Friday, September 26, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

On Tuesday August 26, 2008 at, approximately 3:30pm I received the Thirty Third and last degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America. What does that all mean?

The Scottish Rite offers an opportunity for a Freemason to learn more about the Fraternity and in the process learn something about himself. There are three primary degrees in Freemasonry: the Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft and the Master Mason. One need not take any degree beyond these three and one will still be considered a full fledged member of the society. Beyond the Master Mason, or Third, Degree a Freemason has the option of taking additional Degrees by joining either or both of two appendant bodies: the York Rite or the Scottish Rite.

The Scottish Rite consists of degrees extending from the 4th to the 32nd. These degrees may be applied for by any Brother that has received the first three degrees. We refer to the Scottish Rite Degrees as additional degrees not higher degrees. Becoming a Scottish Rite Mason does not give the individual more power or authority. It may, however, indicate that you have a zeal for the Fraternity and a desire to increase in knowledge in regards to the Fraternity, life's hidden mysteries and one's self.

The Thirty Third Degree is an invitational degree, one can neither apply for nor ask for it; to do so is to be excluded from ever receiving it. Of course, one must be a member of the Scottish Rite in order to qualify as a possible recipient. The Supreme Council reviews the contributions that the candidate has made to Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Freemasonry in general and the contributions that the individual has made in his private life for the greater good of society. And, of course, one has to be at least 33 years old.

For me the 33rd Degree takes on added significance in that I was born exactly thirty three years after both my mother and father, they having been born in 1921. And I also happen to be the third child born to George and Dorothy Jacobs. The number three, and hence the number thirty three, is laden with significance and the student of numerology will find that there is much to learn about that mystical number.

There isn't much that I can say about the ceremony because it would be a violation of my obligation to do so. But I will say that the opening reception of the candidates into the hall where the degree is conferred is a thing of beauty, and as Keats wrote, "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness..."

[From left to right], Ill. Harold Aldrich,33 Grand Minister of State
Ill. Curtis Banks, 33; Ill. Clifford Jacobs,33
Ill. Edward Trosin, 33 PGM of New York State

Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was the pilot of the Lunar module that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. When the module landed Buzz Aldrin spoke these words, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Buzz Aldrin is a 33rd Degree Freemason and a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. To the left is the Scottish Rite flag that Buzz Aldrin carried to the Moon. So now when I think of the words, "The Eagle has landed" they now take on a new meaning for me. I've never walked on the Moon but I have walked on clouds, and having received the 33rd Degree I too can say that "the Eagle has Landed", right on my shoulders.

(This is a photo of my Dad, George Louis Jacobs, Sr around 1964. This photo reminds me of the photo that Margie took in Providence, Rhode Island in August. My Dad was not a Mason, but he was an active Scout Master with the Boy Scouts of America for well over twenty years. He possessed every virtue that all Masons are admonished to inculcate, as such I can say he was "A Mason without an apron."

So Mote it Be!

Deus Meumque Jus

Clifford Jacobs
Have Pen, Will Write