“But I Digress” by Dr. Jim Tresner
A collection of experiences and musings from Dr. James Tresner. Masonic education is fast becoming the watchword of all Masonic Grand Lodges, or those that are developing programs that appeal to those men coming to the Craft with an expectation of some degree of enlightenment. Too often, however, speakers and available material seems radically to one side of a coin or another. Wildly esoteric and delving into occult language that has little interest for many, or completely and utterly dry regurgitating the acceptable Masonic histories and litanies of old. This book strikes a perfect balance and has something for everyone in a tone and approach that feels a little like you have just met up with the character in real life from the old tyler talks. The tone of the book transports you to a wonderful little room, fireplace burning, Jim on his pipe, too wonderfully comfy chairs and great conversation. We can’t let the conversational tone of the book fool us though. There are some real meaty topics handled within this almost 450 page volume. Everything from music to symbolism, from esotericism to morality, no topic seems off limits, but every topic is covered with the same widened and kind approach that is Dr. Jim Tresner.
The Initiatic Experience: That Led To Your Initiation Into Freemasonry
Freemasonry is an Initiatic Order teaching lessons of philosophy, morality, psychology, and spirituality. It contains elements of perennial wisdom, much of which has been handed down to it by other orders and cultures throughout the history of civilization. Many have searched, and continue to search, for a singular origin to our Fraternity. This book discusses similarities found in the Initiatic Experiences which have been practiced by people of different cultures from time immemorial. You will find that much of what our lessons teach today, was taught to initiates thousands of years before Freemasonry had even been formed, being passed from Master to Candidate. It shows that some of those Initiatic processes, methods, and lessons, which were passed down to us from ancient times, was done so by some of the most famous thinkers, philosophers, and teachers in human history. Sometimes this knowledge was lost by one civilization only to be rediscovered or rejuvenated by the next. The knowledge and lessons changed nearly as little as the methods of conveying them. It shows a lineage or pathway, so to speak, created by the sharing of knowledge and wisdom from Ancient Egypt and Greece, to Renaissance Europe and even the Middle East. It discusses how the process and impact of the Initiatic experience was used then, and is still used today, to promote and protect certain lessons and concepts throughout the ages, sometimes with deadly consequences. This book talks about some of the challenges certain Orders had in maintaining these lessons in times of social or religious turmoil such as the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, and even the early Alchemists. For the new and old Freemason alike, this book can provide valuable insight into the meaning behind portions of the ritual, the history behind some of the traditions, and the spirit behind some of the lessons of our Fraternity. Those interested in history will find a concise, chronological order of events making study and familiarization of information quick and easy. Those interested in the more esoteric side of Freemasonry will find both old and new concepts behind the superficial aspects of our Craft and the underlying Western Mystery School tradition as a whole.
“Haunted Chambers: The Lives of Early Women Freemasons” By Karen Kidd
These women aren’t supposed to have existed. But they did. “Haunted Chambers”, for the first time ever, presents not only the most complete list of early women Freemasons but also as much detail about their lives as can still be found. Here are their stories, long suppressed, ignored and marginalized. They include medieval women stone cutters; so-called “adoptive” women Freemasons; an aristocrat; a countess; an early New Brunswick settler; a war hero; a writer of women’s rights; an immigrant Irish girl; the famed sculptress of Abraham Lincoln’s statue in the US Capitol Rotunda and many whose names are now lost. Some will find this book a challenge. Some would rather it never had been written, let alone published. “Haunted Chambers” is highly recommended to anyone who wants the actual history of these early women Freemasons and aren’t afraid to read it.
“Tell me more about the Mark Degree” by Revd Neville Barker Cryer
Ten five-minute talks to be performed in a Mark Lodge or just to read at home. Including : About the Mark Man and Mark Master, About the Mark, The true meaning oft he Key Stone and the Cornerstone. Discover the symbolism behind The Mark Tracing Board and much much more.
“The Builders” by Joseph Fort Newton
Joseph Fort Newton’s work The Builders: A Story and Study of Freemasonry, first published in 1914, is perhaps his most famous work, and is commonly regarded as a masterpiece on the subject of the spirit and history of Freemasonry. The Builders looks into the deep ancient past to glean the roots of this secretive organisation, Fort Newton looks at the Dionysian Artificers and Roman Collegia amongst others to accurately consider the roots and spirit of the movement. It also clears up some common misconceptions about the movement, by looking to the past.
“A Traditional Observance Lodge: One Mason’s Journey to Fulfillment” By Cliff Porter
The author’s home lodge is different. They suffer from higher than 100% attendance, men wait periods of longer than a year to get initiated, they have never lost a single Entered Apprentice, they have nobody on the roles who is NPD or has been dropped for NPD. Men arrive on lodge days at 8:00 a.m. and are often reluctently leaving for home near midnight or 2:00 a.m. Their dues are high by American standards, the background check is rigorous, and the initiations are solemn and serious. Every lodge meeting is treated as an event and celebrated as such. Dinner is treated as a feast with all its positive connotations. Freemasonry is celebrated in every aspect of the lodge. From the artwork, the furnishings, the set up and the atomosopher; all aspects of the lodge meeting are intentional and meant to create an experience. The Lodge is a Traditional Observance Lodge or T.O. Lodge as it is called by some. Like all labels, the Traditional Observance label has caused fear and fright, anger and frustration, confusion, and edicts. It has also helped to define the practices that make the author’s lodge one of the most successful lodges in the United States by any standard one might choose to measure it. This book does not claim to provide a Masonic magic pill for the ailing lodges of the world. Nor does it claim in any fashion or form that the way this author’s lodge operates is the only way or the best way to operate. What this book does is explain the the Traditional Observance model and encourages ideas in the area of increasing the lodge experience and allowing quality to become the watchword over every aspect of Freemasonry. The writings contains a mixture of personal experiences, practicle advice, and real life examples for creating a Traditional Observance lodge or increasing your lodges fulfillment.
“Who Was Hiram Abiff?” by J.S.M. Ward
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.
“Understanding Manhood in America” By Robert G Davis
Two of the most important subjects that Davis discusses are those of marriage and fatherhood. The challenges and rewards of being a husband and a father are great. As Davis notes, too many of us had poor role models of what it means to be either a husband or a father. Rather than working on the issues that exist in these complex relationships, all too often men choose to simply walk away. Davis suggests this happens because these men are acting as they observed their fathers having acted. However, Davis is also quick to say that the modern man must rise above that if he is to grasp what it means to be a man. The road to the “mature masculine” is not the “easy road”; it is one of work, responsibility and perseverance.
“Contemplative Masonry” by Chuck Dunning
Part of the work that has become Contemplative Masonry first appeared on the internet in 2000 as an anonymously authored guide to the exploration of Freemasonry through contemplative practices like prayer, meditation, breath work, chanting, and visualization. Sixteen years later, the original author of that material, C.R. “Chuck” Dunning, Jr., has come forward with a substantially expanded edition for those seeking to utilize Masonic symbolism and teachings in a way that is practical, accessible, inspiring, and profoundly transformative. Contemplative Masonry is a much-needed resource for Masons seeking to undertake the challenging and rewarding work of deep self-knowledge and self-improvement. Brother Dunning provides Freemasons with a unique system of practices derived directly from the Degrees of Craft Masonry, without reliance upon other religious, spiritual, or esoteric traditions. He also shares the valuable wisdom and insights that come from decades of personal experience with contemplative practices.
“I would heartily recommend this book to any Mason who has wondered how he might engage more deeply with the Craft and enhance his quest for light. Brother Dunning has mapped out a practical approach to what he terms contemplative Masonry, which can be practiced by any brother, regardless of his religion or spiritual beliefs. I know of few Masons better qualified to serve as a guide to a specifically Masonic path of spiritual growth.” — Jay Kinney, 33°, author of The Masonic Myth and editor of The Inner West
“Chuck Dunning takes us on a wonderful and enlightening journey of what has to occur in a man’s body, mind, and spirit for him to actually improve himself in Masonry. He discusses the nature of inner work in Freemasonry, and he is eminently qualified to do so. He enlightens us with his wisdom and offers us a number of exercises which can lead us to the true treasure of manhood. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to know what is hidden in the language of Freemasonry.” — Robert G. Davis, 33° G.C., author of The Mason’s Words and Understanding Manhood in America