Over the years while working in the Shades of Afrika I have been privileged to stock and read several books on fraternal organizations and secret societies and while I am happy that books like Behold a Pale Horse and The Unseen Hand have a large and growing audience, I also see tomes like Duncan's Ritual and Lost Keys to Freemasonry fly off the shelves too.
The problem is most folks who read these books have no idea what they are actually reading. They have none of the prerequisites in order to understand the subject matter. Reading Duncan's Ritual to a non mason would be like taking inorganic chemistry when one hasn't taken Biology 101 or better yet has only taken Bio 101. OK, save your money.
There ain't nothing in there that you gonna find out!
Just a little background to straighten out a couple of things flowing thorough the Hip-Hop Community. Lost Keys of Freemasonry was written by Manly P. Hall when he wasn't a Mason. He wrote it when he was like 19 years old and didn't have any first hand knowledge. It was written in the sensationalized dime store pocketbook style popular at the time which had helped books like Secret Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which sells to this day in some corners and is complete crap! become great sellers! It was tripe! And it fueled the anti-masonic sentiment of the times. He hypocritically became a Mason in his later life thirty years later but never denounced the book to my knowledge. But he sure took the money!
Albert Pike was a Freemason and his Morals and Dogma is the text most people cite when denouncing Masonry and fraternal organizations but again it is as his book said It was written for the Southern Scottish Rite. He was a confederate, a southerner, so it's no surprise that he said " I took my Oath before White Men, and while I see no problem with Negroes being masons if I had to choose masonry or have it brought down to their (negroes) level by mixing with the main I would leave Masonry"
The overall Masonic Fraternity promotes Universal Brotherhood. Albert Pike at least had some integrity when he stated he didn't speak for Masonry, he spoke for himself and wrote specifically for the Southern Rite. He was still a weenie though! So this should be kept in mind when discussions are held concerning fraternal organizations.
I read a book called " Gleanings of a Mystic" by Max Heidel, a Rosicrucian from Austria, who came to California in the 1920's. I disregard most of his ideas as he held in this writers opinion some questionable racial and cultural views, it fact it is my opinion that he held several racist and anti semitic views but his chapters on Initiation what it is and what it isn't are worth the coin I spent.
Mr. Heidel taught that there is external initiation and internal initiation. External is the ceremony, the pomp, the oaths, the rituals, the membership cards and regalia and don't forget the super secret decoder ring and hat! Just kidding! Maybe! This is easy to see.
And secondly, the internal initiation, which is inward and not easy to see. Here is an example. Take a bite out of an apple, now chew it slowly, slower, slower. Now tell me how it tastes, it's smell, is it soft or hard? Tell me!
Ok, you described it but do I know what the apple tastes like? No, I won't know what that apple tastes like even if you gave me a piece. It's gonna taste different for me but still in order to know any apple's taste you gotta try it for yourself! Only you would know when you understood the internal, Maybe....
Now, I am not a member of a lodge, but I know several members of several different lodges, Masons, AMORC, Elks and Kiwanis and what they share is essentially the same feeling on initiation. You gotta try it for yourself! Why am I writing on this? Because I saw this short video on You Tube, where this dude was trying to point out Kanye West and Jay-Z as Masons. They were supposedly giving a masonic handshake and the videographer just knew he hit on some esoteric gem! Fact! Anyone can do a Masonic handshake and may have learned it somewhere but it don't mean they Masons!
As I said in past posts you gotta check these people out! You can check to see if a person is a member and if thier in good standing in most organizations including Masonry. In fact if you look on their resumes you may see it.
It's become real popular in hip-hop circles and music to speak on metaphysics, Al-Islam and Esoteric subjects such as masonry but most of the time no one is actually speaking on anything of real substance. The rhymes are just peppered with code words to make it seem as if they know something but again, you gotta ask somebody who knows. If you want to know about wood ya go to a carpenter, dig!
The So-called Dr. Dwight Malachi York and others like him have made a living for years taking advantage of people's lack of knowledge and selling them counterfit versions. The So called Dr. York has been a Moor, a Muslim, ( He differentiated) a Mason, a Shriner, opened a Grand Lodge in Georgia, that had armed guards at the doors. ( That would not happen in a proper masonic lodge, Guns at the doors!) He claimed some Extraterrestrial Theta type thing recently that sounds like he was trying to make a rival Scientology type group and keep making money selling books and incenses all over the Hip-Hop and Afrikan American community on all these subjects. I would suggest you go to the Phylaxis Society's page on Bogus Masonry and check the interview E. Malik Bey, a moor, a Muslim and a Prince Hall mason did with the So Called Dr. York. It's a dooosey!
Facts, about Masonry! It is not secret it is private! Any man, 18 years of age, and of good moral character can apply for membership. Their rituals and ceremonies are not for public knowledge just to members. It's the same for any organization. The Deacon board at your church don't discuss everything in front of the congregation, and major corporations keep their shareholders meeting private including membership unless it is illegal according to its by-laws. That's not proper! Some things will only be discussed in private.
Look into a Blue lodge and ask questions and find out about procedure. You must first join a blue lodge and master the first three degrees. After one is a master mason (3rd degree) You needn't go any further but if you still wish to learn more then you can go up the York and Scottish Rite houses. You may do both, just one side or none beyond the blue lodge. Don't get hustled you must go to the blue lodge anyone bypassing that ain't proper. Dig!
It is up to you to ask questions for yourself instead of this crazy speculation. Hip-Hop is full of charlatans just waiting to sell a book, or take your money some other kind of way. The web is full of sites dedicated to exposing the secrets of this or that. But what secrets? You mean things that you could find out simply by getting a book from the local chain store? That ain't secret and even if you memorize it you don't understand it. As soon as someone who belongs asks enough of the right questions, the ruse is over.
Remember there are alot of shirks out there, talking like they know something about something but when you shine the light on them, find out they talking out they other end.
Now just think about these things for a second. You saw National Treasure, Raiders of the Lost Ark or read about America's Founding Fathers or Adam Wieshaupt and believe in this Grand Conspiracy theory. Well maybe there is but most people including those who may have memberships in organizations are not involved and in fact wouldn't know it if it kiss them on the lips. You mean to tell me that your drunk azz uncle who drives a truck for the city and still owes you five dollars is a part of some super secret plot? Come on, ya know better than that!
Ya Grandma, eighty years old, who still insists that you be in Church every weekend, is plotting a world overthrow with all the other old ladies at the Eastern Star meetings? Come on! Ya know better!
But if you do see something that bothers you spiritually or outright offends your religious spider sense then choose God and get the heck out! Don't fool with it and that goes for anything and everything that you find like that. Dig!
I am not endorsing or encouraging membership in any organization. That's your own choice! Make your own choice! Now if you are not a joiner that's cool too but A Choice of Weapons wants you to be informed no matter what with good reliable information and a solid argument.
Be Mindful! Be Careful! Be Prayerful!