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


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Masonic Author W. Kirk McNulty Passes

W. Kirk MacNulty portrait by Travis Simpkin

by Christopher Hodapp

My Brethren, the roll of the workmen has been called, and one Master Mason has not answered to his name. Brother Shawn Eyer reported on his Facebook page that esteemed Masonic author William Kirk MacNulty has laid down his working tools at the age of 88.

WB MacNulty was the author of three deeply thoughtful and philosophical books about Masonic symbolism: The Way of the Craftsman (1988), Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol (1991), and Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance (2006). MacNulty’s writing focuses on the impact of Masonic history, philosophy and symbolism on the psychological and spiritual development of the individual. For many Masons, his books introduced them to a whole new understanding of our esoteric symbolism and philosophy, and he urged all Masons to seek out and find our personal interpretations.

He was three times Master of Lodge of Living Stones, was a member of the Lodge of the Nine Muses No. 1776 in D.C. and of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 in Virginia. He also was a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge. In recognition of his contributions to Masonic literature, he was named as Friar No. 94 in the Society of Blue Friars in 2005.

From the Craftsmen Online Facebook page:
W. Kirk MacNulty was born in California in 1932. He studied at Stanford University and the University of Tennessee, and had a career in the United States Marine Corps and in corporate information technology.

His interest and involvement in Freemasonry spans more than fifty-five years. He received the degrees of Masonry in 1961 at Carson Valley Lodge No. 33 of Gardnerville, Nevada. He later affiliated with lodges in Hawaii, Tennessee, England, and Virginia. He was Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Living Stones No. 4957 in Leeds, England, in 1979, 1980, and 1991. He is the Charter Master (1997) of the Lodge of the Nine Muses No. 1776, a Traditional Observance Lodge in the District of Columbia.

His literary efforts have earned outstanding recognition. In 2008, he was received as a member of London's prestigious Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, the world's premier lodge of research. In 2016, he was recognized as a Fellow of the Philalethes Society for his many contributions to the literature of Freemasonry.

He was born in Long Beach, California. His father was an Officer in the Marine Corps, and Kirk traveled to many places during his childhood. When his father retired, his parents settled in San Mateo, California; and he attended San Mateo High School, and graduated from Stanford University. Kirk became an Officer in the Marine Corps where he served for several years. Upon leaving the Marine Corps he became a Freemason in 1961 while living in Gardnerville, Nevada. It was a small country town, with a Masonic Lodge and a dedicated group of members. As he went through the ritual of the Third Degree, he had some profound insights about his own life, the meaning of life, and the meaning of Freemasonry. That started him on a quest to learn more, to know more, and to communicate to others a real and deeper meaning of Masonry than many of its members are aware. Then, while living in London for 18 years, he had the opportunity to get to know Lord Northampton, John Hamill, and other luminaries of the United Grand Lodge of England, and they encouraged him in my Masonic writing.

In addition, he has run, and participated in, Masonic Study groups both in the US and the UK, using the kinds of concepts described in his latest book: Contemplating Craft Freemasonry, in the process gaining enormous insight into his own life, as well as a deeper understanding of the nature of the Craft.
Several years ago, Kirk presented one of his talks as part of the M.A.T.S.O.L. (Masonry at the Speed of Light) online lecture series, which was the brainchild of Indiana Mason Al McClelland long before we all became self-trained experts in Zoom presentations:

"The Philosophical Background of Masonic Symbolism" - W. Kirk McNulty

As of Tuesday evening, I have not seen any notices about funeral services.

He has laid down the working tools of the Craft and with them he has left that mortal part for which he no longer has use. His column is broken, and his Brethren mourn.

Requiescat in pace.


  1. Thank you for your service to our craft WB McNulty.

  2. Sincere condolences to his friends and family. Brother Kirk inspired many of us through his writings and lectures.

    HE was a well informed Brother and the epitome of the "Gentleman Mason". May he R.I.P.

  3. He is an "Intender" for WEOFM.com with a fantastic video presentation.

  4. I donated the Symbols book to a friend contemplating membership and am happy to purchase it again for myself.

    Bruce Warnock, Parkside Lodge #736,Brooklyn, Ohio.


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