The Rite Word - Articles

The Rite Word is an official publication of the Valley of San Jose, Orient of California of the A.A.S.R. of Freemasonry, published monthly except July and August, at the San Jose Scottish Rite Center, 2455 Masonic Drive, San Jose, CA 95125.  Phone # 408-978-7483

From the Venerable Master (January, 2019)

posted Jan 2, 2019, 2:32 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite



Welcome to January, and to 2019.  I hope that this holiday season has brought you joy and warmth, and that the coming year brings you happiness, health, and prosperity. 


Our Scottish Rite year is coming to a close this month, and a new one commences.  We are looking forward to an exciting year of fellowship, learning, and fun.  We hope for a large class of new members at our Spring Reunion, for good participation in our social activities, and for good attendance at our meetings.  Remember that this is YOUR Scottish Rite.  Be an active part, and increase the usefulness of our bodies.


At our January stated meeting, we will celebrate Scottish Heritage night.  If you have Highland attire, this would be the night to wear it, and I encourage you to do so.  There will be discussions of the Scottish influence in Masonry, as well as in the formation of this country.  It is estimated that 25 million Americans have Scottish ancestry, and many prominent Scots were instrumental in substantial parts of our history.  You know how folks say that on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is just a little bit Irish.  Well, similarly, at our stated meeting this month, everyone will be just a little bit Scottish.  Please attend and enjoy the festivities.     


Our annual installation of officers will take place on Tuesday, January 29.  I hope you will be present, to congratulate the outgoing officers and welcome the new leaders of the bodies. This will be a fun event, so we hope you will be there.


There are good number of exciting activities planned for the coming year.  We hope to see you there.


Happy New Year!


From the Wise Master (January, 2019)

posted Jan 2, 2019, 2:30 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Dear Brethren,

As the Scottish Rite Masonic year comes to an end this month, I thank you for the opportunity you gave me to serve as your Wise Master in this precious Chapter of Knights Rose Croix.


I want to congratulate my line of officers who served us so well: Kerem Kapkin, Laurentiu Murgu, Art Pasquinelli and Martin Maxey. I wish you all the best in 2019 as you assume your new positions and responsibilities in the Chapter. To the officers of the Lodge, Council and Consistory, I thank you for a job well-done. I received great satisfaction serving with you and being a part of the team.


I hope you remember our Maundy Thursday celebration and the many words and thoughts of divine inspiration. It is my hope that my message that evening of Harmony in ourselves, with others and with our nature will serve you well in your travels.


Brethren, please attend the Stated Meeting on January 8, and exercise your vote for the 2019 slate of officers and then attend the installation of officers on January the 29th. The officers elect really do appreciate your being there and helping them celebrate their special moment.


 In closing, one of my favorite toasts to our Masonic brotherly love includes, in part, this beautiful sentiment:

                                        “Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.”


From the Commander of Kadosh (January, 2019)

posted Jan 2, 2019, 2:26 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

It comes to the point of the year when terms are up, and our new officers are to be installed on January 29th. This, like the tides that come and go, means it is time for brother Naresh to lead our body. He is an abundantly qualified brother that I know will lead the body superbly, and look forward to his year with full support.

The fondness I hold when looking back at what the Valley of San Jose accomplished this year is nothing short of amazing. The state wide reunion not only brought in new members, but showcased the talents of our fraternity on epic levels. There were so many helping hands, and I would be remiss if I didn't say a big thanks to Jeff Toone for his tireless efforts throughout. 

The festive boards are always a wonderful time to hone our works. Brother Cowden has always done nothing short of excellent when orchestrating these events. These times let us break bread, converse with our brothers getting to know them better, and open our minds to new learning and thoughts. If you have have never been, I strongly suggest you attend the next one that we have.

Our Language Clinic, which is why we exist, is here to help.  With three licensed clinicians, the Valley of San Jose was able to help 140 children this year with our continued funding. Through these works we touch the world exponentially. I always suggest if one has not visited to see our good works, stop by and arrange a visit through the Secretary. There are truly miracles that happen just on the other side of the break room doors.

We find that in Middle English Januarie, from Latin Januarius, 1st month of the ancient Roman year, is from Janus the Roman god. In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (/ˈdʒeɪnəs/; Latin: IANVS (Iānus), pronounced [ˈjaː.nus]) is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. While we must not forget the past, let us each step through the doorway of the new year to a world of possibilities as if exiting the cave in Platos allegory. For where we go one, we go all.


From the Master of Kadosh (January, 2019)

posted Jan 2, 2019, 2:24 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Fraternal greetings!  I hope everyone enjoyed the various holiday celebrations including Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year.  Typically, around the New Year people decide to adopt new positive habits and let go of some bad habits.  As such, I felt in this month’s article I would share a possible new habit for you to consider, if you’re not already engaging in it, which is meditation.  I will describe a meditation I attempt to do every day for at least 20 minutes.  I hope you try it, at least once, and give it some serious consideration.  I have been meditating for several years now, and I’ve seen significant benefits, including better concentration, clarity, calm, and overall peaceful feelings.

A Meditation for Love and Light

Begin the meditation by sitting in a comfortable position with your back as straight as possible.  Place your hands on your lap or in a folded position.  Ensure that you are in a safe and quite space, free from distractions.  First, tell yourself that there is nothing else to do at this time other than meditate.  Give yourself permission to free yourself from life’s demands and take a moment for yourself.  Next, with your eyes open and not focusing on anything in particular, take three or four deep breaths.  In through the nose and out through the mouth.  Next, softly close your eyes.  Feel your body weight as it presses against the chair.  Feel where your body comes into contact with the surface and feel yourself sinking down into your chair.  Next, focus on your tongue.  For three breaths, notice any particular tastes in your mount.  Just noticing the taste, and not trying to judge or classify the tastes.  Also attempt to clear your thoughts, and if your thoughts wander, bring it back to focusing on your tongue, or any other aspect of the meditation. 

After three breaths of focusing on your tongue, shift your attention to your nose.  Notice, for three breaths, any scents in the air. 

Next, focus on your hearing.  Listen for three to five breaths any sounds in the environment.  Try not to get stuck on any particular sound but listen for any subtle sounds that are in your environment.  Again, don’t try to classify the sounds, just experience them coming in and out of existence.  Try to listen for the silence in between the sounds. 

Next start to scan down through your body.  Start at the top of your head.  Move down from the top of your head, through your face, down your neck, to your left arm, then your right arm, then back down the back of your back, then to the left side, then the right side, then down from your throat through your torso.  Next, scan the left leg to the toes, then the right leg to the toes.  As you do this try to notice any type of lingering feelings that are latent in the body.  Overall try to assess how you are feeling today and become aware of the various sensations in your body.  Again, don’t judge any particular feeling, just notice, and don’t get stuck on any particular area or part.

Next, take a moment to focus on what you want to achieve through the meditation.  I typically say “God, I would like to be filled with your Love and Your Light, such that it will create inner and outer space, silence, and equanimity for the benefit of myself and others.”

 Next, focus on your breathing.  Start to notice the subtle places in your body where your breathing causes movement.  It may be in your stomach or chest.  Count your breathing, relax, and just notice the flow of air in and out of the nose.  After about five to ten counts, proceed to the next step.

Next, softly begin to notice and or visualize a beam of pure light coming from heaven down to you on the top of your head.  Begin the notice the light entering your body and proceeding down to the tips of your toes.  Begin to visualize and/or feel the pure light filling up your toes, then moving to your feet, then moving up your calves into your thighs.  Next the light moves up through your stomach, up to your heart and lungs, and then up to the tops of your shoulders and then down through your arms.  Feel the warmth and space that the pure light brings.  Believe that it is dissolving any negativity and restoring positivity, harmony and health.  After the light has gone down through your fingers, bring your attention back up to your neck and feel the pure light going up your neck, into your face, through your brain, up your chin, mouth, nose, eyes, forehead, all the way up to the crown of your head.

Once you have visualized and/or felt the pure light filling you up, then take a moment to just think about nothing.  Just feel your body filled up with light and clear your thoughts.  When you are done with this phase, start to pull your attention back to your body.  Start to notice any sounds in the environment again, for a breath or two.  Start to notice any scents with your nose for a couple of breaths, then any tastes on your tongue for the same duration.  Then notice your body weight pressing down on the seat for a couple of breaths.  Finally open your eyes, and don’t focus on anything in particular.  Just feel the sensations in your body and make a commitment to yourself to try and carry this feeling with you throughout the day.  Then stretch your arms a bit and remind yourself what you are doing next in your day.  With this the meditation is complete.

I hope that this has been helpful for you and I encourage you to try this meditation.  Sometimes people fear mediation and feel it’s too difficult, but rest assured nobody when they start are perfect, and their mind wanders.  Even experienced meditations have their mind wander.  They key is not to get angry, just bring your focus back in, and relax.  Somedays will be better than others, and it’s ok.

I wish you all well on your journey for more Light!


From the Chief Knight (January, 2018)

posted Jan 2, 2019, 2:21 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

A Happy New Year from the KSA

The new year is a time, when many of us are re-ordering our lives. At this there are much planning. The new year is for many people a time, when they are thinking decisions of different kinds. Many of us would like to spend the New Year better than previous. The end of the year is a magic border, when we think that everything is possible, everything is only before us. Since many persons are making plans of different kind, New Year wishes can refer to these plans. Inventing wishes is simply, when we know what decisions our family and friends have.

I am pleased to announced that the following Knights have been elected to served in their respective offices of the San Jose KSA Chapter for the ensuing year (2019)

KSA Events of the Future: Date in January 2019 (TBD), at noon will be our KSA Stated Meeting in the SJSR Library followed by a practice of sword tactics and presenting our Colors.

Make a Difference: and reach out to someone or more so I keeping with our Masonic Teachings reach out to a BROTHER that you have not seen at recent Masonic events and simply just have a conversation with him. You might learn something from that Brother and you might even go far as to get him to attend masonic events and more…

A Heartfelt Thank you:  I would like to thank everyone for electing me to represent you as Chief Knight of this Chapter for the year of 2018. I am humbled that you placed such  faith, confidence and trust in me.  I therefore thanking each every one of you for such an honor and privilege.

 Naresh Rampershad

From the Venerable Master (December 2018)

posted Dec 29, 2018, 11:15 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite



The holidays are upon us.  For most people, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration.  For many, however, this can be a time of stress, of concern, and even loneliness.  We often tend to overindulge at this time of year.  We eat too much, perhaps drink too much.  We even shop too much.  These can increase our stress levels, and make us prone to illness, and physical exhaustion.


You have to remember to take care of yourself.  Take some time to decompress, relax, and give yourself some space to breathe.  But at the same time, we need to think about others.  Keep an eye out for your Brothers, friends, family, and even strangers, who appear to be in need, are overly worried, or might otherwise be in distress.  You know that when someone is hurting, sometimes a smile is all it takes, or a handshake and a word of greeting, to make things a little better.  Be a resource for them.  Be an ear to hear their stories, a shoulder to lean on, and a pair arms to hug them.  Perhaps the need is more profound, and you may need to give more of your time or resources.  Be careful not to give too much of yourself, else you find yourself in distress.  But be there for those in need – be it a physical, mental, or spiritual need. 



This is a time, too, to remember our Masonic charities, to the extent you can.  Our Scottish Rite has many ways to show your charity.  Donate for the benefit of our Language Disorder Clinic, or help us in rebuilding our Temple.  And of course, there are so many worthwhile causes throughout the family of Freemasonry.  None of us can fully support them all, but do what you can. 


I wanted to give you a heads up that at our January Stated Meeting, the Lodge of Perfection will host Scottish Heritage Night.  If you own Highland apparel, we encourage you to wear it proudly at that meeting.  We will have a celebration of all things Scottish, so come out and join us for this fun event.


As this Scottish Rite year comes to an end, the incoming presiding officers of the bodies will be looking to host more interesting and fun events next year.  We would like your input, in order to create and execute events that our members would like to see.  Please let know if you’d like us to put something special on for you.


I look forward to seeing you around throughout the coming months.

From the Wise Master (December 2018)

posted Dec 29, 2018, 11:13 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

December 27 is Saint John the Evangelist Day and Freemasons celebrate this day in honor of one of our Patron Saints.  This date marks the second feast day of our year to celebrate the Holy Saints John.  The Evangelist is also known as the Apostle of Charity which probably is, in part, his connection to our fraternity along with his strong resolve and purity of his love of the Divine.

I find it particularly interesting that The Grand Lodge of All of England and its predecessor, the Ancient Society of Freemasons in the city of York elected and installed their President, then their Grand Master on the day of the Evangelist. In London, the Ancient Grand Lodge of England elected their new Grand Masters on the same day. In 1813, when the Moderns and Ancients came together as the United Grand Lodge of England, it was on the Feast of the Evangelist. So, take a few moments on the 27th to celebrate this most important person in our Craft’s past, present and future.

On December 4, the Valley of San Jose will hold it’s 23rd Scottish Rite Night of Instruction and Agape Dinner. I hope many of you can plan your busy schedules to attend this evening of education. All the details you need are found elsewhere in this Rite Word. This event is open to ALL Masons. Bring a guest from your Blue Lodge. They will thank you for including them in this night of Brotherly Love.

On November 13, this Valley held it’s sixth annual Military Recognition Night during the Stated Meeting Dinner.  Two service members were honored for their military service and contributions to their respective Junior and Senior Reserve Officer Training Programs at Soledad High School and Santa Clara University. It was a pleasure to have several ROTC cadets join us. They were an impressive group. All veterans in attendance were recognized as their service anthem was played. It was a great celebration and one of my favorite events of the year.

Enjoy the Holidays with your family, friends and Masonic family. Take time to assist those not as fortunate as we, it is the Masonic way.


From the Commander of Kadosh (December 2018)

posted Dec 29, 2018, 11:11 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Merry Christmas!  2018 is coming to a close, but not before the most wonderful time of the year. There is more to December than falling temperatures, snowflakes, and hot cocoa. This is my favorite time of the year. One in which family, charity, and spending time with our brothers is filled with. Please remember your brethren at this time.  Ask one or more of our older brothers who are alone at this time of the year to join your family in its celebrations.  You will be amazed at how they react and how it makes you feel.

We will start to notice a change in our days shortly. The 21st of December marks the Winter Solstice, and the shift from the longest day of darkness to lengthier days of light. This shift caries much importance for everything on the planet. The tracking of earths sun dates back to Stonehenge in England, Machu Picchu in Peru, and before always playing major roles in our world. I know that I am already looking forward to warmer days.

Remember that our annual elections will be coming up at the Stated Meeting in January and then later in the month we will be having our installation.  If you have ever wanted to get involved as an officer now is the time to make your desires known.

Have A Merry Christmas and Safe New Year


From the Master of Kadosh (December 2018)

posted Dec 29, 2018, 11:10 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Fraternal greetings!  This is a special time of year when we have several family-based holidays including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s celebration.  It is the time for the transition from Fall to Winter.  It is a time of endings and new beginnings.  It is a time of reflection and setting new hopes for the next year.  I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to everyone coming back to the Scottish Rite renewed and refreshed in the new year!

Justice and Charity

Out of the Seven Virtues of Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence, Justice, Faith, Hope, and Charity, two of the virtues have stuck out in my mind as being problematic for me to understand in the past.  Those virtues are Justice and Charity.  I have given significant thought on these two virtues as well as read numerous books to try and clarify my understanding of the two areas.

First let’s consider the word Justice.  In our modern world, and in modern English, when I hear the word Justice it evokes thoughts about the justice system, ensuring people pay for their crimes, and judgement.  As such, when thinking about how to embody the virtue of Justice, it was met in my mind with a bit of resistance, as I wasn’t sure how this was a virtue one would want to aspire to.  Not that the judicial system is a negative concept in our society but being judgmental isn’t something most spiritual traditions uphold.  As such, in thinking and studying the word Justice, I’ve learned that Justice is the opposite of Prejudice, and that it means to treat all people equally.  This means we need to treat everyone we meet with the same level of esteem and respect.  Justice is the opposite of Prejudice, as prejudice is based on calling out differences in people and treating people according to our likes and dislikes about their traits and differences.  Therefore, if we are to truly realize God’s kingdom in earth as it is in heaven, we need to recognize God’s spark or essence in every being and know that we are all equal irrespective of any outward appearances or character traits that we might dislike.  This is what is embodied in the concept of Justice, as it relates to the word as a virtue.

 Next is Charity.  Often times the word Charity in our modern culture evokes thoughts of giving alms to others or organizations to assist poor and distressed people.  While this is no doubt an honorable and valuable act to engage in, it is not necessarily the true intent of the word Charity, as spelled out in the Seven Virtues and in Masonic Ritual.  In many works, including Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy, the meaning of the word Charity is Love.  Love is an overloaded term in the English dialect which represents many different emotional and other virtuous concepts.  Charity is the type of Love that is God’s love.  Charity is the highest virtue in the Seven Virtues and is the quality that we all must possess in demonstrating God’s love in our works. It is selfless love and given without an expectation of something in return.  It is through God’s love and grace, as embodied in the word Charity that enables us to transmute our sin and negativity into enlightenment and positivity.

So coupling the term Justice with Charity, we need to show the highest form of God’s love to everyone we encounter equally in order to truly practice these aspects of the Seven Virtues.


From the Chief Knight (December 2018)

posted Dec 29, 2018, 11:07 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Many Masons and the profane as well, have had a keen interest in the history of Freemasonry. Many books on Masonic history were written, numbered in the thousands, but only a few centered around the ancient ties and myths associated with Freemasonry


Is it truth or myth? That has been the question of the ages. Its origin is lost in the abyss of unexplored antiquity. No historical records or accounts can point out the precise place or time of its beginnings. 


As Freemasons, we are aware of our American history back through the Civil War and the fight for independence from England. Our Declaration of Independence was supported by many Freemasons, most notably George Washington, our first President of the United States as well as our first Grand Master. However, Benjamin Franklin played a historic role in our history. The genius of Franklin was so overwhelming and manifested in so many directions that no paper can list his achievements. Printer, author, editor, inventor, scientist, diplomat; founder of schools, postal systems, government; ambassador, wit, speaker; philosopher, politician and Freemasonry, that he was one of the most gifted men of all time. Franklin was not merely a Lodge member, content with that and nothing more, but a Freemason intensely interested in the Craft. Franklin was initiated in 1731 in St. John's Lodge in Pennsylvania. Franklin's membership immediately changed his style of writing in his print shop, the Gazette. He published story after story about Freemasonry in America in general and in Pennsylvania in particular. They have become foundation stones on which is erected the early history of Freemason in this nation. (In the interest of space this article will continue).


I proudly announce Knighting of Knights’ John A John Absalon, Daniel Webb and Jerome Alipio.
On the same day, Sunday November 11th the following Knights were elevated to KOTFO:  Angelo Encarnacion, Marshall Wallace, John Absalon.


KSA Events of the Future: December 16th at noon KSA Stated Meeting in the SJSR Library followed by election of new officers.   As we are approaching the end of the calendar year, please plan to attend, participate in our elections, and planning for 2019 and further.  

This is a gentle reminder that if there is any need for a flag detail for Blue Lodge officers’ installations. Please have your request in no later than 3 weeks before the actual installation date.  This will give us enough time to coordinate for available Knights as well as to schedule practice if need be.

Naresh Rampershad    

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