• Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal - March 28th

    March 11th, 2018

    Join the Valley of Palm Springs Scottish Rite at Coachella Lodge 476 for the Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal on March 28th. The Scottish Rite has always been a force against repression and a beacon of human liberty. This Ceremony affirms our commitment to those ideals. It's also a time to bid farewell to Scottish Rite Masons who have passed to the Celestial Lodge in the past year. This moving ceremony is open to all. Dinner at 6:30, Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal at 7:30. Reservations at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (760) 200-9366.
  • March is the month to join the Scottish Rite

    March 12th, 2018

    Master Masons in search of further light are invited to petition the Valley of Palm Springs and become Scottish Rite Masons. You will receive Degrees 4 thru 32 at our Spring Reunion April 7th and April 21st. There's much Masonic learning to be had beyond the 3rd Degree. Interested? You must submit your petition to the Valley of Palm Springs before our next Stated Meeting on March 28th. For more information, e-mail Nick Seneca 32nd, KCCH at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Valley of Palm Springs Scottish Rite Orient of California, Southern Jurisdiction, USA

Message from the Venerable Master

I'd like to take this opportunity to say "Thank you" to everyone for assisting and attending my installation as Venerable Master of The Valley of Palm Springs Scottish Rite and The Installation of Officers.

The Installation team of Illustrious Mark Gibson 33* Personal Representative Of The Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Supreme Council in California, Installing Officer, Michael Powell 32* KCCH, Master of Ceremonies and David Essex 32* Installing Chaplain did an outstanding job!! Thank you for your participation my Brothers!!

Our 2014 Line of officers are "Up for the task" of growing and improving PSSR!

It is my hope that you will "Check in" to our Web Site "PSSR.net" and our Facebook Pages "Palm Springs Scottish Rite" often for updates and information.  If you'd like to get involved please do not hesitate to call on me!

Kurt Handshuh 32*
Venerable Master
Valley of Palm Springs
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

Greetings from the East - December 2013

Whew! The year is drawing to a close; and quite a year it has been. I hardly know where to start; but I do need to thank so many people for their support… and yet they have been so many that I would hate to leave someone out. So I will simply say: without your strength and your having my “Six”, it would not have been as great a year as it has been! Yes, it was; let me mention some of the highlights, some of our accomplishments-

We set some goals and we were able to meet most of them! That included having Ambassadors visiting the Blue Lodge events (especially the Third Degree evenings); we “re-instituted” Mike Powell’s Class Sessions of the Master Craftsman Program with a great number of attendees (!); we attended several different events at other Valleys in-cluding Pasadena and our recent trip to San Diego where three of our members received Honors (!); we had another Pike Award given out; we had Line Officers “stepping Up” to give brief presentations of different topics; we improved our Social Media profile(s); and with considerable work which payed-off, we witnessed an improved Remembrance and Renewal and our First Annual Festive Board-Feast of Tishri - which featured our speaker the Ill. Glenn Woody, 33*; and, from the Ladies point-of-view: we closed our business meetings in an early and orderly manner!

As the old commercial said: “But wait, there’s more! Now….”- In March we received the Ill. Frank Loui, 33*, at our meeting, who was at that time, the Deputy, and has since become the Sovereign Grand Inspector General for California; we had a wonderful SR Information Night featured in the Palm Springs newspaper; we gave college Scholarship Awards and Jr ROTC Awards; and under the leadership and guidance of our own Ill. Mark Gibson 330, Personal Representative, we provided new round tables to the Blue Lodge giving everyone a more congenial dining experience and he further lead us to what we hope will become an annual event: our really fun-filled Hawaiian Night.

Our Language Center has had signage added to the building which is now clearly visible at the busy intersection of Monterey and Fred Waring (if you have yet to visit the Center: “What's keeping you?”) You are welcome to see what we are able to accomplish with our staff of professional clinicians to help these children with their communication challenges. And we invite you to Volunteer there! Re-garding our Speech Center, I need to mention that our own Brother Im-manuel Eisendle 32*, Commander of Kadosh, brought back donations from his European trips for our own Speech Center - twice! Thank you, Immanuel and congratulations.

We have begun plans to develop an improved print version of our Voice which should be introduced in the coming months. This, with several other projects, are well in place and are being developed as you read these words. Our Protocol Officer position was filled well by our Venerable Master nominee, Kurt Handshuh 32*; We are still open to inquiries about our Education through Mentoring program and would welcome assistance with our Social Media/Public Relations Committee.

Again, there is no way that any Venerable Master could accom-plish this, or anything, on his own; it has been a group effort and I thank each an every brother and volunteer, who helped me and helped our Valley to achieve what we have. I can only say that I greatly, and I sincerely mean: Greatly, appreciate all the hard work that had gone into making this year so special for me, for you, for our Valley and for the Scottish Rite in America. Thank you, it has been my privilege and my honor to represent you “In The East”


James “Jens” Petersen 32*
Venerable Master

Greetings from the East - November 2013

Ethics & The Soundbite
How did we get to this point?

It was not that long ago. My early college days were filled with a totally different environment. But not that different. Mine was a family envi-ronment with known and accepted principles and norms, virtues and values. Then at the University I found a large institution which was at once a big cold place and, on a different, level; a place to build new friendships and new ideals. And it was here that I found that this huge machine was built as an assembly-line producing near identical graduates with uniform caps and gowns, but also provided classes in: Ethics.

Ethics with a capital “E”. Business Eth-ics 101 (classes which no longer exist in most Universities). But can you really separate Business Ethics from your Personal Ethics? And what makes an Ethical Person different from a Moral Person?

noun [ in sing. ] a set of moral principles, esp. ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct. e.g. the puritan ethic was being replaced by the hedonist ethic .
adjective [ rare ] of or relating to moral princi-ples or the branch of knowledge dealing with these.adjective [ rare ] of or relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these.
noun [sing.]
1 a lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience: the moral of this story was that one must see the beauty in what one has.
2 (morals) a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do: __the corruption of public morals.

This, apparently, derives its basis (as we follow the trail backward) from con-cepts codified by Western philosophy through the thoughts and writing by the Greeks and Romans and writings of Aristotle and Kant through the early RC writers who took their thoughts from Hebrew texts which, in turn (as the trail gets murkier and murkier) to, where it possibly came from; the Code of Ham-murabi.

Therefore the emphasis has been on monotheistic beliefs and the accep-tance of a Prime Source (G-d). With the establishment of the United States we see the Founding Fathers who were, themselves, followers or a variety of reli-gious beliefs or were at least Deists and who sought to create a “…more per-fect Union…” which observed morals and sought to follow an ethical life [while making certain to maintain a separation of “Church" and “State”] .

This arrangement worked for some two-hundred years before it began to fall into disrepair. The downgrading of our individual morals and our individ-ual ethics set the nation on a path of looser values leaving room from further denigration in all areas of public relationships. It is sufficient that we recog-nize this condition without further comment. What is necessary and what is required is that we adjust our own personal compass and that we make every effort to maintain the high(er) standards to which we as Scottish Rite Freema-sons (should diligently) aspire.

Is it really desirable for a voting public to make enlightened decisions based on the clever fifteen-second Sound Bite of a politician or an 'influential' TV ''News' ‘personality who uses public media of his personal use? Or do we need to refer to our personal compass, our individual ethics and our moral values and judgments?


James “Jens” Petersen 320
Venerable Master

Greetings from the East - October 2013

Oaths, Vows and Avow(al)

We take them, we state them, and what do we mean? What do they mean? Do they mean something different to different people and different times? Do they mean different things to the same people and different times? What happens (to us) when we take a vow? How long do they last or how long are they in effect once we take them?

Perhaps we need to consider what we mean when we speak of these actions, statements, commitments, declarations. So, according to the dictionary the find the following:

oath: [ōTH] noun
1. a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one’s future action or behavior. a sworn declaration that one will tell the truth, exp. in a court of law.
2. a profane or offensive expression used to express anger or other strong emotions.
1. VOW, pledge, sworn statement, promise avowal affirmation, word, word of honor, bond guarantee; formal troth.
2. SWEAR WORD, profanity, expletive, four-letter word, dirty-word, obscenity, vulgarity, curse, malediction, blasphemy; infor-mal cuss, cuss word; formal imprecation.


A Vow is, as you see, another word for an oath but it carries a different connotation (otherwise why would we have two words meaning the exact same thing?) as when we see a vow as a set of promises committing one to a prescribed role, calling, or course of action (e.g. marriage or, say, a monastic “career”). Example: a fan vowed that, “I will picket every home game.” Did he realize that his vow committed him to picket every home game… for the rest of his life? That is exactly what it means to take a vow. Some would argue that if he had intended to picket the home games (for this season) or (until a certain action was a fait accompli) that he should have said that (specifically) or said that he so avowed. So we see that an avowal is an assertion (a simple affirmation) and does not carry the same baggage as an oath or a vow.

Thus, for an example, it would be inappropriate for me as your Venerable Master, for the year 2013, to take a vow or swear an oath that I would see that the Valley of Palm Springs would not have a meeting in October. Why? Simply that it would be totally unnecessary to take an oath - a formal declaration invoking the Prime Source [GAU] for such an action, and that certainly would not be in effect forever and a day - that we would not meet in October. Nor would it be correct to vow a pledge that never would our Valley meet in October for after my time as VM I would not have the authority to invoke such a proscription. But I could certainly avow that during the year of 2013, that we would not have a meeting in October (of 2013) [AND WE CERTAINLY WILL NOT HAVE A MEETING IN OCTOBER THIS YEAR], and thus there would be not meeting in that month and after that I would be absolved of my obligation concerning the matter.

So I will ask you the question: as you have taken upon yourself as a Ma-son and as a Scottish Rite Mason; will you, indeed - can you, hold fast to all that you have taken as an oath and vowed to do so - for the rest of the time that the GAU has allotted to you on this earth? What do you under-stand those oaths to mean to you? Are they subject to change if your life conditions change: if your company transfers you to live in Lower Slabovia, or you experience some “problem” with a Brother, or you “lose interest”, or you move to a place where the commute is excessive, or your SO takes umbrage at your commitment to the Valley, or… or… or…. does that effect or affect your oaths and vows? How?

Not to put too fine a point on this discussion, we live in a disposable society: we discard things that are no longer useful, things that we no longer have an interest in maintaining - be that material things or social relationships and in some cases our personal sense of Ethics. Can we, in good “faith” (to use the word in the vernacular usage) discard any of our oaths and vows simply because they no longer interest us? Are those thoughts compatible with what Masonry attempts to teach and what Scottish Rite Masonry stands for?

Just wondering.

_____looking forward to seeing you in November!

James “Jens” Petersen 320
Venerable Master