Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society - exclusive excerpt


42 Responses to “Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society - exclusive excerpt”

  1. GertaLives says:

    Anders Brevik in a “Templar costume?” He’s wearing (horrendously) tweaked out Marine Corps dress blues. Did I miss something?

    • jerwin says:

      Breivik believed it to be the uniform of a Justiciar Knight Commander of the Reformed Knights Templar.

    • peaceloveunderstanding says:

       Yes, he was a self described knights Templar member and racist – you missed the part where they described knights Templar garb.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

       You might be confused because there was an actual group called the Knights Templar, way back in the Middle Ages, who–like the Masons–were a somewhat secretive group who both incorporated ancient symbols and rituals into their order and were in turn responsible for propagating those symbols throughout Western civilization, thus giving rise to any number of conspiracy theories. (For example, Robert Anton Wilson, much celebrated on this blog, made them a cornerstone of the Illuminatus trilogy.) Lots of subsequent groups therefore borrowed their name, if not their authentic style, in an attempt to steal a little of that gravitas for themselves; in reality, Breivik is as much a Templar as I am Batman.

      • GertaLives says:

        Well, right, and that was my point. This isn’t anymore a Knights Templar costume than my jeans and button down shirt are a Batman costume, but I presume most readers wouldn’t go along with a caption branding my outfit a “Batman costume.” If it’s a confused/inauthentic/bastshit crazy version of Templar garb (and/or if all modern Templar costumes fall in this category), shouldn’t there be some mention?

        • history says:

          Maybe you missed the paragraph referring to the Knights Templar “subset” of Freemasonry, not the mediaeval religious order that has been (well officially anyway) defunct for 700 years.

          • GertaLives says:

            No, I’m aware the modern “Knights Templar” are a Freemason (re-)invention, but he wasn’t actually part of this subset of Freemasonry, nor is he actually sporting its garb. As much as the modern spin-off is phony, I don’t see how this counts as “Templar costume,” and I really think the post ought to be clear on this point.

  2. Secret! SEEEEEECRET secret secret secret.

  3. Wreckrob8 says:

    Fuck all that paraphernalia. All I need is my BB for a little hardcore magic.

  4. pgt says:

    I’m boggled that BoingBoing is being used to promote such a piece of hurtful and hateful nonsense. What’s next? Linking to Rush Limbaugh’s rants against Sandra fluke as good fun?

    If the rest of the book is as poorly researched and sensationalist as this excerpt, I wouldn’t waste any money on it.

    Want a book about the reality of Freemasonry in America, its history and present? Try Jay Kinney’s “The Masonic Myth”

    Yes, I’m a Mason, as are 2 million American men. I found this posting gratuitously offensive.


    • Blaise Pascal says:

      As a Mason, I see nothing hurtful or offensive about the above material. Masonry, and ne0-masonic/rosicrucian/neo-rosicrucian (Golden Dawn, OTO, et al) orders have a wide and varied history. We must accept myriad interpretations and variations upon the histories of these Orders. Frequently the lines and borders between these groups cross…for better or for worse. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter much, does it? There is not one group which can lay even titular claim as “the” true Order. Further, what any one person says about any other person or persons in any of the various Orders is highly irrelevant to your own (or my own) personal belief. Our history is not inherently sacred or relevant outside of the context of one’s own personal interpretations of the Mysteries our Order(s) transmit(s) through Allegory. Besides, we all know Masons have long-lost the Word and should get over it :-)

      • Wreckrob8 says:

        An allegorical interpretation of the word needs always to be preserved against a fundamentalist interpretation. No big secret there, I think. There is still the revealed Catholic interpretation.

    • Mark_Frauenfelder says:

      I think the ephemera shown here is fascinating but perhaps it should be burned so as not to offend sensitive people.

    • Teller says:

      pgt, my only read on the subject has been The Hiram Key. Asking if you’re familiar with the book and if you would plus-or-minus its accuracy.

    • Anne Speck says:

      As a former Job’s Daughter I found the larger context of fraternal orders fascinating and I am now intrigued by the book. 

      • My Mom was a Job’s Daughter, too. She had a doll dressed up in all the regalia, and a silver cake slice engraved with “Queen Jacquie.” As a kid, recently emigrated from Canada to the UK, I was under the mistaken impression (which I shared enthusiastically with all my school chums) that my mother was once Queen of Canada.

  5. Stefan Jones says:

    Many years ago . . . 1989, I think . . . I was in Las Vegas for a trade show. We were put up in the dowdy old Sahara. The hotel was also hosting a Shriner convention! There were lots of old geezers in those elaborate costumes and fezzes.

    I rode in an elevator with a couple of them. Paraphrasing:

    “So, I  hear Milt was made Grand Potentate.”

    “Yeah, I wouldn’t want that. Being Grand Potentate is a hell of a lot work.”

    • Jim Saul says:

      I don’t know much about the group, but here in the Cincinnati area they sponsor a well-respected medical center specializing in treatment of severely burned children.

      It would be hard to come up with a more worthy effort than that. And besides, any guys who take themselves so unseriously that their primary public persona are elderly larks driving miniature cars wearing fezzes are like something RAW would adore.

    • billstewart says:

       Other sources tell us that fezzes are cool.

  6. unit_1421 says:

    What killed these groups was the Prosperity Gospel, in that being wealthy was not just the entitlement to the connected upper class of business owners, management and the guilded trades like law, medicine and engineering, it is God’s will that EVERYONE be wealthy. Wealth is a class in an of itself and it is your divine right, regardless of how you get it, to have it. Pay slave wages, scam Medicaid, using Visa cards to may Mastercard bills, hollow out healthy companies, selling cheesy knick knacks at the race track, cooking meth, it’s all legit in the Lord’s eyes if you show up to church in a new BMW, drop $500 into the collection plate and head home to watch the game in your illegal-alien built McMansion, fuck that snooty faggy neighbor next door with his mid-price Buick, line manager job at the plant and Shriners bumper sticker, your money’s as good as his.

  7. Adam Parfrey says:

    Ritual America is not meant to hurt the feelings of Freemasons. Freemasons were huge in American culture, and Ritual America acknowledges its many accomplishments. Freemasonry was only one of hundreds of fraternal orders discussed in this book. 

    Jay Kinney’s book is quite a bit different from Ritual America in respect to its design and emphasis. Ritual America largely emphasizes pro-Masonic material, but American history includes much in regard to anti-masonic material, including for the first third political party and current misguided and crazy anti-Illuminati stuff.

    In regard to Anders Brevik, after the mass murder of 70-plus children, he was officially removed from the Templar group in Norway that he belonged to. A simple Google search will verify this.

    If there is any misinformation in the excerpt of Ritual America above, please call our attention to it, and please source the correct info.


    Adam Parfrey

    • pgt says:

      I’m not going to go through the whole post, much less the whole book – it doesn’t merit that level of attention. However, two points, demonstrating your level of fact-checking.

      1. You’ve misspelled Breivik’s name throughout. Is this error also in your book?

      2. He wasn’t removed from a ‘Templar Group in Norway”. He was kicked out of the Norwegian Freemasons, where he was an inactive member, apparently attending only one meeting in the four years after taking his degrees in 2007. It’s not unusual for men to join the Masons, discover it wasn’t what they thought, and stop attending.

      He and a handful of his fascist buddies apparently did create their own group of “Knights Templar” in 2002, in London, without any connection of to freemasonry. That is apparently where the photo in the fanciful uniform comes from.

      Here’s some actual Masonic Knights Templar, with the correct uniform.


      Not quite the same. I don’t think I’m the one who needs to do a ‘simple Google search’. The above data is mostly from Wikipedia.


      • jerwin says:

        Correct Uniform? Why would Breivik pretend to be a member of an American Masonic lodge? Find me a picture of Norwegian Knights Templar “in correct uniform” and then we can talk.

      • Blaise Pascal says:

        In Hoc Signo Vinces.

        What is an actual Masonic Knights Templar?  Some authorities would argue that Masonic association with the Knights Templar is spurious at best. What charter to operate does the Lodge of the MKT hold?

        But, you are correct, nowhere can I find that Breivik was ever removed from a Templar organization..and he was only removed from his Lodge after the attacks.

  8. Adam Parfrey says:

    I should also point out that Ritual America is 8.5 x 11 in size, hardcover, with 420 images.

  9. hypersomniac says:

    If only The Simpsons would do an episode about this. Or Spongebob.

  10. Jim Saul says:

    Since you’re on the subject, just what is Bohemian Grove all about?

  11. Art says:

    As a 23 year Mason and twice past master,  I always get a kick out of authors who pen wildly inaccurate tomes about Masonry and it’s history without having any personal lodge affiliation or experience. 

    My verdict about the book?  Amusing and with some great, old-timey graphics!
    But because of it’s out of context and half clarified descriptions, it would not be used for any serious, scholarly reference work.

  12. Adam Parfrey says:

    Hi Art, . I realize that Ritual Amerca was not sent to Scottish Rite headquarters for approval. Your premise is that if one does not physically experience being a Mason, then if you publish any material that concerns Masonry, it’s “wildly inaccurate.”  Please provide any wild inaccuracies to me, and I’ll do my best to correct them, that is, if they actually exist. We can be emailed @ info@feralhouse.com….  BTW, for the sake of knowing what it’s like to join a fraternal order, I was indoctrinated into Odd Fellows of Waxahachie TX. Ritual America does not profess to be academic, but a vastly illustrated layman’s guide to ignored aspects of American history.

  13. Adam Parfrey says:

    Does one have to be a President to write about Presidents? BTW, how can one properly write about Freemasonry after being sworn to an oath not to reveal an of its secrets?

  14. Petzl says:

    Looks fascinating.  I just hope it doesn’t loop back and blame 9-11 on the Masons.

  15. Haven’t a few dozen of these little paranoid (non) exposé been made already?

  16.  The only Mason I know is in his early thirties, from the West Bank, and manages a convenience store I walk to through a hole in a fence and a dirt trail across an abandoned hot tub showroom and pool supply place.

    Funny thing is, this guy has only lived in the US for eight years, and is a leader in his lodge mostly because he is only one of five people under sixty. He’s also Druze, and thus had the opportunity to go to special schools in Israel. That’s where he learned English and formal Hebrew.

    But everyone knows the Masons, The Elks, and The Sons of Hermann are on the wane. Sure, they still have the burn clinics and orthopedic hospitals, but look at their parade. See any young people?

    No,  in these times, the Moonies, The Family at the C Street House, and the fundie infiltration of the military are much more powerful.

    Don’t believe me about the Moonies:

  17. He can’t be a Knight Templar anyways.  To be accepted, you have to have four quarterings – each of your grandparents must be of noble origin.

  18. Evan McGee says:

    As a mason, and past master, and a Shriner, and a 32degre Scottish Rite, and a Senior Demolay, I would ask all masons to stop badgering this man.  He wrote a book from his perspective, he makes no SCHOLARLY claims, he cites no EXPLICIT interviews.  By defneding the craft, you per-suppose there is something to defend.  This book is a book, nothing more, nothing less.  If you don’t want to read it don’t, but lets please stop the thumb sucking over a piece of work that was clearly meant to be entertainment, not a Scholarly thesis.

  19. Tom says:

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only BoingBoing Mason around here.

  20. Rich Lord says:

    the booze at the lodge is cheaper, you get to drink for free or half price if  you bar-tend. Getting out of the house and drinking that’s the secret.

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