A Masonic Book Club Reviewer: Thom Carter Rating: Five Stars
This collection of Masonic articles gathered by Bro. Phil Greco is an appropriate amalgamation of ideas and topics diverse enough in subject to spark the interest of almost any Mason. The bulletin begins with a fascinating subject that no Mason should be unaware of with “Behind the Legends: A Historical Reality of Solomon.” This paper takes the reader through a short understanding of the historical Solomon and speculates upon how the legend found throughout Masonic ritual might have come to be used in its current form. “Ancient Pagan Magic and the First Degree of Masonry” is an excellent foray into the world of esoteric thought. We found this second article particularly illuminating, as the writer spoke succinctly and clearly about abstracts concepts including Contagious Magic and Sympathetic Magic. Any practicing occultist might be interested and perhaps surprised by the content covered in this article that uses Sir John Frazier’s acclaimed anthropology studies, The Golden Bough, as a jumping off point into an esoteric playground. The numerous parallels drawn between different cultures’ and Masonic ritual, though sometimes a stretch, is excellent food for thought for a Mason who is interested in the nature of ritual.
Next, the Bulletin features a helpful explanation on how to memorize and process large pieces of information. “Memorizing the Middle Chamber Lecture: A Holistic-Aesthetic Approach” offers an alternative to rote memorization.Using the principles of the liberal arts and sciences, one may use a more balanced approach to internalize information. This includes utilizing creative writing applications revolving around aesthetically and kinesthetically inculcating concepts and phrases in different forms including poetry, screenwriting, or reciting while drawing. If the Middle Chamber Lecture is to be understood as artistic, then it logically follows that an interpretation of its meaning and an understanding of its form are essential for embodying and emoting, with conviction, a relatively mistake-less and meaningful recitation of the lecture.
-Unnamed contributor to the Bulletin For its final two pieces, The Bulletin presents a couple of papers that have real relevance to Masonry today: the response of “the old guard” to researched-based education and fundraising paired with a study on how Mason’s perceive critiques on ritual from their “Masonic superiors.” Both of these studies share a common idea that the older generation can be perceived as domineering and egotistical when dealing with younger Masons in the lodge trying to shake things up “for the good of the craft.” Though the methodology of these studies seemed sound, the sample size was admittedly lacking. It is hard to conclude that their findings are applicable to all of Masonry, but it is still useful to review the experiences of the brethren, however limited. The Bulletin of the Council for Masonic Light covers a wide range of topics, a scope broad enough that it might spark the interest of the newly raised Mason and the grumpiest Past-Master alike. This bulletin attempts to feel the pulse of modern Freemasonry, and succeeds in a variety of ways. If the Council continues in this way, it will surely garner more readers and provide lodges with excellent education pieces for which to bring more light in Masonry.
Brother Thom is a Master Mason and a member of Mt. Hermon Lodge no.118 AF&AM of North Carolina. A practicing Kabbalist and an esoterica junkie, he is fascinated by the nature of ceremony and is an active researcher of the “gentleness” of the Craft.