The Independent Magazine for Freemasons
By: J.S.M. Ward
It is difficult to believe that this is a re-print from 1925. Everything in the book is still relevant today, probably more so as many brethren do not attend a church on a regular basis; the author gives full explanations and cites sources of all Biblical references to clarify his interpretations.
The initial two chapters open by asking about Hiram and where he appears in the Bible. To a new candidate, this can be confusing as there appear to be five different Hirams. The author explains the backgrounds clearly and discusses the meaning of the names from Hebrew translations. For Red Cross of Constantine Knights, the variation in the name to Adoniram is also explored.
The author then discusses the Adonis cult from Babylonia to Syria showing that the symbolism for the bee might not be the original. The similarity with the name Adoniram is argued effectively that it cannot be a coincidence. If this section is too heavy for a new candidate, it can be omitted without affecting the understanding of the whole concept of Hiram. The author discusses a number of rites, some ancient, where the notion of resurrection is intimated and their similarities with the third degree are astonishing, and yet the Masonic Hiramic legend is the same across the globe.
The background to many common Masonic symbols such as the two St Johns (and where St Thomas originally fits as a patron saint of masons) and the parallel lines are explained from ancient sources – many explanations clarifies why Masonic ceremonies then used these symbols. An account of the ceremonies of the Essenes, the Roman Collegia (which is of interest to Constantine Masons), Knights Templar and the section from the Book of Ecclesiastes are further explained in terms of their origin.
The concluding chapters deal with further primitive rites of death and resurrection in various countries and their remarkable similarities with our present-day ceremonies. Every Master Mason should be presented with this book, perhaps a year after his degree, to allow him to think about its lessons and meanings. Many of his questions might well be answered in this book.
Reviewer: N. G. Macleod