As regular visitors of this website will know, I have an interest in Freemasonry, among other esoteric currents. I had heard of the Belgian study lodge Ars Macionica and I had the idea that they have public lectures, but they also appear to have an annually published book that can also be purchased by the general audience. It is not like you can order these books from Amazon though, you have to get your copy from the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium, the organisation under which the study lodge Ars Macionica falls.
The latest issue, published in september 2015, is the 25th and it is a massive work of 470 pages. Ars Macionica works in Brussel, a city in the middle of the Belgian ‘language battle’. This shows in the book, since it has essays in Dutch, French and English. I can read French somewhat, but I do have to admit that I mostly skipped through the French texts, not really trying to read them attentively.
At first sight the book appears to be multi-lingual. The cover does say “25e anniversaire”, which is of course “25th anniverary” in French, but it also says: “Grande Loge Reguliere de Belgique, Reguliere Grootloge van België, Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium”. Then follows a “sommaire – inhoud – contents”, starting with a “voorwoord – avant-propos – foreword”. This is about as multi-lingual as it gets, because this foreword is in Dutch. K. Thys tells us about 25 years of Acta Macionica. I would have found it logical if at least this foreword would have been printed in all three languages or at least in English, the language with the biggest chance that all readers are able to read. Of course I am happy that it is presented in my mother tongue.
The foreword tells us how an annual newsletter was transformed into a yearbook in 1991. How it was initially called Ars Masonica and how later, when the study lodge was founded, was renamed to Ars Macionica. How it grew in size and how the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium (RGLB) tried to reach a wider audience than its own members. Strangely enough there used to be a website where people could order the volume, but it has been taken down a few years ago. Apparently the quest for reaching a bigger audience continues, so I do not think the authors will mind me reviewing that latest publication.
Ars Macionica has conferences, four of which are presented in this book. One is in Dutch, one in English and two in French. After this “other papers” follow, also in the three diffent languages. Some of the essays are relatively short, others are massive. The texts are not about ‘internal’ Masonic subjects. The subjects are actually very varried. Of course there is always a bit of ‘a Masonic twist’. You can read about historical persons and their quests which are sometimes inspired by their membership of a lodge. There is also a large essay about the Belgian colony of Congo and how Freemasons got caught up in strange conspiracy theories. Congo already makes a black page in Belgian history, but this article of Jimmy Koppen also makes clear how Freemasonry got its bad name in Belgium. There is an article about James Anderson, but not about the constitutions of 1723 that he wrote. Also we run into an author that I refer more often to on Gangleri.nl: Koenraad Logghe, who gives an esoteric interpretation of the story of Noah.
Like I said, the subjects are varried and there are 20 of them. I do not think this volume will be interesting if you have no interest in Freemaosonry whatsoever, but on the other hand, do not expect a book about Freemasonry and ‘its mysteries’. Acta Macionica presents results of the studies of Freemasons, not studies of Freemasonry.
Still, this 25th volume of Acta Macionica makes a nice read and it is interesting to see what sort of subject such a study lodge deals with.
So, how to obtain your copy? Unfortunatly the RGLB does not make this too easy. They did put up a table of contents here. There they refer to their own website on which the contact info is not easy to find, but here you go. Just send an email and I am sure that you will learn how to get your copy.
2015 Paul Coseyns, no isbn