Friday, October 9, 2015

Martinism and Masonry: A Volume of Essays in Spanish from

Martinismo y masonería
Author: VARIOS AUTHORS; Jato Agüera, José Miguel

Un extenso trabajo monográfico de 198 páginas en el que varios martinistas franceses y españoles de reconocido prestigio mundial explican desde diferentes ángulos las peculiaridades de esta sociedad iniciática tan cercana a la masonería.

Una obra que aclara de un modo preciso y riguroso todo lo que un masón quiere saber sobre el martinismo.

A comprehensive monograph of 198 pages in which several French and Spanish world reknowned martinists explain from different angles the peculiarities of this initiatory society which is so close to Freemasonry.

A work that clarifies in precise and rigorous form everything a Mason needs to know about Martinism.

Sumario Año VII / Nº 23 / OCTUBRE 2015
Summary (Year VII / No. 23 / OCTOBER 2015)

7| Cuadro de colaboradores (Table of Contents)

11| Editorial Abrir Espacios de Comprensión entre La Masoneriá y el Martinismo
( Editorial – To open spaces for understanding between Freemasonry and Martinism)

15| Algunas Explicaciones que un Masón y Martinista comentaría con un hermano Masón acerca del Martinismo.
(Some Explanations that a Brother (who is both) Mason and Martinist would Comment About to a Brother Masón Concerning Martinism.)
José Miguel Jato

43 | Papus y La Orden Martinsita
      (Papus and the Martinist Order)
Sâr Amorifer, P.I.

57 | Comentarios sobre el Ritual Martinista
        Comments about Martinist Ritual

87 | Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin...¿Francasón y Martinista?
       Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin... Freemason and Martinist?
Alfonso Marcuello

99 |Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin, El «Filósofo Desconocido»
       Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin, The “Unknown Philosopher.”
Jean-Marc Vivenza

121 | Enigmático Y Ancestral Legado de la Tradición Martinista
La Oración del Corazón
Seguro Sendero y Llave del « Ingreso en la realidad»
(Enigmatic and ancestral legacy of the Martinist Tradition
Prayer of the Heart
Safe Key and Path of the “Integration of Being”
Manuel M. Arce

139 | Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin y Los Ángeles
          Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin and the Angels
Jean-Marc Vivenza

159 | Anales Martinistas desde Los Orígenes Hasta Nuestros Días
         Martinist Annals from the Origins until Our Time.
Serge Caillet

183 | Catálogo Editorial de
            Editorial Catalog of

Click to view order page on

(Please note: This journal is available only in a Spanish Language version. English translations of essay titles are provided here only for the benefit of Anglophone only readers, and is not meant to suggest that any materials in the book are in English. They are not.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Best Book on Masonic Philosophy Never Written by a Mason

Freemasons love to get enthusiastic about new books on Freemasonry, whether those are on the history of Freemasonry or on Masonic Philosophy. If you want some insight on whether that enthusiasm converts into sales for the authors, you'd better check in with a Masonic publisher. I know one or two, but am not one. That being said, I suspect they'll tell you that Freemasons are called that for a reason, they want it for free. 

Regardless of whether that is so or whether I am just being my usual cynical self, I have for a long time been fascinated by materials published with the Mason in mind. While my first love is books on ritual, followed by history, I also like books geared to masonic education and the philosophy of Freemasonry. 

You know the type;  titles that purport to substantiate claims that Freemasonry "makes good men better." Behind them all is the notion that an individual becomes a better person by become more self aware, and that, in some Dan Brownsian way, becoming truly self aware, we may become, if not gods, then at least somewhat more akin to them.

Although this post may sound, thus far,  to be dripping with sarcasm, it really isn't.  I happen to believe that perhaps the most significant thing we can accomplish in the realm of spiritual or self development is true and profound consciousness. I'm talking about the kind which is characterized by awakening from the trance of mundane life and the mindless pursuit of material existence which constitutes most people's awareness. That which is the point of Buddhism, the Tao, and even the Sufi. That is of course, the goal of Esoteric Freemasonry, and as much as most mainstream Masons manage to avoid it, it is also the main purpose of so-called "regular" Freemasonry.

I have been reading Masonic literature for years, and one thing that became clear to me a long time ago, was that there were quite a few authors who had learned how to talk about the subject, but precious few who seemed to understand what they were writing about. 

So, along the way, I began to examine literature about consciousness which was outside the Masonic tradition. From what I can see, many other Masons have in recent years done the same thing.  I plan on highlighting some relevant texts here from time to time, and will start with what is most likely the smallest and most unassuming one I have come across, but  which focuses intently on the subject of self awareness. It is not grounded in Masonic philosophy, but it speaks coherently on the subject which is at the heart of Masonic philosophy and is therefore a title I readily recommend to all.

This book does not make any pretense at being an academic text, nor of being grounded in a philosophical tradition of scholarship.  It is written in colloquial and intentionally simple language. Unlike Freemasonry, it does not rely on a peculiar system of morality, nor does it veil its message in allegory illustrated by symbols.  Unlike the traditional approach of Freemasonry, this text is as straight and as direct and as simple as the author could make a work dealing with such a weighty subject. That is one of the reasons I think most Freemasons who are interested in something more than cigars, whisky, and self congratulatory titles, should read this short work.

While I think that those who pursue the self-congratulatory titles are probably beyond hope, to the rest, I recommend you pour a single malt, light a maduro, sit back and read this book, as the author recommends, from cover to cover in one sitting. Don't worry, that's why it was written so that the average person can read it in an hour. It is worth the effort, and although I tend to avoid titles that seem to fit the genre we call "new age", this one is worth the read. It will, as the author suggests,"will turn your world inside out." It is a small book that makes a big claim. Unlike so much today, in "Lucid Living" Tim Freke keeps his word. This book lives up to the hype. 

Freke is able to do this because he casts an almost surgical glance at just what it is that we do with our brains, and just how we manage to fool ourselves most of the time. He dissects how we construct our understanding of experience, because he has been able to grasp how we are actually responsible for creating that experience, which makes it possible for him to help us deconstruct the illusions we have invented to trap ourselves.

It is a subtle process, this matter of uncreating our self illusions. For me at least, it has taken time. I agreed with most of the contents of this book for a long time before I began to "get" it. Perhaps you won't be as dense as I have been, but then I spent decades in an academic setting which causes us to become comfortable in the labyrinth we call the mind. 

This book has been one of the tools which has helped me shake myself free from the humbuggery of my own thought processes. I can think of no group of people in greater need of being shaken free from humbuggery than those who belong to the society of Freemasons. So go out and read it. 

PS: It should make your Freemasonic hearts pleased to know you can buy a digital edition for next to nothing!

Lucid Living: A Book You Can Read in One Hour That Will Turn Your World Inside Out

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Continuing Attacks on African Traditional Religions in Brazil by Evangelical Terrorists

11year old victim of Evangelical attackers
The crimes being committed by Evangelicals in Brazil should be widely known and equally widely condemned. In fact, crimes against African Inspired faiths everywhere need to be condemned and must not be tolerated. An attack against any religious faith is an attack against all. One may believe in any cosmology one wants, but enshrining intolerance and a sense of superiority over other religions is not religion, it's political hegemony and the ugliest form of bias which a religion can stoop to.

Since the Hedge last commented upon the situation in Brazil, the attacks have not stopped. The reports below show how bad the situation is.


After a second attack on his Terreiro (Afro-Brazilian Religious Temple) Pai Ribamarzinho de Goiás closed it down. Through physical violence, intimidation and hatred, the evangelical thugs appear to be waging an all out attack on traditional religions.  (Thanks to Alberto Jorge Silva for this video)

Bible planted by arsonists
Two teirreros (temples) of Candomblé were set on fire in the early hours of a Saturday morning in Goiás recently, about 5 hours apart, in the neighborhoods of Santo Antônio do Descoberto and Aguas Lindas. The owner of one of the sites, which was completely destroyed, said he found a Bible on the site after the fire.

­”The Terreiro was invaded a month ago and since then we have slept here to protect the property. It happened yesterday when I went to my home, around 6 am, a neighbor called me alerting me of the fire. When I arrived everything was destroyed” said the priest Babalorixá Pippa, 46, known as Babazinho. He ran the Terreiro that functioned in Santo Antônio do Descoberto. 

He and his wife, the Mãe de Santo (Priestess) Rejiane Varjão, held a charity supper to raise funds and thus rebuild the place, as it suffered a loss of approximately R $ 30 thousand ($7600) as a result of the previous attack. 

­ Babazinho stated “Now it's all over. We want to get out of here because we are afraid of someone doing something against our own lives. We are here with the moving van without knowing where to take what's left. The neighbors know who was responsible, but I understand they fear to talk. I believe it was an act of religious intolerance because I found a Bible inside after the fire.”

Child attending religious service attacked by Evangelicals
In another case,  in the Vila da Penha, in the north of Rio, an 11 year old girl attending a Candomblé religious service was hit on the head by a stone thrown at her by several attackers who fled the scene on a bus. The adult men with Bibles in hand called everybody at the scene 'devils', saying that “Jesus was coming back.” The girl who was left bleeding from the assault was taken to the Medical Assistance Desk (PAM) of Irajá, where doctors made a bandage on the wound.  The attack was recorded on the 38th DP (Bras de Pina) as a crime of religious intolerance and bodily injury, the child should be subjected to medical examination offense. Police are required to conduct due diligence to seek any pictures that may have been captured by security cameras and any witnesses who can help identify the perpetrators of the crime. The girl's grandmother stated to the press that her granddaughter wanted to make it publically known that she would continue her religious practice and that such attacks only make her more committed to her religious beliefs. (Information from Estadão and Extra)

The traditional peoples of African origin and religious communities see themselves as cultural resistance units in the country. These groups are characterized by maintenance of an African civilization which has survived in Brazil, constituting its own territories marked by community life, mutual aid, the reception and provision of social services.
                                                                            * * *

Mãe Dede Iansã
Another recent case involved the death of Mãe Dede Iansã, Bahia, an elderly priestess who suffered systematic aggression from people who accused her of practicing a demonic cult. The heart attack that Mother Dede suffered is interpreted as a result of grief and suffering caused by the situation. Regardless of the cause of death of this traditional religious leader , the leadership of SEPPIR, an governmental organization founded to defend traditional religious practitioners and fight racism, regrets this loss, and points out the racist component of these attacks which are too often interpreted only as religious intolerance.

Protest against Evangelical Attacks
The Brazilian people have had a guarantee of freedom of worship since the Old Republic, in the nineteenth century. However, the religious practices of peoples and communities of African origin and their organized religious communities continue to be repressed and devalued. For decades they were required to petition for  police permission to run, for example. This history demonstrates the explicit racism underlying the recent attacks made against these communities, crimes that go beyond intolerance for their religious practices, but which certainly are also a major focus of the terrorism.

Lest US residents believe their nation has a better record, it should be noted that the African derived religions of Brazil are recognized officially by the Brazilian government as a national patrimony while too often in the US, local police forces are given free reign to invade religious festivals of African derived traditions, confiscating religious objects and arresting worshippers, as used to be done in Brazil a hundred years ago.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Max Gesner Beauvoir Dies

Max Gesner Beauvoir, recognized by many as the chief religious leader in Haitian Vodou died on Saturday Sept 12, 2015 at the age of 79 in the Haitian Capitol, Port au Prince, according to his family. A Haitian biochemist and houngan. Max Beauvoir held one of the highest titles of Voudou priesthood known as "Supreme Servitur", or supreme servant . This title is given to Houngans and Mambos; Voudou Priest and Priestesses, who have a great and very deep knowledge of the religion, also because of elder status within the religion. As Supreme Servitur, Max was seen as being of the highest authority within Voudou .

Beauvoir graduated in 1958 from City College of New York with a degree in chemistry. He continued his studies at theSorbonne from 1959 to 1962, when he graduated with a degree in biochemistry. In 1965, at Cornell Medical Center, he supervised a team in synthesizing metabolic steroids. This led him to a job at an engineering company in northern New Jersey, and later to a period as engineer at DEC in Massachusetts. His interest in steroids led him to experiment with  hydrocortisone  synthesized from plants. Beauvoir held a patent on the process of obtaining hecogenin from plant leaves until 1993. However, the death of his father led him to move back to Haiti in January 1973 and become a vodou priest.

In 1974, he founded Le Péristyle de Mariani, a Hounfour in his home (which also served as a village clinic) in the village of Mariani. He had a troubled relationship with the ruling Duvalier family. While he urged that they do more to meet the medical needs of the poor, his status as a houngan kept him from being subjected to much of the wanton violence exacted by theTonton Macoutes against critics.

During this period, he founded the Group for Studies and Research on the African Tradition (French: Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches Traditionnelles, GERT) with a group of scholars, and later founded the Bòde Nasyonal in 1986 to counter the effects of the post-Duvalier dechoukaj violence which had targeted both Vodou practitioners and the Tonton Macoutes paramilitary, both of which had been used by the Duvalier regime to oppress the Haitian people.

In 1996, Beauvoir founded The Temple of Yehwe, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization for the promotion of education concerning Afro-American religion. In 1997, he became involved with the creation of the KOSANBA group at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Beauvoir was interviewed in 1982 by Canadian ethnobotanist Wade Davis for his 1985 book The Serpent and the Rainbow, later made into a film, in which the actor Paul Edward Winfield, played a figure based losely upon Max Beauvoir.

Vodou is part of the culture of Haitians inherited from their African slave ancestors of the 16th and 17th centuries. It was forbidden during the time of French colonization and during slavery. The Vodou religion, which like other African Diasporic Religions combines African spiritual practice and cosmology with elements of belief, ritual, and cosmology of Roman Catholicism.  Since Haitian independence in 1804, it has none the less been exposed to the often open hostility of Catholic Clergy and more recently Protestant Evangelical sects which have often actively attacked, with personal physical violence, the practitioners of African derived spiritual traditions throughout the Americas, as well as in Africa.

Ati Houngan Max Gesner Beauvoir always seemed to take the time to answer inquiries personally. While he had no reason to be more than marginally aware of who I was, I knew some people who communicated with him fairly regularly. However, on those occasions when I reached out to him, he always took the time to respond to me personally, and sometimes in some significant length and detail. I have heard the same from others who contacted him over the years., He demonstrated in my opinion, all the characteristics one would expect of an individual of profound spiritual awareness. Most significantly, both humility and kindness. Me he be at peace with the ancestors.

Yon mapou Ginen tonbe! Max ou janbe, men poto mitan pa tonbe !

Montray Kreyol

24 horas (en español)

Obituary in the Washington Post

In New York TImes

In the Daily Mail (England)

The Straits Times (Singapore)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The 2015 Esoteric Book Conference is upon us!

The 2015 Esoteric Book Conference will be in Seattle on September 26th and 27th, 2015.

The Esoteric Book Conference is an annual international event to bring together authors, artists, publishers and bookmakers working in the field of esotericism. In addition to presentations by notable authors and scholars, the conference opens it doors to publishers and booksellers showcasing new & used books as well as rare and hard-to-find esoteric texts. For two days the conference hosts the largest selection of esoteric books under one roof. Contemporary esoteric publishing, finepress book arts and antiquarian texts are offered to augment the libraries of readers, scholars and collectors alike.
This multi-disciplined conference will feature presentations by contemporary authorities researching and working in esoteric currents both East & West. Western Esotericism, Gnosticism, Theosophy, Mythology, Shamanism, Rosicrucianism, Sacred Sciences, Occulture and
World Religions are among the subjects to be represented. An esoteric book fair and art show will also be on site allowing education, vending and networking in a unique field of literary, historical and cultural arts.
This conference offers several opportunities for promotion, networking and exhibition for publishers, authors and artists who work in the esoteric publishing field. There will be two days of presentations wherein authors and scholars may present lectures as well as a book fair with scheduled book signings. On Saturday night there will be an evening of entertainment featuring various ritual performances.

Tickets to the 2015 Esoteric Book Conference
Tickets are required to attend the presentations. The Book Fair, and Art Show are Free and open to the public.

To buy tickets click on this link

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bridges: If You Build Them, They Will Follow!

We have heard it said again and again; there is a crisis in modern Freemasonry. It may be argued that there are many, and it also may be argued that many identify the crisis in contemporary Masonry differently. It just may be possible to find a common focus.

That focus is Freemasonry's leadership. Mind you, although I do believe that if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem, and the Leadership of Freemasonry too often is not part of the solution, the purpose here is not to criticize Masonic leadership. I believe, and my experience with masons who have leadership roles is that they often represent the best that you can find within the craft.

That being said, I have recently followed a discussion online, typical unfortunately of many I have witnessed over the years, of a very sincere brother who voiced opinions which are contrary in every detail with what Masonry is about, and yet, I experienced no surprise in hearing his opinions. A lot of regret, but no surprise. The opinions that far too many rank and file masons, all of them no doubt sincere and hard working masons regularly express are narrow minded, bigoted, dogmatic, and intolerant.

I am continually amazed that an organization dedicated to improving the individual and which espouses the universality of it's traditions, becomes intellectually mired in the minutia of dogma and sectarian differences. We can broadcast our concern for all humanity, but too often are incapable of demonstrating any humanity when dealing with other masons who possess what amounts in reality, in the reality that any rational human being would concur, to very minor differences in tradition.

We have managed to become blind to the forest by looking solely at our own tree.

What does any of this have to do with Masonic leadership? Well, who sets the example? Who leads? Who, to put it in blunt and very unmasonic terms, will these dogmatic brothers listen to? The leadership of their Grand Lodge of course.

Clearly, such remarks will be lost on the leaders of those Grand Lodges or Obediences which are led by people who have the same lack of understanding that I refer to. We all know some such jurisdictions, and I will not be so crude as to mention any geographical locations.  A godson of mine, who has been a member of one such jurisdiction, and whom I encouraged to take the route of "mainstream" Masonry because of his geographical constraints, has bemoaned the state of things in his own fine state. However, there are leaders in Grand Lodges in North America whom I am certain are more enlightened than their rank and file. Hopefully, they are not alone on the Grand Lodge level.

Those leaders, if they are alone in their own jurisdictions, have the responsibility to reach out to like minded masons across the country who hold similar positions, and do something to address the issue.

If they feel no pressure to do so for the obligations of Universal brotherhood or Masonic principles, they should at least consider the possibility that when those who are not Masons, "cowans" as the popular archaicism puts it, see such discourse, it reflects to them a sectarian organization that has ceased to understand its own teachings.

If the leadership does not realize that such bad habits exist among their rank and file, they aren't doing their jobs; if they do not recognize either how it hurts the craft or how it reflects a lack of internalization of fundamental Masonic principles, they do not deserve their positions. High titles should come with responsibility.

The time to address such serious problems within the craft is long overdue. There are many examples of fundamentalist religious bigotry in the world today, and we can see what it leads to. Can any Freemason committed to self improvement tolerate the same within their own lodge or jurisdiction? Well, that is not for me to say. Although actions speak louder than words, I have spoken.

I only hope someone is listening.

Eoghan Ballard ஃ

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rough Ashlar No. 22: Sins of the Fathers

What's in a word? How do we parse our meanings and our language when we discuss matters Masonic? I find it fascinating how brethren in some obediences, mostly those with ties to the UGLE, but not exclusively, use certain highly charged and judgmental terminology to characterize other paths within Freemasonry, always to describe those Masonic obediences which they feel themselves to be in competition with or which they find intellectually threatening.

Inevitably, when it is pointed out that the terms they are using are offensive, they quickly point to the fact that their obedience, or Grand Lodge, or some Masonic Writer 150 years ago defined the term as they use it, to assert it is correct usage. None of that of course, in any way negates the fact that the terms are offensive. What they conveniently avoid stating, although often their attitude and statements make this clear, is that they were intended to be derogatory when they were coined, and are used in that manner today. The intent then was to discredit other varieties of Freemasonry, and claim sole authority for themselves.  The intent today is to defend what they were taught, because they are usually shocked when anyone contests the legitimacy of such views. It is even more troubling when these people do not behave otherwise like low lifes and have both documentation and educated commentary to back up their statements.

Freemasonry, like almost all other human traditions, is nuanced and multifaceted. It is never monolithic, although there are never a shortage of people who would prefer it were.

Language is at issue here almost as much as the sectarian mindsets it reflects. Terms such as bogus, clandestine, spurious,  and only to a slightly lesser degree, irregular are often used to describe many forms of Freemasonry. The logic of these perceptions and judgments are so ingrained that the average Mason considers them perfectly logical and legitimate perspectives. Seldom do any but a few with broader experience or education, even consider the possibility that the premises upon which these assertions and terms are based is at best seriously flawed. In point of fact, the terms are seldom used correctly even within the so-called Masonic definitions of the terms; they are invariably used as synonyms. In fact, those who do use them tend to get defensive when someone points out to them that such language can actually be derogatory,  insulting and demeaning. It occurred to me as I wrote this that it is very much like institutionalized racism, designed to be unseen to those guilty of it. "We are not biased, this view is correct."

All of this will change over time, one way or another. Either "mainstream" masons will simply get used to other forms being around and will perhaps grudgingly adjust, or by continual exposure, they will come to change their views. Alternately, mainstream masonry will continue to shrink until the variants will mostly be of equal or greater size and their voices will have no real significance anymore. It would be nice, but probably too much to hope for, that the leaders of UGLE derived Freemasonry in the US, will see fit to drop the fossilized ideas of 200 years ago and join the 21st century.

I have recently had a discussion with some brethren, and I must admit there has been a little growth, though not nearly enough, since the last time I dealt with the topic at length. That may just be chance, but I hope it means that prolonged exposure to the wider Masonic world is giving some of my brethren pause for thought.

The terms themselves are not legitimate. In theory, regularity is an important consideration for Masons. But who in reality made it so, and does it even bear any relationship to its origins any longer? At one time, when all masons were operative masons, there was a legitimate reason for that concern. It not only was a matter of being able to perform serious work well, but was tied to one's livelihood. With the advent, not so much of speculative masonry as of the establishment of Grand Lodges, the issue became about power and influence, not safety, skill, and livelihood. One has to question why a group of men, whom we now know were not unique among masons in their day, and by no means the first or only, should represent the establishment of a universal hegemony within Masonry.

Especially when their leadership is driving Freemasonry to its grave.