Thursday, April 29, 2010

Planning Allied Masonic Degree Day in Indianapolis Nov. 13th



UPDATE:
Date changed from November 13th. New date is November 6th, 2010!

Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD) is an honorary and invitational organization devoted to Masonic research and the preservation of orphaned Masonic degrees that were formerly worked in Craft or Mark lodges, or Royal Arch chapters in America and the British Isles. Over the years, they have been grouped together under a single governing organization in an effort to perpetuate and preserve them. AMD Councils are limited to just 27 members, and only by invitation.

In my role as Sovereign Master of Imhotep Council No. 434 AMD in Indianapolis, we are inviting the members of Indiana and surrounding area Councils to a special Allied Masonic Degree Day on Saturday, November 13th 6th, 2010, at Indiana Freemasons' Hall in Indianapolis. Here is an opportunity for your Council to participate by both experiencing and conferring AMD degrees.

In addition to the AMD degrees, the members of Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 in Indianapolis have expressed interest in demonstrating a Masonic degree using Emulation ritual, as well. This ritual is rarely seen outside of English lodges. And this will be an added occasion to visit and tour Indiana Freemasons' Hall, the headquarters of the fraternity in our state.

It is our desire to seek participation among AMD Councils across Indiana, as well as from nearby states. We are in the planning stages of this event at this time, and this message is to discover interest in participating. We are aware that many Councils may gather infrequently and that this message may be coming to you between meetings. However, we would like to have some idea of participation by July 20th, so that we can plan accordingly. We would like to know if your Council has an interest in attending, if you wish to present one of the degrees, and if so, which one. In the case of duplicate requests, degree choices will be assigned in the order they are received. Lunch will be provided, and we anticipate a cost of no more than $10.

Please respond as soon as possible to our Secretary, Carson Smith at
carson.c.smith @ comcast.net . We look forward to your answer and your participation in making this an outstanding day!

Levant Preceptory in Sumner, Illinois June 12th


Gorin Commandery #14 of Bridgeport, Illinois
Presents an Outdoor Order of the Temple June 12th at 2pm CT

Levant Preceptory is a group of Indiana Knights Templar from various commanderies that confers the Order of the Temple in period Knight Templar costumes including chainmail armor, broadswords, and helmets.

The Outdoor Order of the Temple will be held at the Red Hills State Park (North Entrance), in Sumner, Illinois.

A very limited number of Candidates will be allowed! They must have had The Red Cross & Malta. If you think you might bring a candidate, permission must be granted in advance by contacting :
Bruce W. Rhinhart RR 1 Box 343,
Bridgeport, Illinois 62417 1-618-945-7537

Further information contact: Bill Hussey E.C. at bigbill111 @ verizon.net

A very Limited number of Special coins have been minted to celebrate this occasion.

Deadline to reserve your place is May 29 2010.
Levant Preceptory at Highland, Indiana 2010.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Michael Halleran at Texas Lodge of Research June 18-19

The Texas Lodge of Research will present the Anson Jones Lecture weekend on June 18-19, 2010 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in San Antonio. This year's Anson Jones Lecturer is Brother Michael A. Halleran. He is the author of "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War."

I had the distinct pleasure to read a pre-publication copy of "The Better Angels of Our Nature" last year, and heartily recommend it. Brother Michael (from Kansas) has carefully examined many of the most common Masonic anecdotes from the Civil War and tracked down their sources and the real history behind them. This is NOT a sentimental book of apocrypha, but a well-researched work, published by Alabama University press. In some cases, he tramples on some long-cherished tall tales the fraternity has endlessly repeated over the years, but in others he finds the humanity and real truth behind events in the war that pitted brethren against each other more than any other.

Michael Halleran writes the humorous "Brother Brother" stories for the Scottish Rite (SJ) Journal. He is also the assistant editor of The Plumbline, the quarterly newsletter of the Scottish Rite Research Society.

Arrangements have been made for accommodations at the historic 1859 Menger Hotel for both Friday and Saturday nights at the special rate of $105.00, plus tax, per night. Contact the hotel at (210) 223-4361 and mention the TLR group rate.

The Menger is located at 204 Alamo Plaza, overlooking the Alamo next door, and a short walk from the stunning San Antonio Scottish Rite Cathedral. The huge Riverfront shopping complex is also nearby, along with the Riverwalk’s many fine restaurants and nightspots. The Hospitality Room will open at 4 p.m., Friday, for early arrivals and will reopen on Saturday evening. Dinner on Friday will be Dutch treat, as will be lunch on Saturday.

The Anson Jones Lecture dinner is $25.00 per person and will be served at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Dress for the dinner meeting will be black tie (preferred) and cocktail dress for the ladies. Reservations for dinner should be submitted by e-mail to: texas-lodgeofresearch @ yahoo.com no later than June 10th.

Prof. Robert R. Harvey at Iowa Research Lodge #2 on May 8th

Iowa Research Lodge No. 2 will meet Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at Iowa City Lodge # 4 - 312 East College Street, #212, Iowa City, Iowa.

The Jerry Marsengill Memorial Lecture for 2010 will be “Operative Masonry in Conservation Techniques of Salisbury Cathedral and York Minster," presented by Robert R. Harvey, FASLA, Professor Emeritus, College of Design, Iowa State University.

Brother Harvey is a member of Arcadia Lodge #249, Ames; Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Des Moines Valley; Iowa Research Lodge No. 2; and the Scottish Rite Research Society. Professor Harvey was granted leave from Iowa State University to teach Landscape History at Thames Polytechnic in London UK and has presented refereed papers at the annual meetings of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Association for Preservation Technology, International and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and invited to lecture on Landscape History and Historic Preservation topics at the following academic institutions: Columbia University; Harvard University; University of Illinois; University of Minnesota; Joselyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE; Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Carlton University, Canada; University of Manitoba, Canada; University of Victoria, Canada; University of Winnipeg, Canada; York University, UK.

Professor Harvey has made numerous trips to England to study the architectural preservation methods to conserve and save these old structures. He has been afforded access to many parts of the structures not open to the public and, as one example, has climbed vertical stairs to the 250 foot level inside the Salisbury Cathedral. He has slides to illustrate these experiences.

The lodge will open at 5:15PM for business, followed by dinner with Ladies and guests at 6:30PM. The program will follow dinner.

Cost is $15.00 per person for dinner. Send your reservations no later than Monday, May 3rd to Phil Enabnit, Secretary-Treasurer, (515) 266-7600. E-mail to masmedia @ dwx.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Issue #8 of the Journal of the Masonic Society



Issue #8 of the Journal of the Masonic Society is landing in mailboxes this week, featuring:

Masonic Week: Let It Snow by Jay Hochberg & Chris Hodapp
The Grand Constitutions of 1786 and the “Scottish Rite War” by Michael Poll
The Seven Liberal Arts & Sciences by David E. Amstutz
Masonic History Unfolds At Historic Ft. Buford by Jim Savaloja
Restructuring American Freemasonry Part III: The Scottish Rite by Mark Tabbert
The Mystery of Pre-European Freemasonry by Ron Hartoeben
The Quest by Steve Osborn
Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry? by Roger VanGorden
Masonic Treasures: National Treasure Pipe by Chris Hodapp

• A new section: Books, Arts, Styles & Manners, this issue featuring:
Stephen Dafoe's Morgan: The Scandal That Shook Freemasonry reviewed by Kevin Noel Olson; Tobias Churton's The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians: The World’s Most Mysterious Secret Society reviewed by Randy Williams; and Jay Kinney's The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry reviewed by Jay Hochberg.

• Plus Masonic news, reports of the Masonic Society's activities at Masonic Week, new by-laws, Fellows for 2010, new advertisers, and more!


This issue’s cover features “Solomon Dedicates The Temple At Jerusalem” c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902). In the 1890s, Tissot left Paris and traveled extensively in Palestine, where he painted a series of what would become over 700 watercolors featuring the Old Testament and the life of Christ.

Brent Morris in Covington, KY, May 4th

On Tuesday, May 4th, Illustrious Brother Brent Morris 33°, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Freemasonry, co-author of Committed To The Flames, and editor of the Scottish Rite Journal, will be speaking at the Scottish Rite Temple in Covington, Kentucky (just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio). Among his many achievements and positions, Brent is a Past Master of Patmos Lodge No. 70 in Ellicott City, Maryland, a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 in London, the Grand Abbott of the Society of Blue Friars, a Fellow of the Philalethes Society, and a Founding Fellow of The Masonic Society.

Dinner will be at 6:00PM, and a tyled meeting of Lancaster Lodge No. 104 will open at 7:00PM, featuring a Q&A session with Brother Morris. A book signing will follow at 7:45 in the Fellowship Hall, where Brother Morris will address the ladies and do a Q&A on basic Masonic facts and history appropriate for non-Masons.

The Covington Scottish Rite Temple is located at 1553 Madison Ave., Covington, KY.

If you are attending, PLEASE contact the office of the Covington Scottish Rite so the Ladies of the Eastern Star will know how much food to prepare for the meal.

Contact Debbie at (859) 431-0021 or debcovsr @ fuse.net

Sir Knight George Kivett To Be Honored May 21st

"If you make a mistake, do it sharply."

These are the wise words of Sir Knight George D. Kivett, Jr., who is known far beyond the boundaries of Indianapolis for his long career as the Captain of Raper Commandery No. 1's Drill Team. Raper (named after Ohio Reverend William H. Raper) has been named National Champion more than any other in U.S. Knight Templar history. George has been nationally recognized as the most successful Drill Captain in the history of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the USA, serving from 1970 through 2007 and winning seven Triennial Drill Competitions out of eight, six of which were won consecutively.

George reaches another distinguished milestone in May:

The Indianapolis York Rite bodies will sponsor a celebration in which our dear friend, brother, companion, and Sir Knight George Kivett will be presented with the Award of Gold from all three York Rite bodies. The presentation will be held on the seventh floor of Indiana Freemasons' Hall in the Raper Commandery Asylum on Friday, May 21 at 7:00 P.M. Indiana Freemasons' Hall is located at 525 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, IN. A catered dinner will be served in the second floor Reception Hall immediately following the ceremony. Information on the cost of dinner and where to RSVP will come in the next several days. All Freemasons, friends, and family of Sir Knight Kivett are invited to attend. Please plan to join us in honoring George for fifty years of dedicated service to the York Rite.

George has had a very distinguished York Rite career and is well known throughout the United States for having served as Captain of several Raper Commandery Drill Teams that became National Champions. In addition to his many other awards and memberships in invitational bodies, George is also an Honorary Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Indiana.

Sincerely and fraternally,

James R. Dillman, Eminent Commander
Raper Commandery #1

Carson C. Smith, High Priest, Illustrious Master
Indianapolis Royal Arch Chapter #5
Indianapolis Council of Cryptic Masons #2

George D Kivett, Jr, was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason at Mystic Circle Lodge No 685 on June 28th, 1958. He was exalted as a Royal Arch Mason at Indianapolis Chapter No 5 and greeted as a Royal & Select Master at Indianapolis Council No 2 on March 18th, 1960. He was dubbed and created a Knight of the Temple at Raper Commandery No 1 on March 23rd, 1960. He has received the Grand Commandery’s Distinguished Service Award. He is a Knight of the York Cross of Honor (KYCH), a Knight Commander of the Temple (KCT), and an Honorary Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Indiana.

Building Something Bigger Than Ourselves

This was passed to me last week, and I think it is a wonderful message, beautifully written, with a lesson we all sometimes lose sight of. It was composed by William B. Barr, SW of Elmhurst Lodge No. 941 in Elmhurst, Illinois:

Greetings from the West!

Brethren, one of the difficult things about writing these pieces for the month ahead is that I'm writing them in the middle of the month where I'm supposed to say things that have happened, and yet they haven't yet. Got that? So I want to talk about how great, say, the Christmas in April party at the Children's Home in LaGrange went thanks to the hard work of Bro. Toby Wehrle and many of you. And I can, except it hasn't happened as I'm writing this, but has as you're reading this. oh, heck with it. Bros. Toby, Brandon Breiby, and many of you, your wives and ladies, your children. you've all done a wonderful thing, with time, effort, money and work. As Garrison Keillor says, nothing you do for children is ever wasted. You're awesome. I hope those that went had a great time, and I hope all of you who contributed or volunteered know how great you are.

Brethren, we've had an interesting situation recently at Lodge. Good attendance for stated meetings, yet sparse attendance for Degrees. I've been thinking about this, and have some theories about it, and a plea. On the face of it, discussing bills and committee reports and whatnot - isn't that relatively boring, especially when compared to helping a Brother go through his journey through his Degrees? But, well, maybe I get it - many folks feel the stated meetings are accomplishing things, getting things done, and Brethren feel they are contributing to this. And they are, and they're right. And maybe at a certain point, being a sideliner at a Degree becomes repetitive, especially if one doesn't know the candidate/new Brother. But. But.

But Brethren, there are reasons why so many of our Brethren who teach the Degree Work insist on it being done accurately and well. There are reasons why learning different parts and roles are important. There are reasons why having a room full of Brethren forming the lines matters deeply.

It perhaps gets lost in the emphasis on trying to grow membership. It can certainly get lost in the stateds, when business matters take precedence. It might be found again by Brethren who join the York and/or Scottish Rites, but not applied back to Blue Lodge necessarily. Brethren, in a very real sense, we're not seeking members. We're initiating folks into something, and it behooves each of us to gain a personal understanding of what that is. Many folks understand Masonry as providing a foundation and framework for one's lifelong self-improvement. Some might see lessons learned as helping one face what happens when death approaches and overtakes one. Still others go beyond the personal lessons and understand that in a real sense, we as Masons are indeed building something bigger than ourselves. Hopefully, something that benefits the wider world, but definitely something that benefits those who help build it.

And the things that teach this - the things that drive this message home - are found in the Degree Work. And it is critically important that we support the work - by learning chairs, roles, and lectures, of course, but also by serving as sideliners and by impressing upon each new Brother how important and meaningful being a part of his initiating, passing and raising is to us. If we want new Brethren to be moved, to reflect on what he has just experienced, and to come back and be a part of our great Fraternity and the Great Building, we need to make those three Degrees as powerful as possible.

Brethren, so many of you are devoted and strong and dedicated in ways I can't imagine - in ways I can only applaud and hopefully learn from. You're probably sick of the praise, many of you! I'm sure Masonry has helped many of you become this way; I'm sure many of you brought these qualities to your Masonic journey. I know you all gain different things from Masonry: be they fellowship, the opportunity to do good, the chance to explore history or mysticism or mysteries, the chance to honor family. Many other things as well, I'm sure. So many of you give so much, and do so while giving to family and friends and work and church and volunteer opportunities and personal difficulties. So I know I'm asking a lot from folks who already give a lot. Please. Come to the Degrees. Sit on the sidelines if you don't want to take a chair or role or lecture. Make the new Brother feel welcome, make him feel he just underwent something important and meaningful. If your Degree experience mattered to you, help get that across to your new Brethren. If your Degree experience was less than special, help make sure new Brethren gain a better experience. There's a lifetime of material to ponder in those three Degrees. There's stuff that opens up as we move from station to station in life. Let's make sure each new Brother wants to take this journey and never regret doing so.

Thank you to those Brethren who helped me organize my thoughts on this. If folks want to check out short but meaningful books to help them reconnect with the Degrees and some of the lessons therein, I recommend Carl Claudy's books on each degree, available for free here as PDFs:

http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/www/Masonry/Claudy/intro-fm_EA.pdf
http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/www/Masonry/Claudy/intro-fm_FC.pdf
http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/www/Masonry/Claudy/intro-fm_MM.pdf


Allen E. Roberts's "The Craft and Its Symbols" is also helpful.

Thank you, Brethren!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

For Dummies $5 Rebate Ends Next Friday

Just a few short days left in the annual "For Dummies" promotion. The good folks at Wiley Publishing have had a regular program every year at this time, and March has officially been "Dummies Month" . Buy a Dummies book or audio set and get a $5 rebate (up to two per family). But this year, the term was extended until the end of April. Buy one or two Dummies books with a purchase price of $6.99 or more, on any subject (not just ours) between March 1st - April 30th, 2010, and get $5 smackers each delivered to your humble hut's mailbox direct from the publisher. Now obviously we would like you to take this opportunity to lay out your hard-earned lucre and procure our books: Freemasons For Dummies, The Templar Code For Dummies, and Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies. We recommend one for every bathroom. But there are more than 1,300 Dummies titles out there, from Kabbalah and the Koran to Catholicism and Bariatric Surgery, and we would certainly understand if you already own ours.

You can download a pdf of the rebate form here. Be sure to go to the bookstore or order online before April 30th. Time is running out!

Friday, April 23, 2010

More on West Virginia and Ohio

The following message has been placed on the Grand Master of Ohio Terry W. Posey's blog. I am posting it in its entirety:

On April 22, 2010 the following was sent to those member Grand Lodges of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America.

I write to provide some explanation of the actions taken by Steubenville Lodge #45, regarding the Masonic membership of Frank J. Haas.

Frank J. Haas was Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of West Virginia in 2006. The following items were proposed by him and passed at the 2006 Grand Lodge Session held in Wheeling, but the vote was abruptly set aside less than two weeks later. This was and is again the current Masonic law under The Grand Lodge of West Virginia.

1. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia forbids the Pledge of Allegiance at lodge meetings.

2. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia is the only Grand Lodge to refuse by law to allow DeMolay, Rainbow, or Job’s Daughters to meet in any lodge rooms. Their lodges are forbidden from donating any money to any charitable organization, including Masonic youth organizations or permitting them to earn money on the lodge premises.

3. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia is the only Grand Lodge in the United States not to belong to the Masonic Service Association.

4. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia forbids the charter of a Royal Arch Chapter to hang in its lodge rooms. No Masonic art that includes symbols of any other Masonic organization except the symbolic lodge can hang in West Virginia lodge rooms (this includes portraits of Past Grand High Priests and Past Grand Commanders). The Grand Lodge of West Virginia has banned books, movies, slideshows, songs, CD’s, an Ohio singer, and websites.

5. Family members cannot be pallbearers at a Masonic Funeral in West Virginia unless they are Masons. The ashes of a deceased brother cannot receive a Masonic Funeral in West Virginia, because it is by their Masonic law declared “undignified.”

6. Almost no one with a physical disability can be elected to receive the degree of Freemasonry in a Lodge under The Grand Lodge of West Virginia. The cause of the injury, be it military service or anything else, does not matter.

The above-referenced reforms were passed as part of the “Wheeling Reforms” at the 2006 Grand Lodge Session of The Grand Lodge of West Virginia but were set aside by the succeeding Grand Master less than two weeks later. That action has brought about the turmoil in the Craft in West Virginia and ultimately resulted in the expulsion of Frank J. Haas, the Grand Master who proposed the reforms.

All of these topics have been the subject of much discussion on the websites, including http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com and masonic-crusade.com and blogs and the Philalethes publications. This has also been widely reported in detail in the popular press by the Associated Press and with a color spread in the New York Times.

I have observed the situation for two and a half years. In a most respectful tone, I wrote to three Grand Masters of West Virginia and offered my good offices to mediate its conflict. All offers were ignored or rejected.

Steubenville Lodge #45 regularly received and investigated a petition from Frank J. Haas to receive the degrees of Freemasonry in that Lodge.

He made a full disclosure of the Notice of Expulsion by the Past Grand Master of West Virginia and answered all questions presented to him by the Steubenville Lodge's Committee of Investigation. The Lodge did the necessary background work, including a home visit. They were convinced that he was a good man and true, and he met all requirements, including residency for the requisite time, for membership.
I thoroughly researched the Code of The Grand Lodge of Ohio and determined that there is nothing to prevent his receiving the degrees. Inasmuch as he is an Ohio resident, the Constitution of The Grand Lodge of Ohio confers jurisdiction over his membership to The Grand Lodge of Ohio.

After he was unanimously elected to receive the degrees by Steubenville Lodge #45, I concurred with the Lodge that the laws of The Grand Lodge of Ohio had been complied with, and the Lodge proceeded to confer the three degrees of Freemasonry on Frank J. Haas, who for years had been an honorary member of that lodge. On April 17, 2010, he received the three degrees of Freemasonry in Steubenville Lodge.

On the next business day, the Grand Master of West Virginia withdrew fraternal relations with The Grand Lodge of Ohio because of the action taken by Steubenville Lodge.

The Grand Lodge of West Virginia has withdrawn its fraternal recognition of other Grand Lodges before. In 1991, Charles E. Forsythe, then Grand Master, issued two edicts regarding Prince Hall Masons. His edicts forbade members of The Grand Lodge of West Virginia to be present in Lodges under the Grand Lodges of Connecticut, Wisconsin, Nebraska, State of Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota, all of which had recognized the regular Prince Hall Grand Lodges in their states.

Despite the unfortunate action taken by The Grand Lodge of West Virginia, I am convinced that Steubenville Lodge #45 acted consistently with the Code of The Grand Lodge of Ohio, and I find no fault on their part or that of Brother Haas.

The Grand Lodge of Ohio acted consistently with Ohio law. We ask our sister Grand Lodges to respect our law.

Fraternally,

Terry W. Posey
Grand Master

Addendum to Blog Article on 4/23/2010:
I have been informed by the Grand Master of West Virginia, that this withdrawl does NOT interfere with fraternal relations of appendant bodies and that members can continue those relationships.

A quote by Martin Luther King: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about those things that matter."


------------------------------------

UPDATE
Below is an edict dated April 19th, 2010 by West Virginia Grand Master Gregory A. Riley, Sr., affirming that Frank Haas remains an expelled Mason, as far as the Grand Lodge of West Virginia is concerned. Click to enlarge.



William Shakespeare's Birthday


"What! My old Worshipful Master!"
William Shakespeare --Taming of the Shrew

While the actual date of William Shakespeare's birthday is questioned, the generally agreed upon date is April 23rd, 1564.

There are some who have attempted to link the Bard with the early formation of Freemasonry, either by claiming he was actually Francis Bacon, or by examining lines from his plays.

"You have made good work, you and your apron."
William Shakespeare -- Coriolanus

Have a look at some of these claims and decide for yourself:

Shakespeare and Freemasonry by Peter Dawkins

Was William Shakespeare A Freemason? by Robert I. Clegg

Was Shakespeare a Freemason?: Masonic Symbolism in Macbeth, by Bro. Robert Guffey


For those who have never known the source of one of the most moving lines found in our ritual, concerning the level of time, here is one of his most famous soliloquies, from Hamlet. These few lines are some of the most quoted and adapted words in English literature.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.


And finally, the ever-useful Shakespeare Insult Generator. Happy Birthday, "Thou gorbellied bat-fowling measle!"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indiana's George Proctor Passes Away


Friend and Brother George E. Proctor passed to the Celestial Lodge on Tuesday. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

The obituary from today's Indianapolis Star:

George E. Proctor, 67, Plainfield, passed away April 20, 2010 in his residence. Born October 24, 1942 in Richmond, KY, he was the son of Ralph and Elizabeth George Proctor. He received his bachelor and master's degree from Eastern Kentucky University. He married Debra Sindlinger on June 29, 1974 in Plainfield. Mr. Proctor has been the Executive Director of the Indiana Masonic Home Foundation since 1993. He was a member of the Plainfield United Methodist Church and the Plainfield Masonic Lodge #653. He formerly taught English and Speech in Kentucky and Bloomington South High School. He was employed as human resource director at Farm Fans, Inc. in Beech Grove and at PK USA in Shelbyville, IN. At the time of his death he was Vice Chairman Emeritus of the Lexington Shriners Hospital for Children where he served 11 years on the board of directors. He was a Past Commander in Chief of the Indiana Consistory of the Scottish Rite and was named a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason in Boston in 1993. George was also a member of St. Luke Lodge in Franklin, IN and a member of all three York Rite bodies. He served as Potentate of Murat Shrine in 2009. Other Masonic affiliations included office of Chief Adept of the Indiana Societas Rosicrusiana In Civitatibus Foederatis, National Sojourners, Order of the Eastern Star, Allied Masonic Degrees, Royal Order of Scotland, and Indianapolis High Twelve Club. Survivors include his wife Debra Proctor, sons Andy Proctor and Matt Proctor. Services will be at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 24, 2010 in the Plainfield United Methodist Church with the Reverend Ted Blosser officiating. Burial will follow in Maple Hill Cemetery, Plainfield. Friends may call from 3:00-8:00 pm on Friday, April 23, 2010 in the church, with a Masonic service to be held at 7:30 p.m. Contributions may be made to the Lexington Shriners Hospital for Children, 1900 Richmond Road, Lexington KY 40502-1298. Online condolences may be made at: bakerfuneralservice.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grand Lodge of West Virginia Withdraws Recognition of Ohio

This was posted today on the Grand Lodge of Ohio's website:

The Grand Master of West Virginia, Gregory A. Riley, Sr., issued an edict on April 19, 2010 withdrawing fraternal recognition from the Grand Lodge of Ohio because Steubenville Lodge No. 45 elected Frank Haas to membership and conferred the three degrees of Masonry on him on Saturday, April 17, 2010.

There is no information on the Grand Lodge of West Virginia AF&AM website, which has not been updated, apart from the Grand Master's name, in at least four years.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Author Tim Wallace-Murphy at New York's Livingston Library

On Monday, May 10th, 2010, the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York will present a book signing and lecture by Tim Wallace-Murphy, author of Secrets of the Western Esoteric Tradition.

Tim will have copies of his current title and past works available for purchase

From Egyptian mythology to Jewish mysticism, Rome and Greece to the druids and the gnostics, Tim Wallace-Murphy exposes a fascinating lineage of hidden mysteries and secret societies, continuing through the Templars, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons to our modern visionaries. This hidden stream of spirituality and that of sacred knowledge are inseparably entwined to form the single most important continuous strand in the entire Western esoteric tradition.

The event is open to all, but reservations are required. Call 212-337-6620, or contact info @ nymasoniclibrary.org

The event will be at the Grand Lodge of New York, 71 West 23rd Street (14th Floor), in New York City.

1st Masonic Restoration Foundation National Symposium in August

The first Masonic Restoration Foundation national symposium will be held August 28th and 29th in Colorado Springs, CO. The program will include a Traditional Observance tyled lodge event, and nationally renowned author and speaker Timothy Freke, NY Times bestselling author of The Jesus Mysteries: Was The Original Jesus A Pagan God?. Saturday's program will be at the Colorado Springs Masonic Center, 1150 Panorama Drive. Sunday will be at the Center For Creative Leadership, 850 Leader Way. Sunday evening will feature closing festivities at 15C Club, Martini and Cigar Bar 15 East Bijou, with a whiskey master and cigar roller on site.

Details will soon be forthcoming on the MRF website.

The MRF provides education and training to individuals, lodges and Grand Lodges on ways to establish quality programs, academic excellence and social relevance in their Masonic communities.

We Said "Send Cash," Not "Send Ash."

Alice and I have been in Paris since last Thursday. We landed at 6AM and the volcano shut down airspace at noon. The question now is whether we can get out this week.

We are staying at the Citadines Hotel in Quai des Grands Augustins, literally right across the street from where Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake 696 years ago. If we were in a front room, we would have had a better view of it than Philippe IV. This is the biggest room I have ever stayed in in Europe. It is literally bigger than my first house. Don't know how we swung this, although the volcano might have had something to do with it. Citadines is a chain that features mini-apartments, complete with kitchens, so every meal doesn't have to be three hours long and require a permission slip from your banker. But this room and location, at the corner of the Seine, the Pont Neuf, and Rue Dauphine, is the greatest. Notre Dame is just down the street, and we back up to the rockin' St. Germain des Pres neighborhood.

Interestingly, the grocery store we walk to on Rue de Buci is literally right across the street from the address where the first Masonic lodge in Paris met (Saint-Thomas au Louis d'Argent, in 1732). By 1753, there were 200 lodges in France, of which 22 were in Paris.

The building from the 1700s is gone now, and 20 rue de Buci is an apartment building with a Hagen Daz store in the ground floor, but there is a five-ponted blazing star in the 19th century facade to mark its location to those who know what to look for.


According to Guide du Paris Maçonnique by Raphaël Aurillac:

The original building was owned by the [famous Parisian] caterer Nicolas Alexis Landelle, well known in his time for quality of food he attentively created. After each meeting, the members of the lodge assembled for their banquet ritual under the auspicious of brother Landelle. A book of St. Victor Guillemain (unearthed by Peter Mariel) described the ritual of the fraternal agape in force at the time: The first toast was to the health of the King, the second to the Venerable (Worshipful) Master, and others to the visitors and brethren of the lodge.

Paris is a madhouse with all of these stranded tourists who can't get out by plane because of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. According to Wikipedia, Eyjafjallajökull is pronounced ɛɪjaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl. THAT was of enormous help. Hence why newscasters can only seem to refer to "the Iceland volcano," which sounds more like a boxer from Reykjavík, instead of a mindlessly destructive force of nature that has brought 7 million travelers to a complete standstill. Iceland applied for membership in the European Union in 2009. I think they should be denied over this whole Eyjafjallajökull volcano business. You don't see Greece causing these kinds of problems.

Restaurants in Blvd. St Germaine are always crammed wall to wall anyway, but last Saturday night was packed everywhere. We grabbed an empty seat at the Twickenham pub just because we were tired of walking. Why wouldn't I guess that beef at a brasserie with an English name would be boiled? When we got back to our room, there was a nightclub in the building next to our room with a beat that sounded like the last flat tire I had, punctuated by screams of American college girls after their first shots of Jägermeister. Ah, April in Paris. At least the weather has been perfect.


In reality, we are here researching for Alice's latest book, which takes place in Napoleonic France. Yesterday, we went out into what was once the "countryside" and visited the chateau Malmaison, the Empress Josephine's country estate (She was a Freemason, by the way, in the Maconnerie d'Adoption's Loge Les Francs Chevaliers). It features incredible antiquities, paintings, and mementos of Napoleon's Egypt campaign. Not massive like Versailles, but much smaller and more intimate, with some rooms designed to look like the interior of Old Boney's expedition tents.

As you stroll through the house, you wander from room to room, and suddenly you turn a corner into an alcove, and they have this old thing just hanging there.




Dinner last night was at the famed Brasserie Lipp, with the same waiter we had a dozen years ago. Things never change there. Alice can swear up and down she is Swiss. She gobbled down sauerkraut and four kinds of pork in her charcuterie just a little too robustly to deny the German in her veins.

Paris airports theoretically opened partially today. Our official flight out is Thursday, but Delta has had not updated info on its website since Saturday morning. And a new ash cloud has spouted with more coming our way. So we could head for the airport Thursday morning, but be right back in our room that afternoon. Plan B is for another 13 American tourists in the hotel to join us and we all go in together to rent a container and go by ship. In that case, we'll be home in three months.

It just makes you want to shout, "ɛɪjaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl!"

Asheville, North Carolina's Mt. Herman Lodge No. 118


It's always great to read an article about a Masonic building that isn't catching fire, being torn down, or sold as a community center, but is actually being cared for and improved by its members. The brethren of Asheville, North Carolina's Mt. Herman Lodge No. 118 got a nice writeup in the Asheville Citizen Times today for the renovation work in their Temple. (Somebody needs to post interior photos.) Read it here.

In the coming months and years, [Worshipful Master J.R.] Yarnall said the lodge hopes to increase public access through concerts, a possible showing of classic horror films, and through a collaboration with local colleges and community groups to help preserve the building and its contents.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College students studying decorative techniques and restoration may help with the renovations, instructor Tim Hanlon said.

“They (the Masons) were hoping we could help them a little with the labor, and maybe help them come up with some color palettes that would be appropriate for the time period and its current use,” Hanlon said.


[snip]

In the main lodge room, where the single gold star adorned the ceiling, members plan to paint additional stars, forming an image of Orion's Belt.

On the third and fourth floor, a little-used theater will be renovated and will play host to concerts and other events.

“That will be a midnight blue ceiling with the Zodiac around, and then primarily reds and golds — a very classic, 20s or 40s-style theater paint job,” Yarnall said.


The brethren are planing a game room and even a gym, and have stripped out carpet, refinished their wood floors, and given great attention to paint choices. The building was designed by Richard Sharp Smith, who helped plan the incredible Biltmore Estate.

This interesting bit of history appears in the article.

“In the flu epidemic during World War I, none of the hospitals were willing to take non-Caucasian patients,” Yarnall said. “So we brought the Red Cross in, and this was the hospital for everyone who wasn't Caucasian.

PGM Frank Haas Initiated, Passed and Raised In Ohio

The following was posted on the official Grand Master of Ohio's blogsite last night:

Frank Haas is a Judge in West Virginia and until several years ago was Grand Master of West Virginia. The story of his being expelled from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia is well-documented in various Masonic and other publications. I have reviewed as many as were available, including West Virginia's Proceedings, the New York Times and www.masonic-crusade.com .

He moved to Ohio last year. After that, he petitioned Steubenville Lodge # 45 for the degrees of Freemasonry.

I thoroughly researched the Code of the Grand Lodge of Ohio and there is nothing to prevent his receiving these degrees. Inasmuch as he is an Ohio resident, the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Ohio confers jurisdiction over his membership to the Grand Lodge of Ohio and the lodge's membership.

He made a full disclosure of the Notice of Expulsion by the Past Grand Master of West Virginia and answered all questions presented to him by the Lodge's Committee of Investigation. The Lodge did the necessary background work, including a home visit. They were assured that he was a good man and true, and he met all requirements, including residency for the requisite time, for membership.

Steubenville Lodge # 45 gave a unanimous ballot approving his membership.

On April 17, he received the three degrees of Freemasonry in Steubenville Lodge.

Terry W. Posey
Grand Master
Grand Lodge of Ohio


Meanwhile, Hass' lawsuit against the Grand Lodge of West Virginia is still going forward, and is scheduled for July. I have been told by more than one West Virginia Mason that the grand lodge has spent nearly $100,000 in its court battle to keep their Past Grand Master out of the fraternity. That may or may not be an exaggeration, but it seems like an awfully big price tag for the brethren of WV to shoulder. Now that Ohio has taken Haas in, my personal hope is that West Virginia will not try to retaliate against them, and that surrounding states will simply remain neutral.

Recaps of the expulsion of Past Grand Master Haas in 2007 and the subsequent actions can be found here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

John Derbyshire on Men's Clubs

John Derbyshire has a wonderful column in the latest National Review about gentleman's clubs, The Arts of Cheerfulness.

Among its gems:

From the mid-19th century on, a man was known by his clubs, and they by him. To be horse-whipped on the steps of one's club was the ultimate in social chastisement. It happened in 1877 to James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald, after the scandalous breaking-off of his engagement to Caroline May. Bennett had arrived late and drunk to a party at his fiancée's house where, in full view of the company, he had proceeded to mistake the fireplace for a urinal. The subsequent horse-whip was wielded by Ms. May's brother.

[snip]

The splendid old clubs of New York City seem to have survived pretty well into the modern age. I think I have attended functions in all of them at one time or other — Grolier's, the Union League, the Metropolitan, the university clubs. They were shaken by two great cultural storms this past thirty years: admission of women, and the prohibition of smoking. The former was sour grapes on the part of feminists, whose attempts to set up women-only clubs in the 19th century failed for lack of interest. Very few women are clubbable. The latter was imposed by municipal authorities in the 1990s, on the pretext of protecting the health of club employees, who now have to smoke their Marlboros in the inner courtyards.

Here is a club story from Britain. One of the most exclusive of London clubs is Pratt's. (Whose members, by tradition, address all club employees as "George.") In the mid-1990s Pratt's blackballed Michael Heseltine, deputy Prime Minister to John Major. Though Heseltine was a Tory from a respectable family, had made himself rich as a magazine publisher, and had a fair shot at being a future Prime Minister, he was apparently considered an unacceptable arriviste by the Pratt's membership. The story went around that Heseltine, encountering a club member who had witnessed the balloting, demanded to know how many black balls were in the box. "Well …," replied the member, "you are familiar with the appearance of caviar, I'm sure …"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Grand Orient of France Opens To Women


France's L'Express reports today that the Grand Orient of France, the largest grand lodge in that country with 50,000 members, has officially opened the door to initiating women. The GO is unrecognized by the overwhelming majority of Freemasons around the world.

The original article can be read here. What follows is my translation:

The Grand Orient Opens To Women

Electroshock in a very masculine Masonic landscape, the premiere obedience of 50,000 strong French brothers on Friday officially recognized the freedom of its lodges to initiate women.

Will the Grand Orient become a mixed obedience?
The Grand Orient (GO), an almost three century old federation of Lodges where only men had been fully initiated, regularly submitted the matter to its annual convention in September, but a majority never emerged in favor of allowing lodges to accept sisters or to initiate women. This refusal appears quite regressive, in view of the [fact that 17% of all French Freemasons are women, a proportion that has remained constant since 2000.] The current Grand Master [of the Grand Orient], Pierre Lambicchi, chose to change methods—namely by not waiting for further consultation with lodge representatives in September— in two ways:

1. On January 21, 2010, Olivia Chaumont, a transsexual, was recognized as a sister of the Grand Orient. This was an innovation, since the predecessors of Pierre Lambicchi had preferred to discreetly direct the brothers who became women to the mixed or feminine Lodges.

2. On April 8, 2010, the Supreme Court of Masonic Justice (CSJM) decided that the lodges are free to initiate women without violating the General Regulations of the obedience. The CSJM was written to by Pierre Lambicchi himself two weeks ago, The Grand Master wanted it to consider the question posed by [GO] lodges that initiated six women a year ago. In spite of the disavowal by the majority of the brethren in a vote of the convention in September 2009, they continued arguing that they had the right to initiate whomever they wanted in their own [lodges].

In view of this critical decision by the CSJM, the six women initiated into the Grand Orient in a quasi clandestine manner could be officially recognized by the obedience. Other sisters are certain to follow them.

Will the Grand Orient become a mixed obedience? In fact, yes. Officially, no. "We are not statutorily a mixed obedience," Pierre Lambicchi explained to L'Express. [Is this just] Masonic subtlety to calm tensions on a controversial issue? [Or] a prudent statement about what, in the land of the "Brothers of the three points," constitutes a small revolution.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Andreas Onnerfors at Ontario's Brock University

(I'm on the road this week in upstate New York, so my internet connections are dependent on rest area wi-fi spots. This is my first test of the email update feature of Blogger.)

Andreas Önnerfors, the former Director of the recently closed Centre for Research into Freemasonry at Britain's Sheffield University, will give the first annual Charles A. Sankey Lecture in Masonic Studies at Canada's Brock University on April 17th. Brock University is located in St Catharines, Ontario. The lecture series is named after Sankey who was a Freemason and a former chancellor of Brock University.

Brother Andreas has published about forty papers and articles in various languages, a majority of them on Freemasonry.

The event begins at 3 p.m. in the University's David S. Howes Theatre. The lecture is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. To make reservations contact the Brock Centre for the Arts box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257 or email boxoffice@brocku.ca

From The Brock News :

The series is named for the late Charles Sankey, a former Chancellor at Brock University and a Mason who donated his extensive personal collection of Masonic literature to the Gibson Library at Brock. Subsequently a number of other Freemasons added more titles to the collection, creating what is today one of the largest archives of Masonic material at a Canadian university.

Raymond Daniels, Ontario Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada, hopes the lecture series will be the first of three steps that culminate in the permanent study of Freemasonry. The second stage would be a world conference bringing a number of Masonic scholars together at Brock. But the ultimate goal is the creation of The Sankey Centre for Masonic Studies, with a Chair in Masonic Studies. Daniels says establishing a Chair is a long-term project that will require an endowment of about $4-million, which he hopes the Masons themselves will be able to raise.

Daniels said the Centre would study fraternalism in sociological terms. It would also examine the contribution of Freemasonry to Canadian society over the last 300 years, as “people are not aware of the impact Freemasonry has had on the development of western civilization in this part of the world.”

He said fraternalism has been in decline, and its historic role would be in danger of being overlooked without formal study of its contributions.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Political History of African American Freemasonry in the Era of Emancipation

The March 2010 issue of the quarterly Journal of American History, published by the Organization of American Historians, features "African American Freemasonry in the Emancipation Era," by Stephen Kantrowitz. His position is that segregated fraternal organizations, especially the Freemasons, provided an institutional framework in which African American men gained experience in politics, organization and leadership in the years before the Civil War.

“Intended for the Better Government of Man”: The Political History of African American Freemasonry in the Era of Emancipation

Nineteenth-century black activists who achieved fame as abolitionists, public speakers, itinerants, Civil War recruiters, and Republicans very often shared another identity as well: Freemason. Stephen Kantrowitz argues that this ritual order, whose segregated lodges flourished from the 1840s onward, played an important but poorly understood role in the development of African American political life in the era of slave emancipation. Kantrowitz demonstrates that during the antebellum era Freemasonry allowed people excluded from most forms of partisan political life to vote, hold office, and establish bonds of affiliation across great distances. Both before and after the Civil War, white Freemasonry’s nominal commitment to universalism and cosmopolitanism offered black activists a forum in which to argue that racial exclusion violated basic Masonic principles and goals.


The opening of the article can be read here, and you can purchase a pdf file of it for $10.

The Organization of American Historians is the largest professional organization for the investigation, study and teaching of American History. It serves a membership of 11,000 college and university professors, high school teachers, students, archivists, public historians, and institutional subscribers such as libraries, museums, and history societies, as well as individual and institutional foreign members.

National Treasure 3 Coming Soon


ComingSoon.net is reporting that National Treasure 3 is alive and under development. Gone is the writing team of the Wibberley's (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Boys II, The Shaggy Dog remake, the Fantastic Voyage remake, the Moby Dick remake... see a trend here?), who have been replaced by Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro (who have recently penned The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Nicholas Cage, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time). Back will be producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub, and presumably, Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger and Jon Voight.

In spite of rumors from three years ago, Turteltaub said this week the film will definitely NOT involve the search for Atlantis, but there is no clue about the story line. HitFix.com reported:

But the filmmaker and Bruckheimer take criticisms about the historical nature of the previous two films to heart. Especially since they have taken strict measures to use as many real clues making the overall process to write a "National Treasure" movie "shockingly" difficult.

"Everyone knocked the movie because it was fake, but everything they were knocking [was] actually true," Turteltaub says. "'Oh, those stupid Ben Franklin glasses...' We found those Ben Franklin glasses! He had that color thing. So, it's just about getting the story to work."

The first National Treasure was released in 2004 and earned $347.5 million worldwide. Amazingly, the terrible National Treasure: Book of Secrets blew past the original in 2007 with $457.4 million worldwide, and only managed to mention Albert Pike once.

Interestingly, the young adult-pitched novelization of National Treasure: Book of Secrets featured several references to Freemasonry that were probably in the shooting script, but never made the cut.

No word on a release date yet for the new film.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Hollywood's Most Unusual Masonic Lodge


It's curious the way the Internet can take you on a fascinating chase.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles is interesting on many levels. Founded in 1899, and originally known as Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, it was an important, if sometimes reviled, part of the village of Hollywoodland. Soon after its founding, area residents believed it stood in the way of Hollywood's development, and was a "hindrance to the civic progress and welfare of the community." Paramount Studios and RKO Studios were built on the back half of the original cemetery grounds, where they still stand today (RKO became Desilu Studios, owned by Desi Arnaz—I Love Lucy was shot there, along with the original Star Trek series, before Lucy and Desi sold out to sprawling neighbor Paramount in the late 1960s).

The cemetery is the eternal home to some of Hollywood's most glittering names: Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Douglas Fairbanks, Mel Blanc, Victor Fleming, Nelson Eddy, John Huston, Paramount founder Jesse Lasky, Paul Muni, Tyrone Power, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Clifton Webb, Fay Wray, Vampira, and even gangster glamor boy Bugsy Siegel.

But one of the most unusual aspects of the cemetery is that it is also home to what was once a Masonic lodge.

Bankers Masonic Club was formed in Los Angeles on July 3, 1924, and in 1925 received a charter from the Grand Lodge of California F&AM as Southland Lodge No. 617. In 1931, Southland Lodge moved into the group of Spanish Renaissance Revival buildings that stands at what was once the main gate of Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery. They richly decked it out in Spanish style, with dark wood beams and wrought iron fixtures.

Southland Lodge moved out in the 1960s. Southland Lodge No. 618 and Heritage Lodge No. 764 consolidated on July 1, 1979 to form Southland Heritage Lodge No. 618. Eleven years later, Southland heritage consolidated with Magnolia Park Lodge No. 715 to form Magnolia Park Lodge No. 618. Today, they meet in Burbank at 406 Irving Drive.

But the old Masonic lodge still stands at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and is open for public events.


(Photos from Citybuilt.org blog)

Note the illuminated Order of the Eastern Star fixture that remains.

In the late 1940s, as the cemetery’s glamour faded, like so much else in Los Angeles, everyone headed for the suburban sprawl of the Valley, and the stars sought eternal refuge in Glendale's newer Forest Lawn Memorial Park (read Evelyn Waugh's "The Loved One" for a dark and hilarious sendup of Forest Lawn). In the 1930s, neighbors complained that Hollywood Memorial Park's tombstones were an eyesore, so a cinder block wall was erected, and then topped with barbed wire in the 70s. The 1994 Northridge earthquake was the final straw, and left the place with potholed roads, stagnant ponds, open crypts, and rain-soaked murals. The owners eventually went bankrupt, and state officials took it over in 1996.

In 1998, 27-year old Tyler Cassity from St. Louis purchased the property for $375,000, renamed it Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and began renovations. Since then, they have conducted regular celebrity gravesite tours (featuring a "Lady In Black" of Valentino fame), and brought the public in with blankets and lawn chairs for movies projected on the exterior wall of the old Masonic lodge. The Masonic lodge at Hollywood Forever has become home to concerts, theatre shows, weddings, and even a regular standup comedy program ("Comedy Is Dead!").

Cassity has re-landscaped the property and re-opened beautiful, long forgotten crypts and halls, with their murals, vaulted ceilings, and stained glass windows. In May of 2000 the cemetery was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.

And in case you want to hobnob with movie stars in the afterlife, there's still plenty of room.

Indiana Brother George Proctor

This news came tonight as a total shock. Friend and brother George Proctor is in Hendricks County hospital. His condition is described as terminal. It is requested that there be NO visitors. I know no other details at this time.

George is the immediate Past Potentate of the Murat Shrine, and he is well known to Freemasons from all over Indiana. George has served as Executive Director of the Indiana Masonic Home Foundation, the Chief Adept of the Indianapolis College of the Masonic Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (MSRICF), and many, many other positions in the fraternity. He has frequently been a regular attendee at Masonic Week in Washington/Alexandria. If indeed his condition is terminal, George will be sorely missed.

Please keep our brother George and his Lady Debbie in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Widows Sons of Indiana Raising Funds For Riley Hospital


The Widows Sons International Motorcycle Association has expanded over the last few years into eleven states in the U.S. and five countries outside the U.S. The club is open to Freemasons who ride a street or highway-legal motorcycle and are in good standing in their blue lodge.

The Widows Sons Masonic Riders of Indiana has been growing steadily in popularity. One of the regular events they participate in is the Miracle Ride for Riley Hospital For Children here in Indianapolis. This motorcycle ride takes place annually, and thousands of riders come from all points of the state to end up at the Riley Hospital for Children. In 2009, the Miracle Ride raised $365,000 with over 8,000 motorcycles participating.

Riley is consistently ranked among the top comprehensive pediatric hospitals in the nation. Funded solely by donations, Riley offers medical care to all Indiana children, regardless of a family's ability to pay.

This year's 17th annual Miracle Ride will take place on June 4-6th. Brother Aaron Taylor from Valparaiso has set up a sponsor page for the Miracle Ride in the name of Indiana Freemasons and the Widows Sons Masonic Riders of Indiana. Currently, they are the #2 sponsor of the event with just under $4,000 raised, and their goal is $5,000. If you feel so inclined, please take a moment to click here and make a donation to help them achieve their goal.

Wish I'd never sold my '83 Shadow.

Provincial Grand Lodge of South East Asia (Irish) To Be Constituted

Brother Richard Num in Australia reports that the Provincial Grand Lodge of South East Asia (Irish Constitution) is to be constituted Friday, July 23, 2010, commencing at 1.00pm at Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Irish Freemasons in SE Asia have a website at http://www.irishmasons.com.sg/

The new Provincial Grand Lodge will complement the existing English and Scottish regional Grand Lodges of South East Asia.

It is notable that Malaysia has a population that is 60% Muslim.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

In Upstate New York Next Week


I will be speaking at two events in upstate new York next week.

On Wednesday April 7th I'll be at the beautiful Albany, New York Temple to speak to the brethren of Masters Lodge #5, Wadsworth #417, and the Albany and Rensselaer/Schenectady Masonic districts. Festivities begin at 7:30pm. This is a free event. For more information, contact brother Joe Evans at 518-542-9422, or at joeevans9(@)gmail.com



New York's College of Freemasonry will be held on Saturday April 10th. The College of Freemasonry is sponsored by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Rochester with support from the York Rite Bodies, Damascus Shriners, Lalla Rookh Grotto and local Lodges. The Masonic educational event was first held in the spring of 2006. The program brings together a panel of scholars and Masonic thinkers to discuss a particular theme and engage brethren in a discussion for the purpose of promoting Masonic education. The Saturday event is open to Masons and non Masons.

In addition to my keynote speech, R.W. Tom Savini, Director of New York's Livingston Library and Trustee R.W. Bill Thomas will make a presentation on the library’s recent acquisition of the Vatican's reprint of Processus Contra Templarious, the Trials Against the Knights Templar.

R.W. Tom Jackson, Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Book Review editor for the Northern Light magazine, will be present the Valley’s Thomas Jackson Award. The Award recognizes individuals who have taken the message of Freemasonry and transformed it into an educational inspiration at a state, regional or national level.

And R. W. Manfred Liehs will speak on the importance of preserving Masonic artifacts and our heritage. R.W. Manfred Liehs is a master appraiser of fine art antiques and jewelry and is offering a very unique opportunity for brothers and lodges. They can bring in any precious artifacts or items to the event and he will appraise the items. This is an amazing opportunity that you will want to take advantage of, as knowledgeable appraisal services are very rare and can be costly.

The cost to attend the event on Saturday is $20.00 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Check in will begin at 8:00 AM and the program starts at 9:00 AM. The theme for this year’s program is “Freemasonry: the Ancient Landmarks, the Symbolism and the Vision of our Craft.” It takes place at the Shrine Center, 979 Bay Road, Webster, NY 14580

The night before, on Friday April 9th, AASR members and their ladies are invited to a steak dinner and an evening of Jazz. The social hour will begin around 6:00 PM with dinner served around 7:00 PM. The evening will feature local jazz artist, Madeline Forster and her quartet. You can hear a sample of her music at www.madelineforster.com. Cost for the evening is $30 per person and $50 per couple.

Call the Scottish Rite Valley Secretary at 585-264-1160 or 800-858-2320. RESERVATION DEADLINE IS MONDAY APRIL 5th.

Masonic Conspiracy in Washington DC Highway System

A historian in Washington DC has discovered a secret Masonic message hidden in the highway ramps of the Anacostia Freeway around the Nation's Capitol, according to the Greater Greater Washington blog today.

The historian, Tyler Vanderschmidt, says that he has found evidence of a Masonic conspiracy to use freeway building to embed the symbology of the secretive organization in the capital city. The discovery came, according to his article, as he studied a map of the Anacostia Freeway while lost east of the River. "I was looking at the map," he says, "and suddenly my eyes were opened. It became clear that I was on the verge of a major discovery."


Ramps on the Anacostia Freeway clearly spell "M-A-S-O-N-S".

Representatives from DDOT seem reluctant to wade into the controversy. One spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, suggests that the Masons might have had a horse in the race. "Our work rehabilitating some of the freeways has discovered old fashioned construction methods, pre-1950s stuff," he reports, "the stonework we've uncovered represent some real masterpieces." As experts at stone cutting and assembly, the Masons would have had a lot to gain from freeway contracts.

(Kindly bear in mind today's date.)