Tag Archives: freemasonry

Try The Square

Is a Brother off the track?

Try the Square;

Try it well on every side.

Nothing draws a craftsman back

Like the Square when well applied.

Try the Square.

 

Is he crooked, is he frail?

Try the Square.

Try it early, try it late;

When all other efforts fail,

Try the Square to make him straight—

Try the Square.

 

Does he still persist in wrong?

Try the Square.

Loves he darkness more than light?

Try it thorough, try it long.

Try the Square to make him right—

Try the Square.

 

Fails the Square to bring him in?

Try the Square.

Be not sparing of the pains;

While there’s any work to do,

While a crook or knot remains—

Try the Square.

David Barker, 1916

Omnium Gatherum: June 11th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 11th, 2014

Mihai Mihu Dante's Inferno Lust
Mihai Mihu’s LEGO diorama for “Lust” from Dante's Inferno

 

  • The Householder’s Guide to Form and Deed” — Scott David Finch (author of A Little World Made Cunningly), Spiral Nature

    “After putting myself in too many people’s shoes, and seeing the world through everyone else’s eyes for too long, I start to become a warped and weary alien to myself. I no longer recognize my own face and I need to recharge. This is when I head to my studio to sit.”

  • How to Become a Living Douche! The Impressively Embarrassing Occultism of EA Koetting” — Thad McKraken, disinformation

    “I have to confess that what I’ve found mindblowing about exploring the Occult is that the church has slandered it as being daemon worship, and because of that, a group of gothed out weirdoes have decided that they love the idea worshipping Satan. Even though the Occult doesn’t actually involve that (it’s about mastering your daemons and making contact with your Holy Guardian Angel), they’re just going to make it about that anyway because they’re just…so…hard.”

  • Dreamscripts in the Waking World” — William Kiesel, The Brooklyn Rail

    “One of the signs which has become a trademark of being in a dream is the inability to read the written word or at other times to decipher numbers on a clock face or elsewhere. Such figures most often appear to blur before the eyes. There are times when the oneiric traveller is blest with clarity of vision wherein the characters in the given instance are crystal clear, but such instances are typically rare. It is significant that there is a crossover between the experience of legible and illegible scripts in both the waking and dream worlds.”

    “With the use of oneiric praxis, sigils of the wake world can be brought to the dreamscape, as well as drawing the dream texts upon the waking consciousness. No doubt the viewing of sigillic devices could produce the atmosphere of the dream in the waking consciousness of one unaccustomed to seeing such scripts.”

  • Caveat Lecter” — Houghton Library Blog [HT Harvard Library]

    “Good news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy, bibliomaniacs and cannibals alike: tests have revealed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame [The destiny of the soul] (FC8.H8177.879dc) is without a doubt bound in human skin.”

  • Earth’s backup: Sending religious texts to the moon” — Paul Marks, NewScientist

    “The first artefacts to shoot for the moon could be three religious and philosophical texts. The Torah on the Moon project, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been courting private firms to deliver a handwritten Jewish scroll, the Sefer Torah, to the lunar surface. If they succeed, later flights will carry Hindu scriptures called the Vedas and the ancient Chinese philosophical work, the I-Ching.

    Each document will be housed in a space-ready capsule designed to protect it from harsh radiation and temperature changes on the moon for at least 10,000 years.”

  • The Samuelson Clinic releases “Is it in the Public Domain?” handbook” – UC Berkeley School of Law [HT Boing Boing]

    “These educational tools help users to evaluate the copyright status of a work created in the United States between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977—those works that were created before today’s 1976 Copyright Act. Many important works—from archival materials to family photos and movies—were created during this time, and it can be difficult to tell whether they are still under copyright.”

  • Handbook to figure out what’s in the public domain” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

    “This is probably the most esoteric question that normal people from all walks of life have to answer routinely; the Samuelson Clinic has really done an important public service here.”

  • Book of Soyga or Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor [PDF], edited and translated by Jane Kupin, Twilit Grotto [HT Joseph H Peterson]

    “Here begins the book Aldaraia in accordance with that which our authorities proclaimed to us; they were from God and from the celestial parts and it was revealed to them in the desert about celestial matters.”

  • The Self-Sacrifice of Our Own Individuality” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “We perform our task correctly only when we don’t force our own mind into every ancient book that falls into our hands; but rather read out of it what is already there.”

  • The Anagogic Role of Sunthemata in the Sacramental Liturgy of Pseudo-Dionysius” — Jeffrey S Kupperman

    “The Neoplatonic writings of the 6th century writer known as pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite have influenced, and continue to influence, Christian theologians and esotericists, amongst others, to this day. Typically, a handful of Dionysius’ topics are discussed: his angelology, his sacramental theology, and his treatment of the divine names are on the top of the list. This paper treats one of these subjects, Dionysian sacraments”

  • Occultic and Masonic Influence in Early Mormonism” — Joel B Groat, Institute for Religious Research

    “The evidence of Joseph Smith’s close connection to occultism and Freemasonry, and how this influenced the origin and development of the LDS Church is not well known outside of scholarly circles. This article summarizes the evidence for Joseph’s personal involvement in both Freemasonry and occultism, and their influence on the Mormon religion.”

  • Christopher Lee makes heavy metal Don Quixote” — BBC News

    “Actor Sir Christopher Lee is marking his 92nd birthday by releasing an album of heavy metal cover versions.

    Two of the songs come from the Don Quixote musical Man of La Mancha, which was a Broadway smash in the 1960s.

    ‘As far as I am concerned, Don Quixote is the most metal fictional character that I know, the Hobbit star said.

    ‘Single handed, he is trying to change the world, regardless of any personal consequences. It is a wonderful character to sing.'”

  • Of course Thelema is satanic” — Thomas Zwollo, Spiral Nature

    “Thelema rejects all these notions that enslave humanity to a deity that would demand certain beliefs and actions and punish those who disobey. Satan represents the rejection of this belief system and the exultation of the individual. Is Satan central to Thelema? No. Is Satan mentioned in Thelema? Yes, frequently.”

  • On the ‘itch’ within the Witch” — Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, The Starry Cave

    “I believe Traditional Witchcraft is a poetic reality humming the nocturnal mysteries of Night. I believe the Witch is concerned with Solace and comfort, the same solace we find resting in the Night. I believe the Witch is a creature tied to the land whose heart is a crossroad where the fire of Need gushes forth from the fountain of the soul like a veiled spring of fiery droplets of gold and silver.”

  • The Rosicrucian Vision” — Christopher McIntosh, New Dawn Magazine

    “The word ‘Rosicrucian’ is one that most readers will have heard many times. Yet if I were to ask for a definition of the word I would probably be given a wide variety of different answers. I might be told that it was something to do with esoteric Christianity, with alchemy, or with Cabala. All of these things are part of the answer, but not the whole answer.

    So what is Rosicrucianism? For the time being let us call it a current of thought and ideas which has been flowing through history for at least three and a half centuries and probably quite a bit longer, sometimes underground, sometimes coming to the surface, but always pushing human beings towards certain goals. I say that we can trace the current back three and a half centuries because that was when it first came to the surface. So let us go back to that moment in history.”

  • Pagan God From Bronze Age Caught By Unsuspecting Fisherman In Siberia” — Yasmine Hafiz, The Huffington Post; from the it-has-the-innsmouth-look dept

    “Nikolay Tarasov was fishing in a river near his home in Tisul, in the Kemerovo region of Siberia, when he caught something unexpected—and very old.”

    “Museum curators dated the figure to over 4,000 years old. Carved in horn which was later fossilized, the Bronze Age figurine shows a pagan god.”

    Pagan God from the Bronze Age caught by fisherman in Siberia

     

  • Circumambulating the Alchemical Mysterium” — Aaron Cheak, Reality Sandwich; an excerpt from Alchemical Traditions: From Antiquity to the Avant-Garde

    “Alchemy may be described, in the words of Baudelaire, as a process of ‘distilling the eternal from the transient’. As the art of transmutation par excellence, the classical applications of alchemy have always been twofold: chrysopoeia and apotheosis (gold-making and god-making)—the perfection of metals and mortals. In seeking to turn ‘poison into wine’, alchemy, like tantra, engages material existence—often at its most dissolute or corruptible—in order to transform it into a vehicle of liberation. Like theurgy, it seeks not only personal liberation—the redemption of the soul from the cycles of generation and corruption—but also the liberation (or perfection) of nature herself through participation in the cosmic demiurgy. In its highest sense, therefore, alchemy conforms to what Lurianic kabbalists would call tikkun, the restoration of the world.”

  • Plaidoyer for historical-critical Steiner research. Using the methodological example of Rudolf Steiner as a possible character in the Mysteriendramen.” — David W Wood

    “A main thesis of this paper is that one of the ways for Rudolf Steiner research to become more scientific is to proceed in accordance with a genuine historical and critical methodology. It attempts to show that even though some of Steiner’s chief critics support this method in theory, they often fall short of a historical-critical approach in practice. Using the example of the unresolved problem of whether Steiner could be a character in his own Mysteriendramen, the author provides a number of methodological, historical and biographical indications for approaching this problem. He tries to demonstrate the fruitfulness of this method by addressing the question of Steiner as a drama character from the new perspective of literary pseudonyms. In conclusion, he maintains that a scholarly historical-critical approach to spiritual science was advocated by Steiner himself.”

  • What Happens to the Brain During Spiritual Experiences? The field of neurotheology uses science to try to understand religion, and vice versa.” — Lynne Blumberg, The Atlantic

    “Since everyday and spiritual concerns are variations of the same thinking processes, [Andrew] Newberg thinks it’s essential to examine how people experience spirituality in order to fully understand how their brains work. Looking at the bigger questions has already provided practical applications for improving mental and physical health.”

  • Intolerance and Fanaticism” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “Men find it very hard to apply a little criticism to the sources of their beliefs and the origin of their faith. It is just as well; if we looked too close into first principles, we should never believe at all.”

  • Paradise Found: The ideal(ized) vision of Paul Gauguin.” — Daniel Goodman, The Weekly Standard [HT Arts & Letters Daily]

    “Gauguin’s art depicts Tahitians as they are sleeping, worshipping, and engaging in other quotidian activities. But whereas Cheever, Chekhov, Roth, John Updike, and other literary artists used their keen perceptive abilities in the pursuit of sober realism, Gauguin put his artistry to the purpose of imaginative proto-surrealism.

    Gauguin, who rejected European cultural and religious constraints, thought of himself as a savage in the eyes of the civilized world. Oviri (1894, his personal favorite amongst all his sculptures) and many of his other works were regarded as radical for a variety of reasons, not least because they subverted traditional, conventional ideas of feminine beauty.”

  • We need to talk about misogyny and sexism” — Psyche, Spiral Nature

    “Equality. That’s the secret agenda, folks. Feminism isn’t about women first, it’s about women too.”

  • Congo: A Group of Chimpanzees Seem to Have Mastered Fire” — World News Daily Report; from the fake-news-but-wouldn’t-it-be-wild-if dept.

    “It is however, the first time that a group of these primates develops some technical concepts as elaborate as these on their own. A few individual apes seem to have originally developed a rudimentary technique of rather poor efficiency, but the group gradually improved it through experimentation and observation over the last few months. They are now able to create and maintain a fire, which they have been using mostly to scare off predators and cook some of their food.”

  • On the Seventh Day, We Unplug: How and Why to Take a Tech Sabbath” — Brett & Katie McKay, The Art of Manliness

    “Taking a weekly Tech Sabbath allows us to step off this wheel of endless sameness. It’s a ritual that pushes us out of the norm, to pursue different activities, and use different parts of our brains. In so doing, it refreshes and rejuvenates our minds and spirit. It provides the motivation to unhook our wired craniums from the matrix of cyberspace and explore the pleasures of the real world.”

  • Kircher & Schott’s Computer Music of the Baroque” — Phil Legard, Larkfall

    “Here is a piece of music, which was composed with a sort of 17th century computer called the Organum Mathematicum, devised by Athanasius Kircher and fully described by his pupil and assistant Gaspar Schott”

     

  • Mihai’s Inferno: The 9 circles of Hell made in Lego” — The Brothers Brick [See also Boing Boing, MOCPages]

    “Mihai Mihu completed a series of creations depicting the 9 circles of Hell. While staying true to the theme of poetic justice served to the sinners, Mihai portrays the punishments through his own interpretations. The recurring architectural elements and portrayal of the sinners tie the scenes together in a way that’s easy for the viewer to transition through. In this short interview, the builder talks about his project and the individual circles of Hell.”

    Mihai Mihu Dante's Inferno

     

  • Techne: The State of the Art” — Damien Wolven [HT Joshua Madara]

    “If we really think that whatever kind of mind we generate from these efforts is going to be anything like us, then we’re probably in for a big surprise. We have to be prepared for—as opposed to scared about—the possibility that any machine intelligence will have vastly different concerns from us. “Occult Wisdom” means knowledge hidden from those who don’t know how to look for it and, without an understanding of how these new minds will experience our world, humanity will never know everything we might.

    As I’ve explored these ideas, over the years, I’ve found that the most valuable approaches have often come from the intersections that others might overlook. The intersection that’s been most useful to me is at the center of weird science, philosophy, religious studies, pop-culture, and magic. I’ve written articles, taught classes, and organized conferences arguing that “The Magical” is one of the most useful-but-underused tools we have for rethinking and understanding these ideas.”

  • The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net” — mikejuk, Slashdot

    “If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks? Put more bluntly, ‘Does the human brain have similar built-in errors?’ If it doesn’t, how is it so different from the neural networks that are trying to mimic it?”

  • We Aren’t the World” — Ethan Waters, Pacific Standard [HT Eleanor Saitta]

    “The potential implications of the unexpected results were quickly apparent to Henrich. He knew that a vast amount of scholarly literature in the social sciences—particularly in economics and psychology—relied on the ultimatum game and similar experiments. At the heart of most of that research was the implicit assumption that the results revealed evolved psychological traits common to all humans, never mind that the test subjects were nearly always from the industrialized West. Henrich realized that if the Machiguenga results stood up, and if similar differences could be measured across other populations, this assumption of universality would have to be challenged.

    Henrich had thought he would be adding a small branch to an established tree of knowledge. It turned out he was sawing at the very trunk. He began to wonder: What other certainties about “human nature” in social science research would need to be reconsidered when tested across diverse populations?”

 

If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

I Sat In Lodge With You

There is a saying filled with cheer,

Which calls a man to fellowship.

It means as much to him to hear

As lies within the brother-grip.

Nay, more! It opens wide the way

To friendliness sincere and true;

There are no strangers when you say

To me: “I sat in lodge with you.”

 

When that is said, then I am known;

There s not questioning or doubt;

I need not walk my path alone

Nor from my fellows be shut out.

Those words hold all of brotherhood

And help me face the world anew—

There’s something deep and rich and good

In this: “I sat in lodge with you.”

 

Though in far lands one needs must roam,

By sea and shore and hill and plain,

Those words bring him a touch of home

And lighten tasks that seem in vain.

Men’s faces are no longer strange

But seem as those he always knew

When some one rings the joyous change

With his: “I sat in lodge with you.”

 

So you, my brother, now and then

Have often put me in your debt

By showing forth to other men

That you your friends do not forget.

When all the world seems gray and cold

And I am weary, worn and blue,

Then comes this golden thought I hold—

You said: “I sat in lodge with you.”

 

When to the last great lodge you fare

My prayer is that I may be

One of your friends who wait you there,

Intent your smiling face to see.

We, with the warder at the gate,

Will have a pleasant task to do;

We’ll call, though you come soon or late:

“Come in! We sat in lodge with you!”

Wilbur D Nesbit

Committed to the Flames

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Committed to the Flames: The History and Rituals of a Secret Masonic Rite by Arturo de Hoyos and S Brent Morris.

Arturo de Hoyos S Brent Morris Committed to the Flames

Committed to the Flames is essentially a study of a set of Masonic cipher manuscripts from the 19th century. Roughly the last two-thirds of the book consists of decrypted versions of the manuscript texts. In the first third, de Hoyos and Morris provide the history of the manuscripts’ decryption and the context of their origins. These chapters have some real value to those interested in old-fashioned cryptology and cryptanalysis. They also set forth a pretty fascinating story of the early development and difficulties of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the New York area. The cipher scribe, Robert Folger, was a chief exponent of the Cerneauist faction of Scottish Rite organizing during a particularly contentious period. The historical chapters of the book suffer from some redundancy in their details, and they look as though they might have been composed in parallel by the two authors, without much editorial attention given to reconciling them into a single whole.

The greater part of the actual manuscript contents is given over to Craft rituals drawn from the Rectified Scottish Rite, a Continental derivative of the Rite of Strict Observance. Folger had evidently intended these for the use of symbolic lodges working under the direct authorization of a Supreme Council of the 33° (in contrast to the typical arrangement in Anglophone Masonry, where A&A “Scottish” Rite jurisdictions charter bodies only to work their 4° and above). There are also some rituals for the Knight Templar degree, which is not part of the 33° system. The three Folger MSS provide among them multiple copies and versions of the rituals.

The other principal ingredient of the manuscript texts is a version of Crata Repoa, which differs in few but sometimes signficant respects from the English translation first published by John Yarker in The Kneph, and more recently available in Manly Hall’s Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians. Crata Repoa, originally in French or German (depending on which sources one trusts) is an attempt to reconstruct the ancient mysteries in their original Egyptian form, on the basis of a fundmental analogy to Freemasonry, and with recourse to classical documentation regarding Greek mystery-cults.

The plaintexts of the Folger MSS are reproduced here as extensively as possible, to the point where they will provide a virtually primary source for research. But the repetitions within the manuscripts are fairly extensive, and even a technically-informed Masonic reader who prods himself to read all of Committed to the Flames may agree with me that the real substance of the volume could have been presented in half the page count. [via]

Let There Be Light!

Brother, kneel before the altar,

In silence grave.

Show no weakness. Do not falter

Like cowan knave.

Honest brethren stand around you,

With heart and hand,

Ready to encourage, aid you,

A noble band.

Here you need not fear deception—

All are true—

Every brother here assembled

Knelt like you.

With throbbing hearts they silent listen

To your voice,

As you tell in earnest whisper,

Your free choice.

Gently loose the new made brother

From his cord,

He is bound by stronger fetters,

On God’s Word.

Hearken to the Master’s language:

“Pray for Light,”

Responsive voices chant the echo:

“Let there be Light.”

Welcome, brother, to our household,

You are Free;

May it ever prove a blessing

Unto thee.

Cummings, 1894

A Pilgrim’s Path

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews A Pilgrim’s Path: Freemasonry and the Religious Right by John J Robinson.

John J Robinson A Pilgrim's Path

Robinson uses simple, clear language to provide a view of both American Masonry and contemporary anti-Masonry. A Pilgrim’s Progress grew out of his experiences with the popular responses to his earlier book on Masonic origins, Born in Blood. Robinson is convinced that religious freedom and toleration are at the core of the Masonic ethic, and that today’s anti-Masons—whatever their superficial arguments—are principally motivated by hostility to religious freedom. In addition, he provides a discussion of ways that Masonry might adapt to confront the challenges posed by its foes.

A Pilgrim’s Progress is not a profound work of scholarship, though. For example, Robinson provides a summary and criticism of the Jack Chick comic tract Curse of the Baphomet, in which he provides the description of the “winged creature with the body of a man, the breasts of a woman, and the head of a horned goat.” If you just read Robinson, you would tend to think that this “devil-figure” was the sole invention of Jack Chick, rather than a traditional occult image first published in the works of Eliphas Levi.

Besides the Chick tract, Robinson summarizes and rebuts the work of the Southern Baptist anti-Masonic organizer James Holly and televangelical media magnate Pat Robertson. He includes a discussion of the Leo Taxil hoax, and points out the forged “Albert Pike” Luciferian quote as a staple of more than a century of anti-Masonic discourse. Inevitably, he cites the Bible against the “Christian” foes of Masonry. In assessing the motives of anti-Masons, Robinson emphasizes religious power and controlling followers through fear. As a primer on the role of Masonry in American society, and a counter to common paranoid tropes on the topic, the book holds up pretty well. [via]

The Five Points Symbolism

Foot to foot that we may go,

Where our help we can bestow;

Pointing out the better way,

Lest our brothers go astray.

Thus our steps should always lead

To the souls that are in need.

 

Knee to knee, that we may share

Every brother’s needs in prayer:

Giving all his wants a place,

When we seek the throne of grace.

In our thoughts from day to day

For each other we should pray.

 

Breast to breast, to there conceal,

What our lips must not reveal;

When a brother does confide,

We must by his will abide.

Mason’s secrets to us known,

We must cherish as our own.

 

Hand to hand, our love to show

To the brother, bending low:

Underneath a load of care,

Which we may and ought to share.

That the weak may always stand,

Let us lend a helping hand.

 

Cheek to cheek, or mouth to ear,

That our lips may whisper cheer,

To our brother in distress:

Whom our words can aid and bless.

Warn him if he fails to see,

Dangers that are known to thee.

 

Foot to foot, and knee to knee,

Breast to breast, as brothers we:

Hand to back and mouth to ear,

Then what mystic word we hear,

Which we otherwise conceal,

But on these five points reveal.

N A McAulay, 1916

The Model Mason

There’s a fine old Mason in the land, he’s genial, wise and true,

His list of brothers comprehends, dear brothers, me and you;

So warm his heart the snow blast fails to chill his generous blood,

And his hand is like a giant’s when outstretched to man or God;—

Reproach nor blame, nor any shame, has checked his course or dimmed his fame—

All honor his name!

 

This fine old Mason is but one of a large family:

In every lodge you’ll find his kin, you’ll find them two or three;

You’ll know them when you see them, for they have their father’s face,

A generous knack of speaking truth and doing good always;—

Reproach nor blame, nor any shame, has checked his course or dimmed his fame—

Freemason is their name!

 

Ah, many an orphan smiles upon the kindred as they pass;

And many a widow’s prayers confess the sympathizing grace;

The Father of this Brotherhood himself is joyed to see

Their works—they’re numbered all in Heaven, those deeds of charity!

Reproach nor blame, nor any shame, has checked his course or dimmed his fame—

All honor their name!

Robert Morris

Freemason’s March

Come, let us, prepare,

We brothers that are

Met together on merry Occasion;

Let us drink, laugh and sing,

Our Wine has a Spring,

‘Tis a Health to an Accepted Mason.

The World is in Pain

Our Secret to gain,

But still let them wonder and gaze on;

Till they’re shewn the Light

They’ll never know the right

Word or sign of an Accepted Mason.

‘Tis This and ’tis That,

They cannot tell what,

Why so many great Men in the Nation

Should Aprons put on,

To make themselves one

With a Free and Accepted Mason.

Great Kings, Dukes, and Lords,

Have laid by their Swords,

This out Myst’ry to put a good Grace on,

And ne’er been asham’d

To hear themselves nam’d

With a Free or an Accepted Mason.

Antiquity’s Pride

We have on our Side,

It makes a Man Just in his Station;

There’s nought but what’s Good

To be understood

By a Free or an Accepted Mason.

Then Joyn Hand in Hand,

T’each other firm stand,

Let’s be merry, and put a bright Face on;

What Mortal can boast

So noble a Toast,

As a Free or an Accepted Mason?

First printed in Watt’s Musical Miscellany, 1730

The Goddess of Masonry

Goddess of Purity,

Spotless and rare;

Emblem of Charity

Unsullied, fair;

Symbol of Meekness—

Radiant, bright,

‘Minding the Brethren

Of realms of Light—

Strong in the knowledge

Virtuous might.

 

Symbol of Chasity,

Spirit of Bliss,

Coming to cheer us,

Through the abyss,

Token of faithfulness—

Be thou our guide;

Emblem of Hopefulness—

Keep by our side:

Help us and lead us o’er

Every dark tide!

Charles F Forshaw