Friday, July 26, 2013

UMURM Presidential Announcement: Modern Rite

Friday, July 26, 2013 

José María Bonachi Batalla,  President of the Unión Masónica Universal del Rito Moderno (UMURM), according to the Board of Directors, has released the following announcement:

For those who see and hear:

1) That since October 1, 2012 the Sublime Council of the Modern Rite for France , is not associated with the UMURM, and although they were granted a Patent for the Rite of the institution, from the moment of the publication of this statement, this patent is completely nullified and therefore, is not in effect,  nor is it to be presented as valid to any sublime Council or against any Masonic power.                            
2)  Therefore, to avoid any possible confusion, we wish to clarify that the membership today (July 2013) belonging to the UMURM consists only of the following organizations:

• 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.

Representations by the  UMURM to other institutions or Masonic powers is vested in the President of the UMURM, Committees or brothers from the above mentioned members or those in whom such powers have been  delegated, in addition to organizational functions as Secretary General of the UMURM which rests on the Brother Joaquim Villalta , and the Director of the International Academy of V º Order Modern Rite Brother, Víctor García Guerra.    

Therefore, as a Masonic body legally constituted and registered (organization, symbols and logos) we seek to inform all those Masonic Bodies and Powers of  our current membership  for your knowledge and understanding.


José María Bonachi Batalla, Presidente de la UNIÓN MASÓNICA UNIVERSAL DEL RITO MODERNO (UMURM), organización registrada con sede en Calfornía, Estados Unidos,  de acuerdo con la Cámara de Administración, ha acordado lo siguiente:

Para todos aquellos que vieren y entendieren:

1) Que desde el 1 de octubre de 2012 el Sublime Consejo del Rito Moderno para Francia, NO PERTENECE A LA UMURM, pese a que cuente con Patente de Rito de dicha institución y desde el instante de la publicación del presente comunicado, dicha Patente quedará totalmente anulada y por lo tanto, sin ningún efecto, sea para divulgación de dicho Sublime Consejo o frente a cualquier Potencia Masónica que sea presentada. 

2) Por tanto, para que no se produzcan confusiones, expresar que los miembros que a día de hoy (26 de Julio 2013) pertenecen a la UMURM son los siguientes:

· 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.

Que las representaciones de la UMURM ante otras instituciones o potencias masónicas recaen sobre el Presidente de la UMURM , o aquellas Cámaras o Hermanos en los que se delegue tal cualidad; amén de las funciones organizativas como Secretario General de la UMURM que recae en el Hermano Joaquim Villalta, y las funciones de Director de la Academia Internacional del Vº Orden del Rito Moderno que ejerce el Hermano Víctor Guerra García.

Por tanto, como cuerpo masónico legalmente constituido y registrado (organización, símbolos y logos) exponemos a todos aquellos Cuerpos y Potencias Masónicos nuestra actual composición lo que les informamos para su conocimiento y entendimiento.

Santiago de Compostela

The Hedge Mason wishes to convey deepest sympathies and heartfelt support to all the families and friends of those injured in the tragic train accident in Santiago de Compostela, and especially to the families of the victims who have passed to the Eternal East.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Masonic Tools - Plumbing the Depths!

Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry offers the following observations on the Plumb, an important tool in Freemasonry:

A line to which a piece of lead is attached so as to make it hang perpendicularly. The plumb-line, sometimes called simply the line, is one of the working-tools of the Past Master. According to Preston, it was one of the instruments of Freemasonry which was presented to the Master of a Lodge at his installation, and he defines its symbolism as follows: "The line teaches the criterion of rectitude, to avoid dissimulation in conversation and action, and to direct our steps in the path which leads to immortality." This idea of the immortal life was always connected in symbology with that of the perpendicular-something that rose directly upward. Thus in the primitive church, the worshiping Christians stood up at prayer on Sunday, as a reference to the Lord's resurrection on that day. This symbolism is not, however, preserved in the verse of the prophet Amos (vii, 7) which is read in the United States as the Scripture passage of the Second Degree, where it seems rather to refer to the strict justice which God will apply to the people of Israel. It there coincides with the first Masonic definition that the line teaches the criterion of moral rectitude.

While most modern Masons will recognize the symbolic significance of the plumb in Speculative terms, and also the practical use in Operative Masonry, few will have considered it's use as a metaphysical tool. Yet, one wonders, given the metaphysical underpinnings of Freemasonry if the Plumb's use as a metaphysical tool was unknown or ignored by many Masons in past times, as it appears too commonly to be the case today.

Plumb bobs have been used in divining in a variety of cultures. They were known to have existed and were used both in operative masonry in Egyptian society, and played a role in Egyptian death passage ceremonies. They have also been used for divination purposes by Native Americans. The National Museum of the American Indian has several examples from the Cherokee culture, designated in their collection as having been used for divination.

When we look back at the language embedded in Masonic descriptions of the Plumb, it is easy to see how it might be construed as a tool for seeking information, that could be used to divine and receive messages from beyond or at the least to access deeper sources of knowledge from within. As noted before, Mackey states that "the line teaches the criterion of rectitude, to avoid dissimulation in conversation and action, and to direct our steps in the path which leads to immortality."  And elsewhere it has been noted that 

"It is a truly magnificient jewel, an indespensible working tool; and when applied to the work with its fellows, the square and the level, it opens the doorway of that middle chamber in those immortal mansions, whence all goodness emanates." This brief passage may be read by those who have an appreciation for esoteric masonry as an assertian that the plumb can be a direct source of access to inner wisdom.

J.V.A. Andreae, a German Mason published a poem in 1623 that may arguably offer an esotericist guidance on the use of the plumb as a divining tool.

The best logician is our God,
Whom the conclusion never fails;
He speaks - it is; He wills -- it stands;
He blows -- it falls; He breathes -- it lives;
His words are true .-- e'en without proof,
His counsel rules without command,
Therefore can none foresee his end -
Unless on God is built his hope.
And if we here below would learn
By Compass, Needles Square and Plumb,
We never must o'erlook the mete
Wherewith our God hath measur'd us.

I will not delve into the particulars on how to use a plumb to divine, but will suggest to those interested in exploring this use of a Masonic Jewel, that using the tracing boards like a chart of symbols may have interesting possibilities. I'd love to hear from you concerning your experiences.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Considerations concerning the Tableau of Lodges of the Third Degree (Part I)

It is traditionally considered that Freemasonry practices in each of the degrees, a ritual which dramatizes the corresponding initiatory mysteries. What is widely debatable, is the ancestral practice in the form of transmission of these mysteries, and even the object or message itself which may have been transmitted although it has been imagined that the composition of their shapes, and patterns derive from ancient civilizations of the distant past and the myths and legends intended to imply cosmogenesis and reflect a transcendent reality.

In these rituals,  are met again certain gestures, positions and movements, as well as words that are, in reality, the sacred words of passage. Another important element is the "Table Lodge", an iconographic representation where secrets are summarized for each grade.

Although the iconographic repertoire of Freemasonry has varied over the centuries, the essential components of each of three fundamental universal degrees (Apprentice, Fellow and Master) have not undergone major changes, and there exist no significant differences between the different presentations of the same Grade.

We see first that the Lodge of Master box is arranged so that Hiram, lying on the sarcophagus, keep the head facing West and East, the north stands for in his left.
In Freemasonry, and although the readings have mutated over time, Hiram represented two aspects of divinity, but this divinity came to be free of doctrinal or derived definition of deism according to Natural Religion: the first aspect is linked to the heavenly life that descends to this world (the world is the man) to build there but also it concerns the god temple buried in the tomb of the body, and to be raised, both aspects very present in the third degree.

Master's Word

In modern Masonry, the name first appears in the manuscript called Dumfries No. 4, 1710, when it qualified for "Master Mason". The "tomb of Master Hiram 'is perceived in the manuscript  identified as Wilkinson, 1727, and the first description of a raising (resurrection) of Hiram’s body through the master word in the manuscript of Graham, 1726. In an attempt to lift, one of the teachers says: "In this bone morrow", "bone / bone marrow in this."

The work of Samuel Prichard, Masonry dissected, published in London in 1730, contains the complete legend of Hiram. We find there is also a description of the "five points of partner" or "perfection." Since then, in all the rituals of the third degree, the "resurrection" of Hiram is associated with the master word and the "five points of perfection".
According to a 1725 manuscript, "The Whole Institutions of freemasons opened", the word for teacher is Magboe and Boe, which, according to the ritual, mean: morrow in the bone, "bone / marrow in the bone."

During the eighteenth century, the word for teacher will take various forms: Mahabon, Moabon as well as a variety of graphics, which only made the disparity increasing phonetics and semantics. Some authors claim that Mahabon or Moabon and its variants are an haboneh mah, a Hebrew corruption.

F-H. Delaulnaye a French Freemason early nineteenth century, reports that Moabon meaning is 'father', as a Freemason becomes, by virtue of receiving the third degree, the son and successor of Hiram. Moreover, The Vuillaume Tuileur of claims that comes from the Hebrew Moabon moab, because ab, means father.

Whatever it is, the word of the teacher is always associated with putrefaction: the meat separates from the bone, the meat is tainted, "rotten to the bone" and so on. But we also say: no bone on bone ...

The underlying idea is partly that the spinal / marrow are alive and, moreover, that the meat is rotten. The confusion that reigns among the names of the master degree is indeed real. However, if we examine closely the rituals, and although the elements referring to corruption are associated with the sacred word of expertise, this does not necessarily mean they are a translation. At the time when the teacher stands Hiram, saying only: the c .... is s .... the h ..... There is an association of concepts, not necessarily translation.

Another word used in masonry teacher, Mac-B .... c, figure on a 1730 French ritual, and is used in the French or Modern Rite. Also attach multiple origins and meanings, although some authors consider that it means nothing at all, in any language. For English Mason Thomas Payne (1737-1809), is a name of Celtic origin: son (mac) the widow (b ... c). This interpretation agrees well with his thesis on the origins of Freemasonry and English Druidism. Although inaccurate it in no way contradicts the other and integrates well in the context of master degree symbolism.

In the work cited in Prichard,  we find the graphics Machbenah and attribute the following sense: the builder has been killed. An English work published in 1751, "The Màcon Unmasked" cites the term Mac cy B .... says it means "meat separates from the bones." Arturo Reghini in 1922 attributed a Hebrew origin and translated it as œdificantis putrid, "the putrefaction, (maq) of one who builders (Boneh).

The verb also means begetting Benah so that Mac-Benah could mean "begotten of putrefaction," which would be a clear reference to the death and resurrection of Hiram. In this sense, the interpretation of Reghini is revealed acceptable, and integrates seamlessly into the mystery of the third degree.

Finally, the eighteenth century French documents claim that the ancient sacred word mastery was J ... h, that has been lost (ie better replaced by prudence) and that it is incumbent rediscover Masons. According to G-L. Perau, in his book "The Secret of the Freemasons," published in 1745, the Tetragrammaton was written on the sarcophagus of Hiram because "such was the old master word" formal statement is also collected for the preparation of Régulateur du Màcon , in his Third Degree ritual.

Joaquim Villalta, Vª Orden, Gr.·. 9
Miembro del Supremo Conselho do Rito Moderno - Brasil
Miembro del Sublime Consejo del Rito Moderno para el Ecuador
Miembro del Círculo de Estudios del Rito Francés "Roëttiers de Montaleau"
Miembro de la Academia Internacional de la Vª Orden - UMURM
Miembro de la Logia de Investigación "Los Modernos" - GLMAE

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

José de la Luz y Caballero

José Cipriano de la Luz y Caballero was born on July 11, 1800 in Havana Cuba. He was a Cuban scholar, acclaimed by José Martí as "the father ... the silent layer of foundations" in Cuban intellectual life of the 19th Century. Interest in de la Luz's work was revived around the time of the Cuban Revolution, and new editions of his work published as a source of intellectual autonomy for the country.

Luz took his degree in philosophy in 1817 at the Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Gerónimo in Havana, and took a degree in law at the Seminario de San Carlos. From 1837 to 1841, he travelled extensively in North America and Europe, coming into contact with a number of important intellectuals of the time, including Sir Walter Scott, Goethe, Cuvier, the German philosopher Karl Krause, and Alexander von Humboldt. Krause paid a public tribute to de la Luz's scientific and philosophical views. With Humboldt, Luz arranged to establish a magnetic observatory in Cuba in correspondence with like institutions in Germany. José de la Luz is perhaps most well known for his comments concerning Von Humbolt as the "second discoverer" of the island, after Columbus.

José Martí, the father of Cuban independence and Freemason, wrote of him,

"Él, el padre; él, el silencioso fundador; él que a solas ardía y centelleaba, y se sofocó el corazón con mano heroica, para dar tiempo a que se le criase de él la juventud con quien se habría de ganar la libertad que sólo brillaría sobre sus huesos; él, que antepuso la obra real a la ostentosa, -y a la gloria de su persona, culpable para hombre que se ve mayor empleo, prefirió ponerse calladamente, sin que le sospechasen el mérito ojos nimios, de cimiento de la gloria patria; él, que es uno en nuestras almas, y de su sepultura ha cundido por toda nuestra tierra, y la inunda aún con el fuego de su rebeldía y la salud de su caridad; él que se resignó, -para que Cuba fuese, -a parecerle, en su tiempo y después, menos de lo que era; él, que decía al manso Juan Peoli, poniéndole en el hombro la mano flaca y trémula, y en el corazón los ojos profundos, que no podía «sentarse a hacer libros, que son cosa fácil, porque la inquietud intranquiliza y devora, y falta el tiempo para lo más difícil, que es hacer hombres»; él, que de la piedad que regó en vida, ha creado desde su sepulcro, entre los hijos más puros de Cuba, una religión natural y bella, que en sus formas se acomoda a la razón nueva del hombre, y en el bálsamo de su espíritu a la llaga y soberbia de la sociedad cubana; él, el padre, es desconocido sin razón por los que no tienen ojos con que verlo, y negado a veces por sus propios hijos.

¿Qué es ver la luz y celebrarla de lejos, si se la huye de cerca? ¿Qué es saludar la luz, mientras sus rayos tibios adornan flojamente la desidiosa naturaleza, y ponérsele de cancel, en cuanto sale del caos quemando y sanando, con el brío del sol? ¿Qué es pensar sin obrar, decir sin hacer, desear sin querer? ¿Qué es ver caer la torre desecha sobre el pueblo amado, y tener al pueblo por la espalda, como la celestina a la novicia dolorosa, para que le caiga mejor la torre encima? ¿Qué es aborrecer al tirano, y vivir a su sombra y a su mesa? ¿Qué es predicar, en voz alta o baja, la revolución, y no componer el país desgobernado para la revolución que se predica? ¿Qué es la gloria verdadera y útil, sino abnegarse, y con la obra silente y continua tener la hoguera henchida de leños, para la hora de la combustión, y el cauce abierto, para cuando la llama se desborde, y el cielo vasto y alto, para que quepa bien la claridad?

Lo más del hombre, y lo mejor suele ser, como en José de la Luz, lo que en él sólo ven a derechas quienes como él padezcan y anhelen; porque hoy, como en Grecia, «se necesita ser fuego para comprender el fuego»: o los que oyen aterrados su paso en la sombra. De él fue lo más la idea profética e íntima, que no veía acomodo entre su pueblo sofocado y crecedero-cercado de la novedad humana, y la nación victimaria, lejana e incapaz, que entrará descompuesta y sin rumbo a su ajuste violento e incompleto con el mundo nuevo,- y consagró la vida entera, escondiéndose de los mismos en que ponía su corazón a crear hombres rebeldes y cordiales que sacaran a tiempo la patria interrumpida de la nación que la ahoga y corrompe, y le bebe el alma y le clava los vuelos. Los pueblos, injustos en la cólera o el apetito, y crédulos en sus horas de deseo, son infalibles a la larga. Ellos leen lo que no se escribe, y oyen lo que no se habla. Ellos levantan, como el sabueso al enemigo, aunque use lengua túrgida y sedosa, y descubren la pasión de virtud que se suele ocultar, para servir mejor, en el sacrificio desconocido o en el silencio prudente. Ellos, en los países de desdén y discordia, quieren, con apego de hijo, a los hombres de justicia y amor,-a los que no emplean en herir a sus hermanos dispuestos a morir por su patria la energía que reservan para perpetuar en ella el poder de sus tiranos. Y así ama, con apego de hijo la patria cubana a José de la Luz."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Anuncia desde la Habana

A quien esta plancha viere:

La Logia Mixta Anáhuac del Oriente de la Habana Cuba. Auspiciada por la Gran Logia Mixta del Rito Moderno para Norte América y el Caribe le expide la presente plancha a favor de la Maestra Masona V:.H:. Rebeca Coronel. Quien fuera exaltada al sublime grado de Maestra en tenida regular de la cámara del medio, celebrada el día ocho de junio de 2013 (E.N.). Para que así conste frente a los ojos de la humanidad y la historia, como la primera mujer exaltada en este taller Mixto pionero de la mixticidad en este Oriente.

Vicente Jesús Valdés Montero                     Bárbara Avello                               Sergio Luis López
Venerable Maestro                                       Secretaria                                        Orador

Anyone who sees this plate:

The Mixed Lodge Anahuac, Orient of Havana, Cuba. Sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Mixed Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean issues this board for Master Mason V:. H:. Rebeca Colonel. Who was inducted into the sublime degree of Master and in regular manner was taken to the middle chamber, held on June 8, 2013 (EN). For the record in the eyes of humanity and history, as the first woman to be first raised to the exalted Joint mixticidad pioneer in the East in this Lodge.

Vicente Jesús Valdés Montero                     Bárbara Avello                               Sergio Luis López
Venerable Master                                         Secretary                                        Orator

Monday, July 1, 2013

Abacuá -The Caribali 'Masons' of Cuba

The Abacuá  no legitimate groups of which operate outside of Cuba, although the Ekpe Societies from which the Abacuá or Ñañigo evolved still exist in Africa, are often referred to as the Afro-Cuban masonic order of the Caribali, originating in the fraternal Leopard Societies of the Calibar Coast of West Africa. Although they are actually their own order, not owing their origins in any way to European Freemasonry, as the tradition developed and grew in Post-independence Cuba, many Abacuá are also today Freemasons, as are members of several of the Afro-Cuban religious traditions.

Homenaje a la Sociedad Abacuá. Guardianes de la comunidad AfroCubana.

"Hombre es aquel que refleja la más pura dignidad del ser humano como laborioso, fraterno, alegre, rebelde ante la injusticia, cumplidor del código moral establecido por los antepasados formadores del Abacuá; es aquél que es buen padre, buen hijo, buen hermano y buen amigo"

A Tribute to the Abacuá Society. Guardians of the Afro-Cuban community.

"Man is one who reflects the sheer human dignity in labor, brotherhood, cheer, rebellion against injustice, who maintains the moral code established by the ancestoral Abacuá founders, he is one who is a good father, a good son, a good brother and a good friend "

In Cuba, the slaves captured from the Cross River region of what is today the eastern provinces of Nigeria, were generally known as Calabari, whatever their ethnicity, which was usually Efik or Efor. This was simply because Calabar was where the the ships they were brought over on departed from in Africa. This later was modified by Cubans to Carabali. Carabali slaves as well as free blacks worked on the wharfs, and Carabali cabildos or mutual aid societies were first founded in Havana as early as c. 1750. These cabildos or societies recognized the political power that Ekpe provided in opposing Spanish oppression, and these groups eventually admitted their creole children born in Cuba. The first Abacuá lodge was created in 1836 for both Carabali and creole initiates. Abacuá was successful because it protected and worked to liberate all Africans in Cuba. The creation of the original lodge and the ensuing formation of others is documented in many Abacuá chants.

After the first lodge's success, a number of other lodges were established. They were most frequently  identified with urban neighborhoods in Havana and Matanzas. These lodges each became "a social club of prestige for men; an informal school for historians, musicians and dancers; a vehicle for organising labor; as well as a place to hold funerals" according to Ivor Miller. Abacuá also performed a function in the organization of carnival groups that represented barrio identity. It further provided a code of moral conduct crucial to its own maintenance as an institution.

In spite of initial objections by some Africans, a lodge of white and creole men was founded in the 1850s. Acceptance of whites into the organization had a significant impact; "the rejection of racial hierarchies by the Abakuá became an important psychological tool for combating racism, for the spread of Abacuá itself and for the larger society. In particular, one Abacuá leader, Andres Petit, who also founded a Congo religion called Quimbisa, was instrumental in breaking down cultural barriers and establishing rules and rites that are still practiced. Before long, lodges included members of African, European, and Asian descent, making Abacuá "a foundational institution on the island, in the sense that [it] reflected the racial and ethnic makeup of the society half a century before the nation-state was inaugurated."

To learn more, read:
David H. Brown, The Light Inside: Abakuá Society Arts and Cuban Cultural History. Smithsonian Institution Press July, 2003.

Ivor L. Miller. Voice of the Leopard: African Secret Societies and Cuba. Caribbean Studies Series. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2009.