. It is those men that a group like Levant Preceptory interests.

Events like the Renaissance faires, Civil War and WWII events, the feast of the Hunter's Moon, as well as the growth of the Society for Creative Anachronism show that there is an expanding interest in period recreation and reenactment. With the dropping of York and Scottish Rite requirements for Shrine membership, the Rites have lost their guaranteed membership conscripts from more than 100 years of the old requirements. They must now stand or fall on their own. We believe this may be one path to the future for the Templars of the York Rite. Most of us in Levent Preceptory have no interest in the 19th century drill team model, but we are very interested in history and legend, along with chivalry as a modern, real-world concept. Our group does not suck men away from the drill teams. It brings in new men who might have otherwise not given Templar membership a second glance.

Again, many thanks to Grand Commander Andrew Jackson and the many, many Sir Knights, ladies, brethren and DeMolays who came out last night. We hope what you saw made you think of Templary in a whole new light (or at least in a very, very, very old one). And we hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed presenting it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Knights Templar to Mark 700th Anniversary of Arrest, Torture, Executions

(Shelbyville, IN) On October 13, 2007 it will have been 700 years ago that the medieval Knights Templer, the richest and most powerful order of knights in the world, were arrested all across France by King Phillip IV.

Now a group of Indiana Freemasons known as the Knights Templar will commemorate the event in a ceremony on Saturday, October 13, 2007 in Shelbyville, Indiana, dressed in medieval chain mail, helmets and tunics, and brandishing broadswords like their medieval counterparts.

Many claim the arrest of the Templars is why Friday the 13th is considered to be unlucky – a phobia called by the unwieldy name paraskavedekatriaphobia.

Originally formed in Jerusalem at the end of the first Crusade by just nine French knights, within 200 years the Templars rose to become the first international bankers and the most powerful and influential force in Europe and the Holy Land. But on that fateful Friday the 13th in October 1307, the Order was destroyed.

France’s King Phillip IV ordered the Knights to be arrested and tortured into admitting to lurid accusations of heresy, while a weak pope, Clement V, looked on helplessly.

Most historians agree today that Phillip was simply out to steal the Templars’ vast wealth, and invented the charges of heresy as an excuse. That view seems to be shared by the modern-day Vatican.

The Vatican took this anniversary week of the Templars’ arrests to announce they would soon publish a book based on a long lost document that shows Pope Clement V secretly exonerated the order of heresy in 1308.

Renewed awareness of the Knights Templar has come from their mention in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven, but the Freemasons have had their own group called the Knights Templar since the 1700’s, according to Christopher Hodapp, co-author of The Templar Code For Dummies. Hodapp, who is a member of Levant Preceptory, says that new interest in the Templars and the Masons is growing among younger men. “Fans that have grown up with tales of Lord of the Rings and Jedi Knights are looking for something comparable in real life that is legendary, and mythical. You don’t get much larger than life than the true story of the Templars.”

The greatest mystery of the Templars is the whereabouts of their legendary treasure. Phillip claimed he never found it, and wild speculation has existed for centuries as to its whereabouts. Some say escaping Templars sailed to Scotland and formed what became the Freemasons, burying their treasure underneath legendary Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh. Others believe it may be at the bottom of a deep pit on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. The movie National Treasure claimed it was in a vault hidden beneath a churchyard off Wall Street.

The modern Templars of Levant Preceptory won’t be talking about treasure on this October 13th. “Concepts of chivalry, like faith, hope and charity, never really go out of style,” says Hodapp, “and that’s what we’re really celebrating.”

The event will be at the Messick Masonic Temple, 519 S. Harrison, Shelbyville, IN at 7:00PM. It is open to the public.

Levant Preceptory is a medieval reenactment group within Raper Commandery No. 1 Knights Templar in Indianapolis, and a part of the family of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Indiana.

- For more information about Levant Preceptory, see their website at www.levantpreceptory.com
- For more about the Knights Templar of Indiana, see www.knightstemplarindiana.com
- For more about the Freemasons of Indiana, see www.indianafreemasons.com
- For more about The Templar Code For Dummies, see www.templarcodefordummies.com

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sunday Masonic TV


In case you are planning on being a whopping layabout on Sunday and looking for some informative programming, the National Geographic Channel will be airing two shows of interest to Freemasons this Sunday October 7th, beginning at 1:00 PM EST.


THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR
Knights Templar examines the myths and mysteries of the legendary medieval order. The Templar have recently gained attention in the pages of the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, where they are presented as the protectors of the Holy Grail. Modern conspiracy theories suggest that the Knights Templar still exist in secret to this day - and still protect a vast and mysterious treasure. NGC separates fact from fiction to reveal the true story behind these legendary warriors.


Then at 3:00 PM EST:

SECRETS OF THE FREEMASONS
It is a secret society that is said to have shaped world events for more than 1,000 years. Members have been found everywhere, from the World Bank to the United Nations, from the Pentagon to the top ranks of major corporations. They have been accused of controlling the money supply through the Federal Reserve, and throughout history they have been present everywhere, from the Boston Tea Party to the French Revolution. They are the Freemasons. But who exactly are they?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Article In October Indianapolis Monthly

Indianapolis residents, check out my article "Da Indy Code" in the October 2007 issue of Indianapolis Monthly magazine. Editor Amy Wimmer-Schwarb let me break a whole lot of rules by going longer than they would usually allow, and by adding a sidebar to deal with some of the loonier accusations about Illuminati symbolism (alleged by David Icke's website to be all over Indianapolis).

Best of all was the chance to tell the story of Freemasonry's new growth in Indiana, along with highlighting Indiana Freemason's Hall. And even the full page message from editor David Zivan was about Freemasonry, complete with a great caricature of Washington in his Masonic regalia on the statehouse lawn.

Many thanks to Amy and the staff at IM. Please buy copious quantities for your lodge and your home, including one for every bathroom…

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Masons and Goats In The News


"Riding The Goat" by Cassius Coolidge

Apparently, someone with a sense of humor abandoned a goat at the Northampton Masonic Hall in Britain.
An abandoned goat sparked a dramatic day-long rescue mission after being mysteriously dumped in the garden of Freemasons Hall. The male goat appeared tied to a tree in the corner of the lawn at the Freemasons Hall and Conference Centre in St George's Avenue, Northampton, on Monday morning…The bearded billy goat was eventually rescued by volunteers from Animals in Need last night and has now been taken to the sanctuary's base in Little Irchester…

Which reminds me that my friend William D. Moore has written what is perhaps the most exhaustive history of fraternal "lodge goats" for the academic Winterthur Portfolio (sorry, a subscription is required). Will is not a Freemason, but was director of the Robert R Livingston Masonic Library in New York. He is currently assistant professor of history and director of the public history program at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.