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Valley of Palm Springs Scottish Rite Orient of California, Southern Jurisdiction, USA

Greetings from the East - September 2013

My Brethren,


It is for each individual Mason to discover the secret of Masonry, by reflection upon its symbols and a wise con-sideration and analysis of what is said and done in the work. Masonry does not inculcate her truths. She states them, once and briefly; or hints them, perhaps, darkly; or interposes a cloud between them and eyes that would be dazzled by them. ‘Seek, and you shall find.‘ knowledge and the truth.

These words are from page 218 Chapter XIV - GRAND ELECT, PERFECT, AND SUBLIME MASON [Perfect Elu.] in the Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike.

Brother Pike tells us a lot about the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in these few words. Or does he?

What do those few words mean? If you have read any of my articles, essays, commentaries, or other forms of prose; you must know that I am always asking of myself (and by extension: I am asking you the reader): what do those words mean? Do they have a universal meaning or are they different for each of us. What is the etymology of these words?

What means, “Perfect”? Can this Mason now proclaim that everything about him is perfection? He can go no further? He can proclaim himself next to his G-d?

Hardly. A circle, no matter how lop-sided or poorly executed is, as long as the ends meet, “Perfect”. As: Complete. As: Whole. Ideal, conclusive, fixed, etc. A gestalt configuration which appears in the mind as a circle is, none-the-less, not whole, not perfect. So the “Perfect” part of the Perfect Elu, leads us to the sometimes expressed opined remark that the Perfect Elu will recognize no frontiers in his life. What can that possibly mean? You will find, if you seek to make sense of all the various remarks, state-ments and declarations about the Scottish Rite and all her degrees that do not make sense to you as an individual for any one of a number of reasons.

Colors for an example, not only mean different things in different degrees - they mean something different to you depending upon your mood. Some-times a red light is not a stop light, it is a challenge and an opportunity! A very poor challenge and a worse opportunity but still it is that option.

A circle can mean: a wedding band, a troth, a coming-full-circle - back where I was, an opening (another opportunity), a halo, a geometric form, a coterie, a milieu… Are these Signs, Symbols or an Emblem? For that dif-ference, I refer you to the writing of C. G. Jung vis-a-vis Sigmund Freud. And there is a difference.

The words are not always a bridge that we build in order for our thought to cross over to the next person. Perhaps it is our personal limitations. Perhaps it is the author or speaker - s/he might use a word which has A precise meaning, but we do not understand it because it is not in our per-sonal vocabulary. As a Perfect Elu, we need to consider every detail of every degree and discuss it to get another’s opinion and observation. Just because Pike wrote it does not, by itself, make it understandable and assimilable. Think about it.

James “Jens” Petersen 32*
M∴R∴S∴
Venerable Master

Greetings from the East

My Brothers,


All true learning starts with an implicit ad-mission of ignorance. __Socrates


Wisdom. We understand the value of wis-dom. It pays to be smart. We realize that, while an education and knowledge may be prerequisites for wisdom, being educated isn’t the same as being smart, and memorizing facts does not make us wise.


Some doubt the value of wisdom, of thinking (deeply - or not), or of analyzing. Sometimes we “shoot from the hip” - without thinking - and make judgments before we have fully and critically examined the issue or idea before us. That is not wisdom.


But there is another question about wisdom or intellect - of understanding or knowledge, or some combination of those, that is usually not addressed: What is the purpose? Not: what is it good for, but rather - Why do he have it? We all have been instilled with the power of discernment, evaluation and thought for a reason. Some of us may be ‘smarter’ than others, yet the reason that we have a mind remains the same for all of us.


Remember, that we are discussing WISDOM which is an outgrowth or a further development of knowledge. Even those of us who may be smart, do not, automatically, have WISDOM. We have been ‘granted’, by the GAU, the ability to learn and with that ability to grow intellectually and develop our wisdom. But why?


More than to distinguish between good and evil, we have been in-stilled with the ability to clarify the difference between the two and to correct what we can. In other words, we must use our intellect to rid the world of evil (of all bad things) by our wisdom. We have seen it done by Copernicus, by the Declaration of Independence, by the discovery of penicillin and by people like Gandi and M. L. King, jr. We are to repair the negative in the world and to assist the ‘good’.


Message From The Venerable Master
We must use whatever knowledge and wisdom that we have to enlighten others, for in this way we will further the betterment of all mankind. If you have insights which you have gained through your life in the Scottish Rite, it is incumbent upon you become a mentor to another and thereby improve the world for both of you, and by extension, to improve and ‘repair’ the world. Using our knowledge, understanding and experience, we gain Wisdom and in applying that wisdom, we can transform all things.


My favorite Japanese insight is this: “Study, study, study; only Study can make a Miracle.” Your SR studies improve us all and that is the miracle of the development of mankind.


Nancy and I both look forward to seeing you and greeting you at our June meeting.

James “Jens” Petersen 320
M∴R∴S∴
Venerable Master

13th Annual California Masonic Symposium

My Brothers:

The 13th Annual California Masonic Symposium is scheduled for 22 June 2013 at the Pasadena Scottish Rite Cathedral.  The topic is the struggle for the control of Freemasonry: Great Britain and America in the Early Grand Lodge Era.

Several Palm Springs members have either signed-up to attend or have indicated that they are interested in attending this event.  As the Venerable Master, I encourage you to consider attending this event.  Those who will be presenters at this symposium are:  John L. Belton, Ph.D of Internet Lodge No. 9659 in England; R, Stephen Doan, Past Grand Master of Masons in California; John L. Cooper III, Ph.D. Deputy Grand Master and Past Grand Secretary of Masons in California; and S. Brent Morris, Ph.D. Editor of the Scottish Rite Journal and Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge.

In as much as the registration fee is only $10. The location of this symposium is so relatively close it would be a great opportunity for our Scottish Rite Valley to have a group of interested brothers car-pool [and should we have a larger numbers of brethren interested, we could consider having a bus!]  Further information is available from Kim Hegg, Program Services Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. [see also your California Freemason magazine for April/May 2013; inside back page]

Please consider this opportunity and let me know by the end of this month [31 May 2013] so that further arrangements can be made in time for our brethren who have already committed to attending.

Each individual is responsible to make their own reservations - the Valley is only coordinating transportation and details. Make reservations at: freemason.org > Member Center > Masonic Education

Latest Updates

Our January Dinner and Stated meeting was our Installation of 2012 Officers.  Wesley prepared a fantastic Prime Rib dinner that was enjoyed by all.

It is an important time as 2012 will be the twenty-five (25) year anniversary of our Valley.  We are looking forward to seeing all of you on February 22, 2012 at our dinner and stated meeting. Hope to see you there!

14th Degree Rings

All Palm Springs Scottish Rite Members will receive a 14° Ring at the Cap & Ring Ceremony (usually one month after the Reunion Class) for no charge.

Rings are ALSO available to existing Scottish Rite Members at all stated meetings for a nominal donation. For more information contact Gary Mason 32°, KCCH elect (760)362-1345.ring_Dsc_0014

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