"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Ritual of the Modern Order of the Essenes": What Is It?

A Brother came up to me last night at Lodge Vitruvian's Festive Board with a copy of "Ritual of the Modern Order of the Essenes" by M. Wolcott Redding, which he was amazed that he could read, and wanted to know who the 'Modern Order of the Essesnes' were. I've been asked this question several times over the years. This was an exposure or ritual aid of the Masonic ritual, first published in 1870, and contains the words of the degrees in plain English, with mysterious symbols for key words and actions, like rapping the gavel, knocks, etc. It was published under that name to hide it from the public and avoid criticism by the Masons themselves.

Masonic exposures have been around almost since the beginning of the Premiere Grand Lodge in England in 1717. If they were published out of spite or a desire to weaken the fraternity, it would have happened a long time ago, instead of growing to five million brethren the world over. Most of these books became popular from Masons themselves buying them to help them learn the ritual, and not from a herd of curious onlookers or anti-Masons storming the doors of lodges pretending to be Masons from something they read in an exposure.

For a list of the many exposures published over the years, Gary Dryfoos has it on his website, "A Page About Freemasonry. Click here to see it.


UPDATE: I got this message from Jeff Croteau at the Scottish Rite NMJ Museum about disguised ciphers:

Nice post on the Essenes ciphers. Some of these ciphers had hilariously and intentionally misleading title pages. I’ve written about three of them on the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library’s blog. I include links here in case they’re of interest:

I hope all’s well.



Jeffrey Croteau
Manager of Library & Archives
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library

33 Marrett Road | Lexington, MA 02421

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Large Masonic Collection on Ebay This Week, Hobart, Indiana

A man in Hobart, Indiana is selling his extensive Masonic collection on Ebay, and the current price is just $800.

Click here to see it.

The auction ends in six days, and the buyer has to pick it up.

Here is his list:

Today I am selling my entire masonic & Shrine Collection. I have been collecting for over 15 years and have acquired a lot of old and rare one of a kind items related to freemasonry and the shrine. Ebay only allows 12 photos so I did the best I could do at grouping them for photographs. Below is a list of all that will be in the Lot and I do know much more about a lot of the items, but it will be too long to list. Some items are not pictured.
4- masonic swords
3- belts
1- Scottish rite sash
1- masonic alter 1920s??
1- large bible 1960s??
1- masonic worshipful masters chair 1866
1- scythe
1- treasures desk 1880s
1- engraved Robert burns 21x30 picture
1- 1925 Scottish rite class photo
1- 1908 Scottish rite class photo
1- 11x14 masonic presidents photo
1- framed fathers lodge poem 1947
1- 1955 masonic plate
1- green masonic ashtray
9- shrine fez's
1- fez case
5- decanters
1- masonic door handle
1- stewards jewel
1- masonic trowel
1- commemorative medallion
2- masonic pillows
1- masonic ballot box
1- york rite hat with case
1- arch box missing pieces
5- masonic/york rite wall mounts??
3 sets bookend holders
7- glassware/ flask shrine, masonic, and york rite  dating from 1898 to 1908??
1- shrine ashtray 1963
1- decorative paper weight
2- door knockers 
1- medal masonic ashtray 
1- world war I or world war II winchester trench artwork with shell with masonic symbols
1- decoupage old bowl 
1- 1974 ashtray
miscellaneous jewels and coins
1- tylers jewel
1- masonic pocket watch
1- decorative wall plate??
3- wood gavels 
3- medal wall plaques 
1- set york rite gloves
1- lamb skin apron
1- medal masonic stamp dispenser
books: secret society a history, history of the knights templars, the knights templar and their myth, the secret history of free masonry, the little book of freemasonry, the secret founding of america, robert burns selected poems, mackey's symbolism of freemasonry 1946, lexicon of freemasonry 1914, 1965 ahiman rezon 5965, history of the scottish rite valley of indianapolis 1924, morals of dogma 1921, the little book of the holy grail, the lost keys of freemasonry 1942, masonic symbols in american decorative arts 1976, the first crusade a new history, poetry of freemasonry 1895, miscellaneous pamphlets and catalogs

If there are any questions I will answer the best I can. This is for pick up only, Hobart IN. Winner will need to bring boxes and packing material for glassware. Items are located in a basement and I will be able to help lift large items. This is my personal collection and will not separate out for single purchase items.

Thank You

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New GLofPa Video Tour of Their Temple

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has put up a new video tour of their magnificent Temple in Philadelphia. Click the image above to view the YouTube.

H/T to Seth Anthony.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

New French Novel, Translated Into English, About Freemasons

A new book is on the way from two French authors, translated into English, one of whom is a French Freemason.

From PRWeb.com:

In France, Giacometti and Ravenne, said together in one breath, is synonymous with adrenaline-pumping Freemason thrillers/police procedurals that spend months on the top of the charts every time they come out. The authors Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne have written nine to date, sold over 2 million copies of the series in seventeen different languages, and, rumor has it, are currently holed up somewhere in the French countryside working on the next one.
They recently made their debut on the US market with a very successful title called Shadow Ritual, published by Le French Book. Number 1 bestselling author Douglas Preston called the book, "Phenomenal." Kirkus Reviews says the series has "abundant visceral appeal." Reading Reality gave it "Escape Rating A," while Shelf Awareness specifies, “The plot and pacing of a thriller, but the meticulous attention to historical detail sets it apart.”
The series
The series focuses on a Paris police detective named Antoine Marcas. This character stemmed from long arguments the two authors, friends since they were teenagers, kept having. Eric Giacometti, a reporter, had investigated corruption scandals linked to Freemasons on the French Riviera, while Jacques Ravenne, as a master mason, couldn’t understand why the media was so fierce in its attacks against freemasonry. He felt it was unfair and simplistic. From these often-heated discussions, they created a Freemason cop who is proud of his ideals and values, but aware of the pitfalls of the brotherhood.
The novels give readers an inside view of the brotherhood’s real codes and rituals, and these are genuine and accurate because Jacques Ravenne is a Freemason. He is also a historian. In Shadow Ritual, the plot was inspired by an incredible, yet true story: that of the French Freemason archives stolen by the Nazis in 1940. In 1945, the Russians recovered them in Germany and sent them to KGB headquarters in Moscow, where they remained until 2000, when they were finally returned to France.
The books are called "esoteric mysteries" for fans of Dan Brown, but they are also for fans of, among others, early Robert Ludlum thrillers, and anyone interested in a good story and history. In Shadow Ritual, readers won’t find a single Templar shield, an Illuminati hood, or a descendant of Jesus. Rather, readers discover the esoteric side of Nazism, and the persecutions against Freemasons in Occupied France, by both Nazis and the Vichy government.
There's a lot of fact mixed in with the fiction, and as a bonus the authors provide exclusive content here, revealing Freemason secrets and more.
What's next
Encouraged by the initial sales of Shadow Ritual, Le French Book is busy working on translating another book in the series, which is scheduled to come out in English in early 2016. It holds stories of alchemy and information from unpublished documents about the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower that the authors uncovered in the Freemason Library at the Grand Orient of France headquarters in Paris.

Old Master's Scotch To Return To US

I got this message today from Brother Jared Card about Old Master's scotch:

"If you remember the OLD MASTERS SCOTCH that I was representing a few years ago, it has since disappeared from the USA. I now work as a district manager for Impex Beverages, Inc. and we are scotch importers. I am working with my boss to try and bring the OLD MASTERS SCOTCH back into the USA. With the previous importer that I dealt with for this product, there wasn't a large distribution and availability. Impex is in over 40 states and has a large distribution network. If we import the OLD MASTERS, it will be everywhere…"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

MRF Symposium 8/21-23/15 in Philadelphia

The 6th Annual Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium (August 21-23, 2015) is now prepared to accept registrations. This year's event will be held in the fabulous Philadelphia Masonic Temple. 

The speakers featured this year will include WB Oscar Alleyne, WB Robert Herd, WB Andrew Hammer, Bro. Ryan Flynn, WB Shawn Eyer, WB Moises Gomez, RW Dan Hrinko, WB Jay Hochberg and Bro. Brian Skoff.

A block of rooms have been reserved for the MRF at the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown at a rate of $129 a night. Reservations may be made by calling 215-496-3200 and asking for the "Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium" rate.

Registration information can be found at http://www.masonicrestorationfoundation.org/symposium2015/index.html

The event will begin with an authentic English-styled Festive Board held in the Grand Banquet Hall on Friday evening, conducted by the brethren of Fiat Lux Lodge No. 1717, an English Emulation Lodge chartered under the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, and featuring comments from our Keynote Speaker, Robert Herd. Along with our usual lineup of interesting speakers, brothers will have the opportunity to see an Entered Apprentice degree using the unique Pennsylvania ritual, conferred by Fritz Lodge No. 308, the host lodge for the Symposium. 

The cost for this event will be $110 (non-refundable) and it is open to all Master Masons (dues cards will be checked). Deadline for registration will be 31 July, 2015. For more information, check the MRF Symposium website, or contact Bro. Brian Skoff, Symposium Organizer, e-mail: brskoff(at)gmail.com

FMFD Product Placement

Thanks to Joe Milner for pointing out this photo from the Melbourne, Australia International Comedy Festival. I never would have spotted it. They also had a guy dressed up as the Grand Master. No doubt rolling up his trouser leg and having a good guffaw.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Harold Davidson, Librarian of the Philalethes, Dies

Brother Harold Davidson, the longtime Librarian for the Philalethes Society, passed away yesterday. Brother Ed Halpaus, President of the Philalethes, posted this moving tribute to him on Facebook. If you are not a member of Facebook, here is the complete post:

It was with great sadness that we learned today (April 13, 2015) of the passing of our good Brother Harold Davidson, FPS. Harold passed to the Celestial lodge above on Friday, April 10th.
I met Brother Harold Davidson soon after I became a member of The Philalethes Society a long time ago. He was a good friend, and one of the best people one could hope to have in his life. I will miss him and our phone conversations.
Brother Harold was the only librarian The Philalethes Society has had. He served as our Librarian for over 30 years. If I remember correctly he mentioned to me that Brother Allen Roberts asked him to be the Librarian when Harold was about 53 years old - he had been doing the job for about 3 years, before the office was created to make him the Librarian. Harold passed at age 86, so that is a long time to serve the members of our society, and he did serve all of us willingly and capably.

I spoke with Brother Harold’s son Scott today, and he told me that his Dad was very proud to be the librarian of The Philalethes, and was also extremely proud that he was elected a Fellow of The Philalethes.
Anyone who ever contacted Harold with questions relating to Masonic Research knew in short order that he had a friend in Harold Davidson (Brother Dave, as his email address said.) I once, as he answered the phone, said ‘hi, Brother Dave’ and then started to apologize for not calling him Harold. I could almost see his smile as he said that’s O.K. I’ve been called Dave since I was a kid, and Brother Dave since I was made Mason.
Brother Harold Davidson began the Billings Masonic Library soon after he retired as a professor of library science, and he was one of the best people one could hope to deal with on used Masonic Books; and when a Mason needed help with research Harold was not only eager to help, he was extremely capable. He would search his memory and his library to find the information needed, he would photocopy it and mail it to the Brother with no charge for postage or copying. As far as I’m concerned Harold was a Mason’s Mason - he was the kind of friend we all hope to be and hope to have.
I will miss him, but I’m not the only one. He will be greatly missed by his family of course, but he will be missed by Masons throughout Montana, and by countless Masons worldwide.
Ed Halpaus
President, The Philalethes Society

There is also an obituary here:  http://www.michelottisawyers.com/harold-l-davidson/ .

Friday, April 10, 2015

Albert Hudson Royds and St. Edmunds Masonic Church

Freemasonry Today has a brief article about Albert Hudson Royds, the Freemason behind St. Edmund's Church in Rochdale, England, the only known church anywhere dedicated to Freemasonry. The architectural details (look at the lectern) contain much true Masonic symbolism, unlike Rosslyn cathedral. The church has been closed for several years and is in a Muslim community now, so it is endangered. It may not be around long, even though it has been listed as an historical place. There is a fund to save the church at: http://www.visitchurches.org.uk/SaveStEdmunds/.

To see the article, click here.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Spirit of Freemasonry at Appomattox Court House Today 4/9/15

Today, April 9th, 2015, the regular communication of Hiram-Takoma Lodge No. 10 in Washington, DC will feature a program commemorating the sesquicentenary of the end of the U.S. Civil War presented by RW Paul Bessel, "The Spirit of Freemasonry ay Appomattox Courthouse."  

6:30 PM - Dinner (all are welcome)
7:30 PM - Lodge (Masons only)
8:00 PM - (approximately) Program OPEN to ladies and non-Masons.

April 9, 2015, marks the 150th anniversary of the day that Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his 28,000 troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the Civil War.

Stories, some true and some apocryphal, about how some Freemasons on both sides of the Civil War acted at the end of the conflict to try to bring about peaceful reconciliation. It will include how the armies came to be at Appomattox Court House and focus on the special roles played by Union General and Brother (in one day) Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Confederate General and Brother (maybe) John B. Gordon.

A reception to follow the program in the refectory. 

The address is 115 Carroll Street NW Washington, DC.

Please RSVP to Bud.Michels@gmail.com to ensure sufficient amount of refreshment.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Mark Tabbert at Missouri Lodge of Research 5/16/15

WBro. Mark Tabbert will be the 2015 Truman Lecturer for the Missouri Lodge of Research on Saturday, May 16th. His topic will be "George Washington: Recent Masonic Discoveries." Mark is the  Director of Collections for the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, and the author of the book American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities, among several other books.

Tickets are available now at Eventbrite for $30, and includes lunch. Click here. Seating is limited, and access to the event is by reservation only. Proceeds benefit the Lodge of Research.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Lexington (KY) Lodge No. 1 Masonic History & Study Group

(To enlarge image, open it in a new window.)

The legend of Hiram is one of the most impressive allegorical dramas of all time and is the heart of the three degrees. The legend is supposed to each us specific Masonic lessons. But what are they?

Join the Craftsman History & Study Group on April 23rd in Lexington, Kentucky for a presentation entitled "The Invention of the Legend of the Temple, Hiram Abiff and the Ruffians" at Lexington Lodge No. 1, at 7:00PM. No meal will be served. Due to the topic of the meeting, only Master Masons may attend.

For more information, contact The Craftsman at this link.

The Masonic History and Study Group was formed in 2011. The Lodge is located at 3112 Harrodsburg Road next to Fire Station #20-  It is a modern, one level facility with ample parkingLexington Lodge and The Craftsman's Education Program instituted in 2011.  The group provides an interactive experience and discussion forum regarding both historical and present-day Masonic events and trends within the Fraternity.