“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?
“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.
“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.
“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
“Cryptic Masonry Education Course” By Robert G. Davis
In the Cryptic Masonry Education Course to the Degrees of the Cryptic Rite, we welcome each Royal and Select Master to engage his mind and heart in the great journey of discovery that represents the Royal Arch or Secret Vault Tradition in Freemasonry. This tradition acknowledges that one of the great mysteries in life is that no man can know the principle of his own life. The power of action, will, of movement and thought, of memory and dreams are all mysteries. Yet we have the impulse to seek the unknown, to see the divine mystery of our being. This course can be studied individually, or as a study guide, moderated by a facilitator in a group of companions of the Council. It is designed to educate Royal and Select Masters in the origin, history, themes, and symbolism of the Degrees of the Cryptic Rite. It is hoped, upon completion of this course, that you will consider yourself much more enlightened in the meanings and relevance of the Cryptic Degrees of the York Rite of Freemasonry.
“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
“Freemasons For Dummies” by Christopher Hodapp
Fascinated by Freemasons? Freemasons For Dummies is the internationally best-selling introduction to the Masons, the oldest and largest “secret society” in the world. This balanced, eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everything from its elaborate rituals and cryptic rites, to its curious symbols and their meanings. Find out what goes on in a Masonic meeting. You’ll understand the true purposes of Masonic “secrecy” and philosophy, meet famous Masons throughout history, and discover related organizations like the Knights Templar, the Scottish Rite, Order of the Eastern Star, and the Shriners. Explore the controversies and conspiracy theories that swirl around this organization at the center of Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol, and discover the changes coming to the Craft.
“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.
“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.
“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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“Our Stations and Places: Masonic Officer’s Handbook” By Henry Meacham and Michael R. Poll
One of the most respected Masonic officer’s handbooks has been revised for the 21st century Freemason. The various stations of the lodge are examined and practical suggestions are offered to help each officer best perform his duties. This 2019 revised and updated edition has been expanded to include a new section for the various lodge committees. This is an indispensable tool for all Lodge officers.
“Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology”
The quadrivium-the classical curriculum-comprises the four liberal arts of number, geometry, music, and cosmology. It was studied from antiquity to the Renaissance as a way of glimpsing the nature of reality. Geometry is number in space; music is number in time; and cosmology expresses number in space and time. Number, music, and geometry are metaphysical truths: life across the universe investigates them; they foreshadow the physical sciences.
Quadrivium is the first volume to bring together these four subjects in many hundreds of years. Composed of six successful titles in the Wooden Books series-Sacred Geometry, Sacred Number, Harmonograph, The Elements of Music, Platonic & Archimedean Solids, and A Little Book of Coincidence-it makes ancient wisdom and its astonishing interconnectedness accessible to us today.
Beautifully produced in six different colors of ink, Quadrivium will appeal to anyone interested in mathematics, music, astronomy, and how the universe works.
Wooden Books was founded in 1999 by designer John Martineau near Hay-on-Wye. The aim was to produce a beautiful series of recycled books based on the classical philosophies, arts and sciences. Using the Beatrix Potter formula of text facing picture pages, and old-styles fonts, along with hand-drawn illustrations and 19th century engravings, the books are designed not to date. Small but stuffed with information. Eco friendly and educational. Big ideas in a tiny space. There are over 1,000,000 Wooden Books now in print worldwide and growing.