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


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Film: 'The Royal Art of Freemasonry'

A Los Angeles filmmaker and Freemason named Johnny Royal has crafted a beautifully shot film about the fraternity, The Royal Art of Freemasonry. He just released a one minute teaser last week (click the image above).

From a release on marketwired.com:
The feature length documentary presents never before seen footage of the world’s oldest and most powerful secret society, the Freemasons. The film provides insight into the unique culture surrounding the fraternity, asks the question of why people join, explains in depth the entire masonic structure including the Blue Lodge (degrees 1 – 3), the Scottish Rite (degrees 4-33), and the York Rite (Royal Arch, Cryptic Masons, Knights Templar), and where members feel their ancient society is headed as the future unfolds.
“It feels like everything I’ve ever done in my life has gone into making this film,” says Writer and Director Johnny Royal. “It has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.”
This year, the United Grand Lodge of England, founded in 1717, celebrates its 300th year anniversary. However, Freemasonry has roots that reach much further back as evidenced by the recorded minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh No. 1 in Scotland in 1599. Never before has a documentary been able to tell the story of all of the Masonic degrees and provide a glimpse of what happens in the masonic allegory after a candidate achieves the Master Mason or 3rd degree.
“One of the reasons The Royal Art of Freemasonry took so long to make was figuring out the actual overarching narrative. Eventually, I realized that the story arch was the hero’s quest. What begins to surface is a realization that we [the candidates] are able to be the hero or the villain in our daily lives, based on the choices we make. Freemasonry truly is a progressive moral science interlaced throughout the narrative structure of the Hero’s Quest.””“Royal’s team on the film are comprised of a powerful lineup including Music Supervisor, Composer, and Re-Recording Mixer Sean Beavan (The Lost Highway, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson), Ernest Chapman and Juliette Beavan, both who are credited as composers and associate producers, Robert Doan as producer, Dene Anderberg as Executive Producer, Jason Pachomski as Supervising Editor (Game of Thrones), and Zach Brinkerhoff as Visual FX Supervisor (Thor and X-Men First Class).”
For updates about its release dates, see the film's Facebook page HERE

In related news, the five-part Sky1 documentary made in cooperation with the United Grand Lodge of England, Inside the Freemasons, premiered a week ago and is continuing (Episode 3 airs this week). Unfortunately for those of us in the U.S., there is no (simple) way to see it online. Plans are for a DVD release once all episodes air in the U.K.


  1. Bring it to the USA!!!! I would love to watch that!

  2. I like the vibe of this trailer for this movie, and resonate with the ideas in many ways, but I want to add that all those Dan Brown movies seem to altered the portrayal in public of Freemasonry, or at least transformed it in some way. I just hope this fact does not obscure one important fact. FREEMASONRY IS NOT A RELIGION. But it involves religious ideas and symbols, and largely has attracted people who are religious in their core. But what it has to teach is NOT the same as religion, and if that distinction is lost, then its real lessons are obscured. There is a Masonic understanding, and Masonic insight, but being a good Mason is NOT a form of piety, which in religions is typically shown or demonstrated by conformity to dogma or belief, adherent participation in pious ritual, etc. So that begs the question-- what do the rituals of Freemasonry mean? are Everything in Freemasonry by contrast makes you a better person by living its ideals, and it is in that sense that adherence to its forms and practices very valuable, not for inherent religious importance which is the gist of piety. In sum, Freemasonry is simply not a form of piety. ---

    1. That's worth repeating, and often, because there's a certain breed of Mason who desperately wants to substitute one for the other. I suspect such brethren have been with us always, which is why we have some appendant bodies that lean more that way. But today more than any other time we've got men joining us in large numbers who proclaim that they have a belief in a "higher power" but disdain anything that smells like an organized religion. There's nothing particularly illegitimate about that position - it's arguably what plenty of Enlightenment-era deists who crafted what we have in lodge today probably believed. But where it gets dicey is when some of those same men attempt to twist the fraternity into the very thing they claim not to want.

      Worse is when they further attempt to tell the rest of us that they are doing it all right, and 2 or 3 million of the rest of the Masons in the world have got it all wrong.

      My understanding of the rituals when I joined my first Craft lodge was that Freemasonry seeks to be an adjunct to a man's personal faith, to reinforce what he already had in his heart and his head, and hopefully encourage him to improve that faith on his own or in his own church. It's when Masons interpret concepts like "sacred spaces" and "transformative" initiatic experiences to extremes that we can lose sight of the role *I* believe it was designed to be. That's almost assuredly how the concept of the *haute grades* were born - by men who didn't believe that the lodge experience was sacred or transformative enough to suit them.

      But then we can go off here about different phases like this all day long, from 18th century religious experiments like Theophilanthopy, Universal Liturgy, and Robespierre's Revolution-era Cult of the Supreme Being craziness, to the American metaphysical movement... all of which have had various influences on Freemasonry during different periods and in different countries. We've always had members who were disappointed that Freemasonry wasn't spooky enough and set out to make it suit their own vision - or leave and look elsewhere.

  3. Wow! That was great Bro. Chris! I agree with every word you wrote! There's book in those ideas alone in terms of history, and I hope it gets written some day, and I would be happy to help if needed. --- What you write about the high degrees might be a little ticklish for some, but I think your view holds up with the history I have investigated. ----The difficult thing is that Western culture kind of leaves people with an Either/Or about religion, Ostensibly, you either are so, or not. Of course what that really means, is that you either are, or believe, as I believe, or you do not. If you do not, you can hit the highway, go to hell, or be in the minority in the Congress. Freemasonry seems to have always stood for a radical difference. The idea that it is not Either/Or, but as a Both/And. the amazing thing is--- this is STILL a radical gambit for peoples and societies . So the idea that Freemasonry is just some fuddy-duddy thing that grandpappy belonged to is belied by the very radically of its position. The crucial thing about being clear about this radically is that is ALSO makes clear why Freemasonry is not a religion. Precisely because it obscures this radicality by making it just one more form of religiosity in potential competition with others. So, while I personally find the reverence and religious vibe that some Brothers bring to the Craft quite beautiful in a way, I think it is very shortsighted , and kind of misses the point. --- Can I just end on a more casual level of discussion.....Since we are all about being on the level, I think it is worth being candid that many of those inclined to impute religious valences to it all are also very dedicated Brothers who are often the bulwark of their Lodges. On the level, I honor this in others, as I am not the most involved in some ways, though my heart is in it very much. Yet though I honor that difference, and think it worth being forthright about, I also think it a bit humorous. Because since Freemasonry is not a form of piety, it also means that UNLIKE sacraments of religion which confer graces by one's participation in the same, involvement in Masonic rituals have zero to do with that kind of pious logic. A Brother may become a better man by this or that sort of participation, and others may miss out on that particular improvement by not doing so, but there is no analogue in Masonry to religious holiness, though surely one might actually become more holy by being a better person through Masonry. I find it funny when Brothers seem to feel that participating in one way or the other makes them more Masonically "holy" or possessing somehow a Masonic "essence" per se. That is is what is unwittingly funny, and false. We should probably add that there is a darker end to this story too, though rarer thank God. Some have used religion in the Craft to make it like a "front" for their personal religious or political views. and they believe themselves quite "pious" for doing so. Tellingly, these are precisely the same sorts who seem to not have a clue at bottom what Freemasonry is actually about, and they often don't care either. May the Grand Architect are us from that vision!

    1. Peter, I think you nailed something I've had rattling around in my head for a long time, this notion of what is proper Masonic "piety." I think because we use vocabulary that is pulled straight from religious nomenclature and you mix that in with a couple of generations of men who have almost zero organized religious upbringing from which they would have in an earlier age been more well versed, these ideas go roiling around in their heads and come out a little scrambled. Or a lot.

      I for one have never found a gaping need to fill some void of faith in me with some other outside substitute that was never designed to be such a substitute, myself. Nor have I ever had some odd notion that as a worldwide organization dedicated to meeting on the level we require a priestly class. But others do, apparently, as you alluded to.

      One of the most pragmatic and level headed (and dedicated) Freemasons I know anywhere has a degree in theology. He fully understands the proper role of an organization in which a bunch of Midwestern white Protestants pretending to be Old Testament Jews teaches each other basic lessons of universal acceptance, assistance, and charity. And he's in church every Sunday because each institution supports the other in his head and heart.

  4. "We've always had members who were disappointed that Freemasonry wasn't spooky enough and set out to make it suit their own vision - or leave and look elsewhere."

    "Spooky" freemasonry... that made me chuckle.


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