Is Freemasonry Afraid of its own Shadow?
Masonry’s Love/Hate Relationship with Esoteric Traditions
by Jay Kinney
Librarian & Director of Research, San
Francisco Scottish Rite
Afraid of its own Shadow?” is the title of this paper. Now, some of you are
probably wondering exactly what “shadow” I’m referring to. Am I suggesting that
Masons are like groundhogs who pop out of their holes once a year, see their
shadows, and dive back down for another six weeks of winter? Well, not exactly.
psychologist Carl Jung coined the term, “the Shadow,” to refer to those parts of
each person’s psyche and personality that they are ashamed of or embarrassed by.
Those things in the Shadow are not necessarily bad — they may just be
under-developed or unaccepted parts of our beings.
But most of us prefer to push them into the Shadow so that we don’t have to
think about them. And we usually hope that by keeping them out of sight and
mind, others will ignore them too.
But you know, the
Shadow is a funny thing. Sometimes those parts of ourselves that we’ve tried so
hard to ignore are glaringly obvious to our friends — or our enemies. They end
up being those things that our friends tease us about unmercifully.
Carl Jung was of
the opinion that we’d be a lot less neurotic and self-defeating if we brought
our Shadows into the light of consciousness and acknowledged them. Sometimes, in
fact, we’d find that our Shadows were like missing pieces of a puzzle — that
once they found their proper places, we’d be rewarded with a sense of wholeness
and completion that had been previously lacking.
How might this
apply to Freemasonry? Human organizations often function like a collective
personality or a group psyche with its own Shadow — which consists of those
things that we seldom discuss, whether out of embarrassment or confusion or
But since our
rituals remind us that we seek “more light,” I’d like to propose that we shine
some light on one aspect of Masonry’s Shadow — its Love/Hate relationship to
esoteric traditions. This conflicted relationship dates back to the beginnings
of Speculative Masonry, but it also has a contemporary impact on how others see
Masonry and how we see ourselves.
TRADITIONS AND FREEMASONRY
like the term “occult,” has a common meaning of something hidden or obscure. It
is often used to refer to knowledge or teachings that are restricted to a
special circle of initiates. Thus Masonry sometimes refers to the “esoteric”
portions of its rituals, which means the signs, tokens, and words that are not
supposed to be written down, even in a cipher book.
However, “esoteric” can also refer to an inner
meaning or the essence of a religion or a body of wisdom. This can be something
as simple as when Jesus talked about “the spirit of the Law,” in contrast to
“the letter of the Law.” Or it can be something as complex as a system of
mystical practices that promises to help one draw closer to God.
For instance, the mystical system of Kabbalah is
sometimes called esoteric Judaism, just as the mystical teachings of Sufism are
sometimes called esoteric Islam. Similarly, Yoga is sometimes considered
esoteric Hinduism, and so forth.
The “esoteric traditions,” with which Masonry
has had its conflicted Love/Hate relationship, include:
• the Kabbalah;
• Rosicrucianism — which is a kind of esoteric
• Sacred Geometry and Sacred Architecture;
• Hermeticism — which has its roots in ancient
Greece and Egypt; and
• Alchemy — which was actually much more than
just an attempt to turn Lead into Gold.
Unfortunately, we don’t have space in this paper
to delve into the specifics of these rather arcane traditions.
Instead, I will focus the discussion on how the esoteric traditions came to be
associated, in the minds of some Masons, with Masonry itself; and whether this
is a blessing or a curse.
REASSESSMENT OF THE ESOTERIC
2001 at the California Masonic Symposium, Dr. Paul Rich gave an excellent paper
in which he discussed the value of ritual, and how Robert Bly’s Men’s Movement
has tried to reinvent the wheel of initiatory ritual for men, when Masonry
already has just such rituals available.
Brother Rich also indicated several neglected areas of Masonic research that
have been relegated to the Masonic Shadow. But, ironically, hidden in the
footnotes of Bro. Rich’s paper was a provocative statement that articulates one
side of the Masonic Love/Hate relationship with the esoteric.
wrote: “Of course there is a lunatic fringe of Masons who see the fraternity as
the heir of all ancient mysteries and believe that Hiram Abiff is Osiris,
Mythras, and Bacchus. This is grist for the mill of anti-Masons.”
hope that Bro.
Rich will forgive me if I suggest that this sounds to me like our old friend the
Let me repeat that
first line again: “Of course there is a lunatic fringe of Masons who see the
fraternity as the heir of all ancient mysteries . . .”
my intention here is not to argue that our fraternity is the heir of all
ancient mysteries. I wouldn’t go quite that far — and besides, no one wants to
be called a lunatic.
do think that it is a risky business to consign to the lunatic fringe those
Masons who have seen or do see connections or parallels between
Masonry and the Ancient Mysteries, the great myths, and esoteric traditions.
It is risky for
It is not really accurate. It is quite easy to demonstrate that some very
notable Masons have held such beliefs, and if we now deny their past
prominence and influence we risk garbling our own history.
It risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater, which is to say, it
discourages Masons from delving deeper into their own myths and symbols for fear
that doing so might provide ammunition for Anti-Masonic snipers.
I am well aware
that Anti-Masonic critics and conspiracy mongers are a serious problem. They
have caused some Christian denominations to view Masonry in a negative light,
and they’ve contributed to the present push in England to register all Masons
who are in the military, law enforcement, and the courts. Certainly there is no
need to give them further grist for their mill.
However, I don’t
think that grist itself is really the problem. They already have plenty
of grist from nearly 300 years of Masonic writing, speculation, and ritual — and
believe me, some Anti-Masons are experts at ferreting out ambiguous quotes from
Masonic books that have been gathering dust on the shelves for a hundred years
or more. The problem is the interpretation of that grist.
Bros. S. Brent
Morris and Art DeHoyos have taken on some of the Anti-Masonic distortions and
misinterpretations in their book, Is it True What They Say About Freemasonry?
But there is more to be done. One of those things is to arm ourselves with a
realistic assessment of Masonry’s relationship to the esoteric.
Let’s consider for
a moment the origins and evolution of modern Speculative Masonry. I’m not
talking about the various romantic theories tracing Masonry back to Egypt or to
the Knights Templar. If we just stick to the historical record, modern Masonry
began to emerge in the 1600s. This is when educated gentlemen, such as Elias
Ashmole and Robert Moray, began to be initiated.
These people were
living on the cusp between the late Renaissance and the beginning of the
Enlightenment era. And Masonry, as we know it, was a product of that cusp.
Let’s recall for a
moment what it was that sparked the Renaissance in Italy. Cosimo de’ Medici
sponsored Marsilio Ficino’s creation of a new Platonic Academy and asked him to
translate Platonic, Neoplatonic, and Hermetic texts into Latin. Ficino’s
colleague, Pico della Mirandola, brought Jewish mysticism — the Kabbalah — into
Christian awareness and saw it as compatible with Christianity.
These “new” but ancient ways of looking at things inspired a surge in cultural
creativity . . . and this manifested in many ways.
One of these was
the growth of Humanism, with its emphasis on the individual. Another was the
freedom felt by great artists like Michelangelo and Botticelli to include pagan
myths and gods as part of their subject matter. This derived from the
Renaissance idea that there was a Universal Wisdom that has expressed itself in
every age and culture, and that inspiration could be validly drawn from
pre-Christian and non-Christian sources.
Yet another result of the Renaissance was a growth of interest in Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Natural and Divine Magic, and Protestant Mysticism among the
Catholic Church felt threatened by this upsurge of activity outside of its
control, many of the students of these esoteric “sciences” used elaborate
systems of symbols and allegory to communicate their ideas to each other. This
was also a time when there was a special emphasis on the value of training the
mind to prodigious feats of memory, through the use of “memory palaces.” These
were imaginary structures that the memorizer walked through in his mind, placing
particular objects and people at various locations, as triggers to recall each
part of a lengthy text or procedure.
Please note these
esoteric methods: symbol, allegory, and memorization.
I don’t think it
is unreasonable to suggest that some of the early Masons were inspired by this
approach. The use of symbols, allegory, and memory in Masonry is strikingly
similar to those esoteric systems of spiritual inquiry and development that were
in the air when speculative Masonry was first being established.
To give just a
brief example, according to Masonic tradition: “A Lodge is metaphorically said
to be supported by three great pillars, denominated Wisdom, Strength, and
It is perhaps not entirely coincidental that in the Kabbalistic glyph of the
Tree of Life, the ten sefirot (Divine attributes or vessels) are aligned
in three columns and that three of the sefirot, Hokhmah, Gevurah and
Tiferet, reside on each of the three columns, and are respectively named
Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.
Let me be clear. I
am not arguing here that Masonry itself was intended to be an esoteric system as
such, or that it had a direct unbroken lineage from earlier esoteric traditions.
Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. But I do think it is a case of fear of the
Masonic Shadow to relegate such inquiries to a supposed lunatic fringe or to the
tender embraces of Anti-Masonic bigots.
Elias Ashmole, who is the earliest English Mason for whom there are written
indications of initiation, and who was one of the founding members of the Royal
Society, had certain key Rosicrucian texts in his personal library.
The 1600s were not a time when acquiring books was just a matter of joining the
Book of the Month Club. Each text required extra effort and expense to obtain,
and indicated a special interest on the part of the collector. Again, the
Rosicrucian texts employed allegory, symbolism, and myth to convey their ideas
of spiritual renewal.
This in itself
doesn’t prove a connection between Masonry and Rosicrucianism. It merely
suggests that some sort of kinship between the two is not out of the question.
It is a legitimate field for Masonic inquiry.
THE EVOLUTION OF
Freemasonry as it
evolved in the 18th century was influenced by the Enlightenment and,
as we know, it incorporated the emerging ideas of brotherhood, freedom of
thought and freedom of association.
Masons are rightly proud of this part of their heritage, and even though
Anti-Masons are able to put their own negative spin on this, I haven’t seen too
many Masons repudiating these ideals.
However, when we
get to the 19th century, which was, in many ways, the richest period
of fraternal development,
we again enter a period that many present brethren would just as soon forget.
The William Morgan affair, and the era of the Anti-Masonic Party as a political
phenomenon, left their indelible marks on American Masonry. One effect was that
Masonry became understandably concerned about its public image and distanced
itself from the freewheeling days of Masonic fellowship in the upstairs rooms of
pubs and taverns.
But more significantly, in response to political and religious criticism,
Masonry turned inward and emphasized its spiritual value for its members, as
opposed to its earlier, more public stance, as a bulwark of Enlightenment
As the scholars
Lynn Dumenil and Mark Carnes have indicated in their excellent books,
Freemasonry, in the mid- and late 19th century, became a spiritual
refuge from the stress of Industrialization and the tensions of changing
relations between men and women. The lodge became a place that men could repair
to, for solace, inspiration, and initiation.
This period was a time of cultural upheaval, especially in America. The advance
of Science, which had been encouraged by the Enlightenment, undercut many
people’s faith in conventional religion. Yet spiritual longings remained. In a
kind of replay of the Renaissance, there was a surge of interest in alternative
metaphysical teachings, spiritualism, the religions of other cultures, the new
discoveries of Egyptian archaeology, the question of human origins raised by
Darwin, and a reinvestigation of esoteric traditions. These were all fed by the
subtle influences of Romanticism.
No better figure
exemplifies this age than General Albert Pike, who is the single most
influential leader in the history of the Scottish Rite - Southern Jurisdiction,
and the favorite whipping boy of the Anti-Masons. Pike was, in many ways, a
latter-day Renaissance man. He was, in the course of his life, a Confederate
General, a newspaper man, a lawyer, an avid amateur scholar, and a devoted
He was also — pay close attention here — an advocate of the notion that
Freemasonry was the preserver of the Ancient Mysteries.
Pike was the man
who rewrote the degrees of the Scottish Rite into symbolic dramas that drew upon
the myths and symbols of various spiritual traditions, some of them esoteric. He
was a strong believer in what Bro. Rex Hutchens has called Pike’s “Unity
Concept.” As Hutchens describes it, “Pike believed there was a fundamental unity
in the belief systems developed during the early history of mankind. These
belief systems, often called religions, all basically subscribed to the idea of
one powerful overarching Deity Who transcends all idolatry and man’s ability of
Was Pike right or
wrong? I’m sure we can argue over this for years to come. But whether he was
correct or not in this belief, the point is that he found this esoteric idea
echoed in Masonry’s insistence that the believers of different religions could
share a brotherhood, despite their theological differences — as long as they
believed in God, Who was neutrally called the Great Architect of the Universe.
masterwork, Morals and Dogma, was presented to all Scottish Rite Masons
upon their 14th degree, from its publication in 1871 until 1974.
Since then, condensed commentaries on Morals and Dogma, first by Henry
and then by Rex Hutchens,
have been given to all Scottish Rite members instead. In other words, Pike’s
ideas — whether we agree with them or not — have been shared with Scottish Rite
initiates, in one form or another, both in Moral and Dogma and its
commentaries, and in the degree rituals themselves, since the 19th
No one is required
to agree with them. Despite the name of Morals and Dogma, Pike’s ideas
are not treated as Masonic dogma. But I think that basic honesty requires that
we acknowledge that Albert Pike didn’t reside on a Masonic lunatic fringe and
that Masons who may have been influenced by his ideas aren’t necessarily
entered the 20th century, the culture at large was continuing to
change. As Lynn Dumenil has indicated, Masonry changed again as well. It became
less of a introverted spiritual refuge and more of an extroverted, civic
organization, competing with the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs.
The 19th century Masonic appreciation for initiatory ritual, and its
fascination with ancient origins, gave way, after World War One, to a
preoccupation with 100% Americanism and an emphasis on public charity.
The romantic approach to Masonic history, which took it for granted that Masonry
came down through the ages from Noah or even Adam, gave way to the Realistic
School of Masonic history, which discouraged such speculations.
Yet, amidst these changes in emphasis, Masonry still preserved its rituals, its
symbols, its memorization, and its links with its past.
indicate that Masonry reached its peak in terms of membership at the end of the
1950s and has experienced a decline ever since.
The 1960s were a time of another major upheaval in American culture, with
political assassinations, the Civil Rights movement, a polarization of society
over the Vietnam War, and a severe generation gap. I’ve listened to 50-year
Masons at my lodge describe that era, and they’ve said that it was all they
could do to preserve our traditions, and no one had a clue about how to attract
the younger generation.
And here we come
to the irony and tragedy of the Masonic Shadow. The 1960s and ’70s were
characterized by a spiritual longing on the part of America’s youth. The Baby
Boom generation was disenchanted with materialism and hypocrisy, and was
searching for spiritual moorings that could connect the past, present, and
future. I’ve long felt that the counter-cultural impulse was as conservative as
it was radical. The Sixties’ move to long hair, wire-rimmed glasses, granny
dresses, natural foods, and art nouveau art, indicated a wish to connect with an
earlier era before the Rat Race had us in its grip, and when brotherly love,
relief, and truth were honored ideals.
One need only look
at those old photographs of Albert Pike, with his long hair and his beard, and
wonder whether he lived in the 1860s or the 1960s!
admire the Scottish Rite and its heritage. It is only one part of the totality
of Masonry, but it is an important part. Nevertheless, one more example of the
Masonic Shadow springs to mind as regards the Rite in the Southern Jurisdiction.
In 1904 the
Scottish Rite - Southern Jurisdiction started a monthly magazine for its
Its title? The New Age. Perhaps this indicated the mood of optimism that
marked the start of a new century. Let’s resist the temptation to read anything
too esoteric into it.
But, again, it is
ironic that the Scottish Rite maintained the magazine with this same title all
the way until 1989
when “the New Age” had become a popular name for the post-60s and 70s search for
alternative spirituality. Heaven forbid that Freemasonry should appear to have
something to offer to yet another generation of seekers. The same
fundamentalists and paranoids who were attacking Freemasonry were also going
after the New Agers, and the Scottish Rite apparently decided that an implied
association with the New Age Movement was a burden it didn’t want to bear.
The New Age changed its name to the Scottish Rite Journal.
Perhaps this was a
wise decision. After all, the New Age Movement is now in decline, like the
Counterculture that preceded it, and I’m not saying that Freemasonry should jump
on every bandwagon that comes down the line.
What I would
like to suggest is that Freemasonry has a complex heritage that includes both
esoteric and rationalist components, as well as pre-modern, modern, and
postmodern elements. Because of this, it has the potential to address the
changing needs of each new generation by rediscovering those parts of Masonry
that supply what is lacking in their lives.
But this cannot
happen if Freemasonry denies major parts of its heritage and tries to fit the
square peg of the 21st century into the round hole of 1959. We have
before us yet another generation reaching its maturity — a generation with its
own unique needs and longings. The Three Great Lights and the Working Tools of
Masonry are appropriate to every age, and our degree rituals have withstood the
test of time. But I would suggest that our Gentle Craft needs to bring its
Shadow into the Light and accept the totality of its influences, history, and
If we let the
Anti-Masons define what we feel safe to discuss about our own complex history,
and if we allow sensationalistic authors to have the final say on how people
perceive Freemasonry, then we are surely doomed. After all, it just might be
that some of those elements of Masonic history that we have pushed into the
shadows are the very things that may pique the interest of a new generation of
has much to offer to those who will come of age in the 21st century.
As Dr. Paul Rich pointed out in his paper last year, we possess one of the few
ritual initiations available that provides a true rite-of-passage for men in our
It is not grueling or embarrassing, but it is deeply affecting when it is
done well. It contains elements that encourage the new member to develop his
best qualities, to be honest and direct with others, and to care about his
initiations, every Master Mason becomes symbolically in charge of building his
own inner temple — “that house not made with hands” — in which to hold the “holy
of holies,” symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant in the inner chamber of
There are many
ways to look at this inner temple: as one’s higher self; one’s spirit; one’s
connection to God; as the spark of the divine within, that we have the
opportunity to fan into a warm and light-imparting flame.
This isn’t a
sectarian religious matter — it is a broad spiritual and psychological symbol
system that has the potential to speak to everyone.
potential will remain unfulfilled, for yet another generation, if we emulate
groundhogs and dive out of sight every time we see our Shadow. Or worse still,
if we try to hold our ground by denying that there is any Shadow to see.
Masonry’s relationship to the esoteric traditions may be complex, confusing, and
a sore point in our sparring with Anti-Masons. But it is also an intriguing and
rewarding subject for Masonic research and education.
We needn’t swallow
everything that the romantic Masons of the past assumed was true. But, at the
same time, we needn’t toss the myths, allegories, and parallels between Masonry
and the esoteric into the trash-heap of history. If we are really serious about
wanting more Light, we need to re-think the taboos that have kept the
Speculation out of Speculative Masonry for the last century.
And that’s the
idea that I’d like to leave you with: Let’s not be discouraged by Anti-Masonic
misunderstandings and misinterpretations that lead us to keep our light under a
Let’s help each
other shine some light into those dusty shadows so that we can see the wisdom of
Brother Franklin Roosevelt’s words: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
A version of this
paper was originally delivered at the Second California Masonic Symposium, 2002,
in Sacramento, Calif. This version appears in Heredom Vol. 10, 2003, the
Transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society.
See M.-L. von Franz, “The Process of Individuation,” in Carl G. Jung,
editor, Man and His Symbols (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1964),
For an accessible overview of these esoteric traditions, see: Richard Smoley
and Jay Kinney, Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions
(New York, NY: Penguin/Arkana, 1999).
Paul Rich, Ph.D., “The Use and Misuse of History,” in Proceedings:
California Masonic Symposium, July 21, 2001 (San Francisco, CA:
Institute for Masonic Studies and Committee on Masonic Education, GL F. &
A.M. of Calif., 2001).
Ibid, footnote 38, p. 20.
These would include Thomas Smith Webb, propagator of the most commonly used
Masonic ritual in the U.S.; Rev. George Oliver, Deputy Provincial Grand
Master of Lincolnshire, known in his time as “the sage and historian of
masonry”; Albert G. Mackey, Secretary General of the AASR-SJ, and Grand
Secretary and Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina; Gen.
Albert Pike, Grand Commander of the AASR-SJ; Manly Palmer Hall 33º, prolific
author and lecturer on esoteric traditions, and founder of the Philosophical
Research Society in Los Angeles; Harry L. Haywood, former Librarian of the
Grand Lodge of Iowa; George Steinmetz, Orator of the San Francisco Bodies
AASR-SJ; and others.
S. Brent Morris has
pointed out in “The Letter ‘G’,” in The Plumbline, Sept. 1992:
“Albert Mackey, quoted so religiously by our foes, repudiated the idea of
Masonic descent from the Ancient Mysteries in his History of Freemasonry
(1906). His last writings can hardly be called support for his earlier
theories, and hence are ignored by those looking for lurid accusations.” Be
that as it may, and the attacks and distortions of Anti-Masons
notwithstanding, Mackey’s earlier writings (such as A Lexicon of
Freemasonry (1852, 1869) and Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1873))
shouldn’t be excused out of existence or relegated to the lunatic fringe.
They were indicative of a widespread belief in the era in which they
Art DeHoyos, S. Brent Morris, Is it True What They Say About Freemasonry?
(Silver Spring, MD: Blue Light Publishing, 2001).
Robert Moray, a Scotsman, was initiated on May 20, 1641, and Ashmole on Oct.
16, 1646 at Warrington, Lancashire. See Joseph Fort Newton, The Builders
(Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1914) pp. 161-162.
Antone Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism (Albany, NY: State
University of New York Press, 1994) pp. 58, 60.
See Joscelyn Godwin, The Pagan Dream of the Renaissance (Grand
Rapids, MI: Phanes Press, 2002).
See, for instance, Frances A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the
Elizabethan Age (London: Ark/Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983).
See Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1966).
Monitor and Officers’ Manual, Grand Lodge of California F&AM, 1997
edition, p. 7.
See S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Trans., The Kabbalah Unveiled (New York,
NY: Penguin/Arkana, 1991), p. 24-25. The spellings I give for the three
sefirot are those used by Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah (New York,
NY: Meridian/N.A.L., 1978), p. 107. It is worth noting that The Kabbalah
Unveiled, in its Latin translation by Knorr Von Rosenroth, was one of
Albert Pike’s principal sources in composing Morals and Dogma.
See Christopher McIntosh, The Rosicrucians (York Beach, ME: Samuel
Weiser, Inc., 1997), p. 47. McIntosh notes that both Robert Moray and Elias
Ashmole were “deeply interested in Rosicrucianism,” p. 43.
Steven C. Bullock, Revolutionary Brotherhood (Chapel Hill, NC:
University of North Carolina Press, 1996), pp. 26-28, 38-39.
Mark C. Carnes, Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America (New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 1. Carnes notes, “In 1897 W.S.
Harwood, writing for the North American Review, described the last
third of the nineteenth century as the ‘Golden Age of Fraternity.’”
Bullock, pp 318-19.
Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture 1880-1930 (Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 91. Carnes, p. 146.
For an excellent summary of this period, see Joscelyn Godwin, The
Theosophical Enlightenment (Albany, NY: State University of New York
Press, 1994). See also, Michel Le Bris, Romantics and Romanticism
(New York, NY: Rizzoli International, 1981), pp. 84-86, 170-73.
See Walter Lee Brown, A Life of Albert Pike (Fayetteville, AR:
University of Arkansas Press, 1997) and Jim Tresner, Albert Pike: The Man
Beyond the Monument (New York: M. Evans & Co., 1995).
See, for instance, Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma (Charleston, SC: The
Supreme Council, 33º, AASR-SJ, revised edition, 1950), p. 375: “. . . the
legend of the Master’s Degree is but another form of that of the Mysteries,
reaching back, in one shape or other, to the remotest antiquity.”
Rex. R. Hutchens, Pillars of Wisdom: The Writings of Albert Pike
(Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Council, 33º, AASR-SJ, 1995), p. 40.
Rex R. Hutchens, A Bridge to Light (Washington, D.C.: The Supreme
Council, 33º, AASR-SJ, 1995 [2nd Edition]), p. 2.
Henry C. Clausen, Clausen’s Commentaries on Morals and Dogma
(Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Council, 33º, AASR-SJ, 1974).
Hutchens, A Bridge to Light, op cit.
Dumenil, pp. 115, 178.
Ibid., pp. 153, 175.
See, for instance, R. A, Gilbert, “William Wynn Westcott and the Esoteric
School of Masonic Research,” in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, 1987.
Gilbert characterizes the two competing approaches to Masonic history as the
“authentic school” and the “esoteric school.”
See Paul M. Bessel’s running totals of Masonic membership, (http://bessel.org/masmembs.htm).
According to the best statistics available to Bessel, there were 4,103,161
U.S. Masons in 1959. Membership was roughly half that by 1997. Harold V.B.
Voorhis, in The Story of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (Richmond,
VA: Macoy Publishing, 1980), pegs U.S. Masonic membership at 4,099,219 in
For instance, see photos reproduced on dust jacket of Tresner, op cit.
William L. Fox, The Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle, (Fayetteville,
AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1997).
Heather K. Calloway, “Caring For Our Collections,” Scottish Rite Journal,
May, 2001, p. 50.
Since first writing this paper, I’ve learned that the name change occurred,
at least in part, as a response to the appearance on the newsstands of the
New Age Journal, an alternative spirituality magazine. In order to
avoid confusion and a costly trademark dispute, the name of The New Age
was changed to Scottish Rite Journal. Or so I’ve been told. Perhaps
this was a factor in the change, but probably not the primary one, as the
New Age Journal first appeared in 1974, some 15 years before the name
Calloway, in the article cited in
note 30 above, states: “Another significant change in the cover format of
the magazine occurred in 1989 during the Biennial Session, when the title of
the magazine was changed to The Scottish Rite Journal. The term “The
New Age” had become associated with the movement of the same name, and
the Supreme Council believed that this action would be a positive change.”
back to top