“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.
“Some Royal Arch Terms Examined” by Roy A. Wells
Chapter rituals contain many biblical references and Hebrew words which to most brethren and companions are quite meaningless. This book is the result of long periods of research over a wide field into the biblical source and Hebrew origin of many of these words. The author shows the strong connections between the marginal notes of the Geneva Bibles and their influence on the work of the early Masonic compilers and writers. None of the terms are in any way treated in context but all are brought under scholarly scrutiny regarding their use in the Bible text and the probable object in their Masonic appearance. Such words as Mahabone, Giblim, Rabboni and expressions such as Ammi Ruhamah and I am That I am are all examined in depth from their early appearances and their alternative forms. The application of certain phrases to denote Trinitarianism is well reasoned and ably supported. With illustrations to supply useful visual aid, this whole exercise is one of intense interest and fascination This is an enlarged second edition with additional material included. Chapters covering the Triple Tau the names given to the triangle are of particular importance. The author has also included a guide to pronunciation which will appeal to all Royal Arch Companions. Includes a chart of variations of words used in various rituals and documents. From Gnostic texts to the Kirkwall scroll this book also gives a comprehensive overview of the occurrence of words and symbols in ancient works.
“Bulletin of the Council for Masonic Light” (Winter 2018) + Review
This collection of Masonic articles gathered by Bro. Phil Greco is an appropriate amalgamation of ideas and topics diverse enough in subject to spark the interest of almost any Mason. The bulletin begins with a fascinating subject that no Mason … Read More
“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.
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.
“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
“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
“Masonic Trivia Amusements & Curiosities” by Peter Champion
A trivia treasure trove of the strange, curious, and whimsical oddities of Freemasonry is offered up for your amusement, with a ticklish dash of enlightenment. The stories include dwarfs, giants, pirates, a taxidermy-stuffed African man, a blood splattered Lodge Room, a fraternal mouse, a cod fish, a submarine that killed its crew, “Secret” American Presidents, bodies in a wooden pickle barrel, ghosts, chewing gum, a tattooed corpse, a Parisian hot air balloon, a woman dentist, duels, western outlaws, gunfights, racehorses, and the missing skull of a Presidential candidate. Each story is a thread in the tapestry of Masonic history and humor gleaned from newspaper accounts, court documents, Lodge archives, monthly trestleboards, and the traditions of Freemason Lodges from around the globe. Each page brings a head-scratching, “Wow, I didn’t know that!”
“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