Breaking the Silence

Dear Unknown Friend,

More than a year has passed since imposed my year and one day of silence. Today I break that silence. I’ve not come to any solid ideas on how or whether to continue using this forum. It has benefits, it has (the ability to expose my) risks.

In either case, I upgraded to the latest version of wordpress, and behold I’ll have to pull content out of archives to restore it here. I do apologize to any of you who hold an interest in my – how was it termed – bloviations.

Today I found myself thinking about an old observation of mine – the language of Grand Lodge Codes. I don’t purport any expertise in evaluating language or Grand Lodge Codes. However, I do have a concern about the language in some Grand Lodge codes – Negative focus.

By definition a Code communicates a set of moral and ethical expectations, and discloses the retribution for violations there of.

I invite you to review your Grand Lodge’s Code, and count the number of offenses it takes to loose a Lodge charter. Now count the number of ways to obtain a charter. Compare those numbers. I think you’ll find the number of ways to loose a charter greatly out numbers the ways to obtain one.

My point, I suspect you’ll find more effort is spent in the Code describing the ways to offend our common sense of morality than is spent on ways to support it.

My concern is the psychological impact of a governing document which focuses disproportionately on offenses to a moral code. What sort of world view is fostered by a society whose governance originates from a position that guides one to avoid offenses, instead of satisfying the expectation?

Just an observation, no conclusions or calls to action.

Masonry and Alchemy

Dear Unknown Friend,

Some thoughts, as I poke around a copy of the Register House Manuscript (1696) – documents from the 17th and 18th century clearly establish that many Speculative (perhaps even Accepted) Masons in Scotland (and the UK), believed a connection between Masonry with Rosicrucianism.

Rosicrucianism is a peculiarly protestant (and German) vein of hermeticism, itself being an amalgam of Olympic/alchemical/enochian/kabbalistic practices/philosophies, holding a particular reverence for alchemy. Alchemy has as its chief – and as of yet unattainable – aim the crafting of a stone, which possesses the power to transmute metals.

We as Masons, style ourselves workers in stone, having placed as the chief Craftsman of all time (note the participation in a Trinity), a mythic character whose work, was not primarily stone, but in alloys (transmuted metals): homogeneous mixtures of two elements, resulting in a substance with different properties from those of its components. Not unlike the rebis (two of one things).

The parallels are intriguing, if nothing else.

Recommend Reading:

Freemasonry: A History, Angel Millar.
The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century, 1590 to 1710, David Stevenson