Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Albert Pike's ESOTERIKA

Albert Pike spent the latter part of his life immersing himself deeply in the study of the symbolism of the Blue Degrees. The result of that study was what could arguably be considered his third Magnum Opus: the book Esoterika: Symbolism of the Blue Degrees of Freemasonry (the other two being his first rewrite of the Scottish Rite rituals and, of course, Morals and Dogma). Pike never intended Esoterika to be published and only two manuscript volumes were produced, one of which rests in the archives of the Supreme Council and the other with the Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076 in London. In 2005 the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction authorized the publication of Esoterika and it is now available not only to Scottish Rite Masons, but to all Masons.

Restoration Books of Logan, UT has announced a limited edition of 100 copies of Esoterika hand-bound in navy blue morocco goatskin with traditional hand-marbled endpapers. The binding was designed to reproduce that of the original bound copy in the archives of the Supreme Council. Arturo De Hoyos, Grand Archivist of the Scottish Rite, will sign each copy.

With only 100 copies being produced they are sure to go fast. I reserved my copy yesterday.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You didn't learn this in history class...

Freemasons are justifiably proud of the role the fraternity played in the founding of the United States. If you'd like to read an unusual theory of the earliest European explorers to North America that involves the Templars and Freemasons roughly 400 years before the Founding Fathers penned the Declaration of Independence, I highly recommend this book by Scott Wolter.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Was Thomas Jefferson a Mason?

Was Thomas Jefferson a Mason? I know this topic has been dealt with in Masonic and non-Masonic texts alike, but I have to confess I've not read much on the subject. But in perusing a letter Jefferson wrote in 1800 to Benjamin Rush, I was struck by this passage: "... for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." The context in which Jefferson wrote this was an argument against the establishment of an "official" form of Christianity for the nascent United States. But any Freemason can't help but be struck by how peculiarly Masonic those words are—especially if you are a Scottish Rite Mason. And the Scottish Rite owes much to French masonry and Jefferson spent a great deal of time in France.

The full text of Jefferson's letter can be found here.