The “Comacine masters”, “magistri comacini” or “maestri comacini” are early builders that are often named as one of the predecessors of modern Freemasonry. I also ran into them in other contexts so I thought it was time to read a bit more about them. I did not want to get one of those ‘predecessors of Freemasonry’ type of books, just a book about the Comacines themselves. One of these fancy ones with many photos and the like. Well, there are none such books! Apparently there was a peak of interest in the subject in the early 20th century and little to nothing has been published since. Most books about the subject are from the 1920’ies I have not been able to find a more recent title in a language that I master. There is quite some information on the world wide web (usually going back to the old publications), so I did a little digging.Read More »Maestri comacini
A month ago the Norwegian Freemason Arvid Ystad published a book with the title “Frimurerne i Vikingtiden”, or “Freemasonry in Viking-times”. The publisher uses the tag-line “Ny teori om frimureriets opphav!”, “new theory on the origin of Freemasonry!”. I have been looking around for more information about Ystad’s theories, but I cannot find much more than a few newspaper articles, none of them in English. Also the book is in Norwegian and it seems to be only available from the publisher, who does not ship outside Norway. Hopefully all this is because the book is very new and lateron it will be available better and more hopefully also in a language that I master.
The newspaper articles give a few clues as to what Ystad’s theories entail. I will give a few links below this article.
A Danish newspaper says (in Google translation): “Masonic movement may have originated in pagan rituals that were practiced by Nordic Vikings, says Arvid Ystad to Ekstra Bladet.” “He presents his theories in the book “The Freemasons in the Viking Age ‘, which has not been received well by the Norwegian’s lodge brothers.” Apparently Norwegian Freemasons are fairly secretive. Have their rituals not ‘leaked‘ like most Masonic ritual? Could there be anything that Ystad writes be new to an interested audience? In any case, this quote does imply that the author has things to say about Masonic ritual and not just about superficial similarities between some things Viking and some things Masonic.Read More »Viking Freemasons
Earlier I touched upon the connection of modern Theosophy and certain kinds of of Freemasonry. It was Annie Besant who helped to found the first “co-Masonic” lodge in the Netherlands, or perhaps in those days she still used the term “Joint Freemasonry”. This was in 1904 in Amsterdam. In fact, Annie Besant founded a great many lodges under “The International Order of Co-Masonry, Le Droit Humain” in many different countries. In her wake, many Theosophists joined the ranks of this brandnew Masonic order that allowed both men and women to join. The ‘Theosophical boom’ was not meant to last. The Dutch lodge that Farwerck was to join was actually a reaction to too much Theosophical influence on the Le Droit Humain kind of Freemasonry. Also the Supreme Council in Paris (the international headquarters of Le Droit Humain) started to push for less Theosophy in their lodges from 1918 onwards, causing the first schisms.
Besides Annie Besant more ‘famous’ Theosophists have been “co-Masons”, most notably Charles Leadbeater (who co-authored Besant’s Rituals). Some websites claim that also co-founder of the Theosophical Society Henry Steel Olcott moved from a men-only order to Le Droit Humain. Olcott became a Freemason before the Theosophical Society was founded in 1875 so logically also before “co-Masonry” started in 1893 in France.Read More »The Masonic adventure of Rudolf Steiner
Those who visit these pages every now and then, will know that the Dutch author Franz Farwerck is frequently mentioned. Farwerck has shortly been a member of a Dutch mixed Masonic order and spent his life proving that the ancient esoteric customs of North-Western Europe survived in Freemasonry. He traces many Masonic symbols back to times past. But how about Freemasonry besides Farwerck? Did or do Freemasons have an interest in the prechristian religion of North-Western Europe and if so, did this in some way influence Freemasonry?
The other way around things are sometimes quite clear. Freemasons founded organisations or were members of both the Lodge and another group. These groups were sometimes magical or occult, but even heathen. The most famous example is Gerard Gardner (1884–1964) who was initiated in into Freemasonry 1910 and started his first “Wicca” “coven” in the 1940’ies (helped by Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), was a Freemason as well, though irregular). That is not the subject I want to write about though. I am curious if Freemasons have brought paganism into their lodges.Read More »Freemasonry and Heathenry