Friday, June 30, 2006


Pilate asked the question "What is Truth?" and being incapable of knowing from within, he received no answer.

Christ Jesus said: "The Truth shall make you free," and Plato, with mystic intuition, said "God is Truth, and Light is His shadow." John said "God is Light," and as he was closer to the Master than the other disciples, he undoubtedly received teaching higher than the others were capable of receiving. We must remember that it matters not how much truth there may be, it is not for us unless we can receive it. Everyone may see the beauty of the numerous shades of light and color all about us, except those with the affliction of blindness. He who cannot perceive the world of color around him is poor indeed. So it is with Truth. Truth is everywhere, and can always be found if we are capable of perceiving it. In the exercises of the Rosicrucian Fellowship (Retrospection and concentration), we have been given a splendid means of coming in touch with Truth.

Plato and John said, "God is Light," and if we go to one of the great observatories, and with the best telescope made, look into space, we see that there is no boundary to light. It is everywhere, and with the symbol of light there expressed there comes the idea of omnipresence and magnitude of the God we worship. John, in the first five verses of his Gospel, says: "In the beginning was the Word," and therein we have a marvelous solution of the problem, for when we go back to the beginning, we are in the realm of Truth.

At the present time we have sunk into matter, and are incapable of coming into contact with that truth directly, but when we go back in thought to the beginning of things, then we are in thought with God and more capable of recognizing the Truth. Plato spoke of a time when "there was darkness." The Old Testament tells about darkness, that state of primordial matter, or "Arche," given form by God, the Grand Architect, the primordial Builder of the universe.

When we think of the One who built things in the beginning, we come into contact with Him, with God, in that "arche" in the first sentence of the five verses we take for meditation. In the next few words we come to the second proposition: the Word. The term "Word" is mistranslated in our present Bible, for it is not only "Word," but it is also the thought, the Greek word "Logos" used in that verse meaning both the word and the logical thought back of it. Before there can be a word, there must be a logical thought back of it. Before the word could come into existence, there had to be a thinker; therefore John used the words "in arche" and "Logos." They express what we wish to understand, that in the beginning there was a homogeneous mass of matter, and in that homogeneous matter was God; and God became the "Word," the rhythmic sound that goes out in the universe, and that shapes all things.

Farther on in the five verses is the statement: "in that was life." In the first place there was darkness; no vibration had been sent out into primordial matter, and there must of necessity have been darkness. But the first thing that comes into existence, we are told, is light, and light and sound are synonymous from the higher point of view. Some people, who are sensitive, never hear a sound without seeing a flash of light, and never see a flash of light without at the same time hearing a sound. So John writes mystically when he says "in the beginning"-in the primordial matter-"was God" and "God was the Word," and in that "was life," and the life became "the light of men."

There we have the abstract truth, as near as we can get it, of the whole problem of creation. Inside the human body there is that light shining unto this day, the light that shines in darkness, the light that is hidden by the veil of Isis, and all around us are Spirits dwelling in darkness, unless through the window of the soul the glories of the universe are revealed. Then we perceive God as light, everything good as light, and the opposite as darkness.

Light is not of one color, however, for there are seven Spirits before the Throne, each one being a light-bearer for a certain ray. Each one of us comes from one of the rays of light, and each one can better respond to one of the rays. Thus we each see Truth differently, and although we are all gradually moving toward the same source, which is God, we have, nevertheless, at different times, different viewpoints. Although we seem to be at variance one with another, yet in those five verses of John's Gospel is Truth: that we are all children of the light. Each one has within the divine spirit of light; each one is gradually learning to know that light, and with the help of the exercises, to express more of that light.

The mystic, as he sees the light of the morning dawn, looks upon it as the daily coming into his soul of the primordial Creative Fiat, "Let there be Light," and as the Light of day progresses and gradually wanes in the western sky, he sees in the glorious tapestry of the sunset a something beyond description by human tongue, a something that can be felt by the soul. If we let those five verses live within us, in the way they do in the mystic, we too, shall know the light, know the truth, as we know nothing else in the world.

We have all trodden the different paths of life at some time. At one time we have walked through Life under the martial ray, and have trodden its path of activity and passion, not caring who suffered or what became of others. In another life we came under the lighter ray of the Venusian color, and trod the path along the love side of life. Later still, the path of the deep blue, or Saturn Ray, and still later the path of the lighter blue or Jupiter Ray. So we all look forward toward the higher perception which comes from the yellow Uranian Ray, though most of us are not at present capable of receiving it, but must be content with the lower deeper yellow of the Mercury Ray. We are all working gradually toward the white light that comes from the Sun, which is the union of all color. To this we must aspire, for the light from any of the other rays is but secondary. From the great central Source come all things.

"And what about the darkness," someone asks, "is that evil?" No, there is nothing evil in God's universe. During the day we perceive by the light of the Sun the glories of this little Earth that swings in space, and perhaps if there were only light, we should perceive nothing beyond this Earth and remain ignorant that there is more than the Sun and Moon. But when night comes, and the glories of the day have faded, when the Sun no longer illumines the sky, we can realize, to a certain extent at least, the immensity of space. We can see worlds millions and millions of miles away, and the Spirit is incited to wonderful devotion, as we dwell upon the Truth that GOD IS ALL IN ALL.-Max Heindel.


ANSWER: We read in the earliest chapters of the Bible about the Fall in Eden, when man took the creative force into his own hands, used it ignorantly and thus sinned against the laws of nature. Propagation is a faculty of the vital body which is the shadow of the life spirit, the second aspect of the threefold spirit in man.

Cherubim are described as having been put on guard with a flaming sword when man was driven out from Eden, lest he eat of the Tree of Life and become immortal, for they are the great creative hierarchy which had charge over the earth in the Sun Period, when the vital body germinated and the life spirit was awakened.

Then commenced the long pilgrimage THROUGH THE WILDERNESS of matter, and the ark of the covenant was the symbol of man in this migratory phase of his existence. During the pilgrimage in the wilderness, the staves which were used to carry the ark were always left in their places to show that it had no abiding place, but when it came to the temple made without sound of hammer, the Temple of Solomon, its pilgrimage was ended, and the staves were removed.

In its character as a symbol of man the ark contained THE BOOK OF THE LAW, given to teach man right action. There was THE ROD OF AARON which budded, a wand of power, symbolizing the spiritual force latent in every man. This rod was a replica of the spear of Parsifal, which was an instrument of harm in the hands of Klingsor, the Black Magician, and likewise in the hands of the Roman soldier, but the pure and spiritual Parsifal used it to heal the wounds of Amfortas. The rod of Aaron had been used among the Egyptians to cause distress and sorrow, an was the HIDDEN WITHIN THE ARK, symbolical of the fact that man had at one time possessed and misused the spiritual power now hidden within.

There was the POT OF MANNA. This was not a food for the body as materialistically explained. The word manna is almost universal. In the Sanskrit we have "MANAS," THE THINKER. In German, the English, the Scandinavian languages, and in many others, we have the same word "MAN" to designate the thinker. The placing of the pot of manna within the ark commemorates the time when the Ego drew into the form it had built and became an INDWELLING individual spirit.

That was the "FALL" into material conditions, necessitating the generation of dense bodies. When man arrogated to himself the power to generate at any time, he was exiled from the Etheric Region lest he possess himself of the secret of vitalizing the imperfect bodies he generates and render evolution impossible.

It is stated in the first part of our answer, the Cherubim were the authors of our vital powers, so they must guard them until man is qualified to have control himself. Therefore they are said to have been placed at the garden of Eden with a Flaming Sword, and it is of the greatest significance that UPON THE DOORS to the Temple of Solomon there stood the Cherubim, holding in their hands no longer the Flaming Sword, but an open flower. The flower is the generative organ of the plant, which accomplishes the act of generation IN A PURE, PASSIONLESS MANNER, and when man has learned how to become pure and passionless so that each and every FORM is immaculately conceived, he can enter into the temple of God as the ark entered the Temple of Solomon, and he may REMAIN THERE, as signified by the removal of the staves, and as prophetically told in Revelation where the spirit said: "Him that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the House of God: THENCE HE SHALL NO MORE GO OUT."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006



ANSWER: Pythagoras spoke of the harmony of the spheres, and he did not use that expression simply as a poetical allusion. There is such a harmony. We are told by John that in the beginning was the word . . . and without it was nothing made that was made. That was the creative fiat which first started the world into being. The familiar experiment of placing sand upon a glass plate and creating geometrical figures by bowing the edge with a violin bow, illustrates the creative ability of sound. And we hear of celestial music, for from the point of the heaven World, everything is first created in terms of sound, which then molds concrete matter into the multitudinous forms which we see around us.

In the occultist's sphere of vision, the whole solar system is one vast musical instrument, spoken of in the Greek mythology as "the seven-stringed lyre of Apollo, the radiant Sun God." As there are twelve semi-tones in the chromatic scale, so we have in the heavens, twelve signs of the zodiac, and as we have the seven white keys or whole tones on the keyboard of the piano, we have seven planets. The signs of the zodiac may be said to be the sounding-board of the cosmic harp and the seven planets are the strings; they emit different sounds as they pass through the various signs, and therefore they influence mankind in diverse manner. Should the harmony fail for one single moment, should there be the slightest discord in that heavenly band, this whole universe as such must crumble. For music can destroy as well as build. This has been well proven by great musicians. For instance, the grandson of the immortal Felix Mendelssohn has for several years been experimenting with the power of sound in that direction. He has come to the conclusion that once we find the keynote of a building, bridge or other structure, we may raze that structure to the ground by sounding that not sufficiently loud and long. An illustration in point occurs to the writer:

"A few years ago a band of musicians were rehearsing near an old ruin outside the city of Heidelberg, Germany. At one point in their exercises they came to an extremely high pitched and long continued note, and as they sounded it the massive wall of the nearby ruin tumbled to the ground with a tremendous crash. They had struck the keynote of that wall and it fell." In view of these facts, our supercilious smiles of bygone days when listening to the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho are no longer in place. The sound of the ram's horn undoubtedly struck the keynote of those walls which had been much sensitized by the rhythmic tramp of his army in preparation for this final climax. The rhythmic tramp of many feet will destroy any bridge, and therefore soldiers are instructed to break step when crossing a bridge. So that we may say in answer to the question that every plant gives out a certain keynote which is the sum total of all the noises upon it, blended and harmonized by the indwelling Planetary Spirit. That sound can be heard by the spirit ear. As Goethe says:

"The sun intones his ancient song

Mid rival chant of brother spheres;

His prescribed course he speeds along

In thunderous way, throughout the years."

This, from the first part of Faust, the prologue in heaven. And also in the second part of Faust, spirits of air greet the rising sun with the words:

"Sound unto the spirit ear proclaims the new born day

is here;

Rocky gates are creaking, rattling,

Phoebus' wheels are rolling, singing--

What sound intense the light is bringing."

Monday, June 26, 2006


First of all we shall study the seven-fold nature of man according to the Masonic teaching. We shall consider the whole nature of man as he confronts us; we shall learn to understand the nature of the physical body, which everyone thinks he knows all about but in reality knows nothing. As little as we can see the oxygen in water but must separate it from the hydrogen in order to recognise it, as little do we see the real physical human being when we look at another man standing before us. Man is a combination of physical body, etheric body, astral body and the other higher members of his being, as water is a combination of oxygen and hydrogen. The being who stands before us is the sum total of all these members! If we are to see the physical body alone, the astral body must have separated from it: this is the condition in dreamless sleep. Sleep is a kind of higher chemical separation of the astral body with the higher members of man's nature, from the etheric and physical bodies. But even then it cannot be said that we have the real physical body before us. The physical body is alone only at death, when the etheric body too has left it.
This has a direct and concrete bearing. I will make it clear to you by means of an example. Think of some particular part of the astral body. In the remote past, the pictures which the human being perceived in dim, shadowy clairvoyance, worked very differently than do mental images today. These pictures were impressed, first of all, into the astral body. Let us suppose that at one time pictures of the three dimensions of space — length, breadth, and depth — were impressed into the astral body. This picture of three-dimensional space which was once impressed into the astral body through the old, dim clairvoyance was carried over into the etheric body. Just as a seal is pressed into liquid sealing wax, so did the astral picture impress itself into the etheric body and this in turn moulded the forms of the physical body. Thus the picture of three-dimensional space built an organ in a particular area of the physical body. Originally there was a picture in the astral body of the three perpendicular directions of space; this picture impressed itself, like a seal into wax, into the etheric body and a certain part of the etheric body moulded an organ in the interior of the human ear, namely, the three semi-circular canals. You all have them within you; if they are in any way impaired you cannot orientate yourself within the three directions of space; you get giddy and cannot stand upright. Thus are the pictures of the astral body connected with the forces of the etheric body and the organs of the physical body.
The whole physical body of man in its plastic forms is nothing else than a product of the pictures of the astral body and the forces of the etheric body. Hence those who have no knowledge of the astral and etheric bodies cannot understand the physical body. The astral body is the predecessor of the etheric body and the etheric body is the predecessor of the physical body. Thus the matter is complicated. The three semi-circular canals are a physical organ, just as is the nose. All noses differ from one another although there may be resemblance between the noses of parents and children. If you were able to study the three semicircular canals in the ears of human beings, you would find difference and resemblance just as in the case of noses, for these canals may resemble those of the mother or father. What is not inherited is the innermost spiritual core of being, the Eternal in man which passes through the successive incarnations. Individual talents and faculties are not determined by the brain. Logic is the same in mathematics, in philosophy, or in practical life. The difference in the quality of the faculties becomes apparent only when logic is applied in domains where knowledge depends, for instance, upon the functioning of the semi-circular organs in the ear. Mathematical talent will be particularly marked when these organs are highly developed. An example of this is the Bernoulli family, which produced a succession of fine mathematicians. An individual may possess great incipient talent for music or some other art, but if he is not born into a human body that has inherited the requisite organic structures, he cannot bring these talents to expression.
So you see, the physical world cannot be understood without knowledge of how it is constituted. The Free-Mason does not consider it his task to withdraw in any way from the physical world. Certainly not! For what he has to do is to spiritualise the physical world. He must rise to the highest regions of spiritual life and with the knowledge there obtained labour actively in the physical world, especially in the world of men.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Testament of Solomon

The Testament of Solomon

The chosen servants of God, priests and faithful men, I excite unto desires for wicked sins, and evil heresies, and lawless deeds and sodomy


(translated from the codex of the Paris Library, after the edition of Fleck, Wissensch. Reise, bd. ii. abth. 3)

Greek title:--

1. Testament of Solomon, son of David, who was king in Jerusalem, and mastered and controlled all spirits of the air, on the earth, and under the earth.

By means of them also he wrought all the transcendent works of he Temple. Telling also of the authorities they wield against men, and by what angels these demons are brought to naught. Of the sage Solomon. Blessed art thou, O Lord God, who didst give Solomon such authority. Glory to thee and might unto the ages. Amen.

2. And behold, when the Temple of the city of Jerusalem was being builded, and the artificers were working thereat, Ornias the demon came among them toward sunset; and he took away half of the pay of the chief-deviser's (?) little boy, as well as half his food. {16} He also continued to suck the thumb of his right hand every day. And the child grew thin, although he was very much loved by the king.

3. So King Solomon called the boy one day, and questioned him, saying: "Do I not love thee more than all the artisans who are working in the Temple of God? Do I not give thee double wages and a double supply of food? How is it that day by day and hour bt hour thow growest thinner?"

4. But the child said to the king: "I pray thee, O king. Listen to what has befallen all that thy child hath. After we are all released from our work on the Temple of God, after sunset, when I lie down to rest, one of the evil demons comes and takes away from me one half of my pay and one half of my food.

Then he also takes hold of my right hand and sucks my thumb. And lo, my soul is opressed, and so my body waxes thinner every day."

5. Now when I Solomon heard this, I entered the Temple of God, and prayed with all my soul, night and day, that the demon might be delivered into my hands, and that I might gain authority over him. And it came about through my prayer that grace was given to me from the Lord Sabaoth by Michael his archangel. {He brought me} a little ring, having a seal consisting of an engraved stone, and said to me: "Take, O Solomon, king, son of David, the gift which the Lord God has sent thee, the highest Sabaoth. With it thou shalt lock up all demons of the earth, male and female; and with their help thou shalt build up Jerusalem. {But} thou {must} wear this seal of God. And this engraving of the seal of the ring sent thee is a Pentalpha."

Demons appearing before King Solomon from Das Buch Belial, reproduced in Witchcraft, Magic & Alchemy by Grillot de Givry (Dover reprint, 1971); Resource

6. And I Solomon was overjoyed, and praised and glorified the God of heaven and earth. And on the morrow I called the boy, and gave him the ring, and said to him: "take this, and at the hour in which the demon shall come unto thee, throw this ring at the chest of the demon, and say to him: 'In the name of God, King Solomon calls thee hither.' And then do thou come running to me, without having any misgivings or fear in respect of aught thou mayest hear on the part of the demon."

7. So the child took the ring, and went off; and behold, at the {17} customary hour Ornias, the fierce demon, came like a burning fire to take the pay from the child. But the child according to the instructions received from the king, threw the ring at the chest of the demon, and said: "King Solomon calls thee hither." And then he went off at a run to the king. But the demon cried out aloud, saying: "Child, why hast thou done this to me? Take the ring off me, and I will render to thee the gold of the earth. Only take this off me, and forbear to lead me away to Solomon."

8. But the child said to the demon: "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, I will not brook thee. So come hither." And the child came at a run, rejoicing, to the king, and said: "I have brought the demon, O king, as thou didst command me, O my master. And behold, he stands before the gates of the court of thy palace, crying out, and supplicating with a loud voice; offering me the silver and gold of the earth if I will only bring him unto thee."

9. And when Solomon heard this, he rose up from his throne, and went outside into the vestibule of the court of his palace; and there he saw the demon, shuddering and trembling. And he said to him: "Who art thou?" And the demon answered: "I am called Ornias."

10. And Solomon said to him: "Tell me, O demon, to what zodiacal sign thou art subject." And he answered: "To thw Water-pourer. And those who are consumed with desire for the noble virgins upon earth . . . . . {there appears to be a lacuna here}, these I strangle.

But in case there is no disposition to sleep, I am changed into three forms. Whenever men come to be enamoured of women, I metamorphose myself into a comely female;

and I take hold of the men in their sleep, and play with them.

And after a while I again take to my wings, and hie me to the heavenly regions. I also appear as a lion, and I am commanded by all the demons. I am offspring of the archangel Uriel, the power of God."

11. I Solomon, having heard the name of the archangel, prayed and glorified God, the Lord of heaven and earth. And I sealed the {18} demon and set him to work at stone-cutting, so that he might cut the stones in the Temple, which, lying along the shore, had been brought by the Sea of Arabia. But he, fearful of the iron, continued and said to me: "I pray thee, King Solomon, let me go free; and I will bring you all the demons." And as he was not willing to be subject to me, I prayed the archangel Uriel to come and succour me; and I forthwith beheld the archangel Uriel coming down to me from the heavens.

12. And the angel bade the whales of the sea come out of the abyss. And he cast his destiny upon the ground, and that {destiny} made subject {to him} the great demon. And he commanded the great demon and bold Ornias, to cut stones at the Temple. And accordingly I Solomon glorified the God of heaven and Maker of the earth. And he bade Ornias come with his destiny, and gave him the seal, saying: "Away with thee, and bring me hither the prince of all the demons."

13. So Ornias took the finger-ring, and went off to Beelzeboul, who has kingship over the demons. He said to him: "Hither! Solomon calls thee." But Beelzeboul, having heard, said to him: "Tell me, who is this Solomon of whom thou speakest to me?"

Then Ornias threw the ring at the chest of Beelzeboul, saying: "Solomon the king calls thee." But Beelzeboul cried aloud with a mighty voice, and shot out a great burning flame of fire; and he arose, and followed Ornias, and came to Solomon.

14. And when I saw the prince of demons, I glorified the Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, and I said: "Blessed art thou, Lord God Almighty, who hast given to Solomon thy servant wisdom, the assessor of the wise, and hast subjected unto me all the power of he devil."

15. And I questioned him, and said: "Who art thou?" The demon replied: "I am Beelzebub, the exarch of the demons.

And all {19} the demons have their chief seats close to me. And I it is who make manifest the apparition of each demon." And he promised to bring to me in bonds all the unclean spirits. And I again glorified the God of heaven and earth, as I do always give thanks to him.

16. I then asked of the demon if there were females among them. And when he told me that there were, I said that I desired to see them.

So Beelzeboul went off at high speed, and brought unto me Onoskelis, that had a very pretty shape, and the skin of a fair-hued woman; and she tossed her head.

Onoskelis (Greek: "she with the ass's legs") was a female demon with a beautiful form.

The name is usually associated with the hobgoblin, Empusa, who was able to assume various shapes, however in this case, she is a satyra (female satyr). Onoskelis described her purpose as follows:

17. And when she was come, I said to her: "Tell me who art thou?'' But she said to me: "I am called Onoskelis, a spirit wrought ...{shabtai/Saturn}, lurking upon the earth. There is a golden cave where I lie. But I have a place that ever shifts. At one time I strangle men with a noose; at another, I creep up from the nature to the arms {in marg: "worms"}. But my most frequent dwelling-places are the precipices, caves, ravines.

Oftentimes, however, do I consort with men in the semblance of a woman,

and above all with those of a dark skin. For they share my star with me;

since they it is who privily or openly worship my star,

without knowing that they harm themselves, and but whet my appetite for further mischief.

For they wish to provide money by means of memory (commemoration?), but I supply a little to those who worship me fairly."

Onoskelis then describes that she was created

18. And I Solomon questioned her about her birth, and she replied: "I was born of a voice untimely, the so-called echo of a man's ordure {1} dropped in a wood."

{1. For the demon born of an echo we have an analogue in the Hebrew Bath Kol, "the daughter of a voice." In the Gnostic Hymn to Hermes, edited by Dieterich, Abrasax, p 19, we read, l. 104...}

19. And I said to her: "Under what star dost thou pass?" And she answered me: "Under the star of the full moon, for the reason that the moon travels over most things." Then I said to her: "And {20} what angel is it that frustrates thee?" And she said to me: "He that in thee {or "through thee"} is reigning." And I thought that she mocked me, and bade a soldier strike her. But she cried aloud, and said: "I am {subjected} to thee, O king, by the wisdom of God given to thee, and by the angel Joel."

and that she travels by the full moon. Solomon commanded her to spin hemp to construct the ropes used for the Temple.

20. So I commanded her to spin the hemp for the ropes used in the building of the house of God; and accordingly, when I had sealed and bound her, she was so overcome and brought to naught as to stand night and day spinning the hemp.

21. And I at once bade another demon to be led unto me; and instantly there approached me the demon Asmodeus, bound, and I asked him: "Who art thou ?'' But he shot on me a glance of anger and rage, and said: "And who art thou?'' And I said to him: "Thus punished as thou art, answerest thou me?" But he, with rage, said to me: "But how shall I answer thee, for thou art a son of man; whereas I was born an angel's seed by a daughter of man, so that no word of our heavenly kind addressed to the earth-born can be overweening. Wherefore also my star is bright in heaven, and men call it, some the Wain, and some the dragon's child. I keep near unto this star. So ask me not many things; for thy kingdom also after a little time is to be disrupted, and thy glory is but for a season. And short will be thy tyranny over us; and then we shall again have free range over mankind, so as that they shall revere us as if we were gods, not knowing, men that they are, the names of the angels set over us."

22. And I Solomon, on hearing this, bound him more carefully, and ordered him to be flogged with thongs of ox-hide, and to tell me humbly what was his name and what his business. And he answered me thus: "I am called Asmodeus among mortals, and my business is to plot against the newly wedded, so that they may not know one another. And I sever them utterly by many calamities, and I waste away the beauty of virgin women, and estrange their hearts."

23. And I said to him: "Is this thy only business?" And he answered me: "I transport men into fits of madness and desire, when they have wives of their own, so that they leave them, and go off by {21} night and day to others that belong to other men; with the result that they commit sin, and fall into murderous deeds."

24. And I adjured him by the name of the Lord SabaƓth, saying: "Fear God, Asmodeus, and tell me by what angel thou art frustrated." But he said: "By Raphael, the archangel that stands before the throne of God. But the liver and gall of a fish put me to flight, when smoked over ashes of the tamarisk." I again asked him, and said: "Hide not aught from me.

For I am Solomon, son of David, King of Israel. Tell me the name of the fish which thou reverest." And he answered: "It is the Glanos by name, and is found in the rivers of Assyria; wherefore it is that I roam about in those parts."

part I

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Masonic Witchhunts


by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
"A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry"

As we all know, a Masonic Lodge is supposed to be an honorable institution where Brothers are equal and enjoy harmony. Unfortunately, the harmony can be disrupted when two or more Brothers don't see eye-to-eye on something. Theoretically we are supposed to respect the opinions of all Brothers, right or wrong, and let it go at that. Basically, we agree to disagree. But it is sad when Brothers use the fraternity to push their own agenda and besmirch the character of anyone opposing them.

When I was Worshipful Master of my Lodge a few years ago I was often challenged by my antagonists in the Lodge. I resisted the temptation to lower myself to the level of my detractors and endeavored to rule and govern the Lodge fairly. Whereas I could have dealt with them harshly, the worst I ever did was gaveled one of them to sit down during a lengthy discussion (which occurred only once).

Thanks to my business, I have been fortunate to see quite a bit of the world, meet a lot of people, and have dealt with a lot of corporations. A lot of people haven't had such experiences and, as such, when they become head of a nonprofit group, such as a Worshipful Master, it represents the pinnacle of their career. And because of this, they become inebriated with power. As I tell all incoming Worshipful Masters, Masonry is a volunteer organization. The Master is a benevolent dictator who should be mindful of his constituency. It is a privilege to sit in the East, not a right. Without the support of the Craft, nothing will happen, regardless of how power hungry you might be. Nonetheless, not everyone shares my view on this and often use their term of office as a reign of terror. I have seen more and more of this happening recently in the fraternity. For example, what happened to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota over their recognition of the Grand Lodge of France a few years ago can best be described as "dirty-pool." The facts were not accurately reported and the officers of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota castigated.

There have also been recent reports in other Grand jurisdictions where the Grand Lodge officers have used their office to bully their constituents, and to expel or suspend members over trumped-up charges without the benefit of a Masonic trial. This is not Freemasonry as I understand it. I have also seen Worshipful Masters and other Brothers from craft lodges suspended due to political paybacks or because someone simply didn't like the person. Its pretty scary when we see Brothers digging up dirt on other Brothers, back stabbing, fabricating distortions of the truth, and twisting the interpretation of our rules to suit our personal needs,

Freemasonry is a multicultural, multi-denomination institution, with Brothers who possess a wide variety of personal and professional interests and who live under different socioeconomic conditions. It should therefore come as no surprise that we won't always love all of our Brothers. However, we should respect their right to exist and treat them with the same dignity we afford all Masons, in a uniform manner. This fraternity, which was founded on some rather sound fraternal principles should prohibit such "witch hunts" from occurring. Anything less is sheer hypocrisy. Freemasonry is not a place for character assassination or to conduct some personal vendetta. It only tarnishes our credibility as a noble institution.

How often have you heard someone say about a person being elected to Master, "Well, its only for one year."? A lot can happen in one year. Reputations can be ruined, Brothers can be suspended or expelled, and life in general can be made miserable. This is why I still have a problem with the manner by which we elect our officers. I am most definitely not a fan of people "rotating through the chairs." Instead, we should allow nominations and be allowed to ask about the candidate's qualifications and motivation for seeking an office.

As the fraternity struggles with membership and finances, I would remind you that now is not the time for alienation or estrangement, but rather how we can best work together as a cohesive unit. We need more Freemasonry and less Masonic Mafia tactics. Finally, I have only one suggestion for those who believe in political domination and control over a nonprofit organization: "Get a life." -

Keep the Faith.

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