Leadership Civility

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. David A. McCuistion, PM, 32º, KCCH

Are you fully satisfied with the growing uncivil culture magnified through movies, TV programs and society in general?

How does it affect your leadership, more specifically your "serving the needs of society”, which your behaviors broadcasts to those with whom you interact each and every day.

I am proposing that everyone resolve to be more civil not only in their leadership, but also in their everyday lives and personal interactions with everyone – 24/7, 365 days a year. 

For years human nature dictated behavior in treating others with respect, with ethical correctness, and with interactions grounded in the Golden Rule - "Doing unto others as you would like others to do unto you." Our esteemed President George Washington, at age sixteen, created 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, which he based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595.

The entertainment media seems to be on a quest to erode that standard with publicly abusive foul language, public sexual conduct that belongs in private, and disrespectful behaviors toward others as if nature gave them the right to do so. All purportedly a God-given right under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as if it is the natural behavior to exhibit.

For this reason Civility Projects are springing up nationwide attempting to return civility to society - personally and professionally. Hence, the very nature of Servant Leadership is the most logical leadership philosophy to be followed, again personally and professionally.

Speak Your Peace, Rutgers University, Alverno College, and the Oshkosh Civility Project are a few examples of entities who have initiated actions to return civility to society. In addition, P. M. Forni's book "Choosing Civility" expounds on 25 way to improve civility in human interactions.

Speak your Peace Civility Project suggests 9 Rules of Civility as core behaviors in dealing with others in a civil manner.  Below are a few examples for leaders to follow to promote civility and improve their leadership relationship with others.

1. Pay Attention/Listen.  Listen intently when others are speaking. Inhibit the "inner voice" from interrupting with comments such as "The problem is.......", or "We've always done it this way" in an attempt to stop the flow of ideas and suggestions. Listen for the "intent" and “will” of what is being said. Look for non-verbal communications and maintain eye-to-eye contact with the person with whom you are speaking. Lastly, listen to understand.

2. Be Inclusive.  Civility knows no ethnicity, no level of leadership, no forum, no religion, no sexual preference, no generation, and no bounds. Being inclusive includes everyone. It is about leading and serving for the betterment of mankind.

3. No Gossiping. Gossiping is one of the most hurtful behaviors and accomplishes nothing. Most times it is negative and idle words, that is divisive and destructive. In some cases, it is also racist.  All of which, quite possible, only lowers esteem.

4. Be Respectful. First of all, remember, respect has nothing to do with liking or disliking someone. Everyone deserves a certain level of respect; we all expect to be respected for who we are and what we have accomplished. A point I always make with my students is that, contrary to the common comment of “respect is earned,” how much more or less respect one garners depends on individual behavior, respect toward others, and the common decency, i.e. civility, extended toward others. Civility is “Respectful Behavior”, Respect is “Honorable Behavior.”

5. Build Relationships. Servant Leadership is about building relationships. Therefore, being civil is especially helpful in this process. There is no room for boasting and prideful attitudes, humility is the adhesive that solidifies teamwork and seeks to repair damaged relationships. Seek to apologize, forgive and affirm success of others.

6. Use Constructive Language. Be mindful of the words you use, when you use them, and also of the words you speak through your non-verbal communications. Foul language in the middle of the ocean, out of sight and sounds of others, may serve a purpose. However, foul language in a public forum is disrespectful toward others. More specifically, foul language often times indicates an inability to properly use correct language, as well as a limited repository of words and their usage.

7. Take Responsibility. Don’t shift responsibility or place blame on other people. Hold yourself accountable, accept your own faults, speak positively, clean up your language and respect everyone. Be The Example!

These are just a few of examples Servant Leaders need to follow in their interactions with other – all the time, in every situation and regardless of the type of organization in which one belongs.

Not only is it time to restore civility in all aspects of our lives, it is essential in your servant leadership principles and practices. 

Are you doing your part? Are you always civil in the example you set for others?

I hereby resolve for 2015 and the coming years that I will “Be the Example!” in treating everyone with Civility in all my personal and leadership behaviors. How about YOU?

Keep the Quest Alive!


Brother David McCuistion 32° KCCH is Past Master of Garfield Lodge No. 41 in La Conner, Washington, Past Grand Chaplain of the MW Grand Lodge of Washington and Past Deputy to MW G. Santy Lascano, Grand Lodge of Washington. He is also a member of Scottish Rite Orient of Washington, Valley of Everett, and a member of the York Rite Bodies of Washington. He is a member and Past Royal Patron of Tulip Chapter in Mt. Vernon, WA, a member of Madrona Chapter, OES and a member of the Masonic Society. Brother McCuistion is a Navy Junior ROTC Instructor and Program Manager in Tennessee and an author of several leadership articles for AboutLeaders.com and several groups on Linked IN, an active member of The Members Guild. He is President of Vanguard Organizational Leadership (VOL), whose Blog can be found at www.vanguardldrship.wordpress.com and President of the McCuistion (and other spellings) Family of Scots-Irish descent. He can be reached via email at davidmcc44@epbfi.com

The Occult Lodge: Part Three

The Elu Kohen

by Midnight Freemason Contributor 
Bro. James E. Frey 32° KT, ROS

Martinez de Pascually
As the high degrees developed, one of the first occult orders to develop out of Masonry was the illustrious and secretive Orde Chevelier Macons Elus Cohen de L’Univers or Order of Knight-Masons Elect Priests of the Universe, more commonly referred to as the Elus Cohen. The Elus Cohen is one of the most serious and prominent of occult societies, given its deeply rooted occult practices as being the active role in the redemption of humanity from its fallen state. Usually reserved for Gnostic Clergy, the Elus Cohen is the inner order for most Martinist streams and teaches advanced forms of ceremonial magic. Martinez de Pascually was the founder the Elus Cohen.and was born in Grenoble, France in 1709. His father had received a Masonic patent from Charles Stuart “King of Scotland, Ireland and England, dated 20th May 1738 and granting him as "Deputy Grand Master the power to erect temples to the glory of the Grand Architect”. This gave him powers as a Deputy Grand Master with the power to establish lodges, and this power was transferred to his son upon his death.

At the age of 28, Martinez was a Master Mason and upon his Father’s death he received this charter and thus formed the Elus Cohen in 1765. This Order admitted only Freemasons, but practiced mystical medieval rites involving angels and archangels. These heavily esoteric initiations echoed a Catholic form of ritual and prayer, as well as a use of the psalms as mantra meditations. “The higher degrees of the Order taught such practices as the invocation of various spirits, such as the ‘Shem ha-Mephorash’ (שם המפורש ) of the Qabalah, the so-called “divided Name” as derived from Exodus XIV:19-21, celebration of the Equinoxes, and similar highly ritualistic and time-consuming forms of ritual work.” (Kevin Davis, Brothers From Another Mother).

Martinez vision was a working of a great spiritualized movement within the higher ranks of Freemasonry. Martinez formed his spiritual group during the period of the creation of the High Degrees which were being introduced into Freemasonry. Due to the often found resentment of the of the High Degrees by Masonic Authorities Martinez chose to create a “side” organization which would have a more spiritual character than Freemasonry traditionally had. To this organization however, he would only admit Master Masons who had taken the additional Masonic degree of “Elect”. The Order of Élus Cohen was rumored to have nine, ten or eleven degrees divided into three main classes, followed by a secret grade. Each class of degrees correlated to different aspects of Solomon’s Temple.

Elu Cohen Apron
The first class contained the traditional Degrees of Symbolic Masonry plus an additional degree of Grand Elect or Particular Master. The second class contained the Porch Degrees of Apprentice-Cohen, Fellow-Cohen and Master-Cohen. The third class contained the Temple Degrees of Grand Master Élus Cohen, Knight of the East and Commander of the East. The secret doctrine of the Order was based mostly on Martinez’ only book, The Reintegration of Beings, which is a mystical reinterpretation of the Pentateuch. Martinez commentary focused on the purifying diet of the Levites and the importance of the exorcism of planetary energies to rise above the evil found in the individual and collectively in the world.

The secret grade of the Order contained the degree of Réau-Croix, a title inspired by both Masonic and Rosicrucian circles at the time. In this Degree of Réau-Croix, the Initiate is exposed to the spiritual realms through Magical Invocation or Theurgy. The Candidate is taught to draw the Celestial powers into his spiritual aura, by doing so into the earth’s aura as well. The Candidate is taught to interpret certain signs as perceived through auditory and visual manifestations, which the candidate uses to evaluate his own spiritual re-integration into the spirit.

The purpose of the Réau-Croix degree was to perceive the Beatific Vision of the Repairer, Jesus Christ, in response to Magical Evocations in order to repair one’s own fallen state and act as an active participant in the redemption of all humanity to repair the first sin of Adam. Martinez perceived God to be primordial Unity that emanated beings from his own nature. Until Lucifer, who wanted to exercise his own creative power, fell victim to his own faults, which caused Lucifer and his followers to be forever separated from the spirit trapped in the material. To resolve this, God sent man endowed with a state of perfection to work towards the reconciliation of Lucifer. Adam then fell himself and became trapped in the material realm as a physical and mortal being. So it is the spiritual destiny of Mankind to save both himself and the original creation which can be accomplished through the inner perfection with the help of Christ, the eternal repairer.

Through the rites of the Elus Cohen, the initiate is to enter into relations with angelic entities, which are sympathetic to Man’s fallen state, who aid him upon the path to reintegrate his spirit away from the material plane into unity of the spirit. After Pasqually’s death in 1774 the teachings of the Elu Cohen were most certainly doomed to fade into the mists of history. But a fellow by the name of Willermoz desired to preserve the Elus Cohen teachings within the highest degrees of the Régime Ecossais Rectifi (Scottish Rectified Rite), more commonly known as the Chevaliers Bienfaisant de la Cité Sainte (C.B.C.S.) was founded by Willermoz in 1774.


James E Frey 32° classifies himself as a gentleman of the old world, which means he is known to stand in the great forests reciting poetry to fair-haired damsels while wrestling bears for sport. He is a District Education Officer for the Grand Lodge of Illinois, a Past Sovereign Prince of the of Danville AASR, member of the Oak Lawn York Rite, Medinah Shriners, Royal Order of Scotland, Quram Council Allied Masonic Degrees and initiate of the Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti. He is also a guest lecturer on Occultism and Esoteric studies in masonry for the R.E.B.I.S Research Society.

Ignorance … Is It Truly Bliss?

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Wayne DJ Greenley E.A.

I don‘t want to tread on too many toes here, however in my very short time as an Entered Apprentice I have observed a common theme from non-masons when I tell them I am a Freemason. Some of you may think a newly appointed Entered Apprentice may not have the right to make a judgment about a certain practice some Masons have partaken in. Maybe I am being a little bit presumptuous however this is something, I believe, should be addressed. 
I live in Brisbane, Australia and was initiated at a lodge on the 26th February 2015. On my first degree I received a square and compass lapel pin and was told to wear it whilst walking down the streets of the city (As is the way here in Queensland), and I also do so at work and university with pride. Most people don’t register in their minds that I’m even wearing a lapel pin, but for those few who do, say I must be a really big fan of Star Trek. This is funny in one way but sad in another, people confusing the Square and Compass (a symbol which is centuries old and can be seen in public in many major cities) with a symbol of a science fiction program which has only been around for 50 years. 
Now, this is the concerning theme I have come across. When I tell a person I am a Freemason, the response I get from that person is that they have known another Freemason in the past who told them “I can’t tell you anything about Freemasonry, it’s a secret”. Now I’m not going to make a dispute about a Brother who is keeping that of which is to remain secret, secret. Of not, that’s the charge of every Mason to do so. However saying such comment, to me, sounds like a phrase a member of a secret society would make, which we are not. I have to wonder about the motive behind a Mason who says we can’t discuss the Brotherhood in anyway. That’s wrong. It is perfectly acceptable to say something on the lines of “We are a fraternity of men, who derive from different religions, economic and social background, and come together as perfect equals and raise money for charity”. So why don’t those men say something like that? 
Maybe they’re uncomfortable talking about the topic, fearing judgment and persecution from a conspiracy nut-crazed Cowan. Perhaps they don’t know the best way to describe Freemasonry, they don’t want to let the team down by saying something wrong. Or maybe they wish to enforce this ideal that we are a mysterious society that is only meant for a few select individuals (I hope though that is not the case). 
Regardless of motive the result is still the same, non-masons being ill-informed about Freemasonry, which begs the questions, is ignorance of our society by Non-Masons what we want? Is ignorance truly bliss? 
NO! It’s not. It has and will have a continuing negative effect on our fraternity.
If history has taught us anything it’s that we humans fear anything that we don’t understand and to quote a very wise and beloved character from the Star Wars franchise, “Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate leads to Suffering”. Ignorance of Freemasonry leading towards Fear, Anger, Hate and Suffering may be a little bit of a stretch, but I hope you get the point I’m trying to convey. Allowing someone, who has asked you what Freemason is, to continue in a state of ignorance in not a good thing. 
That person may start having misconceptions that we are a select secret society or worse, they may do their own “research” and after clicking on a few website may come to the belief that we are either:
  • Associated with devil worship (an ideal created by Léo Taxil) 
  • A bunch of murders who will cold-bloodedly kill anyone who threatens the secrecy of this society (an ideal created by the William Morgan affair) 
  • Actually Lizard like Aliens who have come to earth for world domination (an ideal created by idiots who have never read a book)
In my opinion a short response, such as the one I gave earlier, would be adequate to answer peoples questions. A Brother though, may feel more inclined to give their own interpretation of what Freemasonry means to them, which is fine, as long as you give an answer. If they persist for more information advise them to read a book such as Freemasonry for Dummies or if they prefer a different medium of learning I would suggest Brother Robert Johnson's greatly informative podcast Whence Came You?. Better yet, tell them the best way to find out the answers to their queries is to simply join. Let that man know, should you believe him to be a good candidate to Freemasonry, that the option to join is there should he wish to take it. Maybe then we will have a new Brother. This is a more fitting result than the former. Don’t you agree? 

Bro. Wayne DJ Greenley is an Entered Apprentice (Soon to be Fellowcraft) hailing from Queensland Australia. He is a student at University and loves classical music as well as the theatrical arts. He is anxiously awaiting his next steps in the fraternity.

In Search Of… Charles Pelham

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB. Adam Thayer

A painting of Charles Pelham by John Singleton Copley.
If you’ve read my papers, listened to my lectures, or spent any time talking to me, you will know that I don’t generally enjoy discussing historical or famous Freemasons. Occasionally, however, even my curiosity is peaked enough that I fall victim to researching and discussing a brother who once served within our lodges. With that caveat in mind, I’d like to present to you the story of Right Worshipful Brother Charles Pelham.

Every good story has a solid beginning, and ours begins like a mystery novel; I received an unsolicited email from a fine art dealer in London requesting information on a painting he had acquired. Two photos detailing the portrait were also attached. If this were the next Dan Brown novel, what follows would be full of exciting, intricate conspiracies, exotic locations scattered across the globe, and, of course, beautiful, intelligent women. Before you get too excited, recall that we are not in a novel, so the conspiracy was small and not far-reaching; I never left my couch while researching the background, and the only woman involved was my wife who, though both highly beautiful and very intelligent, was 9 months pregnant at the time.

The painting, according to the art dealer, was allegedly by the artist John Singleton Copley, and the subject was believed to be one Charles Pelham. The only clue that there was any Masonic connection was a small medallion worn near the breast. My intrigue was increased by the fact that the symbols on the medallion did not include the normal square and compass, the main symbol that the public recognizes us by. Only a brother who had spent some time in lodge learning our symbols would have recognized that this medallion marked him as a Mason. Truly, there must have been a great treasure hunt ahead of me, because we all know that the best treasure hunts start with small, seemingly innocuous clues!

Let’s step back a bit for an art history lesson. John Singleton Copley was a painter in colonial America, who produced around 350 paintings and drawings before his death in 1815. Included in his works were some prominent Freemasons of the time, such as Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere, as well as men who had strong Masonic connections such as Samuel Adams and James Warren. While Copley himself was not a Freemason, he had significant familial connections to the early American Freemasonry through his mother Mary, which may have contributed to him painting the Freemasons that he did.

John’s father dies when he was around the age of 10, and Mary remarried a portrait artist by the name of Peter Pelham. Peter taught many of his techniques to John, including the newly rediscovered mezzotint printing method which Copley later incorporated into his artwork with great effect.
Peter is known to have been a Freemason: he was raised in First Lodge in Massachusetts in 1738, which had been granted its charter from the Premier Grand Lodge of England in 1733. First Lodge holds the honor of being the first duly constituted lodge in America, and many of its early members were influential in the American Revolution. They still meet regularly to this day, having changed their name to St Johns Lodge of Boston.

A close-up of the medallion in the painting.
Peter also took to heart the Biblical adage “Be fruitful and multiply”; he had seven known children from three different women. While at least one of them followed his footsteps and became successful as an engraving artist, our focus instead lies with his second oldest child: Charles Pelham.

If you’ve managed to follow the twisted family tree here, you’ll see that Charles Pelham was the step-brother of John Singleton Copley, the artist. This made it significantly more likely that the portrait in question was, in fact, a true work by Copley of Pelham. Looking into it closer, there is another known painting by Copley of Pelham. This one was painted when he was a younger man, while the subject I received appeared to be of a man later in his life. Even with this age difference, the resemblance is strikingly close enough to feel certain that both subjects are, at the least, very closely related, if not of the same person.

While we could spend hours discussing the artist, he was not a Mason, nor of much interest to me. Instead, my interest lay in the subject himself. Not much is known of Charles Pelham’s early life. He never achieved the level of success as his father or his brothers in artistic endeavors, and remained mainly neutral during the American Revolution. We don’t even know for certain when or where he was born; all we do know is that he was baptized in December of 1722. While Charles did not lead a fascinating public life, his Masonic life is much more interesting for our considerations. He was raised in 1744 at First Lodge, and was placed as their Secretary at the following business meeting. I cannot even imagine asking a newly raised Mason to take over as Secretary today, and it was very unusual, and somewhat controversial, at the time.

A self portrait of Copley.
Why was there such a rush to place him as Secretary? While none of the records themselves spell it out, we can put together a pretty clear picture of what happened by examining the minutes of the lodge themselves, and more specifically the handwriting.

In 1740, Charles’ father Peter was installed as Secretary for First Lodge. Strangely, the handwriting on his original petition and in his private correspondence does not closely match up with the handwriting in the lodge minutes. In fact, it’s almost as if it was written by a completely different hand! Even more curious is the fact that the handwriting is an identical match with that from Charles during the following years when he was secretary.

Examining the handwriting, it appears that Charles was transcribing the lodge minutes for his father for four years before he had been accepted into the lodge! This discovery would explain the rush to move him in – he would have already known many Masonic secrets due to his work transcribing the minutes, and until he took his obligation he had no requirement to keep them.

He was obviously exceedingly good as a Secretary, as he continued to serve his lodge until 1754, and during the years of 1750-1752 he also served as Grand Secretary for the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This is where, to me, he moves from being “just another brother” to being worthy of examination as a “famous” Freemason. His work for the Grand Lodge was revolutionary for the time, as he served as the first Grand Secretary for the state, and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts traces its charter back to the first permanent Provincial Grand Lodge in North America. (As an aside, there was one provincial charter prior, but it was only granted for a two year period) For all intents and purposes, he should be considered the first Grand Secretary in the country!
A known painting of Pelham by Copley.

A large part of Charles’ service to the Grand Lodge was to copy the proceedings of the Provincial Grand Lodge of New England into the permanent records of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, forming their first few volumes of proceedings. The written history of American Freemasonry can all trace back to Charles’ work!

Having established what I believed to be, at best, a reasonably convincing amount of proof, I re-contacted the art dealer with the information I had uncovered, and while I didn’t feel completely certain that we had the correct brother, I felt safe in saying that we were definitely in the correct family. At this point, I proceeded to close out all of my research websites, feeling that there was no further information to be teased out of the picture, and ready to start thinking about my next research piece.

Our story would have ended there, should have ended there, but I received one more e-mail from the London art dealer with a subject that got me excited all over again: “I’ve x-rayed the painting, and found something important!” Included was another photo, showing the x-ray, and my hands nearly shook while opening the attachment.

The fact that I’m explaining all of this here, instead of in my exclusive tell-all interview with The History Channel, is due to the fact that The History Channel no longer returns my calls, and the author of my life doesn’t write grand adventures of discovery for me to go on.
An x-ray taken of the area where the medallion is located.
The x-ray showed, quite clearly, the jewel of a Past Master, and some symbols of the Holy Royal Arch degree. While it was disappointing that it wasn’t a map to a hidden Templar treasure, or scandalous proof that George Washington was a secret cross dresser, what it symbolized was oddly comforting: here was a brother, who had been through the same experiences that I myself had been through, hundreds of years before I was born. The great wheel of Freemasonry continues to turn, unbroken, through the ages.

In the end, who knows the truth about this brother’s life? Until this paper, I doubt you had ever even heard his name, and I doubt you’ll long remember it after we’re done. That is why, to me, it is very important to recognize him as a Freemason: he does not represent the celebrated artist who gained international prestige, or the great orator who brought peace in times of war. He represents the everyday majority of us, silently toiling away in the darkness, trying to bring a little bit of light to the world. To quote Jung, “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” If that is true, I can think of no greater example to emulate than Right Worshipful Brother Charles Pelham.


Bro. Adam Thayer is the Junior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No 54 in Lincoln (NE) and the Worshipful Master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member of the Scottish Rite, and Knight Master of the Lincoln Valley Knights of Saint Andrew. Adam serves on the Education Committee of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. You can contact him at adam.thayer@gmail.com

Want to Buy a Rolex?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB. Gregory J. Knott

I was visiting the famed Silk Market in Bejing, China a few years ago and ran across a booth that was full of watches.   Being a watch collector, I took an interest in what was being sold. I was amazed to see so many Rolex, Omega, Breitling, etc.   All of these were very high quality brand names that sell for several thousand dollars in American jewelry stores.   But it was my lucky day; the vendor told me I could have a brand new Rolex for only $50.   Wow, I must have won the lottery to have been so fortunate to find someone to sell me such a fine quality time piece.
In examining the watch, it said Rolex, was gold in color and had a box with papers that all said Rolex.  It must be real deal correct?   So being the concerned consumer, I asked how the vendor came across such a “fine” time piece and was able to offer it for only $50.  “It’s made right here in China”, he told me.  
Of course as you guessed, the watch was a Chinese made knockoff.  It looked like a Rolex, kept time and had a box that said Rolex, but it was a complete fake.
In the world of Freemasonry, there are many groups where you can find people wearing Masonic regalia, quoting ritual and for a “slight” fee, will initiate you into their group.   But these groups are just like the Rolex I was being sold in China, they are bogus and fake.    Freemasons refer to these groups as clandestine and irregular and are run by people who are forming lodges and grand lodges that are not recognized by main-stream Freemasonry.
Brother Charles Harper Sr. has written extensively on this topic with his book Freemasonry in Black and White and his new book A Spurious State of Confusion.   Brother Harper once himself unknowingly joined one of these lodges, until he was educated by others. He later petitioned and joined a mainstream lodge.  He is now a member of Pleiades Lodge No. 478 and Illumination Lodge No. 5 both of the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
But who decides what lodge/grand lodge is “regular” and what difference does it really make anyway?
Recognition and regularity are a big deal in Masonry, especially when you want to visit other lodges.   The Conference of Grand Masters of Masons of North America is a group that tracks fraternal recognition of legitimate Grand Lodges around the world.   Their Commission on Information for Recognition is charged with recommending which Grand Lodges meet the standards of Recognition.  These standards are:  
  1. Legitimacy of Origin
  2. Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction, except by mutual consent and/or treaty.
  3. Adherence to the Ancient Landmarks – specifically, a Belief in God, the Volume of Sacred Law as an indispensable part of the Furniture of the Lodge, and the prohibition of the discussion of politics and religion
Ultimately each Grand Lodge decides for themselves who they recognize in regards to having formal fraternal relations.
Yes – it’s complicated.   Your Grand Lodge Secretary will maintain a listing of all Grand Lodges for which their particular jurisdiction recognizes.   Each year, Pantagraph Printing out of Bloomington, Illinois publishes a book that contains a listing of all recognized Grand Lodges.
But why does it matter?  Because as a Mason you are charged with having only Masonic relations with those fellow Masons who are members of a recognized lodge and grand lodge.   Sitting in a lodge of clandestine Masons, may result in your dismissal from Masonry.  It’s a serious matter.
It’s not an easy task to track all of these knockoffs, but each Mason has the obligation to educate themselves on the matter.  One of the better sights on the web to check is ran by The Phylaxis Society.  They maintain a current list, although the site is far from complete, as these bogus lodges and grand lodges can appear rapidly.

Do your homework if you are going to plan on visiting a lodge.  Is it a recognized lodge by your grand lodge?  Likewise if you have a visitor to your home lodge, does the Master appoint a committee to examine the brother to ensure he is legitimate?

Just like the Chinese knockoff cheapens the image of a Rolex; clandestine/bogus masonry cheapens regular Freemasonry.  Take due notice thereof and govern yourself accordingly.

WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

The Occult Lodge: Part Two

 From Operative to Occult

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. James E. Frey 32° KT, ROS 

In the recent climate of the literary outbreak of novels based on the speculation of Masonry, modern culture has begun to accept the doubtful notion that Masonry is the descendent of the Medieval Knights Templar, or that it is the barren of some shadowy conspiracy bent toward world domination. But this is only a modem interpretation of a climate of speculation Masons of the 1800s concocted in order to give the Masonic system a romanticized history. But it should be noted that overzealous Masons creating a myth that the craft is traced to ancient origins was a common trend among fraternal groups of the era. It was thought that an elaborate myth of historical connections gave the fraternal group legitimacy.

But in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there was a common theme among Masonic scholars creating a legacy, connecting the craft to a variety of occult groups such as the Rosicrucians, the Essenes, Ancient Egypt, and a variety of other spiritual systems. This was because many of the first members that transformed the Craft from an operative guild into a speculative craft were intellectuals of the Royal Society. These intellectuals were under the influence of classical philosophy, which often incorporated the mystical teachings of the medieval ages. This gave many who were interested in occultism through the age of 18th and 19th centuries the vessel they needed to explore subjective symbolism and determine their own spiritual truths. 

Because Masonry became an organization accepting many mystical brethren, the occult minded brethren of the time adopted aspects of Masonry into the developing "magical" lodges. Primarily they adopted the lodge structure finding its organization as both a degree based learning system and a democratic formation as ample for developing a harmonious and productive organization. But as speculative masonry sought to define itself in its early decades of development through its progression of High Degrees, so the occult lodges defined itself through these High degrees having discrete and secretive groups in which to practice their spiritual paths.


James E Frey 32° classifies himself as a gentleman of the old world, which means he is known to stand in the great forests reciting poetry to fair-haired damsels while wrestling bears for sport. He is a District Education Officer for the Grand Lodge of Illinois, a Past Sovereign Prince of the of Danville AASR, member of the Oak Lawn York Rite, Medinah Shriners, Royal Order of Scotland, Quram Council Allied Masonic Degrees and initiate of the Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti. He is also a guest lecturer on Occultism and Esoteric studies in masonry for the R.E.B.I.S Research Society.