“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.
“Capitular Masonry Education Course” By Robert G. Davis
The York Rite enjoys one of the oldest names in all of Masonry. Its legends are included in the Gothic Constitutions dating back as far as the 10th century. Its themes were known early on in English and Irish Freemasonry and came into common usage in early 19th century America. Today the Rite is known all over the world and its significance is highly respected by all serious students of Masonry.
The Capitular Masonry Education Course is designed to educate Royal Arch Masons, particularly those who are members of the American or York Rite, in the history and symbolism of the Mark and Royal Arch Tradition. The four Degrees of the Chapter all revolve around one great quest—the recovery of that which was lost in the Third Degree of Craft Masonry. This book is intended to be used as a group study guide, moderated by a Facilitator, in a group study format. Upon completion of the course, the Companion may consider himself both well versed in the meanings and symbolism of the Capitular Degrees, and qualified to pursue his own further education.
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“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.
“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.
“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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“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
“Solomon’s Builders: Freemasons, Founding Fathers and the Secrets of Washington D.C.” by Christopher Hodapp
DID THE FREEMASONS CREATE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?
Step back in time to the birth of a revolutionary new republic and discover how the utopian ideals of a visionary secret society laid the foundation for the most powerful nation on earth. Follow George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and other Founding Fathers as they transform the democratic principles of their Masonic lodges into a radical new nation.
Solomon’s Builders unravels history from myth as it takes you on a Freemason’s tour of Washington, D.C. It reveals the evidence of Masonic influence during the construction of America and its new capital, including clues hidden in plain sight:
- Masonic connections to national monuments
- Puzzling pentagrams and symbolism in city streets
- Washington’s temples of the “Widow’s Sons”
Solomon’s Builders relates the true stories of our visionary Founders, and the fascinating meaning behind the cryptic codes, enigmatic symbols and intriguing architecture that was the basis for the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol.
About the Author
Christopher Hodapp is a Freemason and a Past Master of two Masonic Lodges. His first book, Freemasons for Dummies, is the most popular modern guide to the ancient and accepted fraternity of Freemasonry. He has appeared on the History and Discovery Channels, and recently developed episodes for “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.”
“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 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.