Today marks Season 10, Episode 8 of Thoth-Hermes Podcast. For this conversation, Rudolf reconvenes with Chuck “CR” Dunning. The conversation submerges into esoteric freemasonry, then transcends into the union of ritual and exoteric religion. Far from limited to the interests of masonry, this is a multi-layered dialogue about the timeless moebius between sincere seekers of “light, life and love”.

Chuck is a retired academic and psychotherapist, a self-disclosed Scottish Rite Mason, and author dedicated to guiding initiates into contemplative practice. Chuck has soft-spoken depth rare in today’s scholarly world. His most recent book is an accessible compass of the Rose Croix mysteries. A Rose Croix Oratory (Stone Guild, 2023) has been lauded by readers and reviewers, appreciating its hands-on, plain-language approach. An upcoming publication will delve into Platonic mysticism and its parallels with Craft Masonry.

The conversation speaks of the upper degrees’ mythos of descent, laying to waste, then renewal and ascension. The 17th and 18th Degree introduce a visceral story of a mourning initiate, who through persistence encounters the teaching figure of the Nazarene. An encounter with “love” as the “charitas” and “agape” archetype offered by this teacher. This is not the Jesus of fast-food and sound byte religion: it is a mystical encounter of visceral “faith, hope and love”. Religious acceptance is optional, but depth initiation is required. Chuck also notes that all three Abrahamic traditions have wisdom teachings represented over the course of the initiate’s journey.

Later, Rudolf and Chuck name interesting implications of the “priestcraft” of ritual found to create change in accordance with the Will of a Higher Power, to connect to the Divine, and to become more effective worldly agents for it. Chuck names the direct root connection with the Catholic Mass ritual as well as the Protestant Order of Service, even in those denominations who might strenuously distance themselves from the concept of “magic”. This flows from Chuck’s exploration of the Rose Croix texts and traditions that named ancient traditions illumination sources for the later emergence of Christianity.

Other joyful content along the way includes a service-centered interpretation of the potency of alchemy, magic/magia, and kaballah. We reflect on the verified “alchemy” of meditative practice on the neurochemical physiology of the practitioner. And define True Will as readiness for change away from herd behavior, resiliency under repeated testing, and skillful refinement of personal identity; requiring the recentering on faith, hope and love.

Music played in this episode

I found the music on Stefan Kraus on YouTube and thought it to be an excellent fit for this episode:

Here a translation of his personal statement on his german website 

In the 1980s (for private reasons not completed) studies at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen with Luciano Ortis (composition) and Hans Joachim Kauffmann (composition  and conducting).

Performance of many of his own compositions and arrangements as part of a 12-year engagement as chorus conductor.

After 20 years of musical break I started composing again in 2020.


Since I do not pursue any economic interests with my music, I do not have to follow dogmas and meet any palatial requirements.

Since music is the language of the soul, and every soul is multi-layered, depth can stand next to lightness, beauty next to pain, and grief next to humor, and can stand side by side or express themselves in traditional as well as in modern sound language.


You-Tube Channel


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Intro and Outro Music
especially written and recorded for the Thoth-Hermes Podcast by Chris Roberts

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