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 (September 2019)

posted Sep 6, 2019, 12:51 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Have you ever studied the history of the Scottish Rite?  Have you ever even wondered where we came from?  It is a long and interesting story, much too lengthy to be fully considered in a article such as this.  However, some highlights might be of interest.

To begin, the name Scottish Rite is likely attributable to an unsubstantiated, and probably mythical idea of the influence of the exiled Stuarts of Scotland on what was termed the “higher degrees”.

Higher degrees appeared first in England, and later flourished in France.  Lodges, called “Ecossais” or Scottish Lodges, were chartered which worked exclusively in some the “haute grades” or higher degrees.  One participant was a man named Estienne Morin, who ultimate compiled a series of 25 degrees, circa 1771.  He carried these degrees to the West Indies, and formed them in something called the Rite of the Royal Secret, or The Order of the Prince of the Royal Secret, depending on who you listen to.

Influenced by this degree system, the Mother Supreme Council was formed in Charleston, in May 1801, under the auspices of 11 Masons, known as the “11 Gentlemen of Charleston”.  These men are considered to be the founding fathers of Scottish Rite Masonry. 

As we know, Albert Pike, many years later, is responsible, along with Albert Mackey, for organizing the Rite and creating a cohesive ritual.  His first version of the new ritual was completed in 1857.

There have been many revisions of our ritual since then, the latest being in 2000.  But to think, the concept of the higher degrees dates back nearly 300 years, to at least 1740, and likely earlier.  It is a long and proud tradition that we carry on today. 

Be proud of your Scottish Rite heritage, and let everyone know.

 

From the Wise Master (September 2019)

posted Sep 6, 2019, 12:49 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

While I was going through my Masonic notes to come up with an idea for this month’s article, I noticed an old Masonic poem among my notes, presented during a masonic education evening. The Poem was written by Brother George M. Free, I hope you enjoy it.

What Makes A Man A Mason?

What makes a man a Mason, O brother of mine?
 It isn’t the due guard, nor is it the sign,
It isn’t the jewel which hangs on your breast
It isn’t the apron in which you are dressed

It isn’t the step, nor the token, nor the grip,
Nor lectures that fluently flow from the lip,
Nor yet the possession of that mystic word
On five points of fellowship duly conferred.

Though these are essential, desirable, fine,
They don’t make a Mason, O brother of mine.
That you to your sworn obligation are true
'Tis that, brother mine, makes a Mason of you.

Secure in your heart you must safeguard and trust,
With lodge and with brother be honest and just,
Assist the deserving who cry in their need,
Be chaste in your thought, in your word and your deed.

Support he who falters, with hope banish fear,
And whisper advice in an erring one’s ear.
Then will the Great Lights on your path brightly shine,
And you’ll be a Mason, O brother of mine.

Your use of life’s hours by the gauge you must try,
The gavel of vices with courage apply;
Your walk must be upright, as shown by the plumb,
On the level, to bourn whence no travelers come,

The Book of your faith be the rule and the guide,
The compass your passions shut safely inside;
The stone which the Architect placed in your care
Must pass the strict test of His unerring square.

And then you will meet
with approval divine,
And you’ll be a Mason,
O brother of mine.

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (September 2019)

posted Sep 6, 2019, 12:46 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Continued from August

 

Here are the six major themes a Scottish Rite Mason encounters on his journey to an awakening consciousness:

 

The Perfect Elu Tradition

 A brother becomes an Elu in the first degree of Masonry when he receives the Apprentice’s prayer. Hands are laid upon his head and he is anointed as one of the “elected” or “elite” entering the Brotherhood of Man. He has been selected by his peers because they see his potential to rise among the best to become the small elite of enlightened minds. But even though he is chosen, he may not become enlightened. God has made men with different intellectual and spiritual motivations and capacities. The Elu Principle avows that, from the ranks of men who desire to improve themselves in Masonry, some will take on the pursuits and occupations of the initiate’s life. These will become the Perfect Elus, the continuators of Creation who will receive the highest levels of knowledge and insight. These will become the gifted and enlightened men.  

 

 Royal Arch, or Sacred Vault Tradition

 One of the great mysteries of life is that no man can know the principle of his own life. No single element of life has an intrinsic, essential reality of its own. The power and action of will, movement, of thought, memory and dreams are all mysteries. Yet we have a natural impulse to seek the unknown, to seek God in the mystery of our own being. The Royal Arch Tradition maintains that a man must gain access to the knowledge of the Divine truth only by seeking ever deeper within his inmost self, his soul. In Masonry, the crypt or vault is an inward symbol reminding us that it is the internal and not the external qualifications that make a Mason. A man’s soul is his spiritual dimension of the universe, the inmost part of his being where alone he may feel and realize the nature of God and find peace within himself. .

 

 Rose Croix Tradition

 Among the easiest of emblems to interpret, the rose and cross is one of the great combination symbols of Freemasonry, second perhaps only to the square and compasses. To the Christian Mason, the cross refers to Jesus Christ. But in a broader sense, it symbolizes self-sacrifice for the sake and redemption of mankind. The rose, being among the most beautiful of flowers, symbolizes perfection, and represents hope in a new awakening, renewal, a resurrection of life. The two together (Rose Croix) symbolize faith and hope in immortality won through sorrow and sacrifice.

 The Rose Croix Tradition informs us that the world is what it is, and we should focus on how to deal with it so that good and the law of love may prevail. This requires a constant fight within our self, and in society. Faith in God and mankind is Wisdom; hope in the victory of good over evil gives Strength, and charity towards all living creatures through respect of life, tolerance and selflessness is Beauty.    

Ancient Mysteries Tradition

The Ancient Mysteries tradition is one of those timeless checks and balances which remind us that our concept of Deity must be felt within because it cannot be wholly conceived intellectually. A society’s concept of God and the universe changes over time with its scientific development. The objective of the Mysteries was to cause a change in the initiate’s condition of mind wherein he could feel the common core, or universal truth, in all religious traditions. The methodology Masonry employs to treat topics that cannot be known or explained is to mystically inspire a feeling about these higher principles through the use and expression of symbolic images, emblems, and hieroglyphs. This was the way of the Mysteries. Rather than a prescribed routine of creed, the Mysteries invited their initiates to seek, feel, compare and judge in order to awaken the mind and develop its creativity. The Ancient Mysteries Tradition affirms that the gap often created by the insufficiency of popular religions and dogmas can be filled by reason and virtue.

 

Knighthood Tradition

Every man needs to possess at least some knightly energy. Being a knight is one of the essential archetypes of manhood. Freemasonry draws on the Knighthood tradition which dates back to the Crusades. Knights were expected to be the most gallant and virtuous of men. Such men dedicated themselves to the defense of right in the world. Their basic ideals were family unity, moral education, courage, honor and courtesy. A Mason is first and foremost a moralist, a philosopher, a symbolist and spiritualist; but he is also a soldier of honor, loyalty, duty and truth; actively engaged in the warfare of life. The Knighthood Tradition declares that the fight for the very best virtues against ignorance, tyranny and fanaticism is a constant engagement. Life is a battle for good and to fight that battle heroically and well is the great purpose of man’s existence. We all progress upward toward perfection through the same life struggle. Our goal is to live up to the promise of the Elus. This is the essence of true Masonic Knighthood.

 

Secret Tradition

There is no essential secret in Freemasonry since it is, above all, an aptitude and a state of mind. It is a virtual secret to the uninitiated much like literacy is to an illiterate. Secrecy in Masonry is synonymous with mystery. A mystery is a reality which has not yet been fully understood. The major goal of our lives, as Masters of the Royal Secret, is to unravel the mysteries of our own life. The Secret Tradition represents the quest for equilibrium in the universe, the harmony and unity of the whole, and its application to our personal lives. This is the ultimate quest of mankind, and teaches us above all else to reverence ourselves as divine immortal souls and to respect others as such, since we all share the same divine nature, intelligence and ordeals. This requires LOVE, which is the true word of a Master Mason, the Royal Secret and Holy Doctrine of the every true brotherhood.

 

From the Master of Kadosh (September 2019)

posted Sep 6, 2019, 12:43 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Below is the Canadian’s  history of Scottish Rite through its arrived in Canada.

“There are several theories as to the origin of the Scottish Rite, but as it evolved in France, in dates from about 1754, when a Chapter (or College) of Claremont was founded in Paris with seven degrees.  By 1758, the system had become a Rite of twenty-five degrees, known as the Rite of Perfection, whose Grand Regulations were issued in 1762.

In 1761, Stephen Morin was designated to introduce the Rite into the New World. He first established the Rite in Kingston, Jamaica and in San Domingo.  On the mainland, Bodies were set up at New Orleans, LA in 1763, at Albany, NY in 1767, at Philadelphia, PA in 1782, and at Charleston, SC in 1783.

In 1786, "Grand Constitutions" were enacted in an attempt to bring order out of the chaotic condition of the degrees in Europe-- Thus bringing "The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite" into formal existence, enlarging the number of degrees to thirty-three, with the 33rd degree as a governing Supreme Council.
  The Grand Constitutions of 1786 were issued in the name of Frederick the Great of Prussia as titular head of the Rite, but he died soon after the date they were promulgated.   No degree of the Scottish Rite seems to have had its actual origin in Scotland. The term "Scottish" is a translation of the French "Ecossais" - French titles of some of the degrees of the Rite of Perfection. There may well be a traditional connection here. One or two of the degrees were long supposed to have been devised by the Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay, a learned Scotsman, tutor to Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender.  These degrees seem to have afforded a meeting place for those in exile in France, who were adherents of the Stuarts and who were plotting for the restoration of James II and his son to the throne of England. 
In 1801, a Supreme Council was opened in Charleston, SC under the above constitutions, absorbing the previously existing Rite of Perfection. This Supreme Council subsequently issued warrants for other Supreme Councils.  All other regular Supreme Councils of today are descended, directly or indirectly, from this the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction, United States of America.

In 1813, the Southern Jurisdiction established the Supreme Council 33° for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States.  In 1845, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction warranted a Supreme Council in England and Wales.   In 1874, they authorized the formation of the Supreme Council of Canada.  At the time our Supreme Council was chartered, Scottish Rite Bodies were already operative in Hamilton, ON, (1868); London, ON, (1868); Saint John, NB, (1868); Halifax, NS, (1870): Toronto, ON, (1873); and Montreal, QC, (1873). Our Supreme Council is in amity with more than 40 other Supreme Councils throughout the world, and 4 National Grand Lodges in the Scandinavian countries. “

 

From the Chief Knight (September 2019)

posted Sep 6, 2019, 12:42 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Newly Knighted:

Sir Knight Mike Lammer and Sir Knight Cesar Otero

 

I’d like to congratulate Sir Knight Mike Lammer on also being elevated to the level of Knight of the First Order within the San Jose Knights of St Andrew Chapter.

These two ceremonies were performed at the August Masonic Get-Together aka Smoker. Everyone that attended the Get-Together stated that it was a nice touch to the event.

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

Future KSA Chapter Activities:

Aug 31st – Sept 1st, Scottish Highland Gathering and Games, Pleasanton, CA. KSA Chapters from the Valleys of San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Stockton and Sacramento have been invited to participate in our booth this year. If you are free and would like to attend, here is the website for the event.  http://www.thescottishgames.com/

KSA Events of the Future:

1.September 15th, at noon KSA Stated Meeting in the SJSR Conference Room, followed by sword tactics.

2. October 20th, at noon KSA Stated Meeting in the SJSR Conference Room followed.

 

From the Venerable Master (August 2019)

posted Aug 15, 2019, 1:03 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Aug 15, 2019, 1:05 PM ]

August is a strange month.  To begin, it is one of the months, with July, which was added to the calendar late in the history of Rome, to honor Julius and Augustus Caesar, but which forever plunged the remaining months into confusion.  September through December, as their name roots imply, were the seventh through the tenth months – and now they suddenly found themselves displaced becoming the ninth through the twelfth – which makes no sense at all.

But in a more contemporary context, we find that August is that month between the height of summer in July, when Masonic bodies seem to go into hibernation, and that very busy month of September, when real life lurches back into normalcy.

July is the time for vacations, for picnics, barbeques, Independence Day celebrations, and in general, taking it easy.  September, as many of us remember from those golden days of yesteryear, was when reality hit us.  The new fall TV lineup debuted in September.  School started up again, the new car model year was launched, and it signaled the return of the daily grind.

August is that time in between.  We have never known what to do with August.  Today, things are somewhat different.  A lot of school years now begin in August.  There is no real TV debut season, and heaven knows what the car manufacturers are doing.  But August is still that awkward month, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. 

But rest assured, your brothers at the Scottish Rite are here, as we are month after month.  We look forward to seeing you among us.  Remember that for our August stated meeting, we revert to casual dress.  That does not mean, by the way, blue jeans or shorts.  Might I suggest a pair of slacks and a polo shirt.  Please join us in August and enjoy the fellowship.

 

From the Wise Master (August 2019)

posted Aug 15, 2019, 1:01 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

As we move in hot days of August, I wish you safe and happy summer days whether in vacation, work or at home. I want to share an important date; August 4th 1753, Saturday, 266 years ago.

On August 4, 1753, George Washington, a young Virginia planter, became a Master Mason, the highest rank in the Fraternity of Freemasonry, in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The ceremony was held at the Masonic Lodge No. 4 in his home town. The twenty-one-year-old young man would soon hold his first military commission.

For George Washington, joining the Masons was a rite of passage and an expression of his civic responsibility. After becoming a Master Mason, Washington had the option of passing through a series of additional rites that would take him to higher “degrees.” In 1788, shortly before becoming the first president of the United States, Washington was elected the first Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22.

Some quotes from our Brother George Washington:

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

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

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

“In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (August 2019)

posted Aug 15, 2019, 12:59 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

The Six Major Themes of the Scottish Rite

By: Robert G. Davis, 33*, Grand Cross

 

We often get so wrapped up in the minutia of the lessons which are taught in the Scottish Rite Degrees that it is easy to overlook the over-riding themes which are presented in the Rite. Almost every Mason knows that the Degrees of Freemasonry represent the journey of a man’s life. For example, it is often said that the Entered Apprentice Degree represents the journey of youth; the passage a young man takes as he begins to consciously weigh the differences between right and wrong, ignorance and knowledge, good and evil, and starts to mold the character he will fashion for himself, using the influences of his life as his guide. He has, in a real sense, been initiated by the circumstances of his life; for good or bad. Freemasonry provides him a stable image for life building, and admonishes him to start over if his first attempt didn’t go so well.  

Likewise, we think of the passage of the Fellowcraft as one where the initiate takes stock of his progress in life; a kind of a review of what he knows, and doesn’t know, what has worked for him, and what still remains to be done. He makes an accounting of what he has learned from his experience, his upbringing, friends and acquaintances, education, culture, and community. If he is like most men, he reaches a point where he has studied just about everything in his life but himself. He becomes consciously aware that life is not just about outward appearances, tasks, money, and relationships. He feels a hunger for additional meaning. Masonry informs him that, to feel complete, he ultimately has to affirm himself. This requires a different kind of journey all together.

In Masonry, we think of this more intimate and deeply engaging step in the journey to manhood an important awakening for each man. In ritual terms, it is called “passing the outer door of the temple.” As one of the oldest institutions serving men today, we also know this is a stage of the journey that four-fifths of the male population in the world will never choose to take.  Yet the consequences of not knowing oneself are staggering. One of the goals of Freemasonry is to help men take this most significant step forward with their own life. 

The journey to mature masculinity doesn’t stop for the rest of us just because some guys choose to exit the train.  For the man who sincerely sees Freemasonry as a transformative art, everything it suggests to, and instructs him from that point in his life where he consciously decides to work on himself, has to do with his awakening consciousness.

 

The Scottish Rite knows this aspect of a man’s journey well, as it is itself the product of the great movements in history which were all tied to the structure of consciousness. The point of awakening consciousness is precisely where the Scottish Rite joins each man’s journey. The experience of the aspirant through the degrees of the Rite is supposed to be his journey to a higher awareness. It is designed to carry him to a higher level of insight. It is a progressive system of awakening consciousness. Its power lies in its ability to integrate its lessons into the psyche of each individual, meeting him on the level of his own experience, and giving him an opportunity to be transformed by the path of his own life.  

For men, life needs to be seen as a journey. Freemasonry is built on the clear understanding that men need to be engaged in their own quest for self-improvement. The Scottish Rite facilitates this fundamental psychological need in men.

 To be continued next Month

 

 

From the Master of Kadosh (August 2019)

posted Aug 15, 2019, 12:55 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

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

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

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

 

From the Venerable Master (July 2019)

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

Brethren

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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