THE INVISIBLE LODGE
By Walter J. Harmon
This Short Talk Bullet)n was prepared by Worshipful Brother Walter J. Harmon, Past Master of
Richmond Lodge No. 10, Richmond, Virginia, a
magician for more than 28 years, and an active
member of "The Invisible Lodge."
The expression, "the magic of Free-
masonry," takes on a different meaning when
one realizes the great number of professional
and amateur magicians who are and have been
members of the Ancient Craft. It was only
natural that these skilled performers of the art
of producing baffling effects and illusions
should band together to share their interests
with the Fraternity.
In the strictest sense of the word, Lodge,
"the Invisible Lodge" is not a Lodge. It is an
international organization of Freemasons who
also have as their vocation or avocation -
MAGIC. The Invisible Lodge was formed in
1953 by Sir Felix Korim of England, who served
as the organization's first President. Membership in The Invisible Lodge has been accorded
to more than 800 selected Masons throughout
the world, including such notable and wellknown figures in the world of magic as Black-
stone, Okito, Ballentine, Levanto, McDonald
Hirch and Jack Gwynne.
Joined by the common bond of magic, these
Brethren who may be or have been professional
entertainers, hobbyists, collectors or students
of both magic and Freemasonry, combine those
interests to produce the organization known as
"The Invisible Lodge."
Just as the roots of Freemasonry are
entrenched in antiquity, so are those of Magic.
Magic is a word referring to the craft of the
magi. The magi were the priests of the ancient
Medes and Persians. After the rise of
Zoroaster, they became the priests of the Zoroastrian religion. The ancient Greeks and
Hebrews knew them as Astrologers, Interpreters of Dreams, and givers of Omens. The reign
of the priests was more than eight thousand
years ago. Zoroaster is believed to have lived
about five thousand years before our era. He is
said to have been an unusual child who was
gifted to have visions at an early age. Born in
Azerbaijan in Northern Persia, he taught a
belief in one God, the existence of the devil,
and the doctrine of immortality. It is alleged
that these priests (the magi) predicted the birth
of the Christ Child and were the ones who
brought him the gifts of gold, frankincense and
myrrh. As ruling monarchs, the priests were
referred to as "Kings of the Orient" and "the
There are certain similarities between the
order of the Magi and Freemasonry which
should be noted. The word, "Dao" is Persian
in origin. It signifies Light and Wisdom and is
the forerunner of the word Diety (Bright One).
Fire or light was used in the rituals of the magi
to symbolize intelligence, knowledge and
wisdom. It is recorded that during the
initiation, the Arch Magus sat upon a throne of
gold in the East.
The established dates of the reign of the
Magi was five thousand years before the Trojan
War, which took place in 1200 B.C. King Solomon began his temple in 966 B.C. This gives
room for interesting speculation.
The Magi were Kings, Priests, Lawyers,
Engineers, etc. In essence, they embodied most
of the knowledge of their time, earning the
respect of the people. It is the hypothesis of
some historians that the Magi even possessed
knowledge that has since been lost to man and
that they possessed powers that would seem
awesome to us even today.
Always in history there have been those who
sought knowledge for knowledge's sake and
those who sought to use it to manipulate and
enslave the less informed. As the knowledge of
those ancient wise ones became the specializations of medicine, law, astronomy, and
philosophy, there were those who specialized in
those little known principles of the miracle
worker and became just that. These individuals,
whether in quest for power or riches, formed a
special priesthood that manipulated the ignorant and robbed the credulous.
Magic has passed through many forms and
many lands until today it is deception for the
purpose of entertainment with the trappings
and refinements of those lands.
Masonry, in its language and ritual, retains
much of the various sects and institutions it
passed through before arriving at its present
In Masonry, as in Magic, we meet with
Chaldean, Indian, Egyptian, Jewish, and
Christian symbols and ideas.
It is little wonder then that at some time in
history a group of men with an interest in both
Magic and Masonry would form an organiza-
tion that would embody the two as its focus.
Many Masons are surprised to find that
many of the Great Magicians, whose names are
familiar, and many others were active Masons
and active in the various appendant bodies.
Many could and did tell interesting anecdotes
about their Masonic experiences. One of those
deals with Brother Harry Keller, famous for the
floating lady illusion which he introduced in
this country. Brother Keller was shipwrecked in
the Bay of Biscay and his Blue Lodge diploma
went to the bottom of the sea. It was later
recovered by divers who brought up baggage
from the sunken steamer. He later remarked it
had been viewed by Grand Master Neptune and
Membership in the Invisible Lodge is
limited to those persons interested in Magic,
who have been raised to the Sublime Degree of
Master Mason. The publication of the Invisible
Lodge is called the "Trestle Board" and is published quarterly, giving information on the
Masonic and Magical activities of the members.
The annual stated meeting of the Invisible
Lodge is held in conjunction with the Columbus, Ohio Magic Fest. The date and time are
announced annually. Additional meetings are
held at the National Conventions of the
International Brotherhood of Magicians and
The Society of American Magicians as well as
recognized Regional Conventions.
The Invisible Lodge publishes Bert Douglas'
book, "Masonic Magic," which is the sole
work devoted to presentation of Magic with a
Members are encouraged to participate in
Masonic education programs by using their
Magic abilities and skills to illustrate the underlying principles of Masonic philosophy, as well
as providing entertainment within the Fraternity. They are further urged to labor in the nonmagical areas by the Invisible Lodge's award
The first of these, the ZB Award, so named
after the second president of the Invisible
Lodge, Dr. Zina Bennett, is a certificate presented to any member who gives a total of five
certified gratis performances for the residents
of a Masonic Orphanage, Masonic Home for
the Aged, or the patients of a Shrine Hospital.
Another award of the Invisible Lodge is the
Masters Award, consisting of a certificate and
wand presented to a Brother who has received
the coveted 33x of the Scottish Rite. Another
award is presented annually, known as the
Harvey Award, based on the traditional invisible rabbit, to a Brother who has served the
Invisible Lodge or Masonry with distinction.
Membership in the Invisible Lodge is not
necessary to be a recipient.
The meetings of the Invisible Lodge are held
at midnight, with a special ritual prepared for it
that combine the elements of Masonry and
Magic. At these meetings, honors are given to
both the oldest and youngest members present.
Probably the most singular important
lesson to be learned by the average Mason from
the Invisible Lodge is that all of the great
Magicians saw fit to give a certain amount of
their time to Masonry and with their travel and
exposure to the blandishments of the world felt
that this brotherhood was of value.
Another lesson lies in the origins of both
Masonry and Magic. Rooted and entwined in
antiquity as both are, the mystical qualities of
both manifest themselves in our inner feelings
and convince us of the lasting value of both.
In our hurried view of the history, we made
mention of knowledge that was lost. Of course
this came about as the result of persecution of
both the thinking individual and the organizations to which they belonged, by those who
would bend mankind to a life of superstitious
slavery. The individual Mason cannot and
should not lose sight of the sacrifices of our
predecessors and our debt to them to preserve
our ways and customs in their entirety and
guard them against exploitation by the politically ambitious.