“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
“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.
“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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“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.
“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 Mason’s Words: The History and Evolution of the American Masonic Ritual ” By Robert G Davis
Freemasonry is entirely built around traditions. From time immemorial, those who have belonged to the world’s oldest and largest fraternal order have metaphorically passed between the pillars of Solomon’s Temple to nurture within themselves a harmonious bond between tradition and modernity. This is the story of the Masonic ritual, the language and ceremonial forms that have evolved into the present structure of American Freemasonry, defined its lodge space, and offered its members the same stablizing influence of instruction that has prevailed on every continent for nearly 400 years. The reader will discover that the language of the world’s oldest fraternal society has also made its own interesting journey, and been tested by the most powerful and the most humbling of men. The result is, that, in Masonic lodges across America, and, indeed, the world, men from every walk of life, of all ages, every social category and every spiritual and philosophical conviction are able to find a basis for reflection on who they are, why they are here, and what has meaning to them. By its common language delivered in a common culture of fraternal relationship, Freemasonry is enabled to exemplify a univeral brotherhood of man. This is the story of the Mason’s words; the history and evolution of the American Masonic ritual. It is an interesting bit of history that is perhaps all the more fascinating because it is so rarely known.
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.
“Sacred Geometry: Symbolism and Purpose in Religious Structures”
As Masons, we are naturally inclined to the study of Geometry. This book explores that same study in various religious structures. In this absorbing history, the first of its kind, the applications of sacred geometry are examined and the full extent of its practice is revealed. Sacred Geometry traces the rise and fall of this transcendent art from megalithic stone circles to Art Nouveau and reveals how buildings that conform to its timeless principles mirror the geometry of the cosmos. 190 pages with many illustrations and drawings.
“Revolutionary Brotherhood” by Steven Bullock
In the first comprehensive history of the fraternity known to outsiders primarily for its secrecy and rituals, Steven Bullock traces Freemasonry through its first century in America. He follows the order from its origins in Britain and its introduction into North America in the 1730s to its near-destruction by a massive anti-Masonic movement almost a century later and its subsequent reconfiguration into the brotherhood we know today. With a membership that included Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Paul Revere, and Andrew Jackson, Freemasonry is fascinating in its own right, but Bullock also places the movement at the center of the transformation of American society and culture from the colonial era to the rise of Jacksonian democracy. Using lodge records, members’ reminiscences and correspondence, and local and Masonic histories, Bullock links Freemasonry with the changing ideals of early American society. Although the fraternity began among colonial elites, its spread during the Revolution and afterward allowed it to play an important role in shaping the new nation’s ideas of liberty and equality. Ironically, however, the more inclusive and universalist Masonic ideas became, the more threatening its members’ economic and emotional bonds seemed to outsiders, sparking an explosive attack on the fraternity after 1826. American History