The Rite Word
From the Venerable Master (January 2021)
2020 is past us. A year, that I would call “bizarre”. It created challenges. Yet, society, and Masonry in particular survived. It was a year that inspired creativity.
Creativity in how to manage our lives, prepare for even tougher times that luckily did not happen. Some panicked, creating artificial shortages, but I think most of us managed to get past that and help others where possible. Some Lodges were offering supplies and exchange programs. The spirit of Masonry in tough times.
Creativity in how to communicate. After realization that this is not a short little while to breeze through, we managed to get everyone educated about modern ways to meet “virtually”, and have established a program that seems to scale to that medium, rather than a physical presence. There are benefits that we have experienced: members that cannot easily travel due to distance or health were able to participate. I would hope that we will continue to use this technology in the future, after this pandemic is over.
Creativity in how to overcome social distancing over the Holidays. Some Lodges and Appendant Bodies organized social gatherings for Thanks Giving, Christmas and New Year, for everyone to join, chat, laugh, and have a good time with a cup of tea, mulled wine or other favorite.
I am sending a big “Thank You!” to the officers of this year, of the bodies and the board. Attending the virtual meetings allowed for execution. While it was a challenging year from an operations perspective, it allowed for creativity in the building renovation. It is amazing to see what was possible to do. Thank you to all the volunteers that were able to contribute time and labor.
I wish the newly elected slate of officers of 2021 all the best. I am sure we’ll see further improvements how we will deal with this situation, but hope is out that we are over the hump, that social life in person will resurrect. While life will not be the same as a year ago, we will benefit from the lessons learned, and see an improved life for us as a society in general, and us as Masons in particular.
Happy New Year to all, whithersoever dispersed around the globe,
From the Wise Master (January 2021)
As this year comes to an end, and it was a very weird one, covid-19 and counting. It was an Honor and a Privilege to serve you as your Wise Master. I sincerely want to thank the Rose Croix Officers in the line for their support, even though it was virtually. You were always there for the Meetings. Honorable Martin Maxey 32 Deg. KCCH. Tim Lynch 32 Deg. ILL. Randy Downey 33 Deg. And Laurentiu Murgu 32 Deg. I congratulate the new Officers for 2021. I hope you will be able to have some physically attented Stated Meetings. To the outgoing Leaders of the Three other Bodies, it was a pleasure to serve with you.
In December we had Elections for the New Incoming Leaders for the four Bodies of Scottish Rite. All were elected. Congratulations to the Brethen who will serve the Valley in 2021. On our January 12th Stated Meeting, we will be Installing the New Leaders for the Valley's four Bodies, again congratulations to all of you.
As we enter the Holliday Season, I want to wish all my Brethen and Families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2021 New Year. My Prayers are that hopefully sometime in 2021 we will be able to meet again. On last Tibit.
Until a man learns to pray for himself, he cannot hope to learn the supreme Masonic secret. It is through prayer, and through living what Freenasonry teaches, that this secret will come to life. Through these teachings the Mason will put into practice the Brotherhood of Man under theFatherhood of God. In doing so, he will develop his character and personality in the image of the Great Architect of the Universe.
May you always have Love to share, Health to Spare, and Friends who care. May you be Blessed.
From the Commander of Kadosh (January 2021)
This is my last article as Commander of the Council of Kadosh. There is not much to report on my term of office except WOW!
The incoming presiding officers of the Bodies should have a better 2021 than the outgoing officers had in 2020. I hope the months of social isolation will show people the value of fraternal association and be an encouragement to consider joining our Masonic fraternal organizations.
The New Year is coming but January 1 has not always been observed as the first day of a new year as our Orator, the Honorable David Kimball, explained at our last meeting.
The earliest recorded celebrations of the new year go back to ancient Babylon 4000 years ago. They observed it at the first new moon following the vernal equinox. Sounds a bit like how we observe Easter.
Past civilizations have used agricultural and astronomical events to mark the new year. The Egyptians used the annual flooding of the Nile for their new year while the Chinese celebrated it at the second new moon after the winter solstice. As I mentioned a few months back, following the French Revolution, France observed September 1 as their new year.
Medieval Europe temporarily replaced the first day of the new year, January 1, with December 25 (Jesus’ birth) (winter solstice) and March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) (vernal equinox). It has been said the early Christian church moved some observances to coincide with pagan festivals in order to gain converts. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII reestablished January 1 as the first day of the new year.
Our American new year traditions include eating “Hoppin’ John” for good luck, singing “Auld Lang Syne” and dropping the ball at Times Square.
From a Masonic standpoint, the best suggestion how to start the new year comes from a non-Mason, the founder of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Robert B. Thomas “Begin the new year square with every man”.
From the Master of Kadosh (January 2021)
I have always liked the movies and plays and watched some of them repeatedly. It is one of my fascinations and original interests in Masonry. For example I have watched the video “Midway” and other war and classical movies in continuous detail of the script and of each actor’s movements and wording in order to try and learn the proper way of making a successful presentation and movie production. I think I have won the Battle of “Midway” with Nimitz, Spruance and Charlton Heston more than 30 times, and each time I find additional artistic nuances and helpful guides whenever I am listening to or speaking to others. I try and emulate these thoughts and actions.
I remember years ago when I was “Sound Manager” for the ‘Silver Masque’ theatrical group for 4 years at Northeastern U. Many of these details were important to my function for the semi-annual plays. Several of the student actors went on to become movie and television stars and others into Hollywood executive and administrative positions. I never thought I would ever end up here in California let alone in Free Masonry, or Mountain View, Los Altos, Eastern Star, Past Masters Assn., Sciots, Research Lodge, Scottish Rite or here in Penn Valley, Grass Valley, and Nevada City… What a trip!
My original families came to Boston from Kaiserslautern in Germany in the mid 1880’s; and in the mid 1905’s from the Ukraine. The Bleiler part was Masonic and they got to know “everybody” in Boston. I still remember when I was only 3 years old and they gave me a little lamb to show-off at the yearly exhibit on the Boston Commons. I didn’t know it then, and not until much later, that they always had good fraternal hopes for me as a man, and that they had always guided my life and career thru their friends and contacts. But back then the “Craft membership” was a real operative “secret”.
The friendships I have made here with you all will not be forgotten and to each one I want to express my sincere appreciation for all the help and understanding you have given me here during these years. My best wishes go to the new ‘line officers’ at the San Jose Scottish Rite and to MW Ken Nagel, Bud Ramsey, Gregg Hall, Angela and Staff; and to Randy Downey, Brandon Duenas and all of the volunteers who have kept our San Jose Scottish Rite craft a wonderful example and source of Masonic Fraternalism.