stimulating talks, and where possible include visual stimuli such as photos, illustrations, and slides, such as found in the lectures during the degrees. Brethren should
organize visits to other lodges. Invite guests
and non-Masons to present ideas of interest
to members thereby expanding the Brother’s circle of friends and contacts. These are
the types of stimuli that actually may fight
the onset of Alzheimer’s.
An excellent example of such programs
can be seen with the variety of speakers
who have spoken in the Valley of Washington. There have been scientific, philosophical, esoteric, and recently, musical
programs presented to the members.
Each of these programs was directed at
providing intellectual stimulation to the
members and guests who attended these
programs. Each one, hopefully, provided
just the stimulation and cranial activity
needed to make a small step in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. All Masonic bodies
need to be encouraged to develop stimulating programs. It not only helps keep the
lodge alive, it just may stimulate the brains
of those in attendance, which in turn may
help resist the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Remarkably, even Masonic ritual also
contributes to the war against the disease.
By being an active Mason, in your Lodge or
Valley, you are forcing your brain to learn,
retain, and present parts of our rituals during opening and closing of the Lodge and
in the performance of the degrees. This is
particularly important to those members
who are over 60 years of age. The very performance of the various parts helps the retention of memory and the prevention of
Alzheimer’s. By encouraging the member
to take on new roles goes a step further in
keeping the brain active, thereby fighting
the disease. Both the Scottish and York
Rites offer a series of degrees beyond the
Symbolic Lodge with rituals that can be
taken, observed, and learned, all of which
will contribute to the continued stimulation of the brain, keeping those nerve cells
in the hippocampus active and firing.
Masonic literature opens up a world
of books and articles that present stimuli.
One can read the host of historical Ma-
sonic books and articles. How might
they benefit us? By making the Mason
use his mind to determine which
are facts and which are fiction, is
adding to the mental stimuli needed to
fight Alzheimer’s. Likewise there are a
host of books on the more esoteric side
of the Craft, which may challenge the
member’s personal beliefs and ideas. Try
reading Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike
(Arturo de Hoyos’s edited version is rec-
ommended) for stretching yourself men-
tally; or Freemasonry: Its Hidden Meaning
by George Steinmetz, The Mason’s Words,
by Robert G. Davis, or any other of thou-
sands of books on Masonry.
Go outside the Craft to the other au-
thors and books. It is amazing the number
of Masonic symbols discussed in works
of James George Frazer, Mircea Elidae,
Joseph Campbell, and Carl Jung. By read-
ing these authors you will be creating new
neural connections in the. The discussions
presented by these authors and others
will provide significant insights as to how
else the symbols are used and what they
represent in another context or cultures.
Expand the associations of Masonic sym-
bolism beyond the Craft to religions and
other fraternal associations. Ask yourself:
“ What do they have in common?” One can
find a never ending collection of symbols
within the Degrees of Masonry which are
repeated throughout human initiation
rites, societies, cultures, and literature
around the world.
One well-received talk by this author
has been: “Is Harry Potter a Master Mason?” which explores the Masonic symbolism found in, of all places, the J. K.
Rowling books. It was published in The
Royal Arch Magazine as a two-part article
in the Winter of 2014 and Spring of 2015.
Such “out of the box” presentations add
to the stimulation needed for members
to remain mentally active and alert.
All of the above shows that Masonry is
contributing to brain fitness goals:
• Encouraging members to
becoming a life-long learner;
• Learning a new skill, a new
part in your lodge’s ritual, or
developing a program;
• Trying new, novel intellectual
tasks, and get out of the old
repetition of over-learned tasks.
Shaking up your routine makes
your brain work harder.
• Performing a new role of a new
• Embracing mental challenges
by reading, learning, and seeing
the analogies between Masonic
rituals and other activities from
around the world.
But there are some areas where we can
make significant improvements. Think
out of the Masonic box. Physical activities beyond the annual parades or special
annual events is one. How about organizing a sports team or coaching children
teams? There are less stressful sports
which could involve a host of the brothers. Softball, volleyball, bowling, and
tennis teams could be formed within the
Lodges to keep the members active physically and intellectually.
Make it a truly fun activity for all. This
will help fight Alzheimer’s.
Scottish Rite Valleys could develop
recommended exercise programs for
members. See chart on this page. Various
exercises can produce multiple benefits,
so encourage the Brothers and their significant others to do the following at least
three times a week.
Some specific types of activities that
are helpful in maintaining physical
and mental fitness include:
• Balance ex-
• Strength exercises