Phoenix St. John, A New Super Masonic Website

By Wor. Bro. Frederic L. Milliken

I am pleased to introduce to Freemasons and non-Masons alike the opening of a new website, Phoenix St. John – http://www.phoenixstjohn.com/

The author will remain anonymous using the pen name of Phoenix St. John. But let that not dissuade you. This is a site written by a multi talented author who is proficient in a number of different fields of study. The breadth and scope of what this author writes about is truly quite amazing. And that is precisely what it is going to take to be successful in today’s Masonic Internet market.

Masonic Blogs are really out. So many have disappeared that one can find only a handful of worthy ones still publishing. One of the reasons is that Masonic blogs tend to be one dimensional. They concentrate on one person’s opinion on one subject matter at a time. Sometimes they are more emotional than factual. They do not take in a blending of Masonic, philosophical, religious, historical, artistic, architectural, musical and archeological thought. Few Freemasons are that talented or knowledgeable across many different fields of study. That takes a truly multi talented person to accomplish that feat. And Phoenix St. John is one of those people.

In the previous article I wrote for Freemason Information and Phoenixmasonry ,“The Craft Unmasked,” I can distinctly remember the words of Coach Nagy.

Nagy claims, “Without a foundation in classical literature, scripture and related materials, there is little likelihood of any man truly appreciating anything other than superficial aspects of what the Society offers him. What’s more, when they don’t appreciate what is offered, they do not stick around much.”

Those Masonic websites that are more than just a blog and offer many aspects of life and Masonic expression are the Masonic Websites still alive and thriving. There is:

  1. David Lettelier’s Phoenixmasonry

  2. Greg Stewart’s Freemason Information

  3. Blake Bowden’s My Freemasonry

And now we add to this prestigious list:

  1. Phoenix St. John’s Phoenix St. John

I had the honor and privilege to sit down and interview Phoenix St. John and this new website owner explained what you will be seeing on this new website:

The Phoenix St. John site has two purposes. One is to present my thoughts on Masonic topics and literature and the other is to provide a place for Masons to explore various disciplines within Masonry and related to Masonry through the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The site has galleries of Masonic and world artifacts, history, and architecture. It has a gallery of Masonic art by the best Masonic artists of today, such as Bro. Ryan Flynn, Bro. Greg Stewart, and Bro. Chad Mesteller. It also has a gallery of inspiring artwork from non-Masonic artists. It has a music history timeline with samples of music from around the world and numerous educational videos on all kinds of subjects such as Knight Templar history and music, biographies of notable philosophers, Freemasons, and scientists. I have provided links to many research and study sites for the more dedicated Masons. You will also find poetry, both old and current, Masonic (including some of yours, Bro. Frederic) and from different philosophical traditions such as Zen and Sufi, as well as my own. I will be updating the Masonic News section of the site with interesting occurrences from the Masonic world. I am a huge fan of quotes and I make memes so you will find galleries with my original memes and thoughts, as well as Masonic memes and thoughts and the same by non-Masons.

I will be posting bi-monthly studies on Masonic literature. I will begin with The Meaning of Masonry by W.L. Wilmshurst. The idea is to study the book, cover to cover, adding my own insights and research. I am not sure which book I will study and post about after The Meaning of Masonry. Since the site is very multidimensional you will see posts on Masonic art, architecture, literature, history, museum pieces, and more. People can subscribe to the site's posts to get them by email.

As the “about me” section on the Phoenix St. John site states, I am a lifelong student of numerous religious and esoteric traditions. My interest began as a kid, when a few documentaries on mysterious ancient civilizations sparked my interest. I was drawn to old religious and philosophical beliefs from civilizations such as Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and South America. When I was about 14 years old, my father bought me a rather cheap but heavily researched encyclopedia of religions. It was heavy reading, one book per religion. I did my best to process what I could from them. I grew up around Jesuits, with whom my parents had a close academic relationship. I was a spoiled teen because I was invited to religious and philosophical discussion groups they organized for adults only and even a poetry group they put together for college students. 

I became interested in the history of Christianity and the Bible after being re-baptized by a Jesuit friend of the family in my mother's garden fountain in a simple yet profound ceremony. I read the Bible in its entirety  pausing to research terms and reflect on its ideas. From there, I studied Judaism and its history, as well as the history of the Temple of Jerusalem. I studied the history of the Catholic Church and various heretical philosophes it has fought. Once I learned that the Temple of Jerusalem is such a prominent feature in Freemasonry, I just had to research Freemasonry and I was hooked. I studied Knight Templar and Freemasonic history for many years prior to becoming a Mason in 2008.

Religion and philosophy remain strong interests of mine and this is reflected on the Phoenix St. John site. I have studied ancient Greek philosophy on my own time and in college and law school. I have endeavored to understand the gnostic currents of Christianity, such as Cathar history, from the middle ages back to its known origins. I was lucky enough to visit Carcassonne and Toulouse in France, two Cathar sites where much fighting took place between Cathars and the Catholic Church. Seeing the Languedoc region in France, the places where Cathar massacres occurred, and such controversial ideas flourished was incredibly stimulating for me.

I developed an interest in the history of the Prophet Muhammad in Junior High School when I had a fantastic history teacher so the history of Islam and the Crusades is also a favorite subject of mine and this is reflected on the site. Finally, I have also studied modern religious cults and movements such as FLDS and the history of Jonestown, where residents ended up committing suicide and were poisoned, but the site is focused on non-recent history. In short, I am interested in all things religious and historic. I could go on and on as this subject has truly captured me for life, which is one reason I love Freemasonry so much: Freemasonry is inclusive as far as religion goes. I believe my sincerity and long years of study on these subjects qualifies me to produce Masonic and philosophical insights Brethren will hopefully find worth reading.

 I am an attorney by trade. International Law is my forte but, of course, I also love historic topics within law such as how the U.S. Constitution came to be and the numerous Freemasons involved in constituting this great nation. I also appreciate just how many Masons have done the same in countries such as France, Mexico, Argentina, England, you name it! Our fraternity is incredibly rich in history and has produced so many movers and shakers throughout the world, it is an honor to participate in the preservation of our traditions and history, even if in such a small way as having informative galleries on Masonic history online.

I am also a musician, which is why you will find a lot of music included on the site. I am a singer/songwriter, I play the guitar, and have done a lot of theatre. I have played in many bands over the years and have toured with various music and theatre groups. I did three years of intensive Theatre training at a performing arts school. I have studied and performed classical music, choir, and opera. Of course, music history has been a favorite interest of mine as well. I love traditional world music and that always has been my contribution to groups I have played with. I love to add native flutes, chants, and elements to electronic and acoustic music alike. 

The site contains all these interests of mine with an eye to providing valuable education. The only other time I felt I could bring these elements together was during my last trimester in law school, when I wrote and performed a musical which had an esoteric theme based on Michelangelo's work. It had music, theatre, esoteric undertones, art, and law. I was in Heaven! That is exactly how I feel about the site now. It is truly a pleasure for me to offer a varied and hopefully stimulating website.

To me, as I state on the site, Freemasonry is a stable philosophical system that, nevertheless, allows each Mason to interpret its tenants and contribute original work and thinking. Therefore, I support today’s Masonic writers, artists, and promoters. Each Masonic piece of art, each original article or paper, each lecture a Mason prepares and shares with the Brethren contributes to the philosophical system that is Masonry, both originality and newness and an appreciation for our history and tradition. Not all Brethren are engaged in creating new Masonic works or celebrating our old, but for those who are and for those who benefit from what other Masons create and contribute, I believe it is important to support each other’s work. That is why you find poems by Masons and artwork by Masons on the Phoenix St. John site. I try my hand at poetry myself, as you will find if you visit the site but I have yet to produce presentable art. I do make my own memes though.

Phoenix St. John is a pen name. I do not wish to make my real name known at this point because I am writing a book in which the creation of this site is included. Once I finish the book and, hopefully, publish it, I can reveal my name but I want to keep Phoenix St. John as my pen name for life. Did you know Voltaire is a pen name? Most people know or have heard of Voltaire but how many can tell you his real name? François-Marie Arouet. My real name isn’t as exciting as Phoenix’s. I can write under a name that means much in its symbology so I will. I understand you have also used a pen name, Bro. Frederic? ( yes, Squire Bentley)

Manly P. Hall tells us that the Phoenix is one sign of the secret orders of the ancient world and of the initiate of those orders, for it was common to refer to one who had been accepted into the temples as a man twice-born, or re-born. St. John refers to St. John the Baptist. The theme is that of the Baptism of St. John and the initiates of secret orders, many of which had Baptism rituals. You see a Templar Cross on the chest of the Phoenix and also two red roses, symbolizing the blooming of human consciousness. The undulating line with two dots is my secret signature. I have used that symbol since I was 17 years old. I just had to include it. Another fun secret, or used to be secret, is that I use two periods instead of three as can be seen in this meme.

So as you can see we are all in for quite a treat. If the Craft is to move forward, if it is to grow, if it is to flap its philosophical wings then websites such as Phoenix St. John must be on the scene.  If Freemasonry slides into a social club or a service organization everywhere and neglects its philosophical roots and its intellectual capabilities it is doomed to wither and die on the vine. The rise of the Super Masonic Website is quelling the tide of superficiality in Freemasonry and sparking the interest of Millennials. This is what will be Freemasonry’s Savior. And one of those Super Masonic Sites is now Phoenix St. John.

Visit Phoenix St. John at - http://www.phoenixstjohn.com/

                  

               

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