Monday, February 18, 2008

Forthcoming Posts: For Your Comment

It has occurred to me that the readers of this blog might be interested in knowing what I plan to write about over the next few weeks and months. Below, I list my topics, pretty much in the order in which I plan to post, one to two posts weekly. Readers: Do let me know how this suits you. If you like the list as is; if you want to see topics addressed in a different order; if you want to see topics addressed that are not here—in any such case, let me know.

Incidentally, I have enabled the ‘e-mail’ feature on this blog, so a reader can e-mail a specific posting to friends. Just give credit to this blog, please.

Here are the topics that I plan to address in future posts:

  • Why should we pay attention to the esoteric symbolism of Masonry? Or is it all nonsense, as one brother expressed to me not long ago?
  • What is ‘Masonic enlightenment’? I have made the case that Masonic enlightenment is the objective of Freemasonry and its symbolism. But just what does that mean?
  • The “Paradise” (PaRDeS) approach to the interpretation of symbols. This ancient approach to scriptural interpretation is also a powerful vehicle through which to approach the interpretation of Masonic symbolism.
  • What symbols should we address in Masonic education? I shall give a list, focusing on the Blue Lodge. I shall also make brief mention of symbols in the Scottish Rite and the York Rite. (What—did you think Masonic education was only for the Blue Lodge? Oh, my brothers….)
  • The sources of Masonic symbolism. Yes, the traditions of the medieval operative stonemasons come to mind immediately. However, Masonic symbolism is also the result of several other currents: Enlightenment-era ideals; Enlightenment-era esotericism, such as Hermeticism, Kabbalah, astrology, Rosicrucianism, and so forth; and, the medieval Knights Templar, even if only by inspiration. All of these currents can have some impact on the interpretation of a symbol, simultaneously.
  • How to prepare a session of Masonic education. What goes into putting a session together.
  • How to deliver a session of Masonic education. What to do when you are in front of the brethren.
  • How to get your lodge to hold sessions of Masonic education. How to obtain a mandate from the leadership of the lodge.
  • How to learn about Masonic symbolism: Print resources. This involves a slew of individual blog posts, regarding such works as: Albert Pike’s "Esoterika" (perhaps the best of the bunch) and his Lectures on Masonic symbolism; Albert Mackey’s The Symbolism of Freemasonry; Wilmhurst’s 3 books; Allan Roberts; W. Kirk MacNulty; and, with appropriate cautions, the work of P. Manly Hall (The Secret Teachings of All Ages and other works), as well as the work of other authors (e.g., A. E. Waite).
  • How to learn about Masonic symbolism: Online resources. Another slew of individual blog posts: A survey of online resources.
  • Responding to anti-Masonry. With resources.
  • The application of depth psychology to Masonic symbolism. Learning about the Jungian approach to symbolism. “The Journey of the Hero”-type of literature.

    Your comments will be appreciated.


Jerell said...

Can we get a topic on Masonic Mis-Education (Information)?

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

Brother Jerell,

This is a very interesting idea, perhaps more applicable to a dinner presentation than to an in-the-Lodge session of Masonic Education, but that is just me.

The first thing that comes to mind is a subject like "Masons Who Never Were." (For example, we have no good evidence that Thomas Jefferson was a Mason. Despite many claims to the contrary, Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11 fame is not a Mason, although Buzz Aldrin is a Mason.) What other sorts of things do you have in mind in terms of Masonic Misinformation?

Tom Accuosti said...

Bro. Mark -

I've been looking for sources about the underlying psychology of ritual. Most writings are more about the sociology - customs, environment, etc. I'm wondering how ritual can be used - if it can - as a transformational experience.

Got anything like that on the agenda?

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

Brother Tom,

I sure do now.

Thank you for your comment. Actually, that very topic has come to my attention recently from a number of different directions, so clearly it is an idea of interest to a number of the brethren. I will make it a point to address this.