Saturday, November 26, 2005

THE WIDOWS OF THE HOLY BIBLE

The Jewish people is a patriarchal society; so for readers who are too lazy to get a dictionary and get the precise meaning of the word patriarchal (this word is not found in the dictionary available in the Internet) it means that if the male rules the house, then it is patriarchal; on the other hand, if a lion tamer exists with a menacing whip on her hand- then it is matriarchal. But let us get back to the topic before the snoring lady in bed awakens and find out what this article is all about..

Readers of the Holy Writings will attest that only the masculine gender are given prominence in the Holy Bible; Adam Noah, Moses, David, Solomon, even Jesus Christ. Of course the female counterparts are also mentioned, like Eve, Mary, and Mary Magdalene. But these names were recognized mainly to exhort male chauvinistic traits, or to chronicle unpleasant events that the matriarchal society never wants.

. Take the case of Eve, for instance. She was mentioned because she goaded Adam to eat the apple, an act that would later be held responsible for the original sin of mankind.. Mary was important only because she is the mother of Jesus Christ. And Mary Magdalene?! She became prominent because she anointed Jesus with the spikenard and even on this aspect, she was made to appear as a prostitute although contemporary biblical scholars claim her role in the Bible was marginalized and that really, the hint of her being made a harlot is mainly to lessen her importance in the life of Jesus Christ. Ever heard that Jesus and Mary Magdalene living as conjugal partners that were bannered by the books “Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Templar Revelations,” etc., books that claims the Magdalene was the human vessel that carried the blood of Jesus Christ and that they have procreated descendants that live to this day? Heretical and preposterous, to say the least, some would say.

But the role of women in procreation can never be ignored and they are presented in several categories. They either are shown as (1) barren women (in local parlance, “walang ng katas”), (2) harlots (the real putang inas) (3) virgins (yong di pa nagagalaw) and (4) widows (at biyudas ano pa!). And this brief (no, not the one used as underwears!) article is about the last-mentioned category.

Widows abound in the Holy Bible and this writer has tallied no less than eight, five of whom have Masonic relevance. Let’s take them up one by one, citing them in the reverse order of their appearance. Lifo- the accountants would brag.

I. THE WIDOW MENTIONED BY ELISAH

As backgrounder, Elisah, son of Elijah, is mentioned in 2 Kings 4:1-7 the gist of which are as follows:

“The woman, whose husband is already dead approached Elisha saying that her creditors came to take her two sons as bondsmen (in local lingo, alila or longkatuts). Whereupon Elisha asked her what she has in the house and she replied, ”nothing except the pot of oil”. Elisha then ordered her to borrow similar vessels (or pots) from her neighbors, all she could gather, he said, and after which, Elisha, in the name of God, filled all the vessels with oil. He later ordered the widow: “Go sell the oil, pay your debts, and live thou and thy children with the rest.”

This biblical passage has no Masonic import, but just as wishful thinking: “Wouldn’t it be nice, if Elisha were around to help GMA fill the drained tubs of Petron, Caltex and Shell, sell these, pay the nation’s debts, and live normally ever after with Virgilio Garcillano and Jock-Joke Bolante no longer at her heels?!

II. ELIJAH AND THE WIDOW OF ZAREPATH

Elijah is mentioned in 1 Kings 18: 1-16, and is particularly relevant to members of the Craft. The gist of this biblical passage was already detailed in a previous article titled “Elijah and the Widow of Zarepath” and therefore will no longer be discussed lengthily. Suffice it to say however, that the equivalent of the mariners’ signal of distress that is eloquently expressed by the acronym SOS for “Save Our Souls”, is emphatically depicted, but this writer no longer feels obligated to relate. Readers who would want further explanation are therefore advised to get back at that article and browse over it again.

III. HIRAM ABIF, THE WIDOW’S SON

Undoubtedly the most popular to Freemasons (and understandably so since all have represented Hiram Abif), this widow is neither named nor clearly identified in the Bible. To confound matters, the writer of 1 Kings says she is from the tribe of Napthali while the author of 1 Chronicles claim he is the son of a Danite woman. However, since Naptahali and Dan are sons of Jacob by the same mother named Bilhah, then it should follow that if Hiram Abif was a descendant of Napthali, then he could not be a descendant of Dan, and vice versa!!

On a parallel case, this writer also noticed that even the genealogy of Jesus Christ also suffers the same inconsistency when the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are compared. Matthew traced the genealogy that David’s son from whom Jesus Christ came from was Solomon, while Luke said that it was from his elder brother Nathan..

Talk about the infallibility of the Holy Bible and these two classic examples will easily stir a hornet’s nest. But oh, well!!.

IV. BATHSHEBA, THE MOTHER OF SOLOMON

How a very beautiful woman named Bathsheba became a widow is a unique story in itself.

The Holy Writings (1 Samuel 11: 1-27) says that one evening David walked on the roof of his house and saw a very beautiful woman washing herself. Learning later that she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite who is one of his generals, and secretly coveting her for himself, he ordered that Uriah be sent to the most dangerous part of the battlefield, there to do battle and consequently died. After the required mourning, David took Bathsheba as one of his many wives and on the second pregnancy, Solomon was born.

Bathsheba thus was recorded as a woman who was made widow and wife by imperial might.

V. NAOMI, ORPAH AND RUTH (See Book of Ruth in its entirety)

The widowed life of Naomi, Orpah and Ruth were not as tantalizing as that of Bathsheba. The three became widows as follows: Naomi by her husband Elime-elech; Orpah by Mahlon and Ruth by Chil-on, with the last two mentioned males being sons of Naomi.

After the death of their respective husbands, the three returned to Judah, no! not the name but the place. Since the two daughters-in-law were Moabites, Naomi persuaded them to return to their respective places so that they can return to their own normal lives before they got married. But while Orpah heeded her mother-in-law, Ruth decided to stay. It is while living with Naomi that Boaz, a wealthy land-owner and relative of Elim-elech took notice of Ruth, and in accordance with ancient Israelitish custom claimed her for his wife.

Boaz and Ruth would later sire Obed who is the father of Jesse and Jesse producing a son named David who became the second king of Israel.

The Masonic relevance of this biblical passage traces the part of the lecture in the EAM degree that says:

“You are neither barefoot nor shod, in allusion to an ancient Israelitish custom adopted among Masons. Concerning redeeming, we read in the Book of Ruth. . .”

There you are. You should now pick the continuation of the lecture from there!!

VI. TAMAR, THE WIDOW OF ER (Genesis 38: 1-30)

Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, had three sons named Er, Onan and Shelah. In fine Judah had Er married to Tamar. But Er died without producing a son and so in accordance with tradition, Judah required his second son Onan to cohabit with Tamar. Onan however, knowing that any offspring would not be credited to him but to his elder brother, spills his semen on the ground whenever the make contact and thereafter died likewise without a descendant. Again, in accordance with tradition, Judah convinced Tamar to stay in his house so that he can give Shelah to her for a husband when he fully grows up.

Shelah finally matured without the promise being fulfilled and so Tamar tricked Judah, who by that time had already become a widower, by covering her face with a veil and wrapped herself up so that she will not be recognized. She thereafter disguised herself as a harlot and to whom Judah promised a kid or young goat as payment for carnal relations, and thereafter the sexual act was consummated.

After the event, Judah bid leave but since payment was not yet effected, he was required to leave behind his signet, bracelet and staff as guarantee for payment. Too late did he learn three months later that Tamar was pregnant and that the seed came from his own loins on that epic misadventure at the wayside...

The underlying message of it all is that by tricking Judah to that sexual act, she consigned herself to the role of a lioness who became the matriarchal ascendant of the tribe from whom David, Solomon, Jesus Christ and even Emperor Hail Selassie of Ethiopia lay claim on that immortal phrase “Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”

Thursday, November 17, 2005

ELIJAH AND THE WIDOW OF ZAREPATH

Spoon-feeding is oftentimes not nice. And so for this transmission, what the reader will get is a quotation from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (1 Kings 17: 17-23) but will not tell them what the lion is hinting at as it is being sent in the form of a teaser to arouse your curiousity.

“And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick: and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, o thou man of God, art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him up on his own bed. And he cried unto the Lord and said, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn by slaying her son? And he stretch himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord and said; O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came to him again.”

The aging lion bets no uninitiated will ever comprehend the meaning of this send-out; and any brother who is in the dark is advised that he better get back into the lodge and again attend a third-degree conferral. He surely will need a refresher on what Freemasonry is all about!

Or is it possible, recipients don’t really bother to read the messages that the aging lion periodically send out? And those who would bother to react, please do so, it will make the lion aware you are still alive!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

FREEMASONRY AND RELIGION

Who says religion cannot be discussed within the confines of the Craft? Then why is it being asked in the petition form to what religion the petitioner belongs? Now, don’t answer that. The aging lion will answer it for you.

The reason is because atheists are barred from joining and therefore it is a mandatory requirement that a prospective brother should have a particular religion; but what it is, is no longer the concern of the Fraternity.

The implied prohibition therefore, is that discussion of a particular religion is taboo, like the ones always hotly being debated upon by Eli Soriano of “Ang Dating Daan” and Pete Buluran (probably of the Iglesia ni Cristo) at the airwaves. But religion, per se, is not at all prohibited. If you doubt it, then take a refresher of the 18th degree lecture assuming you are already a Scottish Rite Mason, or if not better enlist at Quezon City Bodies (how’s that for advertisement?!) or the other Bodies in the Philippine jurisdiction and there you will learn that Right, Truth, and Religion, are one and the same. But a word of warning: Don’t doze off into slumber while the lecture is going on.

So now, let the lion take the bull by the horns.

Are you aware that no less than ninety percent of the world’s population trace their religious roots to two ancient civilizations, namely the Semites of ancient Mesopotamia and the Hindus of the Indian continent? How’s that again? Does it mean that about 5.4 billion of the world’s population trace their religious roots to the Hebrews and the Indians? Oh, no! not the American Indians, but the Hindus of India!

Let us take both one after the other.

The Semitic religion of the patriarch Abraham (remember the Christmas song Father Abraham?!) spawned three of the world’s great religions, namely, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Judaism had its roots from Abraham then to Moses, filtering down to David, then to Solomon and down the line to the time Jesus Christ. But after the death of the world’s greatest teacher, a tender branch sprouted and in less than three centuries grew to a size that relegated the adherents of Judaism to mediocrity. Until finally, during the council of Nicea in AD 325, the congregation voted on the divinity of Jesus Christ. Thus would Christianity blossom mightier than an oak in the woodlands and from there it spread all through Europe and the entire world, namely, the Americas and up to the Far East in the eastern hemisphere that include the Philippines.

In AD 570 Mohammed was born and during his lifetime propagated Islam, the religion that claims to have started its roots also from Abraham. Curiously, its prophets include Ismael- Abraham’s first-born son, Moses, Jesus Christ, and finally Mohammed at the end of the line. These three religions, meaning Judaism, Christianity and Islam when combined, easily accounts for about 45 percent of the world’s population that now is estimated at about 6.1 billion.

For the moment, let the lion digress from the Semites or the Hebrews and let him focus his sight on the Hindus or the real Indians.

Said to be once ruled by the Aryans, ancient India, which previously include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Ceylon to the south and up to the Himalayas and Afghanistan in the north, accounts for about the same percentage as that of the combined religions of the Semites. Initially it comprise the Vedas or Brahmmins and the Jain religions at the forefront. In 563 BC however, Siddarta Gautama was born and to him was credited the birth of Buddhism. This religion leapt later to China, Korea, Japan, Ceylon, Burma and Thailand to the extent that it is now said to comprise about 40 percent of the total world population. In addition, the Sikhs also trace their roots to the Indian sub-continent although they have a distinct Volume of the Sacred Law of their own..

There are of course other religions that planted their roots somewhere else; like those of the American Indians and the aborigins of Australia, the voodoo religions of the South Americas; and for those who would not want to be excluded, even Apo Kahoy of the Malakas and Maganda mythology if there indeed is any. But these religions no longer account for a sizable percentage of the total religions of the world.

In sum therefore, religion is like a tree that sprouts a stem that subsequently turns into a trunk and rising upwards grows new branches. Take the case of the religion of Abraham. Judaism was its main trunk and after several centuries, a new twig grew in the form of Christianity. This branch thereafter produced several twigs of its own, like Eastern Orthodoxy, Pauline Christianity from where the Roman Church later stood, and even Nestorian Christianity that is obviously unknown to the outside world. Eastern Orthodoxy thrived in the Baltic states of Europe that include Russia, while Pauline Christianity whose base was in Rome propagated the faith simultaneous with the conquests of the Southern Americas and ultimately to the Philippines.

But the growth of Christianity was not without misgivings. The German Martin Luther established Protestantism in Europe and the monarchs of England and Scotland as heads of state (and religion) formed their own so that when at last they made the conquest of North America and Canada, they brought with them their Protestant faith which is, in many respects, different from the faith nurtured by Saint Paul and the Roman Church. In the Philippines, Isabelo de los Reyes formed Iglesia Filipina Independiente and cajoled Gregorio Aglipay to be its first Obispo Maximo. Felix Manalo organized his Iglesia ni Cristo and lately even Eli Soriano joined the fray by establishing his “Dating Daan Movement”, such that nowadays, religious analysts remark that Christianity, with about a third of the world’s total population, is the most fragmented religion on the face of the earth

Other religions experience the same fate. Buddhists have Shinto, Zen and other similar variants that undoubtedly were influenced by their respective philosophies, customs and traditions. The same holds true to Islam, what with the Sunnis, the Shiites and even the Zufis, it would be irrational to say these religions strictly adhere to exactly the same beliefs.

And what have these divergent religions of the world have in common with Freemasonry?! (Now, the lion got you there!!!)

Well, all religions (almost all, anyway because the lion’s readings say that there are variants of religions in India that do not believe in a particular God, like the Jains who do not have the concept of a creator, or the Hindus who believe in the multiplicity of deities the most prominent of whom are Brahma, Visnu and Ziva), believe in the Almighty, in the immortality of the soul, and in the brotherhood of man. These three are among the principal tenets of Freemasonry that are shared commonly by almost all religions. But how these are practiced, is an entirely different story. Freemasonry, it should be remembered, offers no definite name nor form of God and offers no avenue for salvation. Conversely then, how do these three tenets agree or disagree, with both religion and Freemasonry? Let’s take the three one by one.

I.. BELIEF IN GOD

The respective names of God, even in a particular religion, vary. In Christianity for example, the names Adonai, El Shaddai, Yahweh, Jehovah, Lord, and what have you are recorded. They have Allah in Islam, Brahma and his cohorts in Hindu and Buddha in Buddhism, although strictly speaking, Buddha is not literally considered a God, but one who has achieved that status. It goes to show therefore that if there are modifications in calling the Almighty as God, how much more variable is attuning ones’ belief to Him?! And Freemasonry also would not want to meddle into the details of a brother’s particular manner of belief in his own God!

II. THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL

The basic deviation of an atheist over a religious devotee is not only non-belief in the Almighty but also in the non-belief in a soul and that when one dies, only his memory remains.. Agnostics wonder if there is a God and a soul, while atheists believe there is none. But let’s leave the atheists and agnostics to their respective thinking.

Sometimes called “kruwah” by the religious, it is also alternately called spirit or soul of man. Belief in the soul is also divergent- Christians, Catholics especially believe that a soul either goes to heaven or hell after death. Buddhists and Hindus think of reincarnation, that is, getting back to another body after a series of deaths and rebirths until it is fully cleansed of imperfections. Somewhere in the 18th degree conferral, it talks of the soul as a unit and that like all matter, it experience breaking up into components only to regroup again with another matter at a later time but is never extinguished on the face of the universe unless willed by the Almighty.

Despite the variants however, it is evident the soul as created by his Maker, is immortal and will remain so to the ends of the earth.. The 18th degree also mentioned the acronym INRI which stands not for the acronym that was placed atop the cross where Jesus was crucified which meant IESUS NAZARENUS, REX IUDAREUM but as INFINITY (of God), NATURE, REASON and IMMORTALITY (of the soul). But you have to attend the Scottish Rite conferral of degrees as the explanation of that acronym will not be made in this short, albeit perplexing article.

III. THE BROTHERHOOD OF MEN

The 30· conferral of the Scottish Rite degree eloquently expounded the doctrine on “love of neighbor” when it said: “Love God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and with all thy strength; and thy Neighbor as thyself. This do and thou shalt live.” And added: “Humanity is our Neighbor. We are all one kindred, as God breathed unto man the breath of life”.

The question now is: “From where did this creed came from?”

The answer, fortunately, is not hard to find for in Matthew 22: 37-40 it says:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Not only that; in Mark 12: 28-31, it also said the same message although with a slight variation in phraseology.

The question now that is at hand is: “Is this creed peculiar to, or the teaching attributable solely to the world’s Greatest Teacher? If not, who are the other sages who did?, Fortunately, Albert Pike in his “Morals and Dogma” narrated the following complementary verses and sentences on the subject:

CONFUCIOUS- the Chinese

“The doctrine consist solely in being upright of heart and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves”

SOCRATES- the Grecian

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

ZOROASTER- the Persian

“Hold it not meet to do unto others what thou wouldst not desire unto thyself; do that unto the people, which, when done to thyself, is not disagreeable unto thee.

HILEL- the Pharisee

“That which thou liketh not done to thyself, do it not unto thy neighbor.

Which all but sums up that believers of the faiths where these immortal sages belong, and not knowing that the others have said it may be constrained to think that the doctrine is peculiarly theirs. But Masonry, a patient recorder of dogmas and doctrines enunciated by these ancient philosophers simply adapted the lesson as its own and propagated the unwritten thoughts of God through several mediums.

SYNOPSIS

With but a single example on “love of neighbor” this short article can now be ended with the following closing words:

“Religion can be compared to a tree whose seed germinated and grew into a trunk, and thereafter creating branches as it rises upwards, and then twigs and leaves, becoming different both in appearance and substance as it soars above. Freemasonry, on the other hand, is like a brook, initially solitary, and in fine attracting the waters of other brooks along the way, until it becomes a mighty river and its waters finally merging with the crystal-clear pristine sea.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

LAMBSKIN APRON POTPOURRI

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One of the most enduring lessons taught in Freemasonry is the elocution on the lambskin apron where it says and the lion quotes “it is an emblem of innocence and the peculiar badge of a mason, more ancient than the Golden Fleece, or the Roman Eagle, more honorable than the Star and Garter, etc., etc.” But what does this phrase really mean?

Golden Fleece, as most literary buffs will readily say, is easily identified with Greek mythology, specifically with Jason and the Argonauts. The Roman Eagle, on the other hand, can be rewound to the glorious days of the Roman Empire where its centurions proudly emblazon their soldier’s armors with the eagle, the symbol of power. Which but confirm their roots to antiquity as these emblems were already in use even before the time of Jesus Christ..

But what about the Star and Garter? How did these originate? On this question, here is what Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh on their book “The Temple and the Lodge” on page 92 had to say which is being copied verbatim:

“Within a quarter of a century of the Temple’s (meaning, the Knights Templar:) , a spate of neo-Templar orders began to appear- and would continue to do so for centuries afterwards. Thus, for example, in 1348 Edward III of England created the Order of the Garter, consisting of twenty six knights divided into two groups of thirteen each. The Garter, of course continue to the present day, and is the world’s premier order of chivalry. In France in 1352, Jean II created an almost identical institution, the Order of the Star. It was rather more short-lived than the Garter, however, its entire membership being annihilated in 1356 at the Battle of Pointers. In 1430, Philip, Duke of Burgundy, created the Order of the Golden Fleece (but this has no relation to the Golden Fleece of Jason and his Argonauts that was explained earlier- GVG).

So there you are! Next time you hear the lecturer delivers the lambskin apron lecture, you know the definitive relevance of this peculiar Masonic badge. And thanks to the authors of “The Temple and the Lodge!”


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Friday, October 28, 2005

AUTHORS OF HIRAM KEY ROCONSIDER STAND ON HIRAM ABIF

Remember the article “In Search of the Grand Master Hiram Abif?” where the lion rebutted the claim of Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, authors of Hiram Key, that Grand Master Hiram Abif did not exist? Well, here’s an interesting update un the issue.

In their recent book titled “The Book of Hiram” that was first published in the United Kingdom in 2003, it said in page 17.:

“When we first heard this assumption (about Hiram Abif- GVG) we found it strange, and in the Hiram Key we said that the character of Hiram Abif does not seem to exist outside the rituals of Freemasonry. This observation caused a number of people to write us to tell us that we were mistaken, so let us here look more closely at what evidence there is in the Old Testament about the architect of Solomon’s Temple. First we are told that the Phoenician king of Tyre named Hiram supplied the design, workers and many materials for Solomon’s building works. This king’s name is variously spelled as Hiram, Hirom and Huram, and was probably ‘Abi-ram’. Josephus says that letters between Solomon and this king were preserved in the Tyrian archives. He also quotes the historians Dius abd Menander of Ephesus, who says that Hiram was the son of King Abi-baal.

There was also another Hiram involved in the creation of the Temple. This Hiram was a worker in metals who set up a foundry in the Jordan valley between Succoth and Zeredatha, where he cast the two great pillars of Boaz and Jachim as well as other great ornaments of the Temple, including the huge vessel known as the ‘molten sea’. This character is referred to in 2Chr.2:11-14, where Hiram, King of Tyre, writes to Solomon to tell him that this Hiram is a son of the daughters of the tribe of Dan, but in 1Kgs7:14 we are told that he was a widow’s son of a different tribe, that of Napthali.

Could this artisan in metals be considered the architect of the Temple? An architect is the designer of the overall building, not the manufactrer of an ornamentation, but in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible this builder is referred to as Huram-abi, which is indeed close to the name Hiram Abif.”

And followed their explanation on page 18 with the following:

“On the balance of probabilities we now accept that the character referred to in Masonic ritual as Hiram Abif could be the worker in metals supplied to work in King Solomon’s Temple by Hiram King of Tyre. However, this potential identification does nothing to explain his relationship with King Solomon or to illuminate why this legend is so important to Freemasonic lore.

THE LION’S COMMENTS

The admission, however lame, may be considered good enough. But the issue can still be expounded as follows:

1. The names of the architects in ancient times were hardly mentioned as the name of the edifice is generally reserved for the ruler or king who is responsible for its construction. Thus the name Solomon was appended to the Temple because it was by his wisdom that the mighty edifice was erected. So were the magnificent pyramids of Egypt that were named after the kings who ordered their creation.

2. It is a wonder why despite the authors’ apparent extensive research, they failed to mention the exhaustive work of Albert Pike who wrote and compiled “Morals and Dogma”. Had they done so, then the two authors may have learned that the name “Hiram” was a mis-rendering of the Hebrew word “Khairum” or Khairom.” Was it because Albert Pike is an American and Britons generally don’t have much respect for American authors.

Well, as they all say, “all is well that ends well”. Hiram Abif did exist after all,.

And “The Book of Hiram?”. Well, as readable as “The Hiram Key”, but one still has to segregate the gold from the dross. Remember Albert Pike? Read, digest, discriminate, of you indeed want to learn Masonic lore.

And by the way, here’s the lion’s heartfelt thanks to his good friend Tante Pacis for gifting him with four wonderful Masonic books that are now prized additions to his mini-library.

And the lion roars!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

DAGOHOY LODGE NO. 84 REBUILDS ITS LODGE ON TWO FRONTS

Here is a bit of interesting news; the lodge that presently shelters the now-aging lion in this scenic island of Bohol is getting a distinct facelift on two distinctive fronts. Consider these.

Through the very bold initiative of WM Eugene “Jack” Galbreath, incumbent master of the lodge, it decided to sell the lot where the old temple that was built in 1928 using the proceeds on the sale and the hard lumber that were retrieved from the demolished building. The hard lumber were recovered came from the timbers that were felled from the forests of Anda and Sierra Bullones some eighty years ago; and as the town of Anda is situated about a hundred kilometers away from Tagbilaran City and is at the opposite end of the island, one can well guess that these may have been towed via the open sea and should easily remind the reading brethren how the timbers were felled in Lebanon and brought on floats to Mount Moriah in Jerusalem where King Solomon’s Temple was erected. This new lodge was erected adjacent to the Masonic cemetery that was located about half a kilometer away from the original site. As a side comment, the acquisition of the cemetery is also considered epic because in 1931 the Roman Catholic Church refused the burial of Bro. Arnold Bartlett who died, although a Roman Catholic, because of his Masonic affiliation. This prompted the brethren to establish their own Masonic cemetery and is thus credited as one of the very few lodges in the entire country that has a cemetery of its own.

The administrative and technical expertise for building the two-story lodge was never found wanting. Administrative acumen is ably provided by the organizational skills of the Worshipful Master who during his heyday was a battle-scarred American soldier who honed his military and administrative skills in Vietnam, while the technical skills were made available by the other brethren like Bros. Francisco Pamaran, Jr., Ulysses Tirol, Mark Noel Mende and Moises Millanar- able professional engineers and architects of the lodge. Why, even Bro. Jerry Servas pinches in as night watchman to protect the materials lying around the site while the building is undergoing construction.

While the funding of the main building structure is expected to be fully covered by the proceeds of the sale, the supplemental needs are reasonably expected and will therefore require additional funding; like replacing the old wooden chairs, the podium and many other ornaments and amenities that must complement the needs of the lodge to keep it fully operational. As supplemental support in the construction of the building, WB Ulysses Tirol encouraged the brethren to share in the construction of the lodge in whatever way they can. In addition to professional service, he pledged several hundreds of hollow blocks as construction materials while WB Moises Millanar has promised P5,000 as financial aid. The aging lion , restricted by his meager pension that is already sorely drained by the lion tamer’s existing charity projects, can only appeal to one of the lodges in Quezon City where he sports honorary membership. Will the members be generous enough to contribute the sets of gavels, columns and the working tools that is displayed at the foot of the Worshipful Master’s station so that these symbolic adornments may also bring additional prestige to the lodge?! He also cannot help but wonder, would other generous brother out there be kind enough to send in a few dollars to help us build our cherished Masonic lodge down here after reading this narration?!


The Worshipful Master projects the building will be completed before the year ends in time for the “changing of the guards” that will be held the next year. Whether this will materialize, only time will tell, but the entire brethren of the lodge are keeping their fingers crossed eagerly awaiting the said historic event.

On another front, the lodge, now as defined as “a certain number of brethren with a Holy Bible, square and compasses” is also being rebuilt. Long without additional members, it added in its roster four able-blooded young recruits last year and with the aging lion affiliating now have five new members in its list. A new candidate is also scheduled to be passed as this article is being written and as another petitioner is subject to be balloted later the brethren foresees more robust membership . And pretty soon, the rituals, which for quite a time have been relegated to the sidelines will receive the attention that is required of the members, thus restoring the lost glory that once was the pride of the lodge’ elder brethren.

To all of you out there, especially the brethren who once have graced our old lodge, we trust you will join us that our noble aspirations are achieved for the greater glory of the Supreme Architect of our Universe!

VOLUME OF THE SACRED LAW

(Lecture delivered at the Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 brethren during the October 8, 2005 stated meeting.)

$: Worshipful Master and brethren.

All of us are familiar with the name of the book that is atop our sacred altar. It is called the King James Version of the Holy Bible. Masonically, it is also called the Volume of the Sacred Law and so the question therefore is why it is identified by that peculiar phrase.

Let me now tell you this short story.

Bro. Milind G. Dravid, a fraternal brother from the Lodge of Golden Orange No. 304 at Nagpur in India and to whom this writer regularly corresponds with Masonically via e-mail, told this writer that out there in their lodge, five (repeat five) different books of the Holy Writings are laid upon their altar and explained why this is so.

According to Bro. Milind, his mother lodge is one of the oldest lodges in India and was founded by a select group of British brethren who were members of the British Expeditionary forces, and some employees of the East India Company when England occupied India sometime in the middle of the 18th century. As recorded history would tell him, it was normal for the military at that time to have field lodges in their regiments and thus whenever these forces settle in any part of the globe, it would not be unusual that the craving for establishing a Masonic lodge would ensue. It was in this concept that the Golden Lodge of Orange No. 304 was established under the Constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England at that time. At its founding, the King James Version of the Holy Bible naturally was the

Holy Book that adorned its altar.

He said that the additions to its membership during the initial years were modest, the new members of which came mostly from the British that periodically were added to both the military roster and the support staff of East India Company. In fine, however, several Indian nationals, especially those who managed to interact with the lodge members because they were able to join the civilian administration and those who got their education from England, became interested in the affairs of the Craft and ultimately joined its roster. Unsurprisingly, these new recruits were obligated to the book of their respective faiths and thus, after the lapse of more than two centuries of lodge existence, other Holy Books were enshrined at the sacred altar. In addition therefore to the Holy Bible that the founders first placed at that hallowed top, the following Books of Nature and Revelation were also added:

1. The BHAGVAD GITA for the Hindu, Jains and Buddhist Brethren,

2. the ZEND AVESTA for the Parsi brothers,

3. the GURU GRANTH SAHIB for the Sikh brethren, and

4. the QURAN SHARIF for the Muslim initiates.

Bro. Dravid wrote that at the time of his initiation, he could not help but feel awed to note how members of this select organization of diverging religious faiths could sit together in harmony inside a lodge, a situation that he expects could never happen outside its confines in the entire world.

Let this lecturer now tackle the issue of the King James Version of the Holy Bible that is atop our sacred altar by explaining how it got its name

The King James Version of the Holy Bible came into existence when James VI was acclaimed King of Scotland in 1567 at age one when his mother abdicated the throne. Additionally, he was also crowned James I of England in 1603 thus unifying the two kingdoms. A year later, he commissioned the learned clerics of his time to translate the Old and New Testaments that were originally written in the Hebrew and Greek languages for use by the subjects of his realms. Previous to this time, the existing versions that were used by the Catholic hierarchy that was based in Rome were in Latin (otherwise called Vulgate) and while there already exist other English translations like the Douay and the Catholic Bibles, these contained leading explanatory comments and footnotes that showed bias in the interpretation of the sacred writings, thus serving their own selfish religious motives. To confound matters these versions were generally not made available to the public for their use. It was therefore made imperative that the King who was made a Freemason in 1601 at the Lodge of Scoon and Perth in Scotland, he goaded the religious intellectuals to cause the translation of the Holy Bible into the English language during his time and thus immortalized his name for everyone to behold.

The translated version was finally completed in 1611 and since that time and up the nineteenth century, it weathered almost a thousand revisions.. Until finally in 1948, the New Testament underwent a substantial modification and was followed by a similar revision of the Old Testament in 1952..But the changes that were made were only to conform to the standard English Usage thus attuning the translation to the language of prevailing times. A special section called “Concordance” which defined the words that may have changed because of the possible deviation of meanings was also appended so that the reader may be able to get back, as close as possible, to the original scriptures.

It is claimed that this revised version sold more than twelve million copies within ten years from the date of its printing in the middle of the 20th century.

And why is the King James Version especially important to Freemasons? Can’t the Catholic Edition or the other English versions like the Jerusalem Bible be substituted as the book of the Holy Writing at the Masonic altar?

Well, it can be! The only difficulty that may be encountered is the possibility of getting a different meaning from what was originally perceived especially because our rituals require memorization of the applicable quotations. Take the case of the parambulation of the second degree, for example, and compare the words with the translation in the Catholic Edition, that says:

King James Version

“Though I speak the tongue of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal”.

The New American Bible (Catholic Edition) 1969, on the other hand, says:

“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.”

As the reader can well observe, the King James used the word “charity” while the Catholic Edition translated it as “love”. While the two words may be considered synonyms, the meanings are not exactly the same and that is where arguments and irreconcilable differences will begin.

Thank you for your attention.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

THE FIVE PILLARS (OR ORDERS) OF ARCHITECTURE

As the three steps pertain to the symbolism of the three pillars of the Lodge, the five steps represent the five orders of architecture- the Tuscan, the Doric, the Ionic, the Corinthian and the Composite. But save for the architects who are expected to know these architectural orders, one may ask: “what do those words represent?” We are told that “the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian were invented by the Greeks, and that from there, the Romans added two- the Tuscan, which they made plainer than the Doric, and the Composite which was more ornamental and more beautiful than the Corinthian.” Of course the monitor also said that “the Tuscan is the Doric in its earliest state, and that the Composite is the Corinthian enriched with the Ionic”. Beyond these impressive statements, however, nothing else has been said to describe these orders, and so here is a briefing designed for the non-architects and the uninitiated.

THE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE AS TRACED TO THE PAGES OF MERRIAM WEBSTER DICTIONARY

Here is what the Webster dictionary has to say on these orders:

Tuscan - one of the five orders or architecture, devoid of ornaments and having columns that are never fluted.

Doric - the oldest and simplest order of the three orders of Greek architecture characterized by the columns having no base, and the flutings few, large, and not deep, the capital of simple character.

Ionic - one of the five orders of architecture the distinguishing characteristic of which consists in the volutes of its capital.

Corinthian - an architectural order distinguished by fluted columns and capitals adorned with acanthus leaves.

Composite - a term applied to one of the orders (of architecture) because the capital belonging to it is composed out of those of the other orders, exhibiting leaves, volutes, etc.; applied to plants forming a vast order, and having flowers forming dense heads composed of many florets, in the daisy, dandelion, etc.

And so we now have a glimpse of these archaic architectural terms. Here now are additional information.

The orders of architecture which were invented by the Greeks are not really that ancient. Invented at around 800 BC, these are easily predated by the architectural orders that were designed by the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian engineers. The Egyptians as we know erected their imposing pyramids prior to 2000 BC that till today are still the favorite vacation spots of awestruck tourists; and the Sumerians, progenitors of the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians and the Tyrians, they from whom the two Hirams trace their genealogies and built the magnificent temple of Solomon in 1000 BC, which unfortunately, was erased from the face of the earth by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

But let’s get back to the wordings of the five orders of architecture as mentioned earlier.
The words Tuscan, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian were derived from places of their countries of origin; thus Tuscan was coined from Tuscany in Italy, now famous for its castles and monuments; while the three Greek orders were so named after places in ancient Greece, notably Dorian for Doric, Ionia for Ionic and Corinthian, the order that was inspired by a Grecian city called Corinth. As Composite, the order that the Romans invented, is but a combination of the two architectural orders called Corinthian and Ionic, one may wonder whether this word is but an imitation of the Chinese food called “Chopseuy”, a concoction or a mixture of vegetables taken from here and there!

Now, while monuments to the Tuscan and Composite orders still abound in Italy, the structures dedicated to the three classical orders of architecture have practically vanished as vapor would in the air. The Roman church saw to it that these masterpieces of antiquity were destroyed during their frenzy of eradicating pagan relics during the Dark Ages, these being memorials to pagan traditions and beliefs. And those that managed to remain for posterity to behold were largely because those artifacts were earlier buried and only found recently during archeological excavations and salvaging from the bottom of the seas.

THE EARLY ROOTS OF ARCHITECTURE

From our monitor, we learn that our ancient forefathers already learned to protect themselves from inclement weather by connecting trees thereby keeping themselves dry during the rainy days. This they did by creating bands from top to bottom, a procedure done by imitating or copying the plants that attach themselves to the main tree-trunks that consequently create a dry space within its periphery. We learn that “the bands that connected the trees from top to bottom were said to have given rise to the base and capital of pillars and that from this simple hint proceeded the more advanced art of architecture.” Thus were the ancient columns derived and named, among them the Egyptian papyrus, the Egyptian date-palm and the Persian animal of Iran, columns that predate the three classical Greek columns that were mentioned earlier. These Greek classical columns were also later followed by the Indian foliage and the Indian plain capital, architectural pillars that flourished in that country in 150 BC and 400 AD, respectively.

ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THE FIVE ORDERS OF ARCHITECUTRE

L. Sprague de Camp in his book “The Ancient Engineers” had this to say on the Doric and Ionic columns, applicable paragraphs of which are herein reprinted for the brethren’s information.
“The earlier Greek architects who invented the Greek classical architecture (in 800 BC) developed two styles of temple, distinguished mainly by the shape of the capitals at the tops of the columns. The Doric capital, much used on the Greek mainland, had a simple, bulging, cushion-shaped surface. The supreme example of the Doric Temple was the Parthenon. The Ionic column, first used in (the island of) Ionia, had a more ornate capital, with a pair of spiral ornaments on each side. These spirals, called volutes, are probably derived from some of the leafy forms that the Egyptians gave the tops of their columns. Each style of the temple had elaborate rules of proportion and detail. Doric columns, for instance, were supposed to be about eight diameters tall, while Ionic columns were nine times as tall as their diameter.” In so far as the Corinthian column is concerned, de Camp had this myth to narrate:

“A girl, a native of Corinth, already of age to be married, was attacked by disease and died. After he funeral, the goblets which delighted her when still living, were put together in a basket by her nurse, carried to the monument, and placed on the top. That they might remain longer, exposed to the weather, she covered the basket with a tile. As it happened, the basket was placed upon the root of an acanthus, being pressed down in the middle by the weight, put forth leaves and shoots. The shoots grew up the sides of the basket, and, being pressed down at the angles by the force of the weight of the tile, were compelled to form the curves of the volutes at the extreme parts. Then Calimachus, (famed Greek architect in 500 BC) who for the elegance and refinement of his marble carving was nicknamed “Cathacemus” (meaning artificial) by the Athenians, was passing the monument, perceived the basket and the young leaves growing up. Pleased with the novelty and style of the grouping, he made columns for the Corinthian on this model and fixed the proportions.

In actual fact, the Ionic capital evolved into the Corinthian by gradual stages, by the additions of more and more plant elements. In time, the ornate leafy splendor of the Corinthian diffused about the Greek world. Later, the Romans took it up and spread it from Spain to Lebanon; and men of the Renaissance, loving its showy intricacy, brought it down to the world today.”

In so far as the Roman columns are concerned, de Camp simply said that Rome’s contribution to civilization were its remarkable soldiers, statesmen, administrators, jurists and that the Romans expertise were on civil engineering, that of building roads, aqueducts and bridges, engineering feats that are more useful during conquests. It was no wonder that their architectural skills were of the Etruscan form (Rome’s northern neighbors) or were borrowed from conquered Greek architects who later assimilated their thoughts and ideas and who were later labeled as Hellenistic engineers, and after much intermingling of architectural engineering between its various citizens, consequently produced the plainer Tuscan and the complex and redesigned Composite Orders.
So now the brethren has a bird’s eye view of the five Orders of Architecture. This writer therefore now ends this article but not before acknowledging its source from where this article is greatly indebted, namely:

Mirriam Webster Dictionary, and
The Ancient Engineers by L. Sprague de Camp.

Thank you for taking your time reading this Masonic Education Lecture You’ve reach the bottom page anyway, haven’t you?!

Friday, July 29, 2005

THE THREE PILLARS OF THE LODGE

In the second degree lecture, the first group of steps in the winding stairs lecture represent “Wisdom, Strength and Beauty” and are exemplified by the three elected officers of the lodge, namely, the Worshipful Master and the Senior and Junior Wardens. That will now be the subject of this article.

As backgrounder, these three pillars were first mentioned not in the second degree lecture but in the conferral of the first degree. Portion of the first-degree lecture aptly reads:

“A lodge is metaphorically said to be supported by three great pillars, denominated by Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, it being necessary that there should be Wisdom to contrive, Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings. These pillars are represented in the Lodge by the Worshipful Master, and the Senior and Junior Wardens.”

From the foregoing paragraph, it is evident that this symbolic phrase can be interpreted two ways:

1. On the operative standpoint, and

2. On symbolic or allegorical perspective.

THE THREE PILLARS INTERPRETED ON THE OPERATIVE STANDPOINT

We all know that Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are mandatory requirements in the erection of a building. On this, engineers will tell us that a structure should be well-designed, adequately planned and provided with all the required materials and labor to insure that the structure to be built has been well-conceived; that it should stand the tests and ravages of time; and that it should also be the admiration of every age. The Temple of King Solomon built in 1000 BC, fit these requirements, and constructed not in the classical form of the Greeks because Greek architecture flourished only starting at about 800 BC, but with the ingenuity and skills of the Chaldeans, the progenitors of the Phoenicians of ancient times Sadly, King Solomon’s Temple, so magnificent and constructed by celebrated Tyrian artists, was razed to the ground by King Nebuchadnezzar and his cohorts in 586 BC and whatever usable remnants they salvaged were carted away to Babylon and there utilized for their own glory and artistry.

THE THREE PILLARS VIEWED ON A SYMBOLIC PERSPECTIVE

Symbolically, the three pillars represent the three principal officers of a lodge in the same manner it is also called the three lights; and are represented by the Worshipful Master, the Senior and Junior Wardens whose combined tasks is to insure that the Lodge functions effectively.

While it is often said that the Master’s authority and prerogatives are almost absolute and dictatorial, in reality ancient traditions show that he does not govern alone. The services of his two Wardens are required in the effective governance of the lodge. It can be said therefore that it is only in a Masonic Lodge where teamwork and cooperation of all three officers are mandatory in its efficient administration as the symbolism of the pillars, otherwise called as columns, that are made to stand or lie down on the respective tables of the three lights show.

THE THREE MINIATURE COLUMNS (OR PILLARS) ON THE TABLES OF THE LIGHTS

In the Philippine Masonic jurisdiction, one of the set of furniture or emblems of the lodge whose symbolism is hardly given any attention are the pillars that adorn the tables of the three lights of the lodge. Quite often, it is noticed that the Wardens overlook raising or putting down their columns during recess or resumption of meetings. There are also instances when the Senior Warden raises his column even before the lodge is formally opened ignorant that he is not to raise his column until the lodge is formally opened. It is therefore necessary to pose the following questions.

Have the brethren ever noticed the following?

1. That only one pillar is in upright position when the Worshipful Master starts opening his lodge, and

2. That two pillars are in standing position after formal opening and until the lodge is formally closed; with the pillars of the Senior and Junior Wardens alternating during the time the lodge is in labor or in recess?

The hypothetical questions that now need to be answered are as follows:

1. At what precise time should the Master put his pillar in upright position? Note that nowhere in the monitor does it indicate when the Master’s pillar is to be put uprightly. What is its symbolism?

2. What is the symbolism of the Senior Warden’s putting his column in upright position immediately after the Master declares the lodge to be formally opened? Consequently. what is the meaning of the Junior Warden’s putting his column in upright position (and the Senior Warden simultaneously lowering his) when the lodge is in recess? and,
3. Why is the Junior Warden’s column raised during the second section of the third degree conferral?

And here’s another interesting side issue.
At Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 (and also at Mount Moriah Lodge No. 252 when the lion made a fraternal visit to that lodge) he noticed that the Worshipful Master does not have a column at his table. The apparent reason for this (although he did not ask) was that the monitor did not mention that the master has a column at his table! The aging lion could but wonder if this practice is also true in the other lodges outside of the metropolitan jurisdiction.

POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO THE ABOVE-MENTIONED QUESTIONS

This writer admits he has not seen any written document that will support his theories on the answers that he will profound below. At best his answers are solely his interpretations on the possible reasons why these are so. Other jurisdictions may have different rituals whose practices may not conform with what has been said and therefore their indulgence is earnestly requested. They are therefore encouraged to send in their own inputs if they have interpretations other that what are advanced by his writer as shown hereunder.

On Question No. 1

It would be interesting to know how other jurisdictions tackle this piece of ornament in the lodge but in the Philippine monitor, no mention whatever is made as to when the column of the Worshipful Master is raised or lowered. Could the reason be that the Master is bound by his oath always to be “on his toes” until the Master’s gavel is turned over to his successor? This could be an interesting food for thought and probably is an apt reply to the first question.

On a verifiable observation, Temples where several lodges hold meetings naturally gather together all the lodge paraphernalia after each meeting to allow others to assemble theirs when it is their turn to hold their meetings. On lodge rooms that are exclusively used by only one lodge, it would be interesting to know whether the column of the Worshipful Master is ever put in lying position after each meeting!!

On Question No. 2

One of the major fallacies that the incumbent lights fall into is to assume that when committees are formed, the Chairmen of the said committees are the ones directly responsible for the success or failure of the said committees. Take the Sunshine and Refreshment Committees, two committees that are ordinarily chaired by either the Senior Warden or Junior Warden, for example. Some contend that the respective chairmen of these committees are to be held directly accountable when things go awry and consequently deserves the credit when the affair is successful. Those who so believe forgot the simple dictum that while authority can be delegated by the Worshipful Master, responsibility can never be! Remember, the past master’s jewel is awarded to none but the Worshipful Master even if all the activities of the lodge were ably delegated to and performed by his subalterns. Stated bluntly, when the boat sinks, it is always the Captain who is drenched and sinks with the ship and let all the rats swim where they may!

Another clear example is the responsibility on conferrals. Many assume that the first degree conferral is the primary responsibility of the Junior Warden in the same manner the second degree conferral is the main burden of the Senior Warden.
This obviously is not the case. It is the belief of this writer that the Worshipful Master still has that distinct responsibility in seeing to it that the conferral is performed without hitches and that the role of either the Senior or Junior Warden during conferrals are merely procedural, and at best but a training grounds for higher responsibilities which ancient customs and practices dictate.

On Question No. 3

The answer to the final question then is “how come the pillar of the Junior Warden is in upright position during the second section of the third degree ritual when the lodge is not at refreshment?”

And the answer simply is:

But of course it should be so! The candidate, after all, was imitating the Grand Master Hiram Abif,
“whs dt i ws t cl # crf fm lb t rfs at hi twl, wch I # bt # glr % # da.

End of this article!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

IN SEARCH OF THE GRAND MASTER HIRAM ABIFF

One book that has recently attracted the interest of Freemasons and non-Masons alike who are curious about the Fraternity is a book titled "Hiram Key". The brief biographical sketches of the two co-authors say they are Freemasons, the first was allegedly raised in 1976 and the second ten years later, but they did not say where. They even named in the acknowledgement of their book a certain Reverend pastor (?), allegedly a past master of the Craft who, they claim, had been very supportive of their efforts in making their opus translated to reality.

On the whole, the book can be considered worthwhile reading, this despite the several questionable assertions, which, if not commented upon, can waylay the gullible and the unsuspecting who only read, but does not bother to "digest and discriminate." For the record, let this writer cite a few inconsistencies that the book has expounded- among them:

1. That the pillars Boaz and Jachin are explained in the first degree. In the Philippine Monitor those pillars were not mentioned in the first but in the second degree lecture.

2. On page 10 of the book, the authors explained that the left leg and the right breast were laid bare in the second-degree ritual. In the Philippine ritual the right breast being laid bare is correct but baring the left leg is wrong. The procedure is left leg to left breast in the first degree , or conversely right to right in the second degree. Unless of course, it is done differently in their jurisdiction.

3. On page 11, it says that "careful study of the Bible has found no mention of a middle chamber in King Solomon's Temple."

The copy of the Holy Bible that bears the imprimatur of the Catholic Church use the phrase "middle story" while the Berkeley Version that was placed by the Gideons used the phrase "middle side chambers." The Authorized King James Version, on the other hand, used by the Craft use the precise words "middle chamber". (These three versions will also be used as the biblical references on subsequent referrals of quotations.)

Which just about rebuts the authors' allegation that the middle chamber cannot be found in King Solomon's Temple.

4. The implements that the authors said were used by the ruffians were not as mentioned in the Philippine ritual. The book Hiram Key says that Jubela used a plumb rule, Jubelo a level, while Jubelum used a setting maul. Jubelum's use of the setting maul is correct, but then again, the other two implements were wrong.

5. On page 80 it mentioned Simeon and Levi killing someone but stated that the slain man was not identified. Because of this, the authors theorized that the slain man was Seqenenre Tao, the Egyptian monarch who ruled Egypt during the time of Joseph. Had the authors bothered to read the Holy Bible thoroughly, however, they would have found out that the slain man was duly identified; he was Schechem son of Hamor, the Hivite, who raped Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob.

6. The substitute for the ancient master's word that the authors revealed is a sentence which says:

Ma'at-neb-men-aa, Maat-ba-aa.

Which they translated to mean...

"Great is the established Master of Freemasonry, Great is the Spirit of Freemasonry".

Again, either the Craft in their jurisdiction applied different meanings to this delicate portion of the Craft's ritual or the authors joined a clandestine branch of the Fraternity!

The inconsistencies mentioned above may well be labeled as differences in rituals of various jurisdictions especially when it cannot be cross-referenced with the provisions of the Holy Bible, and not having copies of the rituals of the other jurisdictions, and therefore, cannot cross-check these with the monitors which they may have used, then these statements should be allowed to pass as questionable truths.

But the most controversial statement that deserves critical comment is the allegation that Hiram Abif is not mentioned in the Holy Bible!

And how would you, as a Freemason who had imitated the death of the Grand Master Hiram Abif, feel if you knew that the Grand Master did not exist? That he should be labeled in the Holy Bible as merely a man skilled in bronze work, etc., is perfectly understandable because the honor of being the builder during the ancient times is reserved solely for the kings although they did not actually planned and oversee their constructions, but to say that he did not exist at all is preposterous!

And so, this search for the Master Builder!

The first clue this writer found out, can be found in our third degree monitor where King Solomon said to Hiram of Tyre the following:

"My worthy brother of Tyre, your suggestion is both good and timely. When human strength and wisdom fails, there is yet strength in the lion of the tribe of Judah. Though the skin slips from the flesh and the flesh cleaves from the bones, there is yet strength in the lion of the tribe of Judah. With your assistance, I will raise the body by the strong grip of the lion's paw and the five points of fellowship, etc. etc.."

It turned out the lead was false. A dead man whose skin slips from the flesh and whose flesh cleaves from the bones can no longer possess the strength of a even a cub, much more a lion. The lion cannot therefore refer to Hiram Abif; nor can it refer to Hiram of Tyre because the latter is of Phoenician origin. Ergo, the title must refer to King Solomon. But how does one check this out?

The key is the phrase "lion of the tribe of Judah" (for a more detailed analysis on the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the reader is encouraged to open the Masonic Education page for a related article); but how does one analyze this?

The word Judah has two meanings. It can connote a place, or the name of a person. Judah, as a place, refers to the southern kingdom of the Jewish nation, the northern being Israel. The word was in turn derived from the name of the person who originally used it. Who then is Judah?

Judah is the son of Jacob who is in turn the son of Isaac, who, by like manner, is the son of Abraham. Which effectively makes Judah the great grandson of Abraham. But wait; the mention of four names in just one sentence can get complicated. Let's take them up one by one, the last-named explained first.

Abraham and Isaac can be found in the third degree lecture which says:

"It (meaning the temple of King Solomon) was located near Mount Moriah, near the place where Abraham was about to offer up his son, Isaac, and on the place where David met and appeased the destroying angel."

There you are! Abraham and Isaac were the first visitors of the place where the Temple is to be built. Jacob, on the other hand, is found in the first-degree monitor where the covering of a lodge is explained thus:

"The covering of a lodge is no less the clouded canopy or star-decked heaven where all good men hope at last to arrive, where Jacob in his vision saw, reaching from earth to heaven, the three principal rounds of which are denominated by Faith, Hope, etcetera."

So let's now get back to Judah.

Judah is the fourth of the thirteen children of Jacob, twelve boys and one girl, by four women, two of whom are sisters. This effectively explains why King Solomon is also fond of women, even his great, great, great (how many great, this writer could no longer figure out) grandfather was also fond of women, but let us not digress on the main topic.

The Book of Genesis says that Jacob sired the following from the following women.

A. From Leah
1. Reuben
2. Simeon
3. Levi
4. Judah
5. Isaachar
6. Zebulum

B. From Bilhah
7. Dan
8. Napthali

C. From Zilpah
9. Gad
10. Asher

D. From Rachel
11. Joseph
12. Benjamin

In addition, Leah also produced a girl named Dinah who was later raped by Schechem, a Hitite, but that's getting ahead of the story. Now, producing thirteen (13) children may not be considered an accomplishment in itself, but the number thirteen is intriguing.

The Holy Bible says that as a bachelor Jacob left Isaac and went to the tribe of his uncle, Laban. There he was enamored with Rachel, the younger daughter of Laban and forthwith served his uncle for seven years to enable him marry her. But at bedtime, Laban switched Leah for Rachel and as Jacob was already drunk, went into her. The next morning, Jacob was of course angry but could not do anything as marrying the elder is the custom of the place. Ruefully, he served Laban for another seven years just so he could marry Rachel.

But Rachel could not bear children while Leah was propagating her fair share. In succession, she bore Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, rested for a while, and later again bore Isaachar and Zebulum.

Incensed at the anomalous situation, Rachel willingly allowed her maid, Bilhah to be impregnated by Jacob so that she could treat the offspring that would ensue as if it were her child. As a faithful servant and also because of sexual needs, Bilhah was cooperative and bore Dan and Napthali.

Leah would not be denied. She also allowed her maid Zilpah to be impregnated by Jacob who likewise bore two sons, Gad and Asher. And to further complicate the already complicated merry-go-round, Rachel also later bore two children, Joseph and Benjamin. Which just about tells us not to lose hope, because if Rachel did lose hope in bearing a child, then Joseph would not have been born, and if his birth did not materialize, who would become the Vizer of all Egypt who would later rescue the clan from famine in the ancient land of Ur?

And why is the narration of the children of Judah necessary in the search of the Grand Master Hiram Abif?

Well, because the tribes of Dan and Napthali were specifically mentioned in the building of King Solomon's Temple. Specifically, the workman who is skilled in brass came from one of these two tribes, depending on what book you are referring to. And to insure that there is no confusion, three versions of the Holy Bible (namely, the Catholic edition, the

King James Version and the Berkeley edition) are mentioned hereunder: Let's now refer to the Holy Book.

1 Kings, 7, 13-14

Berkeley Edition - Then King Solomon had Hiram brought out from Tyre. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Napthali, his father had been a Tyrian bronze worker. His father was intelligent, talented, and talented in skilled in all types of bronze work.
King James Version - And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the tribe of Napthali and his father was a man from Tyre, a worker in bronze and he was filled with wisdom and understanding and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to King Solomon and wrought all his work.

Catholic Edition - King Solomon had Hiram brought from Tyre. He was a bronze worker, the son of a widow from the tribe of Napthali; his father had been from Tyre. He was endowed with skill, understanding and knowledge of how to produce any work in bronze.

2 Chronicles 2, 13

Berkeley Edition - So now I will send a master craftsman, my famed Huram, skilled in understanding- the son of a woman from the people of Dan, whose father was a man from Tyre- expert at working in gold, silver, copper, iron and stone; . . .

King James Version - And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's, the son of a woman from the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold, in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, . . . .

Catholic Edition - I am now sending you a craftsman of great skill, Huram-Abi, son of a Danite woman and of a father from Tyre; he knows how to work with gold, silver, bronze and iron. . .

From the two books above-mentioned, the architect who is skilled in the work of brass either has the name Hiram . . . from the tribe of Napthali, or Huram . . . from the tribe of Dan. But the Catholic Edition has added a suffix on the name Huram, and that is Abi!!

And what does this amount to? Simply this!

In one of the Scottish Rite degrees (this writer will not say which so that the reader may be encouraged to get back at the Scottish Rite teachings if he has already received them, or join the Scottish Rite if he hasn't done so yet), part of the topic of which states:

"The name of the Master who is known to you as Hiram Abif is connected with the same symbol. Abif is not a part of his name, not a correct rendering of the Hebrew word which is "Abiu", his father. Ab and Abi means father, master, instructor. Nor is the word Hiram. For in the Book of Kings, Khairom or Khairum, and in the Book of Chronicles, Khurum; and Khurum in the Phoenician language means "the sun.".

How again was the word Hiram changed to Khairom and Huram to Khurum is beyond this writer's imagination. Phonetics and ancient pronunciations, after all, are now beyond the scope of this short article.

End of the search. The GMHA, did exist after all!!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

THE TWIN PILLARS NAMED BOAZ AND JACHIN

Of the lectures of the three different degrees of Blue Masonry, the most beautiful and the most succinct can be found in the 2nd degree monitor. It tells us of the winding stairs consisting of three, five and seven steps, and also gives us a glimpse of how both the Operative and Speculative masons form the core of the membership of Fraternity.
This article will not touch on the coded portions of the second-degree lecture of the Craft but will only delve on the teachings that are decoded and which can readily be understood even by the cowans and eavesdroppers and the new members of the Fraternity. And while the coded portions will be copied verbatim to preserve its mystic, the explanations will, in so far as practicable, be laid out in pure and simple form. Take for instance, “Shiboleth”, that word that was subjected to a previous article.
This article will still probe the second-degree lecture but will also touch topics that hardly ever merited serious attention- the various pillars that were mentioned as follows:
1. The two pillars named Boaz and Jachin that greets the candidate when he re-enters the lodge room during the second section of his passing;
2. The three pillars of the Lodge that the three lights represent in the discourse of the first three steps of the Winding Stairs; and
3. The pillars, also known as columns, that are explained in the lecture of the five steps of the Winding Stairs lecture which comprise the five orders of architecture.
Let’s take Item 1 first.
THE TWO PILLARS MENTIONED IN THE HOLY BIBLE
The two pillars named Boaz and Jachin that greeted the candidate upon his return to the lodge on the second section of the fellowcraft degree conferral have biblical basis and were mentioned at length in 2 Chronicles 3:15-17 and, depending on the reader’s preference on what version of the Holy Bible to use, said the following:
King James Version
“Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiters that was on top of each of them was five cubits. And he made chains as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made a hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains. And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of the one on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.
Catholic Edition
“In front of the building he set two columns thirty five cubits high, the capital topping each was five cubits. He worked out chains in the form of a collar with which he encircled the capitals of the columns, and he made a hundred pomegranates which he set on the chains. He set up the columns to correspond with the nave, one for the right side and the other for the left and he called the one to the right Jachin and the one to the left Boaz.”
Berkeley Edition
Finally, in front of the house he set up two pillars, 52 feet high, each crowned with a 7 ½ foot capital. He made chains in the inner room to put on top of the pillars, fashioning also 100 pomegranates, which he attached to the chains. Thus he erected the pillars in front of the temple one at the right and one at the left, naming the former Jachin and the latter Boaz.”
Note that save for the interchange of the words chapiters with capitals, the use of chains instead of networks, and Berkeley’s Edition use of feet instead of cubits, all three versions are in harmony and are basically in agreement with the wordings and phrases that were used in the second-degree coded monitor.
These two pillars, incidentally, were also mentioned in 1 Kings 7:15-22 and except for slight deviations as to measurements (it mentioned 18 cubits and 27 feet for the Berkley Edition or roughly half the measurements mentioned in 2 Chronicles) it also narrated practically the same thing, and that is, it was made of brass, had chains (or network), had chapiters (or capitals) and also had pomegranates that adorned those pillars.
THE PUZZLE
But what caught this undivided writer’s attention hence subjected to critical review is the coded portion of the monitor which states thus:
Ths chapiters wr srmntd b pommls a bls rprsntg glbs.”
and was followed by a lengthy explanation which says:
“Their principal use, besides serving as maps to distinguish the outward parts of the earth and the situation of the fixed stars, is to illustrate and explain the phenomena arising from the annual revolution of the earth around the sun, and its diurnal rotation upon its own axis. They are valuable instruments for improving the mind and giving it the most distinct idea of any given problem of proposition, as well as for enabling it to solve the same. Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with due reverence for the Deity and His works, and are induced to encourage the study of astronomy, geography, navigation and the arts dependent upon them, by which society has been so much benefited.” (italics supplied).
The above-mentioned explanations were deemed intriguing because while the word pommels were indeed mentioned in 2 Chronicles 4: 12, as “on top of the two pillars”, no mention whatsoever as to their uses was ever made, and following the dictum of not adding or subtracting anything from the Holy Scriptures, then the purpose of the pillars in front of the temple would appear to serve mainly as decoration. Could it be then, that our ancient brethren “cooked up” the astronomical relevance of the lecture?!
And so the search for clues to validate our ancient brethren’ assertions in the second degree monitor.
THE TWIN PILLARS AS INTERPRETED BY THE AUTHORS OF HIRAM KEY
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, authors of “Hiram Key” and the “Second Messiah”, postulated that the twin pillars which King Solomon ordered Hiram Abiff to construct in front of the temple represents Misphat which roughly translates to Judgment for Boaz, and Tsedeq or Teacher of Righteousness for Jachin. They alleged that these two pillars when joined together by the word Shalom, represents the rule of Yahweh in establishing the moral order of government on earth. Incidentally, this theory basically conforms to the pronouncement made in the second degree monitor that the two pillars when joined together meant what God promised to David when the lecturer said: “in strength will I establish this mansion house and kingdom forever.”
But this writer, not being familiar with the exact meanings or translations of the words Misphat, Tsedeq, Boaz and Jachin, would rather just leave these assertions to the said authors. Suffice it to say that the Bible said that Boaz is the great grandfather of David while Jachin is a name of one of the sons of Simeon, the eldest son of Jacob. What correlation these names have to the pillars of King Solomon, if any, this writer really does not know.
THE TWIN PILLARS IN THE EYES OF SECHARIA ZITCHIN
Zecharia Zitchin, author of “The Earth’s Chronicles“ whose sources were based on ancient Sumerian tablets that allegedly predates the Holy Bible, theorized that the twin pillars had astronomical relevance. These two pillars, he said, were similar to the devices called “obelisks” in ancient Egypt designed by the builders of the pyramids to determine the equinoctial or solstitial positions of the sun and had for its forerunner the tools and implements of Sumerian astronomy, the basis for the determination of the world’s calendar. Zitchin also claimed in his other book “The Lost Realms” that even at the other side of the globe in Ecuador, two similar pillars also adorn its temples which he claims was also erected for stargazing studies.
Verily therefore, Zitchin’s theories conform to our ancient brethren’s pronouncements that the pillars built by King Solomon on the porch fronting the Temple were indispensable tools for astronomical, geographical and navigational functions.
THE FATE OF THE TWIN PILLARS AS NARRATED IN THE HOLY BIBLE
The question that should now concern the reader before this article ends is: “whatever happened to these twin pillars that were erected by King Solomon” as the second-degree monitor suddenly dropped this issue as if it were a hot potato!!
Well, the answer can be found in the Book of Jeremiah that narrated the destruction of the kingdom of Judah when it was over run by King Nebuchadnezar in 586 BC. In this book (Jm 53: 17-18), it said:.
“The bronze pillars that belonged to the House of the Lord, and the wheeled carts and the bronze sea in the House of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke into pieces; they carried away all the bronze to Babylon.”
The twin pillars therefore, had been cast to oblivion but not before similar representations of which may be viewed in most modern-day Masonic Temples, (readers can easily see these either in front of the doorway of the old but now destroyed Masonic Temple at San Marcelino St., and another at the doorway of the new Grand Lodge of the Philippines temple at General Luna St.), and made available for the present and future generations of Masons to remember and behold.

Friday, June 24, 2005

SHIBBOLETH

Talk about the lecture of the fellowcraft degree and you are instantly reminded of the winding stairs consisting of three, five and seven steps. Those who have had the opportunity of performing the role of the Senior Deacon in the second section of the conferral of this degree will readily say it is one of the most beautiful teachings of the Craft. In it the three pillars consisting of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are succinctly explained as are the five orders of Architecture comprising the Tuscan, the Doric, the Ionic, the Corinthian and the Composite. So are the seven liberal arts and sciences which, although no longer explained in detail, are actually grouped into the trivium which is composed of Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic; and the quadrivium- that comprise the analytical fields of Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy.
Browsing back at the opening paragraphs before the winding stairs were recited, the candidate is told that our ancient brethren already knew that the world is round, that it revolves around the sun and that it also rotates in diurnal rotation upon its own axis. How amusing that the Roman Church only lifted the excommunication of Galileo in the middle of the 20th century for declaring that the world is round some four hundred years before!
But this article is not about the winding stairs nor of the sphericity of planet earth as this was already known to the ancient Egyptians from whom Julius Caesar borrowed and had decreed the use of the Julian Calendar which is now indelibly enshrined in our everyday life. He, after all, officially promulgated the world’s calendar as consisting of 365 days for three successive years and adding another day on the fourth by calling it a leap year.
Of course, the Julian Calendar was not precisely accurate! Exact calculations reveal that the earth takes a complete turn around the sun in exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds and is therefore 11 minutes and 14 seconds short of the Julian calendar. For the time being however, this discrepancy will be shelved temporarily and the commentary set for a later date in favor of the topic that will be discussed below.
For the purpose of this article, there is another lesson in the lecture of the fellowcraft degree, the impact of the lecture on the winding stairs of which has apparently been relegated to mediocrity and oblivion. It is the unique role played by Jephthah, judge of Israel, and how the word “Shibboleth” was adopted as a password in gaining admission to every regular lodge of fellowcraft masons.
The Book of Judges of the Holy Bible tells us that Jephthah is the great, great grandson of Joseph (genealogy starts with Joseph, brother of Judah, and is followed by Mannaseh, Machir, Gilead and Jephthah) and the son of Gilead by a harlot. At the death of Gilead, Jephthah was driven away by his elder brothers to disinherit him from the estate that his deceased father left behind. Taking residence in the land of Tob, he was joined by other brigands and there prospered. After some time, the Ammonites (the descendants of Lot of Sodom and Gommorah) warred upon the sub-tribe of Mannaseh of the tribe of Joseph that include the Gileadites. The elders of Gilead therefore, convinced Jephthah to return and lead them in battle with the promise that he will be made chieftain should they win, which Jephthah accepted and did.
The other sub-tribe of Joseph named the Ephraimites (descendants of Ephraim, the younger brother of Mannaseh), however, incensed at not being called to fight and share in the rich spoils of the Ammonitish war, assembled its army and crossed the river Jordan to give Jephthah battle but were soundly defeated by the Gileadites under Jephthah’s able leadership.
But this is not the end of the story. Jephthah, aware that the Ephraimites will still attempt to cross the river Jordan by sending their own spies, stationed guards at the fords of the river with the specific instructions that should any stranger pass by that way, he should demand of him to pronounce the word “Shibboleth" which resulted in the death of so many Ephraimites, and here now lies the perplexing situation.
Our second-degree monitor said that the Ephraimites are of a different tribe and consequently could not pronounce the word aright, but biblical narration does not support this allegation. Mannaseh and Ephraim are the two sons of Joseph who became the vizier of Egypt and therefore belonged to the same tribe. Likewise, the lapse of only five generations (from Joseph to Jephthah- see Numbers, Chapter 36) could not possibly drastically change intonation of dialects and/or languages as development of phonetics usually takes aeons and therefore could not support this conclusion. Also, it is doubtful if four generations of Ephraimites can produce a sub-tribe consisting of forty thousand five hundred able-bodied men of twenty years and above as Chapter 1 of the Book of Numbers also show.
Which now favors the theory that the twelve tribes of Israel did not actually come from only the genealogy of the twelve children of Jacob but are in reality tribes that already existed when the children of Israel left Egypt. If it ever did, the genealogy must have involved more than five generations and that they were joined by other leaderless Israelites that automatically created a peculiar phonetic accent and intonation among the different tribes. Under this hypothesis, the descendants coming from the children of Jacob became the automatic leaders of these tribes because they were the Israelites who were able to gain positions of leadership during Joseph’s incumbency as vizier in Egypt and had retained this influence when they left Egypt for the promised land.
Let this writer now offer a hypothesis based on a local setting (with due apologies to our brother Kapampangans, of course!) .
Imagine the Israelites as Malays who migrated from Borneo to the Philippines in the early tenth century. The tribe of Joseph from which both the Ephraimites and the Mannasites (which include the Gileadites) belong were allotted to occupy Central Luzon and with the tribe of Ephraim settling in the Pampanga area while the Gileadites settled in the Bulacan area. The boundary that separated the two sub-tribes was the Apalit-Calumpit river. After the passage of time, the Kapampangans (nee Ephraimites), while still retaining most of the words in the vernacular, have lost the “h” in their pronunciation, thus the English word “house” is pronounced “ba’ay”, while the Gileadites (nee BulakeƱos) have still retained theirs and thus pronounce it as “bahay.”
This was already the case when the Ammonitish war erupted and later, when the Ephraimites were soundly defeated by the Gileadites as narrated earlier, Jephthah ordered his guards that were stationed at the fords of the Calumpit-Apalit river, that should any stranger pass by that way, then he should demand of him to pronounce the word “bahay”. Which, of course, could not be pronounced correctly by the Kapampangans as reasonably the word will be pronounced with the letter “h” lost in the pronunciation. .
With due cognizance also to our Filipino and other brethren who have already settled in the land of the brave and the home of the free and therefore may no longer be familiar with local regional dialects and intonations, perhaps they can also coin a parallel analogy, a situation similar to what has already been described and which it is hoped can roughly be found somewhere at the opposite banks of the imaginary Dixie lines of the American river.
And so ends this short article for the day!!

Monday, June 20, 2005

THE LION’S SENTRA TAKES ON A NEW OWNER

The first object that greeted the lion’s view upon reaching their residence on the evening of April 22, Friday, was his dirty-white 1989 Nissan Sentra that was parked outside of their garage. While still at his den in Guindulman, his youngest cub informed him that last December, he decided to push it outside of the garage since his best friend entrusted to him the latter’s late-modeled car prior to vacationing at the States, and fearful that it might be car-napped if parked outside the gate, decided to have his friend’s car parked inside and the immobilized Sentra parked outside instead.

The lion’s heart sunk. His now-dilapidated car, bought for P200,000 in 1992, the biggest single cash purchase he and his tamer bought in their entire lifetime, was now a sorry sight. Left to the elements, it is now rusty and the once regal car that the lion meticulously maintained in tip-top condition for ten whole years prior to their transfer to Bohol was now headed for the junkyard, He earlier learned also that a neighbor wanted to buy it for a measly P5,000 since anyway, she said, it is now no more than a scrap..

The next day when his youngest cub returned home from his Call Center office , the lion was told that another neighbor also wanted to buy the car but did not name the price, making the lion just shake his head in despair.

Two days later, he went to a repair shop owned by Bro. James Macarilay, a brother from Juan Sumulong Lodge No. 169 whom he had guided through the conferral of degrees before he transferred residence to Bohol and told him about the car. The lion’s request was to the point; he wanted the said brother to tow the car to his garage, have it fixed and put it back in tip-top condition, sell it and from whatever proceeds, deduct his expenses and a reasonable amount of profit, and if there is still something left, would be glad if the lion can still get something out of it. But the most important thing is to have it towed as it might be inadvertently hauled by the MMDA where VW Philmore Balmaceda reigns and it would indeed be a source of shame to the aging lion if this awkward possibility happens.

Bro. James had a better suggestion. He said he will arrange that the car be towed to his repair shop, have it body-lifted for the needed repair estimate and once done, would give the lion his best offer for the car. The lion, much like the refrain in the third-degree conferral could only say “Agreed.”


The next day, Bro James was at the house accompanied by his wife and offered to buy the car “as is” for P25,000, which made the lion remark, are you sure you will not lose from the deal? Both James and his wife were categorical in saying “No!” The profit may not be as big as in other transactions, but who would not help a brother who has had a very good influence in his joining the Craft?! Some three years back, the lion guided him and Bro. Jun de la Vega in the conferral of the three degrees where the two would often be at the lion’s residence at Project 8 patiently being taught to memorize the coded monitor while munching the Dunkin donuts that they brought along with them.

But the car’s Certificate of Cover (COC) and the Official Receipt were nowhere to be found and so the attendant dilemma. How does the lion proceed?

Bro James asked where the lion usually pays the annual registration fees and on learning that the latter does it at LTO Caloocan said that it would not be a problem; the LTO Registrar is a brother. Posthaste, the lion copied the number printed in the LTO sticker and promptly went to LTO Caloocan and there found out the registrar is named Rodolfo Panganiban, past master of Hiram Lodge No. 88. There also, he met Bro.Diosdado Meligrito of Labong Lodge No. 59 and another brother surnamed Gualberto from Cavite Lodge No. 2; and while sipping coffee together, a secretary attended to the papers and in about an hour’s time, WB Panganiban handed it over to the lion and forthwith scribbled a short to the LTO Registrar (a lady whose name the lion forgot) at Sta. Mesa where the new Certificate of Cover needs to be issued, but not after giving the lion a calling card saying he does not expect a problem on the issuance of the COC but that the lion should not fail to call just in case.

As expected the lady was very accommodating and the COC was promptly re-issued without the lion getting himself entangled into the messy red-tape, whereupon the lion handed it later to Bro. James and the check for P25,000 collected, after signing the required papers.

The transaction on the Nissan Sentra would have ended right there, except that during the May 28 stated meeting of Juan Sumulong Lodge No. 169,the lion again met Bro. James who said: “Kuya, I’m no longer selling your car. I already had it repaired and brought to serviceable condition and I intend to use it in going to and from my work at Bicutan, in lieu of my late-modeled CRV” where he daily reports as a member of the PNP.

And what can the brethren learn from this short article? But can’t you see? The unseen hands of the mystic Craft enabled the aging lion to consummate the transaction through the help of two fraternal brothers with nary a sweat at all!

ZARSUELA, PHILIPPINE STYLE

The circus has now begun. What started as an earth-shaking bombshell has just converted itself either into a soap opera or a comic strip, depending on whether the reader is a romanticist or a philosopher. Consider these.

1. Imagine news in the Philippines are being emailed by brothers based in Haiti (WB Bong Fajardo), Hawaii (Bro. Angel Abellada) and at the American Samoa (WB Dave Dacanay) chronicling the news as shown in Item 2 below.

2. The national paper “Philippine Star” dated June 16 and written by Jaime Laude and Non Alquitran has an article titled “Ong kicked out of Seminary for being a Mason?”. It added that Bishop Bacani (yeah, the bishop accused of sexual harassment earlier) was quoted he was not ready to give up Ong and asked Gen. Art Lomibao of Ong’s safety should the Church decide to hand him over to the police. Lomibao allegedly assured Bacani of Ong’s safety and that the latter will be accorded due process.

The apparent twist here is that the Church apparently lost interest in Ong’s crusade not because he violated certain house rules at the seminary but because he is a Mason, and would therefore hand him over to his would-be captors that is headed by General Lomibao, another Mason.

3. The complaint against Sammy Ong, widely-circulated as a serious case of wire-tapping no different from the Watergate scandal that caused the downfall of Richard Nixon has simmered down into plain “inciting to sedition and rebellion”. Apparently, the planned wire-tapping complaint had to be discarded as the bright lawyers of Samuel Ong may succeed in compelling the alleged wire-tapped victims to appear before the courts and there expose their dastardly acts wide into the open.

4. Ong’s alleged crime is wire-tapping because he admitted that he has in his possession the mother of all tapes and that he has distributed three others (probably having different contents) to three other persons, one of whom is a “worthy brother”. Since Ong is not the wire-tapper but a certain Sgt. Noble and since Noble is but a pawn in the military hierarchy, is it not logical that he must have received orders from a military officer of the ISAF who is of higher rank, probably its chief?! Then who is he and why is he not being brought to the limelight?!

5. Where did Secretary Bunyi got his copy of the tapes? Not from Ong, most reasonably. Then from whom? And why is he also not being brought to the public’s view?


6. The alleged wire-tapped victim’s refusal to dignify answering a question answerable with a simple yes or no can be likened to a wife whose husband caught her naked in bed and with a male jumping out of the window. The husband, later demanding from her what the hell is happening, simply replied “I don’t want to answer that absurd and irresponsible question. I’d rather be busy cooking your food and you better forget whatever you saw!

7. The church has apparently lost interest in Ong’s crusade; all because he is a Mason. That old yarn about Masons existing with the sole purpose of destroying the Roman Church holds magic. Now, you who are deprived of the holy communion out there in the fringes of Mindanao, please take note.


8. Either the PNP is completely inutile or that it purposely allowed Sammy Ong to disappear, are logical possibilities. Imagine cordoning the seminary with throngs of PNP personnel in full battle gear out to catch one man, and closely watching the gates only to lose him completely.

9. But it would be safer for Ong’s health that he submits himself to Gen. Lumibao. His life would be in lesser danger if compared to the present situation that he has allegedly disappeared because under the present circumstances, he can easily be shot and be pronounced as dead..

The reason Andres Bonifacio was assassinated at Mount Buntis was because General Paua disobeyed General Aguinaldo’s orders while the Spanish Governor General, a Mason , who in command in the Philippines was recalled to Spain, thus compelling Jose Rizal to apply as a doctor bound for Cuba. But it was too late, Jose Rizal, on board the ship, was ordered to disembark by the new Governor General and in Manila tried for treason. On December 30, shot at the Bagumbayan.

Would Gen. Lomibao then allow that Sammy Ong’s death tarnish his uniform and his ties with the Craft? The lion thinks not.

Ho, ho, hum!!

Leon