The Curious Case of Bro. Edgar Mitchell

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Robert H. Johnson

In my travels, I meet some amazing Brothers. Men with insane, almost unbelievable stories...except they are real. Recently this was the case when I spent the weekend with a Brother who was great friends with Brother Edgar Mitchel. For those who do not know, Bro. Mitchell was an Apollo Astronaut. His Wiki summary is worth posting below:
Edgar Dean "Ed" Mitchell (September 17, 1930 – February 4, 2016) was a United States Navy officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, ufologist and NASA astronaut. As the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14, he spent nine hours working on the lunar surface in the Fra Mauro Highlands region, making him the sixth person to walk on the Moon. The legacy of his post-NASA scientific work is carried on through the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
It's always a curious thing for me when I see someone of such stature, someone who is an authority, take an active interest in things most people think are a little "out there". What defines, "out there"? Well, for most it's things like, ghosts, UFOs, Metaphysics, and more. A curious position for sure when we consider what is "normal" in religious beliefs the world over...I digress.

I suppose, I am an "out there" kind of person. When I was conversing with my friend over the weekend he regaled me of the tales and stories that Edgar Mitchell had confided in him--that Mitchell had had an out of body experience while riding back to Earth and his visions of the Sacred Samahdi.

It sent my mind reeling with questions, questions I did have answered, but will remain with me due to the sensitive nature of them. What I wanted to drive home with this post was the curious nature of those men who are on top of the world, both literally and figuratively and who believe in things in a different way.

James Irwin was another Apollo Astronaut who had a curious fascination. He was aboard Apollo 15, and his life's work after returning home was to prove and find the literal Noah's Ark. He climbed Mount Ararat several times, and almost died. You can read an article on this HERE.

There are many cases of Astronauts believing in and taking positions which make many do a double take. 

Edgar Mitchell was a bit more scientific in his endeavors. You may have noticed at the end of the Wiki summary, Brother Edgar formed the Institute of Noetic Sciences. If that sounds familiar, you've likely read the book, The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. 

The word "Noetic" refers to the, "...theory in philosophy, as branch of metaphysical philosophy concerned with the study of mind as well as intellect. There is also a reference to the science of noetics, which covers the field of thinking and knowing, thought and knowledge, as well as mental operations, processes, states, and products through the data of the written word."

I don't know about you, but this sounds an awful lot like the Masonic practices...divesting our hearts and minds...Doing actual internal work on our characters and egos etc. Pretty curious indeed...

The actual Institutes description, which deals with a little more than just the basic description of what "Noetics" is, is as follows:

The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is an American non-profit parapsychological[1] research institute. It was co-founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, along with investor Paul N. Temple, and others interested in purported paranormal phenomena,[1] in order to encourage and conduct research on noetic theory and human potentials. 
The Institute conducts research on topics such as spontaneous remission, meditation, consciousness, alternative healing practices, consciousness-based healthcare, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities, psychokinesis and survival of consciousness after bodily death. The Institute maintains a free database, available on the Internet, with citations to more than 6,500 articles about whether physical and mental health benefits might be connected to meditation and yoga. 
Headquartered outside Petaluma, California, the IONS is situated on a 200-acre (81 ha) campus that includes offices, a research laboratory and a retreat center (originally the campus of World College West). Its current director is Cassandra Vieten. Other researchers associated with it include Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake.
I find these things fascinating because I believe in the inseparable union of Science and Religion or Spirituality. I find them to be interdependent on each other. It's the main area of my personal studies. To know that men like Bro. Mitchel had invested the time and money into studying these things sure is a bit reassuring, not that I need it, but it's a small comfort.

Bro, Mitchell died in 2016 and you can read a bit more about him in THIS LINK which is a piece Illustrious Bro. Hodapp penned when that occurred.


RWB, Robert Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Spes Novum Lodge No. 1183 UD. He is a Past Master of Waukegan Lodge 78 and a Past District Deputy Grand Master for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatrewhich focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry. He is the co-author of "It's Business Time - Adapting a Corporate Path for Freemasonry" and is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.

The Complete Transmission

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Erik A. Marks

In studying as an apprentice in any field, the teacher, or master, knows to give the student only the tasks for which they are ready. Further, to only give the hard-learned lessons to someone who has worked diligently, consistently, over time, showing both dedication and integrity. Over time, the apprentice will prove worthiness and will gain a complete transmission of all the teacher/masters secrets of the trade. If all goes well, the new adept will carry on the tradition and train subsequent apprentices in like fashion; perhaps adding lessons and updated knowledge for changing codes, new building techniques, etc.; keeping it a living tradition.

What areas of Freemasonry would be needed to be transmitted to a budding apprentice, like me, to give a complete transmission of the craft? We might disagree on the titles or groupings, though my guess would be we would end up covering much of the same territory, over time. To some extent, Brethren may get overly focused on one of these, seeing it as the only aspect of Freemasonry that matters. Though they may be content in this rarefied approach, they will not be getting a full transmission, nor will they propagate one to initiated or the general public.

I intentionally tried to narrow the complete transmission categories to seven:

History and thorough historical perspective: understanding the origins, innovations, adaptations, splitting and merging, and enacting a historically relevant presentation of the craft.

Fraternal engagement: meals, Scottish Rite family events, Royal Arch and Shrine functions, impromptu dinner conversations with brethren, etc. 

Charitable conduct or acts.

Freemasonic operation: The exoteric administrative. Ritual, protocol, jurisprudence; moving through line chairs/roles, running a lodge, grand lodge, investigation committees, delegation.

Universality and tolerance: Learning to live harmoniously in and out of lodge.

Symbolic meanings: Esoteric depth and spiritual breadth:

And what I will call Transformative experience: Through being in close contact with other men, becoming co-laborers and friends, we necessarily have experiences that meddle with our preconceived notions about life and being together in the world. By first in Lodge and then a masonic career, we agree to work together to keep things harmonious. This social contract aids in our development by helping everyone work to stay calm when things get heated. Sure, we don’t achieve this all the time, but our goal is to remain harmonious and charitable, even when vehemently disagreeing. I see this as one of masonry’s greatest gifts to its participants, and by extension, the world. When brethren engage fully in the tasks and take in the esoteric and exoteric lessons, we are transformed and made better as we work to implement seemingly opposite strategies: for instance, encouraging a sitting master and officers to implement more education (when that was never their plan) in the lodge without a coup d'├ętat. How? Turn to the trivium and make the most solid and effective argument you can. Coalition build with brethren and bring it into lodge yourself, during meal or petition the master for you to speak during a lodge meeting.

What constitutes a complete transmission of Freemasonry to you? What do you think is the most important aspect of Masonry? A handful of brothers have written with questions or opinions and its been wonderful getting to know them. Please consider dropping me a note with your thoughts.


Brother Erik Marks is a clinical social worker whose usual vocation has been in the field of human services in a wide range of settings since 1990. He was raised in 2017 by his biologically younger Brother and then Worshipful Master in Alpha Lodge in Framingham, MA. You may contact brother Marks by email:

Regular Masonic Meetings Can't Compete

A Camp Masonry 2019 Recap 
by Midnight Freemason Contributor 
Robert H. Johnson

The Fort at night before the ritual.

What can I say about this years camp Masonry event? I can't believe it's been a year since I was last here at Camp Miakonda, one of the largest Boy Scout's camp in the United States.

This year was noticeably different from last year. How? Well, the Grand Lodge of Ohio was in greater number. Last year there was a conferral of a Mark Master degree and a Master Mason degree at the unique retreat. This year, there was a Grand Master's Class. There were approximately 42 new Master Masons made.

A- brief overview of the trip:

Arrival was wonderful, flying in to Toledo, OH. A very small airport that's probably a best kept secret. Initially I was going to fly in with Bro. Joe Martinez (Esotericon) but, he was caught up with a last minute meeting for work. Brothers Mike Helmbrecht and Jason Richards (TMR) picked me up from the airport. It was a brief 20 minute drive to camp. Once there, we were greeted by several Brothers from last year. After shaking hands with everyone, we made our way to the cabin, "Tindeuchen", our home for the next two days.
Me staring at the spider on the ceiling. Jason Richards
saved my life. 
I wont lie, I needed a nap. And apparently Jason Richards did too. After killing a few resident spiders, Jason and I passed out. I think we slept for about an hour, just enough for a quick recharge--Jason and I both had presentations that evening.

Upon waking up, Jason, Mike and I, along with about 20 other Masons met with Bro. Ken Alexander. Bro Ken led us through a unique exercise in conducting Masonic Edu.--An Exploration of Mackey's Masonic Encyclopedia.

Each of the men had to grab one book of either Mackey's Encyclopedia or the Illustrated History. I grabbed the History, since all copies of the Encyclopedia had been scooped up. Each of us would open to a random page, read, digest and report to the group on what they found, or read the entry and comment on it. I found something really interesting, something I will inevitably write about in the future #Religion #Christiansonly. After this, Mike Hambrecht gave an insightful presentation on how to be a killer LEO:. It was live streamed on the TMR FB page- Watch it HERE -- After this we enjoyed a great dinner together. 

I was up after dinner. This was the first time I had ever presented a speech--no slides. It was for an intimate crowd, while many went to an alternate activity-- the Shrine Ceremonial.

My speech was an attempt to realize the state of the Craft and to get men going again, to keep them going. I hope it had that effect. It too was live streamed on FB Live. Although I believe the audio was lacking, it came out okay. After this, Jason Richards gave the crowd a way to do research. He outlined all the best techniques to get started and solidify and state your points. After the Shrine Ceremonial was over, and the Edu. for the night was complete, there was an excellent time to get completely get caught up with each other on a personal level. Midway through the 11 o'clock hour, we got the text that Joe Martinez had landed--He made it!

One of the biggest and best surprises upon arriving at Camp Masonry was seeing Bro. Bill Short. Bill travels everywhere. So when it was time to go pick up Joe, he suggested we all go get him in his van. So Bill at the Helm, Jason, Mike, Chris Matty (OH), Brad "Northern-Kentucky Yoke" Drew and myself took off to get him.

After getting Joe, we went to "second dinner" at Steak and Shake. We eventually made our way back to camp and passed out. 

The next morning, we were up by 7:30 at the latest. Showers were on, toothbrushes were busy. Most importantly though, the coffee was on. After breakfast, the presentations began. We went all day. While the 42 candidates were getting their first 2 degrees, we were all busy presenting or taking notes on someone else's presentation.

By night fall the torches were all lit up as we processed down to the fort for the second section of the 3rd degree. Later, we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the camp ground. Our cabin hosted about 8 or 9 Brothers. These were all guys I knew from travelling around for Masonic Edu. We sat around until almost 2 in the morning talking about the degree experiences. It was fantastic. 

The title of this piece is called, "Regular Masonic Meetings Can't Compete", because in comparison to things like Camp Masonry, there's just no contest. Make your lodge meetings this special and lets see what happens. That's my quick write up.

Just know it was amazing and that it's probably coming back next year, as long as Bro. Jason Shamy put's it together. Hey, Jason Shamy, "If you build it, we will come."

Thanks for reading, everyone!


RWB, Robert Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Spes Novum Lodge No. 1183 UD. He is a Past Master of Waukegan Lodge 78 and a Past District Deputy Grand Master for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatrewhich focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry. He is the co-author of "It's Business Time - Adapting a Corporate Path for Freemasonry" and is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.

The 33 Degrees of Freemasonry

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. James A. Simpson
Edited and transcribed for the Midnight Freemasons by Bro. Michael Arce

There are 33 degrees in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. Is 33 a mystical number with some inherent numerical meaning?

Author's note: This is the research work of Bro. James A. Simpson and Ven. John F. McLaughlin. It was the first in a series of Masonic research papers submitted by Bro. Simpson. I have his expressed permission to share this work. "I know you will enjoy the history." Signed, Bro. Jim Simpson. The great Shakespearean actor and Mason, Edwin Booth (1833093) reportedly once said of the Masonic Ritual: "In all my research and study, in all my close analysis of the masterpieces of Shakespeare; in my earnest determination to make those plays a appear real on the mimic stage, I have never, and nowhere met the tragedy so real, so sublime, so magnificent as the Legend of Hiram. It is substance without shadow --- the manifest destiny of life which requires no picture and scarcely a word to make a lasting impression upon all who can understand.

Degree Origination

Our degrees began in France in the year 1725. The new class of scholarly men (Speculative Masons) had discovered written legends from the old Operative Masons. They were also aware of the early history of the Jews given in the Bible. It is from these histories the Hiramic Legend evolved. The early high degrees were a continuation of the Hiramic Legend. This occurred during the Age of Enlightenment when there was a growing interest in the in all mystical and occult doctrines. The mystical parts of many of the high degrees were influenced by the knowledge of Rosicrucianism and even the mystical parts of the Book of Revelation.

Important practical lessons are being taught through the observance of rituals. Participation in rituals in unifying and gives a greater sense of belonging. A mutual belief in a Supreme Power should bind all initiates together in Brotherhood. We must learn to work for work's sake without desire of praise or reward. There are philosophical ideas shown allegorically through the master architect's tools. They teach us to be faithful to our family and country. They teach universal Brotherhood; honesty in business relations; the forgiveness of past injustices; and perseverance in overcoming the difficulties encountered in our progress toward perfection. These degrees are rich in benefits

Scottish Rite Degrees and Chakras

Several years before I was raised, I purchased a book entitled "Hands of Light" by Barbara Brennan. She is a practicing healer, psychotherapist, and scientist. She was a research scientist in atmospheric physics from NASA. She was trained in bioenergetic therapy and is currently teaching courses concerning the human energy field.

There are seven endocrine glands. Each gland has a chakra, which is a cone-shaped energy field that absorbs energy from the universal energy field. As a practitioner, Ms. Brennan will locate unhealthy chakra. The result of her healing will be physical, emotional, and spiritual. Although this healing is not a religion, the charkas are a western interpretation of Hinduism. Western practices have associated chakras with various concepts.

I.E., metaphysical counterparts to the endocrine glands; chakras reside in the psyche; chakras have a physical manifestation. These various beliefs have been speculative. The book "Dark Light Consciousness" has taken the speculative out of the chakras and brought them into the operative world of science.

The following points are from Ms. Brennan's book.

•Chakra #1: The coccygeal center is related to the quantity of physical energy and will live in the physical reality.

•Chakra #2: The gonads is related to the quality of love for your mate.

•Chakra #3: The solar plexus relates to spiritual wisdom and consciousness of universality of life.

•Chakra #4: The thymus is the center through which we love ourselves, our families, pets, friends, neighbors, and our countrymen.

•Chakra #5: The thyroid is associated with taking responsibility for one's personal needs.

•Chakra #6: The pituitary is associated with the capacity to visualize and understand mental concepts.

•Chakra #7: The pineal, the "Crown Chakra." The pineal gland is related to the person's connection to his spirituality and integration of his whole being, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Spritual energy and Freemasonry

The Knights Templar were in the Holy Land beginning in the year 1118. Hughes de Payens, the Master of the Order, although a Christian, was a descendant of Muhammed. It was through this connection that the Templars allied themselves with Islam. The Templars' principal teachers of alchemy were the enlightened Sufis. The Sufis had gathered the rarest and most valuable alchemical texts of the Egyptians, Persians, and Indians. The Sufi's also acquired texts from India regarding the mystical form of spiritual enlightenment.

The human spine contains 33 vertebrae. Spirit regeneration would take place by degrees trough the 33 vertebrae of the spinal column until reaching the pituitary gland which invokes the pineal body. The science of this regeneration is one of the lost keys of Freemasonry, and it is this reason why ancient Freemasonry was founded upon thirty-three degrees. Manley P. Hall, a 33 Degree Mason and Masonry's greatest philosopher, states, "The 33rd Degree represents the human head atop the 33 vertebrae of the back."

From the base of the spine there is the serpent which will wind its way up the spine to the crown chakra. The Sufis knew this as the Baraka; the Jews called it the Shekinah; the Chinese Taoist called it Jing; in India, it was the Kundalini. To awaken the power of the Kundalini, it would take spiritual discipline, including alchemy and yoga. As the Kundalini rises through the physical, emotional, and mental bodies, it performs the task of destroying all the impurities that prevent him from knowing his innate divinity.

With the conquest of Spain by Islam (711-1492), Spain became the seat of Sufi learning in Europe. Beginning with Compostela, Span, there are five cathedrals, one church, and one chapel. The sequence of the sites corresponds to that of the planets in our solar system. Each site also corresponds to a chakra. Just as subliminal energies stream up and down through the chakras within the human body, so similar forces surge northwards and southwards along the great alignment of the cathedrals.

When the novice had progressed thus far along his chosen spiritual path, he was open to receive the messenger of the mystery cults. The novice would make a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela. The first-degree initiation was the result that flowed spiritually from the awakening of the base chakra that connects us with the earth and physical reality. Its ruling planet --- the Moon.

The initiate would then make a pilgrimage to the church in Toulouse. He would be introduced to the mysteries of the second degree with the opening of the abdominal chakra. Her he would discover his inner space and could retire into the isolation of his spirit. Its ruling planet --- Mercury.

The novice was the symbol of the third or solar plexus chakra. The fulfillment of this degree led to the awakening of the universal life force. This degree was achieved by the entry into the mysteries of the Venus oracle at the Cathedral of Orleans.

The novice is now ready to awaken the heart chakra which is linked to the region of the thymus gland above the heart. This is the spiritual center controlling the sublime gifts of love. This initiation was held in the Crypt of Chargers Cathedral, the ancient site of the sun oracle.

Induction into the fifth degree was performed in the chamber under Notre-Dame de Paris, the site of the druidic oracle of Mars. The fifth center is the throat chakra and is the first of the higher ones. It is the center of both speech and inner hearing and is connected with the power of sound.

The brow chakra, known to many as the third eye, is connected with the pituitary gland. Clairvoyance is connected with this centre, which relates to the spiritual faculties of insight and intuition. This took place in the cathedral of Amiens, and the aspirant would be instructed in the mysteries of the Jupiter oracle.

The seventh degree was attained with the culmination of the spiritual journey a the opening of the crown chakra, which is mystically united with the pineal gland; also known as the Seat of the Soul. This was awarded at the seventh site, Rosslyn Chapel, the ancient and revered site of the Saturn oracle. The initiation ceremony for this degree took place in the hidden chamber under the chapel, which was deliberately created by Earl William St. Clair. The Sinclairs were experts in sacred geometry and geomancy, sciences that teach how to design physical structures so that they harmonize, capture, and amplify the natural currents of energy that flow under and upon the surface of the earth. William Sinclair based the chapel's dimensions on the Golden Mean, the proportion that determines the geometric spiral, which is synonymous with the path of serpentine life force.

Rosslyn Chapel was situated upon the confluence of important ley lines that united it with sacred landmarks throughout Britain. One of its intersecting leys comes from the direction of the bore stane hill where five powerful ley-lines radiate. In 1994, Niven Sinclair invited Professor Lin Yun, a master of Feng Shui, to measure the flow of the "earth energy" within Rosslyn Chapel. Professor Yun was impressed with this energy and maintained that the chapel was destined to be a center of world peace.
The seven spiritual centers along with their respective planets were in total alignment on July 28, 2019. The authors did not make any predictions for alignment.


Bro. Jim Simpson Schenectady Lodge #1174, Schenectady, New York Sigman Bodies Ancient Accept Scottish Rite, Scotia, New York St. George's Chapter #157, Schenectady, New York St. George's Council #74, Schenectady, New York St. George's Commandry #37, Schenectady, New York Charles H. Copestake #69 AMD, Schenectady, New York