My masonic brother, Leslie, is a very kind person, a vegetarian, a retired policeman and a counsellor. I was therefore very surprised to learn that some members of his extended family, hearing that he was an active freemason, accused him of being a devil-worshipper! Shortly after that, someone asked me, quite seriously, whether a live goat was a part of masonic ceremonies. Now, a moment’s thought would show that the goat question is very silly. No one would allow a goat into the places that Freemasons meet; the local hotel or masonic temple and certainly not into Freemasons’ Hall, perhaps the most beautiful example of art deco in England and the venue of many TV dramas and fashion parades. Goats are not exactly house-trained.
Such ideas do not spring from a single imagination. They arise, grow and change, time providing at least apparent credibility. This book is a search for the history of the goat, the devil and the Freemason; a magical mystery tour of fascinating and often surprising events and people, including …
The occult of 19th century France, the Santa Fe Trail and the mountain men, a Masonic hoax; ancient Egypt and the Book of the Dead; Greek gods and the afterlife; at least two Cleopatras; Cyrus the Great; fauns and satyrs; early Christianity, the gnostics and the gospel of Q; the history of the Bible; polytheism, henotheism and monotheism; the death of Pan; the problem of evil; the Bogomils and the Cathars; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and John Donne; Wittgenstein and language games; reasons for worship; Augustine, Hume and Nietzsche; Kabbalah, the Templars and the Rosicrucians; and, of course, the wonderfully named Hermes Trismegistus … not forgetting Tecumseh, Crazy Horse and the Comanche.
Dr David West gained his first degree in Philosophy from the University of Exeter and his Doctorate of and in Philosophy from the University of Leicester. He taught at universities in England and Canada for several years, publishing in the academic press. His business career included Ford and Xerox. He served on several committees on the future of work, was special adviser to a cabinet minister and later founded The Working Manager Ltd, creating the core content of its web based management education process. He is also the author of ‘Employee Engagement and the Failure of Leadership’. David is a member of three lodges and four chapters under the English Constitution, served as Grand Registrar of the Masonic Province of Essex and is now Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.