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  • Writer's pictureLucas Walsh

Library Spotlight: The Porch and The Middle Chamber, by Albert Pike

The Scottish Rite Research Society has recently published a special reprint of Albert Pike's The Porch and the Middle Chamber, The Book of the Lodge. Compiled by Illustrious Brother Arturo de Hoyos, 33°, G.C., K.Y.C.H., in 2021, this edition is a complete reprinting of Pike's original work which he wrote for the Craft, and it includes the ritual, liturgy, and the "secret work." The current prints were mailed to members of the research society who were dues-current in 2021, and, as of the publication of this information, the SRRS has not opened sales to the public. Arturo de Hoyos has said, however, that everyone will soon have access.

In a note on the contents of the book, de Hoyos tells us that a Craft ritual for the Scottish Rite was created by French Masons in 1804. Albert Pike would later undertake a "great labor of love" for the Craft, which included producing his own version of the Blue Lodge rituals, which he published in 1872. These were intended to be studied by Scottish Rite Masons, not practiced or actively conferred. Twenty years later, after Pike's death, the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction learned that these degrees had been exemplified without its permission and subsequently recalled all the copies of this work.

The Supreme Council maintains that the right to confer the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry lies solely with the Grand Lodges. However, the historical significance and philosophical weight of the work itself is difficult to dispute. Today, even though it has been published for study by Scottish Rite Masons, the tome may be nevertheless intriguing to Masons of any degree. We must remember, after all, that there is no higher degree than that of Master Mason; yet there may be deeper degrees which provide further elucidation regarding the path of a good Mason.

The Porch and the Middle Chamber includes a 100-page introduction by de Hoyos, which gives an overview of the history of "Freemasonry" in all its permutations throughout the ages proceeding from the eleventh century. Facsimiles most expressive assist the reader in understanding the morphology of "mysteries" as they were called by guildsman, and the transition from operative to speculative masonry. Indeed the introduction is a work of scholarship in itself, and a fitting opening to such a magnificent literary accomplishment.


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