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 (October 2017)

posted Oct 6, 2017, 11:23 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brothers.

In the second degree we mention that Masonry is a progressive science taught by degrees only.  That statement, in essence, states that we are a philosophical society.  When I look at our degrees I would also have to say that we are a theosophical and spiritual society. 

     I have combed through the rituals and monitors used in 1907 and find that we have been neglecting or deleting bits and pieces in the opening and closing that remind us of our spiritual reason for existence.

     In the Taylor Hamilton Monitor of Symbolic Masonry There is a Masters Charge in closing that is still, to some degree,  used in Cryptic Masonry today but no longer in the Blue Lodge:

     “Brethren You are now about to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue, to mix again with the world.  Amidst its concerns and employments, forget not the duties you have heard so frequently inculcated and forcibly recommended in this Lodge.  Be diligent, prudent, temperate, discreet.  Remember that around this alter you have promised to befriend and relieve every bother who shall need your assistance.  Remember that you have promised to remind him, in the most tender manner, of his failings, and aid his reformation.  Vindicate his character when wrongfully traduced.  Suggest in his behalf the most candid and favorable circumstances.  Is he justly reprehended?  Let the world observe how Masons love one another.  The generous principles are to extend further; every human being has a claim upon your kind offices.  “Do good unto all”.  Remember it more especially to the household of the FAITHFUL.  Finally, brethren, be ye all of one mind; live in peace, and the God of love and peace delight to dwell with and bless you.  Amen”

     Notice that our gathering is a sacred retreat; and when we leave that place we mix again with theworld.  When we come to lodge we are to leave the world behind and bring none of it into the lodge.  I can clearly see that we are failing to convey tour true reason for existence to candidates:  We are the keepers of a holy place.

     I have to ask myself, and now you:  Have we forgotten to meditate upon our own philosophy; thereby becoming unable to transmit it to candidates?  Have we come to a place where we have forgotten our spiritual reason for existence thereby forfeiting our future existence?

Martin Maxey

Venerable Master


From the Wise Master (October 2017)

posted Oct 6, 2017, 11:21 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite



I’m going to stay in the realm of history.  I think this is a good time.  300 years is a big number.

So, here are some more historic landmarks and dates to remember, courtesy of a great article by Amanda Ruggeri on BBC Travel.


Mary’s Chapel, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


The name may be misguiding.  This is not a “place of worship”.  In fact, the whole name is:

“The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No. 1”.

The address is: 19 Hill Street, and walking by, it is very easy to miss it.  But if one will pay attention, the entry, with the “common” columns, is so obviously special.  Hidden in plain sight there are many signs that will look familiar to us. And here is the interesting part: this Masonic Lodge is the oldest in existence in the world.  Its records date back to 1599.


Grand Lodge of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


Just around the corner from The Lodge of Edinburgh, on 96 George Street, was founded in 1736, and is the guardian of the records of all other official Scottish Masonic Lodges in existence.  Just to make you interested: you can find there the membership record, and signature, of Robert Burns, or, the 115-years-old membership roll book of a Scottish Masonic Lodge in Japan.  The museum there is open to the public. Just a reminder…


Edinburgh Lodge of Journeyman Masons No 8, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


The Lodge was founded in 1578 and today’s Lodge building was built in 1870, on Blackfriars Street. The building has great architecture and is something not to be missed if life will take you there.


The Celtic Lodge of Edinburgh and Leith No 291, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


Speaking of “hidden in plain sight”!  Off of the Royal Mile, the most crowded street in Edinburgh, on Brodie’s Close, the Lodge was founded in 1821.


All these Lodges are, if I can say, the “foundation” for the Grand Lodge of England in 1717.

This is a little bit of history.  It is our history and world history.  And because we go back in time so far, we are part of the world history.

History is an important part of our life. It cannot be denied, dismissed or forgotten.  Good or bad, all that happened before is there.  Victories and defeats happened, and they will be there, like it or not.  History is not only a textbook.  It’s life at the highest level.  Knowing it and understanding it is the easiest way to avoid repeating it.


I do hope that I did whet your appetite to check and find more about this part of history.  The article that I referred to, and the author, Amanda Ruggeri that gets all the credit, has much more information and I found it very well documented.


Ion Vasilescu

Wise Master


From the Commander of Kadosh (October 2017)

posted Oct 6, 2017, 11:18 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Two items for this month. The trip report to the Corps of Engineers “Bay Model”;  and the 500th year anniversary of “The Reformation”.

The trip to the Bay-Delta model went well. Traveling over the Golden Gate Bridge and through Sausalito to the Visitor Center with parking on the right at the “big’ old W.W. II supply building.
A short walk took us to the entrance and reception desk where we received our maps and instructions for one of the free tour options—we chose the self-guided one. Wow! This is one big high cavernous building, I mean “real Big”.

  It starts out up the ramp to follow the numbered steps provided on the tour map. From the enormous color mountain paintings on the walls from the Mt. Shasta area to the south it gives the impression that you are really there. The visual impact is quite awesome. Then you can sit down for a 15 minute video of an overview of the whole model itself.  
  Next is the “long circuitous walk” touring the individual but connected areas of the  Delta – Napa/ San Pablo Bay – Carquinez Straight – East Bay – Golden Gate/ Central Bay – South Bay/ Alviso Area – Suisun Bay – Sacramento and San Joaquin River/ Delta areas all in 3-D relief.
 What an exhibit! Our tour took bout two hours and yet to digest it all would have taken even longer—or required a second visit. The detail was superb and you could even see the water moving in and out over the whole model with the simulated tides. This is a “must see” to appreciate how big and glorious “our” San Francisco Bay and especially the Delta region really is.

 Next: While 2017 is a celebration for our 300th year of currently organized Freemasonry there is also another celebration this year. It is occurrence of the 500th year of the Christian Lutheran religious Reformation Movement that began in Germany by the reverend Pastor Dr. Martin Luther in September of 1517. Luther’s daring proclamation of his explicit interpretation of the bible led him to be at odds with many predominant church leaders and doctrine. Among his long struggle to present his facts and point of view were his long walk from Germany over the Alps Mountains in the middle of winter on foot to Rome to seek understanding by the Vatican. While he was unsuccessful in that effort his views and doctrine have become recognized and accepted over the ages in the form of Lutheran and Reformed Christian Churches of worship in many other countries.


Dell Bleiler, Commander of Kadosh


From the Master of Kadosh (October 2017)

posted Oct 6, 2017, 11:12 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Meaningful Allegories, Stories Or Nothing

Among the things we often find interesting in Masonry are heritage, allegory and metaphor.

Theses often take the form of a Theme, or are Thematic in nature. These are common in mystic schools as they explain things in common well known ideas and reinforce the same ideas or themes over and over again.

We see this same type of thing in many places, one such place is music. For example, about 1600 a late Renaissance composer and organist Hans Leo Hassler wrote “Mein G’mut ist mir verwirret”, its theme becoming so popular it eventually gathered folk tune status. That beginning was a century later when J.S. Bach used it as the central theme for the St Mathew’s Passion. Two hundred years later, Peter, Paul & Mary used it as a ‘Folk’ song for their Because All Men are Brothers and finally, Paul Simon used it as the central theme for An American Tune. Interestingly, each of these renditions is a musical version and commentary by each composure on Mankind.

Many musical styles are based upon reoccurring themes, such as a canon, one theme stated against itself offset in time, or a Fugue, or a Passacaglia as expanded examinations of a theme. Examples of these permeate our culture even today, you can see them in Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, often associated with Phantom of the Opera, or Johann Pachebel’s  Canon in D, a staple of modern wedding music.

In literature we see this in several types of both prose and poetry. Even in movies, there is a very interesting paper that was written suggesting that the storyline for all nine of the Star Wars movies (the first two trilogies and the recently last one, of which story 7 was out last year and 8 is coming out soon). It outlines how the Hero archetype and coming of age mythologies are stated and restated over and over again, using different characters and locations in each chapter. 

Another place we see this is closer to home in masonry. Our Grand Lodge describes Freemasonry as ‘progressive moral science explained in allegory and metaphor’. This is a very effective and powerful method of communication that is centuries old in its use. I like using them both myself in the form of Quotes as way to allow someone to see what I am thinking, without feeling the need to comment, only to consider their opinion (see last month’s article in Rite Word on Quotes). One of my beliefs is ‘No one understands something better than in the context of their own personal experience.’ That is to say if you were to learn something new, and it was explained to you as a story you have already heard or experience, you would learn it quicker and remember it longer.

Along these lines, the Consistory has arranged for ‘A Day in Egypt’, a visit to the Rosicrucian Library and Egyptian Museum. Egypt being one of the oldest and best recorded cultures, one that much of modern myth, allegory and metaphor are based on, has one of the best museums in the Western hemisphere, all  right here in San Jose. There are those that have suggested that Rosicrucianism is a ‘cousin’ of Masonry. This of course remains to be seen unless you are both a Rosicrucian and a Mason, of which few people are . Join us on Saturday December 16th at 9 AM to explore this unique opportunity. Reservations can be made by calling me at (831) 521-8228 or emailing


From the Wise Master (September 2017)

posted Oct 6, 2017, 11:09 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite


I will continue sharing with you some quotes from our “Fathers”:


Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pain to bring it to light.

George Washington


If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

George Washington

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms,
 it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln


My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.
Abraham Lincoln


If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end, and the
question which now distracts the country will be settled, just as surely as all other difficulties of like character
which have originated in this government have been adjusted.

Abraham Lincoln


With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to
finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds.

Abraham Lincoln


I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.
The great point is to bring them the real facts.

Abraham Lincoln

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and to the young, it comes with bitterest agony because it takes them unawares.
I have had experience enough to know what I say.

Abraham Lincoln

We can succeed only by concert. It is not, 'Can any of us imagine better,' but, 'Can we all do better?'

Abraham Lincoln


I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation
may be on the Lord's side.

Abraham Lincoln


Let’s have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

Abraham Lincoln


I hold that while man exists, it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind.

Abraham Lincoln


In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong.

Abraham Lincoln


Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.

Abraham Lincoln


A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Abraham Lincoln

Ion Vasilescu

Wise Master


From the Venerable Master (September 2017)

posted Aug 31, 2017, 2:34 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brothers.

     I’d like to take a concept from one of the 29 Scottish Rite Degrees and make note of its philosophical importance in our lives.  This month I will focus on the closing of the 29th Degree.

     The Venerable Master says, “ Wrong and error rule over the world and it is only here and there that truth and right are conquerors.  But morning ever comes at last after night, and no true Mason despairs of final victory,”

     As I think through my life and of those I knew best, I find truth in this.  How many times have we been fooled, swindled, manipulated or influenced by the ego, not the intelligence, of another or ourselves.  And did we lead ourselves down the wrong path because of any of this misleading. In the end each of us would find that we misled ourselves out of falsehood and can blame no one other than ourselves.  Focus on the final victory through truth and right is the only way out of the spiral created by wrong and error.

     This statement by the Venerable Master of the 29th Degree is a charge to examine everything in the Light to see that it possesses the qualities of truth or right.   We must be prepared for the final victory through this process.  The final victory is a personal one on the road we travel from birth to death. 

Martin Maxey

Venerable Master


From the Commander of Kadosh (September 2017)

posted Aug 31, 2017, 2:31 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

It was a “long weekend”—but it turned out just fine. Beginning that Friday morning with many of our Scottish Rite family arriving at the San Jose Masonic Center to help with the lodge-room set-up for the evening Cornerstone Awards Ceremony. San Jose Pyramid No, 9 Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots hosts this annual event. And I’ve got to tell you the work that Randy Downey, Gregg Hall, Brandon Duenas, Chris Hall and Alan Porjesz, plus the Awards Committee, do in putting on an event like this is most outstanding. From the getting all the paraphernalia, cornerstones, awards, tables, seating, posters, pictures and programs, etc.–year after year–really takes noteworthy skill and dedication. Then comes the cooking and preparation of meals for some 130 attendees plus the seating and setup of the 16 tables with chairs.

   This was the first year in the last twelve that all of the Santa Clara Valley Lodge Masters and each of their award recipients were present together for this award ceremony. The Lodge-room was packed and Randy conducted the show in his inimitable style. It went off without a hitch.—joyful, fun and spectacular, yet solemn and sincere to show our appreciation to all eleven of the Masonic Cornerstone Award recipients. Then of course came the clean-up and put away detail.

   Next on Saturday morning was a formal Sciots Meeting which included a reception for Bro. Charles Schuert “The Supreme Pharaoh of All Sciotry”. He filled us in on the latest Sciots events including the news that “our Cornerstone type Awards Ceremony” was also being established at a Sciots Pyramid in Southern California.

   On the agenda after lunch was a visit to the San Jose Rosicrucian Museum to see and explore many ancient Egyptian artifacts and exhibits including a replica of King Tut’s tomb. We also visited the Rosicrucian Planetarium next door and viewed a movie show depicting “our” sun and solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy and other galaxy(s), including the rest of the “known universe” (and the universe is BIG. . . . really BIG). Our Sciots  weekend was topped off with the Supreme Pharaoh and San Jose Sciots and friends at a semi-buffet style dinner at Harry’s Hofbrau. Yes! This was a “full form’ fraternal fun week-end. For those who have not yet attended a Cornerstone Awards Ceremony perhaps it will be on your schedule for next year.

Dell Bleiler, Commander of Kadosh


From the Master of Kadosh (September 2017)

posted Aug 31, 2017, 2:29 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Out of the clutter, find simplicity. From discord find harmony.
 In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein.

I love quotes, they cover so much so quickly, in just a moment, I think they can do what communication is really supposed to do, provide people with the opportunity to think and form an opinion, not just a reaction. Like moments of time just for ourselves, miniature time outs we give ourselves on our lives or small opportunities to think about something without having to comment on it or respond back.

I have a few of my own quotes, one being ‘If our lives were a book we write in each day, occasionally
as one page turns to the next, if we can, we can balance on the edge of the page, looking around with no one noticing, and looking about  at what we experience’. This is about that.

Part of why quotes work for me, is that they don’t require a response. They don’t require you agree, disagree or even respond, they just are what they are. I think that because when you hear or read a quote, is doesn’t contain the usual implied responsibility to respond, like a question you get or a response you make to someone else’s question. It transcends that. As such, you get this moment to yourself, to refine your opinions on a giving topic, or consider something new.  This is true whether the quote is part of another work, as the quotes in this article are, or if they just randomly come to you, perhaps as a “Quote of the Day” on your phone or in the newspaper.

                        I used to think that Twitter was just for kids.

I have long been interested in communication; certainly quotes for example, but also look how we use letters, email, cell phones, texts and websites. A hundred years ago, the only way to communicate an idea, other than to say it, was a letter, or the newspaper. Radio was just getting started then, with TV to follow. Still, these were a slow digestion process, the reader or listener would get the communication content and then, perhaps respond in kind, like writing a letter back. In the case of radio or TV, the concepts or communications would become part of a person’s awareness of the world, that they could respond back to others in their life, but rarely to the writer or origin of the original communication.

Later as technology expanded you get a situation where information and ideas are communicated to lot of people at once or a between specific individuals. Like how the fire department uses radios instead of cell phones for some times of communication. Think about it, they both do the same thing, facilitate a conversation with someone that isn’t right in front of you. The difference is that a radio is being heard by a number of people, even though only one or two are speaking at a time. This facilitates a type of ‘hive mind’ where everyone can understand something quickly, and have an opportunity to participate as necessary, moving a lot more information to a lot more people much more quickly. I think that twitter has become like this, creating a massive hive mind of our national consciousness. Like our own mind, thoughts, considerations, actions, come and go, are considered and reconsidered but together like the water running off a mountain, trickling down in a million strands eventually become streams, that pour in to rivers and ultimately back to the ocean.

Now days we have emails, replacing snail mail written letters, where we don’t have to wait for posts to arrive once a day in the mailbox in front of our home or office. They get to us an instant after they are written, on our desk or phone. The longest part of our response is the time it takes us to read and write it. And from that comes texts, even faster, shorter bursts of thoughts, ideas, and communications.  A hybrid of texting is tweeting. At a moment’s notice, you get a thought from someone, a comment, a barely composed shred of what they are thinking, perhaps not even fully formed concept, hopefully using enough grammar that you can understand it, but often using its own concatenation of language.  And then consider the senders reach and response. Millions of one’s ‘followers’ become aware instantly of their thoughts, almost before they have thought them thought themselves. Like the two way radio, but much more powerful as you don’t have to actively hear it, it is just suddenly placed in the palm of your hand.

So how we to make sense of this, these thoughts that are thrown at us, and then republished, re-tweeted and commented on in the mainstream media? Occasionally though, as odd as this new hive mind is, it seems like it works. The thoughts of our national concernedness like one giant brain, consuming and considering what it thinks, can derive a thought, an opinion and then validate it by repeating it, saying  it again, re-tweeting it. So it was interesting in the news the other day when a tweet of a quote (remember quotes, those single moments of consideration?),  broke a Twitter record, with a quotation of Nelson Mandela in the wake of the Virginia rally violence became the most-liked tweet of all time. That tweet, had garnered more than 3.1 million likes. It also had more than 1.3 million re-tweets. Think of it, a single tweet, a thought, a comment, a quote.

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion... People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love....For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." - Nelson Mandela."

A simple quote, yet it can be so powerful. In a blink of an eye we are provided without the responsibility or necessity to answer anyone, the opportunity to consider how we conduct ourselves in society.

Wisdom is when you don’t have to agree with someone’s opinion—only to consider it. ~Author unknown.

So, hope you like some of this….or not, just consider it.

Mark Burger, Master of Kadosh


From the Venerable Master (August 2017)

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:48 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite


     I will only focus on the Stand Up Comedy Show that the Lodge of        Perfection has planned for Sunday, August 27th.

We will gather at 6pm for our social time and serve a buffet dinner at 6:45.

     Our stand up comedian, Michael Mancini, will take the stage at 7:30pm.

     Michael Mancini has been on many TV talk shows, Comedy Central, and headlines at many of the top comedy clubs.  He is revered as the World’s Funniest Cop for a good reason; he is genuinely very funny.   He has many fun stories about his job and interactions with people.  He is a real police officer in Santa Cruz.  I have known him for many years and have watched his act develop into what it is today.  I think of him as a truly fun act. 

     We request that you make reservations as soon as possible.  Please call the Scottish Rite office @ 408-978-7483, email at: or visit the office to make your reservations.  We accept cash, credit card, or check and the cost is only $20.00 for dinner and show.   Invite friends and lodge members to join us that evening as this isn't a closed event.  Suggested attire is coat and tie.
 Your friends can call here direct or you can make reservations for them.

Martin Maxey

Venerable Master



From the Wise Master (August 2017)

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:46 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Aug 2, 2017, 10:46 AM ]


I am sure that all of you, who attended the Grand Master Reception on July 11th, are in agreement with me that the Reception was something to remember for a long time.  MW John Heisner regaled us with a memorable presentation, a real inspirational speech about us as a fraternity.  Sharing with us his thoughts and observations from his work and travel was absolutely special!  As I said, something to remember!

Now, that the summer time is upon us, and the vacation season is in full swing, allow me to share with you some quotes from great masons from the past.

Wherever you are enjoying your summer break, having a Mai-Tai in Hawaii or a Guinness in Dublin, I think that those quotes will be a good food for thought.

“Freemasonry is an institution founded on eternal reason and truth; whose deep basis is the civilization of mankind, and whose everlasting glory it is to have the immovable support of those two mighty pillars, science and morality” George Washington.

“The secret of Masonry, like the secret of life, can be known only by those who seek it, serve it, and live it.  It cannot be uttered; it can only be felt and acted.  It is, in fact, an open secret, and each man knows it according to his quest and capacity.  Like all things worth knowing, no one can know it for another and no man can know it alone.” William Howard Taft.

“Freemasonry is a moral order, instituted by virtuous men, with the praiseworthy design of recalling to our remembrance the most sublime truths, in the midst of the most innocent and social pleasures, founded on liberality, brotherly love and charity.” Andrew Jackson.

“We Masons are among the fortunate ones who are taught to meet together with others opposing convictions or competitive ideas and yet respect each other as Brothers.” Albert Pike.

“Freemasonry embraces the highest moral laws and will bear the test of any system of ethics or philosophy ever promulgated for the uplift of man.” Douglas MacArthur.

“I ask of each Mason, of each member, of each brother, that he shall remember ever that there is upon him a peculiar obligation to show himself in every respect a good citizen; for after all, the way he can best do his duty by the ancient order to which he belongs is by reflecting credit upon that order by way in which he performs his duty as a citizen of the United States.” Theodore Roosevelt.

“Masonic labor is purely a labor of love.  He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed.  The wages of a Mason are in the dealings with one another; sympathy begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason. Benjamin Franklin.

“Freemasonry is 'veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols' because these are the surest way by which moral and ethical truths may be taught. It is not only with the brain and with the mind that the initiate must take Freemasonry but also with the heart.” Carl Claudy.

“It is noble in its administration: to think and let think, beyond the narrow contracted prejudices of bitter sectarians in these modern times. It is general or universal language, fitted to benefit the poor stranger, which no other institution is calculated to reach, by extending the beneficent hand.” Harry Truman.

“So important, indeed, is it (The Light), and so much does it pervade with its influence the whole Masonic system, that Freemasonry itself anciently received, among other appellations, that of Lux, or Light, to signify that it is to be regarded as that sublime doctrine of Divine Truth by which the path of him who has attained it is to be illuminated in his pilgrimage of life.” Albert Mackey.

“Freemasonry is founded on the immutable laws of Truth and Justice and its grand object is to promote the happiness of the human race.” George Washington.

Ion Vasilescu

Wise Master


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