Where to start?

Discussion in 'Recommended Reading' started by ShawnC, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. ShawnC

    ShawnC Registered User

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    So there are already some good threads in this section that have helped me to know what some good, further Masonic reading would be - crono's list, the 5 you couldn't live without, etc. However, I wanted to ask a more specific question. I consider myself still quite fresh only having been raised last August. So, for someone new, these lists and recommendations can be quite daunting. It feels like there are thousands of options out there. Where would a new Master Mason start his library, keeping in mind he's starting from scratch? If I wanted to start digging in and educating myself further, what book(s) specifically would you recommend that I begin with?

    I realize I could always just randomly start picking things from these lists, but I would assume there are likely to be titles out there that would be more suited/recommended as "firsts of further reading" let's say.

    Thanks in advance for any guidance!
     
  2. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    It rather depends on your interest. General areas of Masonic literature include:
    • The body of Masonry - overt history of lodges, Grand Lodges, and format of the rituals
    • The soul of Masonry - inner qualities including brotherhood, spiritual growth and enlightenment
    • The spirit of Masonry - higher intent and purpose behind what is currently called Freemasonry
    There is a vast amount of literature on the body of Masonry, a modest amount on the soul and relatively little on the spirit of Masonry.

    In each category most writings contain large amounts of speculation (guesswork).

    Further, the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster was established in 1717 to provide a form of Masonry that was loyal to the Hanoverian king as compared with the traditional Masonic preference for the Stewart line. To achieve its purpose the new Grand Lodge had to rewrite Masonic history to obscure its own contentious origins. This it did, and it took 100 years before there was reconciliation with the other lodges (the Antients).

    Thus each of the above categories of Masonic literature can be subdivided into those that assume the official history and those that do not.
     
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  3. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    If you're up for a challenge, give "The Secret Teachings of All Ages" by Manly P. Hall a read. Not strictly Masonic, but I found that it sufficiently schooled me on various esoteric, philosophical, and mystery schools which has greatly aided me in my Masonic studies. The size of the volume can be daunting though. I recommend it as "background reading" over the course of several months.

    "Speculative Masonry" by MacBride was pretty good, though hardly groundbreaking. It would make a good first addition to a collection.

    The idiots guide book actually wasn't half bad and gave a decent overview of history and various appendant orgs.

    Esoterika by Pike (de Hoyos) is a good read once you've gotten your feet wet a little more.
     
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  4. caution22113

    caution22113 Registered User

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    The Craft and Its Symbols by Allen E. Roberts ImageUploadedByMy Freemasonry1424582818.394744.jpg
     
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  5. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    James, I would like to read more about this viewpoint. Can you recommend source material?
     
  6. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Here are some sources

    http://mastermason.com/kenilworth29/Research/18thCenturyPolitics.html

    http://www.themasonictrowel.com/Art...he_true_history_scottish_esoteric_masonry.htm

    http://www.vermontlodgeofresearch.com/Publications/Official/Old is New version 2.pdf

    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=KUbuL3V2GK8C&pg=PA272&lpg=PA272&dq=hanoverian+Masonry&source=bl&ots=BEbqScJRFr&sig=m5VSLk7zi3NRErRnQQLiiJoSnzI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YX_pVDrEovAF-q-BoAI&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=hanoverian Masonry&f=false

    Interestingly the loss of the genuine secrets was effectively announced by the GL of London and Westminster when it adopted the Hiram version of 3rd degree rather than the Noah version.

    As far as I know, prior to 1727 there was no concern about lack of the genuine secrets. So, if the genuine secrets were still around but the new GL did not have them, then it made sense to generate a Hiram legend to suggest that the no one else had the genuine secrets.

    It has always seemed curious to me that GL did not send out search parties for the genuine secrets but sat and waited for those secrets to appear at some time and circumstance in the future. Did the GL know that it was no use searching?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015
  7. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    I was hesitant to post my suggestion because it is difficult for me to remember what appealed to me when I was a new Mason. :) However I guess I might suggest "The Meaning of Masonry" by Wilmshurst. You can check it out on the web at http://www.bradford.ac.uk/webofhiram/?section=meaning_of_masonry to see if you like it.
     
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  8. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Wilmshurst was one of my earliest reads on Masonry.

    While some of his conclusions are valid, he is prone to unsupported speculation based on his spiritual beliefs. So his books are a useful exercise in distinguishing the Real from the Unreal.
     
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  9. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Great Questions! I recommend a book that I wrote and published late last year. It's called "The Craft Unmasked! The Origin of Freemasonry and its Practice." It shall provide to you an unbelievably strong foundation for which you can build upon. Not one filled with flights of fancy and fluff-filled conjecture, but honest to goodness insights into what you actually went through at the Blue Lodge level and why you went through it (from an organizational standpoint), as opposed to what you thought you went through and your own reasons as to why.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    F&S,

    John
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. ShawnC

    ShawnC Registered User

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    Thanks very much for the responses everyone! After multiple recommendations here and seeing it on other lists as well, I've decided to start with "The Meaning of Masonry" by Wilmshurst. I'm just nearing the end of chapter one and am thoroughly enjoying it so far. I'll be honest, I already feel a bit more enlightened to some things I had not even considered, so I'm excited to see where this goes and how my knowledge will grow with this and other further reading! So far this book seems like it's working on the "soul" and "spirit" of Masonry as JamestheJust put it, which is really what I was looking for - the deeper knowledge and understanding.

    At the same time I've decided to go ahead and load up my Kindle with several other books that have been recommended here. I do love technology. It's like carrying around a library in your pocket. :D But this way I'll have more ready to go once I finish the first.

    The others I picked up to start with were:
    - "Born in Blood" - that seemed to be a resounding favorite of many people wherever I looked
    - "The Secret Teachings of All Things"
    - "The Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual"
    - "Morals & Dogma"
    I added several other suggestions to my Wish List that were only available in a physical book, but figured I'd start with those that were available digitally, instantly.

    CoachN - A question for you specifically: What's involved in getting your books available on Amazon and from there into a Kindle edition as well?

    Thanks again to all, and I'm definitely open to any other recommendations that anyone feels like sharing!
     
  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    All these books are already on Amazon, but there are no plans for them to be in any digital form.
     
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  12. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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  13. ShawnC

    ShawnC Registered User

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    Ah ha, I see them now. My apologies. I may have been searching only in Kindle books when I searched and didn't see them the first time. Thanks!
     
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  14. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I'm a little late to this party, but I'm a big WL Wilmshurst fan.

    Meaning of Masonry is great, but, may I suggest starting with Ceremony of Initiation. It's short (74 pages including introduction, prologue, etc) and because it deals with just the EA degree, I think it might be easier to digest as a good starting point.
     

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