Freemasonry and the Irish Republican Army

Freemasonry and the Irish Republican Army

MASONIC HISTORY

To Obey the Moral Law

When There Is Lawlessness:

Freemasonry and the Irish Republican Army

On April 24, 1922, gunmen of the Irish Republican Army seized Freemasons’ Hall in Dublin, commencing a 38-day occupation of the headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

And that was the good news.

After the First World War, a Nationalist movement gained momentum in Ireland, which had been domineered by England since the reign of King Henry II in the twelfth century. By the twentieth century, something had to give, and the Irish Nationalists succeeded in winning independence for almost the entire island, and the Republic of Ireland was born. As you know, the six counties of Northern Ireland remain part of the United Kingdom. That’s a whole other story, but please know the Grand Lodge of Ireland unifies our Craft across Ireland—both the Republic and Northern Ireland—to this day.

But during that civil war a century ago, Freemasonry was trapped between Nationalists and Unionists; Catholics and Protestants; neighbors and neighbors. Lodges were ransacked and burned, and Masons and their families had to flee their homes in fear of violence. The Masonic fraternity was considered part of the English-Protestant establishment despite the Grand Lodge being established 197 years earlier by lodges that naturally were older than that.

I’ll get straight to the record, drawing from both Masonic and outside sources.

During the Grand Lodge of Ireland’s December 27, 1922 St. John’s Day Stated Communication, Deputy Grand Master Claude Cane summarized what had transpired at Freemasons’ Hall, Dublin earlier that year:

“What happened here in the South of Ireland during the past year, and especially in this house of ours, is so fresh within your memory that I need not elaborate it very much. You all know and will remember how on the twenty-fourth of April, this beautiful Hall of ours was suddenly invaded by a number of armed and lawless men, and taken forcible possession of. The occurrence was not wholly unexpected, fortunately perhaps, because I had heard warnings of it for some weeks before. I took upon myself, some six weeks before the occurrence actually took place, to remove all the archives and things which really mattered as far as the history of the Grand Lodge of Ireland was concerned from the doubtful security of our strong room and safes downstairs to a much safer place, a place where they were in absolutely perfect safety all through the trouble, and where they still remain. Naturally the current books, and things you were using every day, had to remain in the Hall and take their chance. But I am alluding more particularly to the old minute books and old records and things of that sort, belonging to the Grand Lodge ever since the year there first was a Grand Lodge in Ireland, nearly two hundred years ago, which would have been absolutely irreplaceable. These were all absolutely safe the whole time.

“As you may imagine, after the occupation became an accomplished fact, my frame of mind was not a very enviable one. I had to assume a very great deal of responsibility, and I felt that any wrong step on my part, or on the part of those with whom I took counsel, might lead to very much worse things than had already happened. I felt that anything would be better than having this building and all its contents destroyed; I felt that sooner than rush things, it was better to submit to what was an undoubted indignity, and a great pain and grief to all of us for some time rather than run the risk of seeing all that we held most sacred go up in flames and ashes. So for six weeks I, and others who were advising me, had to possess our souls in patience. So many Brethren gave me such valuable help during that time—with advice and work as well—that it would really be invidious to name anyone in particular, with the exception, I think, of one Brother whose work was not at an end when we got this Hall back, but to whom we all owe a very deep debt of gratitude for all he has done in restoring us to our possessions here, and that is your Grand Superintendent of Works, Brother G. Murray Ross.

“I should like also to personally thank Brother Besson, of the Hibernian Hotel, for the very prompt way in which he came to our rescue and gave us the resources of his house and a room in which to establish a temporary office. It was a great advantage to us to only have to cross the street and to be saved from the trouble of looking out for someplace where the business of Grand Lodge could be carried on. Brother Besson was most accommodating and most kind to us all through that time. (Add arson story.)

“I am bound to say that during all the negotiations carried on with the view of getting this building restored to us, I was treated with the very greatest courtesy and consideration by those members of the Provisional Government with whom I came in contact. They seemed to realize fully what our Order is. I am speaking particularly now of two men who are no longer living, no longer in the government: Mr. Michael Collins and Mr. Arthur Griffiths. They seemed to realize that, so far from our being a dangerous body, we were a body, as we are, bound to support, and give all the assistance we can, to any legally constituted government of the country in which we live, and that we are entirely deserving of the support of that government. When I found that they were in this frame of mind, I must say that a great load was lifted from my mind; I felt that we in our future, once law and order were established in Ireland, would be assured, and I believe that it will be so. No government with any sense at all can fail to recognize that a body composed as we are, and holding the principles that we do, and taught, as we are taught, in our ceremonies and ancient charges, can be anything but a source of strength to any reasonable government.

“At the same time I wish to remind you again, as I did last year, that it is our bounden duty, not as an organization, because we are forbidden to act as a political organization, but as individual members it is our bounden duty as Masons to be good citizens and to support the Government under which we live, so long as that Government protects us. Both here in Southern Ireland, and in Northern Ireland, where there is a different Government, that applies.

“It is a very bright spot in our future outlook to find how thoroughly in accordance with us our Brethren in the North are. Whatever divisions otherwise may happen in Ireland, there is not the slightest prospect, at present at any rate, of any division between the Masons of Northern Ireland and the Masons of Southern Ireland. The Masons of Ulster, equally with the Masons of Dublin and the South have one great common heritage: the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the Grand Lodge of Ireland, not of any particular section of Ireland. As long as it remains the Grand Lodge of Ireland, it ranks as the second Grand Lodge in the world, and in point of everything except a few years of age, I think we can claim full equality with the mother Grand Lodge of the world, England.”

Grand Secretary Henry C. Shellerd expanded on the subject:

“In many parts of the country, the buildings used for Masonic purposes were wrecked by irresponsible individuals, who seemed to delight in the destruction of all sorts of property not adequately protected. The Grand Master, in the wise exercise of his discretion, prohibited the meetings of the lodges in all the Provinces of Southern Ireland for a considerable part of the year. During the past three months, however, a better spirit seems to have prevailed, and the exercise of the discretionary power granted to Provincial Grand Masters to permit lodges to meet, has so far been attended by no unpleasant incidents. That the Dublin Freemasons’ Hall has been handed back to the Order without any wanton injury to the edifice or its contents is an indication that there is no special hostility to our Order in the Metropolis.

“The fact that the annual returns from lodges in the South and West of Ireland are reaching headquarters daily proves that the lawlessness which was rampant some months ago is being steadily brought under control, and that our Brethren in every part of the country, North and South, are acutated by an intense desire to uphold the Great Principles of Peace and Goodwill with which our Order, throughout its whole history, and in every part of the world, has been so closely identified.”

Beyond Dublin, matters were not as amicable. The Spectator, in its June 3, 1922 edition, reports:

“Many Masonic halls have now been destroyed, one of the first to suffer being that at Ballinamore. In Mullingar, the Masonic Hall was raided, and all the windows were smashed. Petrol was poured over the broken furniture, and the complete destruction of the place was prevented only by the intervention of the local priest. In Dundalk, which is not very far from the Ulster frontier, there were three Masonic lodges with a fairly large membership. Their hall was raided and the books and other property seized. Many of the members received a few days’ notice to leave the town, and some of them had to escape hurriedly to Belfast. As a consequence of these proceedings, the meetings of these lodges have been indefinitely suspended. … No man residing in the ‘Irish Free State’ whose name appears on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland can, at the present time, have any sense of security for himself or his family. He can only look to his brethren in Great Britain to use their influence with the British Government on his behalf. The preservation of life and property is not a matter of party politics; it is an elementary principal of any Government, and it is the absolute duty of the British Cabinet to see that it is maintained in Ireland.”

The Builder, one of the great Masonic periodicals of early twentieth century America, includes letters to the editor in its September 1922 issue that tell more. Right Worshipful Claude Cane, the Deputy Grand Master quoted earlier, writes in part in a letter dated May 30: “I do not believe there is any general hostility to the Order in Southern Ireland, nor do I believe that any feeling of the sort is encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which fully appreciates the difference between Irish Freemasonry and that carried on by the so-called Continental Grand Lodges, which reject our first and principal great Landmark, and consequently are not recognized by us.”

A Bro. George A. Anderson of Pennsylvania writes: “A large number of the Masons in America do not know how conditions are in Ireland, neither do they know the real cause of it all, and I think they should know.” He also included a letter from Bro. W.J. Allen in Belfast who says:

“The condition of things over here has not improved very much of late, except that there are not so many shootings in our own city. … The Masonic Halls are being raided, and in many cases destroyed. The Grand Lodge premises in Dublin are at present in the occupation of the I.R.A. There was a curious result of that the other day.

“We were starting a new preceptory in Belfast in connection with our lodge and had applied for a warrant. Before the warrant could be issued, the premises in Dublin has been seized, and all the forms were kept there. The Masonic authorities had to get a copy of the latest warrant issued, and from this they made a fresh copy all in the writing of the Grand officer. This warrant was used last Saturday and is in the possession of our Registrar. The Masonic authorities here, for some reason or other, do not want to appeal to Freemasons outside or to make ‘political capital’ of the seizure, but I think it would be well if the Freemasons of America were freely told of the campaign that is going on against the Order in Ireland. Perhaps you could help a little in this in a quiet way among your own associates. There was one man, whom I know personally, who had a narrow escape in the recent murders in County Cork. He is a Methodist clergyman, and was in one of the houses that were visited. He escaped from bed in his nightshirt and got away into the fields. It was the middle of April and the weather was very cold at the time. Three or four others were shot dead the same night. His brother is a member of my lodge, is Registrar of my chapter, and first Preceptor of the new preceptory. He is a past Provincial Senior Grand Warden of the Province of Antrim. That is the Masonic province of course, which is practically the same as the ordinary County of Antrim.”

A clipping from the May 18 edition of a Belfast newspaper also was provided to The Builder. It reads, in part: “Recently one of the South of Ireland gun clubs issued a statement boasting that they were going to compel all Freemasons and Unionists in the ‘Free State’ to supply food, clothing, and housing accommodation to Roman Catholic unemployed. Their fellow ruffians had for a long time been burning down Masonic and Orange Halls and persecuting Freemasons along with other Protestants.

“The continuance of these outrages, which there is no evidence to show the Free State forces now responsible for law and order ever tried to stop, has caused the Earl of Donoughmore, Most Worshipful Grand Master of Irish Freemasonry, to issue an order suspending all meetings of Masonic lodges in Southern Ireland.”

To conclude, I draw from the January 1923 issue of The New Age Magazine, published by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction. It quotes from the October 7, 1922 edition of The Northern Whig and Belfast Post story “Masonry in Ireland,” which covered the previous day’s annual concert in Ulster Hall benefiting Masonic charities. The Provincial Grand Master’s remarks were relayed:

“He thanks those present for their attendance there that evening, not so much for the pecuniary support for the object for which the concert was being held—that was their Masonic charities—but for the moral support they gave to the Order by their presence there. In those days he must say that Freemasonry needed all the support it could get not only from those inside the Order, but from its many friends outside the Order.

“Freemasonry in Ireland has been coming through very difficult times. Their halls had been raided and burned, and their brethren in many cases had been ill-used in other parts of Ireland. Scandalous and scurrilous charges had been brought against their Order. He did not say their Order was perfect. It was, after all, only a human institution, and no human institution was perfect—not even their churches and their ministers, who perhaps ought to set the highest standard—so Freemasonry could not claim perfection, but it was strange that the charges that were brought against them were chiefly under two heads, on which they were absolutely guiltless.

“First of all, the charge was made that Freemasonry was a political society, but if there was one thing above all other that was never mentioned inside the walls of the Masonic lodge, and that was absolutely barred by the laws of their Order, it was anything in the nature of politics. They were also blamed for being an irreligious society. They were perhaps irreligious in a sense because the word religion was unfortunately too often mixed up—and oftener in Ireland perhaps than anywhere else—with sectarianism. Freemasonry was absolutely nonsectarian, and it was a calumny to say that any Order whose fundamental tenets were the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man was an irreligious Order.”

It is Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723 whence modern Freemasons receive our charges to be good, and religiously circumspect, citizens where we make our lives. “A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works,” it reads, “and is never to be concern’d in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates.…”

The First Charge, the famous one, titled “Concerning God and Religion,” states:

“A Mason is oblig’d by his Tenure to obey the moral law, and if he rightfully understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ’tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d, whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance.”

In a free and peaceful society, this is done effortlessly, but when domestic tranquility is imperiled I imagine one requires disciplined application of all Four Cardinal Virtues—with innate reliance on the Theosophical Virtues as well—to remain steadfast.

(In medieval England, the various Statutes of Laborers regulated masons’ qualifications, remuneration, ability to meet, and other details, but the statute of 1405 specifically compelled such workers to take an annual oath to comply with the law.)

Perhaps the condition of Freemasonry today is not ideal in instances. Could be the content of lodge meetings isn’t exactly how we prefer it; or maybe the size of the membership remains a worry; or some may think their grand master is a bum—but things have been, and can be, far worse.

Written by: W. Bro. Jay Hochberg

WB Hochberg is the Senior Warden of The American Lodge of Research in Manhattan; is a Past Master of New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education 1786; and also is at labor in Civil War Lodge of Research 1865 in Virginia.

Beyond Ritual – Traveling with the Masters Word

Beyond Ritual – Traveling with the Masters Word

MASONIC RITUAL

Beyond Ritual

Traveling with the Masters Word

Brethren of the Craft, today we embark on a profound journey, delving into the intricate symbolism that lies at the heart of Freemasonry. As we navigate through the enigmatic depths of our cherished fraternity, we shall unveil the profound significance concealed within the question: “What induced you to become a Master Mason?” This query’s response holds layers of symbolic meaning that lead us through the sacred passages of our time-honored traditions.

In the rich tapestry of Freemasonry, we are reminded that our voyage is not limited to the  physical realm. Rather, it constitutes a symbolic odyssey, guiding us towards self-improvement, enlightenment, and dedicated service to humanity. The words, “To obtain the Master’s word, travel in foreign countries, work and receive Master’s wages…” encapsulate profound and multi-faceted truths.  

In the context of Freemasonry, the response to the question elicits several profound symbolic explanations. The aspiration of ancient Brethren to become Masters was driven by the quest for the Master’s word, which acts as a metaphorical key to unlock the ability to “travel in foreign countries.” This answer resonates on different levels. First, gaining the Master’s word signifies a pivotal achievement, akin to a passport that grants access to explore the intricate and diverse realms within Freemasonry. Just as a traveler explores foreign lands with different customs and cultures, Masons delve into the domains of philosophy, history, and symbolism within the Craft.

Importantly, at the core of this response resides the concept of “the Word.” Our Masonic  heritage regales us with tales of a Word of profound significance, known only to a select few but eventually lost to the annals of time. This Word, my brethren, is far from a mere sequence of letters; it embodies divine truth and knowledge, once imparted to the patriarchs of humanity. As Freemasons, our calling entails the pursuit of this elusive truth, to uncover the profound wisdom concealed beneath the surface.  

Symbolically, this Word stands as a beacon of Divine Truth, guiding our Masonic voyage. In  much the same way that a traveler immerses themselves in the intricacies of foreign lands, we  Masons immerse ourselves in the domains of philosophy, history and symbolism as alluded to  earlier. Our journey takes diverse forms – from the Entered Apprentice to the Fellowcraft and  culminating in the Master Mason – each degree marking a step towards enlightenment. Our  pursuit extends beyond mere knowledge acquisition, transforming into a quest for self-discovery and the embodiment of virtue. 

Symbolically “traveling in foreign countries” encapsulates a journey through distinct territories of  knowledge within Freemasonry. These realms are enriched with philosophical insights, historical perspectives, and profound symbolism – each presenting a unique facet of the Masonic experience. With the Master’s word as our guide, we gain entry into these symbolic lands of enlightenment. 

Within this journey, we encounter challenges akin to those encountered by travelers in foreign  lands. Just as a sojourner faces hurdles, we, too, encounter trials. The portrayal of old age and death in the Master Mason degree serves as a reminder that our earthly existence is  ephemeral, and the pursuit of absolute truth may elude us. However, solace can be found in the substitute for the lost Word, a guiding light to wisdom, urging us to await the time when perfect understanding shall be attained.  
Our Masonic voyage, however, extends beyond the confines of our earthly journey. The symbolism alludes to a life beyond the grave, where the recovery of the Word symbolizes a  state post-mortality. This suggests that true enlightenment finds its ultimate fulfillment beyond  the limitations of our earthly existence. Our labor, our unwavering search for the Word,  transforms into a form of worship, a dedication to the pursuit of divine truth. The concept of “to work and receive Master’s wages” transcends mere monetary exchanges; it embodies the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom within the context of Freemasonry. 

These teachings empower us not only for personal betterment but also to excel as husbands,  fathers, sons, brothers and active community members. Armed with the wisdom of our Craft, we become agents of upliftment for ourselves and those around us. While the latter part of the Masonic ritual underscores the importance of supporting ourselves, our families and the Masonic community more broadly – particularly those in need – this assistance encompasses more than mere financial aid. It underscores our duty to apply Masonic teachings, becoming steadfast pillars in our communities, extending compassion and care to fellow Masons, their widows, orphans, and those facing adversity. 

In essence, the Masonic journey mirrors the symbolic framework we’ve explored. The  acquisition of the Master’s Word empowers us to “travel in foreign countries,” embarking on  meaningful explorations into diverse domains of knowledge, achieving enlightenment and  strengthening ourselves and our communities. As Master Masons, we heed this symbolic call –  to enrich ourselves with the Master’s Word and to embark on these profound transformative journeys.  

It is worth noting that our ancient operative Brethren aspired to become Masters to practice their craft while traveling in literal “foreign countries.” In a speculative sense, Freemasons desire to “travel in foreign countries” to study and explore their craft. However, these “foreign countries”  hold a distinct meaning for us – they symbolize the various aspects of Masonic knowledge, philosophy, history, and symbolism awaiting discovery within the fraternity. 

In conclusion, Brethren, our journey within Freemasonry is a profound and intricate one. The  symbolism inherent in the Word instructs us to seek divine truth, to traverse the uncharted  realms of knowledge, and to labor diligently for personal enlightenment and the upliftment of our  families and communities. The pursuit of light becomes our mission, and through the pursuit of  knowledge, we unearth the profound depths of Freemasonry’s allegorical nature.

Let this wisdom serve as a guiding Light on your Masonic voyage. Let us remember that our true reward is not solely found in words or rituals, but rather in our personal growth,  enlightenment, the impactful contributions we make as Freemasons, and the indissoluble bonds of Brotherhood that are formed as a derivation of our travels. In our unwavering quest for divine truth, let us continue to plumb the limitless depths of our Craft, tirelessly striving to enhance ourselves and our world.

Written by:

John Pasqualicchio, Master Adonai Lodge #718, Highland, New York

Jason Short

The Masonic Hall: Getting to Know a Crucial Author

The Masonic Hall: Getting to Know a Crucial Author

MASONIC HISTORY

The Masonic Hall:

Getting to Know a Crucial Author

“To learn is to live, to study is to grow, and growth is the measurement of life, the mind must be taught to think, the heart to feel, and the hands to labor. When these have been educated to their highest points, then is the time to offer them to the service of their fellow man, not before.”

Manly Palmer Hall

Every esoteric member of our Craft is, or ought to be, acquainted with Illustrious Brother Manly Palmer Hall (1901-90). Known mostly for his magnum opus published in 1928, An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic, and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings concealed within the Rituals, Allegories, and Mysteries of All Ages (better known as The Secret Teachings of All Ages), Hall spent the latter seventy of his eighty-nine years dedicated to an inexhaustible study of spirituality, arcane wisdom, and comparative philosophy.

His extraordinary collection of published work and more than 8,000 lectures cover such a vast range of culture and occult topics, it’s hard to believe a single man accomplished such a feat. Author Mitch Horowitz, who was a source for this article, recounts a brilliant summation of Hall’s eclectic knowledge in his own book Occult America:

In an obscure astrology magazine of the 1940s, an Indian journalist wrote a personal profile of Hall, which held an interesting, if somewhat fanciful, passage: The first question Mr. Claude Bragdon, American mystic, asked Mr. Hall after their first meeting in New York in 1937 was: “Mr. Hall, how do you know so much more about the mathematics of Pythagoras than even the authorities on the subject?” Standing beside both these dear American friends of mine, I was wondering with trepidation in my heart what reply Mr. Hall would make. “Mr. Bragdon,” answered Mr. Hall quickly, unhesitatingly, and with a simultaneous flash of smile in his eyes and on his lips, “you are an occult philosopher. You know that it is easier to know things than to know how one knows those things.”

Regarding Freemasonry, Manly P. Hall is something of an enigma. Hall wouldn’t be initiated into the Craft until 1954 when he was made a Mason at Jewell Lodge 374 in California. Yet for more than twenty years prior, Hall had been credited as one of the foremost Masonic philosophers of the time. Between 1922 and 1923, and with no formal instruction on the matter, Hall published two books that garnered the attention of Masonic brethren around the world. Both The Initiates of the Flame and The Lost Keys of Freemasonry display clear comprehension of Masonic ritual, symbol, and thinking that even some lifelong members of the Craft struggle to comprehend.

While some critics to this day say these books lack credibility because Hall wasn’t a Mason, many esoteric thinkers in the Craft appreciate the author’s understanding and recognize the research that went into the writing. The Lost Keys of Freemasonry is an excellent exploration of Masonic symbolism and philosophy. (See Craftsmen Online’s Reading Room discussion on Chapter VI “The Qualifications of a True Mason.”)

During the 1920s, Hall quickly rose to celebrity status among the New Age followers of California. His income from regular public lectures and publications was supplemented by Caroline and Alma Estelle Lloyd, a mother and daughter with oil industry money. Caroline and Hall had common interests, and it was with her financial assistance that he traveled across Europe and Asia to study ancient spiritual practices and cultures of antiquity.

Returning from abroad, Hall was ready to dictate The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Released before his twenty-eighth birthday, the original 1928 publication was a massive 13 by 19 inches, complete with fifty-four original full color illustrations by artist J. Augustus Knapp. The first two editions, amounting to 1,100 copies, sold out in pre-sales at $100 a copy ($1,775 in today’s money), propelling its author into national acclaim.

The incredible success of the book and his celebrity as a speaker made possible the founding of the Philosophical Research Society in 1934. The PRS campus became Hall’s sanctuary, and personal library until his death (under suspicious circumstances, some say) in 1990. Throughout his life he would speak countless times before Masonic and general audiences on topics concerning Freemasonry, the occult, religion, ancient wisdom, and philosophy. His continued work and dedication to bettering the publics interest and understanding of Freemasonry was recognized by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in 1973 when he was coroneted a 33º Mason.

There is a genius in Halls texts and lectures evident in how he translated the arcana of mysticism for new generations despite his lack of a formal education—although that may be what distinguished him from others. His fresh and often poetic prose is easy to digest and is enjoyable to hear. I very much enjoy reading Hall’s books. I can imagine his voice and tone behind every word, and it was no surprise to learn that he had dictated the majority of his published works. Numerous lectures given at the PRS were recorded and are available today.

In reflecting on Manly P. Hall’s legacy, one cannot help but be inspired by the breadth of his curiosity and the depth of his understanding. His works, particularly Secret Teachings, remain essential guides for those navigating the rich waters of Masonic lore and esoteric wisdom. Halls journey from an uninitiated author to a recognized Masonic authority underscores the universal appeal and enduring significance of his research and teachings. His writings are not merely collections of information; they are invitations to a lifelong journey of discovery, encouraging readers to seek the light of knowledge and understanding in all their endeavors.

Seeking Light: Introduction to the Works of Manly P. Hall

Want to learn more about Manly P. Hall? Introduce some of his material to your lodges book club! Whether youre seeking further light personally or interested in bringing esoteric conversation to your lodge, this list of Manly P. Hall’s books and lectures will get you up to speed.

Manly P. Hall presents this Collection of Mystical Allegories” as a way to awaken the reader to the mystical truths of the world. Consisting of eight stories of ordinary people whose lives are changed by mystical experiences that lead them to realizing greater meanings in all things.

Halls first book is a wonderful introduction to ancient myths, esoteric philosophies, and the value of initiation—without revealing too much, leaving the reader eager for more. I recommend the recent Deluxe Edition, with an introduction by Mitch Horowitz.

A collection of essays and lectures pertaining to the story of the United States and the legend of its secret spiritual purpose and destiny. An easy and enjoyable read (also available as an audiobook).

His second published work is a delightful philosophical discourse on Freemasonry, its three degrees, and the legend surrounding legendary Grand Master Hiram Abiff. Its a quick read, and a wonderful way to start up a discussion on the deeper significance of the Craft’s symbolism and esoteric wisdom.

This is one of Craftsmen Online co-founder and podcaster extraordinaire W. Bro. Michael Arces favorites. Though it can be difficult to find a hard copy, they are out there (and at reasonable prices). This book interprets ancient initiatory rites of the Egyptians, explores magic, the Osirian cycle, and Platos entrance into the mysteries.

It should go without saying, but Secret Teachings is an amazing introduction to the world of esoteric wisdom. Though you can enjoy this tome cover to cover, the author intended it to be an encyclopedia and reference on the occult to guide seekers to greater light. In essence it can be regarded as a roadmap to the ancient mysteries, pointing you in the direction of many further areas of study. If youre so lucky to find an affordable original copy of the book printed at a massive 19 by 13 inches, snag it. The PRS re-released a readers version in the 1990s that made it much more accessible. I also recommend the audiobook which is as close to Halls original dictation of the material as one can get.

Mitch Horowitz brings Halls magnum opus to the modern age with this companion to The Secret Teachings of All Ages. It also provides a wonderful biography of Hall’s early years, and the legacies of Secret Teachings and the Philosophical Research Society. I also recommend both Horowitzs Occult America and Modern Occultism which include further Hall biography.

Louis Sahagan, award-winning journalist from the Los Angeles Times, presents this colorful account of the life of Manly P. Hall. This biography shows how a young Canadian immigrant, raised by his grandmother, was able to rise into an international celebrity and master of the mysteries.

This collection of lectures is available through the Manly Hall Society YouTube channel.

The Golden Verses of Pythagoras
Pythagorean Theory of Number 1: Basic Philosophy of Numeration
Pythagorean Theory of Number 2: The Tetractys and Motion of Number
Pythagorean Theory of Number 3: The 47th Proposition
Pythagorean Theory of Number 4: (poor audio)
Pythagorean Theory of Number 5: The Symbolism of Numbers
Pythagoras on the Therapeutic Value of Music and Poetry

Manly P. Hall’s works are a treasure for anyone ready to embark on a journey of Masonic and esoteric discovery. His writings offer invaluable insights into mystical traditions and symbolism. Whether for group study in a lodge or personal exploration, these books and lectures are essential resources. Dive into Hall’s profound wisdom and let it illuminate your path to greater understanding.

Written by: Bro. Jason W. Short

Presently, Jason is the Treasurer of Aurora Grata-Day Star Lodge 647, a Royal Arch Mason with Nassau Chapter 109, and a 32º Sublime Prince of the Scottish Rite Valley of New York City.

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Jason Short
Masonic Revival and Unity

Masonic Revival and Unity

MASONIC HISTORY

Masonic Revival and Unity

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity!”

 Psalm 133

On October 21, some 150 Freemasons assembled at Masonic Hall in New York City for the first Metropolitan Region Table Lodge, a ritualized communal meal exemplary of Masonic tradition. Actually, as Master of Ceremonies Sam Kinsey explained, Table Lodges are tiled, like our lodge meetings, and this event really was a Festive Board, but this didn’t confuse the conviviality of the night’s wholly Masonic experience.

The tradition of Accepted Masons dining together in ceremony predates the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge of London and Westminster in 1717. Ritual, ceremony, and education, whether esoteric or exoteric, had been communicated behind guarded doors of taverns and private homes by Speculative Masons in the seventeenth century.

In attendance at Masonic Hall were dignitaries including R∴W∴ Steven Adam Rubin, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York, who delivered an inspiring speech on the values of our fraternity; R∴W∴ Kinsey, Chairman of the Custodians of the Work; R∴W∴ James W. Gregg, Grand Sword Bearer, who performed a wonderfully impassioned rendition of “The Dash,” a poem by Linda Ellis; and R∴W∴ Wilber J. Salazar, Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Peru Near New York, one of the night’s key organizers.

The catering for the evening was on point and there were plenty of libations to go around, but I am still at a loss for words to describe how powerful it was to be in the presence of those 150 Masons singing “God Bless America” and Bro. Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne” in concert. For many in the room, this was their first big Masonic event since the pandemic, and they delighted in reuniting with their brethren. For many more brothers admitted after 2020, myself included, this was the first opportunity to see the Craft celebrated in such a traditional fashion on such a wonderfully attended scale.

In this kind of setting, the progenitors of Speculative Freemasonry literally traced early designs upon the trestleboard we know today. Employing chalk, they drew the symbols on tavern floors while enjoying food and drink with their fellows. As the popularity and culture of Masonry grew, so did the number of lodges where they assembled. This tradition of dining together became the bedrock on which the sublime cornerstone of our speculative tradition was placed.

What made the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge in 1717 so enduring wasn’t a need to establish a governing body for the regulation of lodges; it was intended to unite the brethren to celebrate and uphold Brotherly Love. This Grand Lodge emphasized enjoying the fraternity in meaningful and beneficial ways, extending past the walls of any individual lodge to a broader network that served as a reminder that we are all members of the Universal Lodge, which extends to the four corners of the globe under the magnificent starry-decked heaven.

The Communication held by the Grand Lodge on June 24, 1717 was not the beginning of Speculative Masonry; it was a revival of Craft tradition. Speculative Masonry in London had seen a lull in activity and decline in leadership, as massive social and political upheaval shook England since the Civil War. By bringing together four local lodges of Free and Accepted Masons, and committing to strengthening the fraternity’s network and bonds in celebration, Freemasonry began to flourish and spread around the world so that we inherit it today.

And today our Craft requires revitalization again. It is commonly thought that this must start in our lodges, and I agree, but I also see so many lodges struggling for direction. Though it is critical to offer education and quality events in lodge, I believe it is imperative for the brethren to travel and engage with the fraternity at large. Encouraging attendance at events like the Metropolitan Region Table Lodge, Grand Lodge Communications, Masonic conventions, or the upcoming Grand Jurisdiction Unity Day are ways to strengthen our fraternal ties and pay homage to the traditional celebrations that united our fraternity three centuries ago. Events like these are where we glean the most valuable insights and experiences which help enlighten, engage, and inspire us, especially brethren new to the fraternity. It is by embracing in the Masonic bond that we become more than just members—we keep our Craft valuable, vibrant, and vital to our communities and to the human family at large.

Written by: Bro. Jason W. Short

Presently, Jason is the Treasurer of Aurora Grata-Day Star Lodge No.647, a Royal Arch Mason with Nassau Chapter 109, and 32º Sublime Prince of the AASR Valley of NYC.

Jason Short

The Double-Headed Eagle: “The Great Work”

The Double-Headed Eagle: “The Great Work”

MASONIC EDUCATION

The double-headed eagle: “the great work”

 

“The Sun is its father, the Moon is its mother, the Wind has carried it in its belly, its nurse is the Earth.”

The Double-Headed Eagle is a symbol dating back to ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, etc. The oldest such motif ever discovered was found in Jiroft, Iran and dates back to 3000 B.C. The symbol is known to have esoteric and alchemical connotations. The image on the right is from an old manuscript called Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians of the 16th and 17th Centuries” and, as you can see, it also displays three alchemical glyphs for “Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury”. This symbol relates to the alchemical regeneration and transmutation of the “soul personality” in the individual: a spiritual alchemical awakening process that can only be integrated by upright living. The double-headed eagle is also known as the “phoenix, the bird of resurrection”. This mythical bird was said to live up to 500 or 1000 years. The phoenix was known as the Swan of the Greeks and the Eagle to the Romans. According to the ancient mystics, this bird was the symbol of the immortality of the Soul, one side Feminine (Left) relating to the Moon, the other Masculine (Right) relating to the Sun, representing the duality of the Spirit and the Soul, the Ba and the Ka of the Egyptian, and Eros and Psyche of the Greeks. In the words of Hermes Trismegistus:

“The Sun is its father, the Moon is its mother, the Wind has carried it in its belly, its nurse is the Earth.”

The union between these two dualities produces a spiritual awakening and an alchemical reaction within the soul personality of the individual. In the 16th century Rosicrucian manifestos, this is referred to as the “Alchemical Wedding” which is the alchemical Magnum Opus or the Great Work. The Rebis image from the book “Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae” by Heinrick Nollius explains this union of opposites. You will find familiar Masonic emblems being held by the “Great Hermaphrodite”. In Freemasonry, the symbol of the 18th degree of the Scottish Rite is the pelican or the eagle. The Hebrew masculine noun “רחם” means “a kind of vulture or Pelican”. In fact, the name Abraham contains this very reference: “Ab” meaning “Father” and “Raham” meaning ”Pelican”. The name of Abraham correlates to an alchemical implication where Abram means “exalted father or sublime”. The major character of the Blue Lodge Degree Hiram in Hebrew means “Exalted Brother or Sublime”. These symbols and rituals, as well as the characters, are allegorical. They held that initiation elevated the soul from a material, sensual and purely human life, to a communion and celestial intercourse with the gods. The Three alchemical symbols “Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury” pertain to the three Degrees of the Blue Lodge.

In the words of one of the Church Fathers of Christianity Clement of Alexandria:

“Let us consider the strange sign which takes place in the East, that is in the districts near Arabia. There is a bird which is called the Phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives 500 years;  and when the time of its dissolution in death is at hand, it makes itself a sepulcher of frankincense and myrrh and other spices, and when the time is fulfilled, it enters it and dies. Now, from the corruption of its flesh, there springs a worm, which is nourished by the juices of the dead bird and puts forth wings. Then, when it has become strong, it takes up that sepulcher, in which are the bones of its predecessor, and carries them from the country of Arabia as far as Egypt until it reaches the city called Heliopolis, and in the daylight in the sight of all it flies to the altar of the Sun, places them there, and then starts back to its former home. Then the priests inspect the registers of dates, and they find that it has come at the fulfillment of the 500th year.”

It is said that the Pyramid of Giza stems from the word phoenix. This bird is said to derive from the  name of the biblical character Enoch. The Pyramid is reputedly known as the “House of Enoch”. The word “pyramid” comes from the Greek “Pyramis” and “Pyramidos”. Pyramis may relate to the shape of the Pyramid whereas Pyramidos has been translated to “Fire in the Middle”. In Egypt, the Pyramid is called “Mer”. Some scholars believe it was called Per-Neter or “House of Nature or House of the Gods”. In Phoenician, it is Purimiddoh which means “light measures” and even in Hebrew the word “Midah” means “measure”. Moreover, the Greek word Pyramis is related to the pointy topped wheat cakes of the Egyptians because of its cone-like shape and its similarities to the Benben capstone that was once located on top of the pyramid. Curiously, the Egyptian word for Phoenix is “Bennu”.

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Written by:

Bro. Rene Perez, 32°