X-Oriente (general)
The New Voice of Brotherhood

In the world of politics and the permanence of the Internet, many in society believe the phrase "a leopard doesn't change its spots." we often regard changing our minds as a sign of weakness, of waffling or flip-flopping.

But the truth is, changing our minds is ESSENTIAL to personal growth and progress in society. Changing our minds is exactly what Freemasonry empowers us to do. Rather than a mark of weakness, it is instead a mark of wisdom, a mark of strength and a sign of beauty. In this episode, Eric and Jason are joined once again by brother of the show, Nicky Sampogna. Nicky was with us some episodes back, and had a change of heart about what he said. Rather than sweep it under the rug like we so often do in Masonry, Nicky agreed to share his perspective so that we could all benefit from his experience—and courage—in changing his mind.

Direct download: 144.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49am CDT

Masonic writing and Masonic Research are different things: in this episode, Eric and Jason talk about Masonic writing, why it's important, and how to get started. October is Masonic Writing Month, so let's all get started!

Direct download: 141.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28am CDT

Each year, the Grand Masters of all the Grand Lodges in North America get together to discuss issues of importance to all regular Freemasons in their jurisdictions, and build consensus. Jason, because of his day job, was privileged to attend the conference. In this episode, Eric and Jason discuss what was discussed there, and talk about why the Grand Lodge of Eric and Jason (our fictional hypothetical GLs) will never be allowed anywhere near COGMINA.

Direct download: 138.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Associations with the infernal have always plagued Freemasonry, even from its earliest days. But what is exactly "The Devil" anyway? Is Lucifer, Beelzulbub, Satan, Mephistopheles and Baphomet all the same thing? Does it matter what religion you are? What is Hell anyway? And why does Freemasonry always seem to demonized by Popes and Fundamentalists throughout history? In part 2 of a multipart series, Eric and Jason open the X-Oriente Department of Infernal Affairs and tease apart the origins and meanings of Baphomet and Lucifer.

Direct download: 135.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03pm CDT

Chris Hodapp, (the AP Wire service of Freemasonry) wrote an opinion piece in his blog linking the decline of Freemasonry to the discontinuation of the McGuffey Reader. We’re joined by guest host Jason Richards (of the Masonic Roundtable) to talk Eric off a ledge.

Here is the link to Bro. Hodapp's article

Direct download: 126.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45am CDT

We are joined by our special guest, Nicky Sampogna, a brother who runs social media marketing for a large entertainment brand. In this episode, we discuss marketing, brands and how younger men might be relating to freemasonry through the brands that they adopt.

Direct download: 125.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:40am CDT

The "Manbox" has recently been identified by sociologists and social psychologists as a set of social expectations surrounding masculinity. These attitudes and resulting behaviors are at the roots of toxic masculine behavior and make it more difficult for men to cope with a society that is embracing female empowerment. What's worse, these attitudes are responsible for a shocking range of male behaviors, from depression, to violence to suicide.

Companies and brands have started to look at the negative impacts of the Manbox and its effect on their target market— young men. But Freemasonry has, embedded in its DNA, a robust set of tools, rituals and traditions that can empower us to break out of the Manbox, and live lives that are our own, free from male stereotypes and unrealistic expectations. Jason and Eric discuss two interesting studies, one from Unilever and the other paid for by Harry's (the shaving company) that illustrate the global extent of the problem.

Direct download: 123.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this episode, Eric and Jason discuss the five things every new Mason should know, but they don't tell you.

Direct download: 118.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

King Gillette, the inventor of the safety razor was a Freemason. Today, the company that bears his name, has released a 60 second commercial about toxic masculinity that is sparking some debate and controversy. In this episode, Eric and Jason explore the commercial, the whys and wherefores, and talk about toxic masculinity in the context of Freemasonry. What does the Craft have to say about the best in a man? 

Direct download: 116.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28pm CDT

X-Oriente is back after its unintentional technical hiatus! In this episode, we discuss a couple of well-written and well-intentioned Masonic essays. Lance Kennedy wrote a two part series "The Decline of Freemasonry: A Data Analysis" and "Two Trajectories For American Freemasonry: Consolidation Or Implosion." Greg Stewart wrote "The Death of Freemasonry: When Change Changes You."

Both essays contemplate American Freemasonry's demise and offer up some interesting prescriptions for saving the patient. Jason and Eric discuss the essays and our take on these arguments.

Direct download: 115.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28pm CDT

If you haven't seen it yet, Lodge 49 is AMC's newest show that features a fraternal organization that is something between the Freemasons, The Odd Fellows and the Elks. In this episode Jason and Eric use the venerable PARDES method to critique the show. If you like TV, and you like esoteric Masonry, you'll want to have a listen.

THIS EPISODE CONTAINS SPOILERS. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED! We only talk about episodes up to ep4.

You can catch Lodge 49 on Monday nights at 10pm ET, on AMC, or on the AMC app.

Direct download: 111.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34pm CDT

Eric and Jason discuss the benefits of traveling as a Freemason. How to do it right, the benefits, and what to expect.

Direct download: 110.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm CDT

In this episode, Jason and Eric talk about the apps and technologies they find useful in Masonry.

Eric also talks to Jeremy Barnes and Michael Radigan, founders of the firm Copiri, which has developed Amity, a new app that helps Freemasons around the world travel and connect with each other in safety.

To download Amity and sign up, visit you local app store:

If you use iOS, go here.

If you use Android, go here.

For more information, visit Copiri.

Special thanks to Michael and Jeremy.

Direct download: 088A.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59pm CDT

068: The Importance of Landmarks

The recent actions of some grand lodges to withdraw recognitionof others is based in the idea that there are certain principles,or Landmarks that are the foundational principles that defineregularity. While we like to think of them as fixed andimmovable, the truth is that they are highly variable and open tointerpretation. In this episode, Eric and Jason discuss Landmarksand why they are important. They also discuss some differentcollections of landmarks and compare and contrast them.

For additional reading, see Paul Bessel's excellent website.

Direct download: 068.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm CDT

A critique of an article that appeared in The Northern Light, the monthly magazine of the Scottish Rite, NMJ.

You can read the article here.

As always, my opinions are my own and do not represent those of any Masonic Grand Lodge, Appendant Body or Lodge.

Direct download: 058.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm CDT

We continue the discussion of Kabbalah. In this episode we begin to focus on creation, the beginnings of light and how Kabbalaistic ideas intersect with Masonic ones.

Let me know your feedback, and please share this with your brothers!

Direct download: 040.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:44pm CDT