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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

THE BEEHIVE: A MIGRATION OF MYTH - Bro. P.D. Newman, 32°

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THE BEEHIVE: A MIGRATION OF MYTH


Bro. P.D. Newman, 32°
Valley of Corinth, Orient of MS


The flies seek filth: the bees seek honey.
 I shun the habits of the flies, and follow that of the bees.[1]

   Throughout a Mason’s career, he is confronted with a multitude of different symbols and allegories in numerous different Degrees and Rites. Among the many symbols presented to the attention of the Candidate upon his being Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason is that of the beehive. This, he is told, “is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings[2]…” But, as we shall see, legends surrounding the symbol of the beehive, as well as its cognates such as honey and the bee itself, are not only numerous throughout history but are also widespread among a number of diverse cultures.

   In describing the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, France, during its occupation by the emperor Napoleon, historian Benjamin Winkles observes that “[t]he throne occupied the whole breadth of the nave of the church, and was ascended by twenty-four steps, covered with carpets, the pattern of which was strewn with bees. On the steps were placed benches for the marshals, ministers, and officers of the household, covered with blue velvet, embroidered with golden bees. The emperor’s seat on the throne was elevated under a canopy of crimson velvet, embroidered with golden bees.” Commenting on this fact, Manly P. Hall adds in his The Secret Teachings of All Ages that “[a]t one time the bee was the emblem of the French kings. The rulers of France wore robes embroidered with bees, and the canopies of their thrones were decorated with gigantic figures of these insects.” He tells us further that “[t]he bee was used as a symbol of royalty by the immortal Charlemagne, and it is probable that the fleur-de-lis, or lily of France, is merely a conventionalized bee and not a flower.”[3]

   The ancient Greeks called bees the Birds of the Muses and held that Zeus, the King of the Gods, was raised by the nymph Melissa who fed him on a steady diet of honey as opposed to milk. The name Melissa literally means honey bee, and was bestowed upon all of the nymphs who took part in nursing the deity.  In other areas surrounding the Mediterranean, it was believed that bees were produced magically and spontaneously from the carcasses of rotting bulls. In his poem Fasti, Ovid recounts the story of Aristaeus from the Geoponica, an ancient book of agricultural folklore, which tells of a young shepherd who, after witnessing the total destruction of his hives, asks of a local wizard how he might recover his loss. “Kill a heifer” the wizard tells him, “and bury its carcass in the earth. The buried heifer will give the thing thou seekest of me.” Ovid goes on to assure his reader that “[t]he shepherd did [the wizard’s] bidding: swarms of bees hive out of the putrid beef...”


   A similar motif can be found in the literature of the ancient Hebrews regarding the Biblical Samson. In chapter 14 of The Book of Judges we learn of Samson’s violent run in with a “young lion” which Samson impressively “rent[…]as he would have rent a kid.” Coming across the carcass at a later date, as we are told in verse 8 of the chapter of the same, Samson “turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of [it].” Thus, while the decomposing animal may have changed from a heifer to that of a lion, we see that the curious association of bees and honey with a rotting carcass is by no means unique to the shores of the Mediterranean.

   Another example can be found in Angelo de Gubernatis’ exhaustive Zoological Mythology. Quoting from the works of Porphyrios, Gubernatis says that “the moon was also called a bee….[A]s the moon is the culminating point of the constellation of the bull[1], it is believed that bees are born in the bull’s carcass. Hence the name of bougeneis[2] given by the ancients to bees.” Gubernatis goes on to point out that “[s]ometimes, instead of the lunar bull we find the solar lion[3]; and the lion in connection with bees occurred in the mysteries of Mithras.”

  In the words of Albert Pike, Mithras is “[t]he Sun, the Archimagus, that noblest and most powerful agent of divine power…” The Mysteries of Mithras were celebrated in Rome from the first to the fourth centuries and entailed, like Masonry, the progressive ascent of a hierarchical ladder of initiation[4]. Archaeologist Franz Valery-Marie Cumont explains in his The Mysteries of Mithra that upon reaching a certain level of attainment, the initiate of the mysteries then came to be known as a ‘Lion,’ at which point, Cumont says, “honey was poured on his hands and applied to his tongue, as was the case with new-born children.”

   Thomas D. Worrel, in his talk The Symbolism of the Beehive and the Bee which he delivered to Mill Valley Masonic Lodge in 2000, observed that “[i]n Hindu myth and iconography, the bee surmounting a triangle is a symbol of Shiva. Sometimes we see a blue bee on the forehead of Krishna, as the avatar of Vishnu. Kama, the god of love, like Cupid has a bow and arrows, and the bow string is made up of bees. In the yogic doctrine, where each chakra emits a different sound in meditation, the lowest chakra (muldhahara) emits a hum likened in the writings to a bumblebee. Note that the first chakra represents our strongest bond to the material world and Eros or Cupid in Greek philosophy is the natural impelling force towards sensual objects.” Turning again to the work of Manly P. Hall, we read the following: “In India the god Prana – the personification of the universal life force – is sometimes shown surrounded by a circle of bees.” He later asserts that “[b]ecause of its importance in pollenizing flowers, the bee is the accepted symbol of the generative power.”

   The mystique of the honey bee has often led to its description as being an insect of otherworldly virtues. The ancient Egyptians, for example, believed that bees originated from a tear in the eye of the sun god. Similarly, the Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen says in her monumental Physica, one of the earliest works on medicine in the West, that “[t]he honey bee is from the heat of the sun.” Manly P. Hall tells us that “[t]he bee is sacred to the goddess Venus [which], according to mystics, it is one of several forms of life which came to earth from the planet Venus millions of years ago,” and to quote once again from Angelo de Gubernatis, ”[t]he souls of the dead were supposed to come down from the moon upon the earth in the form of bees.”

  Lastly, in his Curiosities of Literature, Isaac D’Isreali recounts a story from the Jewish Talmud regarding the mysterious Queen Sheba who, “attracted by the splendor of his reputation, visited [Solomon] at his own court; there, one day to exercise the sagacity of the monarch, Sheba presented herself at the foot of the throne; in each hand she held a wreath; the one was composed of natural, and the other of artificial flowers. Art, in the labor if the mimetic wreath, has exquisitely imitated the lively hues of nature; so that at the distance it was held by the queen for the inspection of the king, it was deemed impossible for him to decide, which wreath was the production of nature, and which the work of art.” Following a moment of admitted perplexity, Solomon, “[o]bserving a cluster of bees hovering about a window,[…]commanded that it should be opened: it was opened; the bees rushed into the court, and alighted immediately on one of the wreaths, while not a single one fixed on the other.” Solomon also happens to be the alleged author of the Old Testament Book of Proverbs, wherein we are cryptically told that “wisdom is like honey...”

   Thus we see the emphasis that has come to be laid upon the beehive and its cognate symbols, bees and honey, throughout history and across cultures. Given the extraordinary characteristics attributed to these remarkable insects, it is no surprise that the beehive has also been a persistent and integral icon within the symbolism of the Craft. It is hoped that, whether these diligent creatures speak something to us of our own sense of industry, royalty, immortality or wisdom, they will speak nevertheless. For, the buzz of the hive resounds ever within the heart of every Master Mason, and the utterances thereof, if he but lend an ear to its incessant hum, shall be to him as honey from the comb, both rich and sweet.



[1] Hindu monastic vow
[2] For a consideration of the concept of the drone as it is understood in Masonry, refer to Bro. Shawn Eyer’s The Beehive & the Stock of Knowledge.
[3] This theory was first popularized by Hargrave Jennings in his enigmatic yet influential The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries.


[1] Taurus, the sign in which the moon is exalted according to classical astrology
[2] meaning ‘bull-born’
[3] Leo, which in classical astrology is ruled by the sun
[4] The similarities between Freemasonry and the Mithraic Mysteries were explored by William Wynn Westcott in his paper Resemblances in Freemasonry to Mithra.



REFERENCES
Berube, Conrad. The Bee-Riddled Carcass
Cumont, Franz Valery-Marie. The Mysteries of Mithra
De Gubernatis, Angelo. Zoological Mythology
D’Israeli, Isaac. Curiosities of Literature
Duncan’s Ritual of Freemasonry
Eyer, Shawn. The Beehive & the Stock of Knowledge
Hall, Manly P. The Secret Teachings of All Ages
Jennings, Hargrave. The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries
Ovid. Fasti
Pike, Albert. Morals and Dogma: Annotated Edition
Prabhavananda, Swami. How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali
Ransome, Hilda M. The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore
The Holy Bible: Master Mason Edition
Von Bingen, Hildegard. Physica
Winkles, Benjamin. French Cathedrals
Worrel, Thomas D. The Symbolism of the Beehive and the Bee


This article can be found in the upcoming Feb 2012 issue of "The Working Tools Masonic Magazine", where this content was originally published.



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Monday, January 30, 2012

York Rite - Education (definition)

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The York Rite or American Rite is one of several Rites of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. The York Rite specifically is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies and associated Degrees that would otherwise operate independently. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are theChapter of Royal Arch MasonsCouncil of Royal & Select Masters or Council of Cryptic Masons, and the Knights Templar, each of which are governed independently but are all considered to be a part of the York Rite. There are also other organizations that are considered to be directly associated with the York Rite, or require York Rite membership to join such as the York Rite Sovereign College but in general the York Rite is considered to be made up of the aforementioned three. The Rite's name is derived from the city of York, where, according to a Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place, although only the lectures of the York Rite Sovereign College make reference to that legend.

The York Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join to further his knowledge of Freemasonry. But the York Rite is not found as a single system world wide, and outside of the York Rite there are often significant differences in ritual, as well as organization. However in most cases provided that the Grand Body in question regards the parent "Craft" jurisdiction as regular, each distinct Order has recognised fraternal inter-relations with the respective Grand Body within the York system.

Contents

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York Rite Bodies


Since the York Rite is actually a grouping of separate organizations joined in order, each body operates with relative autonomy. And though they are referred to as one rite it is common for individuals to be member of some bodies and not others. For example in many jurisdictions Cryptic Masonry can be skipped allowing the person to be a member of just the Royal Arch and Knights Templar. It is also common for non-Christians to join only the Royal Arch and Council of Royal & Select Masters as the Knights Templar require members to be of the Christian faith. But no matter what the Royal Arch is always required and membership in that body must be kept in order to maintain membership in the other two bodies.


Part of a series of articles on
Freemasonry
Freemason
Core Articles
History



Note: Please read Blog Participation Requested - Announcement - Education",  which explains and describes the purpose of this series of topics. This post does not make a statement "for" the following content and does not make claim that it has a direct relation to Freemasonry. It is for educational purposes only! All credit given to for content obtained from Wikipediathe free encyclopedia.


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scottish Rite - Education (definition)

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The Double headed eagle.
(The symbol most commonly associated with the Scottish Rite)
Part of a series of articles on
Freemasonry
Freemason
Core Articles
History
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in the United States often omits the and), commonly known as simply the Scottish Rite, is one of several Rites of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. In the Scottish Rite the central authority is called a Supreme Council.The thirty-three degrees of the Scottish Rite are conferred by several controlling bodies. The first of these is the Craft Lodge which confers the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees. Craft lodges operate under the authority of Grand Lodges, not the Scottish Rite. Although most lodges throughout the English-speaking world do not confer the Scottish Rite versions of the first three degrees, there are a handful of lodges in New Orleans and in several other major cities that have traditionally conferred the Scottish Rite version of these degrees.[1][2]
The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. InEngland and some other countries, while the Scottish Rite is not accorded official recognition by the Grand Lodge, there is no prohibition against a Freemason electing to join it. In the United States, however, the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the craft lodge, or Blue Lodge, through dramatic presentation of the individual degrees.
HISTORY
There are records of lodges conferring the degree of "Scots Master" or "Scotch Master" as early as 1733. A lodge at Temple Bar in London is the earliest such lodge on record. Other lodges include a lodge at Bath in 1735, and the French lodge, St. George de l'Observance No. 49 at Covent Garden in 1736. The references to these few occasions indicate that these were special meetings held for the purpose of performing unusual ceremonies, probably by visiting Freemasons.[3]




Note: Please read Blog Participation Requested - Announcement - Education",  which explains and describes the purpose of this series of topics. This post does not make a statement "for" the following content and does not make claim that it has a direct relation to Freemasonry. It is for educational purposes only! All credit given to for content obtained from Wikipediathe free encyclopedia.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Famous Quote - Ronald Reagan

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“Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the sensen perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society.  And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.”  *Ronald Reagan*


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Freemasonry - Education (definition)

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The Masonic Square and Compasses.
(Found with or without the letter G)
Part of a series of articles on
Freemasonry
Freemason
Core Articles
History
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge of Scotland andGrand Lodge of Ireland, over a quarter of a million under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England[1] and just under two million in the United States.[2]
The fraternity is administratively organised into independent Grand Lodges or sometimes Orients, each of which governs its own jurisdiction, which consists of subordinate (or constituent) Lodges. The various Grand Lodges recognise each other, or not, based upon adherence to landmarks (a Grand Lodge will usually deem other Grand Lodges who share common landmarks to be regular, and those that do not to be "irregular" or "clandestine").
There are also appendant bodies, which are organisations related to the main branch of Freemasonry, but with their own independent administration.


Goose and Gridiron, where the Grand Lodge of England was founded
The origins and early development of Freemasonry are a matter of some debate and conjecture. A poem known as the "Regius Manuscript" has been dated to approximately 1390 and is the oldest known Masonic text.[3] There is evidence to suggest that there were Masonic lodges in existence in Scotland as early as the late 16th century[4] (for example the Lodge at Kilwinning, Scotland, has records that date to the late 16th century, and is mentioned in the SecondSchaw Statutes (1599) which specified that "ye warden of ye lug of Kilwynning [...] tak tryall of ye airt of memorie and science yrof, of everie fellowe of craft and everie prenteiss according to ayr of yr vocations").[5] There are clear references to the existence of lodges in England by the mid-17th century.[6]
The first Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of England (GLE), was founded on 24 June 1717, when four existing London Lodges met for a joint dinner. This rapidly expanded into a regulatory body, which most English Lodges joined. However, a few lodges resented some of the modernisations that GLE endorsed, such as the creation of the Third Degree, and formed a rival Grand Lodge on 17 July 1751, which they called the "Antient Grand Lodge of England." The two competing Grand Lodges vied for supremacy – the "Moderns" (GLE) and the "Antients" (or "Ancients") – until they united on 25 November 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).[7]
The Grand Lodge of Ireland and The Grand Lodge of Scotland were formed in 1725 and 1736 respectively. Freemasonry was exported to the British Colonies in North America by the 1730s – with both the "Antients" and the "Moderns" (as well as the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland) chartering offspring, or "daughter," Lodges, and organising various Provincial Grand Lodges. After the American Revolution, independent U.S. Grand Lodges formed themselves within each state. Some thought was briefly given to organising an over-arching "Grand Lodge of the United States," with George Washington (who was a member of a Virginian lodge) as the first Grand Master, but the idea was short-lived. The various state Grand Lodges did not wish to diminish their own authority by agreeing to such a body.[8]
Although there are no real differences in the Freemasonry practised by lodges chartered by the Antients or the Moderns, the remnants of this division can still be seen in the names of most Lodges, F.& A.M. being Free and Accepted Masons and A.F.& A.M. being Antient Free and Accepted Masons.
HISTORY

View of room at the Masonic Hall, Bury St EdmundsSuffolkEngland, early 20th century
The oldest jurisdiction on the continent of Europe, the Grand Orient de France (GOdF), was founded in 1733.[9] However, most English-speaking jurisdictions cut formal relations with the GOdF around 1877, when (following the Lausanne Congress of 1875) the GOdF removed the requirement that its members have a belief in a Deity. The Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF)[10] is currently the only French Grand Lodge that is in regular amity with the UGLE and its many concordant jurisdictions worldwide.
Due to the above history, Freemasonry is often said to consist of two branches not in mutual regular amity:
  • the UGLE and concordant tradition of jurisdictions (mostly termed Grand Lodges) in amity, and
  • the GOdF, European Continental, tradition of jurisdictions (often termed Grand Orients) in amity.
In most Latin countries, the GOdF-style of European Continental Freemasonry predominates,[citation needed] although in most of these Latin countries there are also Grand Lodges that are in regular amity with the UGLE and the worldwide community of Grand Lodges that share regular "fraternal relations" with the UGLE. The rest of the world, accounting for the bulk of Freemasonry, tends to follow more closely to the UGLE style, although minor variations exist.
MASONIC LODGES
A Lodge (often termed a Private Lodge or Constituent Lodge in Masonic constitutions) is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. Every new Lodge must have a Warrant or Charter issued by a Grand Lodge, authorising it to meet and work. Except for the very few "time immemorial" Lodges pre-dating the formation of a Grand Lodge, masons who meet as a Lodge without displaying this document (for example, in prisoner-of-war camps) are deemed "Clandestine" and irregular.
A Lodge must hold regular meetings at a fixed place and published dates. It will elect, initiate and promote its members and officers; it will build up and manage its property and assets, including its minutes and records; and it may own, occupy or share its premises. Like any organisation, it will have formal business to manage its meetings and proceedings, annual general meetings andcommitteescharity funds, correspondence and reports, membership and subscriptions, accounts and tax returns, special events and catering, and so forth. The balance of activities is individual to each Lodge, and under their common constitutions and forms of procedure, Lodges evolve very distinctive traditions.
A man can only be initiated, or made a Mason, in a Lodge, of which he may often remain a subscribing member for life. A Master Mason can generally visit any Lodge meeting under any jurisdiction in amity with his own, and as well as the formal meeting, a Lodge may well offer hospitality. A visitor should first check the regularity of that Lodge, and must be able to satisfy that Lodge of his own regularity; and he may be refused admission if adjudged likely to disrupt the harmony of the Lodge. If he wishes to visit the same Lodge repeatedly, he may be expected to join it and pay a subscription.

This plaque commemorates a 'formal' fraternal visit by NIRMAS, the Masonic association for members of the Royal Australian Navy, that originally started at the Apprentice Training Base, HMAS Nirimba, hence the name. The plaque is styled after the ship's badge for the Navy. The visit was to Lodge GundagaiUnited, No.25.
Most Lodges consist of Freemasons living or working within a given town or neighbourhood. Other Lodges are composed of Masons with a particular shared interest, profession or background. Shared schoolsuniversitiesmilitary units, Masonic appointments or degrees, arts, professions and hobbies have all been the qualifications for such Lodges. In some Lodges, the foundation and name may now be only of historic interest, as over time the membership evolves beyond that envisaged by its "founding brethren"; in others, the membership remains exclusive.
There are also specialist Lodges of Research, with membership drawn from Master Masons only, with interests in Masonic Research (of historyphilosophy, etc.). Lodges of Research are fully warranted but, generally, do not initiate new candidates. Lodges of Instruction in UGLE may be warranted by any ordinary Lodge for the learning and rehearsal of Masonic Ritual.
Freemasons correctly meet as a Lodge, not in a Lodge, the word "Lodge" referring more to the people assembled than the place of assembly. However, in common usage, Masonic premises are often referred to as "Lodges". Masonic buildings are also sometimes called "Temples" ("of Philosophy and the Arts"). In many countries, Masonic Centre or Hall has replaced Temple to avoid arousing prejudice and suspicion. Several different Lodges, as well as other Masonic or non-Masonic organisations, often use the same premises at different times.
According to Masonic tradition, medieval European stonemasons would meet, eat, and shelter outside working hours in a Lodge on the southern side of a building site, where the sun warms the stones during the day. The social Festive Board (or Social Board)[15] part of the meeting is thus sometimes called the South.[16] Early Lodges often met in a tavern or any other convenient fixed place with a private room.


Note: Please read Blog Participation Requested - Announcement - Education",  which explains and describes the purpose of this series of topics. This post does not make a statement "for" the following content and does not make claim that it has a direct relation to Freemasonry. It is for educational purposes only! All credit given to for content obtained from Wikipediathe free encyclopedia.

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