Albert Pike

Albert PikeNo discussion of anti-Masonry would be complete without an extensive mention of Albert Pike. The flyleaf of a biography written by Mason Jim Tresner describes him as "...a pioneer, a crusader for justice for Native Americans, a practical joker, a reformer, a journalist, a philosopher, a prominent Washington lawyer, and a Civil War general." For many years, he was leader of the Scottish Rite in the southern United States and he was the author of Morals and Dogma published in 1871. The title in and of itself has led to much confusion since those who are not Masons will automatically assume this book sets forth 'dogma' for Freemasonry. Nothing could be further from fact.

Let's clarify right at the outset: the vast majority of those who become Masons have no idea whatsoever who Pike was. In fact, most Masons throughout the world become members and will eventually die without ever encountering either him or any of his works. In fact, of all the Masons world-wide, it's likely that fewer than 2% will have ever even seen (much less read) a copy of any of his hundreds of writings, most of which have been relegated to the dustbin of history. Of the few who have, what they're familiar with will - almost without exception - be Morals and Dogma, a book that anti-Masons delight in holding up as the 'Bible' of Freemasonry.

But what are the facts about this book? For about 60 years, it was given as a memento to all who joined the Southern United States jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, an appendant body of Freemasonry. In the earliest printings, due to the cost of publishing books, there was an instruction inside that it was to be returned to the Supreme Council in the case of death of the owner. Of course, there was no way to enforce that and in a majority of cases, it was ignored. As book publishing costs became less onerous, that request was dropped in later editions. Those who find such a request nefarious (it was not an order and certainly impossible to enforce), ignore the reality of the times.

We'd guess that of the few who actually begin reading this ponderous 850+ page tome, only a small percentage actually finish it. Of those who do, the great majority admit that they could barely understand it. (Lately, with the advent of various book comparison online venues, it would seem that far more non-Masons have read the book than Masons!) Yet despite this, anti-Masons assert that Pike and his works exert significant influence over Freemasonry today. Let's be clear: the book was never given to all Masons and it has never, ever (not once, anywhere, anytime) been used as a 'textbook' or 'instruction' for Masons.

Morals & Dogma by Albert PikeMorals and Dogma is a philosophical work, created by an individual who was an extraordinarily prolific writer even for an age when prolific writing was the norm. It was also fashioned in the style of Pike's time when public speaking was a high art form and Pike was known far and wide for his skills in this area. Morals and Dogma is not a manifesto (i.e. public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions) for Masonry or even for the Scottish Rite's Southern Jurisdiction. It is, rather, an attempt by Pike to provide a framework for understanding religions and philosophies of the past. Pike believed that without knowing the history of a concept, one couldn't grasp the concept itself - and thus his lengthy explanations of various religious beliefs, consistent with knowledge of those beliefs in the mid-1800s.

Source: http://www.masonicinfo.com/pike.htm

A book on rituals of Initiation

Book Review


State University of New York Press, New York, 2007. Hardback, xxi and 235 pages, £35.00. Paperback, 2008, £11.00. ISBN 13: 978-0-7914-7069-5

It is frequently said that Freemasonry is not an esoteric order. And yet I would contend that such a view largely stems from a misunderstanding, and perhaps a fear, of what the word actually means. For in Greek eso simply means ‘within’, while the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word esoteric as a ‘doctrine’ or ‘mode of speech’ ... ‘communicated or intelligible only to the initiated’. Now it is well known that Freemasonry has modes of speech peculiar to each degree and that those words are only supposed to be communicated or intelligible to someone who has been regularly initiated or passed into that degree. Therefore, according to this definition, Freemasonry must be esoteric. Moreover, if Freemasonry is chiefly about the candidate erecting the temple within, then plainly Freemasonry is esoteric from this particular standpoint also. And yet of the many thousands of books and papers that have been written on the association, it is somewhat ironic that precious few have seriously focused upon the initiatic and esoteric aspects of the craft. Indeed, this is rather strange, given that the central mission of the craft is to initiate good men (and women in some orders) in an attempt to make them better.

It is therefore a great pleasure to see published an academically sound and a highly readable study of Freemasonry’s role as an initiatic society examined in context of the broader streams of western esotericism. This study comprises eight chapters which focus on a range of fascinating topics including, the study of western esotericism as an academic discipline, the historical development of western esotericism through the centuries, Freemasonry’s craft and ‘high’ degrees, the nineteenth-century Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the pagan traditions of the modern era. And unlike many books of its ilk, this book is not beyond the reach of the average reader, for it is cogent, lucid and unpretentious.

Indeed, I would wholeheartedly recommend this work not only to the esoterically-minded serious student, but to anyone who might be looking for a good quality, general introduction to the subject.

Matthew Scanlan, Freemasonry Today



If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:


The apron of Voltaire

The secession of the Grand Orient of France

In 1887 the Grand Orient of France (GOF) and some of the few masonic organizations that kept the links with it cease to invoke the Grand Architect of the Universe ritualy, and suppressed the exigence of the Volume of the Sacred Law as Light of the Lodge. The United Grand Lodge of England and the majority of masonic obediences all over world cut relations with the GOF. From then the United Grand Lodge of England and the rest of the Great masonic powers cease to give recognition to any masonic organization in Portugal. This exclusion ended, only, with the foundation of the Grand Regular Lodge of Portugal in 1991.

Freemasonry and solidarity work

Since the emerging of freemasonry in Portugal, in 1727, its members, whether individually, in group or as a Lodge, look to deep the bows of solidarity between Brethren, but also intervene in the profane world through solidarity institutions and others alike devoted to charity, assistance or cultural purposes. The motivation was to assist the economic, social or cultural excluded, coming from the point that through education and a solid economic structure the country may progress and develop. Several of these institutions were founded, ever since the end of the 18Th century, by Freemasons belonging to several masonic Obediences. One of main masonic entities was the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon (still today active). Between its founders the duke of Lafões and Abbot Correia da Silva deserve a special reference. Throughout the XIX and XX centuries Freemasonry was responsible for the creation of many educational institutions, namely, primary and secondary schools, schools devoted to permanent education and mobile farmer schools. They have as goal the struggle against illiteracy and the cultural development of citizens.