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 (July 2019)

posted Jul 8, 2019, 11:39 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Brethren

 

Often times we talk about the importance of educating ourselves in the mysticism and symbolism of our order, and of obtaining further light in Masonry.  These are indeed important.  But sometimes we forget that the true secret to the fraternity is that kinship – that true brotherhood which exists, which permeates everything we do.  It is that, for many of us, which from the outset of our Masonic experience, draws us in and keeps us coming back.  That is why our social times are so very important.  Those times are not mere indolence or time wasted.  Even for those Masons who are truly dedicated to furthering the knowledge and enlightenment of those around them, and who spend countless hours of study, there is still that fellowship, which like a beacon, draws them to be among those of like minds – or even those with significantly divergent opinions – but to those who are Masons all. 

 

So when we relish our social times, as we do at our Scottish Rite stated meetings, know that this is as important a part of the Masonic experience, as are all the countless meetings, the study of rituals, and the gaining of knowledge and wisdom.

 

In July we will be holding our Festive Board reception for the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Stu Wright.  This is always a great event, and I hope you will attend and join us in the lively festivities.  Call the office and make your reservation.  See you on July 9.

 

From the Wise Master (July 2019)

posted Jul 8, 2019, 11:37 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Dear Brethren,

As a beekeeper or an apiarist, I have always been fascinated with honey bees and continue to learn about them every day. There are many connections between Masonry, Honey Bees and Bee Hives. This month, I would like to share with you some thoughts about Freemasonry and Bees.

If you research for Bees and Freemasons, you will read many references for bees being symbols of industry and regeneration, wisdom and obedience, with a place in Egyptian, Roman and Christian symbolism. I believe there is much more than that.

First, bees know one another through various indicators if they belong to their hive or not. Only bees who can produce the correct credentials are admitted to a regular bee hive. Otherwise the guard bees will not allow them to enter the hive. This also includes other critters don’t belong to a hive.

The Queen bee uses the frames in the center of the hive for brood and generation of the new members of their colony. They are born and initiated in the center of the hive where freemasons have their altar. New born bees (entered apprentices) have the job to clean the cells, and they start with the one they were born in. They also keep the brood warm while they learn to subdue their passions, live within the due bounds for the harmony and strength of the hive. Next, they feed the older larvae then the youngest larvae, the candidates. As they get older and wiser, they are initiated to next level responsibilities, as fellow crafts. Their responsibility is to produce wax, carry food, and build combs that are traced by older bees on their tracing board. At this stage they are given the wisdom on construction, structure, material, geometry, math, chemistry, physics and many other disciplines similar to Fellow Craft Masons in order to build the perfect combs with the right cells (size for female, drone/male and queen cells are different), regulate the temperature of the hive through controlling water evaporation and regulate water content of the honey to prevent fermentation. Also, later, they are tasked with the guard duties (tyler) to protect the hive entrance. During this entire time since birth, they have not yet left the hive, stayed in the hive and attended their duties.

Once they achieve the necessary age and wisdom, they are initiated to the next level, Master Masons. Now they can travel. They can fly from the hive to collect pollen, nectar, water, propolis, etc. They map the area around the hive, determine and communicate where the resources are, construct the hive structure on their tracing board and attend the Queen’s needs and her success with productivity and longevity of the hive, also replace the Queen if/when it becomes necessary for the good of the hive.

When resources (food and water) are inadequate, instead of fighting for what little they have, bees help the weak and support the hive, and the last resort voluntarily leave the hive to allow the remaining bees to survive. Honey Bees (except the Queen) die when they sting due to the barbed stinger they have. Therefore, bees rarely sting for self-preservation but the preservation of the colony or to protect what belongs to the colony.

I hope you find the honey bees as fascinating as I do and notice the similarities between their wisdom and our lodges.

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (July 2019)

posted Jul 8, 2019, 11:35 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Kinds of Masons - A Short Story

"I am almost through!" The New Brother displayed a sheaf of cards to the Old Tiler. "Soon I will have joined them all and become every kind of Mason there is." 

"What do you know about the kinds of Masons there are?" asked the Old Tiler, interested. "You have not been a Master Mason long enough to gain all that knowledge!" 

"That's not hard to gain, with all the brethren poking petitions at you. There are Scottish Rite Masons and York Rite Masons and Templar Masons and Chapter Masons and council Masons and..." 

"Oh!" the syllable said much. The Old Tiler added, "I didn't understand. I thought you couldn't have learned yet." 

"Learned what? Are there some more kinds of Masons?" 

"Indeed, yes! answered the Old Tiler. "A great many kinds. But seven you haven't mentioned stand out more prominently than others." 

"Do tell me! I thought I had joined most of them..." 

"You don't join these. You become one, or are made one, or grow into one of them. For instance, there is the King Solomon Mason. He thinks that everything that Solomon did as a Mason is right and everything he didn't do is wrong. To him Masonry was conceived, born and grew up in the shadow of King Solomon, and every word of the legend is literally true, much like the man who refuses to believe the earth is round, because a verse in the Bible refers to the 'four corners of the earth!' The King Solomon Mason lives his Masonry according to his light; perhaps it's not his fault it is so dim. 

"To the ritual Mason the importance of Masonry is the form of its words. A good Mason in his belief is one who can repeat a lecture from end to end without a slip. A man may do battle, murder, or cause sudden death, commit arson or run away with a neighbor's wife; if he knows his ritual letter perfect, it 'was all a mistake!' The man who doesn't know his ritual letter perfect is not, in this man's eyes, a good Mason; not though he give to charity 
away for his health, and always makes a little tear-filled speech about the fatherless loved ones, even if the dear departed died a bachelor. 


The business Mason belongs because he thinks it helps his job. He usually sits next to the solid businessman in lodge and likes to tell people what he does. If he is a Past Master, he never comes to lodge on time, so that he can get a special welcome at the Altar. His favorite speech is about the man who tried to advertise his business in lodge and how evil this was; in the speech he always mentions his own business. He wears an extra-large sized pin and prints squares and compasses on his letterheads. 

"We dominate another kind by the expressive term of belly Mason. He is most faithful in attendance at lodges where there may be a feed. He will cheerfully spend twenty cents carfare and a long evening to get a fifteen-cent sandwich. If there is to be a sit-down meal he will sit up all night to be on time. If the affair is in another lodge and needs tickets he will take time off from his job to hunt a brother who has a ticket and doesn't want it. He usually manages to cross the lodge room while the cigars are passed so he can dig into the box twice. If the crowd is small, he is the last man to get a smoke, so he can take all that are left. If the crowd is large, he is among the first, to make sure he doesn't get left. 

"And then there is the regular Mason- the fellow who does his best with the time and brains he has. He is the great bulk of the fraternity. He pays the dues and fills the chairs and does the work. He is seldom a fine ritualist, but he is usually an earnest one. He is not very practical, and would spend more than we have if it wasn't that he is too sentimental to permit the charity fund to be robbed. He passes the sandwiches and coffee, and if there is any left he gets his; but he doesn't care so long as the evening is a success. He isn't a student, but something in the heart of Masonry has reached deep into his heart, and so he comes to lodge and does his best. He is not learned, but he is not stupid. He is not hidebound, and yet he is conservative. He loves his lodge, but not so much he cannot see her faults. He is most of us." 

"And what class of Mason am I?" asked the New Brother, uneasily looking at his sheaf of cards. 

"You have cards enough to be considered a Mason for almost any reason," answered the Old Tiler. "But I'll take your word for it. What kind of Mason are you?" 


"I don't know for sure, but I know what kind I am never going to be!" answered the New Brother, putting his many cards away. 

By W Bro Carl Claudy

 

From the Master of Kadosh (July 2019)

posted Jul 8, 2019, 11:33 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

From the Master of Kadosh

Our Scottish Rite facilities are being redone, remodeled & repurposed with your help in supporting the San Jose Scottish Rite Foundation.  More changes are on the way including expanding our Childhood Language Clinic.  The down stairs will soon have a modern meeting facility that we will all be proud of.  Come, visit and be impressed by the room and the changes.

 

Masonry is moving ahead.  I just had the opportunity to visit Grand Lodge in San Francisco.  A new beautiful Lodge room, with dining and meeting areas is almost complete.  It is located on the exhibit floor.  Eight Lodges have already expressed and interest in putting on a degree there.  (two pictures if you have room)

 

Masonry is moving forward with a purpose, and we are showing the community that we are a vital link on our society.  Come to our meetings and enjoy the good friendship, see where we are going.—Looking forward to our future.  We have much to offer.

 

From the Chief Knight (July 2019)

posted Jul 8, 2019, 11:31 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Are you a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason?

If you are, and would like to help serve the Valley of San Jose, by helping to provide the stage crew for the various Degrees performances, promoting membership within the Scottish Rite, providing Greeters at the door for Scottish Rite Events, participating in parades, performing arch of steel at special functions, escort our flags, etc.Then the Valley of San Jose’s Knights of St Andrew Chapter is the group for you to join. We all have a blast working together to serve our Valley.

If you are interested in joining the Knights of St Andrew Chapter, please talk to any member of the Chapter or you can reach out to our Chapter’s Secretary, Angelo Encarnacion at email: aencarnacion@gmail.com

 

Don’t forget to put the Scottish Games in Pleaseton on your Calendars for August 31 and September 1, 2019.  More details soon.


From the Venerable Master (June 2019)

posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:53 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Brethren,

This is an exciting time to be a Scottish Rite Mason in the Valley of San Jose.  Now honestly, we don’t often hear Scottish Rite being referred to as “exciting”.  But I believe that it’s true right now.  We have a number of great activities coming up this year, including the reception for our Grand Master on July 9, and our Night of Instruction on July 16.  We are planning many new and varied activities throughout the year, including a number of new social activities.  We have committed to making our stated meetings better and more efficient.  We are looking forward to a great Fall Reunion.  And the leadership will, throughout the year, be constantly searching for ways to make our Scottish Rite Valley better than ever.

I sincerely hope that you will join us in our efforts.  Come out and be with us.  Attend our stated meetings.  Be a part of a ritual team for the reunion.  Support our social activities.  Find out first hand why now is an exciting time to be a Scottish Rite Mason in the Valley of San Jose.

 

Fraternally

 

From Wise Master (June 2019)

posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:51 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Dear Brethren,

What is an ideal civilization? What is a perfect ashlar looks like?

Today we state in the most simplistic form; Freemasonry is a voluntary, fraternal organization, composed of men of good will, good character and good reputation, whom in most jurisdictions around the world, believe in an Almighty Creator and practice the spirit of universal brotherhood to man.

Freemasons are loyal to their country and devote their time to the principles of friendship and fellowship.  Their focus is to be of service to all mankind.

For many men, Freemasonry fulfills a part of themselves that they intrinsically felt was missing.  Whether it be the social, the philosophical, the spiritual, the historical or simply a sense of community with others.

I would like to share some of the writings by Brother Manly P. Hall, 33rd Degree, published in The Secret teaching of All Ages 1928.

“When the mob governs, man is ruled by ignorance; when the church governs, he is ruled by superstition; and when the state governs, he is ruled by fear. Before men can live together in harmony and understanding, ignorance must be transmuted into wisdom, superstition into an illumined faith, and fear into love.

 

Despite statements to the contrary, Masonry is a religion seeking to unite God and man by elevating its initiates to that level of consciousness whereon they can behold with clarified vision the workings of the Great Architect of the Universe.

 

From age to age the vision of a perfect civilization is preserved as the ideal for mankind. In the midst of that civilization shall stand a mighty university wherein both the sacred and secular sciences concerning the mysteries of life will be freely taught to all who will assume the philosophic life.

 

Here creed and dogma will have no place; the superficial will be removed and only the essential be preserved. The world will be ruled by its most illumined minds, and each will occupy the position for which he is most admirably fitted.

 The great university will be divided into grades, admission to which will be through preliminary tests or initiations. Here mankind will be instructed in the most sacred, the most secret, and the most enduring of all Mysteries--Symbolism. Here the initiate will be taught that every visible object, every abstract thought, every emotional reaction is but the symbol of an eternal principle. Here mankind will learn that CHiram (Truth) lies buried in every atom of Kosmos; that every form is a symbol and every symbol the tomb of an eternal verity. Through education--spiritual, mental, moral, and physical--man will learn to release living truths from their lifeless coverings.

 

The perfect government of the earth must be patterned eventually after that divine government by which the universe is ordered. In that day when perfect order is reestablished, with peace universal and good triumphant, men will no longer seek for happiness, for they shall find it welling up within themselves. Dead hopes, dead aspirations, dead virtues shall rise from their graves, and the Spirit of Beauty and Goodness repeatedly slain by ignorant men shall again be the Master of Work.

 

Then shall sages sit upon the seats of the mighty and the gods walk with men.”

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (June 2019)

posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:49 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Esotericism is a matter of degrees.

By Arturo de Hoyos, 33°, Grand Cross | Grand Archivist & Grand Historian |

Some people consider Freemasonry inherently esoteric, while others think the Craft is a fraternity celebrating friendship and mutual support.

Is Freemasonry esoteric, or not? The short answer is “Yes, no, maybe.” Esotericism is any topic “intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.” This certainly applies to Masonry. But on a deeper level, and in a Masonic context, the word esoteric is usually taken to mean that our ceremonies and rituals allude to realities and/or truths not generally understood, or which may have a spiritual component to them. The term is tainted to some people, and acceptable to others; hence, it may not be easy to wholly accept or discard the term “esoteric Masonry.” Like an onion, each esoteric layer successively builds upon the other. We can all agree that Masonry is intended to be understood by few, and that it’s a kind of specialized knowledge. But the questions are, “What kind of specialized knowledge?” and “Are they real secrets?” Depending upon one’s inclinations, the Master Masons Degree has been interpreted in a variety of different ways by different persons. For some, it’s a story of fidelity; for others, it teaches hope in the immortality of the soul; for still others, it’s a lesson in alchemy; and yet for still others, it alludes to the discovery of entheogens. Some see it as multi-faceted, or a combination of various things. But, as I have written elsewhere, we should avoid trying to enshrine our preferred interpretations as the “true” one. Since 1717 there have been over 1,000 “Masonic” degrees created. The most popular survived and are included in many of the rites, orders, and systems we know today. Like a meal, each degree is only as good as its creator. A recipe may include many of the same ingredients as other meals, yet taste completely different. Similarly, we may see many of the same “ingredients” (features) in a number of degrees which teach completely different things. 

The predilections of a degree’s author affect the content as much as the taste buds of a chef. Anyone who has traveled a bit can tell you that even the “flavor” of the foundational degrees (Craft/Blue Lodge Masonry) can differ immensely from state to state, and more so if you compare these degrees across the Scottish Rite, York Rite, Swedish Rite, R.E.R., or something else. In the “higher degrees,” the differences are even more dramatic and pronounced: some are philosophical, others practical; some present allegory, and others offer discourses on symbolism or (quasi-)historical themes. In something like the Scottish Rite, the same degree may have dramatically different rituals, depending upon the jurisdiction (compare, for example, the Southern Jurisdiction with the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction: the 20th Degrees are nothing alike). When someone describes himself as an “esoteric Mason” it often means that he perceives, and embraces, what appear to be aspects of the “Western Esoteric Tradition” in our rituals; i.e., some affinity to the symbolism of Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Kabbalah, etc. Freemasonry is an eclectic organization and, at various times, we have borrowed the language and symbols of these and other traditions. The question is, do our rituals really teach these things as realities or do we use them to stimulate thought—or both? As we are told in the 30°, Knight Kadosh, we should not mistake a symbol for the thing symbolized. In some cases, I believe that is what has happened, while in others, I believe we do indeed have vestiges of other traditions. But even when they are there, they may be only one layer thick on our Masonic onion. The problem is twofold: some deny any esoteric influences at all (or assert they are just used symbolically), while others claim it’s the main part of the onion. If the matter is open to interpretation (not defined by the ritual itself), who has the “right” to decide? This much we know: many of Freemasonry’s symbols were used before the modern fraternity existed (1717), and they appeared in a variety of books. Some were in educational and philosophical texts, and others in Hermetic or alchemical works. Consider, for example, a 1615

 

From the Master of Kadosh (June 2019)

posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:40 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Summer is now here.  YEAH!  I hope everyone will spend more time outside, enjoying our State, and take time to travel before our hills turn brown. Our great great state has so much variety…. From the ocean to the mountains, we are lucky to be here.   Short trips over to the coast in San Mateo County to Pescadero to the goat cheese farm where the goats guarded from predators by a llama, but don’t neglect the store with a great bakery. To marvelous craft shops and a great Country Store.   If you travel south, go past Gilroy and take highway 25 past Hollister and the Pinnacles State Park.  You will find yourself on a beautiful ride in farm/ranch country surrounded by beautiful, rustic hills, few cars, no phone service, no stores, no gas stations, water stops or bath rooms.  Highway 25 ends at a T intersection going to King City or Parkside.  The mileage in taking highway 25 to King City is the same at taking 101, but it a much slower pace.  We are so close physically to these California roads that remind one of life 50 +years ago.  Take a day off.  Enjoy yourselves.

 

From the Chief Knight (June 2019)

posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:37 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Jun 18, 2019, 1:37 PM ]

Are you a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason?

If you are, and would like to help serve the Valley of San Jose, by helping to provide the stage crew for the various Degrees performances, promoting membership within the Scottish Rite, providing Greeters at the door for Scottish Rite Events, participating in parades, performing arch of steel at special functions, escort our flags, etc.Then the Valley of San Jose’s Knights of St Andrew Chapter is the group for you to join. We all have a blast working together to serve our Valley.

If you are interested in joining the Knights of St Andrew Chapter, please talk to any member of the Chapter or you can reach out to our Chapter’s Secretary, Angelo Encarnacion at email: aencarnacion@gmail.com

 

Don’t forget to put the Scottish Games in Pleaseton on your Calendars for August 31 and September 1, 2019.  More details soon



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