SRA 76 Monthly Magazine
Cover Story, Freemasonry in Antarctica Freedom in Trust Did You Know? Lodge St. Anthony No. 154. Famous Freemasons – John W. Poe Why G? Rays of Masonry The Old Past Master Brotherly Love – A Poem The autumn of life - The end of Ecclesiastes The Blazing Star Did You Know? When is a Man a Mason? The Working Tools of a Golfer
Main Website – What Do Masons Do?
Volume 15 Issue 4 No. 118 April 2019
In this issue: Cover Story ‘Freemasonry in Antarctica’ This is an excellent article which has been transcribed by the author. It traces the Masonic explorers and heroes who travelled to the Antarctica and followed in the footsteps of Scott.
Page 9, ‘Freedom in Trust’ The Musings of Julian Rees Page 10, ‘Did You Know?’ Page 12, ‘Lodge St. Anthony No. 154. A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 14, ‘John W.Poe’ Famous Freemasons. Page 20, ‘Why G?’ The Letter ‘G’ in our Ritual? Page 22, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Wages of a Master” Page 22, ‘The Old Past Master.’ “In My Heart”, fourth in the series. Page 24, ‘Brotherly Love – A Poem.’ Page 25, The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 27, ‘The Blazing Star?’ Page 28, ‘Did You Know?’ Page 30, ‘When Is a Man a Mason?’ Page 31, ‘The Working Tools of a Golfer’
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘What Do Masons Do?’ [link] 1
Front cover – Sourced Picture of the Endurance
Freemasons in Antarctica The Beginnings Antarctica is a land that can only be described in superlatives. It is unique, it is cold, it is beautiful and it is dangerous. Mankind has been fascinated by it for more than a century. The ancient Greeks wondered about what lay in the southernmost parts of the World. Magellan showed that is was possible to navigate around the earth. It was Captain James Cook who provided a clear basis for speculation. He was the first to circumnavigate the Antarctica, even though he did not see it. He was able to say that if a landmass existed at the southern extremities of the globe, then the stormy seas, the heavy fogs and the masses of pack ice such as he encountered most certainly made it in hospitable. In the early 1770â€™s, Cook made three forays into those icy climes. Although he reached latitude 71 South, he saw no land. However, his reports of Wales and seals had a big influence on later developments because the whalers and sealer who followed him made many discoveries. Captain Cook was not a Freemason, but he did have a Masonic sponsor. The founder and First Governor of Nova Scotia was Edward Cornwallis who arrived there on 21st June 1749. As soon as he could, he established a lodge under Major E.J. Phillips of Annapolis Royal, representing Henry Prince of Boston, at that styled as Grand Master of North America. The Lodge was St. Andrews No. 1 meeting in Halifax. At its first meeting, Alexander Colville and
a number of other naval gentlemen were initiated. It was Lord Colville who first recognised the outstanding talents of Cook. It was his recommendation that set Cook on the path to fame as an explorer, a navigator, a surveyor and leader. Cook never forgot the debt he owed to Colville and saw to it that his name inscribed n the map of New Zealand â€“ Cape Colville and Colville Channel. Were they Freemasons? Who were the men that risked everything to challenge the elements and reveal the secrets of Antarctica? Who sent then there? Were they entrepreneurs seeking fame and fortune or were they high principled men who wanted to push back the barriers of the unknown? There are some of the questions that occurred to me back in 1081 when I was asked to manage the Antarctica and Southern Ocean Curriculum Project based in Hobart., Tasmania, Australia. As I read more and more about the seventh continent and its earliest visitors and as I remembered meeting Sir Douglas Mawson in 1949, I usually came up with more questions than answers. I soon became aware that men like Scott and Shackleton confided their innermost thoughts to their diaries and journals. Therein they disclosed their attitudes to life and to the diety. As well as having a deeply held faith, many of them pushed themselves to the boundaries of human endurance in order to help their companions and serve their country. Copies of the Bible accompanied the expeditions. I soon began to wonder if any of these remarkable men were freemasons. Subsequent research shows that freemasonry did have an influence on the 2
lives of many of the men who explored the frozen wastes at the extremities of our planet – both Arctic and Antarctic. Scott – Greater in Death Many books have been written about Scott’s two voyages to Antarctica. First there was the Discovery voyage of 1901-04 and then there was the ill-fated journey to the South Pole 1910-12. Scott’s background, training and temperament did not adequately prepare him for the task that he tried to accomplish. His big mistake was to rely on manpower to pull fully laden sledges for hundreds of miles over icy, mountainous terrain when, as Amundsen showed, dogs were able to do it better. But he was a man of tremendous courage and tenacity, and so great a hero did he become, that at least in the English speaking world, he became more famous in death than his Norwegian competitor, Roald Amundsen who so brilliantly completed his mission to the South Pole ahead of Scott in December 1912, and sped to Hobart to notify the world of his success. Robert Falcon Scott was initiated into Drury Land Lodge No. 2127 EC in London on 9th April 1901 at the age of 31 years. He was passed in the same lodge one month later – 14th May. Drury Lane Lodge met, as it still does, at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. Scott was proposed by his colleague, Brother Albert Armitage and seconded by Brother Dr. Tatham Armitage, father of Albert. Scott’s Discovery Voyage took longer than expected because the ship became frozen into the pack ice of the Ros Sea. When they reached Christchurch, New Zealand on the return trip, Scott was raised in St. Alban’s Lodge No. 2612 EC. The first Lieutenant on the Discovery, Brother Charles Royds of Navy Lodge was raised in the same ceremony. Brother 3
Lieutenant Albert Armitage was in attendance together with Brother Dr. Reginald Koettlitz, who was the expedition’s doctor and botanist. Upon his return to London, Scott affiliated with Navy Lodge, on 13th December 1904. However, his Masonic career was short. He resigned from both lodges in the second half of 1906. It may be of interest that his brother-in-law Sir William Ellison-Macartney became Governor of Tasmania (1913-17) and then Governor of Western Australia (1917-20) serving as Grand Master of the respective Grand Lodges. At its Communication of March 1913, the United Grand Lodge of England voted 100 guineas to the Lord Mayor’s Antarctic Disaster Fund for the relief of the dependants of Scott and his party. Armitage – Overshadowed Brother Lieutenant Albert Armitage who has proposed Scott for initiation into freemasonry was second in command to Scott as far as land parties were concerned. He had already taken part in an expedition known as the Jackson-Harmsworth North Polar Expedition which went beyond the Arctic Circle – 1894-97. While Scott explored to the south of the base, Armitage led a party to the mountains of Victoria Land in the west. Armitage became the first man to reach the Antarctic Ice Cap. This was in fact a more significant achievement than Scot’s at the time and it was immediately recognized as such by members of the expedition. Beracchi, the physicist and meteorologist from Tasmania recorded in his diary: “A typical Antarctic glacier followed to ita
source, a distance of about 240 miles, sledged over in a mountainous glacial region at 78 degrees South, reaching an altitude of about 14,500 feet.”
himself to the crew. He made good use of an organ which was presented to the Discovery by the Bishop of Christchurch in December 1901.
Armtage’s feat was impressive. He showed himself to be a fine, balanced leader. He successfully coped with crevasse, altitude sickness and the beginnings of Scurvy. Armitage had the good sense to turn back while he still had food, energy and health in reserve, even though the Antarctic Plateau rolled seductively on to the horizon. Brother Armitage is one of Antarctica’s unsung heroes. He acted on the square with all men.
Royds led many sledging journeys to set up supply depots for Scott. He commanded the battleship, “Emperor of India,” during World War I. He served with distinction and was awarded the CMG in 1919. Later on, Royds had the honour of unveiling Britain’s official memorial to Scott at the Devonport Naval Barracks. He was promoted to RearAdmiral in 1926 and became Vice-Admiral upon retirement. He was knighted in 1929.
Armitage was initiated into Drury Land Lodge on 8th February 1898. He remained a member of that lodge until 1929. He had joined Author’s Lodge No. 3456 EC and remained with that lodge until 1940. He was also a member of the Author’s Chapter, Brother Captain Armitage died in 1943, after a distinguished career with both the Royal Navy and the P&O. Co. He was resident Governor of the Royal Merchant Seaman’s Orphanage 1926-32. He wrote three books:
When Royds died in 1931, one of his biographers wrote: “His powerful influence for the happiness and good of everybody was always being unostentatiously exerted and he contributed more than anyone else under Captain Scott to make the Discovery 1901-04 Expedition one of the happiest of polar expeditions.” As mentioned above, he was a member of Navy Lodge. The only “black mark” we have against Royds is that he and Scott shot “a very tender bull” when they called at Auckland Islands on their way home in 1904. The New Zealand farmer made no concessions for heroes, he was angry and sued them.
• • •
Two Years in the Antarctic (1905) Cadet to Commodore (1925) Cold Lands (1931)
Shackleton – Survivor Royds – Forgotten Charles Royds is one of Antarctica’s forgotten men. He was born into a family distinguished for its service to the Royal Navy. He became associated with Scott at an early stage and became his first Lieutenant. In this role, he was responsible for the work of the crew, the economy of the ship and the meteorological observations. Royds was an accomplished musician and for this reason endeared
Sir Henry Ernest Shackleton is best known for his incredible journey from the Weddal Sea to Elephant Island and South Georgia after his ship Endurance, was lost in pressure ice. However, he first came into prominence when he accompanied Scott on the Discovery Expedition and was part of the group that travelled across the ice shelf in November-December 1902 to reach latitude 82-17.5. It was a difficult journey back, their dogs died and they suffered from 4
the onset of scurvy as they man-hauled the sledges. As a result Shackleton was repatriated and it soured his relationship with Scott. Shackleton felt that he had something to prove. As soon as he returned to England, he set about securing support for hi own expedition, aiming to get to the South Pole. He obtained a schooner, Nimrod, and set off in 1907. They made their base at Cape Royds near the foot of the formidab;e, smoking volcano, Mt. Erebus. His Australian geologists scald Mt. Erebus and located the Southern Magnetic Pole as well. Once again the Geographic South Pole was out of reach. Shackleton was initiated into Navy Lodge on the 9th July 1901, but it was not until November 1911 that he was passed and in May 1913 that he was raised in the Guild of Freemen Lodge No. 3525 EC. Shackleton attended the first regular meeting of that lodge on 15th June 1911. In 1914 he was unanimously elected as an Honorary Member of that lodge. He remained a member of both lodges until his death in 1922. There are many who believe that Shackleton deserves to be regarded as the greatest of the polar explorers during what has become known as the Heroic Period. After his rescues from South Georgia, he proceeded to bring back to the members of his group that had gone to the Ross Sea to await his planned crossing of Antarctica. At this time, he visited New Zealand and attended Tutanekai Lodge No. 156 NZC which met at Wellington. He stated on that occasion that eight members of the craft had accompanied him on his Antarctic Expeditions. Some of those were with him 5
when they got to within 97 miles of the South Pole. It is noteworthy that in turning at that point, he considered his men first. Fame and fortune beckoned but disaster threatened because they were running out of food. Shackleton had the distinction of never losing a man under his personal command, even though many of them went through the most extreme ordeals. There are two more matters which must be mentioned in connection with Shackleton. The commander of the Chilean coastguard cutter, Yelcho, which recovered the men from Elephant Island in 1916 was himself a mason. Both Shackleton and Commander Luis A. Pardo attended a meeting of Harmony Lodge No. 1411 EC in Valparaiso after the rescue. On Jult 8 1980, the then WM of Harmony Lodge, Mario Pino Caravajal, read a paper commemorating the association of the lodge with Brother ir Ernest Shackleton. Before Shackleton left England on the Endurance mission, he was presented with a Bible by Queen Mother Alexandra of England. The words which she inscribed on the flyleaf were: “May the Lord help you to do your duty and guide you through all dangers by land and sea. May you see the Works of the Lord and all His Wonders in the deep.” After their ship had sunk and they packed the sledges, Shackleton impressed on his men that no article was of any value when weighed against their ultimate survival. He exhorted them to be ruthless in leaving behind every unnecessary ounce regardless of its value. To demonstrate that he meant what he said he reached into his pockets. He threw a gold cigarette case and several gold coins into the snow at his feet. This was well depicted in the film, “Shackleton” that
was recently shown on Australian television (ABC June 2002). Shackleton then opened the Bible that Queen Alexandra had given him. He ripped out the flyleaf, the page containing the twenty-third Psalm and a page from the Book of Job: “Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of Heaven, Who Hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with the stone, And the face of the deep is frozen.” But that is not the end of the story of the Bible. Seventy years later, I personally held that very same Bible in my own hands. No, there was no divine intervention. It was human concern for the sacred scriptures. It was not until 1971 that the Bible was presented to a very surprised Commander M.K. Burley, leader of a Joint Services Expedition to Elephant Island. After he had given a lecture at the British Embassy in Buenos Aires, an elderly lady, Miss I. McLean, explained that the VSL had been given to her parents as a token of thanks after they billeted Able Seaman Thomas McLeod who was from the Endurance. McLeod did not reveal to anyone that he had rescued the ship’s Bible even if it did add weight to his few belongings. The volume is now housed in the library of the Royal Geographic Society, London. The pages removed from it by our brother are treasured by the Shackleton family. The Australians The most famous and most admired Australian who took expeditions to Antarctica was the geologist, Sir Douglas Mawson. He first went to Antarctica with Shackleton in 1907. He was a member of the party which reached the South Magnetic Pole. He returned with his own expedition
in 1911. From a scientific point of view it was a successful enterprise but two of his companions lost their lives and Mawson’s terrible journey is legendary. If you study the list of lodges that meet in South Australia, you will find Sir Douglas Mawson Lodge No. 244. Mawson himself was not a freemason but he is so widely respected that a lodge has been named after him, with the approval of his family. Another South Australian, John Riddoch Rymill was studying at Cambridge University in England when he became involved in exploratory work in Canada and Greenland. He led the British Graham Land Expedition 1934-37. His ship, a three master topsail schooner, the Penola, was named after his birthplace in South Australia. It was a very successful expedition and the official narrative “Southern Lights” makes interesting reading. In 1943 he became a member of Naracoote Lodge No. 42 SA/NT. Rymill served in the Royal Australian Navy during World War I. The Admiral – Man of Controversy Richard Byrd was first and foremost, an adventurer and a naval officer second. He was a pioneer aviator at a time when ground support was minimal and navigation aids rudimentary. Whether or not he actually reached the goals that have been attributed to him is regarded as conjecture in some quarters but that need not concern us here. His first Antarctic voyage was 1928-30 and the second in 1933-35. Byrd had the sense of the dramatic which bordered on foolishness when applied in the harsh Antarctic environment. He put himself at risk by spending a long period by himself at Bolling Advance Weather Base on the ice shelf in the winter of 1934 and put the lives 6
of some of his men at risk when it was obvious to them, from radio contacts, that he was suffering from monoxide poisoning and needed to be brought back to the main camp. Subsequently, he played a major role in American Expeditions to Antarctica in both 1946 and 1956. Byrd joined Federal Lodge No. 1 in Washngton D.C. in 1921 and affiliated with Kane Lodge No. 454 in New York City in 1928. Kane Lodge was named after Brother Dr. Elisha Kent Kane who himself an explorer of note. He was a member of one of the rescue missions which set out to find Sir John Franklin, a former Governor of Tasmania, who was lost whilst seeking the North West Passage. Many of Byrd’s colleagues were masons, including Bernt Balchen who was his pilot when they flew over or at least near to, both the North and South Poles. There is a myth, perpetuated in a number of publications, that he established First Antarctic Lodge No. 777 of the New Zealand constitution in 1935. We are indebted to Wor. Bro. J.S. Sissons, a New Zeal and radio officer, who acted as Senior Warden at the meeting of February 5, 1935, who has enabled us to set the record straight. It was purely an informal shipboard meeting. There was no charter from any Grand Lodge. And the brother who took charge, a Brother Mitchell was not at that time an Installed Master. The number 777 was merely the invention of the brethren concerned. To give the meeting some semblance of Masonic flavour, they gave themselves a lodge name and number. They appointed “officers” for the purpose of a simulated opening and closing. Brother Mitchell gave a lecture on the First Tracing Board. The officers for the 7
occasion were limited to the crew of the “Jacob Ruppert” as they had a few rehearsals. Brother Byrd and others on the ice shelf were invited to be present and they did attend. Brother Mitchell is known to have lectured about his Antarctic experiences and the meeting in particular. Perhaps his listeners read too much into his accounts of the occasion. There is no doubt that Richard Byrd, promoted to Rear Admiral in 1930, was a colourful and persuasive man. He did a great deal for his country. Freemasonry was an important part of his life. Remaining Puzzles Everyone who studied the career of Roald Amundsen, Norway’s favourite son, admires him immensely. Everyone wants to claim him as a friend and brother. His name appears in many lists of famous masons. Alas, I have found no one who can say where he was initiated, what lodge was favoured with his membership, or indeed, whether or not he really was a mason. The story of how Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates, a member of Scott’s ill-fated polar party, felt that he was a burden to his team because of his gangrenous feet walked out into a blizzard and was never seen again has been told and retold. The following quotation appears in a book, “Captain Oates: Soldier and Explorer.” “….he was commemorated by a Masonic lodge in South Africa.” The co-author, Lt. Col. Patrick Cordingley says that it did not occur to either of the biographers that Oates was a freemason. The United Grand Lodge of England has no record of him joining and the grand lodges working in South Africa have no idea of what is meant by the above
quotation. His biographers have not given any further explanation. The Antarctic Masonic Circle Club This club was formed in December 1956 on board the U.S.S. Curtiss which was participating in Operation Deepfreeze, a precursor to the American involvement in the Antarctic segment of the International Geophysical Year. Sixteen Master Masons were at the first meeting. Upon the closure of the Operation Deepfreeze activities at Little America, the Club records were handed over to the Navy Chaplain at the Naval Air Facility at McMurdo Sound on Ross Island. From time to time, the Club was reactivated. Over the years, the Club was instrumental in making a number of donations to charities in Busan, Korea and Christchurch, New Zealand. Through the Club, the Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star of New York was able to donate electric pianos for use at Byrd Station, Hallet Station, McMurdo Sound, the Club held at least some of its meetings in “The Chapel of the Snows.” In 1983, Brother Don Christiansen, a dental technician who made six journeys to the frozen continent, kindly made me a member of the Club on the basis of my working visit to Macquarie Island. Brother Don was a members of St. Andrews Lodge No. 56, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He told me that a bronze plaque dedicated to Antarctic Freemasonry was to be placed near Admiral Byrd’s Monument at McMurdo. It was planned that Brother Muldoon, Prime Minister of New Zealand, would unveil it. I cannot confirm that this was carried out.
Epilogue The men who have ventured across the southern seas to Antarctica have included many freemasons, only some of them known to us. In some cases, their names appear on the map of Antarctica – Scott, Byrd, Shackleton, Armtage. Royds. The darkness of day and night, during the long winters, the Spartan living conditions, the long hours of toil and the isolation have been such that the tenets of freemasonry have helped to provide the inner strength that was required. When I read the July 2, 2002 issue of the Australian news magazine, The Bulletin, I found a preview of an exhibition related to the work of Sir Douglas Mawson that has been prepared at the state library of New South Wales. It is called “Lines of Ice.” The preview refers especially to the problems associated with isolation in the desolate environment, in inadequate tents and huts on the Shackleton Ice Shelf. And then there is a quote from a civil engineer, E.N. Webb.
“Such an experience brings one face to face with the Great Architect of the Universe, from which no one returns without a greater understanding of himself.” But above all, I believe that it has been the adherence to Masonic principles that has ensured that the frozen continent, the highest, driest, windiest on earth, remains a place where all men are equal. A man in need can expect spontaneous support from all stations regardless or race, religion or nationality. This article by Bro. Murray Yaxley of Tasmania, Australia was transcribed from the original magazine by the editor.
Freedom in Trust Ere man’s corruptions made him wretched, he Was born most noble that was born most free: Each of himself was lord; and unconfin’d Obey’d the dictates of his godlike mind. Thomas Otway 1652-1685
I continue to be fascinated by this contradiction: before initiation we are a part of the bedrock, not yet removed from the quarry. As a result of initiation we become an individual, a rough ashlar. And yet initiation makes us part of the lodge, an element of the greater whole. A seeming paradox, this, and one for which I am grateful to W. Kirk MacNulty. Let me put this paradox another way. An initiation, although principally for the initiate, is not only for him. We all join in it with our hearts so that the brotherhood of the many can contribute to the enlightenment of the one, that second freedom which the initiate is about to experience. So it’s a collective endeavour. Yet it’s also an individual undertaking. The initiate takes the step freely. Only he can do it. Nobody else can do it for him. And he can do it for nobody but himself. Before we attain to the freedom granted by initiation, we need to be free in ourselves, a sort of two-tier freedom. I suppose many thousands of words have been spent searching for the exact nature of this basic freedom which the ritual requires before initiation, and many interpretations have been put on it. I think of it like this: we talk about trusting the initiate that he will ‘become a true and faithful brother among 9
us’ but in fact he does not know where he is going or what will happen. It is he who places a greater trust in us. True freedom then is in trusting those around you. It is a trust in which the first bond is forged. It is like a leap into the unknown because you trust those who have brought you to this place, no matter what the outcome, good or bad. And as Michael Baigent points out, you have to have insight into what’s happening in order to be truly free, not blown about by every passing wind. The ceremony of initiation comes as something new, yet the initiate must have a sense of impending dawn, a spiritual birth, an awakening, a focus for all his aspirations. Now, we are going to use the words of the ceremony to initiate this candidate. In another article, I suggested that in learning the words and actions of the ritual we are merely sharpening the carving tools, imitating the operative craftsman of old. We are not actually carving the stone. The words and the learning of them are the form of our vocation as Freemasons, not the content. Of course the carving tools should be bright and sharp. But endless repetition of the words of ritual does not lead us to self-knowledge, enlightenment, spiritual growth or moral development. So how are we to go about this, what is the secret of meaningful rendition of ritual? The answer lies in one word: Heart. We need to feel what we are doing, or the effect will be blunted. Let me give you an allegory. Some years ago a friend taught me some of the principles of woodturning. The piece of advice that has stuck most firmly in my mind is ‘Just rest on the chisel, don’t put pressure on it – let the wood do the work’. It’s certainly true of woodturning, as I found. I think it’s probably also true of masonic work.
The relationship between the initiate and the lodge is a very special one. The individual is out on his own, in a sense carried along by the collective, borne forward on the wind of goodwill, harmony and love. Fanciful? I don’t think so. We are living in a wicked world, where all kinds of disharmony and evil are seemingly allowed full rein. By turning aside for a moment from the jarring sounds of war, injustice, suffering, chaos, disagreement and discord, and concentrating on real values in ourselves and in our collective pursuit of spiritual advancement, we gain real strength, real inner nourishment. Here is a flight path we can follow, leading us ‘even to the throne of God Himself’ where nothing is required of us, either as initiate or as a participant in the initiation, except goodwill, harmony and love. As regards your rendition of the ritual, don’t worry too much about the effort you put into it as long as you know the words in essence. Feel the principles of what you’re doing, the heart, the light. Let them do the work. Article by W. Bro. Julian Rees whom SRA76 acknowledges to be the author. Our grateful thanks go to him. This article is copyright and should not be copied unless permission is given by the author. Julian's website can be accessed at this link. https://www.julianrees.com/
DID YOU KNOW? Question: Why are Masons of the second degree called Fellow Crafts? Answer. This symbolizes the one real penalty for violation of his obligations--the destructive consequences to a man's own character of an act or word which is unworthy of his obligations to his Lodge or to society.
Question: Why are discussions of politics and religion forbidden in Lodge? Answer. The prohibition goes back to the early history of the Fraternity. It is written in the second paragraph of the sixth "Old Charge" (Behaviour after the Lodge is over and the Brethren not gone). "No private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the Door of the Lodge, far less any Quarrels about Religion, or Nations, or State policy, we being only, as Masons, of the Catholic Religion above mentioned; we are also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindred’s, and Languages, and are resolved against all Politics as what never yet conduced to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever will. This Charge has been always strictly enjoined and observed, but especially since the Reformation in Britain, or the Dissent and Secession of these Nations from the Communion of Rome." Freemasons today hold that the Old Charge prohibits Lodge discussions of politics in the sense of partisan politics and religion in the sense of sectarian religion.
Question: What is a dispensation? Answer. A permission from the Grand Master to do certain things otherwise forbidden by law. A Grand Master may grant a dispensation to shorten the time between degrees, to admit more than the statutory number of candidates at one communication, to form a new Lodge, etc. In general he cannot give a dispensation which sets aside either the laws of the Grand Lodge or the bylaws of a particular Lodge, except as set forth in the Book of the Law, Constitutions or Code of the Grand 10
Lodge. In some Grand Lodges the Grand Master's power is so great that he can set aside almost any law; there are one or two examples, for instance, of a Grand Master's employment of the dispensation to make a Mason of a blind man, but such use of power is rarely attempted and is usually frowned upon by Grand Lodges.
Question: Why "Freemasons?"
Answer. There are many theories: a man was a Freemason because his ancestors were not slaves nor was he a slave; he was so called because he was free within his Guild, or free of the Guild's laws and could thus "travel in foreign countries" and work where he would; he was a Freemason because he worked in freestone, which is any stone which can be cut, smoothed, carved in any direction; he was free when he had passed his apprenticeship and became a Fellow of the Craft; he was free when he had left the status of serf or villain and legally became free. Probably at one time or another masons were called Freemasons for any of these reasons or for all of them. The consensus leans to the theory that the Freemason was such because of his skill, knowledge and abilities which set him free o£ those conditions, laws, rules and customs which circumscribed masons of lesser abilities in the cathedral building age.
Question: The words "esoteric" and "exoteric" are unusual; what do they mean? Answer. Esoteric: the unwritten ritualistic work designed for and understood only by the initiated. Exoteric: that part of the work, 11
which can be made known to the general public. It is curious and interesting that what is exoteric in one Grand Lodge may be esoteric in another.
Question: What is the significance of the Tracing Board? Answer. The earliest reference I have been able to find, is in the minutes of the Old King's Arms Lodge, No.28, London. On Dec. 1st, 1735, the Lodge resolved "... that the Foot Cloth made use of at the initiation of new members should be defaced..." The Lodge was ten years old in 1735, and the Foot Cloth must have .been worn out. The Tracing Board, or 'Floor-Cloth' evolved from the early custom of drawing on the floor of the Lodge, a collection of symbols relevant to particular degrees. Originally, it was the Tyler's duty to draw the designs in chalk and charcoal, and the candidates duty at the end of the ceremony to wash out the design with 'mop and pail.' Later the designs were drawn or painted on 'Floor-Cloths' for more permanent use, and the collected symbols became the basis for the speculative interpretation of the ceremonies, which were eventually standardized as the Lectures on the Tracing Boards. As to the significance of the T.B's; in the course of time the 'Lodge Board' became 'the Lodge' and acquired a quality of sanctity. "The Lodge stands on Holy Ground" and none were allowed to stand or walk on it. Finally, when the consecration ceremony came into use, the essential elements of consecration, Corn, Wine, Oil and Salt were poured on 'the Lodge', i.e. on the Tracing Board. The Questions and answers from ‘Did you Know’ were collected from various constitutions across the world, and in no way reflect the views or thoughts of the editor and or his Lodge or Mother Constitution.
Lodge St. Anthony No. 154
With the land the masons acquired an inn and several other buildings. It was behind this inn, which became known as 'The Mason Lodge Inn', that they built their first hall. Many years later the old inn became known as the Gordon Arms Hotel which is now known as 'Edwards'. This hall was the meeting place of Lodge St. Anthony until 1838 when for reasons, not entirely clear, they sold the entire property and divided the proceeds amongst the members.
St. Anthony Lodge of Freemasons is, apart from the Kirk, the oldest organisation in Inverurie. It is also the oldest masonic lodge in the Province of Aberdeenshire West. In 1783 the members of a Union Society in Inverurie decided to form a masonic lodge. On the 26th of December 1783 the interim Worshipful Master, George Bruce, received a licence from The Grand Lodge of Scotland granting their wish. The name of the Lodge to be 'The Lodge of St. Anthony'. On the 27th of December 1783 Anthony Earl of Kintore was elected Right Worshipful Master with George Bruce as his depute. On the 16th of August 1784 the Lodge received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. In 1788 the Brethren bought a 'rigg' of land which was the east-most part of land belonging to Crosslet Croft. The croft was situated at the north end of the 'Ball Green' or Market Place as it later became known.
In 1872, after a space of 33 years, a meeting of Inverurie and Aberdeen Freemasons was held in the Kintore Arms Hotel when it was decided, mainly due to the efforts of a Captain Charles Hunter, to 'repone' (revive) the dormant Lodge St. Anthony. Permission was granted by the Grand Lodge of Scotland which also, after some dispute, allowed the Lodge to use its original number, No 154, granted in 1784. After the resuscitation of St Anthonyâ€™s Lodge and its Reponement on Grand Lodge Roll in 1872 the old Methodist Chapel was taken on lease from Bro James Davidson Bank Agent and was fitted up as a Lodge room. After the death of Bro Davidson his heirs decided to demolish the building in order to erect a dwelling house on the site. The last meeting in the old Lodge was held on 3rd May 1880. .On inquiry it was found that no suitable place could be found for holding the meetings of the Lodge. The Lodge therefore had to face the necessity of building a Masonic Hall of their own. The reponed Lodge met in a disused Methodist Chapel situated at the bottom of Jackson Street on land now occupied by No 5 High Street. However, in 1881 the owner gave notice of his intent to demolish the old 12
building which prompted the Right Worshipful Master, Henry Lumsden of Pitcaple, to move that a new Masonic Hall be built at a cost of 475 pounds for the site and building. On 4th October 1880 Bros. Allan & Milne were requested to prepare plans. On 1st November a Committee was appointed to consider plans, obtain rough estimates & report. On 13th December the Committee reported that they had considered plans and approved of one drawn by Bro Allan with some alterations suggested by them; and that they had obtained a rough estimate of the probable cost amounting to £425 It was determined unanimously to proceed to erect a new Lodge (scored out) Masonic Hall Building the front room of which would be suitable for the purposes of as club. And the plans were remitted back to Committee to make any alterations necessary for that purpose. On 4th April 1881 the plans were again submitted as amended and it was resolved to advertise for estimates. This was done and after being considered estimates were accepted to complete the Building i.e. for the sum of £379:11/-, exclusive of the price of site which cost £50. The Erection of the building was at once Commenced, And on 23rd July 1881, when the Masonwork was nearly finished the Memorial stone was laid with Masonic Honours by Bro. Henry Lumsden of Pitcaple the R W Master of the Lodge. The Memorial stone was presented by Bros Lumsden & Fowlie. Other brethren of the Lodge also made presentations, Bro. Wyness of granite pillar in front of Southwest Corner, Bro.Laing of Finial and ventilators, Bro. Watson of Grates etc .Six Members of the Lodge advanced £50 each on loan at 4 per cent and the Charter of site & Buildings was drawn out in their names (in addition to the three Principal officers of 13
the Lodge) till such time as their loans should be repaid when ipso facto they would cease to be Trustees. The three officers aforesaid and their successors in office would then become sole Trustees. The Hall was Completed and occupied by the Lodge for the first time on 21st November 1881. In 1902 the hall was extended to accommodate the growing membership. The extension doubled the length of the building and allowed the creation of the large meeting hall which is still in use today. Land for the extension was gifted by Bro. Alex. Stott who owned the Banks of Ury Hotel. In 1925 disaster struck when fire badly damaged the building. However, within a year the hall had been repaired and things returned to normal. Needless to say there has been no repeat of the calamity down to the present time. In 1984 Lodge St. Anthony No154 celebrated its bi-centenary (1784-1984). That it has survived for this great length of time is due largely to the hard work and enthusiasm of successive Masters, officebearers and members. Down through the years they have ensured that the present lodge buildings have been kept in good repair and in constant use, providing accommodation not only for the Masonic fraternity, but also more recently, for the local Baptist Church who rent the upper floor The History of St. Anthony No. 154 was written by James Glennie PM and Gordon Wackett PM, the editor combined both these Brethren’s work to make this potted version, my thanks go to them. The History has been sourced from their website which can be viewed by clicking here. (Please visit their site) Our thanks go to the Lodge No. 154 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owner of this History.
Famous Freemasons John W. Poe
The Outside Hunter The capricious hand of fate focused upon a minor incident in the life of John William Poe to mark his place in history. He was one of the lawmen present at the fatal shooting of western folklore's most celebrated outlaw, William H. Bonney, universally known as "Billy the Kid." Intense publicity surrounding the exploits of the infamous young outlaw exposed anyone involved with him to the merciless glare of public scrutiny. Most accounts of Bonney's egregious life were inaccurate and grossly exaggerated, but they became "history," nevertheless. Endless and lurid newspaper stories, along with those of pulp-fiction magazines, created a legendary folk hero out of a rugged, amoral thief, and killer.
Poe's role in the death of Billy the Kid was a passive one, and he was always reluctant to discuss details of the event. In reality, his role in Bonney's death was only a minor incident in Poe's early life on the frontier. In the years between 1879 and 1887, he earned a lofty reputation as a premier lawman. A broader retrospective of his adult life identifies John Poe as a legendary citizen of the Territory of New Mexico, and one of the great Freemasons of the southwest. Truly, he was a pioneer of giant stature in that wild young country. John William Poe was born October 17, 1850, on a Mason County tobacco farm near Maysville, Kentucky. He was one of eleven children born to Nathan and Louisa Poe, three of whom were sons. He was a tall, strapping youngster with admirable personal attributes; evident in his earliest years. Serious minded and sober, he was determined to live on the western frontier. He saved diligently for the day he would have enough money to finance his journey. Before he reached his late teens, Poe was an outstanding marksman with both rifle and pistol. A self-taught violinist, he added to his travel stash by playing for local dances. By July 1, 1870, Poe had begun his journey, and was employed as a farm hand near Kansas City, Missouri. He had left home against the advice of his father and grandfather, both of whom urged him to attend college and forget the western frontier. When his funds were exhausted, Poe had to work his way westward. The spring of 1871 found him in Kansas, employed near Topeka as a section hand on the Santa Fe Railroad. During this period Poe met Dan Hudson, a young man who became a close friend. Hudson related thrilling stories of immense buffalo herds wandering the Texas plains, and how one 14
might become rich by selling their hides. Working his way ever westward, Poe was in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) by the fall of 1871, cutting timber and railroad ties for the Santa Fe. He had saved $300 by the spring of 1872, and was ready to make the 250-mile journey to Fort Griffin; hub of buffalo hunting activity in the Texas panhandle. By the time Poe purchased a horse and saddle for the trip, a mere $80 remained to reach Texas and buy hunting equipment. Fort Griffin was a military post on the extreme outer limits of the western frontier in Texas, some 50 mile west of Fort Worth. It was an unsavoury place, teeming with soldiers, buffalo hunters, brothels, saloons, and outfitting shops for the hunting trade. It was accurately termed the "Sodom of the plains" by the respectable element in Texas. The post, situated just west of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in Shackleford County, had been established in 1867 to protect settlers on the frontier. John Poe soon learned he needed a substantial amount of money to equip himself for buffalo hunting. While Dan Hudson remained in Fort Griffin, enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, Poe turned his attention to earning money. He had no interest in whiskey or women, and refused to be deterred from his primary goal. He worked as a ranch hand and wolf hunter for several months, earning some $500 in the process, primarily from selling wolf skins to collect the bounty. Poe was a fabulous marksman, a prime requisite for a buffalo hunter. However, his most profitable venture in 1873 was to fulfil a contract he landed with the military commander at Fort Griffin, to provide fire wood for one dollar per cord. Those activities took Poe far into 15
Indian country, where he was always at risk from Comanche incursions. By the fall of 1873, Poe had enough money to equip himself for hunting buffalo. With his newest friend, John Jacobs, as a partner, they purchased a wagon, camp equipment, powder, shooting supplies, and hired a skilled skinner, in the person of Joe McCombs. One of the most essential tools of the trade was the legendary .50 calibre "big bore" Sharps rifle. The hunting party of three departed Fort Griffin in mid September to spend the winter far out on the Staked Plains of the Texas Panhandle, in the heart of Comanche country. Only the heartiest souls ventured so far from civilization. They were known as "outside hunters", and John Poe proved to be one of the greatest. By the spring of 1879, Poe and Jacobs had hauled 20,000 buffalo hides to Fort Griffin to sell for as much as $3.00 each. It was hazardous, hard work, but the dividends were obvious. Buffalo hunting was regarded differently by white men and Comanche. Texans considered the beast as making the range unfit for grazing cattle, thus impeding ranching activity in the Panhandle. The Indians regarded the buffalo as a sacred animal, providing food and many essentials of life from its hide, carcass, and skeleton. They bitterly opposed the hunters, and killed many of them in the process. However, the Comanche feared the great Sharps buffalo gun for its long range and the skill of its owner. One young chief offered his opinion of the Sharps by commenting, "Him shoot today, kill tomorrow." John Poe became a Freemason at Fort Griffin in the winter of 1878-79. He petitioned Fort Griffin Lodge No. 486,
U.D., on September 25, 1878, and received his EA Degree on November 9th, the same year. The FC Degree was conferred on January 4, 1879, and he was raised on February 1st, the next month. That marked the beginning of an exemplary Masonic career, which will be detailed in more length in subsequent pages.
sheriff of Wheeler County in the next election. He lost the election when many of his supporters failed to cast a ballot. They considered Poe a "shoo-in," and decided it unnecessary to make the effort to vote. Their apathy cost Poe the election. He quickly accepted another job offer, and left Wheeler County.
By the spring of 1879, Poe realized that buffalo hunting was on the wane and they would soon be gone. The herds were thinning rapidly, and it was time to seek another line of work. Poe accepted the position of town marshal at Fort Griffin, and soon afterward added the title of Deputy U.S. Marshal to his credentials. The exhunter made an outstanding lawman in the turbulent border town. He established order with a minimum of gun play. Always cool headed, Poe avoided using his gun in almost every instant. He was physically equipped to handle most lawbreakers without shooting them, proving his theory both humane and successful. He enjoyed law enforcement work, and decided to invest his earnings from buffalo hunting as a silent partner in a sheep venture. Unfortunately, Poe and his partner, John Jacobs, lost their entire investment in a herd of 1,400 sheep which perished during the severe winter of 1879-1880.
Poe was enlisted by the Canadian River Cattlemen's Association as a stock detective, with the primary assignment to break up rustling activity rampant in the northern Panhandle. A large part of the rustling was conducted by gangs headed by Billy the Kid, and another led by Pat Coghlin, "The King of the Tularosa." Both gangs operated out of White Oaks in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory, across the border from the Texas Panhandle. Poe first turned his attention to Pat Coghlin at White Oaks. He carried a letter from the Canadian River Association, signed by Charles Goodnight, the president. It requested all assistance possible be rendered John Poe by Sheriff Pat Garrett of Lincoln County.
In the fall of 1879, Poe accepted the post as city marshal at Fort Elliott, near the town of Mobeetie in Wheeler County. He also filled the role of deputy sheriff for the county. His most impressive accomplishment was breaking up a local cattle-rustling operation headed by one John Larn, an ex-sheriff of the county. After taking Larn into custody, a band of vigilantes overpowered Poe and another deputy, and shot Larn to death while the lawmen watched helplessly. Nevertheless, Poe was persuaded to run for
A subsequent meeting between the two lawmen resulted in a pledge to cooperate in ending the rustling problems for both parties. Poe first initiated a methodical investigation of Coghlin's rustling enterprise, and was successful in having him indicted by a grand jury at Lincoln County in December, 1880. That effectively halted the lawless career of "The King of the Tularosa," and Poe was commended for ending rustling activity in the Canadian River country of Texas. A little later, in April, 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett came to White Oaks, New Mexico, to request assistance from John Poe in investigating several members of Billy the Kid's gang, reported to have fled to the Arizona 16
Territory. Garrett was occupied by the trial of William H. Bonney (a.k.a. Billy the Kid and William Antrim), who had just been captured. The trip to Arizona consumed two weeks. When Poe returned, he learned that Billy the Kid had escaped from custody during a bloody shootout on April 28, 1881. Sentenced to hang for murdering Sheriff William Brady during the recent Lincoln County Cattle War, Bonney had escaped the gallows by killing two deputies guarding him at the courthouse in the town of Lincoln. He successfully eluded Sheriff Garrett for several months, and was widely believed to have escaped to Mexico. Garrett was convinced he had. An informer sought out John Poe at White Oaks, early in July, 1881. He claimed Billy the Kid was hiding in Fort Sumner, north of Roswell, Mexico, and was being sheltered by Mexican friends in the town. Poe trusted the informer and insisted the information was valid. Garrett did not. He finally agreed to travel to Fort Sumner with John Poe to make an investigation. Poe made inquiries around Fort Sumner while Garrett and Deputy Thomas L. "Kip" McKinney remained out of sight. Still unconvinced, as the evening waned, Sheriff Garrett agreed to talk with a respected resident of Fort Sumner, Lucien "Pete" Maxwell, who lived in the old officers' quarters at the fort. Poe and Kip McKinney were posted outside the gate of Maxwell's residence. A silent barefoot figure walked unrecognized past the deputies in the darkness, startled at meeting Poe and McKinney. He continued into Maxwell's house, and entered his bedroom to inquire about the men outside. When he spoke, a shot rang out in the dark room, and the intruder fell to the floor with a bullet in his heart. The nocturnal visitor 17
was William H. Bonney, Billy the Kid. An unfired revolver was clutched in his right hand. Sheriff Pat Garrett, sitting on the side of Maxwell's bed when Bonney entered the room, had fired the fatal shot which ended the career of the infamous Billy the Kid. It was just before midnight on July 14, 1881. Although John Poe had never seen Bonney before, he gained everlasting fame as one of the lawmen who had been on the scene when the outlaw fell. John Poe never returned to Texas after the death of Billy the Kid. He remained in Lincoln County, New Mexico, working as their new sheriff, following the resignation of Pat Garrett. Lincoln County in 1882 encompassed an area larger than the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts combined. Constant travel was required to cover the sheriff's area of responsibility. Poe was frequently in the town of Roswell, where he met Sophie Alberding in May, 1882. The young California native was visiting Captain J. C. Lea, a relative living in Roswell. The captain was a prominent business man and leader in the town, and well acquainted with John Poe. Lea was also a close friend of ex-Sheriff Pat Garrett. Captain Lea and Garrett acted as matchmakers to encourage a romance between Poe, a 32-year-old confirmed bachelor, and the winsome Sophie Alberding, a maiden of nineteen. Their efforts were successful, and Sophie became Mrs. John W. Poe on Saturday, May 5, 1883. The bridegroom had been elected Sheriff of Lincoln County, assuming the office in January, 1882. He was provided an apartment by the county, in the courthouse at Lincoln. Their bedroom was the place where Billy the Kid was held prisoner in April, 1881, when he shot his way out of captivity.
Sophie gave birth to their only child on February 4, 1884. Their infant son survived only a few hours. She had gone to Roswell during the latter stage of her pregnancy, to be with relatives. Sophie nearly died during the difficult delivery, and was never able to bear children after that ordeal. Poe carried her home to Lincoln in a spring wagon, equipped as an improvised ambulance, the first week in March. A year later Poe purchased a ranch 15 miles southwest of Fort Stanton, a property he christened the "VV". The dwelling was a comfortable three room cabin, in which Sophie and John made their home until 1885. He sold the VV Ranch in 1885 to a Scottish buyer named Cree, partially because of the isolation and loneliness Sophie was obliged to endure during Poe's enforced absences. Soon after selling the VV Ranch, Poe resigned as Sheriff of Lincoln County. He decided to end his career as a lawman, and turn his attention to agrarian pursuits full time. By the end of 1886, he had formulated plans with his friend, Smith Lea, to travel to South America and explore the feasibility of buying land in Argentina, and to study their irrigation projects. They departed in January, 1887, and spent several months in Argentina, before returning to Lincoln County. Rather than relocate to Argentina, Poe decided to live near Roswell. He purchased a tract southeast of the town, and made preparations for launching a system of raising stock "under fence." He planned to raise alfalfa to feed his cattle, a herd of 350 purebred beef stock. He also purchased 150 head of blooded brood mares to breed mules. Poe employed modern irrigation methods in his agricultural projects. It was an exceedingly well planned venture, and immediately profitable.
At this juncture, it is chronologically correct to include the balance of John Poe's distinguished Masonic record. He affiliated by demit with Roswell Lodge No. 18 on April 3, 1889, as a charter member. He became active immediately in the officer line, and presided as Worshipful Master in 1891-1892. Poe's York Rite memberships began soon after those in Roswell Lodge. He was the first Mason in Roswell to receive both the Royal Arch and Knight Templar Degrees there. He ultimately presided as High Priest of Columbia Chapter NO.7 in 1896, and as Eminent Commander of Rio Hondo Commandery NO.6 in 1898-99. Poe served as Grand Master of Masons in New Mexico in 18971898, as Grand High Priest in 1898-1899, and as Grand Commander of Knights Templar in 1910-1911. Poe was coroneted a 33Â° at Topeka, Kansas on December 23, 1907, later affiliating with the Valley of Santa Fe, AASR, on December 21, 1909. After nine years of hard work at his Roswell stock ranch, Poe sold his entire venture in 1893, and decided to invest his wealth in a banking enterprise. He purchased controlling stock in the Bank of Roswell, and became president that year. He held that post until he sold his stock in 1899. In October, 1895, Poe built a handsome new home in the centre of Roswell. For many years it was identified as "the most beautiful home in Roswell" Poe was recognized as a powerful and distinguished business man and citizen by 1895. Governor Miguel A. Otero appointed him to the Territorial Board of Equalization in 1889, a board created to distribute taxation equitably throughout the Territory of New Mexico. Poe's reputation for impeccable honesty and high ethics earned that preferment. 18
John Poe re-entered the financial field in 1900 by forming another bank. It was the Citizens' Bank of Roswell. In 1921, his new bank absorbed the American National Bank in the city. He christened the new combined venture, "The Citizens' National Bank:' In his final banking enterprise, Poe served as president until his death. By the time New Mexico was granted statehood on January 6, 1912, John Poe was universally recognized as one of its most distinguished elder statesmen. Continuously singled out for high public office, he served as President of the State Tax Commission in New Mexico from 1915-1917. With the advent of World War I, Poe was selected to be Fuel Administrator for New Mexico. All the positions mentioned were served with distinction and success. He was as enthusiastic and dedicated to his duties. A man of substantial wealth after the turn of the century, Poe and Sophie allotted time for travel and relaxation. A high point for both of them was a leisurely trip around the world in 1913. The old buffalo hunter from Fort Griffin was dedicated to giving his beloved Sophie an ample serving of "Ia vida loca," the good life. She was the light of Poe's life, and he was dedicated to providing her with golden memories. In that goal, he succeeded admirably. Poe was active and healthy until the last few months of his life. He lived as always, a quiet, unassuming man, who placed honour and ethics above all personal attributes. Throughout his life, he practiced kindness to his fellow man, and abhorred the use of force in any circumstance unless there was no other remedy. One of the countless legends about John Poe's deadly skill with the six-shooter began 19
with a prisoner he was transporting from Fort Union, New Mexico to Lincoln. During the 200 mile journey, a passenger in the buckboard asked Poe if he could shoot a hawk flying overhead. Instantly, the sheriff snapped off a shot and the bird tumbled to the ground. Later, in prison, the man was asked why he didn't attempt an escape during the long lonely ride. He replied, ". . . I seen him shoot one hawk on the wing." More than a deadly shot, Poe was endowed with nerves of steel and great personal bravery. A number of times during his long career in law enforcement, Poe stared down a man with a gun, disarming the culprit without drawing his own weapon. Those incidents were recalled by spectators, never by John Poe In the final months of his life, Poe travelled to Battle Creek, Michigan where he entered a sanatorium for treatment. After a rather brief stay as a patient, he expired suddenly on July 17, 1923 from congestive heart failure. Sophie Poe had been summoned to Michigan as his condition worsened, but was still en route when her husband died, in his 73rd year. The city of Roswell and all of New Mexico were shocked by the news of Poe's sudden passing. Typical of the outcry of sympathy and mourning for their distinguished citizen were the comments in the Roswell Evening News on Wednesday, July 18, 1923. The newspaper devoted an entire front page to a recitation of Poe's accomplishments, from his earliest years. They told of his public offices and of the great achievements in many fields of endeavour. His litany of Masonic honours was recited in its entirety. The publication summed up the sentiments of the New Mexico population when they ended their documentary by christening John William Poe as "A friend of Man."
A long line of Freemasons have achieved high honours for service to God, country, and their Fraternity. The benchmark for a good man and true was established in ages past by departed brethren whose names are inscribed on the honour roll of our ancient Craft. None has bequeathed a greater legacy to his brethren, nor more handsomely fulfilled the qualifications we diligently seek, than John William Poe. When the Grand lodge of New Mexico conducted the funerary obsequies over his mortal remains, they echoed the sentiments of every Mason born before and after that sombre July day.
This article by Joseph E. Bennett was sourced for the famous freemasons section of the magazine from “The Royal Arch Mason Magazine” Vol. 21, No. 3 Fall 2003. The Editor. (The photograph accompanying this article shows Poe as he looked in 1881.)
Why G? So I always wondered, why “G”? When asked by non Masons what the G means between the Square and compasses this is actually a quite simple and elementary answer, with slight differences and variations depending on who you ask of course, but you would probably say something like “the G represents “God” or “the Great Architect of the universe” or “The Grand Geometrician of the Universe”. I'm sure we can all agree that Freemasonry is based on very fundamental and rudimentary principals but we can also agree that nothing in Freemasonry is this simple, everything has a foundation but that foundation is usually supporting something much more beautiful and complex. I would
like to investigate the letter “G” in greater detail and possibly shed some light on it's more profound and esoteric relevance to Freemasonry. I first want to point out that I don't intent to come to any substantial conclusion as to the true meaning of the letter G, I always like to take a Socratic approach to these types of subjects as they are subjective and you can choose to accept or reject the information that I provide here. Ultimately, as in most of Freemasonry, it is whatever it means for you, and I will leave it up to you as individuals to identify any Masonic relevance that resonates for you. So first we should explore exactly where the letter “G” comes from. Let us start with the letter “Gimel”. It is the 3rd letter (5th in spelling order) of the Semitic Abjads (Semitic being the family of languages, and Abjad being the type of writing system). The Hebrew Gimel? is a variant of its original Phoenician , and from it we also get the Greek Gamma G , the Latin G and C and the Cyrillic ? (I'm going to try my best not to get too far off the original topic). Although it is speculated that the word gimel is derived from the word gamel, meaning camel, I am more interested in the fact that the shape of the letter looks like a man in motion. In Freemasonry there is much mention of Jacobs Ladder, so this hit home for me when I thought back to a conversation I had with a fellow brother Mason on his perspective of Jacobs Ladder and how to him it represents the base of the spine and its ascension to the pineal gland, or as Descartes would call it “the seat of the soul”. The Hebrew word “Gomel” which we relate to Gimel, means “Benefactor”, the letter which comes after is “Dalet”, “dal” 20
means “weak”, this is the great benefactor walking towards the weak. From this we learn that we should give to those less fortunate, and help those in need. Faith, hope and charity. In the mystical teachings, due to gimel being the 3rd letter in the Hebrew alphabet, it represents stability and is usually related to the 3 patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all 3 of which are mentioned in Masonic ritual. There is a very VERY important lesson here that is mentioned throughout the 3 degrees that I hope you have put together yourself. The Greek Gamma G?, like Gimel, is the same word as camel. When the Romans adopted gamma from the Greeks, however, they made a significant change. Unlike the Greeks, the Romans used the letter gamma to indicate the sound of K (as in “compare) and the sound of G (as in “go”). Not only that, the Romans changed the shape of the letter, softening the sharp angle of the gamma to a curve. The resultant shape looked very similar to our modern English C. But having one letter represent two very different sounds grew problematic. Ultimately, the Romans developed a graphic differentiation for the two sounds. The K sound remained with the C shape, while a bar was added to the bottom edge of the letter to indicate the G sound (as in “got”). The result was the modern G, placing it 7th in alphabetical order. Now I will be the first to admit that I don't give a lot of validity to numerology, the term “grasping at straws” comes to mind, only because I never see any substantial evidence that it is relevant, Freemasonry is slowly changing that for me though, especially in this case. The letter G has taken a bit of a journey during its transformation. I want to highlight some key points that I personally feel are important 21
and then leave the rest to your own interpretations: -In Hebrew it is the 3rd letter in alphabetic order, it is the 5th letter in spelling order and was later adopted as the 7th letter in the Latin alphabet. -Gimel can be loosely translated to mean “benefactor” -Gimel represents Stability and is related, in the mystic teachings, to the 3 patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -The symbol for Gimel ? represents a man in motion, with emphasis on the base of the spine to the head -It is important to point out the Greek Gamma, as it is where the Latin G is derived from For those of you already familiar with this topic, or for fellow linguists, you can see that there is information that has been left out. I wanted to keep this brief enough to be appropriate for a Sunday morning read. I more intend to encourage research rather than educate so I invite you to investigate this topic a little further, maybe even find some information that I didn't. Post Script: Something else I found interesting that I will leave for your own perusal; since we are talking about the Roman/Latin alphabet I just want to point something out with the Roman numerals. As we have seen, in the genesis of the letter G it had a numerical value of 3, I think it goes without saying the number 3 is very prominent in Masonic teachings and ritual. Now look at the Roman numeral for 3 “III”, it looks like an ideogram for the 3 pillars of Freemasonry. May be purely coincidental, or maybe not, I will leave that for you to decide. By Joel Neuman
Rays of Masonry â€œThe Wages of a Masterâ€? There is a saying which you have heard in Masonry many times: "You get out of Masonry only what you put in it." There may be a great deal of truth in such a statement, but it is a rather conservative estimate. You get far more out of Masonry than you ever can put into it. There is no work or study that pays greater spiritual dividends than the work of Masonry. There is no time better spent and which fields more happiness and satisfaction than time spent in the work of Masonry. If one is looking for a purely material or financial reward, then his time in Masonry is only a waste of effort. From the time you evidenced a desire to become a Mason, it was made plain to you that Masonry offered an opportunity for spiritual and mental growth, and did not offer or promise the least financial reward. The Wages of a Master are in keeping with the thing sought through Mastership. Then is this work of Masonry confined to the lodge room? No. It is important that every Mason attend as many meetings of his lodge as he possibly can, and it is important that the Mason participate in as many activities of the lodge as he possibly can, according to his talents, large or small. Yet, the work of Masonry calls for an examination of self to determine how our own lives reflect the teachings of Masonry. If we are honest in this, then other fields of work in the interest of humanity will be opened, and we will enter into them with joy and enthusiasm because we are Master Masons and cannot do otherwise. Try it! You will find a harvest of happiness.
Dewey Wollstein 1953.
Failure "What's troubling you?" asked the Old Past Master of a serious-faced brother who sat down next to him. "So much I hardly know where to begin to tell it," came the response. "I try to be an optimist, but I can't help feeling that, practically speaking, Masonry is a failure, and it depresses me horribly, because I love it." "Now that's too bad," said the Old Past Master soberly. "Masonry is a failure, practically speaking! That would depress me, too, because I also love it. In fact, I should think it would depress a great many men." "Yes it would.... a lot of men love it," said the troubled brother. "Suppose you explain why it is practically speaking a failure," said the Old Past 22
Master. "If I ought to be depressed because of such a condition I think I ought to know it." The troubled brother looked up suspiciously, but the grave face in front of him wore no smile. If the old eyes twinkled they were hidden by solemn lids from the penetrating glance of the troubled brother. "Well, it's this way," he began. "Masonry teaches brotherhood. Naturally, your brother is a man on whom you can depend; he is worthy of trust. One believes in one's brother. One backs his note and expects to be paid; one is willing to trust one's wife, one's life, one's good name, to a real brother. "But there are a good many men who are Masons that I know are not worthy of my trust, merely because they are Masons. They are my brethren because I have sworn with them the same obligations and professed the same faith. But I do not think I could trust them with that which is of value to me, and I know they wouldn't trust me with what is of value to them. I don't mean they are not good men, but I don't feel that my Masonic bond is strong enough to give me the complete trust which a real brotherhood should provide and I don't think they feel it either. "If I were in a strange city and a man came up to me and wanted to borrow two dollars and pointed to a Masonic pin as the reason, I wouldn't lend it to him. And if I walked into a strange bank and tried to cash a check for twenty dollars on the strength of my Masonic pin, I wouldn't get it." "A pin, you know," put in the Old Past Master, "is not real evidence of being a Mason!" 23
"No, but even if I could convince the banker I really was a Mason he wouldn't cash my check without identification. And I wouldn't give money to a stranger even if I knew he was a Mason, because....well, because my brotherhood hasn't struck deep enough, I guess. And so it seems to me that practically speaking, Masonry is a failure." "And yet you say you love it!" sorrowed the Old Past Master. My brother, you have, in the language of the street, got hold of the wrong dog. "Now let me talk a minute. Your blood brother is a man you love. You were children together, you fought with him and for him. You shared his joys and sorrows. You learned him, through and through. If you love him and trust him, it is not because of your mutual parentage, but because of your association. Two boys are not blood brothers, but raised as brothers, may have the same tender love and trust. It isn't the brotherhood of the flesh, but the brotherhood of spirit, that makes for love and trust. "You complain because you don't have that feeling for a stranger. Had you been parted from your blood brother at birth, and never seen nor heard of him until he met you on the street and demanded money while offering proof of his blood relationship, would you trust him without knowing the manner of man he had come to be? Merely because he was a blood relative wouldn't mean he was the type of man you are. He might have become anything during these years of separation. "Now, my brother, when you became a Mason you assumed a tie of brotherhood with all the other Masons of the world. But you did not assume any obligation to make
that tie of brotherhood take the place of all the virtues which are in the Masons of the world, or the virtues possessed by the profane. If you are a true Mason you will extend Masonic brotherhood, practically, to those Masons who hold out the brotherly hand to you; which means those men who are able and willing to prove themselves brothers and Masons, not merely those who belong to lodges and wear pins. "The world is one big compromise, my brother, between things as they are and things as we would like to have them. You would like to be rich, and you compromise by getting what you can. You would like to be famous, and you compromise by being as well known as you can and doing the best you can to deserve fame. You would like to be the most highly skilled man in your profession, but you have to compromise with perfection on the one hand, and the need of earning a living on the other. As a Mason, you would like to trust on sight every Mason in the world, but you have to compromise with this fact that all Masons are human beings first and Masons afterwards, and human beings are frail and imperfect. "Masonry makes no man perfect. It merely holds out one road by which a man may travel towards the goal of spiritual perfection more easily and with more help than by other roads. It had no motive power to drive men over that road; but it smoothes the way and points the path. The travel is strictly up to the individual brother. "If you trust those whom you know travel that path, they will trust you....and Masonry will be, practically speaking, for you both a success. If you travel with your eyes open, you will see many who fall by the wayside, not because the way is plain and smooth,
but because they are too weak to travel it. That is the fault, not of the road, but of the traveller. "And so, my brother, Masonry cannot be a failure, because men fail as Masons. As well say the church is a failure because an evil man goes to it; as well call Christ a failure because all men are not Christians. The failure is in the man, not in the beautiful philosophy which is Masonry." "And I," said the troubled brother, "Am a failure now because I have failed to understand. But not in the future, thanks to you." This is the fifth article in this our new regular feature, â€˜The Old Past Master,â€™ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
BROTHERLY LOVE If you see a brother slipping When hard luck has come his way; Do your best to help him, Think of some kind word to say. If someone asks about him, In a casual, off-hand way; There's lots of good things you remember; Then say the best you can say. Hand to back? Yes, you remember, Keep that warm spot in your heart, Now is when he needs your kindness; Help him get an upward start. When he tells you of his troubles, Be a brother, staunch and true. Do to him as you would have him In like situation, do to you. These are just a few suggestions, We may all keep well in mind, Should we find a brother slipping Let's be patient, loving, and kind.
The autumn of life The end of Ecclesiastes
As the year’s cycle turns to autumn, the brightness of summer darkens and winter cannot be held back. It is all rather depressing, but even autumn has its lessons, in particular the warning that life’s kaleidoscope has seriousness and sorrow as well as colour and frolic. In Freemasonry this is the theme of the Third Degree. The Mason begins with a First Degree where a burst of light promises hope and meaning, but by the Third Degree he finds that life is real and earnest, and there is solid work ahead. The Third Degree lesson is dramatised in the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, calling the young to make the most of their youth and the elders to recognise the finality of old age. The latter know it is serious, but smile to see how true to life is its description of the waning of human powers. Ecclesiastes (in Hebrew Kohelet) is one of the five short Scriptural scrolls that also include Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations and Esther. The name Kohelet is from a verb that means, “to gather an assembly”. Some believe that Kohelet was the preacher in a congregation; other views apply the term to a convenor of a teaching convocation; alternatives see the name as indicating a gather of wisdom and even (connecting the word with an Arabic root) a sage old man. The word is feminine, as is chochmah, wisdom. 25
Prolonged debate preceded the acceptance of Kohelet into the Biblical canon. It was argued that the book contradicted itself, its contents were not Divine but human wisdom, and it had heretical tendencies. Some claim that the stamp of orthodoxy was earned by the pious epilogue: “The end of the matter, when all has been heard: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”. SR Driver sums up Kohelet: “Life under all its aspects is dissatisfying and disappointing: the best that can be done with it is to enjoy – not in excess, but in a wise and well-considered moderation, and as gift intended by God to be enjoyed – such pleasures as it brings with it.” The reality is not nearly so syllogistic. The verses go this way and that. LV Snowman wrote, “The preacher was a pessimist, a sceptic, and a believer all in one”. Jewish tradition attributed the book to Solomon, seeing Song of Songs as the work of his youth, Proverbs of his adulthood and Kohelet of his old age. AJ Grieve comments: “As the book most akin to it, Job, discusses a perplexing moral problem in the person of a hero of antiquity, so here Solomon is taken as the type of a wise man who had thoroughly explored all human experience.” Robert Gordis supports Solomonic authorship in that the creative activity of Wisdom teachers had its first flowering in Solomon’s reign. Masonic ritual lends its own drama and power to chapter 12, though, without the final verses of chapter 11, we lose the full contrast between youth and age, and the following translation therefore begins a few
verses before those which the ritual chooses to cite. Though verse 7 (“The dust returns to the earth… the spirit returns to God”) was not meant as a pious affirmation of the afterlife, but merely recognises that death is inevitable, Masonic thinking prefers the conventional view that the body decomposes but the spirit soars upward, suggesting that physical destruction can be defeated by life after death.
THE ALLEGORY OF AGE (ECCLESIASTES 11:7-12:8) 11:7 Sweet is the light: It is good for the eyes to see the sun. 11:8 Even if one lives for many years. Let him rejoice in them all: Let him remember that the days of darkness will be many, And all that follows will be empty. 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in your heyday: Let your heart give you joy in your days of youth. Walk where your heart leads you, where your eyes point – But know that for all these God will hold you to account. 11:10 Remove sadness from your mind, Banish sorrow from your life – For childhood and sorrow are a passing breath. 12:1 Remember your Creator in your days of youth, Before troubled days come and the years approach When you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”.
12:2 Before the sun becomes dark, And the light of the moon and the stars, And the clouds come back after the rain; 12:3 When the guards of the house (the arms) are shaky, And the strong men (the legs) are bent: When the maidens who grind the corn (the teeth) are idle because they are few, And those that look through the windows (the eyes) become darkened. 12:4 When the doors to the street (the ears) are shut, And the sound of the mill becomes low: When one is startled at the sound of a bird, And all the sounds of music are muted. 12:5 When one is frightened of heights, And there are terrors in the street; When the almond tree (white hair) blossoms, The grasshopper (sexual vitality) is a burden, And the caper-bush excites no desire: For one is on the way to his eternal home And the mourners are gathering in the streets. 12:6 Before the silver cord (the spinal column) has snapped And the golden bowl (the skull) is broken; When the jug (the stomach) is shattered at the spring And the wheel (the liver) smashes into the well: 12:7 For the dust returns to the earth as it was And the breath returns to God who gave it. 12:8 Absolute vanity, says Kohelet: All is vanity. By Rt. Wor. Bro. Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple, AO RFD, Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory. Click the name to go to his website.
The Blazing Star John Theophilus Desaguliers obtained his bachelors’ degree, was ordained deacon and obtained the chair of Experimental Philosophy at oxford in 1710, at the age of twenty-seven, and was elected the third rand Master of freemasons in 1719. Somewhere between 1724 and 1731, a newspaper advertised a lecture ‘... shewing what Innovations have lately been introduced by the Doctor and some other of the Moderns, with their Tape, Jacks, Moveable Letters, Blazing Stars &c.’ There can hardly be a more explicit way of saying that it was Desaguliers who introduced the Blazing Star in freemasonry. For those who find it difficult to accept that an astronomical item as a Blazing Star could have been the—literally—central symbol of a masonic lodge, we briefly recall some features of eighteenth century freemasonry. In those days, science was a most fashionable subject, in society as a whole, and in the numerous clubs and societies, of which freemasonry was but one. For devout Christians like Newton and Desaguliers, science revealed to humans the Laws settled by the All-wise and Almighty Architect of the Universe, as Desaguliers writes on p. iv of his Newtonian System. No wonder, that such a strong analogy was felt between the moral effects of science and of freemasonry! Desaguliers, the scientist, wrote in 1717 that a Philosopher (this is what today we would call a ‘scientist’) cannot be an Atheist; and if it were true, that a Smattering in Physics 27
will give a proud Man a Tincture of Atheism, a deep Search into Nature will certainly bring him back to a Religious Sense of God’s Wisdom and Providence. The similarity with Anderson’s sentence— written six years later—that a mason, if he rightly understands the Art, will never be a stupid Atheist, is most striking. There is considerable evidence that eighteenth century masons were actively concerned with ‘mental improvement’, possibly a result of grand officers belonging to scientific or philosophical circles, and scientific lectures of all kinds were common in masonic lodges. There is not the slightest doubt as to the meaning of Blazing Star in eighteenth century English: it is a cornet, both in plain and in heraldic language. Actually, it’s the other way round; nonscientific seventeenth century English writers, whenever using the learned word comet, felt obliged to add that it meant a Blazing Star. The idea behind this terminology seems to be that a comet is a star that is ablaze and leaves behind it a trail of smoke and sparks while moving through the sky. Today, a person asked for a famous comet is likely to cite the name of Halley. The latter had predicted that a certain comet, appeared before, would return in 1758, and so it did. Before its return, this comet was not famous; after all, other comets had been predicted to return that didn’t show up at all. The Antediluvian newspaper advertisement proves that the Blazing Star appeared in Freemasonry in 1731 at the very last. By accident, the most important comet in history, both scientifically and psychologically, had also been one of the most remarkable on record until then. It had appeared in late November 1680, remaining visible to the naked eye—for some period
also in broad daylight—for some three months. In northern Europe, conditions were not favourable to its observation, but whenever it was seen it must have been an appalling sight indeed. It had an enormous tail, broader than the moon, which eventually grew so long that the comet’s head touched the horizon while its tail reached a point in the sky right above the observer’s head. Moreover, coruscations attended the whole length of the tail, giving a brilliant and fearful aspect. In size and velocity also it far surpassed any other ever known. ‘I tremble when I recall the terrible appearance it had on Saturday evening in the clear sky, when it was observed by everybody with inexpressible astonishment. It seemed as though the heavens were burning, or as if the very air was on fire. From this little star stretched out such a wonderfully long tail that even an intellectual man was overcome with trembling; one’s hair stood on end as this uncommon, terrible and indescribable tail came into view,’ an eyewitness accounts’ (Notice ‘fire’ terminology.). In those days, masons could have felt their Blazing Star was some herald of a new era, with freemasonry as a powerful exponent. The fact that the Blazing Star is hardly ever seen without the letter G in its centre is perfectly consistent with this view. G as an abbreviation of Geometria is many centuries older than Grand Lodge Freemasonry, and this time-honoured interpretation was still prevailing with eighteenth century masons. A comet with the letter G in it may very well be thought of as The Triumph of Geometry; after all, it is mathematics (then often called ‘geometry’) which gave birth to the Newtonian system with all its benign consequences.
Desaguliers says so explicitly: Nature compell’d, his [Newton's] piercing Mind obeys, And gladly shews him all her secret Ways; ‘Gainst Mathematicks she has no Defence. Geometry and Masonry being synonyms—a fact emphasized throughout masonic history—the Triumph of Masonry means exactly the same. There is no conflict whatsoever with the secondary meaning of G as God, introduced around 1727–1730. In eighteenth century thinking, what Newton and Mathematics (science in general) revealed to mankind was nothing but pure divine law. The Blazing Star By: Chris Impens Condensed from The Short Talk Bulletin, June 2007. Retrieved from Tennessee Lodge of Research Annual Proceedings – 2007. reprinted as retrieved, without corrections to spelling, capitalizations, etc.
DID YOU KNOW? Question: Are the words in the third degree real words in Hebrew or whatever ancient language they may be, and is the translation given correct? Could they be spoken aloud for instructional purposes? Answer: For obvious reasons I cannot and will not mention the words in use today. Originally the words are most certainly Hebrew, but at their earliest appearance, in some of our oldest ritual documents, they were already so horribly debased, that it is quite impossible to say what the correct words were. I quote two examples in 28
manuscript, MAHA-BYN in c.1700 and MATCHPIN in 1711, and two examples in print, MAUGHBIN in 1723, MAGBO and BOE in 1725. It would be possible to reconstruct the Hebrew words, working backwards from the customary English translations, but that would be cheating, because we have no means of proving that those translations are correct, and there are several different translations. There are two Hebrew names, in the old Testament, which have been suggested as the origins of our words, but they are not acceptable because those persons had no connections with the incidents under discussion, and the translation of those names are totally irrelevant to our subject. Suggestions of Gaelic or Celtic origin are also ruled out. I have never seen a satisfactory version of what those words would have been or any reason why they should have been derived from those languages. Having a modest grounding of Hebrew, and after a great deal of study, being still baffled by the problem, I wrote to Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Israel to ask what they do. He replied, explaining that they treat the word, not as a word but as an anagram, i.e. a word composed of the initial letters of several Hebrew words, which when read in their correct sequence, yield the required meaning. An ingenious solution to an insoluble problem, and it has one great advantage. Nobody can say that your translation is right or wrong. Everybody is right! And now you know why we use two words; because nobody can say with certainty that one or 29
the other is correct. As to speaking the words aloud, instead of a whisper, in our English usage (and in several other jurisdictions) they are spoken aloud during the closing ceremony of the M.M. degree, but that procedure is not seen and heard as often as other parts of the ritual. If you have any doubts as to the correct pronunciation, go to the Mentor, or the Officer in charge of the work at your Lodge of Instruction. He will certainly be able to explain the practice in your Lodge and, for you, that is correct.
Question: When facing the 2 degree Tracing Board which of the two pillars is B and which is J? Answer: The Bible gives some help on this, but many Tracing Board illustrations do not necessarily follow exactly what is set out in Holy Writ. We are informed that the expressions 'left' and 'right,' when used by an architect, refer to those positions when viewed from inside the building and looking out, and I suggest that the left-hand pillar should be so identified when the explanation is given. Emulation Lodge of Improvement has a recommended drill. The Tracing Board faces the candidate who is placed at the foot and the explanation is given by the Brother standing at the top. The pillar stated to be on the left is that on the left of the Brother giving the explanation, but is the one on the right of the picture when viewed by the Candidate. There is some justification for the view that the pillars were considered to be 'left' or 'right' when looking out of the Temple, at least from the point of view of their use in Freemasonry, from some old manuscript lectures in the Library of Grand Lodge. These are contained in what are known as the Tunnah Ms. and the Radford Ms., both
very similar versions of lectures probably in use in Lodges under the Atholl Grand Lodge before the Union of Grand Lodges in 1813. The Tunnah Ms. has been dated at the second half of the 1790's and the Radford Ms. could be any time between 1770 and 1812 but is more likely to be at the end of this period. Both are based on what is contained in the exposure Three Distinct Knocks (1760's) but contain a good deal of additional material. In connection with the left and right pillars, both manuscripts say: ...the Hebrews express the East by before, the West by behind, the North by the Left hand, and the South by the Right according to the Position of a Man who had his face to the Sun rising? King Solomon's Temple was built with its entrance and these pillars at the east end, so that the "Position of a Man who had his face to the Sun rising" was facing east, that is out of the Temple through the pillars. In this case, the left and right would be according to someone looking out through the pillars. Some confusion must arise from the fact that, for very good reasons, those who developed our Freemasonry have reversed the Lodge from the orientation of the Temple so that we have the Master at the east end and the entrance at the west end, but the brethren of the eighteenth century who used these lectures had no doubt that B. was on the left and J. on the right when looking out through those pillars. The above question referred to and answered by Quatour Coronati Lodge No.2076 ER in their Summons of January 9, 1975. The Questions and answers from ‘Did you Know’ were collected from various constitutions across the world, and in no way reflect the views or thoughts of the editor and or his Lodge or Mother Constitution.
WHEN IS A MAN A MASON? “When is a man a Mason? When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and courage – which is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellow man. When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins – knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself. When he loves flowers, can hunt the birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When star-crowned trees, and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters, subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin. When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellow man, with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song – glad to live, but not afraid to die! Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world.” – Joseph Fort Newton, The Builders, 1914
THE BACK PAGE The Working Tools of a Golfer I now present you with the working tools of a Golfer, which are; The Driver, The Iron, The Putter and The Score Card. The Driver is to drive the ball, The Iron is to aid its progress and The Putter is to enable us to follow that straight and undeviating line laid down for our pursuit, and finally to place the ball in its safe and hidden repository over the smooth and prepared surface of the green, While upon the Score-card are recorded the efforts of the Golfer to mark his progress in the science. But as we are not professional golfers, but rather amateurs we apply these tools to our morals in this sense. The Driver denotes the force of conscience, which should keep down all vain and unbecoming thoughts, which might infringe during the period of time in which we occupy the tee.
The Iron, an important implement of the Science and solid in its form, teaches us that exertion is necessary to success. We are reminded that no game of golf can be completed without its aid and to so high an eminence has its usefulness been raised, that Monarchsâ€™ themselves have not felt it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the sceptre for it. The Putter instructs us to be accurate, and to temper our efforts with restraint, while the Scorecard teaches us that our words and actions are observed and recorded by the All Powerful Handicap Committee to whom we must render an account of our conduct. It reminds us of their unerring and impartial justice in allocating to us our positions in all Club competitions and also we shall be rewarded or punished as we have obeyed or disregarded their commands. From the whole we receive this teaching, that skill aided by exertion, and exercised with patience combined with a strict adherence to the principles laid down for our guidance in the Volume of the Laws of the Game, will enable us, when summoned from the course to appear before the Club Committee, to do so with the knowledge that we have endeavoured to faithfully follow the precepts inculcated in the Lectures received from the skilled professional. (If anyone has any working tools parodies like this, please let me know!)
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor
The Monthly Masonic Magazine of Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No. 76.