“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.
“Compasses and the Cross” by Stephen Dafoe
“Stephen Dafoe’s “Compasses and the Cross” is a thoroughly researched and lavishly illustrated history of the development of the Knights Templar within Freemasonry, and the very different paths it took in continental Europe, England, Scotland, Canada and the United States. In a way, it is a companion to his earlier “Nobly Born: An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar,” which beautifully tells the story of rise and fall the medieval Templar order. “Compasses and the Cross” picks up 400 years later and tells the story of modern Templary. It is a unique resource for those studying the history of Freemasonry and its labyrinthine degrees and orders. There is no other volume I know of that investigates this important phase of Masonic history in such careful detail. Many have peddled legends that the Templars begat Freemasonry–Dafoe is not in that camp. He has not set out to burst bubbles, but to understand where Masonic Templars came from, and how they became what we see in commanderies and preceptories around the world today.
So much in Freemasonry is explained to its members as “the way we’ve always done it.” That clearly is not so, and that’s no way to answer inquisitive students of the fraternity. For those who want to know why and how and when the Knights Templar rode on their steeds into Masonic history, I strongly recommend this book.” – Chris Hodapp
“A Mosaic Palace Freemasonry and the Art of Memory” By Martin Faulks
“The Warden of the Lodge. . .shall take trial of the art of memory and science thereof of every fellow craft and every apprentice according to their vocation and in case that they have lost any point thereof. . . pay the penalty as follows for their slothfulness..” -Second Schaw Statutes of 1599.
Issued by William Schaw, the royally appointed Master of the Works, the Statutes gave a code of rules governing the activities of operative masons in Scotland. Its often considered the first conception of Freemasonry as exists today.
During the sixteenth century Art of Memory had far greater connotations than it may to the modern reader. It referred to a specific set of memory disciplines and techniques whereby one would create a memory palace. This could be based on areal or imaginary place which, using intensive imagination, one would build up in the memory to the degree that it could be easily visited and used as a kind of mnemonic storehouse.
By Schaws time, this art of memory existed in many different forms. Not only was it commonly believed to be a very good method of memorising speeches, but also a great form of moral training – a goal common to Freemasonry. Beyond this,there were some who believed that this mysterious art had far more potential and could even have supernatural effects on the world.
So why did Schaw make it mandatory for Masons to practice the art of memory, and why did they need to be tested in this art? Was it a reference to Masonic ritual and if so, does this mean the Masonic lodge is a form of memory palace? If this is indeed the case, then by exploring what school of mnemonics it evolved from it can tell us something of the intentions behind the ritual. Was Masonry developed as a form of moral training for good Christian builders, or could its rituals have evolved from a more ambitious or mystical purpose?
“Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance” by W. Kirk McNulty
The ultimate book on Freemasonry, with a rich collection of symbols and lore that illuminate the famous fraternal society.
“The Craft,” with an estimated four million Freemasons worldwide, remains the largest fraternal organization in the world. Written by an active Freemason, this book comprehensively explains Freemasonry through its fascinating visual culture, rich in mysterious and arcane symbols of life, death, and morality that have evolved over centuries of secrecy and that have profound philosophical meaning.
Ceremonial regalia, paintings, manuscripts, tracing boards, ritual swords, furniture, prints, ephemera, and architecture: the book is copiously illustrated with many specially researched items from Freemasonry archives. This unrivaled compendium will appeal both to Freemasons wishing to learn the full story of their order and to a general audience that is intensely curious about this traditionally secretive and closed movement.
The coverage includes
The historical and philosophical background of the order, including the Knights Templar, the medieval stonemasons’ guilds, and esoteric traditions such as Kabbalah and Hermeticism
Its history from the earliest Masons to the present day, including famous members and scandals
Its geographical spread from Japan to California, Sweden to South Africa
“The Masonic Initiate: A Guide to Light” by Bradrick A. Joyner
The Fraternity of Freemasonry supplies the necessary resources, that when properly applied, can assist a man in bettering himself not only mentally and physically, but also spiritually. In an attempt to revive the interest, within the Fraternity, of the practical applications of the deeper spiritual lessons provided within the degrees, “The Masonic Initiate – A Guide to Light” confirms for every Brother that his Fraternity is furnished with the necessary tools to erect his spiritual temple. This book provides a foundation to begin the “journey of the soul” through the manifestation of the teachings of the degrees of Freemasonry. This book focuses on the Entered Apprentice degree of Freemasonry, covering it’s symbolism, forms and ceremonies. It takes the lessons and symbols of the first degree of Freemasonry, and reveals content that can be applied through both traditional and contemporary forms of spiritual development. This book gives a fresh perspective; it links spiritual practices, like visualization and meditation, to the teachings of Freemasonry. “The Masonic Initiate – A Guide to Light” can be beneficial for the youngest member of the Fraternity, as it attempts to clarify the nature of the forms and ceremonies of his degree, and shed Light on what it means to be “initiated.” At the same time, it offers a fresh perspective on some of the symbols and ceremonies that can be well received, enlightening, and even quite refreshing for the elder Brother.
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.
“Crime and the Craft: Masonic Involvement in Murder, Treason and Scandal” by Mike Neville
Crime and the Craft reveals that the Freemasons have been involved in treason, murder, conspiracy, fraud, and scandal from the time of the English Civil War to the 1980s. Nearly every famous case investigated by Scotland Yard-including Jack the Ripper, Oscar Wilde, Dr. Crippen, the Great Train Robbery, and the Kray Twins-is shown to have Masonic involvement. For the first time, it is shown that some fifty lodges have a link to the Jack the Ripper case-with a known suspect identified as a Mason for the first time. The book uncovers Masonic involvement in police corruption, from the Trial of the Detectives in 1877 to Operation Countryman. The true involvement of notorious gangster, Kenneth Noye, in freemasonry is also revealed, as are the full details of the case of the Mason who made secret signs at the judge during a murder trial at the Old Bailey. This book also describes how members of the Craft have been pioneers in the development of forensic pathology, fingerprint evidence, and the use of images to catch criminals. Crime and the Craft answers the question: ‘Is there a relationship between Freemasonry and crime?’
“Dungeon, Fire, and Sword” by John J. Robinson
Dungeon, Fire and Sword is a good book for all who enjoy a well-written, well-researched story of stupidity, greed, barbarity, unspeakable cruelty, deception, fraud, treachery and sanctimony… John J. Robinson has written a fascinating history of an incredible time.