by Terry Melanson ©, Dec. 3rd, 2005
I‘ve recently acquired sixty issues of The New Age Magazine, spanning the years 1968-73. The New Age Magazine was “the official organ of the Supreme Council 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction.” The magazine was inaugurated in 1904 and still continues today. In 1990, however, the title of the publication was changed to the Scottish Rite Journal—probably in an effort to distance themselves from being identified with the New Age Movement. In any case, the original name for the magazine alludes to those same esoteric yearnings of the socialist utopians and occult theosophists at the turn of the 20th century. They believed that the world was on the cusp of a New Age of enlightenment. The Age of Aquarius was about to begin; occultists had generally agreed that a shift in consciousness was imminent, and the transformation of society—based upon a masonic ideal—would soon be realized. It is thus appropriate that Grand Commander George Moore, in 1904, named the magazine after the “rite of perfection” conferred on those who partake in the ritual of the 18th degree, the Rose Croix. Candidates who pass through this degree symbolically ascend the mystic ladder from darkness to glory and perfection. The Rose Croix degree, in turn, refers to the 17th Century mystic secret society of adepts, the Rosicrucians, who themselves called for a new age. They practiced the transformation of self through an amalgam of rituals involving hermeticism, gnosticism, alchemy and the kabbalah.
The February 1971 edition of The New Age Magazine has an article about the Great Seal of America, pp. 51-5. Simply titled “The Great Seal of the United States,” Elmer W. Claypool, 32°, gives his own opinion of the symbolic meaning of the seal and then quotes from a 33rd degree mason who elucidates a more esoteric viewpoint. I will include the whole piece and make a few comments afterwards (illustrations are mine):