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 2018)

posted Jul 9, 2018, 7:21 PM 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.

 

I hope to see you all where friends and brothers meet to enjoy the company of one another – the San Jose Scottish Rite.

 

From the Wise Master (July 2018)

posted Jul 9, 2018, 7:18 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

     In my April article I recommended a book by Illustrious Brother Manly P. Hall entitled “The Lost Keys of Freemasonry”. I hope that many of you have had the opportunity to obtain and read this valuable book and add it to your library. For those already familiar with Brother Hall’s writings maybe it spurned you on to reread or at least scan this treasure.

As you recall Chapter VI discusses the author’s ideas about the qualifications of a “True Mason”. Here are a few more of those qualifications for your contemplation.

The true Master Mason enters his lodge with one thought uppermost in his mind: “How can I, as an individual, be of greater use in the Universal Plan? What can I do to be worthy of comprehending the mysteries which are unfolded here?” Those readers who are familiar with the York Rite may remember in the closing prayer of the chapter that the Companions are reminded to perform the obligations here unfolded to them and to practice these duties out of the chapter – I suggest this is, so we can be of greater use to that Universal Plan.

The true Brother Master Mason, while striving to improve himself mentally, spiritually and physically each day of his life, never makes his own desires or goals the object of his work. No, he has a higher duty and that duty is to fit into the plans of Another! He must be ready at any time to drop his own ideals at the call of the Great Architect of the Universe. Once again, the call to be of a greater use in the Universal Plan!

One more for your consideration. Every true Mason knows that a broken vow or promise brings with it a penalty. We just need to think about the such teachings in Symbolic Masonry or the Blue degrees. Let him also realize that his failure to live mentally, spiritually, and morally up to his own highest ideals constitutes the greatest of all broken oaths. Wow!

I sincerely wish and hope you find these ideas about the attributes of a Mason interesting and in some way useful, spreading at least a little way, not dying at birth!  More to follow in subsequent articles.

The recently completed Orient wide reunion was an amazing experience. To see all 29 degrees of our Scottish Rite exemplified by our valleys was a treat and unforgettable. To be a small part of it was an honor. Thanks.

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (July 2018)

posted Jul 9, 2018, 7:16 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

 

Independence Day should be a special time to all.  The fourth of July, as it is also know, became a federal holiday in 1941, though the celebration of this day dates back to the 18th century, and the American Revolution. In June of 1776 representative of the 13 colonies weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Brittan.  Then on July 2nd the continental congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later those delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776through today, the fourth of July has been celebrated as the birth of American independence with parades(like the one South Valley 187 in Morgan Hill and many other lodges/bodies participate in), family BBQ's, and my personal favorite the fireworks.  

 

From the Master of Kadosh (July 2018)

posted Jul 9, 2018, 7:14 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Fraternal greetings!  On June 2nd the Consistory joined with the Knights of St. Andrew, Sciots, and Grotto to host a Masonic time of fellowship at the Sunnyvale Art & Wine Festival.  Fourteen Brothers, family, and friends attended the event and a great time of fellowship with libations was had by all!

The United States Independence Day occurs this month on the 4th of July, and as such I would like all of us to reflect on the great freedoms we have in the United States and be reminded of those in less fortunate situations.  As Soldiers of Liberty, we have taken oaths in the 32nd degree to protect and promote freedom and resist despotism. 

In the past I had the great opportunity to spend time in the early nineties in Turkmenistan.  Turkmenistan is a former state within the USSR and is located in Central Asia next to Iran and above Afghanistan.  It is a country of great natural resources.  The people I met there were wonderful.  They were very nice and caring.  However, the government was ruled by a dictator, Turkmenbashi.  Freedom of religion, speech, and the press, to name a few, were not rights the citizens enjoyed.  The government decided what music could be played at public dances, tightly controlled all forms of media, and citizens were not allowed to criticise the government and especially Turkmenbashi without fear of imprisonment or even worse.  A Physics professor at the local university earned the equivalent of $10 a month, and the people lived in austere conditions.  When elections were held, the dictator was always voted for by 99% of the citizens, and opposition candidates were often imprisoned.

I mention Turkmenistan, not to put the wonderful people, who are the citizens there, in a bad light, but rather to illustrate that even in today’s world, we still have regimes around the world with despotic leadership who profit off the work of their citizens to serve their own needs and repress many of the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States.  Having experienced life in Turkmenistan I know my already present appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States were deepend even more.

Therefore, as you enjoy the various festivities this Fourth of July, please take a moment and reflect on how truly blessed we are to live in a country that promotes, defends, and practices liberty, and send kind prayers and thoughts of love to those in less fortunate situations.

 

Happy 4th of July!

 

From the Chief Knight (July 2018)

posted Jul 9, 2018, 7:12 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Brief History

The order of ‘The Knights of the Temple of Solomon’ or ‘The Knights of the Temple’, originally called the ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Jesus Christ’, was established in 1118.

On Friday, October 13, 1307, Pope Clement V, at the insistence of King Philip IV of France, declared the Order heretical. The king was known as “Philip the Fair” though not because he was ‘just” but simply because he was “fair’ or light skinned………..stay tuned for more!

 

 Fraternally,
Naresh Rampershad

 

From the Venerable Master (June, 2018)

posted Jun 8, 2018, 1:39 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

It is interesting to know how we are described to the world, by those outside the fraternity.  The following is taken from Wikipedia, under the heading “Scottish Rite”

The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in the United States often omits the and, while the English Constitution in theUnited Kingdom omits the Scottish), commonly known as simply the Scottish Rite, is one of several Rites of Freemasonry. A Rite is a progressive series of degrees 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 Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. In England 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.

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]

As you can see, this description if fairly accurate.  The latter portion of the last paragraph above is also quite accurate, as I can attest.  Many of us from the Valley of San Jose traveled to New Orleans in 2014 and 2017, and were privileged to attend a first degree and third degree, respectively.  They are indeed different from what we are used to in our California Blue Lodges. 

When this Valley travels as a group, we often find some unique Masonic experiences.  You should come along with us on your next trip, which will be to Philadelphia and Gettysburg, in September, 2019.

Brethren, the Lodge of Perfection is sponsoring a trip to San Francisco, at go to Alcatraz. 

This outing will be on Saturday, September 8.  In addition to visiting the island of Alcatraz, there are options to ride the exciting Rocket Boat.  Also, if we have enough interest, we will charter a bus to take us up and back.  If you’re interesting in participating in this fun day, call the Scottish Rite office and make a reservation.

Remember that our June and July stated meetings are casual.  Please attend and enjoy the comradery of your
brethren.

See you there.

 

From the Wise Master (June, 2018)

posted Jun 8, 2018, 1:36 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

This month I present the second part of my Maundy Thursday talk on Harmony. I hope you can refer, if necessary, to the May Rite Word to refresh your memory of Part I.

PART II on Harmony with Others and Nature

It is almost impossible to conceive of living our lives without frequent contacts with others. Humans are not as self-sufficient as we might like to think we are.  It is generally agreed that we have an innate need for communication, that we are social animals. Our gregarious nature compels us to live in a society or community. It is to our benefit to do all we can to preserve harmony in our family and in all other relationships. Let’s say the whole of humanity!  We live in an age where technology gives us the capability to communicate with our family and friends with the utmost speed and ease. But, these media must be carefully employed. Temperance and Prudence come to mind, as two Cardinal Virtues, discussed in the First-degree lecture, to help guide us in this regard.

I can think of few things more stressful than living in a state of conflict. Harmony must be the Golden Rule within the family and society. This does not mean group think because this would lead to conformity and uniformity which certainly stands in the way of evolution. To the contrary, we should live together in mutual respect, with the goal of using our differences of opinion and individual behaviors for the good of all.

There is a Buddhist teaching that says:
Let your words pass through three gates:

Is it True?

Is it Necessary?

Is it Kind?

We live on this wonderful planet in this harmonious universe provided for us by the Great Architect of the Universe. To examine the harmony between ourselves and the natural environment might seem unnecessary as it is so self-evident. But all we must do is look around us to see how we have through acts of commission and omission with, in most cases, the best of intentions disrupted the balance or harmony of our surroundings. 

Nature does have its Body of Laws and humans have obligations to understand and respect these laws. We must accept that our actions as individuals or as a community if not in harmony with nature will and already have resulted in dire consequences.

To summarize, it is generally believed our happiness is in direct proportion to the state of harmony that each of us maintains within ourselves, with others and with nature. The more we are aware of this the more we might feel the obligation and necessity to construct and maintain our human and natural relationships in harmony.

Let me close with this Scottish Rite Rose Croix characterization of this celebration: it is “The moment when the Word was recovered; when the Cubical Stone was changed to the Mystic Rose; when the Blazing Sun reappeared in its entire splendor; the Columns of the Temple were re-established; the Working Tools of Masonry restored; when True Light dispelled the darkness and the New Love began to rule upon the earth”.

I trust these thoughts on Harmony might cause us all to reflect on how we discharge our obligations and duties inculcated in our Masonic lodges. For these obligations and duties charge Freemasons to live their Masonry in all aspects of daily activity.

On June 19, the Personal Representative and the Venerable Master invites you and all Freemasons to “An Evening of Scottish Rite Instruction and Festive Agape Dinner”. I hope to see you there and share with you this evening of light and Brotherly Love.

 

Fraternally,

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (June, 2018)

posted Jun 8, 2018, 1:34 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Greetings,

 

  The Star Spangled Banner, Stars and Stripes, and Old Glory are but a few names that The American Flag goes by. This month we are given the opportunity to give our respect to a fabric that has woven so much history in our world. June 14th, this day was chosen by BJ Cigrand in 1885 to have 'Flag Birthday' or 'Flag day'. He arranged to have this observance for his students in Fredonia Wisconsin. In 1889, George Balch, of New York did the same for his pupils. Two years later the  New York school board adopted this observance. Many important groups, and individuals supported this day, and it grew. On June 14th 1894, over 300,000 children in schools observed this day. This was not only for the children, in 1914, Franklin K. Lane spoke to what the flag uttered to him that morning "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself". The day was made an anniversary when Woodrow Wilson made the proclamation in 1916. August 3rd 1949, our brother and President Truman signed an act of congress designating June 14th of every year as National Flag Day. With this we are given the opportunity to observe the flag of our great country every year. For this we may thank teachers, children, and masonry.

 

June 14th, take 5 minutes of your day and watch on the internet our brother Richard "Red" Skelton speak of Old Glory when he describes the pledge of allegiance.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgkSrMi5OGY

 

From the Master of Kadosh (June, 2018)

posted Jun 8, 2018, 1:32 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Fraternal greetings!  We will meet at Fibber Magees Irish pub at noon on June 2nd to enjoy the Sunnyvale Art and Wine Festival  !  I will be planning a trip to the Rosicrucian museum in the up coming months.

Living in the Present Moment

Last year I had the privilege of reading Eckhart Tolle’s seminal book The Power of Now, and it impacted my life in a very positive way.  The primary premise of the book is to be present, aware, and conscious in the current moment.  Too many times in our lives, we tend to either live in the past or the future.  Fixating on past events.  Thinking about positive or negative events in the past.  Looking forward to our next vacation.  Just counting the minutes till our work day is over and we can finally start living.  The challenge is, that if we live in the past or the future, we are missing the abundant life that’s unfolding in the current moment.  The only thing that truly exists is the current moment.  Time is just a series of moments, and the only true moment that exists is RIGHT NOW.

By viewing our current experiences through the lens of past experience or future possibilities, we often miss the reality of the what’s occurring in the current moment, and as such we lose the essence of reality and are blind to the possibilities the current moment offers.  We are all guilty of going somewhere, say a Scottish Rite stated meeting, and thinking about how previous meetings were in the past.  We often view current events through the lens of the past.  As such if we don’t experience the present moment we might miss great opportunities to have new experiences and interactions.

Being present is also an essential part of relationships.  We view people through the lens of how they acted in the past.  We sometimes predict that someone might exhibit a negative behavior, based on past experience, and as such we actively look for that negative behavior and we don’t notice the positive aspects of that person.  By not giving space to a person, and by viewing them through the lens of the past, we often miss the positive behaviors and attributes of that person.  Additionally, how many times have you had a conversation with someone and they seem to be so distracted from the events of the day or upcoming events that you don’t truly connect and communicate?  People are too consumed by their phone or too distracted in their thoughts to experience the present moment.  How damaging this is to our relationships?  We all have a million responsibilities and things vying for our attention, but if we just put everything aside, focus on the current moment, realize that there is nothing to do except be in this moment with the person you are communicating with, and provide space and non-judgement, based on past events, then how great will our relationships and lives improve? 

 

Therefore, I encourage each and every one of you to focus on the current moment.  Experience what the current moment in this life has to offer.  Provide space and attention in your relationships, from your close family members to the lady at the supermarket checkout counter and see how your life and those around you improve.  We all have a duty as Mason’s to chip away at the rough and superfluous parts of our rough ashlars, and this is a great way to work toward our smooth and polished ashlars.

Best Fraternal Regards,

 

From the Venerable Master (May 2018)

posted May 2, 2018, 11:29 AM 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:  www.scottishrite.org/development/giving

 

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

 

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