Fruit of the Spirit

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Brian L. Pettice, 33°

" far interwoven with religion...”

Lately I’ve been contemplating the symbolism of the nine pointed star. In Masonry it is usually created by three perfect triangles interposed over each other. It is a part of the jewel of the Thirty-Third degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite as well as the jewel of the Royal Order of Scotland and is portrayed in many other places in Freemasonry. It is a major emblem of the Bahá’í faith. It symbolizes many things, completeness, unity, balance, perfection, the Trinity of Trinities, Deity, and companionship with Deity.

One of the things the nine pointed star is symbolic of for Christians, is the Fruit of the Spirit as written by Paul in his letter to the Galatians when he said,
 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Previously in his letter he had chastised the Galatians for wanting to return to being subjects of the law rather than accepting that Christ’s Grace had freed them from that law. He also said that,
 “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
Now I know some will say that this pretty overtly religious for a Masonic subject. I agree. It is religious, but it is not dogmatic nor proselytic. I believe Paul’s letters and thus the nine pointed star alludes to a couple of universal truths hinted at in the ritual of our fraternity. One, that there is a “Supreme Intelligence that pervades an animates all nature and that can never, no never, die.” And two, that there ought to be a goal to the work we do in learning to subdue our passions and improve ourselves in Masonry-- the work we do on our own rough ashlars. For me the Supreme Intelligence pervading each of us certainly sounds like the Holy Spirit that I believe resides in me. And the Fruit of the Spirit are certainly gifts we all hope our Masonic work bears. If we as Freemasons can exhibit love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our interactions with others; imagine how much better the world would be.

I recognize that, as the Galatians in Paul’s letter, I’ll never be justified through the law. The immortality of my soul is a gift of the Grace of God. For me obtaining the Fruit of the Spirit will be a constant struggle as I battle to surrender my will to the Spirit in residing in me. But it is a worthy goal--the worthy goal.

As I have contemplated the meaning of Masonry over the years, I began to make this part of my daily prayer to God and the Spirit, “More of you and less of me.” If I can surrender and allow the Spirit to lead me, then might I might I bear those fruit. This is religious. But might it also be the goal of Masonry, the object of our esoteric search? Might manifesting the gold of these spiritual gifts, no matter our religion, be the only alchemy that matters?


Brian L. Pettice, 33° is a Past Master of Anchor Lodge No. 980 and plural member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 in Danville, IL and an Honorary Member of a couple of others. He is also an active member of both the York and Scottish Rites. He cherishes the Brothers that have become Friends over the years and is thankful for the opportunities Freemasonry gives and has given him to examine and improve himself, to meet people he might not otherwise have had chance to meet, and to do things he might not otherwise have had chance to do. He is employed as an electrician at the University of Illinois and lives near Alvin, IL with his wife Janet and their son Aidan. He looks forward to sharing the joy the fraternity brings him with others. His email address is

Sovereign Grand Commander Portraits of the Scottish Rite, NMJ

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Travis Simpkins

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library building in Lexington, Massachusetts also serves as headquarters of the Supreme Council, 33°, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Beyond the Museum's gallery spaces, which exhibit treasured artifacts of American History, the long hallway of the Supreme Council's administrative wing also contains a very interesting display of art. All along the length of the hall are a chronological series of gold-framed portraits depicting every Sovereign Grand Commander to have served the NMJ throughout it's more than 200 year history, beginning with Daniel D. Tompkins in 1813 and ending with the SGC at the present time. Each portrait is shifted back one spot when the painted likeness of a new leader is made.

After the current Sovereign Grand Commander, David A. Glattly, 33° was installed in the office in 2017, I was given the great honor of adding to this historical tradition when he asked me to paint his official oil portrait. The process of creating the portrait was all the more meaningful for me, as Commander Glattly has been a kind and helpful friend on my Masonic journey from the beginning.

As a portraitist, the most fulfilling aspect is in knowing that the work is appreciated by the recipient. When the painting was unveiled for Supreme Council staff, the look of warmth and happiness on Commander Glattly's face was an indication that I had done the task well. Of all the hundreds of portraits I've created over the years, I count this one among those of which I am most proud.

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. However, it is best to plan ahead and arrange a guided tour.

For more information, visit the website


Travis Simpkins is a freelance artist with clients throughout the United States and Europe. He currently works on projects for the Supreme Council, 33°, NMJ in Lexington, Massachusetts and the Supreme Council, 33°, SJ in Washington, DC. He also serves as a portrait artist for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Grand Lodge of New Jersey and other jurisdictions across North America. His artwork is in many esteemed collections, including the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum in Independence, Missouri and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

Bro. Simpkins is a member of Morning Star Lodge A.F. & A.M. in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is a 32° Mason in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite- Valleys of Worcester and Boston. He is also a member of Eureka Royal Arch Chapter, Hiram Council of Royal & Select Master Masons and Worcester County Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar.

When It All Goes Symbolic

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Robert H. Johnson

As we move through the degrees in Freemasonry, there's a lot to unpack. The language is old, antiquated and generally hard to understand.

We tend to take everything we hear and read, and apply a passive attitude toward what's mentioned within. Did you study the seven liberal arts and sciences? Do you reflect on your behaviors and apply the working tools?

Passively sure. But being conscious of the lessons, is not enough. Knowing something exists does not mean you've done the work. One needs to actually apply the teachings in order to truly be "Masonic".

Much like the Penalties of the craft, I cannot write, suffice to say that these have been relegated to symbolic status only. I'm not making a case to make them real, just using the common example. In more than one jurisdiction additional verbiage has been added to make sure the initiate knows he doesn't actually have to worry about anything at all.

But what of the rest? To divest yourselves of the vices? Have you done this? Did you quit biting your nails? Quit smoking? Or, did you just keep on doing it, and say, "Man, that was cool."?

Did you apply yourself to the study of the craft with freedom fervency and zeal? Or are the teachings of Freemasonry and everything contained in regards to actionable items, just a symbolic ask?

Candidate: "So do where do I go to study the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences?"

Lodge Officer: "Oh, you misunderstand. You don't really have to do those things."

Is the point to make you aware only? Or to actually do the things the Craft asks us to do? We cannot be workmen if we're about nothing more than a handshake and honor. How are you flawed? How can masonry help? Using the working tools of Freemasonry, we can identify these things within ourselves and with the lessons contained within ritual, we can conquer them.

Let's get down to business and do some Freemasonry--make some good men...better.

"It is absurd to thing that a vast organization like Masonry was ordained merely to teach to grown-up men the world the symbolical meaning of a few simple builders' tools." ~W.L. Wilmshurst


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 Challenge Of Building The Next Generation Of Masons

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

I’ve written a lot about famous Freemasons over the years. Our Fraternity has boasted a tremendous number of truly remarkable individuals over its long history. I’ve studied many of our Fraternity’s most notable men. Freemasonry can’t take full credit for the attributes of many of these remarkable men. Many of them were remarkable long before they knocked at the door of a Masonic Lodge, but the Masonic Lodge certainly focused many of these men, and gave them the skills they lacked to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Many men both famous and not-so-famous have learned valuable skills in leadership, character development, and morals and ethics. Freemasonry has served as a springboard for many to find our purpose and our true calling in life. That’s certainly been true for me.

Freemasonry has been a college of learning for me. Throughout my adult life, the Bible has always been my “text book” but Freemasonry has served me well as the “learning lab.” I’ve learned how to run a meeting. I’ve learned how to apply minimal resources for maximum impact. I’ve learned to network. I’ve gained leadership skills. I’ve gained speaking skills. Most importantly I’ve been able to take the sharp edges off aspects of my character and personality through the teachings of Freemasonry and by my association with men that possessed those skills I lacked. I’m not the same person that I was at all, and I don’t think I’m finished learning either. Masonry took me down a path I never thought I’d be on, and changed me in ways I never thought possible. Over the last year or two, that path has lead me to another fork in the road—another of life’s adventures I’m about to embark on and that I never would have found if not for the benefits I’ve gained through my Fraternity. Masonry has taught me what is possible. What is possible as individuals. What’s possible as a small group. What’s possible as a community.

And I feel like I’m just getting started. Like Masons learn, we are a project that’s never finished—an ashlar that is never truly perfected on Earth but we none-the-less continue to chip away at until our final day comes. I get it! I was taught well, I took well to the lessons offered, and I’ve applied them to my life. That’s what it’s all about.

And I know many of my Brothers have had this same experience because we’ve talked about it at length. And we all seem to have the same concern about the future as well. That the men we’re raising in our Lodge’s today aren’t getting that same quality of mentorship that we had when we joined. We’ve gotten away from teaching Freemasonry and applying Freemasonry. We’ve gotten away from building our new members into tomorrow’s leaders. And over the last decade, those men we’ve raised and failed to teach have risen in the ranks without the benefit of really understanding what the Fraternity is truly about.

I was talking to a Mason a few months ago, and he made an interesting remark. He said that Freemasonry is built on a set of moral and ethical principles, much like a church is built upon the Bible. Then he asked what would happen if you took the Bible out of the church. And we had a long and illuminating talk about what the results of that would be.

Well, you’d get together every week for a service. You’d probably run the service the same way you always have even though you’ve forgotten why you’re doing it that way. If you’re in a hurry you might skip parts of the service. You’d sing a little. You’d listen to announcements. Talk about people who are sick or are in need and take up a collection. You’d have lunch afterwards. Your membership would begin to drop because the congregation would realize they’re not getting much out of the service other than listening to announcements, and putting money in the plate every week. Some of the older members would find other places to go, because they remember what church used to be about. Next thing you know money is an issue and the pews are growing more sparse by the week. The church board would get very concerned. Some might suggest getting back to teaching that Bible again since that was what the church was original built upon, but the majority would say that the new members who have joined since they got away from teaching from the Bible don’t have any interest in learning those old scriptures—they joined for fellowship, and fund raising. So what would they do to attract new members? Maybe they’d plan a golf outing, or a movie night. And money? We’ve got that nice fellowship hall and kitchen. Maybe we ought to have a pancake breakfast . . . or a fish fry.

Sound familiar? That’s just an example—Freemasonry isn’t a church, but it would be the same story with any organization built with a core purpose. What if the Cancer Foundation was no longer funded cancer research. Or the Humane Society got away from running animal shelters.

Freemasonry is an organization built upon a purpose . . . a mission. But in too many places, we’ve gotten away from that purpose, which is to build strong men. Men of character. Men with strong moral and ethical values. When you take the core purpose out of an organization, all you’re left with is an empty meeting room full of empty chairs.

We must get back to what we’re truly about.


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog, and an award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. Todd started the Midnight Freemason blog in 2006, and in 2012 he opened it up as a contributor blog The Midnight Freemasons (plural). Todd has written more than 1,000 pieces for the blog since it began. He is a Past Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL) where he currently serves as Secretary. He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research (FMLR). He is a charter member of the a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and currently serves as EHP. You can contact him at:

Freemasonry in Living Color

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR

Back in 2009, as social media was bursting its way onto the scene I met with the Missouri Lodge of Research to map out a plan and establish an official blessing for maintaining a Twitter and Facebook presence for the LOR.

With that, we started co-posting Masonic tidbits on each site. Most were historical in nature, something like, "Charles A. Lindbergh, pioneer aviator, first to fly the Atlantic, Keystone Lodge 243, St. Louis, was born this date in 1902." Others simply addressed the tenets and symbolism of the Craft such as, "The anchor and the ark are emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life." At the time Twitter had a 140 character limit which precluded much in the way of depth on any given post.

We never really promoted the site but followers trickled in. I have posted daily since the project started.

Late last year, I began adding a picture to every post. It's a well-known fact that posts with pictures garner more interest than those which are exclusively text. It increased my workload and the time I have to spend with the project, but I figured it would be worth it if the Lodge of Research got more exposure. And it worked. Almost immediately the Facebook site got many more likes and engagements. The new follower graph got much denser as we've been adding several new followers daily instead of the previous one or two a week. Twitter activity and likes increased as well.

Not long after I started posting the pictures I began doing something else – I've been doing everything I can to find or create a colorpicture to go with the post. While I really can't quantify its effect, there has definitely been an up-tick in interactions. Color brings things to life. It can make things fresh, new and exciting.

A lot of the things I post, especially about people, had been black and white, drab, old, lifeless. I don't think it's a stretch to think that such pictures could imply Freemasonry itself is drab, old, lifeless, a thing of the past. That's not a message I want to send.

Freemasonry has a rich history, but if we want to attract a new generation of members and energize current members we need to show them we are alive and well and relevant for today. My colorized posts aren't going to do that by themselves; they are merely symbolic for what we need to do.

I saw an incredible statistic this week. Twenty-two percent of millennials say they have no friends ( I know where they can get them. What we have to do, without changing our principles, is show them how the tenets of Freemasonry are relevant to them. Easier said than done, but we're not going to do that by staying on the path we've been on for years. And we're not going to do it by continuing to hide our light under a bushel. We simply have got to do more, much more, to promote the Craft. Let me repeat that: we have to do much more to promote Freemasonry in an exciting, relevant way – in living color, so to speak.

Unfortunately I'm not really optimistic we'll do that because… say it with me… we've never done things that way before.


Bro. Steve Harrison, 33° , is Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is also a Fellow and Past Master of the Missouri Lodge of Research. Among his other Masonic memberships are the St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite bodies, and Moila Shrine. He is also a member and Past Dean of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother Harrison is a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog as well as several other Masonic publications. Brother Steve was Editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine for a decade and is a regular contributor to the Whence Came You podcast. Born in Indiana, he has a Master's Degree from Indiana University and is retired from a 35 year career in information technology. Steve and his wife Carolyn reside in northwest Missouri. He is the author of dozens of magazine articles and three books: Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, Freemasons — Tales From the Craft and Freemasons at Oak Island.

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'état. 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

The Masonic Mountain

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
RWB Alex Powers

Have you heard of the Masonic Mountain in Colorado? We recently took a road trip to Colorado Springs for a much needed family vacation and I got the chance to see this particular mountain. Still not ringing a bell? Perhaps you have heard of Pikes Peak--I thought so. The term “Masonic Mountain” which you'll find referenced online, I personally think is a bit overzealous, but nevertheless there is quite the Masonic Connection. When I mention this to Masons unfamiliar with the story, their first thought always goes to, “ it named after Albert Pike?” No, it is not. However, coincidentally enough, the man whom the mountain is named after is one General Zebulon Pike. It was originally named “El Captain” by the Spanish explorers and was later renamed to “Pike’s Peak” and finally, removing the apostrophe, the current “Pikes Peak” after one Zebulon Pike, the American explorer who documented the mountain after the documented the mountain during his exploration of the Louisiana Purchase territory. Even more interestingly, he was in fact distantly related to the legendary Albert Pike through a shared ancestor, James Pike.

Zebulon made a name for himself, though independent of his ancestral connection. He was a celebrated American general, brigadier, and explorer. Born January 5, 1779, Pike went on to lead an impressive military career although he would perish in action at the young age of only 34 years old. Zebulon and Albert Pike did have another point of commonality besides the status of General in the military and being distantly related. They both were Freemasons. Brother Zebulon Pike is said to have been a Master Mason belonging to lodge #3 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

So is that why Pikes Peak has been referenced as a “Masonic Mountain”? Because the explorer was a Mason and it shares a common surname, the same as Albert Pike? Well, perhaps partially, but there is actually something even more interesting that brings a solid connection to Freemasonry that lasts even to this day. Some are already aware that back in 1899 there was actually a Masonic time capsule placed at the summit of Pikes Peak. In 1899, there was a triangular time capsule made of copper inserted into a large boulder on the edge of the summit of Pikes Peak. For someone like myself who is not the biggest fan of heights it was a bit of a daunting task wondering my way over to it, but the historian in me would not allow me to leave without seeing it up close. For those that follow me on social media, I even did a live broadcast while standing next to the capsule. I figured if I happened to fall to my death in the midst, might as well document the event…

The capsule was originally placed there back in 1899 as a joint effort between the Cryptic Masonic of Colorado and Kansas. That was of course, a very pleasant surprise to discover, being a Kansas Mason. It is said that as many as 500 Masons arrived on a special train for the ceremony. That would have been a sight to see; 500 Masons carrying out a ceremony atop Pikes Peak! I can only imagine.

In 1999, on the 100th anniversary of that event, more than 200 Masons (still a mighty impressive number) from Colorado and Kansas once again took the Railway to the summit of Pikes Peak removing the capsule and its contents with the intention of replacing it with a new one for another 100-year term. Due to a misjudgment in size the replacement capsule did not fit correctly and on top of this, a theft occurred of those new items. What was left in their place-- a slew of anti-Masonic materials. September of that year it is reported that the issue was resolved and a new, proper fitting capsule was set into place with a crowd this time of 22 Masons. It is said the original capsule is displayed in a Kansas bank, however, I have not yet discovered where. If anyone reading this happens to know I would appreciate that information so I can pay it a visit in person.

So yes, this mountain does indeed have some Masonic roots so to speak. Some even into the depths of the hard, cold summit rock. Having the opportunity to visit this monument in person was pretty surreal to me. I imagined the original dedication crowd there so many years ago... If you ever have the opportunity to visit, make sure you act on it. I know the next time we are in the Colorado Springs area I will again pay a visit to the peak of "Masonic Mountain", and imagine again, the labors of my Brothers.


RWB, Alex G. Powers is a historian and esoteric enthusiast. As a fifth-generation Freemason, he carries a hearty interest in antiquities of the Masonic institution. He currently serves as the Director of the Kansas Lodge of Research as well as District Deputy Grand Master for Area 9A in Kansas, he is also a Past Master and currently serving as Tyler and Lodge Historian for Gardner Lodge No. 65. Brother Powers is the host and founder of Historical Light, an independent production focusing on the history of Freemasonry. He is also the author of “A History of Gardner Masonic Lodge No. 65” with additional projects in the works.

Hiram Abiff, Solomon & Jesus - The Tie that Binds

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Robert H. Johnson

*Editors Note: Here is a fun amateur "What if?..." piece I wrote a number of years ago. It was first printed in The Working Tools Magazine, November of 2013, and later in the Knight Templar Magazine. I offer this as a hypothetical based on the works of evangelical biblical scholars and the use of Aristotelian (if this than that) argument. I hope you enjoy this revisit. 

Boaz and Ruth
Who was the “Widow’s Son”? The answer might seem easily answered, but when one reads of legends, scriptures, the Apocrypha and other historical documents, it becomes apparent that perhaps we cannot answer this question so easily.

In the writings of Masonic scholars we learn of Hiram Abiff, “The Widow’s Son”. There are others in the aforementioned various texts referred as, “The Widow’s Son”. It seems this is a title to which more than one can be named. The use of the title is actually traced back to the Grail lore traditions which speak of a descended blood line and specifically reference Ruth.

Ruth, a woman of the Moabite tribe, was married to Boaz, and she was a heroine of the Old Testament. She was also the Great Grandmother of King David-- the father of King Solomon, who built the Temple. Ruth became pregnant, and married Boaz. He was quite a bit older being 80, while Ruth was just 40. The scriptures says that Boaz dies the next day. That must have been some wedding night.

From this point on, all the descendants of Ruth, were known simply as “Sons of the Widow”. A genetic title if you will. A genealogy can be traced. Ruth gives birth to the first “Son of the Widow”, Obed, who grows up and bears his son Jesse, who bears his son David who bears his sons Solomon and Nathan.

Using the lineage given in the Gospels of the Christian Bible, Jesus the Nazarene is a descendant of Ruth, making him also, a “Son of the Widow” or “Widow’s Son”. There are forty-five generations from Ruth to Jesus. This leaves an interesting problem for us as Masons. Nowhere in the lineage mentioned in the Bible, does it refer to Hiram Abiff.

Knowing this, it seems the trail grows cold in the search for Hiram Abiff’s title of “The Widow’s Son”. The Grail legends were written in a way that lends itself to allegory and therefore, the story cannot be just assumed to mean that Hiram was literally just a son of woman who lost her husband. These legends early on establish this title and what it means, which is a descendant of Ruth or more aptly a descendant of Boaz, either the 31st or 30th generation from Adam if you rely on Luke's genealogy.

Could Hiram Abiff be related somehow to the historical Jesus the Nazarene? The Gospels again, leave a cold trail. He simply isn't mentioned at all in the genealogy given by Luke or Mathew.

When Hiram Abiff is referenced as being a “Widow’s Son”, it is somehow implying that he was of the line of Ruth, who was married to Boaz and from them, according to Luke, a continued line to King David, King Solomon and eventually to Jesus the Nazarene. Was he a distant relative or cousin?

King Solomon was also a “Widow’s Son” in the sense of being of the lineage of Ruth. Is this why King Solomon called for a Tyrian which was handpicked to be the architect of the Jewish Temple of the God of Israel? Could Solomon have hired Hiram since they were family?

Doing detective work in genealogy can be taxing enough when researching ancestry just a few generations removed from the researcher, a task made much more difficult using biblical origins as references.

The lineage of Jacob is vital to this story. Twelve generations prior to the time of King Solomon, and eight generations prior to the time of Boaz, the twelve sons of Jacob were the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. The fourth son of Jacob, Judah, was of the line that included the wise king, and extended through him to Jesus the Nazarene. The sixth son, Naphtali, was the founder of the line that included Hiram Abiff.

It is elementary to suggest that at the time of Jacob the designation of “Widow’s Son” had not yet been used, however, in his offspring, through time until we reach the time of Ruth, and from then on, it is not so unthinkable that the lineage would have used this epithet when speaking of their heritage or when scholars were recording the history of the time or even the Gospels.

What is it about this lineage which draws the title to it? What was so special? The three largest monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all regard it [the lineage] with reverence. After all, this lineage contains Adam, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, David, Solomon, Nathan, Zerubbabel and Jesus the Nazarene.

Perhaps the coincidence which ties this lineage together is the ability to create. According to Luke, the line starts with Elohim (The Great Architect of the Universe) and then to Adam. The Christian Bible does not specifically make any magnificent claims to what Adam had ever built, however several other men in this lineage in fact are great builders.

Enoch was the builder of the mythological underground temple consisting of nine vaults with an altar where on the “Stone of Creation” and the Tetragrammaton were said to have been hidden. These legends are featured in the York and Scottish Rites namely the 7th degree in the York Rite called “The Holy Royal Arch” and the 13th degree of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, called the “Royal Arch of Solomon”. In recent years it has even been suggested that Enoch was the builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza. The ancient Egyptians are said to have known the Great Pyramid as “The Pillar of Enoch”.

A somewhat obscure reference to that is found in the Bible, “In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt…” Isaiah 19:19.
Noah of course built the mythological Ark to house all of the creations of God that were spared in the legend of the great flood.

Abraham or Abram and his son Ishmael are purported to have built the Kaaba, a cube shaped building in Arabia which is one of the holiest sites for Brothers of the Muslim faith.

King David built a city and his palace and had sons, one of whom was King Solomon, who was responsible for the Temple of Solomon, which we all know is at the center of the teachings of our noble craft. These builders in the original line or “Alpha Lineage” the line that according to Luke starts with God and leads to Jesus the Nazarene go on and on with fantastic accomplishments.

Let us not forget however that there is the allusion to the building of the spiritual temple, a spiritual artificer which Jesus the Nazarene seemed to personify and ages before then we find the same in the character Freemasonry calls its patron, Hiram Abiff. The handpicked chief architect of the Temple of God. A man to emulate in his duty and fealty to his brothers, both Hiram of Tyre and King Solomon, this is the man we learn about in our  degrees and indeed try to emulate.

The “Alpha Line” is synonymous with “The Widow’s Son”. It could merely be the separation of the generational gap and a more coded obscure way of saying “of the Tribe of Judah” without being abrasive.

It could be that the Tribe of Judah was the main branch of this line and that The Widow’s Sons are an offshoot of the original line but whose closeness to the original line needed to be preserved by means of a title given to these builders.

In the end, we will never know if Adam, Jesus the Nazarene or Hiram were truly related, however it is clear that  The Widows Son is a title given to the offspring of Ruth and her descendants. It is also clear that Freemasonry calls its patron Saint Hiram Abiff a “Widow's Son", who was a builder. The lessons taught philosophically within our Masonic system have much to do with building as well, the main difference is that we are building our spiritual temples. In the Masonic system we follow in the footsteps of Hiram Abiff, but we not only represent him, we physically become him in the degrees and in the end we all end up a “Widow’s Son”. Becoming a Master Mason we all end up being builders of fantastic hearts, minds and souls.

So brethren, I ask you, “Who is the Widow’s Son?”

Look in the mirror, and you will surely see him.

Inspired by a brief article in the Trestle board of Blackmer Lodge #442 F&AM, California by WB John R Heisner


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.

Inside Sentinel

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Erik Marks

*Editor's Note* It is pertinent to say that while not all Masonic Lodges have an Inner Sentinel, you may make a parallel to perhaps a Steward, a Tiler or some other office which is the, "beginners spot". In addition, if you don't have Inner Sentinels or Guards, this is an ideal learning piece for you. I hope you enjoy. ~ R.H. Johnson
When I’m properly prepared and qualified, I’m eagerly anticipating being allowed a year in the inside sentinel’s seat. I hear it is a position in many lodges not often occupied due to lack of membership, interest or ability to step into line, or just not seen as important. In many ways I see this as the essential chair to begin with. Practically speaking, I’ve read a little about inside sentinels, or inside guard, taking on tasks such as care of the Colors of the lodge, escorting a deacon, or acting as electrician. I’ve had the chance to speak with a brother who occupied the chair for a year in his lodge and confirmed some of my musings. It’s the chance for the most junior officer to take in the workings of lodge in a new way, without expectation for much performance. If only instituted as anxiety-management measure to lower the barrier to being an officer, it was brilliant maneuver; for those of us with a lot of worry mind about getting things right, the craft has come up an ideal entry point.

From the speculative and psychological view, it is an introspective role. This unassuming apprentice seat in the west, has direct line of sight to the Master, and technically at this right hand though across the room. As the Master’s youngest mentee, the silent observer could take in all the lodge proceedings for study, but also to “watch the vibe.” In many group processes, vibes watcher is a vital role. At the end of a lodge meeting, comments communicated about the evening’s communication could be a valuable asset to a sitting Master from one not yet fully inculcated in the line. The commentary could be practice for the process of discussion about observations of lodge and offer a chance for the Master to guide how an officer transmits his observations with tact and graciousness, with brotherly love and affection. The opportunity for mindfulness practice, meditation in action, seems exceptional: practicing an evenly hovering attention (a phrase used in the psychoanalytic cannon), calm vigilance, to take in all without necessity to speak. By definition it’s a non-speaking part.

Taken as the psychological metaphor, sitting at the edge of consciousness, practicing watching and not commentingon one’s own experience is a beautiful metaphor. Just observe. Just observe your own mind and don’t be harsh or critical, just feel and see, note. Watch the movements in lodge and self and do nothing, just feel the reactions and note them for later. Of course, when floor work requires movement with a committee, etc., that too engaged with thorough silence, witnessing. For those more esoterically inclined, this is an ideal seat in which to hold reverence and energetic presence. Dignified, and serene, the sentinel as the outpost at the portal trains to remain present and aware of internal and external movement through sound and feel. One could practice holding Grace, breath as silent and continuous prayer, envisioning and holding an energetic circle, and/or other non-verbal esoteric and energetic practices.

Continuing practice outside of lodge in everyday life, one’s internal inner sentinel acts as filter for what is allowed into the temple, and what is let out. Dignified, serene, reverent observation in meetings, shopping, sitting with one’s child or neighbor, watching, listening, taking note. Non-judgmental or non-punitive observation of one’s own internal proceedings through the day. The worthwhile and idle chatter treated with discernment, with due care. I emphasize with discernment and without punishment as the latter is wasted psychic energy which could be used to make positive change and effort rather than corrosive internal meanness which only dampens moral and erodes character.

We are born into life and listen at first. We are brought (by our choice; “born”) into lodge and further development and listen at the sidelines. We step (again a choice, and reborn) into line with further chance for personal development and sit silently to listen, anew with a new view to our path and teachings. It seems like an opportunity worth elevating, promoting for all its potential as another beginning, deepening. I’m interested in hearing from those of you who have asked, or were offered, to begin your career as officer in this position in the lodge. If I’m allowed this opportunity, I’ll let you know how it goes.


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:

The Gift Of Kindness

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

I went to the post office yesterday.  I always go to the same post office, because they aren't usually very busy, and I mail a lot of stuff--books mostly.  I hadn't been there in several months, but when I walked in there yesterday, the clerk at the counter said, "oh, I've been waiting for you to come in!"  And she disappears.  When she comes back she has this little ceramic fez she found in a garage sale or an auction somewhere.

She gave it to me.  It made my day!  I showed it to my wife when I picked her up for lunch.  I showed my co-workers when I got back to the office.  I even posted a picture of it on social media.  It's now sitting on the top shelf in my office where everyone will see it when they walk in. 

I barely know her, but through our interactions at the window over the last several years, she knew I was a Mason.  She knew I was a writer and I mailed a lot of books.  She knows I'm a collector of Masonic curiosities.  I know the same basics about her as she knows about me.  She's an avid antique collector, which means she knows my dad who is also an avid antique collector.  And she works at the post office.  That's it.

She probably paid a buck or two for it.   I think the thing that most impressed me is her attitude in life.  She's a giver.  When she saw that item, she didn't look at it to decide if she wanted it or not as most people would.  She looked at it and realized somebody she hardly knows might enjoy having that trinket and she picked it up--it could have been sitting in her locker at work for weeks before I finally showed up.  And I couldn't be more sure than I am in saying I bet I'm not the only person that has gone into that post office and gotten a similar surprise from her.

I guess my take-away from that lesson is that it doesn't take very much to make somebody's day.  We spend so much time worrying about our own problems, and our own concerns, and absorbed in our own little world we sometimes fail to see those around us.  We fail to appreciate the things other people do for us.  It doesn't cost very much (even nothing) to do a nice thing.  It doesn't take much time or effort to call somebody out of the blue--even if you don't need something from them.  Thank them for something they've done for you.  Or drop a card in the mail to let somebody know you appreciate them, or that you've been thinking about them.  

As you're reading this, I'd be willing to bet there's somebody that's come to your mind.  I'll bet it is somebody you just realized that you really need to do something nice for.

Why don't you just do it?  If you're reading this, you've got time right now, right?


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog, and an award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. Todd started the Midnight Freemason blog in 2006, and in 2012 he opened it up as a contributor blog The Midnight Freemasons (plural). Todd has written more than 1,000 pieces for the blog since it began. He is a Past Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL) where he currently serves as Secretary. He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research (FMLR). He is a charter member of the a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and currently serves as EHP. You can contact him at: