From the Venerable Master (October 2023)
Mathematics and Freemasonry: A Profound Connection Within the mysterious and ancient realm of Freemasonry, mathematics takes on a significant and symbolic role. While a comprehensive exploration of the mathematical aspects of Freemasonry could fill volumes, two key mathematical symbols within the craft stand out: the number "Three" and the Forty- Seventh Problem of Euclid. The Symbolism of "Three" The number "Three" holds a paramount place in Freemasonry, reflecting a deep connection with the concept of Deity. While no monitorial explanation of this symbol is provided, it is revered and regarded as a profound emblem. The symbolism of "Three" permeates the natural world, with examples like Earth, water, air, and the stages of growth in nature mirroring this tri-part nature of God. Similarly, Freemasonry is steeped in the symbolism of "Three", evident in the three degrees, principal officers, Grand Masters, lights, jewels, and various rituals. "Three" represents a harmonious triad, encompassing Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, signifying the synergy of mind, body, and spirit as pillars of support for the fraternity.
The Pillars of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty serve as vital supports within Freemasonry, paralleling their significance in civilization. Wisdom is essential for addressing the world's complexities, especially in times of discord and prejudice. It is hoped that Freemasonry's teachings in this regard will contribute to harmony and brotherhood. The pillar of Beauty represents the spirituality and inner beauty of the soul rather than mere physical aesthetics. It underscores the importance of inner qualities like mercy, justice, charity, and love, working in tandem with wisdom and strength to uphold the institution.
The Sacred Three in Masonry Throughout the three degrees of Freemasonry, the number "Three" underscores the intertwining of philosophy, meaning, and the glory of the craft with the profound concept of the Great Architect of the Uni- verse. This omnipresence of "Three" symbolizes that God is everywhere, a core belief within Freemasonry. The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid
The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid predates Pythagoras and stands as one of Freemasonry's most beautiful and meaningful symbols. It states that in any right triangle, the sum of the squares of the two shorter sides is equal to the square of the longest side. This principle is demonstrated visually when the sides are in a 3:4:5 ratio. When we put down the squares of the first four numbers, 1, 4, 9, and 16, we can see that by subtracting each square from the next one, we get 3, 5, and 7. These are the steps in Masonry, reflecting the progression from Entered Apprentice to Fellowcraft and finally to Master Mason. Despite our limited understanding, this mathematical truth is universally applicable, reflecting the idea that the laws of mathematics are consistent across all worlds. The Problem serves as a symbol of the universality and perfection of divine laws and the reverence due to the Great Law Giver. In conclusion, mathematics and Freemasonry share a deep and profound connection, evident through the symbolism of numbers, geometric principles, and the pursuit of intellectual and moral excellence. This intricate relationship is a testament to the rich tapestry of thought and meaning woven into the fabric of Freemasonry, providing a glimpse into the profound significance of mathematics within this ancient and enigmatic fraternity.
San Jose Lodge of Perfection Naresh Rampershad, 32° 2022-2023 Venerable Master
From the Wise Master
In October we have several holidays and observances. Perhaps most contested is “Columbus Day” (also called “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” by some people) and the most well known and celebrated is Halloween. While Halloween may have some trouble with people and shenanigans, for the most part as a father, I love this holiday. Some years I get to dress up in a themed costume with my family while for others I spend a lot of time trying to help figure out where to get all the little bits and bobs for the kids’ costumes. Many years we end up at a friend’s house for a party after some time spent Trick or Treating. I hope that this holiday brings you and your families as much joy as it brings to me and mine.
Another major observance to consider as we go through October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many of us have been touched by this and we should all take a moment to call those loved ones who may have gone through this to see how they are doing. I would also encourage everyone to read more on this topic from the National Breast Cancer Foundation: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month
San Jose Chapter of Rose Croix Timothy M. Lynch II, 32° 2022-2023 Wise Master
From the Commander of Kadosh (October 2023)
Are you familiar with the Masonic blue slipper? It is a small lapel pin in the shape of a blue slipper. To find out the meaning of this pin, let us go back in history to Boaz's time from the Book of Ruth. It will be remembered that Elimelech, his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilon, fled to the land of Moab to escape the famine in their homeland of Bethlehem-Judah. Things went well for a while. Then life fell apart for them. Elimelech died. The two sons married Moabite girls - Orpha and Ruth. Yet again tragedy struck. Mahlon and Chilon died. This left Naomi a widow in a foreign land with two widowed daughters-in-law from the land of Moab. In times of trouble, people think of home and more importantly of God. Naomi found out that the famine back home had subsided, and there was grain and food again. So she confided with Orpha and Ruth that she would journey back home and be among her kinsmen. Certain laws, rules, or customs governed her thinking at this time. Of first consideration was the fact that Naomi was too old to bear a son for her daughters-in-law to marry. Even if she could, the daughters-in-law would not wait for the son to grow up. So the girls should remain among their own people. The girls resisted and started to go with Naomi. Orpha was finally convinced she should stay in Moab. But Ruth remained steadfast and went with Naomi to her homeland. Naomi and Ruth arrived back in Bethlehem-Judah at harvest time.
Naomi also had to take into consideration another law. When Elimelech died, his next of kin was duty-bound to redeem his possessions and take care of his widow and her family. Since Naomi was getting old, Ruth tried to earn a livelihood. While gleaning in the fields, she was seen by Boaz. And when he found out about her (that she was Naomi's daughter-in-law, etc.), he arranged special treatment for her. She could work with his girls in the field, and the young men were warned not to bother her. Since Boaz was not married and was kin to Naomi, Naomi decided that she should somehow make Boaz understand his duty to Elimelech's family. So Naomi advised Ruth to bathe and anoint herself and go to the threshing floor after dark and lay at the feet of Boaz. Boaz awoke at midnight and discovered her there. So as not to create a scandal, he gave her some barley and asked her to leave before dawn so that watching eyes would not recognize her.
Business among the tribe of Bethlehem-Judah took place at the gate of the city. So Boaz sat down at the gate the next day because he knew there was a kins- man more closely related to Elimelech than he. So when the kinsman came by, Boaz called him aside and asked 10 men of the elders of the city to sit with them. Boaz bargained with his kinsman. The kinsman said he would redeem Elimelech's property. But, when he found out that he would have to take care of Naomi and Ruth, he reneged and told Boaz he would not redeem or protect Elimelech's interest. He would leave it to Boaz. The passage from Scripture for these events is the following: "And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel." So the kinsman drew off his shoe and gave it to Boaz. Boaz held it up for all in the gate to see. He asked them to be witnesses that he became Naomi's protector, Ruth's husband, and a redeemer of Elimelech's property. Thus, today we have the little blue slipper as an emblem of the protective influence of Masons for their wives, widows, and daughters.
San Jose Council of Kadosh David M. Kampschafer, 32° 2022-2023 Commander of Kadosh
From the Master of Kadosh (October 2023)
Sometime back I had the idea to do an article on numbers we come across in Masonry thinking they held some universal and unique symbolism. My research discovered that a lot of numbers have significance to cultural groups, religions, and nationalities. Masonry has some numbers that show up in our rituals and ceremonies. They can be raps on the Lodge Room door, raps of the gavel, claps of the hands or symbolism in degrees. Let’s take a brief look at the numbers 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9, not necessarily in a Masonic context.
Three is looked at as the Christian Holy Trinity. It is the number of points to determine a plane, circle, or parabola. It also can be repeated to make nine.
Four is the number of seasons, cardinal points on the compass, sides of a square and looked on as a perfect number.
Five is the number of ways we experience the physical world; sight; smell; hearing; touch and taste. Giving someone a “high 5” is a gesture of celebration. The five Olympic rings signify Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and America.
Seven are the days of the week and days of Biblical creation. Hindus see it as the number of worlds in the universe and the seven seas. It is also the Sabbath and day of rest in a week.
Nine has the strange property of being able to recreate itself. Multiply any natural number by nine then add the single digits and you get nine. Try it! Nine is also the number of completion but not an ending. In Masonry, nine is three times three.
A number, not predominate in Masonry, is eight. It is a lucky number in Asia. When pronounced it sounds like the word “prospers”. Many casinos, in their advertising will show “888” as a sign of luck.
San Jose Consistory Richard M. Fisher, III, 33° 2022-2023 Venerable Master of Kadosh
From the Chief Knight (October 2023)
Labor Day Weekend (9/2-3) was the 157th Highland Games and Gathering hosted by the San Francisco Caledonian Club. It was reported that the Games had more people attend on Saturday than in many years, even pre-COVID. There were so many people that food vendors ran out of many of their favored offerings (especially the Scotch Eggs). This may be because the weather was an easy 75 degrees with a gentle breeze through a lot of the day. Our Knights of Saint Andrew chapter has been gearing up to use this opportunity to get several of the local valley chapters together and build stronger bonds. We had KSA visitors from Sacramento, Stockton, Burlingame, and Oakland. We also had Blue Lodge visitors from Colorado, Quebec, Washington, Rhode Island, and Virginia along with our local Brothers. Our booth was set up in perfect position to see the Drum Major competition, the pipe bands warming up, and the pipe band competitions. It was a little bit of work to set up and take down but all-in-all, several members of our chapter really enjoyed the fraternal bonds being built and the fun that we were able to have together.
Our next major focus is providing Arch of Steel and Color Guard details for upcoming Hiram Awards and of course, everyone’s favorite, Installation Season.
KSA is a service based organization that helps sup- port activities throughout the Valley. Most of our work is done while we are at the monthly stated meetings which keeps the load light while helping things run smoother. During important visits, KSA provides an Arch of Steel salute to dignitaries as well as providing a Color Guard team. This flag presentation Color Guard is also often called upon for blue lodge installations. No kilt is needed and we have a cooler hat than the oth- er bodies :).
San Jose Knights of St. Andrew Timothy M. Lynch II, 32° 2022-2023 Chief Knight, KSA