Thursday, May 30, 2013

Message from Logia Mixta Anáhuac in Havana, Cuba

Comunicado de La Logia Mixta Anáhuac de la Habana, Cuba.

La logia Mixta Anáhuac no comulga con ningún partido político ni religión alguna, respetamos la opinión de todos siempre que no menoscabe al ser humano, pero se hace portadora de los principios de la masonería universal y de su triología de Igualdad, Fraternidad, Solidaridad, estando siempre al lado de los desposeídos y en contra de toda actitud de violencia venga de donde venga, es por eso que condenamos las acciones bélicas que se están desarrollando e el Oriente Medio, donde tanta gente inocente muere cada día y exhortamos a que estas acciones cesen por el bien de la humanidad.
Comité gestor Logia Mixta Anáhuac.
La habana, Cuba, Mayo 2013

The Mixed lodge Anáhuac does not involve itself in any political party or any religion, we respect everyone's opinion so long as it does not undermine the well being of human beings, but we endeavor to be the bearer of the principles of universal Freemasonry and its trilogy of Equality, Fraternity, and Solidarity, being always on the side of the dispossessed and against every expression of violence wherever it comes from, which is why we condemn the military activity occurring in the Middle East, where so many innocent people die every day and urge that these actions cease for the good of humanity.

Joint Managing Committee Anahuac Lodge.
Havana, Cuba, May 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rings and Things: A Masonic Delight!

There are no shortage of beautifully designed Masonic rings out there to tempt you. There are also a number of pretty gaudy and even a few which are downright ugly. Beauty clearly is in the eye of the beholder, and Masonic jewelry and accessories are no exception to this rule.

So, when I came across the jewelry being produced under the aptly titled collection which has recently appeared online,  The Regnas Collection, I was certain that I had died and gone to heaven. This collection of hand crafted Masonic jewelry combining precious metal and semi precious stones, carved or engraved, will garner universal praise. The folks who put this business together demonstrated sheer genius. There is a combination of great design and really high quality materials. What is more, you can even design your own. You can send your drawings to be rendered in precious materials, or describe your vision and ask them to bring it to life for you. They will be happy to do either.

Although their business roots are in The U.K almost all the business is Thailand based. I recently had the pleasure of communicating with John Sanger and Tim Davies, who handle the firm's communications. The Regnas Collection, whose home is on the Jewellerymen website, is a family business going back generations. The experience of our silver smithing associates and our jade carvers is truly multi generational. Chiang Mai, where most of our products are made has been a trading hub or crossroads for hundreds of years and succeeding waves of artisans, have roots from across Asia.

The actual tools that they use are not very interesting...The stone carving and engraving is done using a flexible shaft tool rather like a dentist's drill and the silver working is accomplished using traditional methods, both construction and casting. As one of the owners noted, "It is the 'bringing together" of those skills which finally 'lays the egg' so to speak.

They are small enough to be able to offer individual attention to all their customers and suppliers. As a result, customers generate new styles and ideas for production just as much as the owners themselves do. They very often follow the lead of their customers and naturally 'follow the money' as is the commercial way. As they note, not all receive government grants like the BBC and the Royal Ballet.  They often are able to guide their customers towards the artist's perception of beauty--but as the owner said, "Who is to say?---Beauty is fortunately in the eye of the beholder."

A good 'up to the minute' example of how they work is the case in point of the 'acorns and oak leaves' silver work they dispatched recently to Australia. The customer wanted the oak tree motif on the sides or shoulders of the ring to 'go with' his family coat of arms which were engraved intaglio on the lapis ring stone. They already had immediately available several images representing oak leaves and acorns but they both looked so boring. The customer suggested having 'lots of acorns' and from that sprung the idea of covering all the silver work rather just the side panels, with leafy images.The owner posted a few photos on Facebook and has already they've received at least 15 questions and requests for quotes.They are now extending the idea into 'wild roses' image they've used before.

The Regnas Collection is unusually well situated in the Worldwide stage of "gem sculpting." This is because Chiang Mai has so much industry in the carving of jade and similar stone. Engraving intaglio is perhaps a more Western art more often used for heraldic pieces. They make creative modernizations on these themes, for example their erotic "tree of life". This image has been reproduced extensively over the last year as one of our rings was worn by Snow white's father, King Magnus in the recent movie "Snow White and the Huntsman". This provoked a fair bit of business .It is both decorative and beautiful without being vulgar. It also translates well to red agate, lapis and bloodstone--three stones the Regnas Collection use a great deal.

They can sculpt, they can produce engraved intaglio, they can reverse engrave pure
rock crystal which the owner notes gives remarkable results.  They engrave silver, can simulate Medieval lettering and even copy scripts from languages long dead.

Although 98% of their Masonic images are the 'set square and compass' they are very open to help from any quarter to suggest other images that would be of interest to Masons.

Above all they love the work and find great satisfaction in their art..

Although we are focusing on their Masonic work, their jewelry is not restricted to Masonic designs. Check out their links below:
Regnas Online Store:
Regnas Ebay Store USA:
Regnas Etsy Store:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Introduction of the Modern Rite to Brazil

Paulo César Gaglianone
Supreme Council of the Modern Rite
Orient of Rio de Janeiro, 1994

Freemasonry was introduced in Brazil when it was still a colony under the Portuguese monarchy. For that reason. it is important to look to Portugal to find the roots of Freemasonry in Brazil. Freemasonry in Portugal dates back to c. 1730, with the foundation of the first lodges in Portugal under the influence of France and England (Clavel, 1843).

In 1738, Pope Clement XII forbid Catholics to hold positions in the Masonic Lodges and the king of Portugal Dom João V  threatened Masons with penalties. (Thory - "Histoire de La Fondation du Grand Orient de France"). In fact, neither the Papal Bull, nor the decree of the King prevented Masonic activities in Portugal. Later, during the government of del-rei D. José I (1750-1777) Portuguese Lodges functioned under secrecy. Thereafter, until the French Revolution, Portugal was greatly influenced by the Lodges of Paris, notwithstanding the bans of D. D. João VI and Maria I.

Around 1793, there were several students in Coimbra and Porto and in parts of the overseas provinces several students including in the State of Brazil (Livy and Ferreira, 1968).

The Grande Oriente Lusitano was created in 1800, with Judge Sebastião São Palo as Grand Master, and then, in 1803, General Gomes Freire de Andrade (The Return of Freemasonry, Angel Maria de Lera, foreword by Adam and Armando Silva , 1986).

In 1807,  Junot's conquest of Lisbon forced the Portuguese Court to seek shelter in Brazil. "So Masonry of Brazil since the eighteenth century was linked to Portugal. While the headquarters of the Portuguese monarchy was in Lisbon, both Freemasonry and revolutionary movements found the climate more agreeable in Brazil, hence the occurence of the Inconfidências Mineira (1789) and Bahia (1799). With the relocation of the Portuguese monarchy to Rio de Janeiro, revolution  emerged in 1817 both in Brazil (Pernambuco) and Portugal (led by Gomes Freire de Andrade) " (Livy and Ferreira, 1968).

The Liberal revolution triumphant in the English colonies of North America, as well as in France and Latin America, it was also about to explode in the Portuguese Colony.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, Masonic lodges spread extensively in the provinces of Pernambuco, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Some under the auspices of the Grande Oriente Lusitano others under France. The Lodge "Virtude e Razão", for example, was installed in Salvador, in 1802, working the Modern Rite.

"In remembering the Independence of Brazil, it far from consisted only in the "Grito do Ipiranga" on September 7, 1822, but had before this started with the Constitutional Revolution in 1820 in Porto, Portugal, by way of protest against "the measures of recolonization" . (Adam and Armando Silva, preface, The Return of Freemasonry, 1984).
The Grande Oriente de Brasil was founded on June 17, 1822. Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo and José Clemente Pereira were prominent leaders in this movement, both the Loja Comércio e Artes, founded in November 15, 1815.

Thus the lodges  "Comércio e Artes", which was subdivided into "União e Tranqüilidade" and "Esperança de Nictheroy", formed the basis of the Grande Orient de Brasil, which received the Charter of the Grande Oriente Lusitano de Portugal. His first Grand Master was General Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva. "The Loja Comércio e Artes and those which were derived from it initially worked the "Rito Adonhiramita" and the Grande Oriente de Brasil was soon recognized by the Grand Orient of France, and by Lodges of Britain and the United States" (Melo, Masonic Centenary Book).

In the view of Lima (Backstage Mystery): "Brazilian Freemasonry is a spiritual daughter of French Freemasonry. From France came the Modern Rite when the Grand Orient came of age, and ten years later, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. "The Grande Oriente de Brasil was closed by Dom Pedro I, Prince Regent, and soon after was restored ( in 1832) by Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva.

The Grand Orient of Brazil, was restored in 1832, adopting the Constitution of the Modern Rite Grand Orient of France in 1826, adapted by Gonçalves Ledo and promulgated on October 24, 1836 (Viegas, 1986). The Modern Rite, therefore, became the Official Rite of the Grande Oriente de Brasil, in the work of its Legislative and Administrative Bodies, ie, for the operation of its Senior Corps.

The Lodge Comércio e Artes No. 1, thereafter adopted the Modern Rite (later, through Decree 2405 of August 13, 1974, this location changed from the Modern Rite to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite). The Lodge "Seis de Março de 1817", in Pernambuco, was regularized on October 7, 1832 by the GOB also working with the French Rite (Albuquerque, Freemasonry and the Greatness of Brazil). The manuals published by the French Rite GOB in 1835 dated from 1834 as did the establishment of this Modern Rite Chapter.

On 1 September 1839 another Constitution was drafted, and soon replaced by yet another in 1842. In 1841, the Grande Oriente de Brasil was again recognized by France (Viegas, 1986).

Already in the Republic, between 1891-1901, the Grand Master Antonio Joaquim de Macedo Soares, with the Secretary-General Henrique Valadares, guaranteed a strong influence of French Freemasonry. (Viegas, 1986). The constitutional reform of 1877 only reached the jurisprudence of the Grand Orient of France, but the Grand Orient of Brazil, where it practiced the French Rite, followed its model.

In 1927 there was a major split in the GOB with the formation of the Regional Grand Lodges, and the latter kept the Scottish Rite. "The Grand Lodge of England which considers that conditions essential to Masonic life include belief in God and an afterlife, broke with the Grand Orients of France and Belgium in defense of those principles, and made with the Grand Orient of Brazil, in 1935 a treaty of alliance indissoluble, firming up the cordial relations between the two bodies. " (Viegas, 1986).

Today (1994), the Grande Oriente de Brasil has 33 Lodges and 11 Chapters, currently practicing the Modern Rite. To date, there are in South America, dominated by the Grand Lodges, except in Brazil, several Lodges which practice the Modern Rite.

The Modern Rite played an important role in Brazil, and helped effect positive transformations in the national struggle for Independence, during the Brazilian Empire and after the Proclamation of the Republic assisted the search of a more perfect society and the triumph of the fraternal ideal.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

UMURM Reorganization Redux

Desde el 1 de octubre de 2012 la Unión Masónica Universal del Rito Moderno se ha reorganizado en sus potencias rectoras, quedando la relación directiva siguiente:

Supremo Conselho do Rito Moderno - Brasil
Gran Capítulo General del Gran Oriente de Colombia
Sublime Consejo del Rito Moderno para el Ecuador
Grand Chapter General of the Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean

De este modo quedan establecidas las relaciones y acciones masónicas constructivas que abarcan los Valles del Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, USA, Cuba, México y España, entre otros.

Secretaría General

From the 1st of October, 2012 the UMURM has reorganized and its current structure is as follows:

The Supreme Council of the Modern Rite - Brazil
Grand Chapter General of the Grand Orient of Colombia
Sublime Council of the Modern Rite of Ecuador
Grand Chapter General of the Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean

Thus the relationships and organizational structures are established for the Modern Rite Masonic Orients for Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, USA, Cuba, Mexico and Spain among others.

General Secretariat

Friday, May 10, 2013

Elections at the Supreme Council for the Modern Rite - Brazil

The Supreme Council of the Modern Rite for Brazil announces the results of its recent elections.

Last April 26, was elected the new Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Supreme Council of the Modern Rite - Brazil, The High Dignity went to the Very Illustrious Brother M. F. Pasquale, who will continue the excellent work so far done by his predecessor, the Most Illustrious Brother José María Bonachi Batalla.

Congratulations on behalf of all members of the UMURM Powers to SCRM Brasil, Primate of the Modern Rite, convinced that it will continue with the great effort of spreading the principles of our Rite and Order , a labor tending to a real Masonic Universality able to provide answers and examples to societies in need of our values  in all areas.

General Secretariat

Eleições na SCRM - Brasil

Em abril passado 26 foi eleito o novo Soberano Grande Inspetor Geral do Supremo Conselho do Rito Moderno - Brasil, alta dignidade, que foi para o irmão Muito Ilustre M. F. Pasquale, que vai continuar o excelente trabalho até agora feito pelo seu antecessor, o irmão mais Ilustre José María Bonachi Batalha.

Parabéns em nome de todos os membros dos Poderes UMURM para SCRM Brasil, Primaz do Rito Moderno, convencido de que ele vai continuar com o grande esforço para difundir os princípios do nosso rito e da Ordem em um trabalho que tende a uma universalidade verdadeira maçônica capaz de fornecer respostas e exemplos para as sociedades que necessitam de nossos valores em todas as áreas.


Elecciones en el SCRM - Brasil

El pasado 26 de Abril fue elegido el nuevo Soberano Gran Inspector General del Supremo Conselho do Rito Moderno - Brasil, Alta Dignidad que recayó en el Muy Ilustre Hermano M.F.Pasquale, que proseguir·el excelente Trabajo hasta ahora realizado por su predecesor, el Muy Ilustre Hermano José María Bonachi Batalla.

Queremos felicitar en nombre de todas las Potencias integrantes de la UMURM al SCRM del Brasil, Primada del Rito Moderno, con el convencimiento que seguir· con el magnífico empeño de difundir los principios de nuestro Rito y de la Orden en un trabajo tendente a una verdadera Universalidad masónica capaz de dar respuestas y ejemplo a unas sociedades necesitadas de nuestros valores en todos sus ·ámbitos.

Secretaría General

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Irish Freemasonry in 18th Century France

There is great need for further and more accurate research on 18th Century Freemasonry. Nowhere is this need more apparent than for 18th Century France. That is not to say that good research is lacking. It is simply that so much material exists which has not yet been studied.  Those who have taken a cursory look at the archives returned to France from Russia recently have noted that only a small percentage of the material has been examined. With that in mind, the influence of Scotland and Ireland in the development of Freemasonry and especially the higher degrees in 18th Century France is a topic which deserves greater respect than it has been given in Anglophone circles.

James II
Freemasonry was unquestionably brought to France by Scottish and Irish Jacobites who were garrisoned there. Whether or not they were the first to do so, is still being debated by some. That they had a great impact on the development of the Higher Degrees in 18th Century France should not be. When the impact and presence of the Irish and Scots in Pre-Revolutionary France is taken into consideration, their involvement in the development of Freemasonry should not be hard to reconcile.

The Irish Brigade was a brigade in the French army composed of Irish exiles, led by Robert Reid. It was formed in May 1690 when five Jacobite regiments were sent from Ireland to France in return for a larger force of French infantry who were sent to fight in the Williamite war in Ireland. The Irish Brigade served as part of the French Army until 1792.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, which ended the war between King James II and VIIand King William III in Ireland, a separate force of 12,000 Jacobites had arrived in France in an event known as Flight of the Wild Geese. These were kept separate from the Irish Brigade and were formed into King James's own army in exile, albeit in the pay of France. Lord Dorrington's regiment, later Rooth or Roth, following the Treaty of Ryswick in 1698, was formed from the former 1st and 2nd battalions James II's Royal Irish Foot Guards (formerly on the Irish establishment) of Britain.

Charles Radcliffe
The Irish Brigade became one of the elite units of the French Army. While increasingly diluted by French and foreign recruits from elsewhere in Europe, its Irish-born officers and men often aspired to return to aid Ireland and regain their ancestral lands, as some did during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

Irish regiments participated in most of the major land battles fought by the French between 1690 and 1789, particularly Steenkirk (1692), Neerwinden (1693),Marsaglia (1693), Blenheim (1704), Almansa (1707), Malplaquet (1709), Fontenoy (1745), Battle of Lauffeld (1747); and Rossbach (1757).

They also remained strongly attached to the Jacobite cause, taking part in the rising of 1715 and the rising of 1745. For the latter, a composite battalion of infantry ("Irish Picquets") comprising detachments from each of the regiments of the Irish Brigade, plus one squadron of cavalry, was sent to Scotland. This force saw action at the second Battle of Falkirk (where they cemented the victory by driving off the Hanoverians causing the clans to waver) and Culloden, alongside the regiment of Royal Scots (Royal Ecossais) which had been raised the year before in French service. As serving soldiers of the French King the Irish Picquets were permitted to formally surrender after Culloden with a promise of honourable treatment, and were not subjected to the reprisals suffered by the Highland clansmen. Many other exiled Jacobites in the French army were captured en route to Scotland in late 1745 and early 1746, including significantly, Charles Radcliffe, 5th Earl of Derwentwater, a captain in Dillon's regiment who was executed in London in 1746.

The Baal's Bridge Square
Freemasonry in Ireland is the second oldest system in the world and the first evidence for its formally institutionalized existence comes from the Dublin Weekly Journal of June 26th 1725. The paper describes an event which took place two days previously on June 24th - a meeting to install the new Grand Master, the 1st Earl of Rosse. Unfortunately the exact date of the foundation of the Grand Lodge is not known, but the installation of a new Grand Master would suggest it was already in existence for some time.

There is considerable evidence that there were Masonic Lodges meeting in Ireland prior to the eighteenth century, for example the manuscript known as "the Trinity Tripos" dating to the 1680s, and the Baal's Bridge Square, discovered in Limerick in the mid nineteenth century, which dates to the early sixteenth century.

The following article sheds some light on the presence and involvement of Irish Masons in the Irish Brigades in France prior to the French Revolution. The slightly out of date, and biased character of the author's opinions do not detract from a fairly concise documentation of some basic data on the Irish role in the development of Freemasonry in France. It was written by Richard Hayes for The Old Limerick Journal,  French Edition in 1932 and more recently reproduced on the official website of the City of Limerick, in Ireland.

The Irish Brigade and Freemasonry 

Certain facts disclose Irish influences of various kinds that contributed to the establishment of masonry in France in the eighteenth century – some authorities even maintain that it was introduced there by Irish Jacobites. The cult was apparently non-existent in France until 1721. In that year, an English Catholic nobleman, Lord Derwentwater, and an Irishman, O’Hegarty, a prominent shipowner established at Dunkirk the first civil lodge in that country. Four years later, they established a similar one at Paris, while, in 1732, ‘one Martin Kelly’ founded the first lodge at Bordeaux. The lodges were largely composed of Jacobite exiles and their main object was the restoration of the Stuarts to the English throne.

At that period, it was, however, in the French army that the chief strength of masonry lay, and this continued right up to the Revolution, in the causation of which it is now seen more and more clearly, as has been stated elsewhere, that Masonic influences played a large part. The number of lodges in the various regiments increased from the year 1750 to the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, and various dates during that interval mark the years of their constitution. In the official list of French lodges, that of Walsh’s Irish Regiment (La Loge Parfaite Egalité) always took premier place. In 1772, the Grand Lodge of France definitely recognized it as the senior Field Loge of the French army and, in addition, admitted its claim to date its constitution from the year 1688. This was confirmed by the Grand Orient in 1777. (The regiment, which was originally that of Roth, did not leave Ireland until 1691). In the middle of the eighteenth century we find the military lodge of this regiment composed of MacCarthys, Butlers, Nagles, O’Callaghans, Husseys, Keatings, FitzPatricks and other representatives of old Irish Catholic families. At the same period there was a lodge in Dillon’s Regiment functioning at St Germain-en-Laye which was made up of Lallys, Lynches, Burkes, O’Neills, Dillons, MacDonnells, Fitzgerals…And at this time, too, Jacobite influences in various French Masonic clubs were shown by the names given to new degrees – ‘Irish Master’,‘Perfect Irish Master,’ ‘Puissant Irish Master,’ &c.

After the Battle of Fontenoy

In his interesting work, La Franc-maçonnerie en France des origins à 1815, the Catholic writer, Gustave Bord, states:

For more than a hundred years historians and economists are asking why a country so fundamentally monarchical and Catholic as France could have suddenly changed its ideals and faith,,,France was sick at the end of the eighteenth century and that sickness was due largely to masonry and particularly to the Masonic spirit. It is there we must look for the real causes and logical explanation of the Revolution…In 1689, the Irish regiments embarked for France with their military rolls and their Masonic rolls – the former were executive agents, the latter the directive power. It was through the Jacobites, who followed James the Second into France, that masonry was introduced into the French army.

And Louis Madelin…perhaps the most dispassionate historian of the Revolution, in his analysis of political and social conditions in France immediately before that event, writes in La Revolution Fraçaise (1911) that the army, which was the cradle in France of freemasonry, introduced by the Irish regiments from England, continued to be its favourite haunt.

For some time before the outbreak of the Revolution , the Masonic cluibs, under the sinister influence of German Illuminism, were undoubtedly active centers of intrigue against the Monarchy and the Church. The majority of the French nobles had been members, but on seeing the trend of opinion in their circles they began to leave the clubs during the years immediately previous to 1789.

In the first year of the Revolution there was a well known Masonic club in Paris, the Club de la Propagande, whose object was not only to consolidate the Revolution in France but to spread its principles to other countries. The leading figures of the time were among its members – Robespierre, Lafayette, Condorcet, Danton, Abbé Gregoire and others. The names of its Irish members are given in the records as ‘Boyle, Okard and O’Konnor.”

(Reprinted from Ireland and Irishmen in the French Revolution, London, 1932)