From the Venerable Master (October, 2013)

posted May 30, 2015, 1:21 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 30, 2015, 1:22 PM ]

Greetings from the Lodge of Perfection

October marks the harvest season and the beginning of the winter season.  It also brings about "Halloween" and one immediately thinks of trick or treat, costume parties, spooks and goblins and other aspects of the dark side of life.
Wikipedia relates this about Halloween: "Halloween falls on the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows' Day (also known as All Saints', Hallowmas or Hallowtide) on November 1 and All Souls' Day on November 2, thus giving the holiday on October 31st the full name of All Hallows' Eve. They are a time for honoring the saints and praying for the recently departed souls who had yet to reach Heaven. All Saints was introduced in the year 609, but was originally celebrated on May 13. In 835, it was switched to November 1 (the same date as Samhain) at the behest of Pope Gregory IV. Some have suggested this was due to Celtic influence, while others suggest it was a Germanic idea.
By the end of the 12th century they had become holy days of obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in purgatory. "Souling", the custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for "all crysten christened souls", has been suggested as the origin of trick-or-treating. Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door on All Saints/All Souls collecting soul cakes, originally as a means of praying for souls in purgatory. Similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering or whining] like a beggar at Hallowmas." The custom of wearing costumes has been linked to All Saints/All Souls by Prince Sorie Conteh, who wrote: "It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints' Day, and All Hallows' Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognized by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities". In Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, Nicholas Rogers explained Halloween jack-o'-lanterns as originally being representations of souls in purgatory. In Brittany children would set candles in skulls in graveyards.
In Britain, these customs came under attack during the Reformation as Protestants berated purgatory as a "popish" doctrine incompatible with the notion of predestination. The rising popularity of Guy Fawkes Night (5 November) from 1605 onward, saw many Halloween traditions appropriated by that holiday instead, and Halloween's popularity waned in Britain, with the noteworthy exception of Scotland. There and in Ireland, the rebellious Guy Fawkes was not viewed with the same criminality as in England, and they had been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since at least the early Middle Ages, and the Scottish kirk took a more pragmatic approach to Halloween, seeing it as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of communities and thus ensuring its survival in the country.
October also brings about the SJ Scottish Rite Fall reunion beginning with the conferral of the 4th degree and 9th and 10th degrees on Tuesday October 29; dinner 6:30-7:15.  Rumor has it this may be the largest class of candidates in recent reunions.  All Scottish Rite members are encouraged to attend not only to be present for new members but also to refresh your memories and knowledge of these degrees.  Degree teams have worked diligently to make these degrees meaningful to new members as well as seasoned veterans.  The schedule of degrees is available outside the Secretary's Office.
Please remember to make reservations when you plan to attend any of the dinners.  Numbers are necessary so that adequate food preparation can be made.
The progressive line of Officers is being finalized for 2014.  If you have a desire to be an Officer in one of the bodies, let your desire be know to current officers.
Again, you are reminded that the Craft/Blue Lodge is the future of Freemasonry as well as concordant/append ant bodies.  Your attendance is necessary both as a Mason and as a representative to the Scottish Rite.
Enjoy the fall and cooler weather.  Let the rains come.  I hope to see you in lodge and in Scottish Rite Meetings and the reunion.

Slainte Mhath (good health)
B.J. McCuiston, KCCH, Venerable Master
San Jose Lodge of Perfection