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 (May 2019)

posted May 7, 2019, 7:22 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

The House of the Temple is the headquarters of the Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction.  It has been open to the public for tours since it opened in 1915.  It contains a number of museums, exhibits, and collections, including the Masonic collection of Illustrious Brother Burl Ives, the Albert Pike Museum, the Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia, and the Americanism Museum.

The library in the House of the Temple is the oldest in the District of Columbia that is open to the public, and houses more than 250,000 books, manuscripts, and other publications.  Among the contents are an impressively large Masonic collection, an Abraham Lincoln collection, and a Robert Burns collection.  Here also is the repository of Scottish Rite records, artifacts, and history, contained in the Archives.

The building was first proposed at the Supreme Council sessions in 1909, and the project was begun under the direction of Grand Commander James D. Richardson, who was given complete control of the building process.  After reviewing several submissions, he selected John Russell Pope, who also created the Jefferson Memorial, as the architect.  The ground-breaking ceremony took place on May 31, 1911, the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Southern Jurisdiction, in Charleston, South Carolina.  The cornerstone was set on October 18, 1911, and the building was completed in October, 1915.  It was patterned after the tomb of King Mausolus of Turkey

The House of the Temple stands 130 feet high.  It bears many attributes and dimensions of symbolic significance to Masons, including the 33 columns – each 33 feet high, and the steps leading to the front doors, in groups of thee, five, seven, and nine, in reference to Euclidian geometry. 

The Supreme Council is sponsoring the “Rebuilding the Temple” campaign, to help restore the House of the Temple to the glorious state in which it should remain.  You can donate to the campaign, through the House of the Temple Historic Preservation Fund, by going to the Supreme Council website:

We should consider how lucky we are to have such a wonderful headquarters building


From the Wise Master (May 2019)

posted May 7, 2019, 7:18 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 7, 2019, 7:21 PM ]

Good Will, is not something we hear very often these days. Good Will is not only very important for relationships in our marriages and within our fraternal organization but also so important for a healthy and a well govern society.

How does Good Will apply to our Fraternal Brotherhood, our Marriages and our relationships, as Freemasons?

For many years, researchers have pondered the great social dilemma of failed marriages and broken homes. There have been many theories on the root causes. Researchers observing couples as they react to one another, have been able to reach a consensus that was profoundly simple. The consensus was that many marriages fail due to one, single, fundamental mind set; lack of Good Will. After that Researchers were able to observe couples for specific signs of lack of Good Will, and were able to predict future failed marriages with great degree of accuracy. It is also interesting to note that, Dr. John Gottman’s studies, using the “thin-slicing” method, have further expanded into broader relationships beyond just marriage, and researchers we able to successfully predict the outcome of human relationships and interactions.

The Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus has once said “Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him.”

It is our human nature to feel pain, hurt, anger, fear, irritation, anxiety, confusion, jealousy, resentment. But also, it is our choice to whether to respond or react to these emotions.

Our reactions come naturally in the form of withdrawal or desire for retaliation when something happens that might normally upset us or trigger some kind of emotional reaction. For an example, in traffic, honking our horn or doing something worst, when we are irritated by other drivers. Or remaining silent but angry if someone cuts into a line which we have been waiting for some time. Our reactions are usually learned by example, without any conscious, critical or cognitive thinking, in other words not mindful. They are the manifestation of popular and deemed acceptable behaviors observed in our society, seen in social media or regularly watched on TV. The Good Will which is necessary for a strong relationship, brotherhood and marriage, often fall victim to our reactions which we usually later defend because of our pride.

On the other hand, our responses are mindful; they are our conscious decisions that are learned, internalized and practiced. These responses represent our values, believes and ultimately our identity, who we are.

A person responding with assumption of Good Will is mindful of the brewing reaction. Watches reaction go away and gives the benefit of the doubt by assuming no intentional harm meant by the other person, despite how much he or she may have hurt, angered, or irritated us. The action which has triggered our emotions can very well be unintentional or impersonal. Such as a misunderstanding, as a results of an unintended consequence of a well-intended act, accident, error in judgement, etc. If we simply react with a retaliation, then may be our reaction is the only intentionally and purposefully action to inflict equal or greater harm or pain to the other person. Although such retaliation does not solve our feelings, there is a false satisfaction of justice. But, is there a justice in purposeful and intentional retaliation to hurt someone for an unintended, perhaps even unaware action? There would be no peace and harmony in a relationship or brotherhood with those whom we have chosen to be with. Same thing is true when reaction is passive aggressive through silence and withdrawal. Assumption of Good Will sets us on to the path of harmony and peace in our relationships, and then forgiveness cements it. Those who chose to act repeatedly with intention to inflict harm, pain or hurt others in a relationship will eventually  destroy the relationship.

In Masonry we learn to live by the Masonic virtues Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, and promise to respond (act) within the square and the compasses, and by the plumb.

The Square is an emblem of virtue, in which we must square our actions by the square towards all mankind. The compasses demonstrate our wisdom of conduct by confining our desires and keeping our passions within due bounds. A plumb line was used to test vertical walls with the line of gravity by operative masons. In speculative Masonry, plumb symbolizes; an upright Mason who stands straight up, doesn’t bend or wobble in principals, like a good solid column that won’t cave in under pressure, including those that are internal. The plumb line teaches the principle of morality, to avoid dishonesty in conversation and action, and to direct our steps in the path which leads to immortality. This idea of the immortal life was always connected in symbology of the perpendicular, something that rose directly upward. This symbolism is also observed during Sunday prayers in church, as the worshiping Christians stand up, as a reference to the Lord's resurrection on that day.

Another aspect of Good Will is in respect and obedience.  Obedience is almost always achieved through fear. However in a society of people with good will, respect is granted by wisdom and obedience by respect. Obedience to God comes from his Good Will towards Men kind, and respect to God comes from his wisdom that teaches us.

We live in times, where arrogance and narcissism are confused with high self-esteem while humility is devaluated and considered a weakness. Let’s remember that before the last supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a sign and example of humility and love. Jesus was also demonstrating that the leadership is a service provided with humility and agape love, despite he already knew, one of the disciples was going to betray him the next day. The word Maundy comes from the ceremony of washing the feet of the poor and Thursday the day of the last supper.

The Good Will is unconditional and the single most important element that brings harmony and strength to our three grand principles; brotherly love, relief and truth. Practicing Good Will, builds strong relationships including successful marriages, stronger societies and countries towards peace and harmony.

I want to end this with Luke 2:14 (KJV) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Also translates to "on earth peace to men of good will,". . . . With that, I wish you all peace and harmony in your relationships.



From the Commander of Kadosh (May 2019)

posted May 7, 2019, 7:16 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 7, 2019, 7:20 PM ]

Esoteric Freemasonry

Defined as knowledge intended for, or understood by, only a few, Masonic Esoterica is even perceived as meant for even fewer. It is an often-debatable vein of Freemasonry that man traditionalists argue as fuel to the already mythic origins of the fraternity. Even worse, that in many cases Masonic Esoterica is a later addition added to flavor its origin. All said, Masonic Esoterica exists, whether mystical or not, some masons as some time felt that these things were connected and were relevant to one another. This excerpt strives to explore these aspects of Esoterica and illuminate some of its function to the mystery schools.

The 47th Problem of Euclid

There are so many symbols, words and phrases in Freemasonry used both as part of its rituals as well as part of its vocabulary, that studying and trying to understand the “meanings” them is a very worthwhile and a rewarding journey. One such prominent symbol and phrase, is the 47th problem of Euclid, which is one of the main symbols introduced in the Third Degree.

In the Year 3650 (300 B.C.E.), Anno Mundi, which was 646 years after the building of King Solomon’s Temple, Euclid, the celebrated geometrician, was born.

Euclid has been always associated with the history of Freemasonry, and in the reign of Ptolemy Soter, the Order is said to have greatly flourished in Egypt, under his auspices. The well-known forty-seventh (47th) problem of his first book, although not discovered by him, but long credited to Pythagoras, has been adopted as a symbol in Masonic instruction.

The Plumb Rule

The jewels of the three principal officers of a Lodge are also the working tools of the Fellowcraft degree. They are the: PLUMB, LEVEL, and SQUARE. Why are these jewels given these distinctions? There are two basic reasons: First, in earlier times, the Fellowcraft was the ultimate degree. There was no Master Mason degree. The Fellowcraft was the Journeyman of today.

The Ashlars

We are told that the Ashlars lie open in the lodge for the brethren to moralize on. Did you ever see a brother contemplating the Ashlars and trying to derive some moral benefit from them? For the most part they are quickly referred to and just as quickly forgotten. The Ashlar is the freestone as it comes from the quarry.

The Qur’an in the Craft Degrees

Over the years, several times the question has arisen about handling the Qur’an for use in a Lodge, and which verses to use for the conferral of degrees upon Muslim candidates and Brethren. In fact, the very first time that this writer ever browsed on-line, he happened upon the Welcome Wall, and found posted there the entry of an Australian Brother who had been the last one to post to the Wall before I opened the web site.

The Holy Saints John, duality in the construct of one

The Saint’s, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, appear to Freemasons in several places in our catechisms. Their proximity and use in our rituals have been questioned for many years as to their use and placement. Looked at together, saint John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist serve to represent the balance in Masonry between zeal for the fraternity and learned equilibrium. The Saints John, stand in perfect parallel harmony representing that balance.

Saint John the Evangelist

December 27th is Saint John the Evangelist day, which is the 2nd feast day in the year to celebrate the Holy Saints John. The placement of the holiday also marks the winter solstice, which is directly opposite Saint John the Baptist’s day at the summer solstice in June making a notable completion in the cycle of the solar year. The actual dates are slightly off, but you get the symbolism.

Behind The Symbol

Archaeologists have discovered many old cities, built on the ruins of still older cities, which in turn were erected upon the remains of cities still older. These several cities were built, existed for a time, were destroyed and forgotten and new cities built above. The artifacts found at the top are totally different from those found at the bottom of the complete excavations, as in natural, since the several cities may have been thousands of years in building, life, destruction and rebuilding….

Corn, Wine, and Oil

The wages which our ancient brethren received for their labors in the building of King Solomon’s Temple are paid no more. In the lodge we use them only as symbols, save in the dedication, constitution and consecration of a new lodge and in the laying of cornerstones, when once again the fruit of the land, the brew of the grape, and the essence of the olive are poured to launch a new unit of brotherhood into the fellowship of lodges; to begin a new structure dedicated to public use.


From the Master of Kadosh (May 2019)

posted May 7, 2019, 7:13 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 7, 2019, 7:20 PM ]

There is considerable speculation about the founding of Scottish Rite, but most agree that there is an inseparable link to the Scottish Jacobite cause of the 17th and 18th centuries.  (Efforts to put the Stuarts back on the British throne)

When looking up the history of Scottish Rite Masonry as early as 1733 a reference to “Scotch Masons’ Lodge appeared in a manuscript list of lodges  by Dr. Richard Rawlinson.  The early designations “Scotts,” “Scotch,” and “Scottish” refer to a type of Masonry practiced, rather than referring to native Scottsmen.  Early Scottish Degrees, after the Master Mason’s Degree were created in 1734-35 as “Excellent Mason” and “Grand Mason.”  These Scottish Degrees are older than Royal Arch Degrees.
Did you know that the “Supreme Council at Charleston,” as it was sometimes called, was the first Supreme Council of the 33 degree in the world.  It continues to exist today as the Supreme Council, 33 degree, Southern Jurisdiction although the headquarters were moved to Washington DC about 1870.  In its early days, the Supreme Council exercised authority over the entire USA as well President of the Supreme Council of Masons of the Untied States. By 1734-35, the Supreme Council issued “warrants of Constitution” to create Sublime Grand Lodges of Perfection (which administered 4-14 degrees) and Grand Councils of Princes of Jerusalem (administering 15-16 degrees). The Supreme Council only exercised direct control for degrees over 16.
In the earliest days of Scottish Rite the high degrees were conferred only on Past Masters, or virtual Past Masters of Blue Lodges.  In an agreement the Supreme Council At Charleston, organized a Supreme Council for France. The title “Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite” was used for the first time. Beginning with the administration of Grand Commander Albert Pike in 1859, the title, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, became generally used in the Southern Jurisdiction. 
All jurisdictions of Scottish Rite in the world operate independently.  The Northern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite in the US was formed in 1813 and consists of 15 Northeastern States, headquartered in Lexington, Mass. 

The Southern District separates the degrees as follows:

        Lodge of Perfection           4 – 14
        Chapter of Rose Croix     15 - 18
        Council of Kadosh            19 – 39
        Consistory                       31 – 33

 The Northern Jurisdiction separates the degrees as follows:

           Lodge of Perfection                      4 – 14
           Council of Prince of Jerusalem     15 – 16
           Chapter of Rose Croix                17 – 18
           Consistory                                 19 – 33 


Ref., _-Freemasonry, its history and myths Revealed,  by Gile Morgan, p144


From the Chief Knight (May 2019)

posted May 7, 2019, 7:08 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 7, 2019, 7:20 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:

The upcoming events that the Knights of St Andrew have coming up are:
May 19
th KSA Stated Meeting, 12pm at the San Jose Scottish Rite Library

June 9th KSA Stated Meeting, 12pm at the San Jose Scottish Rite Library


From the Venerable Master (April 2019)

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:45 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Have you ever stopped to wonder what led you to join Scottish Rite?  Maybe you have, or maybe you’ve known all along exactly why you decided to invest your time and money into the organization.


But if you haven’t thought about it for a while, especially if you haven’t attended in some time, then I ask you to talk a few moments and ponder.  Go ahead, we’ll wait.


So do you remember?  Chances are, whatever the reasons were, the same is still true today.  The lessons taught in our degrees are the same.  The fellowship we enjoy at each of our meetings is still there.  The collective Masonic knowledge of our members is probably greater than ever before.


As with any Masonic organization, the beauties contained in our body are derived not only from its principles, ideals, and philosophies, but from its members.  That means that you and I change the organization and make it better simply by being there and participating.  And as we’ve already seen, the reasons to participate are the same as when you joined. 


The Scottish Rite has so much to offer Masonry and the world at large, but it functions best through our interaction with each offer.  We draw from one another.  We learn, grow, and become better together.  The more of us there are, the better we become, not only as a body, but as individuals.  We want you be a strong and vibrant part of what we do, so that we can become better.


On May 31-June1, we will having a mini-reunion, and will be conferring the 4th-18th degrees.  The candidates will get the remaining degrees at our Fall reunion.  We need you to talk to the brethren in your lodges, and let them know that in Scottish Rite, they get more light in Masonry. 


I look forward to seeing you at our Stated Meeting on April 8.



From the Wise Master (April 2019)

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:44 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

It is the time of the year we observe Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday. It is the celebration of resurrection of Christ from the dead as described in the New Testament.

We, Scottish Rite Masons, Knights of Rose Croix in particular, observe “Maundy Thursday” on the Thursday before Easter. “Maundy” is the name of the Christian rite of foot washing which commemorates Christ washing the feet of his apostles during the last supper, as Christ gives them a new commandment “That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another” John 13:349

Maundy Thursday reminds us that leadership is a service, we are commended to love one another, and through Wisdom we shall have immortality. Brotherly Love is defined as “fraternal affection” extended to all mankind, regardless of race, religion, social class or educational status. Freemasons consider that there is only one race – the human race, and all men are Brothers. The Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God.

Leadership, Service and Immortality through Wisdom, reminds me Albert Pike’s writing in Morals and Dogma “no free government can long endure, when the people cease to select for their magistrates the best and the wisest of their statesmen; when, passing these by, they permit factions or sordid interests to select for them the small, the low, the ignoble, and the obscure, and into such hands commit the country's destinies. There is, after all, a "divine right" to govern; and it is vested in the ablest, wisest, best, of every nation. "Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding: I am power: by me kings do reign, and princes decree justice; by me princes rule, and nobles, even all the magistrates of the earth."

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Albert Pike



From the Commander of Kadosh (April 2019)

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:42 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Scottish Rite has been called the “college of Freemasonry” for its further masonic education of the 4°-32° degrees. They are not advanced degrees beyond that of Master Mason in the Blue Lodge, instead, the Scottish Rite Freemasonry degrees are further education on the principals of the Blue Lodge.

The moral truths that prevailed in Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome are just as valid, just as imperative in the digital 21st century. In his confidence in the reality of these principles, man has built his faith in the permanent value of moral truth. Here is to be found the basis of optimism, of faith in the free institutions, and of confidence in a civilization resting on ethical principles. No man can witness the Degrees of the Scottish Rite and be either a cynic or a pessimist. They renew his faith in God, in man, and in the process of history.

The Scottish Rite Degrees put into picturesque but explicit language the civic and social ideals implicit in the Blue Lodge Degrees. For centuries, Freemasonry has been a tremendous force for enlightenment, freedom, and social progress in Europe and in the Americas.

Freemasonry is a compelling and conquering spiritual force, and the reasons are revealed in the Scottish Rite Degrees. Scottish Freemasonry is the foe of intolerance, fanaticism, and superstition. It battles every form of racial and sectarian prejudice and bigotry. It is a mighty exponent of freedom in thought, religion, and government. Thus, the Scottish Rite is a rite of instruction. It interprets the symbols and allegories of Masonry in the light of history and philosophy using the words of the supreme prophets of humanity, ceremonies of the great religions of the world, and significant episodes from history to point the moral and adorn the tale.

 The degrees of the Scottish Rite are divided into six sections, originally there were seven, but the 15th and 16th Degrees (originally a section to itself called the Council of Princes of Jerusalem) were merged with the Chapter of Rose Croix.

There are four coordinate bodies within the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction:

Lodge of Perfection 4°th – 14°th

Preside over by The Venerable Master

Chapter of Rose Croix, 15° – 18°

Preside over by The Wise Master

Council of Kadosh, 19° – 30°
Preside over by The Commander

Consistory, 31° – 32°
Preside over by The Master of Kadosh


From the Master of Kadosh (April 2019)

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:39 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Did you realize that “as many as 80,000 to 200,000 Freemasons were killed by the Nazi regime during WWII?  In Mein Kamf, Hitler declared the Freemasonry had “succumbed to the Jews”.  Even Henry Ford was “strongly anti-Semitic and viewed Freemasons as being a part of a Jewish conspiracy to control the United States of America.”    “He wrote that ‘Jewish Gamblers Corrupt American Baseball’ and said ‘Jewish Jazz Becomes our National Music’.    Finally he compiled his articles of hatred into a book ’with the repugnant title of The International Jew:  The World’s Foremost Problem.  The book became a bestseller both in America and abroad.  It was greeted with great personal enthusiasm by Adolf Hitler himself.  He even kept a picture of Ford in his office.  Ford would argue that the role of the Freemasons in America was in fact to shift attention away from the labyrinthine anti-American plots of the Jews.  He later apologized publicly for his anti-Semitic outpourings, although it seems unlikely he felt and genuine regret about them.”  Quotes from Freemasonry Its History and Myths Revealed by Giles Morgan, PP 160-161.

The Freemasons and members of Scottish Rite are active today, and represent good men who care about family, our brothers, our communities, our country and our God.  Have you noticed that if you need help from a brother all you have to do is let it be known that help is needed?  Have you noticed that 50 year wedding anniversaries are normal for us?  Have you noticed that the more involved you are, the more you receive in return?

In our society men often find themselves isolated, moving often, and spending their time at work, or spending their time on the electronic devices, often alone.  Is it any surprise that some non-Masons might misinterpret who we are?

Let your non-Masonic friends know you are a Mason and a member of Scottish Rite.    Let them know the charities we support and the friends you have met and can count on.   Together we can accomplish more than we can by ourselves.


From the Cheif Knight (April 2019)

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:37 PM 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:


The upcoming events that the Knights of St Andrew have coming up are:

Apr 14th KSA Chapter Stated Meeting, 12pm at Naresh Rampershad’s House

May 19th KSA Stated Meeting, 12pm at the San Jose Scottish Rite Library


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