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The Independent Magazine for Freemasons

Renaissance Man and Mason

By: Piers A. Vaughan

 

This superb book covers a huge range of aspects of the Craft written by a Freemason with experience in English, Belgian, French and Canadian Constitutions. This is more than a book – it is a journey about the Craft and its links with Rosicrucian, Martinist and alchemical thinking while delving into what the initiatic art and its purpose. Delving in and out of this book will provide the mason with his daily advancement of Masonic knowledge.

 

Bro. Vaughan states that the ‘lack of dogma means that we can bring any philosophy, any teaching to the table for intelligent consideration…and whose inclusiveness means any man who seeks more in life than the mundane daily routine can expand his understanding of life…’ This book provides the mechanism to do just that within the comfort of a home and therefore allow serious contemplation of many points within each chapter.

 

The opening chapters of the book discuss symbolism, the purpose of initiation by using the seven liberal arts and sciences and Masonic meditation before going into the spiritual aspect of life. Having some background knowledge in side orders would be helpful although not essential and it may also encourage brethren not in some orders to consider joining them. The necessary lessons within these orders are explained in detail and will force the reader to think more deeply about them especially when these are heard again in the ritual.

 

In a talk delivered to the US about the origins, the author explains much of what has been said before but in a succinct manner with some interesting observations. If the reader is not keen on the historical aspects of the Craft, then this one chapter which leads onto Freemasonry in the US is good enough to explain the background to where we are today.

 

Another extremely fascinating chapter was a talk about the 14th Degree of the A. & A. Scottish Rite, a degree rarely seen in the UK and therefore of great interest to Rose Croix masons. This explanation is a useful prerequisite to this degree. On the same vein, an exegesis of the Most Excellent Master degree is given leading to a Kabbalistic approach inviting the reader to seek for further explanation.

 

All this leads naturally to the Rosicrucian (including alchemy) and the Red Cross degrees which includes the AMD and the variations, The Royal Order of Scotland concluding with an explanation of an old Royal Arch ritual. For a Mason, not in some of these Orders, it provides a clear explanation of the ‘bigger picture’ of the masonic degrees. The whole story is similar to a family tree with many turns, but the author does a great job in attempting to logically put the story in a comprehensive and understandable account.

 

This is a superb book for any brother with an interest in degrees after the Craft – it has a delightful blend of historical, symbolical and philosophical descriptions that cannot fail to force the enquiring Mason to research further into the more hidden aspects of the Craft.

 

Review: N. G. Macleod

 

Rose Circle Publications

ISBN: 9780981542188

276 pages

 

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