“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
“The True Masonic Experience” by Roberto M. Sanchez
The purpose of this book is to allow Freemasons, new and old an opportunity to learn and experience some of the practices that have fallen out of custom in our lodges. We have gotten away from what our forefathers originally intended, and have become satisfied with the mediocre fellowship endured over a spaghetti dinner on paper plates. We owe it to our members to give them Masonry, which is what they are asking for. Since you are going to give them that, why not make it the best experience possible, why not give them The True Masonic Experience.
“Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol” by W. Kirk McNulty
Explores the origins, development, rituals, and symbolism of Freemasonry, and examines Freemasonry as part of a tradition of Western mysticism going back to the Middle Ages
Look to the East: Superintending the Craft Through Eastern Practices by Dwight S. Decoskey II (Author), PGM Speed Hallman (Foreword)
We hear it when in lodge assembled, spoken by the Brother charged with superintending the Craft: Look to the East… In Look to the East: Superintending the Craft Through Eastern Practices, Masonic author Rev. Dr. Dwight Decoskey II, Master of New Lebanon lodge #314, South Mills, NC, USA combines his studies in philosophy, global travel, and esoteric Masonic knowledge to take the reader to the Near, Middle, and Far East to introduce alternatives in exercise, diet, and thought. With a Forward written by AF&AM of North Carolina Past Grand Master Speed Hallman and printing by the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford, NC, Look to the East contains a wealth of information for both the Freemason looking to put the lessons of the degrees to practice use, and also the non-Mason looking to learn more about the Craft and the world we live in.
“Moses Cordovero’s Introduction to Kabbalah: An Annotated Translation of His or Ne’Erav” By Ira Robinson
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.
“The Temple and the Lodge” by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh
Coauthors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh recount the events that led to the strange and sudden disappearance of the Knights Templar in the fourteenth century and their reappearance in the court of excommunicate Scottish king Robert the Bruce. Following the survival of certain unexpected Templar traditions, the authors document the evolution of a world-changing order through the birth of the Masonic lodge. They chart the history of Freemasonry through its medieval roots and into the modern era.
The book posits that the order’s contribution to the fostering of tolerance, progressive values, and cohesion in English society aided in preempting a French-style revolution in England; that Freemasonry was an essential keystone in the formation of the United States; and that America itself is an embodiment of the ideal “Masonic Republic.” This groundbreaking thread of analysis challenges the accepted traditions of Western history as it is currently taught. What is the true source of our most valued traditions? Twenty years since its original publication, The Temple and the Lodge remains a trenchant and essential edition to any collection of Western history.
“Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation” by Henrik Bogdan
For more than three hundred years the practice of Masonic rituals of initiation has been part of Western culture, spreading far beyond the boundaries of traditional Freemasonry. Henrik Bogdan explores the historical development of these rituals and their relationship with Western esotericism. Beginning with the Craft degrees of Freemasonry—the blueprints, as it were, of all later Masonic rituals of initiation—Bogdan examines the development of the Masonic High Degrees, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn—the most influential of all nineteenth-century occultist initiatory societies—and Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft movement of the 1950s, one of the first large-scale Western esoteric New Religions Movements.
“…Bogdan’s book is a valuable contribution to the developing academic discipline of Western Esotericism and new religions … this book will provide an important linguistic and historical step forward in a previously unrecognized field that appears to be—finally—coming into its own.” — Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review
“Bogdan’s book offers a useful brief primer on the history of Freemasonry and scholarship on Western esotericism, presenting considerable bibliographic information for interested scholars new to the fields. For that alone its value is assured. But Bodgan’s work also illustrates important tensions within the study of Western esotericism and the connected field of Pagan Studies.” — The Pomegranate
“…offers a very promising new take on the question of esotericism and its historical continuity.” — Journal of Religion
“This is truly an original work on an important subject. The most significant thing is probably the definition of ‘ritual.’ The field of Western esotericism is a young one, and while some of its terminology is now a matter of common consent, ritual has never been subjected to scrutiny in this context. Bogdan also shows how different rituals convey different elements of the Western esoteric tradition: some Freemasonic ritual teaches alchemy; the Golden Dawn teaches Kabbalah; and witchcraft teaches principles of sexual magic. The entire book has an earnestness about it that makes the reader take these rituals seriously.” — Joscelyn Godwin, author of The Real Rule of Four