Saturday, February 17, 2018

‘Masonic philatelists to meet’

     
It seems like I’m writing only about Virginia these days, but here’s one more event. The George Washington Masonic Stamp Club will meet Sunday the 25th for its annual meeting. From the publicity:

George Washington
Masonic Stamp Club
Sunday, February 25
1:30 p.m.
George Washington Masonic
National Memorial
Alexandria, Virginia

1:30 – Review covers, socialize.

There will be a number of very valuable collections available for sale, including one that was turned over to your president last summer. Though not well organized, there are many Masonic covers and cachets with a significant collection of Isle of Man stamps. Two additional Isle of Man celebration sheets, obtained at the United Grand Lodge of England, will be available for $30 each. There will be a number of albums up for sale, many belonging to your president, that have been collected over the years. There will be many items of interest for club members to purchase. Of course, we will have the usual door prizes.

2 p.m. – Meeting, including Master of Philately Degree and election of officers for the ensuing two-year term.

If you have not received the Master of Philately from the GWMSC, you may receive it at this meeting. Please reserve in advance with Bro. John Allen so we’ll have your certificate for you. Applicants for membership may attend and receive the Master of Philately, subject to favorable vote into membership. Candidates should bring their current lodge dues card. With the demise of the Masonic Stamp Club of New York last year, the GWMSC is the only group conferring Master of Philately now. Qualifications: You must be a GWMSC member, be present at the Annual Meeting, and not have received it from the GWMSC already. There are no added fees for this degree.

4:45 – Gather at Joe Theismann’s Restaurant. Dinner at 5:30. Ladies and guests welcome.

Speaker: Walter Benesch, club president, on his experiences attending the tercentenary celebrations at the United Grand Lodge of England last fall.

In case you are not aware, on October 31, 2017, the United Grand Lodge of England celebrated its 300th anniversary. The Royal Albert Hall, which seats more than 5,000, was the focal point of the celebration, with the overflow crowd, of which your president was part, seated in the Grand Lodge, watching a live telecast. The program was outstanding. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that hopefully will be of interest to all at dinner. Remember, wives and non-club members are welcome to attend. (A separate tercentennial slideshow has been developed, should any of your Masonic bodies wish a more formal presentation.)

It is hoped many of you within a 75-mile radius will be able to attend the Annual Meeting. It should be fun. There will be at least one candidate for the degree and the fellowship is always enjoyable.

Fraternally,
Walter Benesch, President
     

Friday, February 16, 2018

‘Freemasons in the Transatlantic World’

     
I learned a new term today! “Atlantic History.” If I understand it correctly, it is the study of how Europe, Africa, and the Americas interacted in the creation of social systems, cultures, etc., beginning about five centuries ago. I’d say Freemasonry can fit inside this subject quite easily.

Does anyone here study this? Is it a legitimate field of study? A politically skewed interpretation of history?

Masonic Light
March 19, 2009


It was just about nine years ago that I learned a term from the academic world—Atlantic History—and immediately asked the Masonic Light group if anyone had any experience with it. Freemasonry seemed like such a natural fit, but I didn’t hear anything more. Fast forward to 2018, and Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076 is planning a conference around this topic for September at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. From the publicity:


Freemasons in the Transatlantic World
September 14 to 16
George Washington Masonic National Memorial
Alexandria, Virginia

The Program:

Day One
Friday, September 14
9-9:30 Registration
9:30-9:45 Welcome and Introduction
9:45-10:45 Paul Monod: The Conflicted Identity of Early 18th Century English Freemasonry

10:45-11 Coffee
11-12:30 First Panel: Freemasonry in the Caribbean
Neil Wynes Morse, Susan Snell, and Andreas Önnefors
12:30-1:15 Lunch
1:15-2:15: Second Panel: Scottish-American Freemasonry in the Eighteenth Century
Bob Cooper and Mark Wallace
2:15-3:15 Third Panel: Freemasonry in North America
John Laurence Busch and Jeffrey Croteau

3:15-3:30 Coffee
3:30-4:30 Fourth Panel: French Lodges and Connections in the Americas
Eric Saunier and Jeffrey Kaplan
4:30-5:30 Fifth Panel: Transatlantic and Back Again
Marsha Keith Schuchard and Hans Schwartz

5:45-7:30 in North Lodge Room
A Universal Lodge: some differences and commonalities between English and American rituals (tyled)
A Talk: Masonic symbolism in Washington, DC (open)
Followed by an evening in Alexandria. Mark Tabbert will conduct guided tours of the GWMNM on Friday evening and throughout the conference.


Day Two
Saturday, September 15

8:30-9:15 North Lodge Room
The Patriot Lodge: Tyled Meeting of the Convocation of Academic Lodges
9:15-9:30 Welcome
9:30-10:30 Jackie Ranston: The Multifaceted Freemasons of Jamaica

10:30-10:45 Coffee
10:45-12:15 Sixth Panel: Freemasonry in North America
Ric Berman, Erich Morgan Huhn, and Shawn Eyer

12:15-1 p.m. Lunch
1-2:30 Seventh Panel: Religion & Freemasonry
Lucio Artini, Roberto Pertocucci, Fenando, Gill Gonzalez and John Acaster
2:30-4 Fourth Panel: Material & Print Culture
Felipe Corte Real de Camargo, Hilary Anderson Stelling

4-4:30 Coffee
4:30-5:30 Larry Adamson, Past Grand Master, California: Bringing Masonry to the University
5 p.m. Conference Dinner, followed by an evening in Alexandria


Day Three
Sunday, September 16

9:15-9:30 Welcome: Arturo de Hoyos, Brent Morris
9:30-10:15 Oscar Alleyne: The role of men of color in the early period of Freemasonry
10:15-11:30 Ric Berman and Susan Mitchell Sommers: The First Grand Lodge: 1717 or 1721? A debate and discussion followed by Q&A
11:30 Conclusions
2 p.m. Guided Tour of Washington
Depart GWMNM

Please note that events, panels and speakers may be subject to change. Please see the detailed conference program here.


How to Book

Booking could not be easier: go to the QC website and click on the link to the in-house QC ticketing page under 2018 Conference. You can book using a credit card or PayPal here.

How much does it cost?
Conference Registration Fee
Whole Conference (3 days) $119 for QCCC members; $149 for non-members
Saturday only: $85 for QCCC members; $115 for non-members
Saturday/Sunday (2 days): $105 for QCCC members; $125 for non-members

Demonstration and Talk, GWMNM Friday Evening: $5 per person. The fee covers incidental costs specific to the event.

Conference Dinner Saturday Evening: $87 per person. Guests and wives are welcome to attend. Please book ASAP so that we can finalize numbers.

Guided Tour of Washington Sunday Afternoon: $25 per person.
     

Thursday, February 15, 2018

‘Spiritual Laws study day’

     
The living Heaven thy prayers respect, 
House at once and architect,
Quarrying man’s rejected hours,
Builds therewith eternal towers;
Sole and self-commanded works,
Fears not undermining days,
Grows by decays,
And, by the famous might that lurks
In reaction and recoil,
Makes flame to freeze, and ice to boil;
Forging, through swart arms of Offence,
The silver seat of Innocence.


Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spiritual Laws
1841


The School of Practical Philosophy will host another Emerson Study Day next month—highly recommended!—to focus on excerpts of Emerson’s “Spiritual Laws.” From the publicity:

Emerson Study Day
School of Practical Philosophy
Sunday, March 11
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
12 East 79th Street
Register here.

Join us in an exploration of the spiritual and intellectual legacy of America’s great philosopher and teacher, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Drawing on the wisdom of Plato and the Eastern traditions, Emerson knew from direct experience and observation that unity is the true reality. He spoke of “one mind common to all,” and “one soul which animates all things.” His affirmation of Unity was total, and he encouraged people to discover this for themselves.

We shall study selected passages from “Spiritual Laws.” This essay offers guidance in understanding the natural laws of the Creation. When we are in alignment with these laws, the result is harmony with the universe, and the potential for realizing our full stature.

From the essay:

“A little consideration of what takes place around us every day would show us, that a higher law than that of our will regulates events; that our painful labors are unnecessary, and fruitless; that only in our easy, simple, and spontaneous action are we strong, and by contenting ourselves with obedience we become divine.”

All are welcome. No prior study of Emerson is required.

8:30 a.m. – Sign in. Coffee available.
9 a.m. – Brief introduction followed by study sessions in small groups.

Fee: $30 – Includes a light brunch and printed material.
     

‘Masonic research at Manassas’

     
The next meeting of Civil War Lodge of Research 1865 is taking shape. The lodge announced yesterday that it will meet at the Manassas Battlefield in Virginia in April. A weekend of activity, actually. From the publicity:


Civil War Lodge of Research 1865
Saturday, April 21 at 10 a.m.
Stuart’s Hill, Manassas Battlefield

The weekend will start with a meeting in conjunction with Manassah Lodge 182 (9810 Cockrell Road, Manassas) on Friday, April 20. Dinner at six. The guest of honor will be the MEGHP of Royal Arch Masons.

The next day’s itinerary is:

8 a.m. – Refreshments at Manassah Lodge
8:45 – Relocate to Stuart’s Hill at the Manassas Battlefield for an outdoor meeting (bring a chair)
10 a.m. – Civil War Lodge of Research 1865 opens
Noon – Lodge closes, but to be followed by a talk at Brawner Farm
1 p.m. – Barbecue lunch at Manassah Lodge
2:45 – Return to Battlefield for Deep Cut and Unfinished Railroad tour
4:30 – Stop at Visitors Center

Accommodations are available at Comfort Suites Manassas. When booking, mention the Bennett Hart/Masons block or rooms or use code 570704495.

While the lodge meetings are for Masons only, the other events are open to the brethren’s ladies and friends.
     

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

‘Chuck Dunning at A-W 22’

     
Historic Alexandria-Washington Lodge 22 at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Virginia will host Bro. Chuck Dunning next month. The flier says it all:

Click to enlarge.
     

‘Masonic Knowledge on March 17’

     
Don’t forget the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge next month. I’m going. Ric Berman and Adam Kendall will be the presenters at the spring session. I haven’t seen Ric in two years, and I cannot even remember the last time I met up with Adam. From the publicity:

Saturday, March 17 at 9:30 a.m.
Freemasons Cultural Center
Masonic Village
1 Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown
Register here


Bro. Richard (Ric) Berman was the 2016 Prestonian Lecturer of the United Grand Lodge of England. Berman is the author of Foundations of Modern Freemasonry now in its second edition; Schism, which examines the conflict between the Moderns and Antients; Loyalists & Malcontents, a history of colonial Freemasonry in the American Deep South; and Espionage, Diplomacy & the Lodge. Bro. Berman, a Freemason for forty years, holds Senior London and Provincial Grand Rank. He is a Past Master of the Marquis of Dalhousie Lodge 1159 (EC); Treasurer of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076 (EC), England’s premier research lodge; and a PM of the Temple of Athene Lodge 9541 (EC), the research lodge of the Province of Middlesex.

Foundations: New Light
on the Formation and Early Years
of the Grand Lodge of England
2016 Prestonian Lecture

The lecture explores the evolution of Freemasonry, queries long-standing myths, and explains the step change that occurred with the creation of the first Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Ric outlines the connections between Freemasonry and the British establishment in the eighteenth century, and how and why its leaders positioned Grand Lodge as a bastion of support for the government.


Bro. Adam G. Kendall is the editor of The Plumbline for the Scottish Rite Research Society and a member of its governing board. He is a Past President of the Masonic Library & Museum Association, and the former Collections Manager and Curator of Exhibits for the Henry W. Coil Library and Museum at the Grand Lodge of California.

For more than a decade, he has presented at several international symposia—most notably, the World Conference on Freemasonry & Fraternalism at the National Library of France; the British Association for American Studies at Exeter University (BAAS); the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry (ICHF) in Edinburgh; the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH); The Quarry Project, University of California Los Angeles; and the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts. In addition to his public presentations, documentaries, and exhibits, he has published several essays and reviews in notable publications such as the European Journal of American Culture, Western Museums Association, The Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism, The Journal of the Philalethes Society, Heredom, and Ahiman: A Review of Masonic Culture and Tradition.

Bro. Kendall is a Past Master of Phoenix Lodge 144 in San Francisco, and a full member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076 in London.

The Geometry of Mystery:
Ancient Egypt, Freemasonry,
and Secret Societies

The opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 set off a world-wide craze for all things Egyptian-inspired, but it was by no means the first wave of “Egyptomania.” Ancient Egypt has been a land of mystery and wonder for the West for three thousand years. It has influenced art, architecture, mathematics, literature, and religion. This presentation is an examination of the real and imaged cultural legacy of Ancient Egypt, the history of the romanticism of this venerable civilization, and how its powerfully influential tradition of exotic and esoteric wisdom claimed by secret societies and mystical fraternities is only loosely based upon historical reality.

Please recognize that a cost is incurred to the program for your registration. If you pre-register and subsequently determine that you will be unable to attend, please have the Masonic courtesy to cancel your reservation by the same method and providing the same information.

Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 9:30 a.m.

A lunch (requested contribution of $10) will be served at noon, and the program will be completed by 3 p.m. All Masons are welcome to attend. Dress is coat and tie.
     

Monday, February 12, 2018

‘Muses Threnodie discussion next month’

     
I’d love to get to these meetings, but they’re just too far away, but maybe you can attend. The Maryland Masonic Research Society’s meeting next month will feature discussion of what I think is a wonderfully unusual topic. I had the pleasure of catching up with Sister Joi at the Masonic Society banquet Friday. She says:

Maryland Masonic Research Society
Saturday, March 3
Muses Threnodie: Poetic License
or Historical Insight?
Presented by Ed Johnson
Silver Spring Lodge 215
410 University Blvd., West
Silver Spring, Maryland

Muses Threnodie” is a poem published in Scotland in 1638 that contains a reference that suggests a connection between Freemasonry and the Rosicrucian movement. This presentation explores the theory that Masonry has its origins in Rosicrucianism, describing Rosicrucianism, J.G. Buhle’s theory about its connection to Masonry, and the arguments in favor and against his theory.

Ed Johnson is a Past Master of Pentalpha Lodge 194 in Germantown, Maryland, and a Past President of the Maryland Masonic Research Society. He actively pursues and stays abreast of the latest in Masonic scholarship through his memberships in the Scottish Rite Research Society, Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle, Philalethes Society, and The Masonic Society. He complements his interest in Masonic scholarship through his membership in the Biblical Archaeology Society and the study of a variety of esoteric topics.

Lunch at noon, $20 per person payable at the door. Meeting and presentation at 1 p.m. Enter at the rear of the lodge building. RSVP to the Secretary here no later than February 27.
     

Sunday, February 11, 2018

‘A great night for The Masonic Society’


     
A great annual meeting and banquet this evening in Arlington, Virginia at Masonic Week. Good food, fine fellowship, and an incredible keynote address.

Our outgoing President, Bro. Kenneth W. Davis of New Mexico, could not be with us, but his valedictory thoughts, highlighting the successes of the Society and news of big things to come, were communicated by another Brother in Ken’s stead.

The Masonic Society’s new President: Bro. Patrick Craddock (The Craftsman’s Apron).

First Vice President: The Magpie Mason

Second Vice President: Bro. Oscar Alleyne (The Hardest Working Man in Freemasonry).


Courtesy Greg Knott
Bro. Eric Diamond
Bro. Eric Diamond presented a thought-provoking keynote address that prompted many questions, comments, and requests for copies. Eric spoke of the need for today’s Freemason to assert himself in the public square to help society sidestep the perils of what is known as the “Dark Enlightenment,” not unlike how our Masonic ancestors brought the Enlightenment to English, French, and American life centuries ago.

And seven Fellows of The Masonic Society have been named:

Oscar Alleyne
Tyler Anderson
Christian Christensen
Patrick Craddock
Moises Gomez
Cameron Poe
Christopher Rodkey

Issue No. 40 of The Journal of the Masonic Society is in production, and will reach our members in March. If you want to read it, join now.
     

Friday, February 9, 2018

‘2018 Wendell K. Walker Lecture’

     
Annual Wendell K. Walker Lecture
Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2
Thursday, March 15, 2018
The Yale Club of New York
50 Vanderbilt Avenue, at 44th Street
Trumbull Room, 18th Floor
Cocktails at 7 o’clock (cash bar)
Dinner at 8 p.m. - Lecture at nine
$85 per person (check preferred)

“Freemasonry and the Culture of Men: What We Have Not Observed About the Past Can Save Us,” presented by RW Robert G. Davis.

This event is open to Masons of all degrees. Attire: Black Tie. Reservations are essential, and no later than March 12. RSVP to the Junior Warden here.

Robert Davis by Travis Simpkins
Bro. Davis was raised in Corinthian Lodge 307 in Cherokee, Oklahoma, and is a Past Master of three lodges in that state; he is now the Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma. He holds an “A” certificate in the Oklahoma ritual work.

In Scottish Rite, Davis recently retired as General Secretary of the Valley of Guthrie after serving in that capacity for 30 years. He is a 33° Mason, and a recipient of the Southern Jurisdiction’s Grand Cross.

In York Rite, Davis is a Past Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons, and a Past Grand Commander of the Knights Templar. In the invitational bodies, he serves the Oklahoma Masonic Rosicrucians as its Chief Adept. He also is a Past Sovereign Grand Master of the Allied Masonic Degrees in the United States.

Davis particularly enjoys Masonic history, ritual, and symbolism. Before moving to Guthrie, he served 14 years in the City Management and City Planning professions. His hobbies include Freemasonry, the Western esoteric traditions, gender studies, sociology, and writing and speaking on all these. He recently published a book titled The Mason’s Words, outlining the history and evolution of American Masonic rituals, and is the author of Understanding Manhood in America, focusing on the fraternal quest for the ideals of masculinity.
     

Thursday, February 8, 2018

‘Washington’s birthday at DeWint House’

     
Magpie file photo
DeWint House in Tappan, New York.

DeWint House, the George Washington historic site in Tappan that is owned and operated by New York Freemasonry for the benefit of the public, never lets a Washington birthday pass without celebration. This month is no different with a play scheduled for performance on Sunday the 18th. From the publicity:

George Washington
Birthday Celebration
Sunday, February 18
(rain date: Feb. 25)
1 p.m. at DeWint House
20 Livingston Ave.
Tappan, New York
free admission

Each year, the George Washington Masonic Historic Site at Tappan Committee of our New York Grand Lodge marks the anniversary of the birth of our distinguished and revered Masonic Brother George Washington. Our nation’s first president and Founding Father, his Excellency George Washington set a most noble example as president, military hero, commanding general, cherished Masonic Brother and leader in our gentle Craft. This year will mark the 286th anniversary of his birth on February 22, 1732.

You and your lady and your Masonic friends are cordially and fraternally invited to join us at our upcoming celebration of Washington’s birthday on the grounds of DeWint House, the historic Washington Headquarters and Museum at Tappan.

Sean Brady and Gary Petagine, educators and historians, have visited us several times and presented stirring dramas centered on the events preceding the Benedict Arnold-John Andre treason. This play picks up on events following the treason trial. Light refreshments will be served.
     

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

‘Freemasons and presidential funerals’

     
The lecture series at the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York will continue in two weeks with a presentation by the author of The President Is Dead! From the publicity:

The President Is Dead!
Presented by Bro. Louis Picone
Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Livingston Library
71 W. 23rd Street, 14th floor
Manhattan
Photo ID required to enter Masonic Hall
RSVP here

As many presidents of the United States of America were Freemasons, it is not surprising that the organization has been involved with presidential funerals. The history Freemasonry and presidential funerals goes back to the very beginning. Despite the fact George Washington asked for no “funeral oration,” Martha Washington allowed the Freemasons to hold final burial ceremonies for the first president. Louis L. Picone will discuss the Freemasons’ recurring role in several presidents’ funerals, burials, and tomb dedications that spanned from Washington into the twentieth century.

Courtesy Bill Mauer
Louis Picone
Louis L. Picone is the author of The President Is Dead! The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016) and Where the Presidents Were Born: The History & Preservation of the Presidential Birthplaces (Schiffer Publishing, 2012). He has served on the board of the Roxbury Historic Trust and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Historians Association, and Mensa International. Louis has spoken widely on the topic of the presidents and the places we commemorate them, including the Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site, James A. Garfield National Historic Site, and the June 2016 international conference “U.S. Presidents and Russian Rulers” at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
     

Monday, February 5, 2018

‘Philosophies of freedom’

     
I haven’t posted in a while, and since registration for this event just opened, I might as well resume with this news from the School of Practical Philosophy—as ideal a complement to Masonic pursuits as I can recommend to you. Go to this lecture. The speaker is the principal of the school, and he heads its Plato studies program. From the publicity:


Freedom
A Lecture with Mr. Russell Bosworth
Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m.
School of Practical Philosophy
12 East 79th Street, Manhattan

The Truth Will Set You Free.

Who are You?
What is Truth?
What is Freedom?
How can You be Free?

Throughout the ages, philosophers in the East and West have responded to these questions through thoughtful analyses and inspiring stories and myths. Join us for an entertaining evening exploring the profound wisdom these sages present, and discover time-tested practices that can set us free today—free from anxiety, free from fear, free to realize our true potential, free to be happy, free to be oneself.

Admission costs $25 per person, which includes light refreshments, and tickets are available through the Registration Office in the building or here.
     

Saturday, January 6, 2018

‘The Masonic Society at Masonic Week’

     
It’s official: The keynote speaker at The Masonic Society’s banquet at Masonic Week next month will be Bro. Eric Diamond of Chicago!

Bro. Eric is well known about the apartments of the Temple, but he might be best known as the long-serving host of X-Oriente, the granddaddy of Masonic podcasts, launched more than a decade ago. (I don’t mean to exclude co-host Bro. Jason Van Dyke! The pair bill themselves as “The shock troops of the Enlightenment.”) Eric is a Board Member of The Masonic Society, and is at labor in outstanding Craft lodges in Chicago and New York.

The subject in store for us on the evening of Friday, February 9 will be how Enlightenment values, from which Freemasonry emerged and had nurtured, are under threat today.

The Masonic Society banquet is the highlight of the Masonic Week festivities. Hosted in the coveted Friday night slot, this event is open to, yes, Masonic Society members, and also other Masons, our spouses, and friends of Freemasonry. If you are not planning on attending Masonic Week—for example, if you reside in the area, and want to join us for this dinner—I believe that can be arranged.

Visit Masonic Week here. And from there, you may make dinner reservations and follow another link to book your hotel room.
     

Friday, January 5, 2018

‘Portuguese Masonic lodge to gain a sister in New York’

     
Grand Lodge aims to launch a third lodge in the near future, and is seeking brethren to affiliate with it.

In addition to the two new lodges intended for the Columbia University and City University of New York communities, a sister lodge for John Philip Sousa Lodge in Portugal will be set to labor in New York City, and be warranted with that same name.

Sousa (1854-1932) was at labor in Hiram Lodge 10 (now Hiram-Takoma 10) in Washington. He was a Royal Arch Mason, a Templar, and a Shriner.

RW Ted Harrison again is the point man. He says:



Noble John Philip Sousa
“The Grand Master has given us the green light to form a new lodge dedicated to promoting international universal Freemasonry. The new lodge is proposed to be named John Philip Sousa Lodge in memory of a great Mason, well known for his military march music and also for his Portuguese lineage. Sousa was an active Mason, raised in Washington, DC.

“There is currently a John Philip Sousa Lodge in the Grand Lodge of Portugal, and its founding Master is in the process of moving to New York. It is his vision to form this new lodge not only to fulfill the normal obligations of a lodge to raise candidates and teach Masonry, but to assist Masons visiting New York to properly connect with local lodges which can welcome them, and also to provide contacts for New York Masons traveling overseas to be able to connect with a lodge at their destination.

“A list of prominent New York Masons and eager younger Masons have already agreed to support this venture, and if you have interest in being involved in working with Masons from foreign jurisdictions, please contact me and we would welcome an opportunity to discuss this with you. It will be a rare chance for you to be a part of a new lodge, and one with this purpose and mission.”
     

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

‘La musique de Brel le samedi’

     
I appreciate lodges that bring some culture into Freemasonry. I’m sorry to say I won’t be able to attend this performance, but maybe you can.

     

Monday, January 1, 2018

‘Save the date: The ides of March!’

     
Happy New Year! I wish you all health, happiness, prosperity, and whatever else ranks behind those three (no one ever elaborates).

The lovely and talented Robert G. (the G stands for Geometry) Davis of Oklahoma will present the 2018 Wendell K. Walker Lecture at Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2 on Thursday, March 15.

Robert Davis by Travis Simpkins
Bob is the recently installed Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, but is far more widely known as one of the leading thinkers in contemporary Freemasonry in the United States. As an author and lecturer, Davis urges the brethren to explore the meaning of Masonry—spiritual and psychological underpinnings—for their endless edification.

Details, such as Bob’s lecture topic, and the time and location of the event, will be announced before long, and I’ll share them here at that time, but note the date on your calendar.
     

Sunday, December 31, 2017

‘The Times (London): Mafia’s enthusiastic participation in Freemasonry’

     
Freemasons in the United States, and probably the rest of the English-speaking Masonic world also, have an enormous blind spot when it comes to the doings of lodges and grand lodges around the world, and how those entities are perceived by the local public. Not the fake stuff; those usually are too secretive to give up any kind of accounting of their activities. I’m talking about established Freemasonry—the bodies that have stood the test of time, and that might enjoy relations with your grand lodges.

The following is Copyright © The Times, December 27, 2017.



Mafia join Italy’s freemasons
to ‘do deals’ with judiciary

Strong links between Italy’s secretive freemasons and the mafia have been exposed by police raids, with 193 crime bosses found to be members of lodges in Calabria and Sicily.


The investigation has confirmed long-standing accusations by magistrates and mob turncoats that freemason lodges in southern Italy are often venues for secret deals with corrupt judges, politicians and business owners.

The mafia’s enthusiastic participation in freemasonry “has led some to believe that the two have become one and the same,” according to a report this month from an anti-mafia parliamentary commission. Masons were “acquiescent” and “tolerant” of the takeover, it added.

The raids were ordered after the heads of Italy’s four main freemasonry orders refused to hand over their membership lists. “It was impossible to get them to collaborate,” said Davide Mattiello, a member of the commission. “Mobsters are joining the masons to meet people who hold power. We need to know how aware of this the masons are.”

The commission’s call for masons to make their secret membership lists public was contested by Stefano Bisi, grand master of the Grande Oriente d’Italia, the biggest order in southern Italy. “The order is ready to defend its sacrosanct right to existence and to maintain the privacy of its members,” he said.

The synergy is reputedly most intense in two towns in western Sicily, Castelvetrano and Trapani, where masons have allegedly helped the mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro to stay on the run for 24 years. Mob-masonry ties are also strong in Calabria, where the local mafia sends members of its top tier committee to do business at lodge meetings, the commission said. In Locri, a Calabrian town notorious for its ties to organized crime, 18 out of 75 members of a local lodge were linked to the mafia.

The report said that the mafia felt at home in the masonry because the organizations shared a passion for keeping secrets and holding ritual ceremonies.

National elections are to be held in March and after that a new anti-mafia parliamentary commission will be appointed. “We only checked in Sicily and Calabria. I hope the next commission will check lodges throughout Italy, because mob infiltration is likely to be a national problem,” said Mr. Mattiello.