Casting Light by Jason Eddy
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on July 9th 2016
Symbolism, poetry, and prose. Three approaches to not only unlocking the profound meaning behind the degrees of Freemasonry, but to navigating the Craft itself as a seeker of something more. There are divisions among those holding the title of Freemason regarding what Freemasonry is really all about. This book is an attempt to not only clarify the purpose of our Noble Craft, but to provide perspective on how to best tackle the issues that prevent so many from fulfilling that purpose. Proceed with an open mind...proceed with humility...and allow the journey of a young Master Mason to cast light upon your own path as you seek to find what has been sought since time immemorial...Enlightenment.
For me, it’s both a blessing and a curse to find great new books. Self-publishing brings more books to market faster and although there’s a fair amount of chaff amongst the wheat, there are often true gems. One such work is Casting Light: A Journey Through Craft Masonry and Beyond by Bro. Jason Eddy. Personal and reflective, there’s much to learn and much to be gained from this small book. Included are some of his poems to help bring futher light to the reader. The Library also has his book Musings Along the Road Less Taken Vol. I, described as “…a poetic journey through the mind of a dreamer, philosopher, and esotericist. It contains inspirational and deeply contemplative poems….” Both are well worth reading but the former really does ‘speak to’ so many things in Masonry and those joining that it would certainly benefit the new seeker as well as the old cynic. Here’s something both old AND new: published in November, a (small) portion of this work actually was posted anonymously on the web some 16 years ago.
Freemasonry's Secrets: The Theory and Practice of Making Good Men Better by John White
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on June 10th 2015
The most important aspect of Freemasonry is the "open secret" or plainly recognized truth that there will never be a better world until there are better people in it. Although Freemasonry has a huge fund of esoteric knowledge about higher human development, it can be boiled down to a single statement: "Masonry makes good men better." That statement should always be amplified by at least this much: "Not better than others, but better than themselves-through self-improvement." More broadly, our fraternity makes good men better through self-directed growth in body, mind and spirit, influenced and inspired by Masonic teachings and guidelines. Freemasonry has to do with freeing people from ego-centered consciousness. It does so by emphasizing character development, value realization, abiding faith in God and the highest sort of patriotism. In Freemasonry, we ourselves are the rough stone which is to be hewn and polished into an ashlar fit for building the Temple of God. So the possibility of making good men better is one which extends from ordinary, everyday matters to the farthest range of human nature, traditionally called God-realization, spiritual freedom, liberation, unity consciousness, cosmic consciousness, nondual consciousness and, most commonly, enlightenment.
Looking for more Masonic motivational reading? John White has written an excellent book which should certainly give you something to think about: Freemasonry’s Secrets: The Theory and Practice of “Making Good Men Better”. A very short book but one that will make you reevaluate yourself and how you go about life. In today’s world, there is SO much division and divisiveness but we as Masons have without ourselves the opportunity to take some control to provide a more civil discourse. This is the book which will get you thinking (and hopefully motivated) on how you can do that.
The White Elephant: A Holiday Thriller by John Christian Abrahamson
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on March 17th 2015
A holiday party takes an unexpected turn after an anonymous gift surfaces during the white elephant exchange. The contents from the mysterious package trigger events that catapult Thom Bailey into an exciting thrill packed adventure that unlocks incredible secrets linked to his past. 100% of Royalties benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Like a good mystery? One that involves Masonry? Here you go: The White Elephant: A Holiday Thriller (The Thom Bailey Chronicles Book 1) by John Abrahamson is short (125 pages with big type) and will leave you hanging at the end. It is, though, the introduction to a series that looks to be a pretty fun ride. It’s only $3 for Kindle so it’s hard to go wrong. I’m waiting impatiently for the next book!
A Guide to Modern Freemasonry by Robert E. Burtt
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on November 20th 2014
Ever since the Fraternity made its modern public appearance in 1717, printing presses have produced a torrent of writings dealing with every imaginable aspect of this group. The current state of affairs illustrates my excuse, if you will, for writing this short work. There is too much information about Freemasonry in print. All of this overload just makes a confusing and complex subject even more perplexing for the interested reader. What is needed is a short, easily understood overview of the fascinating world of the Freemasons. It is my belief that many casual laypersons who wish to learn a little about Freemasonry want just that: to learn a little about the Craft. They don't want to embark upon an extensive investigation involving hundreds of pages. They simply want a quick overview of the Fraternity and perhaps get the answers to a few basic questions. After satisfying their curiosity, they wish to move on. It is with this audience in mind that I have decided to pen this little work. The title is meant to be literal. This is a simple, short introduction to a very complex phenomenon. The book closes with a meditation on the ultimate purpose of Freemasonry and its value, both to the individual, and to society as a whole. Other books and areas of research are recommended for the casual reader who might want to explore "The Brotherhood" further.
There are few short, readable yet comprehensive books which can provide our newer members with information they crave. I’ve just found a great one – by accident while perusing Amazon’s new books. Bro. Robert Burtt’s A Guide to Modern Freemasonry is a perfect gift for the new member, providing ‘just enough’ information on nearly all facets of the Craft from officer duties on through anti-Masonry. It covers those things that we all encounter as Masons, usually sooner rather than later. It’s contemporary in thought and thus a great book for a spouse to pick up as well. Let me be clear: that I’m thanked in the book’s preface is not the reason for this review. Honestly! In fact, I didn’t even know the book was being written much less that I would have been mentioned. It is, simply, a great read and I’d encourage every lodge to consider this as a gift for their new members. I won’t tell you what Bro. Burtt has mentioned to me as his next work but it’s exciting and will sure be worth it based on what we’ve seen so far. Stay tuned!
A Pennsylvania Masonic Handbook: The Personal Ahiman Rezon by Robert E. Burtt
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on March 23rd 2012
A handbook for newly raised Pennsylvania Freemasons. Contains hints, information, and advice for those Masons living in the "Keystone State." This Book attempts to answer questions many new Freemasons have asked themselves: "What do I do now? What are my options? Where can I contribute my talents?" Too often, new members have to search for answers to these questions on their own. This handbook offers practical advice, pointers on ritual, and thumbnail explorations of Masonic customs, history, and ritual. Written for the new Freemason, it contains much that would interest the general reader seeking information about "The Craft."
I doubt there’s ever been a Mason who has visited a lodge outside of Maine and didn’t see something unique and different. Moreover, he’ll talk about it at any opportunity. (I know: when you point a finger at someone else, you point four at yourself – and alas, I am more guilty than you all!!!) A Pennsylvania Masonic Handbook by (Bro.) Robert E. Burtt is an excellent way for you to have such an experience without ever leaving home. Written as a guide for Masons in that state, it helps provide a lot of information for those who love to compare the inter-jurisdictional minutiae of Freemasonry. More than that, it’s a compact but important introduction for the new Mason, providing historical grounding and practical advice. If you were to write a book for a new Mason, this is the book you’d want to write. Thanks to the author, we now have multiple copies of this volume in the Grand Lodge Library. Consider taking a peek: you’ll be glad you did.
Masonic Trivia Amusements & Curiosities by Peter Champion
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on November 9th 2011
A trivia treasure trove of the strange, curious, and whimsical oddities of Freemasonry is offered up for your amusement, with a ticklish dash of enlightenment. The stories include dwarfs, giants, pirates, a taxidermy-stuffed African man, a blood splattered Lodge Room, a fraternal mouse, a cod fish, a submarine that killed its crew, "Secret" American Presidents, bodies in a wooden pickle barrel, ghosts, chewing gum, a tattooed corpse, a Parisian hot air balloon, a woman dentist, duels, western outlaws, gunfights, racehorses, and the missing skull of a Presidential candidate. Each story is a thread in the tapestry of Masonic history and humor gleaned from newspaper accounts, court documents, Lodge archives, monthly trestleboards, and the traditions of Freemason Lodges from around the globe. Each page brings a head-scratching, "Wow, I didn't know that!"
Are you old enough to remember ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not?’ Ah, you kids: you don’t know what you’ve missed. A trivia buff’s paradise, Ripley had great cartoons with pithy captions, perfect for the comics in the newspaper. Masonic Trivia: Amusements & Curiosities doesn’t have those great drawings but it does have the stories: page after page after page of them – and they’re really great to read. If you want to impress your Brethren, you can memorize a few of these ‘factioids’ and you’ll be the talk of the Lodge. This could REALLY spice up a night of Masonic Jeopardy. You’ll wonder whether some are true or not but based on the strength of the work overall, I’d be surprised if any were simply made up. A book you can pick up for just a few minutes and truly enjoy
Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck (Third Edition) by Rick Altman
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on June 15th 2012
All of us, at some point in our Masonic career, will be called upon (or, perhaps even volunteer) to speak to a group. The standard for enhancing today’s presentation has become PowerPoint™ but far too often, what you do with that software will detract from rather than add to your words. While the title may be off-putting, “Why Most PowerPoint Presentations SUCK and how you can make them better” by Rick Altman is a must-have book. (PS: note the graphic for context!) This book with the accompanying website at www.betterppt.com will help your delivery SO much that you’ll be truly amazed. This book will also help those who have just bought PowerPoint and are using it for the first time. Try it: you’ll see.