Sunday, July 28, 2013

Prof. Raphael M. Ortiz speaks on the process of Deconstruction & Spiritual Work

"You can't give loyalty to activities, to structures that deconstruct all of the  intention to intellect...that teach you to in a sense, put into the foreground the emotional body feltness, because with it is a logic, with it is a does not not permit you to move on to intellect and objectivity...It responds to intellect as a threat."  After explaining the psycho-spiritual process of deconstruction, class consciousness in the context of spiritual and personal development, Ortiz speaks profoundly on the experiential phenomenon of temporal lobe 40 hertz.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Publishedby Mandrake of Oxford – ₤9.99 ($15)

I’m pleased to announce the publication of Dr. Christopher McIntosh's novel The Return of the Tetrad, the story of an esoteric adventure cum spiritual quest, told in the first person. I don't usually have time for fiction myself, but this is one of those rare exceptions where the time spent immersed can be quantified as time properly spent.  Dr. McIntosh writes that, "It’s a book with a long history. I began it in the 1970s, more as a kind of reflective exercise than with any thoughts of publication, but “books have their fates”, as they say. It lay fallow, apart from small changes, for a couple of decades and was then published in Prague in Czech translation by my friend Vladislav Zadrobilek, although he felt that it could be improved. Another Czech friend, Michal Pober, made detailed suggestions for improvements, but I kept putting off the job of revising the English version. Finally last year I got down to doing a thorough revision and writing a completely new ending. Mogg Morgan of Mandrake accepted it and my friend Leigh McCloskey, a visionary artist of genius as well as an actor and writer, allowed me to use for the cover his superb image of the Magus from the set of Tarot trumps that he designed. So here it is – some 40 years after I began it, but better late than never. The novel is partly a roman à clef, some of whose characters will be recognizable to those who knew the esoteric scene in England in the 1960s and 70s, when the story is set...I hope all those who read it will enjoy sharing the adventure that it describes."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Open systems theory

Open systems theory is applicable to everything from fraternal lodges to the organizational behavioral management of an agile, software firm. Open systems involve an input and output interaction and dependence with and upon the external environment. Open systems involve energies as well as matter, which flow into and out of the system, in contrast to a closed system, where energy can enter or leave but matter may not. Open system, within the context of human resource management is a system that is capable of self-preservation and regulation on the basis of the throughput of resources from the external environment. The essential portions of the system are those upon which the system is dependent for self preservation and continual functionality.

There are four basic types of systems: Deterministic, Animated, Social and Ecological. The hierarchy of which is as follows: animated systems have as the deterministic in their compositional parts, just as people use objects to accomplish tasks in their environment. Social systems contain people as parts, and all systems are part of the ecological environmental system. In my organization, the people are treated as organisms and not as robotic slave machines as was the case in the days of what is now referred to as ‘classical theory of organizational behavioral science.’ People are nurtured, developed and given leeway in times of crisis or familial need. We are also funded by investors who are people outside the organization who contribute to our existence, so long as we forge ahead and continue to bring in additional revenue. Corporations were once purely mechanical in nature, but have responded to their environment’s social welfare and civil rights developments as well as advances in social sciences, by transmuting into a more organic and holistic system with a reactive management. The open systems model is particularly helpful in the analysis of organizations as it aids in the avoidance of overlooking all factors that contribute to an event. (Ackoff, 1999)


Ackoff, R. (1999). Re-Creating the Corporation: A Design of Organizations for the 21st Century. Oxford University Press. Ch 1-2

Harrison, M. (2004). Diagnosing Organizations: Methods, Models, and Processes (Applied Social Research Methods) (3rd ed.) Ch. 2 (pp. 27-39)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Object Oriented Art Uninhibited: A Forum for Civility

Professor Michael Fried published an essay in 1967 entitled, "Art and Objecthood" where he went on to depict Minimalism as having betrayed Modernism's exploration of the medium by becoming enraptured in its own materiality, denying the beholder an ideal aesthetic experience. He referred to Minimalism as "literalist art", denoting the way in which he believed the experiential aspect of Minimalism lacked astral depth due entirely to its focus on the objective nature of objects. Fried defines art as a set of standards of comparison of mediums. Objectivity is conquered by placing the emphasis on shape. This is a theatrical planning that takes into account size, space, background and contextual environment.

The meaning and interpretation of artistic works are left to the conversational observations and discussion of the beholders. Some of this might be accentuated by information provided by the Artist and their intended attributions. The value is nonetheless determined by the collective beholders. Along the way, art is used to confront the beholder and the general community with nuance, a calculated anxiety, taboo, neurosis and inspirational beauty that holds the potential of elevating the group consciousness. Fundamentalist interpretations of art work that pushes the cognitive boundaries of a community's cultural sense of decency or sensuality, justice or rage, is a flawed method by which to approach art. Art presents narratives that might inspire action, but this not to say that all art, or any for that matter, is subversive. Art is a vehicle for the civilization of humanity, as demonstrated over the centuries.

The artist preparing for a gallery showing might serve well to avoid the constriction so willingly imposed upon their work and its potential to civilize by the strangling of its eccentricity and value by the accompanying it with the familiar black and white text that attempts to explain the meaning or intended purpose of the art. The only exception might be a Conceptualist installation where the sacred transmission of the medium is but a perfunctory act. The effect can at times seem to almost carry the condescending appearance of an intellectual chaperone. Was Duchamp's traversal of space accompanied by a white foam board label with black text? I can't say for sure, but somehow I have trouble picturing it.

Art is the only place where authority figures, soulless bureaucracy and judgmental overseers lacking in empathy, lack the authority or the ability to intervene, censor or inhibit. So, art in its presentation should be uninhibited, unless the artist feels the need to present their command of letters via the label, thus assuring the beholder that there is nothing radical here, nothing to be distrusted or reported.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

transubstantiations of an artist

The Painter "takes his body with him," says Valery. Indeed we cannot imagine how a mind could paint. It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings. To understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the working, actual body---not the body as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an intertwining of vision and movement.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Color Science aka Color Theory

We physiologically translate color as a sensation via a transmission from the eye to the brain. A variance in color is essentially a variance in wave length. Color is a visual language, but the interpretation of it is subjective to the individual. Some of our mental conditioning resulting from each individual's own experiential correlations, are purely arbitrary and/or symbolic. Not everyone associates purple with royalty nor does every person associate red with anger or aggression. However, we all have the same basic function of cones and rods in our retina that recognize the red, blue-violet and green color messages. As color is a dynamic and constantly changing sensation (partly due to its dependence upon light), we find multiple influences that range from psychological to textural to physical. How much color is used and where it is placed in relation to other hues, as well as the intensity or darkness is all very important. Artist can use color theory to impose calculated reactions by applying various combinations of local and optical color for realism or arbitrary color for expressionism.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Steiner Book Store in NYC

I picked up a copy of the Misraim Service for a friend at the Bookstore on 15th St the other day...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Showing Downtown New Brunswick

Yesterday's showing in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey went well with live drums, bands and musical talent in heavy rotation. I displayed 10 years of work in black and white photography documenting the lives of the residents of the city of New Brunswick. This was further complimented by black and white design posters on foam board which presented the theme of thought forms taking on reality within the sacred space of mutual sensuality and overlooked moments of divinity. Also on display was a large oil painting which further complemented the show's theme of explosion and a revival of the arts with its visually arresting color schema coupled with its fittingly urbanesque context.

The show went until 12 AM and the gallery maintained a full crowd from 7PM to midnight with a constant flow and revolving door of visitors. The town was noticeably alive last night amidst Rutgers' Homecoming and their defeat of UCONN earlier that afternoon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Raritan River Art Walk

As someone who has done numerous public art installations and large murals in the community of New Brunswick, I was quite interested when I found yesterday in Alfagallery in New Brunswick a card detailing the public space for murals on the Raritan walk. It is a great way to provide a necessary venting of local talent and to encourage such expression in a legal and supportive environment.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Perception of Color

Color is by nature seen in relation to other colors. Color changes in variances of lighting conditions. The mediums used by an artist can affect color, be the textile or the brand of paint. A composition limited in the amount of hues is generally perceived to be more pleasurable than one with great amounts of hue. The variation should come in the multiplicity of values of one or a few hues so as to achieve contrast, middle value and progression. Some artists achieve this by first composing a pleasing work in black, white and grays. They then apply color accordingly by matching the values & saturation.

Color is something programmed into us with preconditioned associations (purple= royalty, pink=femininity, etc.) Newton's research inot the arena of color resulted in the observation that sunlight is composed of the full color spectrum. This visual spectrum's colors absorb or reflect any surface they touch. The reaction of the human eye to color is a Newtonian influenced study that was taken up by English Freemasons in the early 1700's as part of their Masonic work in their lodge rooms above taverns. They found that it is partly subjective due to the role the brain plays in perceiving color and how memories are correlated and influence a person's perception of a hue.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Visual Artist Davis Sheihan showing on 23rd St October Opening in NYC

The Art Showing went well. Most of my work had to be pre-installed for the New Jersey show (where the entire Ambience Series can be viewed) but by Noon last Saturday there was a crowd of around 90 people waiting to view the work.

Monday, September 8, 2008

(The Hub City Revival} Saturday Oct. 18th in New Brunswick, NJ

I'm showing in a group show at Yoga Vayu on 354 George St in New Brunswick. This Hub City Revival will feature area musicians and artists:

A.M.C Photography
Photographs by Grendy Perez
Photographs by J. Grissette
Joe Valentine
David Lindez

See you there! I'm most likely going to show my photo documentary work of the urban enclaves of New Jersey along with some oil paintings of similar theme.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Rose Circle Revival/Renaissance

Well, tonight we had the second board meeting this month for the Rose Circle Research Society. We met in our usual place on Brother Booth's couches and got quite a bit done and settled tonight. There has been a bit of a blocker bug with the website that we should be past by this Wednesday evening that prevented us from updating the members section with new content. We will now be uploading new content in the form of papers authored exclusively for the Rose Circle by the likes of Allan Armstrong, R.A. Gilbert, Trevor Stewart, Chic Cicero, Christopher McIntosh, Tommy Westlund, Piers Vaughan and others.

We were joined tonight by our colleague from Prague, William Hollister & our new Press Secretary Jay Hochberg. Along with the content update this week, we should also be having the tickets for the October 4th conference go on sale this week as well. No surprises here, they are forecast to be $40 each with admittance to the Salon de l'Rose Croix art installation & 3 speakers (including the headliner R. A. Gilbert) a few surprise guest appearances, and a Q&A session at the end.

Also in the works are several DVDs currently being edited. The first one is a DVD presentation of April's Conference on the Psychology or Ritual. The others range from a Feast of Sts John celebration in Haiti involving the Grand Orient and an Invocation of the 22 Divine Names public ceremony, and a DVD of interviews and snippets from the likes of Most Worthy Thurman C. Pace Jr., Most Rev. Herbert A. Fisher, Michael N. Buckley, Dr. Raphael Ortiz, Gilbert Tappa, H.E. Andrew B. Stephenson KGC, KOJ, Ritter Von Blauch, the Archivist of the Swedish Rite and many other personalities, leaders and figures from the various scenes & circles of modern Chivalric, Esoteric, Masonic and Occult Orders. It should prove to be quite good.

Keep a watch on the Rose Circle!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Physio-Psycho-Alchemy, De-construction ritualization & Dr. Raphael M. Ortiz

From experiencing one's own Hell only to spiral up and be released into Heaven, to frontal lobes, 40 hertz, lucid intellectualism, aboriginal subjectivity and the scientific verification of the objective nature of applied color theory...I had quite a conversation with Professor Raphael M. Ortiz this afternoon.

His artwork is not the direct result of any particular school or approach other than his own, but the episcopate grimoire circles seem reminiscent of Martinez de Pasqually. Still, Raphael's initiatory path appears to be solitary despite his parents active participation at the little red lodge in Hell's Kitchen. His deconstructive path to reintegration is quite complex, and he can certainly back it up in dialogue. His work in recent years is of a Christian Kabbalist bent with Aramaic script and depictions of both the light and the shadows.

Prof. Raphael Montañez Ortiz was born to Puerto Rican Parents in Williamsburg Brooklyn, later moving to LES and finally to El Barrio in Spanish Harlem. His parents own esoteric leanings later would influence his work in both holistic healing & kabbalistic art, Dr. Raphael Ortiz founded and was the first director of the El Museo Del Barrio in New York in 1969. His sculptures are included in many museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he has twice been included in the Whitney Biennial. He has created mixed-media ritual performances and installations for museums and galleries in Europe and Canada and throughout the United States. His computer- laser-video works are in numerous museum collections, including the Ludwai Museum in Cologne, Germany, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France. His video, Dance Number 22, won the Gran Prix at the 1993 Locarno International Video Festival of Switzerland.

He is currently showing at:

Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ, The ICA-Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, The MoMA at El Museo. Latin American and Caribbean Art from the Collection of the El Museo del Barrio, New York City, NY, the Ubu Gallery, New York City, NY, the Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York City, NY & in the Netherlands at the Netherlands Media Art Institute - Time Based Arts, Amsterdam

Friday, June 20, 2008

Race of the Egyptians

In Sex & Race J.A. Rogers says on page 46 that, "some of the races of the rulers of this dynasty are clearly Negroid. The founder of this dynasty, Sa-Nekht, was a full blooded Negro, a type commonly seen in the Egyptian Army today."

he then goes on to say on p. 48 that,
"Sir E.A. W. Budge, gives a list of the Egyptian gods that originated in teh Sudan, the land of the Negroes, and says there is "Little doubt that the Great God of Memphis, Ptah was originally a great handicraftsman and worker in metals who as deified. It was the Negroes in the South who introduced the use of iron into Ancient Egypt. Prehistoric iron furnaces discovered in Northern Rhodesia, almost in the heart of Africa, by Nino Del Grande, show that the Negro knew the use of iron untold centuries before the European. Archaeologists generally agree that it was the Negro who first discovered the secret of iron."

Tubal Cain was of course the first known artificer in brass & iron. Both Budge and Rothers refute the popular sentiment found in use in US Textbooks that still insist that the true Ancient Egyptian was some sort of Indo-European.

(artwork by artist David Lindez)

Saturday, June 14, 2008


"It is not death, or the manner in which the death is brought about, that weights most; it is the living of a life. For a deeply sensitive man of our own class and standing, life is often made difficult by the commonness, the coarseness, the vulgarity of much that confronts us. A sensitive man suffers under unpleasant influences playing upon him. but a great love for humanity, the keeping aflame within ourselves of great compassion for the suffering of others, and a strong determination to help and be an example of strength and radiant joy, all that tends to lessen the difficulties caused by sensitivity and great refinement of body and temperament." ++Rt. Rev. Sir J.I. Wedgewood Dr. of Sciences de L'Universite de Paris (Knight of Saint John of Rhodes and Malta & Arch Bishop in the Old Catholic Church)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

St Peters Cathedral in New Brunswick, New Jersey

Rumored to have been used as an initiatory lodge for one of the 18th Century Secret Societies on the Old Queens Campus of Rutgers University, St Peters is just across the Street from Skull N Caps member Paul Robeson's dormitory building and the iron arch of Rutgers College. The stained glass exterior is wrought with occult symbolism from the eye in the delta over the capstone to the crossed keys and various crosses...this place is worth taking in for yourself.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nuwbuns & St Maurice guard the Gyros

I ventured into an old vintage diner known as Greek Delight for some Chicken Gyro platters to go this past Saturday, and I looked up and notice the peculiar assortment of statues and a plate depicting a greek woman and two Nubians. I found the whole assortment worthy of analysis, so I welcome your comments.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Excited to learn that Barry Gottehrer was still alive, it proved to be fleeting as I learned only seconds later that he had just recently passed last month.Barry played a major role in interacting with the 5% Nation of Gods & Earths, their founder Clarence 13X Allah and NYC Mayor Lindsay. The intricacies of this triad are found well documented in a highly recommended book by the young author Michael. M. Knight who has made a name for himself in his personal and professional investigation into Islam in America. The study of the subcultures of ideals and teachings that function under the banner of Islam but bare no resemblance to the same is the primary classification of any ethnographic or anthropologic study of the 5% Nation. Knight's book is the first credible documentation in book form (something that goes beyond the length and restriction of a technical article in an academic journal) that exposes all of the facts and immerses the reader in the subcultures that produce the subculture of the 5% in Harlem.

On the surface, much of the doctrine of this break-off of the NOI (which broke off from the Moorish Science Temple...itself an amalgamation of Levi dowling's Aquarian Gospels, Eastern Mysticism & Prince Hall Masonry) is perhaps shocking...depending on upon one's frame of reference. GOD is taught in 5% circles to mean simply, Gomer Oz Dubar...a Hebrew anagram for the attributes of man...or specifically the black man, Maker & Ruler of the Planet Earth. The legacy of this organization is scarred with violence, hate in response to oppression and veiled in allegory much like the Masons whom 5%ers refer to as Ma-Son or 'my son' or sons of Maat even. Knight's book is steeped in first hand documentation, observation and knowledge (having himself received the transmission of the 120 from Azrael of Guttenberg, NJ) & the result is a thoroughly enjoyable compilation of events that will blur the line between the brilliance of the writer and the fascinating complexity of the figures, events and happenings that compose this movement still based out of the corner of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 126th St. in Manhattan.

Knight shows how the government and specifically the State Courts in NY interpreted Clarence 13X calling himself GOD in the most exoteric way in order to enable the Cointelpro elements to have him sent to Bellevue and other institutions. In describing what it means to "build" or "add on" (speculative building) with a 5%er, Knight eruditely explains that...

"I saw the Supreme Mathematics and Alphabets as teaching tools, ways to get people to wrap their heads around things and develop their analytical skills. In the Supreme Mathematics, each number has its own attribute, and you built by assessing the relationships between them. For example, 1 is “Knowledge,” 4 is “Culture,” and 5 is “Power.” So the number 14 would be “Knowledge Culture.” Since 1+4=5, you could talk about how having Knowledge of your Culture brings you Power. That’s a real simplebreakdown, but some of these Gods who have spent years building with the Supreme Mathematics give the system an incredible depth. The Supreme Alphabets do the same thing with letters. If my name is Mike and M=Master, then I might take Master for my righteous name and build on the meaning of that in my own life and personality.

Giving numbers and letters these meanings also has an influence on language within the Five Percenter community; 7 = God, so if you’re on 7th Avenue you might call it “God Avenue,” and then you’re actually living in a culture of initiation because not everybody gets that. To use the terms in such a way completely reimagines the landscape and your place in it. Warith Deen Mohammed said that Master Fard used “shock language” to stimulate people’s brains, and I think the Five Percenters have really mastered that art. At first it just sounds like gibberish, but shock language jars your consciousness into activity, and you start diving into what these words mean and it becomes genuinely transformative."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

World Premiere of Bloodline the Movie in NYC

I attended the premiere of the movie 'Bloodline' in Manhattan yesterday at the movie theatre at 12th St and 2nd Ave.

I met the Director Bruce Burgess outside the theater as I was negotiating parking meters vs garages and dealing with the aftermath of a livery cabby who though he was at the front of the street and had 20 clear feet in front of him, decided to park his worn lincoln towncar's rear bumper on top of the front end of my shiny sports sedan. Then came Robert Morton, a publisher from New York City having just come from a book fair in Harlem & Jason Sheridan (Secretary of St Johns Lodge) on his way over from Deutsche Bank. There had been a projector problem for the Matinee at noon, so we walked to 9th Street to venture into a local spiritual supply store. It seemed like the ideal way to kill time anyway.

I also met with René Barnett, the film's producer. She was a lovely lady who graciously invited us all to an invitational breakfast where researchers from the movie & various members of the press were in attendance and on hand to answer questions and engage in dialogue before heading up to the Met for a close up look at the Arcadian Art exhibit focusing on Nicholas Poussin.

One controversial character who was noticeably missing from the scene though prominent in the movie, was Gino Sandri.

One noted scholar on esotericism and Freemasonry was in attendance, Piers A. Vaughan, who is the President of the Rose Circle Research Society. Here are some shots from his i-phone as I didn't think to take photos at the time for some reason or another. Take a look at the annointment vessel supposedly from Mary Magdalene.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cure Unknown

Weintraub, Pamela. a former staff writer at Discovery, writes the most articulate first hand experience of the Lyme epidemic to date in Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Disease Epidemic.

Further validating what top researchers (unbiased by the mob intimidation tactics of Insurance companies who do not want to foot the bill for the multiple symptoms nor the necessary IV treatment of Lyme) at NYC have established regarding chronic Lyme, this book is academically presented and well researched. It belongs in all public libraries. Weintraub, began researching Lyme disease after her family became seriously ill after moving to the New York countryside where they were inflicted with chronic Lyme from dear tick bites. Her suspicions were affirmed once she met (often via the internet but in physical encounters as well) people who were also suffering from nervous system failure, persistent fatigue, pain, and cognitive problems including various levels of dementia. Weintraub cites the fact that long-term doses of antibiotics helped the majority of these patients, but most doctors were noticeably hesitant to prescribe them due to the fear of legal accusations (financed by major Insurance firms) of mistreatment. The author brings to life the frustrations of Lyme sufferers as well as the trials of maverick doctors who are attempting to treat patients the best way they can.

Monday, April 14, 2008

a new fan

I'm truly feeling the humorous and authentic work of Maya Escobar whose identity is complicated by the fusion of Jewish and Latin cultures in America and the preconceptions and attitudes that this inevitably entails when interacting with others. Her handling of the same is far beyond the scope or intellectual grasp of the average youtube user (as denoted in the plethora of ignorant comments to be found) ,but I would advise my readers to broaden their own horizons by investigating her work. Her performance art is a myriad of polarity, truth and stereotype. While she can intellectually justify each and every one of her approaches and mediums, there is great room here for the observer to draw their own conclusions, and the artist encourages you to do so. Maya takes criticism quite well, and perhaps is showing her master of impression management. Still, she does not take criticism as a form of mockery even when it clearly is! In her own words: "What I am mocking, is the willingness (myself included) to fall into, completely reject, or to to deny all facets of these “assumed roles”.

Her ability to go from Yeshiva to Portoroc (which must be a purely absorbed observation since her Latina heritage is that of Guatemala and not of the Caribbean) archetypes to be particularly impressive. What's more impressive is her intellectual explanation and justification for her work. Check her out:

Here are some of her video work and surveys that I encourage you to take:

& of course the youtube archives...

Identity Commentary

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Urban Poetry

the intensity of urban romance relayed via the medium of spoken word...

I find that venting pain via spoken word is as necessary as conversation with friends or painting, writing or exercise for the maintaining of one's emotional, physical and spiritual balance.

The well calculated circum-stance & color theory

Edith A. Feisner point out that "More than any other element of design, color has the ability to make us aware of what we see for nothing has meaning without color. Color defines our world and our emotions. Color can be seen arbitrarily in a symbolic mode. We have reactions based on scientific and the reactions that result from an individual's reaction to color." (Color Studies, 1988)

While Christian Esotericism is primarily taught via symbols imposed upon the psyche of the initiate, a good many of these symbols are correlated with colors. The four quadrants mark the four directions, the four elements and the four archangels, and each of these are marked by colors or banners/veils. Each element has a different mood according to most Hermetic texts, and these definitions seem to compliment the astrological placements used to identify the quadrants.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lord of Cannock

Granville Angell, whose passport says "Lord Cannock" just sent me a lovely letter penned in beautiful handwriting and sealed in wax with his familial signet.  He promises a night tasting wine in the cellar of the Cannock Manor should I make it across soon, and he is full of wonderful comments regarding the intangible feelings and experience of Masonic bliss while partaking in the egregore of the historical Alpha Lodge No. 116 F&AM a few months ago.  It is still just now settling in for both of us what a time was had...from the Booth Brother's private Masonic meeting quarters to being entertained in the home of the Honorable Dr. Gene Hill to the packed lodge room in East Orange where 224 Masons signed the guest book, while the rest never got near enough the book to sign it.

Monday, March 3, 2008

April 12th @ 9AM on the 19th floor of 71 W. 23rd St in NYC

The Rose Circle conference in New York City is coming fast upon us, and it has been drawing in a significant amount of attention from both the academic and the esoteric communities at large.  I'm looking forward to the bizarre of books, art and interesting discussion on things of substance. 

Some of the authors works associated with the Rose Circle and sure to be on hand that day are: R.A. Gilbert, Dr. Christopher McIntosh, Trevor Stewart and Allan Armstrong who has just released a new book on the Kabbalah entitled  The Secret Garden of the Soul, an Introduction to the Kabbalah.  I'm especially looking forward to hearing the presentation to be given that day by Cliff Jacobs.  Artwork by David Lindez, Dr. Ortiz & Tamara N. should prove to be worth the trek up to 23rd St as well.  Other notables include the Court jeweler to the King of Spain whose family Jewelry guild will have a table as usual.  Also rumored to be in attendance is Isabel Nazario, Vice President of Rutgers University in New Brunswick & German photographer Oliver Kruse.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

....the Rustbelt

What might the world gain from examining the transmission of culture as a lineage via the ritual of daily living in an environment that insulates its inhabitants from the rest of society? I have become fascinated by what it is that makes people feel they belong to a place, or a people, or a history, or a politics, or anything else they feel they belong to. Equally, I wondered what it was that made people feel the opposite. The occultist claims that it is a matter of resonation and vibration.

Growing up I have had the advantage of moving around and taking in every sight, sound, smell and taste. From the sunbelt cities of Central Texas to the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas & the Ranches of East Texas & the rural and depressed communities of the South rich in history, to the intense urban blocks of New York City’s Lower East Side, Bushwick, Hell’s Kitchen, East Harlem and Bronx neighborhoods…I have been privy to them all while being exposed to AME church services in the heart of New Jersey’s black communities to the ritualistic rites of the Eastern Orthodox, high mass of Anglican and Apostolic even Pre-Nicene Cathedrals & Puerto Rican Pentecostal Holiness storefronts. There is something to be said for being in Princeton in the afternoon for a meeting of a research group and in Newark later that night for a baby shower in Baxter Terrace. There is a perspective that is earned by the sensitive and aware…an intangible enlightenment that begs to be expounded upon in an anthropological dialogue. From the cathedral ceiling kitchen in a Montclair, New Jersey Tudor Mansion where a new family gathers for kippers and eggs, to the priceless moments of perceived exchanges of body language between two teenagers in a Passaic, New Jersey housing authority project hallway…there are layers to both situations that are commonly overlooked and ignored. There is beauty to be observed and documented in either realm, but submersion in the experience is key to understanding them both. I was always aware on some level that socially, culturally, politically and economically…life, individual cognitive domains and subcultures as experienced by the individual…is incredibly complex. While there are many a surgeon to perform a particular surgery and many a lawyer to arbitrate or argue a defense…there is in general a great void that is yet to be filled by thorough anthropologists who truly possess insight gained from experience and immersion as opposed to dry, lifeless theory and graphs of comparison.

I find that even my own artwork is anthropological in nature in that I attempt at capturing moments in the life of humans...often those underrepresented...occasionally dis-enfranchised groups that hold such rich cultural distinctions that hold to be evident in their body language, speech patterns, dress and approach/outlook on life in general.

I've photo documented urban communities of Caribbean Hispanics and to ensure polarity I continue to cover the Celtic mystic/religious element of fraternal orders that dominates Celtic Thought. I am enthralled with the relation between culture and thought. I know that my own is incredibly intense and thoroughly complicated. I also know that the urban landscape of the North Eastern United State's rust-belt is breeding ground for the most interesting and diverse sets of cognitive thought relative to how people view and interact with their environment.

Indigenous cognitive categories that fascinate me are the urban Hispanic enclaves of the tri-state regions who have fostered a cultural mix of hip-hop and US pop culture intertwined with a distinct blend of afro-Caribbean and northeastern urban reality. Their preservation of and insistence on the existence of lodges and fraternal systems in their communities amidst the physical setting of high rise projects, brownstones, row-houses, tenements and bodegas flanked by the many factories and blighted industrial parks as well as the vacant lots of Newark and Passaic (scars left by the race riots of the 1970’s) are all apart of the collective subculture existing in the urban districts of New York and New Jersey that span hundreds of miles and numerous counties of interconnected urban sprawl and occasionally blight.

Pierre Eugene du Simitiere and the State Seal of NJ

New Jersey's state seal was designed by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere a Swiss born Freemason and Artist. This is the same artist who originally drafted the United States Great Seal along with other designs signifying America’s new independence. The New Jersey Seal was presented in May, 1777, to the Legislature, which was then meeting in the Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield. (Independent Hall Association) This Tavern has been recorded as having had its premises used as a Masonic lodge.

"Throughout 1777, the Indian King Tavern, with its huge second-floor meeting hall, served as a major political and administrative center for the Continental war effort. The Council and General Assembly of New Jersey -- the state's main government body -- was forced to evacuate its offices in the battle-ravaged Trenton and temporarily relocate to the Indian King. It was here that the Declaration of Independence was formally read into the minutes of the New Jersey Assembly. And it was here -- with Hugh Creighton and staff serving up great tankards of ale for toasting afterward -- that the Assembly enacted the law that officially changed New Jersey from a colony into a state and adopted that State's Great Seal.” (Hoag Levins)

The three plows in the state shield honor the state's agricultural tradition. The helmet above the shield faces forward, denoting sovereignty (New Jersey being one of the first governments created under the idea that the state itself is the sovereign). The crest above the helmet is a horse's head.

The supporting female figures are Liberty and Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain, symbolizing abundance or plenty. Liberty, on the viewer's left, carries the liberty cap on her staff. Ceres holds a cornucopia filled with harvested produce.

In present times, the staff that Liberty now holds with her right hand she once held in the crook of her left arm. While the female figures at one time looked away from the shield. The cornucopia that Ceres now holds upright was once inverted, its open end upon the ground. The Seal was redesigned in accordance with Joint Resolution 8 of the Laws of 1928. It was then that the year of statehood, 1776, first appeared in Arabic figures.

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the oldest Masonic jurisdiction in North America, first owned its own building in 1802. In its earlier days (1731) it was a Provincial Grand Lodge, and meetings were similarly held in taverns and inns, later meeting in meeting some of the statelier homes.

The 12 meeting places preceding the present Philadelphia Masonic Temple's erection are depicted on the reverse of the four-inch diameter medallion like the numbers on a clock dial, starting with the oldest, Tun Tavern at the bottom and progressing clockwise. Today's Masonic Temple is in the center. Some of them are:

1773-1748: Indian King Tavern and 1749-1754: Royal Standard Tavern -- Both taverns were located on High St. (now Market St.) below Third, at the corner of Biddle's Alley. The Indian King Tavern was at Market and Bank Streets, to the right of the First Presbyterian Church, and the Royal Standard, at Market near Second St. was to the left

1800-1802: The State House (Independence Hall) -- The lodge room was on the second floor of The State House on the south side of Chestnut St., between Fifth and Sixth Streets.

One might do well to note the tavern of the same name as that found in New Jersey across the water where Masons also met. Still, no evidence has surfaced regarding the Masonic membership of
Pierre Eugene du Simitiere though he could have been initiated in Switzerland or abroad perhaps.

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