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