“The Ceremony of Initiation” by W.L. Wilmshurst
The Ceremony of Initiation was originally written for the instruction of the members of the research lodge, known as the Lodge of Living Stones, founded by W.L.Wilmshurst in Leeds. Walter Leslie Wilmshurst was born in 1867 in Sussex. At the age of fifteen he was articled to a solicitor in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and worked as a solicitor there until his death in 1939. He was also one of the best-loved writers about Freemasonry of the twentieth century as well as the founding Master of The Lodge of Living Stones. His first best-selling book, The Meaning of Masonry, was soon followed by the equally popular The Masonic Initiation, and in addition he was a prolific writer of essays about the esoteric side of Freemasonry. Wilmshurst’s style of writing, highly formal and typical of his Victorian education, can make him a difficult read for modern Masons. Hence Robert Lomas, himself a popular writer on Freemasonry, and the Associate Membership Secretary of the Lodge of Living Stones, decided to revisit some of Wilmshurst’s less well-known books and restate their ideas in a more modern idiom so as to alert new Masons to the deeper meaning of the rituals of their Craft. This edition contains Wilmshurst’s complete original text, as well as Lomas’s modern retelling.
“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
“The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India” by Rodger Kamenetz
While accompanying eight high–spirited Jewish delegates to Dharamsala, India, for a historic Buddhist–Jewish dialogue with the Dalai Lama, poet Rodger Kamenetz comes to understand the convergence of Buddhist and Jewish thought. Along the way he encounters Ram Dass and Richard Gere, and dialogues with leading rabbis and Jewish thinkers, including Zalman Schacter, Yitz and Blue Greenberg, and a host of religious and disaffected Jews and Jewish Buddhists.
This amazing journey through Tibetan Buddhism and Judaism leads Kamenetz to a renewed appreciation of his living Jewish roots.
“King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine”
The bestselling, widely heralded, Jungian introduction to the psychological foundation of a mature, authentic, and revitalized masculinity.
Redefining age-old concepts of masculinity, Jungian analysts Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette make the argument that mature masculinity is not abusive or domineering, but generative, creative, and empowering of the self and others. Moore and Gillette clearly define the four mature male archetypes that stand out through myth and literature across history: the king (the energy of just and creative ordering), the warrior (the energy of aggressive but nonviolent action), the magician (the energy of initiation and transformation), and the lover (the energy that connects one to others and the world), as well as the four immature patterns that interfere with masculine potential (divine child, oedipal child, trickster and hero). King, Warrior, Magician, Lover is an exploratory journey that will help men and women reimagine and deepen their understanding of the masculine psyche.
“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.
“Committed to the Flames: The History and Rituals of a Secret Masonic Rite” by Arturo de Hoyos and S. Brent Morris
In 1826 Robert Benjamin Folger, a recent graduate of medical school and a new Master Mason, filled a book with the enciphered Craft rituals of the Rectified Scottish Rite, a high-grade revision of the rite of Strict Observance. well-known in Europe but unknown in the UNited States. His introduction directed thatthe rituals be “committed to the Flames” upon his death. FOrtunatley for Masonic historians instructions were not followed. Folger went on to prepare at least two other books of rituals. A man of tremendous talents, strongpassions, and curious contradictions, Folger was twice expelled from Masonry by the Grand Lodge of New York and participated in at least six clandestine Supreme Councils, but died a Master Mason in good standing. The book gives full transcriptions of all og his rituals, an analysis of their place in Masonry and biographies of Folger and his major contemporaries in his Masonic work.
“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.
“Myth, Magick & Masonry” By Jaime Lamb
Myth, Magick, & Masonry is scholarly badge of a worthy brother’s pursuit of the mysteries of Freemasonry. Brother Jaime Lamb has produced a succinct academic work which at once inspires the reader with the most exalted ideas of the Craft and pleases the academy of Masonic thought by rigorous and faithful sourcing. Though at times Bro. Lamb may seem to reach a little too far for a correspondence or analogy, but the extent of his grip is supported by dutiful research,sincere speculation, and an obvious love for the Gentle Craft.
Brother Lamb does a good job where many authors of esoterica fall short: he properly puts his work within a reasonable scope. Deep into the book, he reiterates the purpose of his work as he dives into Mithraism’s commonalities with Freemasonry.
“As we examine the body of correspondences existing between Freemasonry and Mithraism, it is important to bear in mind that it is not the purpose of this work to endeavor to establish an uninterrupted lineage, nor to imply any kind of direct cultural inheritance – an argument of this sort would, of course, require a detailed anthropological study beyond the scope of the present work – we are merely highlighting a set of commonalities which, it is hoped, will serve to provide substance for further contemplation.”
This quote and others like it serve to ground the lofty ideas of Myth, Magick, & Masonry, giving them some academic credibility. With a well balanced balanced approach and four sections delegated to frame Bro. Lamb’s thoughts within the book, the text is approachable without losing its mental rigor.
Each section begins with a quote not unlike the one above, stating the section’s purpose and overall scope. He then executes due diligence by providing background information on his various subjects, which include the tenets of Freemasonry, a cursory introduction to Western Astrology, a crash course in Mithraism, and a cursory overview of various other mainstream Western esoteric concepts and systems.
Bro. Lamb did not go dangerously deep into any one abstract subject, but rather delved just enough under the surface to represent the validity of his observations, all the more enticing the appetite of the contemplative Mason. After setting the stage for the premise of each section, Bro. Lamb pulls from the likes of Campbell, Jung, and Manly P. Hall to support his observations. Other behemoths of Western Esoteric thought are referenced throughout including Levi, Pike, and Regardie. And even further, the more niche Freemasonic, Mithraic, and Hermetic subjects got their scholarly nod. Though I did not necessarily agree with all of his correspondences or points, the author’s earnest tone and prolific referencing forced me to consider his position.
One will not find any magick formula or practical exercises in this short book. However, one will see a variety of new sign posts and helpful hints on the Masonic path. Though all the sign posts might not be what anyone one brother may be able to read or provide information about a destination that he is interested in, the broad scope and plentiful references will surely provide the reader with tools and information that would have only been otherwise obtained through in-depth research and analysis.
As a Brother who has thought about such esoteric subjects within and without the Lodge, I found Bro. Lamb’s work to be supportive and thought provoking. There were many points that I had not considered, and also a multitude of references and sources that I will surely keep handy in my future endeavors of Masonic exploration. For myself personally, I found comfort and encouragement in finding another brother that was traveling East on a road not dissimilar to my own. To see a modern take on a subject often reserved for yesterday’s pen is an inspiring thing indeed.
Myth, Magick, & Masonry is not the be-all end-all of Masonic esoterica. It is, however, an extremely useful and laudable work that binds the wandering thoughts of modern Masonry and links them to other esoteric schools of thought in a cohesive and digestible fashion. This book deserves a spot next to Meaning of Masonry and Secret Teachings of All Ages, to serve the contemporary Mason in framing his lofty thoughts.
– Review by Brother Thom Carter
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