Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gaelic Speaking Lodge

A while back I found this article in the Celtic Magazine, vol III, dated 1878. I was, as is often the case, in search of something else at the time. Recently, Robert L D Cooper of the Grand Lodge of Scotland confirmed in an email to me that this lodge still meets. Alas, they still perform the rite in Gaelic only once a year. Visiting for that is on my bucket list, for sure. Agus tá súil agam go bhfuil an lá sin i bhfad ar shiúl uaim go seadh.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Amazing Piece of Architecture

This is one we all have to see to believe. If you were like me when you were a sapling, then you won't mind this diversion from the topic of Freemasonry. Although it isn't made with masonry, it's still one fascinating piece of architecture. And as Tom Anderson said, "It's in Crossville, Tennessee, which means I'm gonna go to Crossville some day!" I now have a real reason to visit Tennessee! Thank you very much for sharing this fascinating story with us, Tom.

All that being equal, the child within you wants to go check out this link. Come on, it's the holidays still. Let's indulge our childhood fantasies for a moment and remember that if you dream big enough, anything is possible!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ahiman: A Review of Masonry

Ahiman is a periodical anthology of Masonic writing, offering a serious exploration of the rich initiatic traditions of Freemasonry. Edited by Masonic scholar Shawn Eyer, Ahiman is dedicated to stimulating scholarship, penetrating interpretation and inspiring creative expressions focused upon the history, rituals, symbolism, iconography and philosophy of Freemasonry.
“Ahiman fulfils an aching need within the Craft. For many years, there has been a tendency to suggest that Masonic scholarship ought to be exercised in historical argument alone. What has long been lacking is an open discourse that includes scholarship that addresses Freemasonry’s spiritual and esoteric elements. To facilitate that wider conversation, Ahiman has now appeared.”—Tobias Churton, author of The Golden Builders and Freemasonry: The Reality, and Course Lecturer in Freemasonry at the University of Exeter’s Centre for the Study of Esotericism

Scrooged! Why the 21st century now looks like the 19th.

I find it funny that some Freemasons and even some obediences have a tendency to mention that old saw about not speaking of politics, most often when the politics being spoken of is not the type with which they agree. However, as Freemasons, we are also supposed to be concerned about improving society as well as ourselves. As any brief glance at the history of our institution will remind us, Freemasons sometimes in large numbers, individually if not as an institution, have been actively engaged in political and social change. Unlike the claims of the conspiracy theorists, as an institution, that engagement has almost always been for the better.

With that in mind, it seems completely in keeping with Masonic principles to encourage my brothers and sisters to read the article linked below. Now, as individuals you can be more or less conservative than I am, and I am not particularly concerned about the nominal references to Christianity in this article, as they are also literary, but the commentary is truly worth consideration. Tiny Tim is with us still.

Click here to read the article: Scrooged!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Colectanea Masonica: A blog by Javier Otaola associated with the GLSE

Javier Otaola is a member of Logia Teorema under La Gran Logia Simbólica Española. He is the author of "La Metáfora Masónica." He is an energetic and talented brother and should be better known among Liberal Masons in the United States. Take some time to view his blog. It includes current news on Freemasonry, some informative videos by Bro. Javier and others, as well as theoretical and educational materials. Again, for those who are linguistically challenged, the Chrome browser will help you by providing instant, if somewhat basic translations of an entire page. It's worth the effort.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Report from the 2011 Conference on Latin American Freemasonry at UCLA

A stimulating conference on Freemasonry in Latin America was held last weekend at the UCLA Faculty Center. The Welcome and Introductions were presented by -Senior Grand Warden John Cooper, Masons of California; Grand Master Frank Loui, Masons of California; Margaret C. Jacob, PhD, UCLA, and María Eugenia Vázquez Semadeni, PhD, UCLA. Margaret Jacob noted that the partnership forged between the Grand Lodge of California and UCLA of which this conference was born, has been a good one. She noted that much more work needs be done. There is a role for both the research lodges and papers by non academics and individual masons. The academic can learn much from masonic viewpoints and contextualize them while helping to introduce the masonic writer to a more strenuous written style. There was a strong plea that Masons begin to gain control and centralize documents they were loosing everyday, stored in garages, attics, thrown out the back door of the lodge. This should be complemented with digitization.

Among the significant and informative papers read at this conference were those by Ricardo Eugenio Martínez Esquivel, University of Costa Rica, entitled “Mystical Sociability: Freemasons and Theosophists in the organization of Co-Freemasonry and the Liberal Catholic Church in Costa Rica during the 1920s,” Guillermo de los Rayes Heredia, University of Houston entitled “The Relation Between Mexican and American Freemasonry, Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries,” and two stimulating papers on Freemasonry in Cuba delivered by Eduardo Torres Cuevas, PhD, University of Havana, and Jorge Luis Romeu, PhD, Syracuse University. These were accompanied by nearly a half dozen more excellent papers including one delivered by Dr. Margaret C. Jacob, entitled “Where We Now Are in Masonic Studies.”

The conference was just the beginning and perhaps it is time to begin to consider what next steps might be. Dr. Jacob did not allow the conference to end before proposing a global conference on Freemasonry and civil society coming into modernity.

UCLA Freemasonry and Civil Society Program
The Freemasonry and Civil Society Program is a collaborative
partnership between UCLA’s History Department, the Grand Lodge of
California, and the Institute for Masonic Studies. The Program offers
courses investigating the history of Freemasonry within the context of
civil society. Each year, the Program sponsors a post-doctoral fellow
and a research assistant. The International Conference on American
& Latin American Freemasonry is offered in conjunction with the research of this year’s post-doctoral fellow, María Eugenia Vázquez-Semadini, whose specialties include Mexican political culture in the nineteenth century and the history of Freemasonry.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Repeating Islands

News and Commentary on Caribbean culture, literature, and the arts

Ivette Romero-Cesareo and Lisa Paravisini-Gebert have produced a wonderful blog that deals with a wide ranging subject matter tied to the broader discourse of Pan-Caribbean Culture. Their own words describe the matter best:

"Our use of the title of Antonio Benítez Rojo’s influential text, The Repeating Island, for the name of our blog represents both our tribute to a lost friend and a simple way of defining our audience–those scholars and readers whose interests focus on pan-Caribbean literatures and cultures. We welcome your comments and contributions.

Please note that this is a project intended to bring the broader Caribbean community closer through the sharing of news and information that transcends the linguistic divide in the region. It is a labor of love supported partially by our institutions in the form of student assistants. Therefore, we do not accept advertisements nor will we in the future. We thank you for understanding.

Our banner is taken from Gesner Abelard’s Agwe-Ta-Royau (1955), from Jonathan Demme’s collection of Haitian paintings."

Repeating Islands: News and Commentary on Caribbean culture, literature, and the arts

Arte Maçónica .'. Masonic Art

Carmen-Lara is a Portuguese visual artist with a rich palate and an equally diverse subject matter. One of her stated interests is in devoting canvases to Masonic themes.

VITRIOL or V.I.T.R.I.O.L. is the abbreviation of the Latin expression "Visita Interiorem Terrae, Rectificandoque, Invenies Occultum Lapidem," which means: Visit the Center of the Earth, grind it up, find the hidden stone (or Philosophy). Philosophically it means: Visit the Interior, purify, find the Hidden Self, or "the essence of your human soul." It is the universal symbol of man's quest to constantly improve himself and society in general.

Of her art, Carmen-Lara remarks, "Art adds beauty, excellence, nobility, dignity, and balance to a space. Let the feeling of well-being, of harmony, of emotions, invade your being!


Arte Maçónica .'. Masonic Art

Friday, December 9, 2011

Logia José Martí

From time to time we will offer some small photographic pieces of masonic architecture, because we have and believe all Freemasons should have an interest in the forms of lodges in various corners of the world. We will start, perhaps somewhat arbitrarily, with the Logia José Martí in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, in eastern Cuba. José Julián Martí Pérez, 1853-1895, was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. He was a poet, an essayist, journalist, revolutionary philosopher, translator, professor, publisher, and a political theorist. He was also a Freemason. Through writing and political activity, he became a symbol for Cuba's bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century. He also fought against the threat of United States expansionism into Cuba. He is unique among political symbols in the world for being a revered figure for both Cubans who support the current government and those who oppose it. After his death, one of his poems from his collection, "Versos Sencillos" (Simple Verses) was adapted to become the song, "Guantanamera", which is the definitive patriotic song of Cuba.

Yes Virginia, there is a...XXIst Century Freemasonry

Today, many are seeking new models to breathe more life into the dying edifice of North American Freemasonry. There have been a few cautious steps; models such as Traditional Observance or European Concept lodges attempt to respond to the apparent lack of engagement offered by mainstream Masonic institutions today. However much such examples may appeal to some, they have not reversed the general trend in American Freemasonry. They represent a limited attempt to provide relevance to a larger antiquated system.

In part this may be due to the way in which the larger organization relates to them. Their compromise is to work within the larger system attempting to carve out a small space in the desert where they can embrace their own vision of the craft, but always within that larger shadow of the GL system. Such efforts should be encouraged, as far as they can go.

But there is a different way. What happens when sheer energy, enthusiasm, and creativity are given the chance to be the norm? If you want to have a view into that world look to the blog Masonería Siglo XXI and take a tour through the various blogs listed on that blog as well.

NB: Skill in Spanish will help, but if you can't read the language, if you use the Chrome browser, you can translate them on the go. THe translations are not fabulous, but they will help.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Race: Coming to a city near you!

Race is a small but powerful word. Race shapes how one sees and is seen by others. Yet, many people poorly understand what race is and isn't.

To help promote a broad understanding of race and human variation, the American Anthropological Association has undertaken the RACE Project. The RACE Project has produced to date an award-winning public education program entitled RACE Are We So Different? The program includes a traveling museum exhibit, an interactive website, and educational materials. The program is geared for middle school-aged children through adults.

RACE Are We So Different? looks at race in the United States through the eyes of history, science and lived experience. The program explains how human variation differs from race, when and why the idea of race was invented, and how race and racism affects everyday life. The program conveys three overall messages:

Race is a recent human invention
Race is about culture, not biology
Race and racism are embedded in institutions and everyday life.
The Ford Foundation and National Science Foundation have provided generous funding to develop and produce RACE: Are We So Different?

Race is coming to a City near you! to see where the film and exhibit will be in the coming year, click here: Tour Dates and Venues

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Piece of Architecture: Haiti's Gingerbread Houses

Why a link on the Victorian Architecture of Port au Prince, Haiti? Well, It a piece on Architecture, and I love puns. Looking at these old 'Grandes Dames' of the Caribbean in their steamy setting warms the bones of this old mason on the chilly first day of December. Besides, there is perhaps no other country in the New World which has played as significant a role in the development of Freemasonry in the Americas as had Haiti, and Port au Prince is its capital. The love of architecture and Masonry should go hand in hand. I was in love with the former before I was old enough to be aware of the latter. As both masons and humans, we should all remember the Haitians and redouble our concern and support for them as the world and its humanitarian donors seem ready to allow this fierce and beautiful country to be forgotten again.,29307,2004148_2166285,00.html

Roosevelt Center for the Study of Civil Society

The goal of the Roosevelt Center is to serve as a focal point for conversation, inquiry and action by students, faculty, Masons and others interested in the emerging scholarly fields of civil society and Freemasonry, in California and across the world. The Center approaches Freemasonry as an association historically representative of civil society as it developed from the eighteenth-century onwards. It supports inquiry into the role Freemasonry assumed in private and public life. It also explores Masonic thought in a variety of historical and contemporary settings. The approach of the Center is multi-disciplinary, comparative and intended to support work at multiple institutions as well as with independent scholars.

The objectives of the Roosevelt Center are to

•Improve understanding of civil society and Freemasonry.
•Inform universities in California, the Masonic community and the learning public about the emerging field of the academic study of Freemasonry, and the advantages and need for comparative and global studies.
•Facilitate funding for research and travel grants, scholarship programs, post-doctoral fellowships, communications, and exchange programs.
•Convene conferences and exhibitions at appropriate facilities.
•Publish studies, papers, supplemental materials and news from academic conferences held on the topics of civil society and or Freemasonry.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hermesphilus: An Eclectic Hermetic Blog

The author of this blog has done very well at hiding his identity, or I have been blinded by the subject matter and simply missed the obvious. Either way, I recommend everyone I know read this newly discovered jewel. well, it was new to me. The author says of himself

"I was first introduced to Hermetics as a teenager, through Regardies Golden Dawn teachings, in my early twenties I was actively seeking out Hermetic schools. The first contact with a group claiming roots in European schools, was in 1990. In 2001 I was accepted into an international esoteric Freemasonry group with several lodges in South Africa.

This is the place I like to share ideas and discoveries, subject matter includes Hermetics and any other related topic of interest to me.

Visit this blog; it has something for everyone. It is diverse, fascinating, intelligently presented and gorgeous!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grande Loge Haitianne de St. Jean des Orients D'autre-mer

The Grande Loge Haitianne de St. Jean des Orients D'autre-mer whose intent is to unite the many Haitian lodges within the United States is centered in the New York- New Jersey area. It was incorporated as a fraternal organization, non-profit (Non Profit Organization), Department of State of the State of New York May 3, 1983.

Haiti has played a significant role in the development of Freemasonry in the Americas, especially of the Haute Grades or Higher Degrees Scottish Rite, which was developed from the Rite of the Royal Secret of Estienne Morin, first established in the New World in Saint Domingue in the 1740s which was in a few decades to become the Republic of Haiti.

Link to the Grande Loge Haitianne de St. Jean des Orients D'autre-mer site:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Grand Orient of Ireland

The Grand Orient of Ireland is an organization, which is motivated by two great principles: the respect for a tradition inherited from the founders of freemasonry and enlightenment and the search for progress for the improvement of Men and Society.

Being an Institution essentially philanthropic, philosophic, and progressive, Freemasonry has for its object, search after truth, study of universal morality, science and arts, and the practice of benevolence.

It has for its principles absolute liberty of conscience and human solidarity. It excludes no person on account of his belief, and its motto is 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity."

Our lodges are open, liberal and adogmatic.

The Grand Orient Masons resent the accusation that they promulgated unbelief and atheism. The Grand Orient of Ireland, while it respects all philosophical beliefs, insists upon absolute liberty of belief. This does not mean that we banish from our lodges the belief in God. The United Grand Lodge of England, Grand Lodge of Scotland and Ireland on the contrary desire to make a belief in God compulsory. The Grand Orient of Ireland is liberal, since in proclaiming the absolute liberty of belief it permits to each one of its members the liberty to believe or not to believe in God, and by so doing desires to respect its members in their convictions, their doctrines and their beliefs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gibraltar, Cadiz, America y la Masoneria Constitucionalismo y Libertad de Prense 1812-2012, CEHME, Gibraltar.

Gibraltar, Cadiz, America y la Masoneria Constitucionalismo y Libertad de Prense 1812-2012, CEHME, Gibraltar.

XIII International Symposium on the History of Spanish Freemasonry. Gibraltar, 11 to October 13, 2012.

Organized by the CEHME with the assistance of the Government of Gibralta, The Government of Aragon, Andalusia, University of Zaragoza, University of Cadiz, University of Glasgow and the Canonbury Centre.

Since 1983 the Centre for Historical Studies of Spanish Masonry has regularly convened scientific meetings in which many national and international researchers in the disciplines of history, sociology, philosophy, education, literature, musicology, information science, art, anthropology, etc. have participated.

The Prominent role of Gibralta in the development of Spanish Freemasonry, its place as a refuge during times of persecution, and the presence of Spanish speaking lodges in the English colony since the early 19th century as well as Freemasonry’s impact upon Freedom of the Press will be explored.


Fifth International Conference: Mystic and Esoteric Movements in Theory and Practice

Historical and Philosophical Aspects of
the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism

2-5 December, 2011 - St Petersburg (Russia)

Keynote lecture: Dr. Prof. Wouter J. Hanegraaff (University of Amsterdam)

The historical approach plays a highly important role in the study of mystical and esoteric movements as all other approaches are to an extent reliant on it. The extraordinary importance of historical analyses requires, however, special attention. It is well-known that over the course of the history of western culture mystical and esoteric phenomena have been to a great extent excluded from the cultural mainstream and have often been oppressed by dominant ‘exoteric’ discourses. This is because historians of esotericism and mysticism are often confronted with the discursive nature of historical witnesses and descriptions and are called for "not confusing our constructs with historical reality” (W. J. Hanegraaff). Could a supposedly realistic description of some esoteric phenomenon merely be a result of polemical discourse? Do clichés or even pure inventions appear in place of expected historical analysis? How do discursive formations influence the way mystical and esoteric aspects of religious culture have been perceived and represented during a particular period of time in history? How can a historian ‘separate the wheat from the chaff’ in (self)descriptions of mystical and esoteric phenomena? These and other related issues still call for more awareness and conceptualization within historical and philosophical research of deviant religious and cultural phenomena.

Conference Languages
Russian & English

Conference Fee
The conference fee is 40 Euro (for participants who are not from countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States). The fee for non-CIS citizens who plan to arrive in Russia by opening a tourist visa is 30 Euro. The fee is to be paid upon registration.
Addresses of the Conference
191023 Saint-Petersburg, 15 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.
Phone: +7 812 3143521 and +7 921 3843029
Conference E-mail and Homepage

For additional information about the conference, please send an e-mail to the conference organizers (
The latest information about the conference will be published at the homepage of the Association for the study of Esotericism and Mysticism (ASEM)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A New Masonic Tarot by Osvaldo Menegazzi

Freemasons of an esoteric or hermetic bent may be interested in the new deck of 22 major arcana cards designed around a masonic theme by the master card designer Osvaldo Menegazzi. For those of you who are not aware of this, the development of Tarot as a divination system is intimately tied to Freemasonry and specifically several freemasons during the 19th century. Many tarot officiados do not realize that A.E. Waite, whose tarot designed for the Golden Dawn and which bears Waite's name was a Freemason. Similarly, many freemasons are unaware of his connection to the world of Tarot. The Waite deck contains symbolism every Freemason will recognize. A number of tarot decks have been designed over the years which focus on Freemasonry.

Click on the title for this post to see illustrations of the deck on the website.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Latin American Freemasons meet in Mexico for 2012 IMC's General Assembly

Published originally in the blog of the Grand Lodge of Baja California

During November 17 to 20, 2011, will be held the Preparatory reunion of the IMC General Assembly (Inter-American Masonic Confederation). The event is organized by the Grand Lodge of Baja California and promoted throughout the working sessions by APMR.

This week's meeting is preparatory for the 2012 general assembly to be held in Brazil. This year announced their presence in Tijuana IMC's Executive Secretary (Rafael Aragon Guevara), IMC's President (Jorge Jaramillo Valencia) and IMC's Zone/Area I President (Romualdo Sánchez Solórzano).

Second Masonic March against corruption in Brazil

(Reported on
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
The second Masonic March against corruption took place on November 15 in Brazil, an important day in the history of Brazilian Freemasonry since on November 15 was Proclaimed the Republic. The march took place in several capitals of the Brazilian states, report APMR. In Goias attended Freemasons of the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient, led by the two Grand Masters: Ruy Rocha and Barbosa Nunes. Also attended the event the Public Ministry, Order of Lawyers of Brazil, trade unions, students, Federal Police and representatives of various religious cults.

The Mason's Apron

Because there's always time for some good music!

Matt Malloy with the Chieftains, playing "The Mason's Apron."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

International Conference American & Latin American Freemasonry: A new past & A new future

A long overdue contribution to the study of Freemasonry in the United States is developing at UCLA. The International Conference on American and Latin American Freemasonry, December 3rd, 2011 is one very welcome contribution and hopefully will be followed by many more!

Salon on Freemasonry for Women and Men

The Salon on Freemasonry for Women and Men

The Salon, based in Los Angeles uses social media. The Salon on Freemasonry is open equally to men and women, and to all with a disciplined curiosity. is a global technology, intended to link people in face-to-face meetings at a local site. Nevertheless visitors will be able to find links and other information at this site helpful in the study of Freemasonry and civil society without being a local member. Under study is the use of wireless technology to offer live links during a portion of the local Meetup. This would allow members to link up live and hear focused discussion and presentations from around the world! The Salon meets near UCLA.

Click on title to go to site!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Library of Hermetic Philosophy: J.R. Ritman Library

The Library of Hermetic Philosophy is not a new institution, but is one which does not get the attention it deserves. It's worth a visit if you are in Amsterdam

The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (BPH) was founded by Amsterdam businessman Joost R. Ritman (1941), who decided to make his collections part of the public domain in 1984. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, this private library is not associated with any public institution or library. The BPH with its collections of books and manuscripts and exhibition room is located on Bloemstraat 13-19, Amsterdam, and is accessible to the public at a moderate fee.

Admission fees per 1 September 2010
(In Euros; No concessionary rates available)
€5,00 One day pass (including exhibition)
Click on the title to visit the website!

Conference on the Edges of Freemasonry

The Edges of Freemasonry – Western Esotericism and the Enlightenment

This is described as a two-day conference and an international and academic event organized by the University of Tampere School of Social Sciences and Humanities in association with The Research Lodge Minerva No.27 of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of Finland.

The conference is open to scholars, researchers and post-graduate students from various disciplines, freemasons and the general public. The conference venue is the University of Tampere and will be held on 7–8 September 2012. The conference language is English.

Visit the site for this conference at:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Welcome to the Hedge Mason Blog

A word or two by way of explanation may be worth offering concerning the title of this blog. Hedge Mason, like similar terms Hedge Master, Hedge Lodge, and the more widely recognized Hedge School, are terms from Hiberno-English. The latter, as many Irish will know, refers to illicit schools dedicated to the maintenance of Irish culture and language, alongside the classics of European Philosophy, including Greek and Latin studies. These institutions were founded throughout rural Ireland during the Penal era when Irish Gaelic culture was under attack by the English occupier. During this time also, the term Hedge was added to masonic terms to refer to any masonic individual or institution not approved of by the Anglophone world. These often were lodges and masons working to advance the cause of Irish independence. It seems a very appropriate term then, for me to use to name this blog.

For quite a while I have observed various blogs and podcasts relating to Freemasonry, finding both much worth emulating and a few things worth avoiding among them. Fairly quickly it became apparent to me that there was little being published in North America (or elsewhere for that matter) that dealt fairly and offering a positive perspective on Liberal Freemasonry or the world beyond the confines of the Preston-Webb Rites or the AASR Northern or Southern Jurisdictions. Such sites exist beyond the Anglophone Internet, but The Hedge Mason will endeavor to bring some of that information within the grasp of an English speaking audience.

It seems to me that it is time for a change, and this blog will hopefully serve as a small corrective step in that direction.

The goal of this blog will be to provide interesting topics from time to time on subjects relating to Liberal Freemasonry and on responsible alternatives to what is exemplified by the mainstream Grand Lodge system in North America. While this site will not avoid covering contemporary issues, it will try to avoid heavy handed critiques of any system or tradition within Freemasonry. It is my belief that there is no such thing as clandestine or irregular freemasonry. Such labels belittle the rich tapestry of our traditions both contemporary and historical. Further, such attitudes directly contradict the premise of brotherhood and fraternalism which is the foundation of Freemasonry.

In short, this site is about education and expanding the horizons of Freemasons of all stripes and those who are just interested in the subject. It is not a place intended for debate or dispute.

We look forward to sharing with you!