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 2018)

posted Jan 8, 2018, 2:09 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brothers;


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the brethren of the Scottish Rite for having me serve as the Venerable Master in 2017.  All of our regular stated dinners have been well prepared; and the Agape Prime Rib dinners have been great events as well.  I particularly enjoyed being the host for the Grand Masters reception and Table Lodge dinner in July.

     The highlight of the year for the Lodge of Perfection was a Comedy Show starring Michael Mancini.  That dinner show was well attended yet many missed out on a good night.     Michael would like to do it again at our venue sometime.

     I have tried to keep my messages about our work in Masonry.  I wrote about our philosophical work based on the plain English part of our degrees; which included monitorial writings. I required that my messages be drawn from Wisdom; and that they had enough Strength to stand; with enough Beauty to be attractive.

     My favorite symbol in the lodge is that of the point within the circle; with the Holy Writings on top and two rods, one on each side, representing Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist.  Let us all remember to stay within the circle.

       Martin Maxey, Venerable Master 2017


From the Wise Master (January 2018)

posted Jan 8, 2018, 2:07 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite



First, I hope that all of you had a wonderful Holiday Season and I want to wish to each and all of you a Very Happy New Year and a great 2018.


As I am writing my last article for the Rite Word as your Wise Master, I cannot stop thinking about my journey as an officer of the Chapter of Rose Croix.  Five years of significant learning and personal development.  The help, the support and the guidance I received from the officers and from all of you is something I will never forget and I will always cherish.  Sometimes I think that I got more from you than you got from me.


I will take this opportunity to thank you all for the two great Reunions we had and to applaud the contribution of the new Brothers that are now part of this great Valley. It is so reassuring when one sees the activity and dedication of our younger Brothers.


On January 30th I will be passing the Jewel to Ill. Charles Cowden.  What better person to take the seat in the East for the Knights of Rose Croix?  I am sure that it will offer me and all of us the possibility to further our knowledge about the Chapter.  I am looking forward to becoming wiser.


One more thing: Thank You for the opportunity to serve!  Was a great honor.


From the Commander of Kadosh (January 2018)

posted Jan 8, 2018, 2:06 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

In a past article I mentioned “How Jose Scottish Rite got here”. Now I write “How California and the Whole Bay Area got here”.  My thanks go to that wonderful Geological Guidebook of the San Francisco Bay Counties, Bulletin 154, 1951, 400 pages It is a magnificent research document. It goes something like this—“In the beginning the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the waters, and so forth”. That’s it folks—there was only the surface water on top. Then slowly came the volcanic and earth building processes to be repeated over and over again,. With each successive geologic epoch new up-thrusting of mountains, hills, coastlines, plains, rivers and lakes would be created only to submerge and then be recreated differently as has happened in the past 2 billion years of the earth’s 4 billion year history. The early part of the latest Pliocene epoch has been estimated as about 10 to 12 million years ago.

   Recent events which are recorded here have occurred only within the last one-half of one percent of the earth’s history and the development of the S. F. Bay Area itself may not have taken any more than the last one half of one-hundredth of that small fraction of time. During most of that that history there was no S.F. Bay Area.

   Repeated events of temporary mountain building in the waters led to many geologic changes of plate tectonic movements, volcanos, earthquakes; and crustal compressions began to form both the great National Rocky Mountain range and our Sierra Mountain range. While this was all taking place our Coastal Mountain range and hills temporarily emerged from the ocean waters, then sank and reemerged in different locations, finally settling into what became our primary and secondary Cost Ranges. California’s central part would become the great Sacramento and San Joaquin inland valley with its flood plains and rivers bordered by the high Sierra Mountain range to the east.

   In this period the costal ocean level was about 300 feet lower than now and only made scattered inroads into the coast mountains, hills and valleys. The Great Central Valley was originally below sea level but was filled by yearly winter rains and snow runoff plus summer storms from the high Sierras. Over a period of time the Great Valley floor became slowly filled with alluvial sediment which kept the valley floor water level rising but only at about a constant six feet in depth due to evaporation. At one time there was a an outlet in the south to the ocean near the Paso Robles–San Luis Obispo area but it eventually became clogged due to ground uplifting in that area.

   In the north, the costal mountains and valleys also faulted and then eroded as the level of the ocean waters and inland sea became higher.  Small streams and rivers including the Yolo, Sacramento, American, and the San Joaquin among others began to force their way through to the Stockton, Modesto, Rio Vista, and Antioch Delta areas. Further river cuts through the rocks in the Martinez and Rodeo area left no remaining obstacle on the river’s journey to the sea  through the Sausalito, San Francisco and the Golden Gate areas.

   During this period this new flowing river filled the Suisun Bay, the San Pablo Bay and the San Francisco Central Bay. It should be noted that the larger San Francisco southern bay was just a flat plain playing field. It would take more time for the waters to cover this area to its now average depth of six feet. then even more millennia to fill our bay and populate its shores with the native people, towns, cities, populations, industries, transportation, and the mode of civilization which we now enjoy.  And His face shined upon the waters!

Dell Bleiler, Commander of Kadosh


From the Master of Kadosh (January 2018)

posted Jan 8, 2018, 2:04 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Benjamin Franklin once remarked that the beginning of wisdom is the knowledge of your own ignorance.

I have noticed that in many masonic moments, at events, lectures, seminars, someone will always ask some leading question or have a comment. They often will have an additional piece of information or comment.  As they speak I find myself uneasy, it is something about their tone, the words they use or how they phrase the question. In that moment I often find myself doing one of my ‘Do I understand’ techniques called ‘Looking between the lines’, or lifting up the words to understand what I think they actually mean.

At times, in these moments, I ‘feel’ that what they are communicating, intentional or not isn’t what they are saying but more of a challenge to who they are talking to, call them out, as if they forgot something, they are wrong or there is more information that they don’t know.

Now this comes in conflict with some of my core feelings about communication, among them:

Respect for each other, especially while we speak and communicate, this builds relationships

Understanding that each of us only ‘know’ or understand something in the context of our own experiences

Remembering that we are listening to this person for a reason, it isn’t that they asked us to correct them

Remembering that to embarrass someone is to undermine their confidence and self-esteem and that most people can’t manage that ‘in the moment’. This creates less than well thought out responses which begins the walk down the path of miscommunication and discord.

I have encountered many very knowledgeable masons and often I find that they do know more in my opinion than the people we might be listening to, not always but often. I think in the end it isn’t what we say or do, but how we do it. Perhaps it is more important to listen than to speak.

East meets West

In December the Consistory hosted what turned out to be a very nice visit to the San Jose Rosicrucion Grand Lodge & Egyptian museum.

We started the day at the Park Station Hashery across the street for a breakfast of eggs, potato, coffee and fresh juice. It was a lovely way to meet and begin the day. In attendance were not only members of SJSR but other lodges and master masons, wives and some children

We walked across the street to the Rosicrucion Library where we got a tour and talk of the library which contains among its many volumes on history, alchemy, culture and some first editions by early Rosicrucion masters Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon. I was happy to see a few books there that I actually owned already. I also notice in a display cabinet there among other things a glass pyramid with a gold ring suspended in the middle of it. On the ring was a small engraving of a triangle with a Yod on it. 

After the library we were escorted to the next building for meet & greet with Julie Scott the Grand Master of Ancient and Mystic Order of the Rosy Cross of North America. In an East meets West moment we snapped a few pictures GM Scott with Ill. Ken Nagel, our own Past Grand Master. GM Scott took the time to shake each of our hands and introduce us. In her talk was interesting to hear that most of the events at the Rosicrucion Park are on and based on the Solstice and the Equinox. These celestial events are among the oldest examples of man kind’s journey to understand its existence.

After our talk outside the temple, then in an unplanned moment she then surprised us tour and lecture inside the AMORC temple. She told us that many things contribute to the Rosicrucion experience in the temple including meditation, visualization, and vocalizations. A question on what this was like, she further surprised us in leading us in a guided meditation on vowels sounds and how they pertain to the different parts in our bodies and our opportunity to pass energy though us, similar to Chakras. An interesting and enlightening experience for all of us.

After a walk through the garden we arrived at the museum and received a private docent guided tour. The guide was very knowledgeable on not only the museum but Egyptology in general. It was interesting to hear some of the same stories of Egypt that I had heard in Ill Daniel Doornbos’ lecture on the thirty first degree during the last Reunion where Osiris with Maat view the scales as they weigh the soul of a man at the time of his passing

All in all a great day, a good way to spend a Saturday morning and some interesting and enlightening fellowship in not only the Scottish Rite but Masonry in General.

At the End of the Day

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for listening to me in my monthly rants in the Rite Word during my year in the East for the Consistory. I have had a good team of officers and I think I leave it in the good hands of our Brother TJ Jackson.  I would like to especially thank Sean Patrick, for his help, good ideas and support this year. He is a fine man and a good Mason.

Mark Burger


From the Venerable Master (December 2017)

posted Dec 13, 2017, 3:12 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brothers,

As I look through the degrees of the Scottish Rite I have found the greatest value in the 29th and 30th degrees. The 29th leads us through one of life’s hardest trials: Not backing down from your beliefs. Also in the 29th we have to interpret what it means to live and die in the service of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

What does that mean? Does that mean that we make a solid oath to continue paying dues; or does it mean that we are to diligently study our work and never back down from your beliefs? In both the 29th and 30th the threat of death is eminent in the beginning and by the end of the degree it is simply an inescapable part of life.

In the span of our knighthood have we given in to a crown not meant by us; or did we stand up against the tyranny and imposture imposed by any type of dictatorship? Have we stood up to those willing to oppress the people using religion as their reason? Are we prepared to give our life for the freedom of all from religious persecution? Are we prepared to stand up to those willing to strip away our government and our way of life? Or are we willing to stand idly by and let oppression and tyranny destroy or values?

In the 30th degree the Frank Judge says that we must look at the opinions of ourselves and others only so far as to see that they are consistent with reverential love for the Deity, affection for our fellow men, regard for their rights, and detestation of imposture and tyranny. Beyond these - we have no right to ask what you believe.

The bottom line of Masonry is that our work is meant to teach something that is to be a constant study and a constant work through life. We live and die in the service of the Scottish Rite, ourselves and others.

Martin Maxey
Venerable Master


From the Wise Master (December 2017)

posted Dec 13, 2017, 3:10 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite


As you are reading this article, Thanksgiving has already passed and the December Holidays are upon us. So, I do hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving together with family and friends and are preparing for Christmas and The New Year celebrations.

I want to wish to each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas with plenty of presents, warmth and joy and a New Year with lots of health and happiness.

Ion Vasilescu, WISE MASTER

From the Commander of Kadosh (December 2017)

posted Dec 13, 2017, 3:08 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

I knew that Crocker Lodge #212 was located somewhere in San Francisco. As it turns out, this is one “Special” Lodge. I learned at Mtn. View DeAnza’s Stated Meeting that our Inspector Wor. Edwin ‘Hercules’ Valdez was going to receive his Hiram Award from Crocker Lodge and I would go.

Well let me tell you that Daley City is one large neighborhood and Crocker Lodge is located right in the middle of many multi-story residential houses on the side of a big hill. There were no empty parking spaces but I saw one vehicle just starting to move and we grabbed that space. A quick walk down one steep block and we were there.

The place was packed. “Everyone” was already in the dining room and really enjoying themselves. We gobbled up the hors d’oeuvres, the Chardonnay & Merlot, and also some of that “slushy stuff” from a machine on a table which poured out endless Margaritas at the pull of the handle. Yes! I could tell at once that this was going to be one great evening of celebration! After a delicious dinner Hercules’s daughter introduced Hercules and his family then she related to us his lifetime biography.

Hercules is a remarkable fellow—of medium height and Philippine descent with a Post-Masters Degree in the Sciences, a member and Past Master of Crocker Lodge #212, a Roman Catholic Priest and a Grand Lodge District Inspector for the San Francisco middle coastal area down to Salinas. He is a likeable and friendly gentleman who knows all the work and at Crocker Lodge they really love him. He is their guy.

After dinner we adjourned upstairs to the Lodge Room by the 33 stairs or by the elevator. The Lodge Room is spectacular. All of the 3 rows of seats on each side were filled. The floor is carpeted with a very large black and white checkered rug with a red and black tessellated boarder. Framed Past Masters pictures adorn both the south and north walls above the chairs. Present Wor. Master R. W. Whitfield presided over the ceremony. The award was preceded with a Walk-about discourse of the Lodge Room. Wor. Tony Sammaio, AGL of Division 3, then described the background of the Hiram Award which was followed with the award presentation to Wor. Hercules.

A letter of congratulations from our newly elected Grand Master M.W. Bruce Galloway followed by a letter and certificate from Grand Secretary Wor. Allan Casalou, after which Bro. Hercules was presented with his Hiram Award and Medal—plus the award pin which was attached to his jacket collar by his wife. Next came Hercules’ “address” to the attendees. He mentioned his religious and current background and thoughts, and why he is now active in Masonry and of his travel to the “Village Crocker” in Africa. He followed this with a lengthy allegorical story “ I see you have traveled”. It was of a man traveling from where he started, to his destination, and along the way of what Masonic symbols, roads, buildings, people, and related items which were of interest to him—until he finally reached his destination—when he said “and that’s the end”. Every one was shocked waiting for the rest of the story!

Well, my friends, after a minute or two of curious silence, we finally “got it”. The story was not about the destination—it was about the trip. And he concluded with the remark “When you are going on a journey from one place to another—you bring what you have to where you are gong”. This was the Hercules parable.

Dell Bleiler, Commander of Kadosh


From the Master of Kadosh (December 2017)

posted Dec 13, 2017, 3:06 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Happy Holidays

I have always loved this time of year. It is time of family, reflection, of endings, and ultimately new beginnings. I trust you will have time for each in the coming weeks. Masonry for me provides an opportunity to consider my thoughts on many of these topics. I often use this time to reflect on the past and reset myself for the coming year and what I want my life to be. One of these reflections is often about the degrees of our Scottish Rite. For my thoughts today, it is the Chapter of the Rose Croix.

As we know, there are a number of Rose-Croix degrees, differing in a measure from each other in their work and in their teachings. However, it is said that they have their basis in Rosicrucianism.

To that end and to learn more about the Ancient and Mystic Order Rosae Crucis, join us for a visit to their Grand Lodge and Egyptian Museum. . This is one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt and at the site is the Grand Lodge of AMORC, the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosicrucian. Some say they are a distant cousin of Masonry. Come and find out. The day includes a light breakfast, Tour of their extensive Reading Room, a Guided Tour of their Museum and a chance to meet their Grand Master Julie Scott. Saturday December 16th, 9:00 AM San Jose. $15 pp. Email or call (831) 521-8228 for reservations. Address of the Museum is: 1660 Park Ave, San Jose, 95191. See you there!

Mark Burger, Master of Kadosh


From the Venerable Master (November 2017)

posted Nov 10, 2017, 9:36 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brothers.


     My early experience in Judo and Jujitsu lasted many years and my education was based on old Japanese traditions.  Tests were hard and failure was harder.  I learned to apply my spirit to the betterment of myself and others.  I became part of the examining board of the United States Judo Association and Soke Di of the International Golden Dragon Jujitsu Federation.  And I was still in pursuit of the pure spirit of Budo.  Eventually, I found myself teaching the wrong people, and set all of this aside; because I was no longer in pursuit of the right spirit.

     In my practice of Kendo today I am in unison with so many others who are in pursuit of the pure spirit.  To us, Kendo is not just a sport.   Every time I pick up my Shinai (sword) I am the blacksmith who forms it; I have to be of pure mind and of good heart; otherwise I will wield a bad sword.

     My journey in Masonry isn’t so much different.  The pursuit clarifies with age.  When I was 21 years old and did my third degree I heard words, and I repeated them; but really had no model in my mind as to what they were.  Now at 61 I know what torments, trials, hardships, earthly ambitions, uncertainties and fleeting pleasures are.  I also know that I am not done with these categories yet.

     Over the years I have read the monitorial part of the third degree many times and have explored how the 3 steps, the pot of incense, the bee hive, the book of constitutions guarded by the Tyler’s sword, the sword pointing to the naked heart and the all seeing eye, the anchor and the ark, the 47th problem of Euclid and the hourglass and scythe help me on this pursuit. I had to come to terms with how all things in Masonry apply to how I wield my Masonic education inside and outside of our doors. 

     I encourage everyone to sit down and take stock in our writings.  It is in doing this that I understood the deep teachings of the degrees of Masonry.

     The pursuit of the pure spirit of Masonry will never die.


Martin Maxey

Venerable Master


From the Wise Master (November 2017)

posted Nov 10, 2017, 9:33 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Nov 10, 2017, 9:34 AM ]


I’m going to share with you some exotic, for some, history:

Freemasonry in Romania.

Freemasonry has a long history in Romania, going back as far as 1734.  That is only 17 years after the constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England and two years before the birth of the Scottish Rite.  Many key moments in Romanian history, including the country's unification and independence were strongly influenced by Masons.  The National Grand Lodge of Romania was founded in September 1880.  One year later, in 1881, the Supreme Council of Romania was created.  For the next half century, Freemasonry was the driving force behind Romania's rapid progress.  Those were years of great achievement and change. Romania emerged as a modern nation with a democratic government, a booming economy, and a rich cultural life.

Those hopeful times abruptly ended with the beginning of World War II.  But the worst was still to come.  It arrived with the Soviet tanks that imposed a communist regime in Bucharest, thus marking the beginning of a nightmare that would last for 50 years.  Romanian Freemasons paid a heavy price.  They were persecuted, arrested, tried, sent to jails, or forced into labor camps.  In 1948, Freemasonry was outlawed by the communist regime.  At that time, more than 1,500 Brethren were registered by the Romanian Grand Lodge.  No more than a few hundred were still alive in 1964 to benefit from a general amnesty, and by 1989 only 10 Masons living in Romania survived the communist regime.  There were, of course, a few Romanian Brethren living abroad.

After almost half a century of ruthless dictatorship, a miracle occurred. Communism collapsed and so did the dictator Ceausescu's regime.  It was a rebirth for the whole nation and a time of great need.  And so it was, of course, time for Freemasonry to step in again.  The Grand Orient of Italy and the Grand Lodge of California reconstituted the first Romanian Lodge in 1990 with the assistance of the Grand Lodges of France and Austria.  Three years later, the National Grand Lodge of Romania was reopened, and S.G.C. Kleinknecht and his Supreme Council initiated the first Master Masons into the Scottish Rite.  In October 1993, the same Mother Council of the World re-consecrated, in Washington, D.C., the Supreme Council of Romania, Portugal, and Poland.  Romanian Brethren were grateful then, and they remain so to this day.  In particular, they are pleased that Ill. Kleinknecht and his distinguished delegation were able to attend and help celebrate the 10th anniversary in post-communist Romania.  This celebration has closed a difficult chapter and has opened a new one in which genuine Brotherhood and Unity in Europe and the world must and shall triumph.

And in May 14 to 17, 20014 the National Grand Lodge of Romania has organized and hosted the 13th session of The World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges: 106 Grand Lodges were represented, 76 Grand Masters and 32 Grand Secretaries as well as an impressive number of Deputy Grand Masters, Pro Grand Masters and Grant Officers were in attendance, making the 13th session of The World Conference the largest gathering of representatives in history.


Ion Vasilescu

Wise Master


1-10 of 824