Freemasonry, Part 3: Harry Potter and the Masonic Order (Russian)

It would be easy to assume that the man who made this video is a religious crank, but, if he is expert on the rites and symbolism of Freemasonry and he sees clear connections with the events and characters of the Harry Potter novels, this takes on real importance for Rowling Studies (I refer you to Nick Jeffery’s post about Rowling’s current twitter page header and the possible link to her father’s past: Freemasonry and J. K. Rowling: Strike 8).

Sadly, I do not understand Russian. I have written friends who are fluent speakers and asked them to share the high points of the video. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment boxes below.

Is J. K. Rowling “Bigoted”? Classroom Discussion Suggests Tide is Turning

Much has been made of this video as an example of a great teacher showing his students how to think critically. The instructor was celebrated in the conservative blogosphere and among the twitterati as “what pupils in schools need most;” he even landed an interview with Piers Morgan.

Only those who believe that classrooms, to include seemingly open discussions like the one in the video above, are places where ‘real learning’ happens or can happen fail to see what is painfully obvious to a homeschooling parent or to readers of John Holt and John Taylor Gatto. The student whose viewpoint is transformed in the exchange offered his ‘woke’ opinion about Rowling’s supposed transphobia because he thought it was the accepted view of everyone conversant with social media trends; as soon as he realized the teacher is not on board, he has an epiphany and accepts the teacher’s view. If the teacher had been a “critical thinker” who thought that Rowling was “murdering people!” because of her gender critical views, the student would have been won over or re-established in that received opinion.

We’re a long way from “critical thinking” in either case. The student, frankly, is just a toady or he could have found the arguments of the Rowling Revilers in which they make their case that the author is indeed a danger to those people who identify with a gender that is not their biological sex.

That being said, I still find the video of the hipster Socratic teacher taking a seemingly neutral view of this controversy and all but siding with Rowling’s defenders in the end a very encouraging sign.

Not about the possibility of effective classroom learning today, alas. If the teacher were truly about fostering examination of evidence, of course, he would have insisted on finding the best possible arguments from the Neo-Harry Haters and examining them along with Rowling’s views and those of her defenders. As it is, he allows the student-sycophant to change his views to align with what he thinks his teacher’s are or with the ‘critical thinking metamorphosis’ that he is selling.

What is encouraging is that the teacher did not fear being cancelled by angry students for not being on board and cheerleading anyone afflicted with the delusions of gender dysphoria. Check out this 2019 Atlantic piece about what happened to Camille Paglia when the students at her university decided she need to be cast into the outer darkness and about the fear with which this transgender feminist’s colleagues were possessed in speaking out in her defense.

Those days are not totally behind us, of course; the internet puritans and thought police never rest on this subject. We are, however, turning a corner if men like this do not object to being filmed while teaching students not to accept the narrative that Rowling is a transphobe.

I haven’t watched the Piers Morgan interview and confess to being curious if the man wasn’t careful to distance himself from the ranks of #IStandWithJKRowling. Regardless, I think his five minutes of fame and the conjunction of “critical thinking” and the position that Rowling is not bigoted has to be considered a win in the ongoing war for public acceptance of her positions.

Freemasonry and J. K. Rowling – Strike 8

As the last days of what seemed like an interminable January faded, speculation about the next instalment of Robert Galbreath’s Strike-Ellacott series was given a welcome boost as J. K. Rowing posted a new header on her X homepage. Strike sleuths were quick to identify the Art Deco façade of Freemason’s Hall in London, which is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body for Freemasonry in England.

Dr Beatrice Groves has written about the connection between the square and compass masonic symbol and the Deathly Hallows symbol, but the image here is the coat of arms of The United Grand Lodge of England. The compass and square is represented here on the left side of the shield aligned as a chevron. The official description given by the collage of arms is:

Arms : Per pale gules and quarterly azure and Or, dexter on a chevron between three castles argent a pair of compasses extended of the third, sinister cross quarterly of the fourth and vert between in the first quarter a lion rampant of the third, in the second an ox passant sable, in the third a man with hands elevated proper vested of the fifth the robe crimson lined with ermine, and in the fourth an eagle displayed also of the third; the whole within a bordure of the first charged with eight lions passant guardant of the third.
Crest: On a wreath of the colours, A representation of an Ark supported on either side by a cherub proper, with the motto over in Hebrew characters “Holiness to the Lord”.
Supporters: On either side a cherub proper.
Motto: Audi, vide, tace

The shield is a combination of the arms of the Masons’ Company, a London guild of operative masons granted in 1472. This is the three castles separated by the compass and square. The other half of the shield belonged to the Atholl or Antient society of Freemasons with merged with Grand Lodge to form the United Grand Lodge in 1813. The shield of the Atholl Masons is comprised of the symbols of the four evangelists, the lion (Mark), the bull (Luke), a man (Matthew) and the eagle (John). I was not the first to notice the similarity between these symbols and the Hogwarts Houses. The motto: “Audi, Vide, Tace”, means “Hear, See and be Silent” enforcing the famed secrecy of Freemasonry.

J. K. Rowling by dint of her sex is ineligible for membership. It is curious however, that she has both grown up and ended up in areas that are particularly noted for their Freemasonry. Lodges within the Masonic Province of Bristol are unusual for several reasons. All lodges within Bristol meet at the Freemason’s Hall, Bristol and despite the drop in popularity for the craft it boasts 38 Craft Lodges, 14 Royal Arch Chapters, and 7 Mark Lodges, 3 Royal Ark Lodges. It is also home to the esoteric Rite of Baldwyn comprising of seven degrees:

Iº − Craft Freemasonry
Entered Apprentice
Master Mason

IIº − Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch

IIIº − Knights of the Nine Elected Masters
IVº − The Ancient Order of Scots Knights Grand Architect
Order of Scots Knights Grand Architect
Order of Scots Knights of Kilwinning
Vº − Knights of the East, the Sword and Eagle
VIº − Knights of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta
Knights of St John of Jerusalem
Knights Templar
VIIº − Knights of the Rose Croix of Mount Carmel

The Royal Arch degree is unique in England for including the ceremony of “Passing the Veils” symbolising the path to enlightenment that a mason undergoes as he progresses in the craft. Given Peter Rowling’s upward social mobility from working class apprentice to engineer and moving from the Bristol suburbs to middle class Tutshill, it isn’t beyond reason to wonder if Peter might have been tempted by the social and career advantages that freemasonry might have offered him and exposed a young Joanne to some of the symbolism.

Edinburgh, as well as being the home of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, is also home to if not the oldest lodge in the world, then at least the one with the oldest records. Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No. 1 has minutes of meetings from 31st July 1599. There have long been arguments between this Lodge and the one in Kilwinning on the other coast of Scotland as to which is the oldest. (see IVº of the Rite of Baldwyn above)

We don’t yet know what the meaning behind the header will be for book eight, but the secrecy, symbolism and ceremony of Freemasonry would prove a fertile ground for Rowling, Robin, and Strike to explore.



Merry Christmas, Serious Readers!

It is Christmas Eve on the traditional Church calendar — and I wish you all the blessings of the Feast of the Nativity!

The video above is of a concert given by the Orthodox Christians in the far north of California, the Scott Valley. The singers include students and teachers at the St Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary (SPOTS) as well as nuns from the St Elizabeth Convent and the St Gregory Palamas Monastery. Enjoy!

Nick Jeffery and I recorded the third Rowling Studies podcast this morning (to read about the theory we were discussing, click here). It was so much fun that it seemed to me that Christmas had arrived a day early.

Which is more the rule than the exception of my time spent here and at the HogwartsProfessor Substack page. After Vigil services tonight, I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time in many years — inspired by Joe Posnanski — and I cried just like I have every other time I’ve seen it, tears of gratitude for the friends and family with whom I have been blessed.

You are no small part of that. Thank you for joining us here and on the Substack site, to include the new Rowling Studies podcast. Without your joining in the conversation, it would always be panning for fool’s gold rather than the solid light chrysalis of literary alchemy it often is.

Merry Christmas, Serious Readers! May Christ be born in our hearts today and remain there always.

Fan Film: Yuletide Card