The Masonic Pageant
The 29 Masonic Degrees of the Scottish Rite
About the Book
Overview of the Masonic Pageant:
Freemasonry, for the last four centuries, has been an ever present but unseen part of the spiritual and cultural DNA of modern Western civilization. It has a rich heritage, whose legends and rituals extend back to the beginnings of Western culture. To make that heritage and those legends known to everyone, I offer The Masonic Pageant: an Insider’s Guide to the Rituals, Meaning and History of the Scottish Rite’s 29 Higher Masonic Degrees. The Scottish Rite is an appendant body of Freemasonry that confers 29 “higher” Masonic degrees, each presented in the form of a one-act stage play. Each degree conveys a spiritual message intended to develop the ethical and moral character of the recipient.
The Masonic Pageant, a 90,000-word, 290-page narrative non-fiction book is divided into Masonic degrees rather than chapters, the book’s chapters serving only as superstructures to organize the degrees. Each degree’s stage drama (called a “ritual” in Masonry) presents a snapshot of a moment in the history of Western Judeo-Christian culture. I expand on that moment and bring it to life in the form of a creative non-fiction essay written in an informal, style designed to keep the reader’s interest. The reader visits Moses and his band of desert wanderers who became the Hebrews, the prehistoric Enoch and his mysterious nine-story underground temple, Solomon’s Jerusalem with its many pagan Canaanite deities, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon (the original City that Never Sleeps), medieval Europe and colonial America. He or she is present on the battlefields of Nicopolis, Saratoga, Gettysburg and the north Atlantic of World War II. Stone Age hunters, Hebrew prophets, ancient gods and goddesses, medieval knights, crusaders, Cherokee Indians, Robert E. Lee, Benedict Arnold and even Old Scratch himself parade before the reader and entertain him or her with their adventures.
Each degree is a unit unto itself, with its own moral and spiritual lessons to impart. The Historical Background of each degree shows how the events of that degree’s historical period affected the people and their times. The book’s spiritual content is made up of interwoven elements from Ancient Egypt, Judaism, Christianity, paganism and New Age mysticism. There are also allusions to Rosicrucianism (I am an initiated Masonic Rosicrucian), the mythical meditations of Joseph Campbell and the theosophical speculations of Madam H. P. Blavatsky.
Many authors of Masonic books are adherents of some particular religious system and flavor their books with the tenets of that religion. Others are devotees of one or another cockamamie New Age hypothesis (Solomon was helped by ancient aliens, the Knights Templar set up shop in Wisconsin, etc.) and base their entire book on these unsupported flights of fancy. I bring neither a religious bias nor bizarre speculation to my writing. All of the book’s historical pieces are written from a purely secular, conventional viewpoint and all religious interpretation is left to the viewpoint of the reader. Some fanciful and colorful Masonic versions of history are presented for the reader’s interest but are clearly identified as spurious (or, at least, highly unlikely).
The reader, Masonic or not, is invited to discover the answers to questions he or she may never have considered.
- How do Masons believe that the arts and sciences of Atlantis were transmitted to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia after the Great Flood?
- Who was the prehistoric tribal chieftain known as Enoch and why did he have his young son Methuselah build a nine-story underground temple for him?
- Which pagan deity do many archeologists think Solomon really dedicated his famous Temple to?
- When did the polytheistic Hebrews become the modern Jews who now worship only one God?
- What was the main message that Jesus preached and why has it been suppressed since the time of Constantine?
- Why have only four Gospels been preserved out the original forty that had been circulated in the early Church?
- How were the Crusades bungled time and again by both military leaders and Church officials?
- Were the knights of the Middle Ages really the chivalrous heroes they are made out to be?
- Who were the vigilante knights called the Vehmgeright and why did they go around the countryside hanging people?
- What were the circumstances that drove Freemason Benedict Arnold to betray his country?
- What was the real religion of Freemason Benjamin Franklin?
- Why did Robert E. Lee, unquestionably the greatest general of the Civil War, lose the Battle of Gettysburg when it should have an easy victory?
- Was Elias Ashmole, a man masons revere as “The First Mason,” really a swindler and a murderer?
Finding the answers to these and other questions are only a part of the enjoyment the reader will derive from The Masonic Pageant.
There is none of the uncritical glorification of Masonry found in many books written by Masons. A few Masonic sacred cows (Elias Ashmole and King Solomon, for two) are barbequed and at least one Masonic devil (Benedict Arnold) is given his due. Nor have I glossed over the sorry stains of Masonry’s former support of racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Catholic bigotry, long-gone flaws that Masonry would now like everyone to forget.
There is not another book like this now in the stores. Bookstores could shelve it under either New Age (where many books on Masonry are shelved) or History, as it features both subjects. It will keep the interest of all readers and should induce many to expand their spiritual horizons.
- Frank on Introduction
- Nanci J Davids on Introduction
- Obdulia O Erno on Introduction
- Keith B Lucore on 29th Degree
- Del Z Didion on Introduction
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