Introducing "Alchemically Stoned- The Psychedelic Secret of Freemasonry"

In celebration of the 300th anniversary of modern Freemasonry, The Laudable Pursuit Press is proud to present Brother P.D. Newman's groundbreaking work Alchemically Stoned- The Psychedelic Secret of Freemasonry

"P.D. Newman's bold and daring theory provides a radical interpretation of Masonic symbolism. In the tradition of Wasson, Hofmann and Ruck, in The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries (1978), and Heinrich's Strange Fruit: Alchemy, Religion, and Magical Foods (1995), Newman suggests that practical psychoactive pharmacology, rather than philosophy, lies concealed in the root of some of our allegories and mysteries. Admitting to being more than a mere theoretician, Newman draws from his own personal experiences, and a wide range of sources, in presenting his theory in a logical manner, which merits consideration. "

- Arturo De Hoyos, 33* 
Grand Archivist and Grand Historian
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction

"In this sensational new book, P.D. Newman argues that the use of DMT was an essential ingredient in certain Masonic Rites, especially Cagliostro’s Egyptian Rite and Melissino’s Rite, something that added to the overall ritualistic experience. These lost rites of the eighteenth century are something that I’m deeply interested in, and the idea that certain rites included the digestion or smoking of the root extracts of a certain species of acacia that had hallucinogenic properties to produce an effect in a particular ‘lodge’ room is a fascinating one. Newman’s work details the use of DMT in various initiation rituals throughout history and provides an argument for his theory that is at once convincing, entertaining and interesting.

The sprig of acacia is a strong symbol within Freemasonry, and Newman presents us with a new twist on the meaning behind this symbol. Newman also presents us with the history of the acacia symbol within Freemasonry, from its mention in eighteenth century exposes, and how during the third degree, it became an essential ingredient in the Master Mason ritual, perhaps in more ways than one."

-Dr. David Harrison
Author of The Genesis of Freemasonry

Here is a lecture that Bro. Newman gave regarding some of the ideas and topics contained in the book:


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An Allegory for the Esoterically Inclined Mason


Let’s use our imaginations a little, and hopefully to worthy ends.  First, let’s envision two Masons, Brother Bookman and Brother Wright, both of whom are intelligent, goodhearted, and beloved members of the Craft.  They are alike in many ways, yet significantly different when it comes to sports.

Brother Bookman is quite the sports aficionado, but he has never actually played any sports and isn’t personally athletic at all. Nonetheless, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of every major professional and collegiate sport, their histories and major figures, as well as the training methods, techniques, tactics, and strategies of each game. With all that information in his brain, people often seek him out whenever they have questions about sports.

Brother Wright, on the other hand, only has a somewhat average knowledge of the history and current events of sports, and often has little to contribute when talk turns in those directions. Even so, he did actually play football, basketball, and baseball as a kid. As an adult he has kept a more or less daily fitness routine and has played on church softball and basketball teams.

With these two imaginary brothers in mind, and supposing all other things about them are basically equal, let’s consider these questions:

1.      Which of these two brothers would you expect to be in better physical health?

2.      If you were going to begin a personal physical fitness regimen, would you be more likely to approach Brother Bookman or Brother Wright as a workout mentor and partner?

3.      If you were going to put together a lodge softball team or fitness program, which brother would you more likely recruit as the leader?

4.      If you had to choose, would you rather be more like Brother Bookman or more like Brother Wright?

Now consider this entire exercise as an analogy, where sports represent esoteric subjects, athleticism represents contemplative practice, and physical fitness represents psychospiritual wellbeing.  What does this suggest to you about any interests you might have in Masonic esotericism?




For more information on Bro. Chuck Dunning: CLICK HERE

Chuck Dunning has authored: Contemplative Masonry: Basic Applications of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Imagery for the Craft

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There's Work to Be Done

 HDRtist HDR -

By: Guest Contributor - Wor. David Tennison

In his book ‘But I Digress’ Dr. Jim Tresner responded to a Brother claiming that Jim was a ‘Masonic Expert’.  Jim stated that he was not a Masonic Expert.  In fact, he said, there is no such thing as a Masonic expert.  Then he took it back.  He said that there is one Masonic expert: You.  You are the expert.  Since masonry is an individual journey, you determine what it means to you.  This is what the Working Tools of the Entered Apprentice Degree mean to me.

The Working Tools of the Ritual may be mystical pictures of ineffable ideas, but to me they are foremost actual tools of wood and metal, without which no man can long continue to be a man.  They are used symbolically in the Ritual to represent all tools everywhere.  Tools belong to work and therefore belong to man in his capacity as a worker.  Tools are therefore not extraneous to man, detachable, accidental, or incidental, as if he could lay them down or take them up when he might fancy, but belong to what he is, and the tools in his hand belong as much to him as the teeth in his head.  Nowhere in nature is there a way for a pair of shoes to be made, or a suit of clothes to grow out of the back of a sheep, or for bread to bake itself.  It requires work, and therefore it requires tools.

The respect for labor itself and sympathy for the working classes are purely Masonic.  Masonry has made the working man and his associates the heroes of her principal legend, and the companion of kings.  Work should not be regarded as a curse but a blessing. To be able to work, to create something, whether it is a poem, a piston or a pot roast is a priceless privilege in which God allows us to participate in His creative nature.  All work is noble.  And every man has work to do in himself, upon his own soul and intellect.

The Entered Apprentice Degree is possibly my favorite degree.  A new world opened before me and the old world was left behind.  Groping in darkness as an Entered Apprentice, I was shown light, but only partially, in stages or degrees.  At every turn I was instructed. Dr. Mackey suggests that initiates into the old Schools of Mystery or Knowledge are not permitted to enter the inter-sanctum or shown the secrets until they had been purified, usually by water or fire.  He suggests that the Rule, Gavel and Apron are symbols of that purification.

I think that it is significant that I received the Working Tools of this Degree after I was given my Apron.  I was told, among other things, to “let its pure and spotless surface be to you an ever present reminder of a ‘purity of life and rectitude of conduct,’ a never ending argument for nobler deeds, for higher thoughts and purer actions.”  This signifies to me, that I am given a job, then given the tools.

The Twenty-four Inch Gauge is well explained in the ritual, but the significance of one point is sometimes overlooked. The Entered Apprentice is taught that he should rightly divide his time.  Time is a precious commodity.  There is no time to be wasted. There is no time to be idle. There is no time for waiting.

The implication is plain; I should be always ready to use my tools. Recall the words of Flavius to the workman in Julius Caesar, "Where is thy leather apron and thy rule? What does thou with thy best apparel on?" Freemasonry is not only for the lodge room but for life. Not to take the Twenty-four Inch Gauge into the world is to miss the practical application of Masonic labor and Masonic charity.

The origin of the word ‘gavel’ is unknown.  Dr. Albert Mackey proposed that it came from the German word for gable and when you look at it you can see that it resembles the gable end of a roof.  It is actually two tools: a hammer for crushing stone and a chisel for cutting stone.  The ridge of the chisel is parallel to the handle enabling the stone cutter to get into corners, align his strikes with existing marks and direct the chips of rock away for him.  It is a finishing tool that turns a rough stone into a finished stone.  Stone masons of old had the skill to fit stones so precisely that mortar was not needed.

As an Entered Apprentice, I am reminded of my “rough and imperfect” state and of the need to gain understanding of my imperfections and control of my passions. It is through honest reflection and work that I form the foundation and build my personal temple.

The famous sculptor and ardent Freemason, Gutzon Borglum, asked how he carved stone into beautiful statues, once said, "It is very simple. I merely knock away with hammer and chisel the stone I do not need and the statue is there – it was there all the time."

In the Great Light we read: "The kingdom of heaven is within you."  We are also taught that man is made in the image of God.  As Brother Borglum has so beautifully said, images are made by a process of taking away.  The perfection is already within.  All that is required is to remove the roughness, the imperfect, "divesting our minds and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life" to show forth the perfect man and Mason within.  Thus the gavel becomes also a symbol for discovery.

Remember that it is a ‘common’ gavel. It is not the Master’s gavel.  It is not a badge of authority.  It is the gavel we hold ‘in common‘, tools of the mind which we all have.  I am to use mine only on me, to perfect a simple life.

The Common Gavel is an instrument of power, force and change.  But that force must be focused or it can result in destruction.  That is where the other tool of the Entered Apprentice comes in.  The 24 Inch Gage also represents Intellect.  It is used to measure and lay out his work, directing the change.

A vice is a practice, behavior, or habit generally considered immoral, depraved or degrading in the associated society.  In more minor usage it can refer to a fault, a negative character trait, defect or a bad or unhealthy habit.  All cultures and religions recognize vices as human failings.  The poet Dante Alighieri listed the following seven deadly vices in his work Inferno, associating them structurally as flaws in the soul’s inherent capacity for goodness as made in the Divine Image yet perverted by the Fall:  They are 1. Pride or vanity   2. Envy or jealousy   3. Wrath or anger   4. Sloth or laziness   5. Avarice or greed   6. Gluttony and   7. Lust

These ‘corruptions of the soul’ as Dante would put it, are a part of me and I suppose all of us.  They can appear without warning.  They seem to have a mind of their own and they can consume me.  And at times, I have been known to embrace them and take guilty pleasure in the damage they inflect.  Such is the attraction of vice.  They have ruined many great men.

But, if I am to be a mason, not just in name only; if I am initiated into manhood; if I am to learn to subdue my passions and improve myself, then I must recognize them and decide to remove them.  I must keep my common Gavel with me at all times.

I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer: God grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.  My Common Gavel gives me the courage to reconsider the way I react to the world around me.

I interpret superfluities of the mind and conscience as thoughts and feelings that are harmful to focus and purpose.  To me, they are like distracting noise.  Thoughts and feelings like worry, dread and anxiety.  To progress in our gentle craft, I must concentrate.  It requires honest reflection in order to attain a higher consciousness.  Only through thought and study can I hope to come to a fuller understanding of myself and the cosmos.  The common gavel keeps me focused. 

By learning to use these tools, I am then able to better use the tools in later degrees.  To better fit as a living stone for the Builder’s use. 

I recently heard a Brother state that the purpose of Masonry is to help a man answer this question, ‘Who am I…really?’  That is a good question.  It is my goal to answer that question.  A goal worthy of my finest efforts.




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David Tennison 32˚ KCCH is Worshipful Master of Guildhall Lodge #553 and Senior Warden of Guthrie Lodge #35, and is very active in the Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, and York Rite Bodies, serving on degree teams of each.  He is the current Almoner and Past Venerable Master of the Guthrie Valley AASR.  In addition, David is a member of the Temple Knights, providing security in the temple, a tour guide and assisting the office with various duties during Scottish Rite reunions.