Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Noble structure falls

We have arrived at 16 Jasper Street, Charleston, SC, just a bit too late to get a picture of the exterior of the Arabian Temple which stood here a day earlier. A day later all of this would be cleared. It is unlikely that we would have been allowed into this building owing to the well guarded secret rituals of the Shriners. We were fortunate to get this shot before another little piece of Charleston's character is carted off to the landfill. This and an adjacent lot have been gobbled up by some sort of LLC according to the tax records.

Shriners are those fellows who wear the red fez, ride funny little cars in parades and contribute heavily of their time and money to hospitals for children. They are actually considered a social service organization. These Nobles do noble deeds for humanity. Each chapter is organized into what they call a Temple. The head man in the Temple is called the Potentate. Most of us are familiar with all this, but few outside the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of Noble Mystic Shrines know about the Daughters of Isis.

Daughters of Isis, is an auxiliary of female family members (not only wives) of Shriners founded in 1910, a rather early acceptance by an all male organization of women as parallel partners of sorts. The leader of the Daughters of Isis in each Temple is called the Commandress. Note the inscription on the upper portion of exposed wall which refers to "Past Commandresses". There was likely a list of former lady leaders on that wall which we hope has been rescued from the wrecking ball...or back hoe in this case. To the left of this is a haunting painted image of a camel rider with subtle details of desert sands in the background. We hope that some Noble took photos of the exotic interior art work before this Jericho came tumbling down.

Isis was the goddess of fertility and motherhood, the wife of Osiris who was murdered by his brother, dumped into a river, later recovered, but then cut into 14 pieces which were scattered throughout Egypt. Isis tracked down all of his parts, but one which was eaten by a fish. Like many other wives she was forever having to pick up after her husband. So this was not a case of the man who got away, but the 1/14th part of him which escaped. The Sopranos were never so bloody. Well, every group has their legends of origin and this is theirs.


Blogger trkkazulu said...

Wow, this was the lodge of my grandfather George N. Parker. It stood next to my family's home at 14 Jasper St. I remember this lodge from my childhood and i'm so amazed to see this blog post. Thanks a million, man. You have no idea what this means to me.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

It means a lot to us to have this entry found by someone for whom it has some personal meaning. Every structure on every street in Charleston has a place in someone's heart. Each time we see a building of character pulled down, we cannot help, but think such places played significant roles in the life of our peninsula neighbors. Each time this happens it erases a piece of our past.

Thanks very much for your comment.

9:16 AM  

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