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A Glossary to Morals and Dogma - Hutchens
The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar - Sora
The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited - White
The Templars - Knights of God - Burman

A Glossary to Morals and Dogma
By Dr. Rex R. Hutchens, 33*
The Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR), Southern Jurisdiction of the USA
Washington, DC
Copyright 1993 Supreme Council AASR/SJUSA
P.538, Bibliography, index, illustrated, Hardcover

It is no surprise that many Freemasons have attempted to read Albert Pike's magnificent opus Morals and Dogma, the one work that singularly revived and defined Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the United States since the end of the Civil War. Pike, himself a Confederate General, took it upon himself to revive the so-called 'Higher Degree' aspects of Freemasonry as they were represented in the body of Scottish Rite. While other Rites, did, and still do exist, it is Scottish Rite with its 33 Degrees, and York Rite with 9 Degrees of initiation and instruction, that set the parameters for Masonic activities (beyond Blue Lodge, or the Third, or Master Mason Degree) in the United States of America.

Pike's work became a source of much confusion and controversy, mainly because it is so dense, and filled with arcane references to ancient symbolism, mythology, and even esotericism - such as alchemy, qabala, and astrology - that the average reader gives up for want of having to look up the many subcategories being discussed.

As such, for those who do not have a graduate degree in comparative religion with a concentration in ancient mystery cults, there is now hope! Written 10 years ago, this work has been somewhat of a sleeper, and we were pleasantly pleased when it came across our desk for review. Dr. Hutchens, has traveled extensively in the Middle East, as well as Southwest Asia. He is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society, and has published in the Scottish Rite Journal, and The Philalethes, as well as other Masonic publications.

Drawing on his experience, both inside and outside of Masonry, Hutchens has put together a handy reference guide for both the Mason and non-Mason alike. Containing over 3,000 concise entries, A Glossary has 8,000 cross-references, and 1,500 references to specific Scottish Rite Degrees. Students of comparative religion, mysticism, and the 19th and early 20th century occult revivals will find this work invaluable. Our only caution is that some of the entries place a 'masonic spin' on the topic being discussed, rather than placing it in the larger context from which it came. Several of the entries are 'soft', but manageable, particularly when read in the context for which the book was written - as a means of illuminating the dense world of Pike's work.

Hutchens is also the author of A Bridge to Light, and The Bible in Albert Pike's 'Morals and Dogma'. No price was stated on the dust jacket. Contact the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, Washington, DC, for additional information.

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The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar - Solving the Oak Island Mystery
By Steven Sora
Destiny Books
Rochester, VT
Index, Bibliography, Paperback

Whereas Partner and Burman present the view that the Knights Templar were effectively destroyed by their suppression in 1307, Steven Sora in "The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar - Solving the Oak Island Mystery" suggests that the Templars not only survived, but managed to take a considerable amount of their wealth with them into hiding.

The jacket states, "Using newfound historical evidence that places a Scottish presence in the New World a century before Columbus, Steven Sora presents a fascinating scenario that has the Sinclair clan of Scotland transporting the wealth of the Templars - entrusted to them as Masonic heirs of the order - to a remote island off the shores of present day Nova Scotia." While Sora relies heavily on Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln, Graham Hancock, and others who tie the Templars to the Holy Grail, Merovingian dynasty, the Prieure de Sion, and similar conspiratorial references, his book is a new addition to the genre in that it adds in Franklin Delano Roosevelt in as well. Roosevelt is often whispered as having been involved in some kind of esoteric research in modern rosicrucian circles.

All in all, an enjoyable read, and one that will be well received by those whose interest is to keep tabs on the more unusual aspects of history and Templar survival. It is Sora's first book. Nice job!

The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited
By Ralph White, Editor
Lindisfarne Books 1999
Hudson, NY

Before the 'New Age' there was the "Rosicrucian Enlightenment". At the beginning of the 17th century, a new awakening was heralded throughout Europe, announcing the universal reform of all known areas of human activity - religion, science, art, and society were to become one being. The chief proponents of this great awakening were the mysterious "Rosicrucians". Nearly 400 years after the first seeds of this movement were planted, over 100 students, authors, and scholars of traditional Western esotericism, of which Rosicrucianism is the foremost exponent, gathered in the medieval town of Czesky Krumolv in the Czech Republic, to discuss, explore, and in someway, reopen the 'Vault of Christian Rosencreutz' once again.

The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited contains nine essays on the early Rosicrucian movement presented at this landmark conference sponsored in part by The New York Open Center, and copies of the first two Rosicrucian Manifestoes, the "Fama" and the "Confessio". It is a great read and ideal for anyone interested in what is truly the heart and soul of Western esotericism - the Rosicrucian Enlightenment.

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The Templars - Knights of God
By Edward Burman
Destiny Books
Rochester, VT
Index, Bibliography, Paperback

Partner's and Burman's works are refreshing reading in light of much of Templar oriented books over the last 10 or 15 years. While published in 1987 and 1986 respectively, both authors deal with one of the most fascinating and mythogenic events in Western Estotericism, the suppression of the Knights Templar, from a sober and scholarly viewpoint. To quote Burman, "This perennial need for historical justification, together with the mystery concerning their suppression, makes the Order of the Temple ideal material for those who seek esoteric secrets or simply inspiration. We have seen that the real achievements of the Templars was surprisingly limited; but that does nothing to diminish the fascination which surrounds them."

While Burman's "The Templars - Knights of God" only spends a few pages at the end on the modern esoteric themes that have developed around the Templars, Partner's "The Knights Templars and their Myth" devotes about three-quarters of the book to the development of Templar mythology, pointing out, that even Cornelius Agrippa, in his "Three Books of Occult Philosophy", wrote that the Templars practiced magic - a crime of which they were accused, but was ignored by occultists for almost three hundred years. Several chapters focus on the Templar-Masonic connection, German Romanticism, and the 19th century's French Occult Revival's use of Templar motifs for its inspiration and expression.

Even if the above authors are wrong, or that the reader would prefer to believe that the Templars, as a body, were the guardians of some esoteric secrets, or even the Holy Grail itself, Partner and Burman are well worth reading. They are clear, to the point, and support their positions with numerous references. Fine introductions to the Knights Templars and Templarism as it exists today.

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