Monday, June 11, 2007

When did lodges first appear in America?

The first mention of Ancient Craft Masonry Lodges existing in America was in 1730. Benjamin Franklin, before he himself was a Mason, printed 'there are several Lodges of FREE MASONS erected in this Province'... in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Most likely there were Lodges earlier than this.

The May 25, 1727 issue of The Weekly News Letter in Boston reports of a meeting of Freemasons in London to elect the new Grand Master. Why would the publisher of this newspaper include this information if there weren't any Boston area readers that were Freemasons? There is a similar news article in the Maryland Gazette of 1729. There must of been subscribers of this paper in the Annapolis, MD area that were interested in masonic proceedings. Newspapers in Colonial America were only a couple of pages long so printing real-estate was valuable. There was also a shortage of subscribers, so publishers printed only information that would be of interest to these subscribers.

It appears that Freemasonry spread rapidly to the "new world." Within 10 years of the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717, there were several Lodges spread across Colonial America.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sirius as the Masonic "Blazing Star"

The first degree of Freemasonry mentions the Blazing Star as one of the ornaments of the Lodge. In my jurisdiction, there is no explanation of what this star is. Several theories have been put forth as to what it may be: the sun, the Bethlehem star, or the dog star-Sirius.

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and is located in the constellation Cannis Major, hence the name "Dog Star." Could this actually be the Blazing Star at the center of the Lodge?

This star was very important to the ancient Egyptians. They based their calendars on the rising of Sirius and positioned their temples so that the light of the star would reach the inner altar.

Albert Pike claimed that Sirius was the Blazing Star in Morals and Dogma:

To find in the BLAZING STAR of five points an allusion to the Divine Providence, is also fanciful; and to make it commemorative of the Star that is said to have guided the Magi, is to give it a meaning comparatively modern. Originally it represented SIRIUS, or the Dog-star, the forerunner of the inundation of the Nile; the God ANUBIS, companion of ISIS in her search for the body of OSIRIS, her brother and husband. Then it became the image of HORUS, the son of OSIRIS, himself symbolized also by the Sun, the author of the Seasons, and the God of Time; Son of ISIS, who was the universal nature, himself the primitive matter, inexhaustible source of Life, spark of uncreated fire, universal seed of all beings. It was HERMES, also, the Master of Learning, whose name in Greek is that of the God Mercury. It became the sacred and potent sign or character of the Magi, the PENTALPHA, and is the significant emblem of Liberty and Freedom, blazing with a steady radiance amid the weltering elements of good and evil of Revolutions, and promising serene skies and fertile seasons to the nations, after the storms of change and tumult. - Albert Pike from Morals and Dogma, page 14-15.

The Ancient Astronomers saw all the great Symbols of Masonry in the Stars. Sirius glitters in our lodges as the Blazing Star. - Albert Pike from Morals and Dogma, page 486

Monday, June 4, 2007

Did Christianity borrow from ancient religions?

While reading the 18th chapter of Morals and Dogma, I noticed that Pike mentioned several ancient cultures that used the symbol of the cross for religious purposes before the Christians did. It reminded me of something that I read a while back about the similarities of Jesus and other ancient "pagan" deities. These ancient deities shared the same birth stories, messages of salvation, death and resurrection as Jesus. Some examples of these gods include: Osiris, Attis, Dionysus, Mithras and Krishna. I decided to revisit the the subject and did some quick searching on the internet.

Most of the sites listed on Google greatly exaggerated the connections between Christianity and older religions. These sites made it look like Christianity directly "stole" from these earlier religions.

Some of the other sites completely dismiss any connection at all. They claim that Christianity is unique and deny that it borrows anything from ancient religions.

I finally found a site that was really good at explaining the connection: Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth. It lays out all of the facts in a straightforward manner and lets the readers decide for themselves.