“Moses Cordovero’s Introduction to Kabbalah”

Moses Cordovero’s Introduction to Kabbalah:

An Annotated translation of his or Ne’Erav

First published in 1587, Moses Cordovero’s now classic introduction to Kabbalah, Or Ne’erav, was intended to serve several purposes; it was meant both to provide a justification for the study of Kabbalah and to encourage that study by providing detailed instructions for interested laymen on how to go about that study; indeed, it was intended as a precis of Cordovero’s much larger Pardes Rimmonim.
In many ways, Cordovero was ideally suited to compose such a work. His teacher of rabbinics was no other than R. Joseph Caro, author of the Shulhan Arukh, which rapidly became the halakhic code par excellence. His master in Kabbalah was Solomon ha-Levi Alkabetz, whose sister he subsequently married. The result of his studies with both was no less than a kabbalistic “code”, a systematic kabbalistic theology of the Zohar, the basic text of Jewish mysticism. But this work was too large, and too complex to be easily mastered. Moreover, it assumed too much previous knowledge to serve as an introduction to the subject; hence the need for Or Ne’erav.
Or Ne’erav succeeded in fulfilling all these purposes, and has remained a classic introduction to the study of Kabbalah – and is used as such to this day. Dr. Robinson’s accurate but readable translation is the first English rendition of this essential work.

“Bulletin of the Council for Masonic Light” (Winter 2018) Review

Bulletin of the Council For Masonic Light


This collection of Masonic articles gathered by Bro. Phil Greco is an appropriate amalgamation of ideas and topics diverse enough in subject to spark the interest of almost any Mason.

The bulletin begins with a fascinating subject that no Mason should be unaware of with “Behind the Legends: A Historical Reality of Solomon.” This paper takes the reader through a short understanding of the historical Solomon and speculates upon how the legend found throughout Masonic ritual might have come to be used in its current form.

“Ancient Pagan Magic and the First Degree of Masonry” is an excellent foray into the world of esoteric thought. We found this second article particularly illuminating, as the writer spoke succinctly and clearly about abstracts concepts including Contagious Magic and Sympathetic Magic. Any practicing occultist might be interested and perhaps surprised by the content covered in this article that uses Sir John Frazier’s acclaimed anthropology studies, The Golden Bough, as a jumping off point into an esoteric playground. The numerous parallels drawn between different cultures’ and Masonic ritual, though sometimes a stretch, is excellent food for thought for a Mason who is interested in the nature of ritual.

Next, the Bulletin features a helpful explanation on how to memorize and process large pieces of information. “Memorizing the Middle Chamber Lecture: A Holistic-Aesthetic Approach” offers an alternative to rote memorization.Using the principles of the liberal arts and sciences, one may use a more balanced approach to internalize information. This includes utilizing creative writing applications revolving around aesthetically and kinesthetically inculcating concepts and phrases in different forms including poetry, screenwriting, or reciting while drawing.

If the Middle Chamber Lecture is to be understood as artistic, then it logically follows that an interpretation of its meaning and an understanding of its form are essential for embodying and emoting, with conviction, a relatively mistake-less and meaningful recitation of the lecture.


-Unnamed contributor to the Bulletin

For its final two pieces, The Bulletin presents a couple of papers that have real relevance to Masonry today: the response of “the old guard” to researched-based education and fundraising paired with a study on how Mason’s perceive critiques on ritual from their “Masonic superiors.” Both of these studies share a common idea that the older generation can be perceived as domineering and egotistical when dealing with younger Masons in the lodge trying to shake things up “for the good of the craft.” Though the methodology of these studies seemed sound, the sample size was admittedly lacking. It is hard to conclude that their findings are applicable to all of Masonry, but it is still useful to review the experiences of the brethren, however limited.

The Bulletin of the Council for Masonic Light covers a wide range of topics, a scope broad enough that it might spark the interest of the newly raised Mason and the grumpiest Past-Master alike. This bulletin attempts to feel the pulse of modern Freemasonry, and succeeds in a variety of ways. If the Council continues in this way, it will surely garner more readers and provide lodges with excellent education pieces for which to bring more light in Masonry.

Research caught your attention?

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“Freemasonry the Esoteric Tradition” by MWGM Fabio Venzi

“Freemasonry the Esoteric Tradition”

by MWGM Fabio Venzi

In recent times the aims of Freemasonry and its ritual has changed. The ritual is purported to no longer disclose any ‘hidden’ elements, there is nothing to ‘reveal’, indeed, the ritual appears to have made everything clearer; the individual, the Freemason, is now seen merely a principled person par excellence, whose sole aim is to do good and set a good example.

It’s now only increasingly rare individuals who behold something of a deeper nature in our Masonic ritual and teachings and are often considered as somewhat eccentric or individuals or ‘fantasizers’; to be charitably tolerated as long as they do not overstep the mark with their fantastical interpretations.

This volume is devoted to those members of society who maintain that Freemasonry should be interpreted, experienced and lived as an authentic Initiatic School, as was doubtless intended by the creators of its complex ritual forms, brimming with symbols, allegories and hidden meanings.

Freemasonry the Esoteric Tradition