Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rite of The Black Eagle Part 2 of 3

From our first article, the candidate was roughly handled and was accused of murder, and may had to have been executed for no other reason, then for a blood letting.  The candidate now enters into the second degree where he is more instructed than ceremonial, and learns of the Hermetic Parables.

The Officers and the general arrangements are identical in the second as in the first, during the opening the members are referred to as Princes who dwell in the Zodiac, they are reminded to be precise in their work of developing the three kingdoms of Nature.

The Candidate is now places in the West and has to express a desire to progress his education in the Order of the Black Eagle.  At this time the candidate is shown the method of moving from East to West by the steps of the four elements, and takes the Pledge of the Degree on his knees before the throne of the Master.

Grade Symbolism:

The lecture of this degree explains more about the degree that the candidate just went through, here are the six main points explained upon the trestleboard.

(1)It depicts the Chapter itself in the form of an oblong square, the greater extension being from East to West, because the sun never leaves the tropics and because antique science never left the poles.

(2) The grand circle in the centre of the diagram represents the Zodiac and its twelve signs encompass a dead body, being that of the Master-Builder, whom the "Great Work must bring back to life".  This is effected by the divine virtues of a Pentacle which vitalises dead matter.

(3) The sun signifies the end and object of the Rosy Cross attained in the Quest for that Sun of Life which insures the happiness of man in the present world and also in the world to come.

(4) The Blazing Star represents that stage of the work when the Matter assumes color.

(5) The fire on the alter signifies the elementary fire which purifies the three kingdoms of nature

Hermetic Parables

In the second place, the Master proposes such an instruction of the Candidate that he shall discover by his own efforts the principle of the life hidden in the heart of the matter known under the name of Alkahest (1), being a spirit of the four elements extracted from the three kingdoms of Nature.  But in the catechism which follows the heads of the consideration are these:

(1) That the Brethren must accompany the Sun in its journey through the twelve Houses of Heaven

(2) These Houses are governed by twelve sacred names
Blessed Raymond Lully
Doctor Illuminatus
Writer, poet theologian, mystic, mathematician,  martyr

(3) The twelve spirits operate therein by the will of the Supreme Being

(4) That the power of the Divine Name inscribed on the Grand Pentacle is that which moves the Universe, and hose who can pronounce it kabalistically shall have at their disposition the forces which dwell in the four elements, and will possess all virtues possible to man

(5) The Knights of the Black Eagle are called Brethren of the Rose-Cross in commemoration of the Rose Nobles made by their Brother Raymond Lully(2), a great Mason (note this is the ritual, not my personal view), the coins in question having a Rose on one side and a Cross on the other

(6) The work upon base metals for their transmutation into gold is performed by the Balance of Solomon, the use of which has been made known to many ancient and modern philosophers

(7)  Solomon made use of the squares of 5=25, the square of 3=9,, the square of 2=4, the cube of 2=8 and the square of 4=16, the numbers in question being said to represent weights

(8)  Whomever is initiated in the Kabalistic Art must be like unto the Maser-Builder, who chose death rather than betray the secrets committed to his charge

Closing the Chapter

When the chapter is closed in the Second Degree, the Master asks whether the work has progressed and the Matter has assumed form.  He is told that the elements are joined, the seven planets are shut up within the Sanctuary and are covered with a white veil.

(1:  Alkahest is a hypothetical universal solvent, having he power to dissolve every other substance, including gold.  It was much sought after by alchemists for what they they thought would be its invaluable medicinal qualities.  The name is believed to have been invented by Paracelsus from Switzerland.  Paracelesus' own recipe was based on caustic lime, alcohol, and carbonate of potash.  He believed that this element was the philosophers stone.  Interesting enough, Philalethes specifies that Alkahest dissolves only composed material into their constituent, elemental, parts.)

(2:  Raymond Lully (1232 - 1315) was a Majorcan writer, philosopher, logician and Fransciscan tertiary.  He wrote the first major work of Catalan literature.  Manuscripts have pointed to his centuries earlier election theory, and is considered a pioneer of computation theory.  He was a member of the Franciscan Order, he is honored as a martyr, he was beatified in 1857 by Pope Pius IX and his feast day was assigned to 30 June and is celebrated by the Third Order of Saint Francis.  Raymond Lully also had a strong mystical side, instanced in his work The Book of the Lover and the Beloved, written in order to illuminate weary, sterile souls.  He was also interested in, and wrote about astrology.  A synthesis of Lully's work was made by his disciple Thomas Le Myesier, in his Electorium.  In the early modern period Bernard de Lavinheta connected Lully with contemporary hermeticism.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


As the slow gears of French Freemasonry move, the Masonic Confederation of France has now agreed for intervisitation between their combined 1700 lodges, and boasts a membership of over 51,000 members, which now makes it unofficially the largest Masonic body, regular or irregular operating in France.  This includes the Grand Orient of France and the disparaged GNLF.

Below is detailing this step towards the Masonic Confederation of France to move forward with requesting recognition through out Europe, and eventually to the UGLE.  It is my hope that we finally have some sense of regularity and recognition in France again.


Responding to the appeal of the Basel Declaration of June 10, 2012 the undersigned French Masonic Grand Lodges decided to gather under a Confederation called the
Masonic Confederation of France
Signatories of this Treaty, the founders are:
- The Grand Lodge of France
- The Traditional and Symbolic Grand Lodge Opera
- The Grand Lodge of the French Masonic Alliance 
- The Independent Grand Lodge of France
Meant as a Masonic covenant, the treaty expresses their friendship and mutual recognition among the signatories. It will be supplemented by a protocol for the use of their members concerning visitations and Masonic exchanges.
Each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent in its identity and in its operation.
In accordance with the basic principles which they undertake to respect, the founding Grand Lodges pool and share operating procedures.
Civil statutes previously adopted in their Grand Lodge communications by the signatory Grand Lodges, then completed by Internal Bylaws specifying its mode of organization, guarantee the legal existence of the Confederation. Each Grand Lodge undertakes to respect, and to ensure respect of, the principles and rules by its members.
The Confederation shall be able to admit additional Grand Lodges, provided that they meet the criteria of Traditional Regularity as recalled in Article 1 of this Treaty. Their adhesion shall only be approved by an unanimous decision of the Confederation founders.
The Confederation will have statutory powers allowing it to decide an exclusion in case of non-compliance with the commitments defined in this Treaty.
Article 1
The Grand Lodges of the Masonic Confederation of France meet in full the principles shared by the Universal Masonic fraternity, which ensure its unity and are:
- Invocation of the Great Architect of the Universe,
- Presence in Lodge of the three Great Lights of Freemasonry: the Volume of the Sacred Law, in full view and open, the Square and the Compasses,
- Exclusive sovereignty over the symbolic degrees,
- Independence from any Masonic structure of Higher Degrees,
- No female presence during ritual workings,
- Prohibition of political or religious discussions,
- The progressive and spiritual character of the Masonic approach.
Article 2
The Freemasons of the undersigned Grand Lodges recognize each other by the obser­vance of the Royal Art that unites regular Freemasons worldwide.
Article 3
Each undersigned Grand Lodge establishes the procedures necessary to ensure compliance with the rules founding the recognition of the Confederation.
Article 4
Each Grand Lodge recognizes and respects the practices and customs of the other Grand Lodges of the Confederation, including the moral and spiritual values as well as the initiation rituals that are theirs and which it declares to perfectly know.
Article 5
The Confederation commits itself not to take any action likely to undermine the independence and functioning of each signatory Grand Lodge. However, in case of non-compliance with the fundamental principles shared by the Universal Masonic fraternity and stated in Article 1, or with the application of the rules of recognition mentioned in Article 3, and before an implementation of the statutory provisions for exclusion, the Confederation has the duty to notify the Grand Lodge concerned.
Article 6
The Confederation guarantees, especially regarding relations with foreign Masonic Grand Lodges, the regularity of the Grand Lodges which constitute it.
The Confederation elects or appoints, in terms defined in its statutes and Internal Bylaws and for a specified time, its representation in foreign Masonic Grand Lodges.
Article 7
Any communication on behalf of the Confederation will be defined beforehand by the representatives of each signatory Grand Lodge.
Paris, June 15, 2013:
- The Grand Lodge of France
- The Traditional and Symbolic Grand Lodge Opera
- The Grand Lodge of the Masonic French Alliance 
- The Independent Grand Lodge of France   

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Rite of the Black Eagle - Part 1 of 3

When I find myself not writing for long periods of time, I get stagnate, then I don't want to write out of the anticipation of writing, it is a complete mess.  The cycle of not writing feeds to the procrastination of future writing.  Getting out of the habit of writing makes for lack of proper reflection and study for me.  To stop this constipation of writing, I wanted to plunge right back into it, and so I am writing about something I read about four months ago, and something that isn't readily available on the internet.

I want to apologize up front as this subject matter only has one author that I could find, so the information comes directly from A.E. Waite, the little known, but seemingly familiar story, added with aspects of Christian doctrine, philosophical Hermeticism in the terms of figurative alchemy, and some Kabalism thrown in for good measure.  Waite up front acknowledges that this "Rite" was never popular, nor did it have any real popularity in Freemasonry.  To Waite, this Rite represented the origins and a first swipe of sorts of the first three degrees as they are told in the Red Degrees, as they are called here in America.  After the first three degrees the order devolves shortly there after and is as Waite put it "militanty distant" from the high degrees.

The first degree is made up of three principle officers, the Grand Master, Grand Prior and Grand Warden.  The tracing board is set up in the following matter:

(1) Large amounts of Acacias in the vicinity where the unskillful assassins interned the Master Builders body.  

(2) A cloud descending from Heaven to conceal the place, so that the assassins can not find it again. 

(3) Nine candlesticks, by allusion to the Nine Elect Masters who were sent in search of the Master, as ordained by Solomon the King

(4) The Place of entombment

(5) The sun and moon which enlightened successively the Brethren who went on the quest, so that neither cloud nor darkness hinder them

(6)  The Blazing Star, which shone over the grave of the Master

(7) The triangle - inscribed with the initial letter of the Great Name of Mystery, which appeared when the body was exposed

(8) The eagle which guarded the grave for the space of nine days and which took flight with the legendary branch of acacia when the body was found.

The predominate color of the Chapter and clothing is black, with hints of gold, red and white.  Between the pillars of the East is a great Black Eagle, having the Sun on the right and the Moon on the left side.

The candidate is roughly handled and moved into a Chamber of Reflection. His is stripped of all their clothing, and is given a blood soaked garment to wear and a pair of slippers.  In traditional Chamber of Reflection his is left alone wearing nothing but what has been given to him and the door is guarded by two brothers who have swords drawn.

The officers start their procession into the apartment and the chief officers take their station.  The Master then cries out that an innocent man has been murdered, and his killer still lives.  This is in reference to the candidate who is then led into an apartment, blindfolded by the two guards.  The only light in the room is a dimly lite lamp.  At this time one of a brother is to assume to role of the corpse and lay on a table with a bloodstained apron.

The blindfold is removed from the candidate and is told to contemplate the remains of the  man who has perished on false suspicion of murder.  The candidate is then held in the room with the "corpse" alone and again guarded by two men with swords.  This is to see if the candidate will attempt to escape or somehow lose his fortitude when dealing with the situation.

The candidate is again blindfolded and the officers again in procession enter and this time the Warden says that the candidate has proven to be more unfortunate than guilty, that the great criminal is he who has suffered already, but that an accomplice has been found who also must die.  The perpetrator is under arrest already, is charged, and condemned.  All the officers depart except the Grand Prior, who takes off the blindfold of the candidate and leaves him with the corpse, again to reflect.  After a while the Grand Prior comes to the door, reblindfolds the candidate and leads him to the door of the Chapter, into which is is introduced as a worthy Mason who desires to become a Knight of the Black Eagle.  He is praised for his fortitude, is pledged on the Holy Gospels and receives the Secrets of the Grade, together with the insignia.

The Grade Lecture:

As in all of these Rites, there is an explanation of everything that happened to you.  I find the lecture amusing as this was less esoteric, far more hazing.  Seriously, locking a guy in a room and accusing him of murder, then knowing that he is not guilty, but has to die anyway?  Still the newly knighted Mason is given the following instruction:

1) The Chapter is hung in black to illustrate the impenetrable obscurity which must cover the mysteries of the grade

2) The Pillars are white to signify the candor of chivalry

3)  The the gold of their chapters and pediments represent the purity of the Order

4)  Their number is 12, by allusion to the sacred and Mysterious Names inscribed on the Pentacle of Solomon

5)  The clothin of the Brethren is black, to commemorate their grief for the murder of the Master-Builder, but is ordained with white in token of their innocence concerning it, and embroidered with red as a symbol of his blood poured out.

6)  There are batteries of knocks, six to be exact, this is to signify the six modes of pronouncing the Sacred Word kabalistically, but these modes are yet not revealed to the new knight in this degree.

The next article (Part 2) we will detail out the Second Grade, and the Hermetic Parables that are taught to the new knight. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ohio Freemasonry, An Experience

It was my pleasure this past week to travel to Dayton, Ohio and meet with several brothers, and enjoy their company.  On a whim last week I sent out an e-mail to the Fiat Lux list server announcing my visit to Ohio.  I  immediately was greeted by Right Worshipful Dan Hrinko.  Brother Hrinko's excitement, and hospitality was like nothing I never experienced in Freemasonry, and was truly awe inspiring.

Brother Hrinko and I met Monday evening at the famous Pine Club Steak House in Dayton Ohio, there we ate like kings and discussed the current topics of Freemasonry.  Brother Hrinko is a one percenter, a man who has intense passion for Freemasonry and the education of our newly initiated, passed and raised brethren.  His efforts in the state of Ohio is a testament to the passion he lives through the obligations we all took.  He has added serious substance to their Grand Lodge education program, and was founding Master of Arts and Sciences Lodge No 792.  This lodge is not your typical Traditional Observance lodge, nor a European Lodge, but was developed with an emphasis on the craft, and furthering its education.  When you talk to Broher Hrinko he can't help but be proud of all he has done with Arts and Sciences, and the impact it had on the Masonic culture of Ohio.

Brother Hrinko took me to Clark Lodge #101 and they extended to me the same Masonic welcoming that you expect as a traveling Mason.  I always enjoy spending time with men like Dan Hrinko, his passion for our craft and his depth of masonic education made being around him an absolute pleasure.  I honestly hope I get to see him again, and spend more time with him, as he further sharpens my mind.  Below are pictures from the Masonic Temple in Springfield, OH.  The building itself is impressive as it has a bowling alley, 4 lodge rooms, a museum, and a massive Commandrey conclave.  I have attached the pictures below to spread the wonderfulness of the Masonic temple.