Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ancient and Accepted Riddle

The Sphinx at Thebes posed a riddle to travelers and killed them when they got it wrong. This sphinx, at 150 N. Madison Avenue, made me stop on the way to an errand today. Wait a minute! Have I not been on this block before? What is this place?

Carved into the facade of the building was the answer: the Scottish Rite Cathedral.

I was still stumped. So when I got home I looked it up on the web. I read the Wikipedia article about the Ancient and Accepted Scottish rite, and though it was in English I didn't understand it. All I got out of it was that it's a branch of Freemasonry. I was still stumped. I found the website for the Pasadena Branch, which was more enlightening. They've been in existence since 1895, and are now housed in this beautifully restored 1925 structure. They do the things that Freemasons do, but they do them in the way of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Which means I'm still stumped.

This much I know: they have a Childhood Language Center, "committed to providing quality services to young children with speech and language disorders." And it's free.

So I haven't figured out the answer to the riddle of this sphinx. But whatever the Scottish Rite is, I'm thinking it's a good thing.

9 comments:

monoblog said...

As far as I know, Scottish Rite, is one of Rites in the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. Freemasons have the option of joining one of the bodies like Scottish Rite that offer additional degrees to those who have taken the basic three (Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason degrees). Well taken photo by the way...

Jim said...

In Dallas they operate the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. This is from their website.
TSRHC treats Texas children with orthopedic conditions, such as scoliosis, clubfoot, hand disorders, hip disorders and limb length differences, as well as certain related neurological disorders and learning disorders, such as dyslexia.

The sphinx looks like an old prize fighter with the towel over his head.

Annie said...

You will be relieved, I think, to learn that you answered the riddle on my blog quite correctly. The Sphinx awards you another day, Petrea.

Petrea said...

Monoblog: What is a degree and how do you get it? Is it like the university, where you take classes? You can't know how much it pleases me that you say the photo was well taken.:}

Jim: I'm picking up a theme of service to children. Our local website also listed other donors to the Language Center. (Yeah--he doesn't exactly look Egyptian.)

Annie: I won! I'm heading over to Little Rock Daily photo to celebrate.

Bernie K. said...

So, if that's a Scottish sphinx, the correct(ed) answer would be "Man … after some bad haggis." Does this mean that headdress was originally in tartan?

monoblog said...

Petrea, Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternity; a system of morality veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols. As told, its singular purpose is to make good men better. In theory, only individuals believed to be of the finest character are favorably considered for membership. The basis of all Freemasonry is the craft system of three degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason). Just as collegiate degrees are titles stating that one has achieved a certain rank in learning in the academic sense, so are the degrees of Freemasonry significant of one's level of Masonic education. A candidate receives three Masonic Degrees, concluding with the Third (or Master Mason’s) Degree. The degrees are solemn, enlightening and an enjoyable experience where the principles of Freemasonry taught.

Petrea said...

Thank you, Monoblog. Your single, well-spoken paragraph was more enlightening than the entire Wikipedia article.

Palm Axis said...

Petrea,
My Pasadena Grandfather was a Shriner whose Fez, embroidered in gold thread, depicts the words " Al Malaikah". At one time, to be a Shriner, you had to be a mason. In an Wikipedia nutshell, their order was referred to as "The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) which rearranged spell out the words "A Mason."
Coincidently, Grandfather dropped dead on land presently occupied by the PCC library. The library just happens to be across the street from the "Arabian Nights" influenced Saga Motel!

oooooooh

Petrea said...

Palm Axis: what a wonderful, weird story. Your blog, by the way, is also wonderful and weird (in a good way), with great pictures of the Saga, among other things.

I remember the Shriners in my Illinois home town, riding bicycles in their fezzes. I never made the connection with Masons.