Volume 13 Issue 5 No. 103 September 2017
Cover Story, Freemasonry in Scotland in 1717 Mentoring – Some Lateral Thinking? Did You Know? The Lodge of Erskine No. 1566. Famous Freemason - The Emir of Afghanistan (1872-1919) Placement of the Ashlars in the Lodge-Room Corn Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks The Master’s Wages Did you Know? How Ancient is Freemasonry? The Kirkwall Scroll – Part 5 The Emblems of Freemasonry Main Website – On Ritual
In this issue: Cover Story ‘Freemasonry in Scotland in 1717’ On June 24th 1717, four London Lodges met and constituted themselves into a Grand Lodge. This article looks at Freemasonry in Scotland that year and the Lodges that were in existence at this time.
Page 4, ‘Mentoring.’ Some Lateral Thinking?. Page 7, ‘Did You Know?’ Off or From? Page 8, ‘The Lodge of Erskine No. 1566.’ A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 12, ‘The Emir of Afghanistan (1872-1919)’ A Famous Freemason. Page 16, ‘Placement of the Ashlars in the Lodge’ Page 17, ‘Corn’ Page 18, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Persecution” Page 19, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “The Hallowed Old”, sixtieth in the series. Page 21, ‘The Master’s Wages’ Page 23, ‘Did You Know?’ The Network on the Pillars. Page 25, The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 27, ‘The Kirkwall Scroll – Part 5. Page 30, ‘The Emblems of Freemasonry.’
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘On Ritual’. [link] Front cover – stock picture of a medieval Stonemason.
FREEMASONRY IN SCOTLAND IN 1717
What was the position of Freemasonry in Scotland when, in 1717, the Grand Lodge of England was founded in the City of Westminster, London? It is almost certain that the membership of the 'four old Lodges' which met at the Goose and Gridiron tavern to found the first Grand Lodge in the world was made up of gentlemen and artisans. It is unlikely that there was in any of the four Lodges an 'operative mason', i.e. a man who earned his daily bread as a stone-mason. The position in Scotland at that time was very different. In 1717 there were in existence at least twenty Lodges in widely separated parts of the country. There were Lodges in Edinburgh, in Kilwinning, in Inverness, in Dundee, in Stirling, in Perth, in Aberdeen, in Glasgow, and in other smaller towns throughout Scotland. It must not be assumed, however, that these Lodges were the Scottish counterparts of the four old London Lodges. Far from it, for the majority of these active Scottish Lodges were still composed of operative members, that is to say men who earned their living at the building trade. On the other hand most of the Lodges had a smaller or greater number of ' non-operatives ', that is to say members who had no connection with the trade of a stone-mason and who had joined the Lodge out of curiosity or as honorary members, or maybe as patrons. In 1717, Freemasonry as we know it today was still,
in Scotland, in the transitional stage. And yet there are curious discrepancies to be found. The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) had admitted non-operatives to its membership as early as 1634 and the Lodge of Aberdeen had admitted some twelve members of the University by 1670. In neither of these Lodges did the nonoperatives take control until well after 1717. In the Lodge at Haughfoot, which worked from 1702 until 1764 (and never took a Charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland), all the members were nonoperatives. One might have expected such a Lodge to be found in one of the larger centres of populationâ€”but Haughfoot is a small village in the more inaccessible hinterland of the borders between Scotland and England. That a small village in a then somewhat remote part of Scotland should have a fully-functioning speculative Lodge is one of the mysteries of early Scottish Freemasonry. The organisation of the Mason Trade in Scotland was under greater central control by authority than it was in England. The Schaw Statutes of 1598 and 1599 mention three Lodges, at Edinburgh, at Kilwinning and at Stirling, as being in control, under the overall supervision of the Master Mason to the King of Scotland, of all work in three different parts of the country. From other sources it seems likely that Lodges in St Andrews, Dundee and, possibly, Aberdeen, exercised similar control in the North-Eastern part of the country. By 1717 the use of stone as a building material in England had been largely superseded by brick, at least in so far as house-building was concerned. This resulted in a decline in the Mason Trade. 2
That was not the case in Scotland, where stone continued to be used as the main building material. The Mason Trade remained active and provided employment all over the countryâ€”and the Lodges continued to flourish. This explains in large measure why the Scottish Lodges remained active long after the English Operative Lodges had begun to decline. The admission of non-operatives into the Scottish Lodges is something that has yet to be explained. In the earliest days it was probably done as something of a gesture to a patron who had given a large amount of work to the Lodge. Later it may have been curiosity or possibly an antiquarian desire to become a member of an organisation which was in some danger of dying out and thus perpetuate it. This motive is still present today in many of the old Guilds in the Scottish Cities; indeed those Guilds which have survived are now mainly convivial clubs whose members are in no way connected with the Trade of the Guild. It is possible that a similar motive brought the first non-operatives into the Mason Guilds. Whatever the reason, we are still in the dark as to why these non-operatives began to turn, slowly but surely, an operative Craft into a speculative Society. By 1717 the process of turning the Operative Lodge into a Speculative Lodge had, in England, advanced sufficiently far to permit of the founding of the first Grand Lodgeâ€”an organisation quite unknown to the Operative Lodges. In Scotland the process had not advanced so far and it was not until 1736 that the non-operatives were strong enough to found the Grand Lodge of Scotland. By 1717 the Scottish operative Lodges were, in the main, still composed of actual 3
stone-craftsmen with a sprinkling of nonoperatives. The ceremonies used at the admission of both kinds of members were briefâ€”if the evidence of the Register House MS, the Haughfoot Fragment and the Kevan MS are to be taken as indicative of the ceremonies worked. Only two ' degrees ' were known, Apprentice and Fellow. In this case it must be understood that the title ' Fellow ' was equivalent to Master and a Fellow was entitled to employ apprentices. He was in fact the master of his trade. Even today the word Fellow is still used in this sense in connection with many professional bodies, such as the Royal College of Surgeons, where to be a Fellow is an indication that one has reached the highest rank in the profession. The Third Degree, as we know it today was quite unknown in Scotland and the earliest record of it is in the year 1728. It was unknown in at least one Lodge as late as 1750, although the Lodge had been working since 1701. The Scottish Lodges in 1717 still exercised a considerable control over entry into the building trade in each City or Burgh. It was, in some respects, the equivalent of the modern trade union. It collected dues, looked after the widows and orphans of its members and, through the Dean of Guild, exercised control over the type of buildings erected within the Burgh boundaries. Apart from the Lodge at Haughfoot, the Scottish Lodges, in 1717, did not allow their nonoperative members to have any say in the running of the Lodge. It was not, for example, until 1728 that the Lodge of Edinburgh elected a non-operative to the office of Warden. In contrast to England the Scottish Lodges in 1717 did not meet in taverns. They met in premises belonging to the Lodge and at
least one of these old Lodge buildings still survives and is in use today as a Lodge Room. This Lodge Room, known as St John's Chapel, belongs to Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, and was consecrated in the first half of the eighteenth century. This is the oldest Lodge Room in the world, and a visitor to the Lodge Room today feels that he is in a hallowed place, a place which has remained unchanged for close on two hundred and fifty years. Many of the other old seventeenth-century Lodge Rooms have been pulled down in the name of progress and the Lodge Room of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) was demolished in 1787, having been built in 1504. The Scottish Lodges do not appear to have had documents corresponding to the Old Charges which were held in such high esteem in England. On the other hand copies of the Schaw Statutes and the St Clair Charters are to be found along with copies of the English Old Charges, the latter obviously having been brought to Scotland by travelling brethren. The student who would delve deeper into the early history of the Craft in Scotland should read Murray Lyon's History of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel), R. S. Lindsay's History of Lodge Holyrood House (St Luke) and Harry Carr's History of Lodge Mother Kilwinning. These three volumes will provide a complete study of the Scottish Craft from its earliest operative days to the beginning of the present century. This article was written by GEORGE DRAFFEN OF NEWINGTON Past Substitute Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and was previously published in the GLOS yearbook in 1968 and the Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge 1970.
Mentoring What is a Mentor – some lateral thinking?
The word mentor derives from the Latin mens meaning ‘mind’ (mental has the same root), so when using this word, we are really considering helping to develop the mind. In general terms’, mentoring is a personal development relationship, often quite close, in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable (wiser?) person over a period of time, helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. It usually involves the informal transfer of knowledge and the communication and support needed to assist career, work or development in general. Some common mentoring techniques include: Accompanying - a commitment to work side-by-side with the learner Preparation - setting a basis so that the learner has some idea of what new areas of knowledge and behaviour are coming up and hopefully soften the possible shock against the changes that might occur by membership of our order Demonstration - using ones own examples and experience to bring out aspects of the development process, rather than just ‘quote from the manual’ Finding special opportunities – isolating particular situations or occasions relevant to the learning process In the deep end – as the learner becomes increasingly more comfortable, the mentor may throw the learner straight into an area 4
of change hopefully to spark off a change of values or even a different way of thinking Review – on a regular basis to examine what is and should have been covered and absorbed and draw conclusions as to relevance, significance and future progress. We need to be rather more specific for a Masonic mentor! Masonic mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing on-the-spot help. Nor is it just about keeping an initiate happy. It is surely, about an on-going relationship of education, discussion, meeting challenges from the curiosity of a new mason and encouraging him to search for Masonic truth To many, the mentor has responsibility for helping his mentee, apprentice, protégé or whatever to attend lodge and LOI, to make sure he understand the organisation of the lodge and its officers, the importance of the ritual and keep him happy when he has ‘retired for a short while’ before a ceremony in a higher degree. But old-fashioned as it now appears, these are mainly the responsibility of the proposer and seconder and if this is true, then what is the purpose of a mentor? The typical ‘early life of a mason’ these days is something like ‘Initiation to MM apron 1½-3 years , Steward 1-2 years, First office not long afterwards’. As membership shrinks in quite a few lodges, the pressure is always on candidates to progress quickly and this time-span might be even shorter. 5
There are also pressures against moral development in these times of economic stress, major changes in behaviour and public morality, increasing absorption of different cultural standards and modes of behaviour and thinking. The young mason is encouraged to attend lodge, where he will see what is going on and by attending LOI, ‘he will learn the ritual’. (In fact LOI is surely a place to practice the ritual within the rehearsal ceremonial – the ritual should already be largely learnt!) Lots of training, but where is the Masonic ‘education’? It seems to me that there are a number of subjects of which a thinking mason should have a working knowledge, including: A broad history of the craft and its origins A broad history of the development of our ritual An overview of the structure of the craft, from Grand lodge down to the private lodge An overview of the authority and management of the craft The role and responsibilities of all lodge and provincial lodge officers How, where and why charity and relief are applied. Not every mason will want, or be able to handle all of these, but I suggest that a working knowledge of most, can only increase general interest level, encourage further enquiry, perhaps increase the richness of the Masonic experience and help to prevent the loss of young masons who may feel that after coming in, nothing much happens to them for a long time.
After over 20 years of formalising the above ‘knowledge set’ into a programme that might be followed by a young mason and having failed completely to gain any interest in it, I draw two possible two conclusions: A I am totally wrong and this education is irrelevant B Many masons have little interest or knowledge of the various aspects and therefore cannot or will not support their development. So what can the mentor do? 1 Make sure that the young mason’s proposer and seconder are involved in his development, from initiation, through the offices to the chair (and even beyond). 2 Offer help and suggestions as to how they can assist him and make him comfortable in lodge, at LOI, at the festive board and at home. 3 Make him aware of the importance of the overall scope of the above ‘knowledge set’ 4 Help him to investigate and gain knowledge as he wants and assist in obtaining sources of information. The tradition in working man’s groups such as trade unions, operative lodges etc was not just to protect the employee against unfair employer practices and keep out untrained competition. There is much evidence that the ‘spiritual’ side of behaviour was not ignored. The Halliwell Manuscript, the earliest version (about 1390) of our Old Charges contains among much more, the following (in oldish English):
Look also thou scorn no man In what degree thou seest him gone Nor shalt thou no man deprave If thou wilt thy worship save For such word might there outburst That might make thee sit in evil rest. Close thy hand in thy fist And keep thee well from ‘had I known’ Our craft is a brotherhood of friends, whose ceremonies and ritual give us an awareness of something more than their basic content. Using stories, word pictures and allegories, it seeks to illustrate the truths under-pinning our society, which are those of life itself. If the freemason understands the more material aspects of our craft, it is to be hoped that he will more easily appreciate the spiritual aspects, ‘devote leisure hours more especially to the study of such of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within the compass of his attainment, and without neglecting the ordinary duties of his station to consider himself called on to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge’, leading to ’honour to himself, usefullness to mankind and credit to his lodge’. M Gandoff December 2012 Acknowledgment; Article by WM Bro. Martin Gandoff, Montgomerie Lodge 1741 EC. Previously published in the Norfolk Ashlar, The Surrey Mason and the Square. Our Thanks go to Martin for allowing us to use his article about Mentoring.
DID YOU KNOW? Question: `Will you be off or from?' Is this a test question or a `catch question'? Please explain.
Answer. This is not a catch question. It is a question in what is known, in Scottish working, as the `short method' of passing or raising the Lodge from one degree to another. Let us assume that the Lodge is in the first degree and the next item of business is `to pass Brother N. to the Second Degree'. The Master orders the Lodge to be proved tyled in the usual manner, and the Brethren all stand to order `while the Lodge is being passed'. The Master then asks the Senior Warden: `Will you be off or from?' The S.W. replies: `From' (if the Lodge is going up to the degree). The Master then says: `From what to what?' The S.W. says: `From the Degree of E.A. to that of Fellowcraft'. The Master then says: `By virtue of the Authority vested in me as Master of this Lodge, I declare it closed in the E.A. Degree' (gives knocks of E.A. Degree) `and opened in the Degree of Fellowcraft' (gives knocks of F.C. Degree). And that is that! Very simple and very quick - as opposed to all the usual questions about squares, etc. NoTE: If the Lodge is coming down, the S.W. will answer 'Off 'instead of `From' - to be followed, of course, by the Master asking: `Off what to what? This method of getting the Lodge up and down from one degree to another is quite popular and is much used by the Scottish country Lodges. It is also used in all Lodges when coming down from M.M. at 7
the end of a raising - unless there is no more Business, when the Lodge is closed finally on the third (by the Wardens giving the substituted secrets, etc.). The Scottish working also allows the Lodge being finally closed on the second. When this question came in, in 1963, I was under the impression that the `Off or From' was purely Scottish practice. I therefore sent it to Bro. G. S. Draffen, M.B.E., then S.G.W. of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. He, very kindly, furnished the answer printed above, which, I hasten to add, is perfectly correct. Scottish influence in Craft customs has always been so strong that one would expect to find similar practices in use overseas and soon after the Summons was issued, a number of letters came in, from Brethren in England and overseas, pointing out that the answer was incomplete. In particular, a note that the `Short Method' is used in Derbyshire started me on a search for early English usage. I found that it was in print, in the two most important English exposures of the 1760s, when it was used in the course of testing Candidates and Visitors, but not as a `Short Method' of raising or lowering the Lodge from one degree to another. The following is from the Master's Part Catechism, in Three Distinct Knocks, 1760: Mas. Will you be of [sic] or from? Ans. From. Mas. From what, Brother? Ans. From an enter'd Apprentice to a Fellow Craft. Mas. Pass, Brother. This was followed by the (then customary) P.G. and P.W. leading to the 2Â° and further questions embodying the Tn. and Wd. of the F.C. The same text also contained a
chapter describing the examination of a visitor `at the Door of a FreeMason's Lodge', in which the `Of or From' appears twice, once with the word `Of and once as `Off'. In Ireland, Scotland, certain Canadian jurisdictions, California, Texas, and doubtless in many other places too, the question `Will you be off or from?' is still used as part of the `Entrusting' and subsequent testing of candidates, i.e., for passing from the grip of one degree to the one immediately above, and also from the pass-grips to the second and third to the proper grips of these degrees. The interrogator poses the question, `Will you be off or from?' and the interrogated always answers, `From'. The former then says, `From what to what?' and the latter replies, for example, `FROM the grip of an E.A. Mason to the pass-grip of a F.C. Mason', or `From the pass-grip of a F.C. Mason to the grip of the same', or `From the grip of a F.C. Mason to the pass-grip of a M.M.', etc., etc., as the case may be. The answer to the original question is never `Off'. In Scottish Lodges it is the Junior Warden who gives the answers when the Lodge is `going up' from first to second degree and `coming down' again. The Senior Warden replies to the questions when moving to the third degree and coming down again. Lodges here also close finally in the third degree in the manner mentioned in your notice, and this means that `any other business' after the conferment of a degree is always dealt with before the degree working. The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
The Lodge of Erskine No. 1566
The hospital at Erskine for ex service men and women has a long and important association with the lodge of Erskine. Around the late 1950â€™s 16 brethren in the craft who worked or lived in Erskine Hospital were interested in starting a Masonic association, given that many of them had much in common. They approached the hospital chemist, Bro. Daniel Harper and asked for his help. Among the 16 of these founding brothers were Bro. Alex Tomlinson, Bro. Benny Angus & Bro. A. McPherson, all founder members, and all either working or living in Erskine Hospital for ex servicemen. Dan Harper was against the idea of a Masonic association; however he said he would help them start a lodge which they could all be members together in Erskine. 8
In these days forty founder members were required. However before we could make the petition to GLOS, one of the original 40 founder members: - an ex soldier died before GLOS could officially grant permission. However in their wisdom and discretion GLOS decided to issue the charter and so the idea became a reality. The lodge of Erskine was given its charter and the lodge began in 1960. Founder Members With Lodge Captain Speirs No. 791 and Lodge Inchinnan No. 1405 acting as sponsors and with the support of the PGLRE a Charter was granted by the GLOS to the Lodge of Erskine 1566 on the 4th of February 1960. The Consecration Ceremony took place in the old Erskine Parish Church hall Bishopton by the RWPGM Bro. Robert MacMenemey as RWM. The lodge Charter being granted the brethren then began the hard work of raising funds, obtaining premises, making furniture and jewels and preparing regalia. It was agreed that the lodge colours would be thistle green and Erskine tartan. The first premises were the old Erskine Parish Church halls in Bishopton, and most of the early instruction classes took place in Erskine hospital. Many of the items required to hold our meetings were either donated or made by the brethren themselves, along with many gifts from sister lodges. On the 27th May 1960 at our first meeting Lodge Georgetown Cardonald No. 1170 conferred the EA degree on five 9
candidates. On Saturday 23rd April 1960 in Old Erskine Parish Church Hall Bishopton, the first Right Worshipful Master, Bro. Daniel Harper, was installed in office. For the next few years the founder members took the Chair until October 1967 when Bro. William Shackleton became RWM. His installing masters were all of the six previous masters! Funding The New Lodge Then as now social evenings and Masonic functions were as important as they are today for raising money. These dances and social evenings gave them the funds to decorate Erskine church Hall in Bishopton. Indeed it was at one of these Masonic social evenings in the Western Roslyn in Bishopton that the widow of the founder brother who had died was dancing with Alex Tomlinson who commented that she was wearing a particularly fetching broach. She took it off to let him see it, and the beginnings of the lodge crest which has a lozenge shape were born. The lodge crest has three distinct parts. Cannon - alludes to the Royal Ordnance Factory Wheat sheaf - the farming traditions of Bishopton and Erskine Staff and serpent (single caduceus) alludes to the connection between our lodge and Erskine hospital for ex service men and women. It may symbolise the connection between the lodgeâ€™s first RWM Daniel Harper, his mother lodge being lodge Galen a lodge of chemists. It is also very similar to the crest of the Royal Army
Medical Corps, which use the same symbol. Those early years in Bishopton were happy with all the brethren striving to build up the lodge. Then in 1971 the brethren were informed that Bishopton church hall was to be sold, and the brethren were without a meeting place. Thankfully Lodge Inchinnan No. 1405 came to our rescue by allowing us the use of their very fine temple in Inchinnan. In October 1972 our first meeting in Inchinnan took place at this time Bro. Mervyn Spencer was RWM. The regular Lodge meetings were from then on, the second Thursday of every month. In 1985, the lodge of Erskine celebrated their 25th anniversary. The rededication ceremony was conducted by Bro. Alan G Hutton the PGM of RE and Bro. David Stark was the RWM. In 1997 the late Bro. Victor Petre became the first PM to take the chair for the second time. In October 1999 Bro. Robert Bell of Lodge Neptune No 419 became the first affiliate to take the chair of King Solomon. Throughout our short and brief history we have received much support from PGLRE where in the past Bro. J. Kinninmonth PM and Bro.K Ross PM served with distinction. Bro. G.A. Birkett PM until recently served as a member of PGLRE. Bro. John Kerr PM and Bro Andrew Greig continue with this tradition. We recently celebrated our 50th anniversary, with the rededication ceremony ably conducted by the RWPGM of Renfrewshire East Brother David Alexander Reid and Bro. Robert McPhee (BSc. MBCS) was the RWM of that year. Currently Bro. Dave Stark PM is our Almoner (and our 25th RWM) and our present IPM is Bro. Brian McFadyen PM. Taking the chair for 2015/16 is Bro. John
Hunter on October 3rd 2015. The Lodge of Erskine have two Substitute Provincial Grand Masters of Renfrewshire East: Bro. Dr. Iain McPhee PM and Bro. Robert M. McPhee PM (both blood brothers). Bro. Andy Greig PM, Bro. John Kerr PM and Bro. Ian Wood PM Sec serve in PGLRE also. The Lodge of Erskine Customs and Practices We can say that the influence of the Japanese is most apparent on our ritual from our first right worshipful master Bro. Daniel Harper. Just after the start of world war two Daniel was stationed in Hong Kong with the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was a member of a lodge in Hong Kong and his freemasonry was very important to him. After the fall of Hong Kong in December 1941 he was taken prisoner by the Japanese, and was interred for three years He was still working in the hospital in Hong Kong as a pharmacist during the occupation. He was forced to witness many acts of violence and he helped carry out many autopsies of prisoners who were tortured by the guards. He rarely spoke about the brutality he witnessed; however what we do know is that his experiences gave him a lifelong hatred of the Japanese soldiersâ€™ behaviour during the war. His daughter the Rev. Ann Harper tells us that Daniel was twice mentioned in dispatches and served his country with distinction. After the war ended brother Daniel continued to work in Erskine hospital as their pharmacist for the next 25 years. We now know that his experiences of the brutality of the Japanese 10
were fundamental in helping us understand the changes made in Erskine ritual. We know that the Japanese refused to acknowledge the Geneva Convention which allowed them to commit terrible acts of brutality in keeping prisoners from doing their duty and attempting to escape. These acts we understand shaped the thinking of our founder brothers in general, and Daniel in particular. We know that many of the founding members of Lodge Erskine were ex forces, several of them serving their country during the war. Some were held prisoner and the treatment of prisoners by the Japanese during world war two was particularly brutal. This was due to the way they themselves were trained and treated, (the Bushido code) however this does not necessarily excuse the cruelty of this regime. In these POW camps the treatment by guards left lasting impressions, ultimately shaping the Masonic ritual and the customs and practices of members of this fine lodge of ours. While Erskine masons stand at the opening and closing of their lodge, it is the usual custom that they remain seated throughout the entire degree, even during the obligation. We do not kiss the VSL, but salute in the manner prescribed by TLOE which is by cupping the thumb and fingers of the RH, placing them to the COTF and then returning them to the VSL. The Lodge of Erskine has a sword bearer; the ceremonial Japanese sword which is from Singapore is on display while the lodge is open, but is not used in the ritual. 11
Finally, a hood-wink is used by the Lodge of Erskine in the first degree only - but only partially. It is not used in the second or the third. We never use a cable tow in any of our ceremonies. To find out why, ask a member of the Lodge. It is only when we visit other lodges, and realise that other masons stand during obligations, or hear the ancient penalties delivered during the initiation of candidates that Erskine members discover just how unique their lodge is. We are rightly proud of our traditions; we celebrate our differences, and welcome all brothers to our meetings. All we ask is that anyone visiting us realises that we do not stand during the ritual, we do not discuss the ancient penalties and we do not kiss the VSL. These brief historical highlights can be spoken about with some more detail by many of our longest serving members and past masters. Our longest serving past masters include William Shackelton, Jim Kininmonth, Dave Stark and James Glen all of whom are able to add more detail to our colourful and interesting history.
© Copyright to The Lodge of Erskine 1566. By Dr. Iain McPhee PM (RWSPGM of R.E.) This remarkable History of The Lodge of Erskine 1566 was sourced from their website, which can be viewed by clicking here. Our thanks go to the Lodge No. 1566 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owner of this History. Brethren, Erskine hospital has been caring for veterans since 1916, “Honour the ones that didn’t come home. Help Erskine care for the ones that did.’ Please if you can, support the work they do. Visit their website by clicking onto this link, here.
Famous Freemasons ‘The Emir of Afghanistan (18721919)’
stay in India. The Amir arrived at the Indian Frontier at Landi Kotal on 2 January 1907, accompanied by a numerous retinue, which included escorts of infantry and cavalry. Then 34 years of age Habibullah had never before set foot outside his own country. He was, said Sir Henry, a man of very superior intellect and surprisingly, well informed on all general subjects. A few days after his arrival, he astonished Sir Henry McMahon by expressing a wish to become a Freemason, but not knowing his motives, Sir Henry gave him no encouragement. The Amir returned to the subject on several occasions without success. It was not until 22 January that Sir Henry realized how very much the Amir was in earnest when he had an urgent appeal for assistance in the matter on which had for a long time set his heart. He begged that it could be done; it should be without the knowledge of any of his staff or people.
A Royal Masonic Occasion (An Account of the entry of H M Habibullah Khan Amir of Afghanistan into Freemasonry) By Sir Henry McMahon.
H.M. Habibullah Khan became Amir of Afghanistan on his father's death on 3.10.1901 by primogeniture, 'first born'. The British Government in 1906 invited the Amir of Afghanistan to visit India and on his acceptance of the Invitation, Sir Arthur Henry McMahon, the Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan, was placed in charge of all matters connected with his
Why the Emir should want to become a Mason, or how he came to learn anything about Freemasonry, Sir Henry was never able to discover. All the Amir ever admitted was that he had met good men who were Masons. He knew Freemasonry to be a good thing and wanted to enter it and knew something about operative Masonry was evident from the facility with which he recognised the various Freemasons marks on the stones of the old Moghul Emperors’ tombs and places that they visited; such as those of the Emperor Akbar at Fattepur Sikri; of the Emperor Humayun at Delhi and others. The problem was one of extreme difficulty. The only Masonic Lodge in India which in 12
any way met the requirement of the case was one in Calcutta, Lodge Concordia No.3102, with a small but exclusive membership restricted to British Civil and Military Officers of high standing. The Amir and his retinue were to arrive in Calcutta in six day's time on 28 January, and were to stay there for only one week. If the Amir were to be made a Mason it could only be in Calcutta, and whatever Masonic work had to be done must be done at one and the same meeting. Apart from the Obligation of Secrecy, which it would be hard enough to ensure at even one visit to a Lodge, the crowded schedule of travelling and of official and social engagements made it impossible to fit in more than one Masonic meeting. In other words, if the Amir were to be made a Mason all three Degrees must be given to him at the same meeting 'on sight', and all Degrees must be waived. Only thirteen days were available to accomplish all this. Impossible as the matter seemed, Sir Henry was sufficiently impressed with the possible advantages of fulfilling the Amir’s wish, to make a very strenuous effort. Lord Kitchener at 33 was initiated in 1883 in La Concordia Lodge No.1226 Cairo, UGLE, In October 1902, Kitchener was posted to India as commander-in-chief of the army, where he remained from 1902 till 1909 and was almost immediately appointed District Grand Master of the Punjab. He began to practise what was by now a familiar pattern of active interest in Masonic affairs. In 1903 he joined Himalayan Brotherhood Lodge No. 459 in Simla. In the same year he became the senior Founder Member of Kitchener Lodge No. 2998, the first of the many 13
Lodges to which he was to give his name. In 1907 he attended a meeting of the namesake of his mother Lodge Concordia No. 3102, in Calcutta and agreed to assist at the initiation, passing and raising on the same day of His Majesty Habibullah Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan. Most fortunately, Kitchener was, at the time, District Grand Master of the Punjab. Sir Henry McMahon at once communicated to him the facts of the case, begging him to telegraph for an allembracing dispensation to meet the many requirements of the occasion, to the Grand Master, the Duke of Connaught, who happened to be on a visit to Ceylon. This he did forthwith, and at once came the reply, “I approve of the Amir receiving three Degrees and give dispensation. Welcome him into the Craft in the name of Connaught”.(Kitchener & Staff) With these difficulties removed the rest of Sir Henry’s task proved much easier. Getting into communication with the W. M. of Lodge Concordia, W Bro A. W. Dentith, he found him willing and eager to give all necessary assistance. It remained only to take every possible step to ensure absolute secrecy. W. Bro. Dentith called an emergency meeting of his Lodge for 2 February at 9.30pm, which notice was given by summons (handwritten), which he delivered by hand. To understand the vital importance of secrecy, it is necessary to remember that this was the very first occasion on which the ruler of Afghanistan had ever ventured to leave his country. He had done so against the wishes and advice of his bigoted advisors, who prophesised that nothing but evil could come of his association with foreign infidels, and that
his absence would give dangerous opportunities to ill-wishers to ferment conspiracy and trouble. It was, therefore, a matter of vital importance to prevent any knowledge of this present action from coming to the ears of his followers and then to the Afghan public. It would give his enemies at home a handle with which great harm could be done. Among the numerous public engagements, the Amir was accordingly arranged a dinner on 2 February with the Commander-in-Chief of India, Lord Kitchener. In the ordinary course when dining out the Amir was always accompanied by various members of his Afghan staff, but on this occasion the Amir, at the last moment, expressed a wish to go unaccompanied by any staff, as a special compliment to his friend, Lord Kitchener. Thus he and Sir Henry went alone. Immediately after dinner, at which only Lord Kitchener and his small personal staff were present, the party drove unobserved to the Masonic Hall Park Road. There Lodge Concordia were waiting to receive them, and the proceedings of the evening began forthwith. The Officers of the Lodge were:* W.M. W.Bro. A.W. Dentith, ICS. * S.W. W.Bro. Sir Andrew H.L. Fraser, KCSI *Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. *J.W. W.Bro. Sir Charles G.H. Allen, ICS *Chairman of the Calcutta Corporation. *Secretary The Ven. W.A.G. Luckman * Archdeacon of Calcutta. * Treasurer W.Bro. J.C.E. Branson, ICS * Accountant General of Bengal.
* Chaplain W.Bro. the Rev. Canon, T.E. Cole. * S.D. Bro.General Sir Ronald MacDonald KCIE * R.E., GOC, Presidency Brigade. * J.D. Bro.W.D.R. Prentice, ICS. * I.G. Bro.Major D. McCay, IMS. * Tyler Bro.Captain PGH Hogg, RE. The W.M. opened the Lodge at 9.45pm and then vacated the chair in favour of W. Bro. G. Lane Anderson the Deputy District Grand Master of Bengal. His Majesty Habibullah Khan Amir of Afghanistan was then proposed as a candidate for initiation by R.W. Bro. His Excellency Lord Kitchener, District Grand Master Punjab, (Commander-in-Chief India); seconded by R.W. Bro.Sir W. Burkitt, District Grand Master Bengal (Chief Justice of the United Provinces) and the ballot proved unanimous. The First, Second and Third Degrees were then conferred on the candidate in full (with the exception of the perambulations in the First and Second Degrees) by W. Bro. Lane Anderson, assisted by R.W. Bro. Lord Kitchener who gave portions of the First and Third Degrees. An unusual feature of the proceedings was the fact that the candidate expressed his unwillingness to take part in any portion of the ceremony until he clearly understood its nature. As his knowledge of the English language was very imperfect it was necessary to explain everything to him in his own language â€“ Persian. Knowing the likelihood of this, Sir Henry McMahon had volunteered to carry out the duties of Junior Deacon in the First Degree and of Senior Deacon in the Second and Third Degrees and throughout those ceremonies he had to carry out a running interpretation of each portion of the ritual in Persian, 14
which naturally lengthened the proceedings of the evening. This task, moreover, was not made lighter by Lord Kitchener, who, at the conclusion of the Third Degree, delivered a somewhat lengthy but impressive address on the value of Freemasonry, which also needed translating into Persian. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, which were conducted in a very impressive manner, the WM resumed the chair and in a few graceful words bade the Amir a warm welcome into Freemasonry and membership of the Lodge. The proceedings terminated at midnight when the Amir was introduced personally to the officers and members of the Lodge, among whom the following were present:Sir James Meston, KCSI (later Lord Meston of Agra and Dunotter) (Financial Secretary to the Government of India). Col C.D. Phillpot, (Secretary to the Board of Examiners). Sir Robert Holland , KCIE, ICS, who took his departure and returned to Lord Kitchener’s house whence Sir Henry McMahon, at a later hour, escorted him home. To mark his gratitude to Lodge Concordia, the Amir presented the Lodge with a very handsome silver cup, the copy of the Koran on which he took his Obligations is now in the library of the United Grand Lodge of England. Sir Henry McMahon recorded that so successful proved the measures taken to ensure security, that notwithstanding the curiosity of the Amir’s own following, and the strong searchlight of the public and press which played on every action or movement of the Amir’s during his visit to India, no knowledge of his Masonic 15
episode ever came to light until after his return to Afghanistan. Then, from some unknown source, rumours of the Amir having become a Freemason began to spread, and the fanatical Mullahs of the country seized upon them for the purposes of trouble. On this coming to the Amir’s knowledge he summoned the leading Mullahs to appear, and at a public Durbar informed all present that he was not only a Freemason but proud of being one; that he had become one to the benefit of his country and that if ever a Mullah were found to criticize his action in this matter he would pay for it with his head. Sir Henry McMahon stressed that he could not conclude the historic account of the Amir’s entry into Freemasonry without recording the important consequences of it. That the Amir was profoundly impressed by Freemasonry became very evident to Sir Henry McMahon from the frequency with which, whenever they were alone together, the Amir kept harking back to the Masonic evening in Calcutta – to the various portions of the Ceremony and to what had been therein communicated to him. Friendly and cordial as became his feeling toward British people during his intercourse with them, a feeling which grew deeper and stronger each day of his stay in India, Sir Henry McMahon regarded it of far less importance than the sense of confidence and trust in us that gradually grew up in his mind and which he carried away with him to Afghanistan. Sir Henry was convinced that experience of Freemasonry played small part in creating that trust preserving it unweakened through years to come.
his no and the
Among his last words to Sir Henry on leaving India was the expression of a solemn vow to prove a faithful friend of England as long as England kept faith with him. How loyally he kept his word was proved throughout the Great War of 191418, when time after time missions were sent to Cabul from Turkey and Germany offering him alluring temptations of territory and power if he would only take their (the winning) aside against us in the war. Not only did he hold out loyally against temptation, but, thanks to his firm hand on his country and the border tribes, the North West Frontier of India enjoyed complete peace throughout the war; so much so that Britain was able to denude British India of British and Indian forces and to send them to the other fields of war.The value of this to us was incalculable, as was soon proved when, within a few weeks of the end of the Great War, our loyal friend and ally was struck down by the hand of a cowardly assassin; the firm hand that had kept peace on our frontier was removed; Afghanistan feuded against us and British troops were sent rushing back in great strength to India. If this had been necessary during the war, the history of that war might have been changed. The faithful friendship of his Majesty Habibullah Khan Amir of Afghanistan was by no means an unimportant factor in the successful issue of the war, and it is pleasant to think that Freemasonry played its part in creating and cementing the friendship that led to that result. Footnote: Lodge Concordia No 3102 now meets in London. Cabul is now spelt Kabul. This article written in 1936 is assessable on numerous sites on the internet and is easily available from them.
Placement of the Ashlars in the Lodge-Room In the approved ritual of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria (Australia), when the entered apprentice is placed in the northeast corner of the Lodge he is requested to step-up to the pavement with both feet placed firmly together, with a corresponding procedure for the south-east corner for a fellow-craft. However in the English Emulation ritual an entered apprentice is placed in the north-east corner of the Lodge for the North-East Charge with his feet in the form of a square. “…Left foot across the Lodge, right foot down the Lodge…” Symbolically the feet are placed in this position to represent one foot still in darkness (north) and one foot in the “Light” (east). Similarly a fellow-craft is placed in the south-east corner again with his feet in the form of a square, “…Right foot across the Lodge, left down the Lodge. A tradition in many English Lodges, which appears to have developed in the mid 1700’s, was for the ashlars to be placed at the corners of the lodge pavement; the rough ashlar placed in the north-east corner and the smooth or perfect ashlar placed in the south-east corner of the checked pavement. When the entered apprentice is told in the north-east charge that; “...you are now placed in the north-east part of the Lodge figuratively to represent that stone and on the foundation laid this evening may you raise a superstructure perfect in all its parts…” it has a far greater 16
resonance when he is standing with his feet in the form of a square either side of the rough ashlar. The entered apprentice just has to glance down at his feet during this point in the north-east charge to see the actually first rough foundation stone laid in his KST. Similarly in the south-east charge the fellow-craft is told he is placed in the south-east part of the Lodge to mark the progress he has made in the science, again the message and symbolism reinforced by the placement of the perfect ashlar in that part of the pavement. Interesting in the neighbouring Masonic jurisdiction of Tasmania the entered apprentice, when being placed in the northeast part of the lodge, is instructed to place his feet in the form of a square – around the rough ashlar that had been discreetly placed in the appropriate place whilst everyone’s attention was on the senior warden and the investiture of the apron. (The ashlar was again discreetly removed as the ceremony moved on from the northeast charge.) This would appear to be an eminently practical way of creating the full symbolism of the north-east and south-east charges without the “inconvenience” of having the ashlar sitting on the pavement for the entire lodge meeting. And what of the third ashlar, the perfect ashlar suspended by the Lewis, the suspended ashlar. This ashlar today is found all too often in a crumpled heap in a back corner of the lodge, or an adjoining convenient room, whereas it once stood proudly in the south-west corner of the pavement (thus forming a right angle triangle when all 3 ashlars are placed in their respective positions on the pavement). 17
So consider this thought, for if the rough ashlar is symbolic of the entered apprentice and the smooth ashlar representative of the fellow-craft, then perhaps the suspended ashlar is representative of the Master Mason - a perfect cube suspended in time & space supported by the lessons of Freemasonry – Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth (3 Ashlars – 3 Degrees). Ref: Emulation ritual & H. Carr – The Freemason at Work Sourced from Thought for the Enquiring Mason – July 2015.
CORN Corn is the recognised symbol of regenerated life and has been used in the Mystery system from remote antiquity. In the Egyptian rituals the candidate, holding an “ ear of corn” fertilised by the sacred water of the Nile, declared; “I am a germ of eternity”, while at his death grains of corn were buried with him as emblems immortality. The advanced initiation rites, or Greater Mysteries, at Elusius were sacred to Ceres and an “ear of corn” was presented to the candidate. In entrusting the candidate with the P.W. which is emblematically “depicted in our Lodges’ by an ear of corn near to a fall of water,” we are perpetuating a sacred practice of an extreme age. Why, it may be asked , was corn used in preference to any other plant as the symbol of soul growth? The actual source of corn has always puzzled botanists; it is never found, like other cereals, in the wild state. It is traditionally taught that this golden, graceful, prolific and needful plant was
never a growth of this earth, but was a gift of the Gods, who in the dawn of time transported it to our world from another planet with the double purpose of providing the staple food of humanity, and giving man an emblem of his own soul. So, too, with the human soul; like the corn it is not indigenous to this time-world but is a native of eternity, whence it has become transported and sown as bare grain in the patch of earth which constitutes the individual human body. There, like the seed of corn, it is subjected to the painful process of disintegration, dying and rising again, but multiplied exceedingly as a result of the trying experience. The Scriptures bear witness to the ancient doctrine; “ He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”( Psalm 126:6). When the Consecrating Officer scatters corn to the four quarters, he is performing a profoundly sacramental act for the instruction of the Founders. He is emulating in miniature the cosmic activity of the Great Sower of the Universe who continually goes forth sowing souls in space, like grain, which fall into natural bodies that they may grow and finally be raised there from into spiritual bodies. This will likewise explain why in the Craft today, as in the Ancient Mysteries, there is presented to the Candidate at this (ie. The F.C. Degree) stage in his progress the “Time Immemorial” emblem. The Candidate can now, so to speak, think of himself as a growing ear of wheat destined to ripen in due time into abundant corn that will sustain him, and haply, serve as the “bread of life” to others .
Rays of Masonry “Persecution” No Mason can assume a passive attitude in regard to persecution. Remove Justice from the Temple of Masonry and you have left only the wreck of a building. And persecution is never justifiable. Persecution is the weapon of the brutal individual or mob, used as a screen to obscure their weaknesses. Speculative Masonry as we think of it since the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 set forth in no indefinite language the stand of Masonry against religious intolerance. No longer was religion to be the barrier that separated men; that kept men from being brothers. Now, men of all religions could meet at the altar, which was the "centre of union" and each could worship God in his own way. The minor differences in belief were not as important as the truth of the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man. The universal spirit of man's dependence on man was indefinitely more important than controversial dogma. Reason ruled over traditional emotions. Masonry had no new religion to offer. It only prepared anew the ground for the more abundant growth of truths that have existed since time. What is the spirit behind the determination of Masons to perpetuate the principles of Freemasonry? It is a protective spirit. Masonry knows that at various times in each generation the ugly face of tyranny will show itself and that the peace-loving will be persecuted. And so Masons are willing to patiently attend at the Holy Altar of Liberty, and Justice so that these immortal ideals may live forever in the Dewey Wollstein 1953. hearts of men.
Article by W.Bro C.A. Wild.
''We don't. We have them beaten seven ways," returned the Old Tiler, puzzled. "Our old jewels are beautiful in themselves, and are hallowed with age and memories. " "Don't you believe in lodges making progress and getting new things? Can't we outgrow our temple?" asked the New Brother.
The Hallowed Old
Old Tiler, let's start a campaign to buy new jewels and furniture." "I have heard that before," answered the Old Tiler to the New Brother. "What's the matter with our jewels and our furniture?" "So old-fashioned!" returned the New Brother, disgustedly. "I visited Corinth Lodge last night, in their beautiful new temple. All new paint, new mahogany furniture, new leather, bright and shining new jewels and all. It rather made me ashamed of our outfit." "But Corinth is a new lodge," protested the Old Tiler. "And this is an old one," retorted the New Brother. "Why should we let the new lodge beat us?'' 19
"We can. I doubt if we have. But a new temple is one thing, and new fittings quite another. The only beauty in modern fittings is their newness. There is no musk of age about them; no feeling of these having watched Masonic sights which have been worth seeing. We may have a new temple someday but when we give up our hundred-year-old Master's chair and the crude jewels our officers have worn for more than a hundred and twenty years I want to see it from the Great Beyond." "Well - I never thought of it that way. "You are not the only one," retorted the Old Tiler. "Let me tell you a little story. In 1789, 1 think it was, a lodge in Trenton, N. J. - Trenton No. 5 - built a temple. It is two stories high. Below is one big room, probably a refreshment room. Above is a lodge room. Atop that, an attic. Built of stone it was, and built to last. "Trenton Lodge grew much too big for the little lodge room. In 1867 the old building became a school. Later it was used for commercial purposes. The brethren of Trenton Lodge, in those days, were too close to their old home to know what they were doing to it. They let it go. "Years passed, and sentiment grew. Trenton began to make parks and change
its streets. The old Masonic building was to be torn down to make room for a street. By now sentiment was all to the fore. So the Grand Lodge picked up the old building, lock, stock and barrel, and moved it to land it owned, and laid another cornerstone with impressive ceremonies in 1915. Now the old building is a house of Masonic and patriotic relics, carefully and lovingly restored. Much of the old furniture was recovered. The East, a niche in the wall, had been boarded up to make a square room. That sacrilege was removed. The ceiling had been papered; when it was depapered, they found a sculptured sun, with radiating rays, directly above the Altar and seven stars, and moon. They have been lovingly restored. "Lafayette and Washington trod the boards in that floor. The old building was made when memories of Washington crossing the Delaware were fresh. The old jewels of the lodge are carefully preserved. If you were a member of Trenton Lodge No. 5, would you want to see all this thrown away for a new outfit?" ''Well, er - no. But does Trenton Lodge meet there?" "No. They meet in a new temple immediately adjacent to the present site of the old building. Trenton Lodge has a vast pride in this ancient possession; it is a Mecca for the visiting Mason. Perhaps our old lodge will become such someday.
believe in progress, in comfortable meeting places and settings worthy of Masonry. But let us not discard the old merely because it is old. Let us cherish the hallowed old; when great history, patriotism, sacrifices, accomplishments arc woven into the old, then should we cherish them. "Such a lodge is this lodge. To wear the jewel a hundred Masters have worn is an infinitely prouder joy than to wear for the first time the newest and most elaborate jewel. To take an obligation on a Bible on which thousands have been obligated is holier, though not more binding, than to do so on a new Book. "Let us have a new temple when we must; let us even have new carpets and new lights. But let us keep our old and timeworn jewels; let us stick to our old Bible; let us keep our memories and those objects around which memories cling, for of such stuff are the dreams of men. When a man thus dreams, his Freemasonry touches the heart because it comes from the heart." "You ought to have been - why, Old Tiler, you are a poet!" cried the New Brother. "Humph!" snorted the Old Tiler. But lie fingered his old sword, not unpleased. This is the sixtieth article in this regular feature, â€˜The Old Tiler Talks,â€™ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
"I am in old man, and I love old things. I try to be progressive; I am accustomed to electric lights and steam-heat. But I could never be reconciled to diamond-set jewels for Master and Wardens. The Bible on the Altar our first Master gave us four generations ago is hallowed to me. I 20
The Masterâ€™s Wages It is rewarding to know that we as Freemasons can answer the question as to what induced us to become Master Masons, and one answer, of course, is to receive Master's Wages. Our Operative Brethren received their Master's Wages in coin of the realm. Speculatives content themselves with intangible wages, and occasionally some are hard pressed to explain to the wondering initiate just what, in this practical age, a "Master's Wages" really are. The wages of a Master may be classified under two heads: first, those inalienable rights which every Freemason enjoys as a result of payment of fees, initiation and the payment of annual dues to his Lodge; second, those more precious privileges which are his if he will but stretch out his hand to take. The first right of which any initiate is conscious is that of passing the Tyler and attending his Lodge, instead of being conducted through the West Gate as a preliminary step to initiation. For a time this right of mingling with his new brethren is so engrossing that he looks no further for his Master's Wages. Later he learns that he has also the right of visitation in other Lodges, even though it is a "right" hedged about with restrictions. He must be in good standing to exercise it . Generally this right of visiting other Lodges is a very real part of what may be 21
termed his concrete Master's Wages, and many are the Freemasons who find in it a cure for loneliness in strange places; who think of the opportunity to find a welcome and friends, where otherwise they would be alone, as wages of substantial character. The opportunities to see and hear the beautiful ceremonies of Freemasonry, to take from them again and again a new thought, are wages not to be lightly received. For him with the open ears and the inquiring mind, the degrees lead to a new world, since familiarity with ritual provides the key by which he may read an endless stream of books about Freemasonry. "Master's Wages" are paid in acquaintance. Unless a newly made Master Mason is so shy and retiring that he seeks the farthest corner of his Lodge-room, there to sit shrinking into himself, inevitably he will become acquainted with many men of many minds, always an interesting addition to the joy of life. What he does with his acquaintances is another story, but at least wages are there, waiting for him. No honest man becomes a Freemason thinking to ask the Craft for relief. Yet the consciousness that poor is the Lodge and sodden the hearts of the brethren thereof from which relief will not be forthcoming if the need is bitter, is wages from which much comfort may be taken. Freemasonry is not, per Se, a relief organisation It does not exist merely for the purpose of dispensing charity. Nor has it great funds with which to work its gentle ministrations to the poor. Fees are modest; dues often are too small, rather than too large. Yet, for the Brother down and out, who has no fuel for the fire,
no food for his hungry children, whom sudden disaster threatens, the strong arm of the fraternity stretches forth to push back the danger. The cold are warmed, the hungry fed, the naked clothed, the jobless given work, the discouraged heartened. "Master's Wages" surely far greater than the effort put forth to earn them. Freemasonry is strong in defence of the helpless. The widow and the orphan need ask but once to receive her bounty. All Brethren hope to support their own, provide for their loved ones, but misfortune comes to the just and the unjust alike. To be one of a world-wide Brotherhood on which widow and child may call is of untold comfort, "Master's Wages" more precious than coin of gold. Finally, it is the right of Mason's burial. At home or abroad a Freemason, known to desire it, is followed to his last home by sorrowing Brethren who lay him away under the apron of the Craft and the sprig of Acacia of immortal hope. This, too, is "Wages of a Master". "Pay the Craft their Wages, if any be due." To some the practical wages mentioned are the important payments for a Freemason's work. To others, the more tangible but none the less beloved opportunities to give, rather than to get, are the "Master's Wages" which count the most. Great among these is the Craft's opportunity for service. The world is full of chances to do for others, and no man need apply to a Masonic Lodge only because he wants a chance to "do unto others as he would that others do unto him". But Freemasonry offers peculiar opportunities to unusual talents which are not always found in the profane world.
There is always something to do in a Lodge. There are always committees to be served and committee work is usually thankless work. He who cannot find his payment in his satisfaction of a task well done will receive no "Master's Wages" for his labours on Lodge committees. There are Brethren to be taught. Learning all the "work" is a man's task, not to be accomplished in a hurry. Yet it is worth the doing, and in instructing officers and candidates many a Mason has found a quiet joy which is "Master's Wages" pressed down and running over. Service leads to the possibility of appointment or election to the line of officers. There is little use to speak of the "Master's Wages" this opportunity pays, because only those who have occupied the Oriental Chair know what they are. The outer evidence of the experience may be told, but the inner spiritual experience is untellable because the words have not been invented. But Past Masters know! To them is issued a special coinage of "Master's Wages" which only a Worshipful Master may earn. Ask any of them if they were not well paid for the labour. If practical "Master's Wages" are acquaintance in Lodge, the enjoyment of fellowship, merged into friendship, is the same payment in a larger form, Difficult to describe, the sense of being one of a group, the solidarity of the circle which is the Lodge, provides a satisfaction and pleasure impossible to describe as it is clearly to be felt. It is interesting to meet many men of many walks of life; it is heart-warming continually to meet the same group, always with the same feeling of equality. High and low, rich and poor, merchant and farmer, banker and fisherman, doctor and ditch22
digger, meet on the level, and find it happy - "Master's Wages", value untranslatable into money. Finally - and best - is the making of many friends. Thousands of Brethren count their nearest and dearest friends on the rolls of the Lodge they love and serve. The Mystic Tie makes for friendship. It attracts man to man and often draws together "those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance". The teachings of brotherly love, relief and truth; of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice; the inculcation of patriotism and love of country, we everyday experience in a Masonic Lodge. When men speak freely those thoughts which, in the world without, they keep silent, friendships are formed. Count gain for work well done in what coin seems most valuable; the dearest of the intangibles which come to any Master Mason are those Masonic friendships of which there are no greater "Master's Wages". Article By William Sinclair MacTavish and sourced from the Freemasonsindia web site.
OUR PERSONAL TEMPLE The Master hidden in the heart of man Ceaselessly waits his chance to manifest If on our temple gates we place a ban Whate'er we miss is at our own behest. â€œBehold I stand at each one's door and knock, I wait to show each one the better way. But if the gates at East, North, South you lock, No light can come to turn your night to day.â€? 23
DID YOU KNOW? Question: The explanations of the Second Tracing Board in many different workings describe the Pillars enriched with network, lily-work, etc. Later they say: They [i.e. the Pillars] were considered finished when the network or canopy was thrown over them. Two questions arise out of this passage: (1) What does the final word `them' refer to? (a) The two pillars complete, in toto, or (b) The globes with which the pillars were adorned? (2) Do the two references to network relate to the same thing or to different things? In replying to this, will you consider the Biblical references, and also the suggestion (in the Trans. of the Leics. L. of Research, 1956 - 7, p. 39) that they were simply designed as protection against birds? Answer: Your questions are more difficult than you imagine. But, first, let it be clear that the ritual quotation is not Biblical; it is a piece of ritual embroidery expressing only the ideas of the author of that part of the ritual. It follows that we are not bound to explain the Biblical text to suit the quotation, but only according to the words of Holy Writ. Unfortunately, the latter are somewhat obscure and the renderings into English are not always precise. The relevant passages
are in I Kings, VII, verses 17 - 20, 41, 42, and in Jeremiah LII, verses 22, 23. I have already indicated (in the article on `Pillars and Globes', etc., AQC 75, pp. 206 - 7) that we cannot be entirely sure, from the text, whether the pillars were surmounted only with bowl-shaped chapiters, or whether they had additional bowls or globes above the chapiters. Generally, I believe that the accepted view is that the pillars were surmounted by two `features', (a) chapiters, and (b) `globes or bowls'. (The reasons for reopening this part of the problem will appear below.) Now let us turn to your Q.2. There was only one kind of `Network' (which should not be confused with the seven festoons of `chains' on each pillar). What the `Networks' were intended for is a puzzle, but Hebrew scholars, ancient and modern, are agreed that their purpose was decorative; there is no suggestion of a utilitarian purpose. (I have seen them drawn as rigid metal `grilles', such as might be used to protect a jeweller's window!) The Hebrew word has several meanings, all suggestive of `interlacing', i.e., network, lattice-work, grille or grating, chequerwork or mesh. Rashi and Kimchi, two famous medieval commentators, agreed that the chequer-work was formed `like palm-branches', implying a kind of angular mesh or trellis-work; and the Geneva Bible speaks of `grates', suggesting flat, rigid grilles. Rashi adds that they were `shaped like a ball', which also implies a rigid grille designed to enclose the globe completely. Dr. Herz, the late Chief Rabbi, who was a great scholar, stated in his commentary that `the capitals were decorated with tracery', and he identifies the `Networks' with
tracery. The Geneva Bible (I Kings, vii, 17) says `Hee made grates like networke, . . .' and shows an illustration of one of the pillars surmounted by a globe, which is covered with inter-laced metal strap-work or chequer-work, so as to appear almost as though the patterns had been carved in low relief. This would seem to agree with Rashi's idea of a net or grille fitting closely over the `globe'. Now you may see why I reopened the `bowls or globes' question at the beginning of this long and complex problem. The nature of the `Networks' would depend very much on the objects they were intended to cover. If the crown of the pillar was a bowl, it could be covered with a rigid grate, or a pliable `Network'. If it was a globe, any kind of rigid grille would have had to be attached, either to the pillar or to the globe itself; but a pliable mesh might have been used without any such fixing. I do not believe anyone can be sure of the answer to these questions. My own view is that the `Networks' were of some sort of pliable mesh, and this is largely based on the details of the rows of pomegranate decorations which were attached to them. I think we are all agreed that the `Networks' or `grilles', whatever they were, were designed only as a decoration for the upper part of the pillars, and that they did not cover the pillars down to the ground. The Leicester suggestion, that the `Networks' were simply a protection from birds, may be a valid one, but I am inclined to doubt it. The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
How Ancient is the Craft? Freemasonry is full of claims of ancient origins. It relates stories about Biblical personages going back to Adam and Noah being founders of the craft. All very picturesque, but unfortunately the stories are full of problems. They do not hang together: we would have expected a Masonic redactor to have made the material consistent. They mispronounce the Hebrew names and words. They often embellish the Biblical text with ideas and interpretations whose sources are not easy to identify. However, the real problem is deeper. Is Masonry really as ancient as all that? In either its operative or its speculative dimension, can it really be traced back to the earliest period of human history? Countless historians or quasi-historians, in search of a story that never happened, think they can find hints of Freemasonry in Scriptural texts (in another article I might have committed the same misdemeanour when I analysed Hebraic references to building in both a literal and a metaphorical sense). Others try to link the craft to the many esoteric groups, gnostics and others, which delved into the secrets of creation and the world, and denied their findings to the uninitiated outsider. Noone, as far as I can see, has succeeded in producing a totally convincing argument. There are so many gaps in the story that one wonders whether there are not several stories, all fascinating and attractive, but separate and unconnected, and often the product of pious imagination. 25
A major difficulty is why some Masonic historians tend to use tunnel vision, implying that only an insider can know the story and that “outsiders” cannot possibly understand, especially when the latter use the acknowledged tools of credible historical research work which by definition see a story within a wider frame of reference. The “outsiders” soon see that the movement developed its own legend, its own romantic self-image. There are Masonic scholars who are prepared to admit that the traditional myth is full of holes and gaps and fails to explain all the stages, factors and links. But it does not stop the ritual continuing to purvey a picture that is more fable than fact. Yet we are in a position to draw the likely story in broad outline. It acknowledges theories of ancient and medieval links but views them not as proven origins but as a story put together after the event to make the movement sound more credible, like the polite fiction that ascribes British legal institutions to the time of William the Conqueror. In other words, it is not that first came the origins and then grew the movement, but first came the movement and then came the story. The real forces that moulded Freemasonry were not Adam and Eve but a complex of political, social and ideational factors at the beginning of the modern age of European history. What may have happened is the following: 1. Medieval guilds included teams of masons working on European castles and cathedrals (possibly also in England). Because the building projects took years, they got to know each other well. Their work was far away from home and they lodged on site. They worked from dawn to dusk and after hours shared stories and experiences. They were not highly
educated but had ideas and ethics which they took very seriously. Their camaraderie was a closed shop which carefully guarded its membership and secrets. But by early modernity the guilds were weakening. The vast building projects were coming to an end, commercial and industrial changes were on the way, they needed an inflow of money and personnel, and they were prepared to admit honorary members who were not active or operative craftsmen but thinkers interested in the symbolism of the masons’ work. 2. In Scotland and later England, the Enlightenment was producing gentlemen’s groups that met for civilised conversation and covert scientific experiment. Their clubs needed a principle of organisation which would allow them to control their membership and maintain their secrecy. The guilds seemed a suitable model. 3. Some club members infiltrated the masons’ groups and in time dominated them, turning them into what we call today philosophers’ cafes. 4. Their models were building guilds because architecture was a highly popular study (another chapter asks why they did not become, say, speculative surgeons). 5. This did not happen in isolation, but we are not sure about the links with labour history and the history of the Enlightenment. Research is needed into the links with other fraternities and secret societies and the question of how and why Freemasonry was so durable. 6. The operative masons were, by definition, Christian believers (Jews were excluded), but in the Enlightenment nondenominational Christianity and later a generalised form of religion could allow the speculative movement to be religious
without being a religion and to admit, though not everywhere, Jewish members. 7. Some Freemasons were high-minded thinkers to whom the new movement had an intellectual, spiritual and ethical appeal; others could well have had personal ambitions to follow and/or thought Freemasonry would enable them to reshape political structures. As a result the movement developed a convention that (denominational) religion and politics were excluded from Lodge meetings. 8. As a general principle, women were excluded. Courageous though many Masons were, they were not yet ready to challenge the gender mores of society. Separate Masonic institutions were created for women in some places and there was eventually an attempt at co-Masonry. These aspects add a further theme for research, i.e. the links between Freemasonry and social and gender history. 9. The movement first spread in Scotland, spread southwards into England and before long infiltrated the Continent, though it took a somewhat different form in each place, suggesting the need to research the link between the craft and the political and cultural history of each country. Though this sequence of events needs much more examination, it clearly dismisses the legend of ancient Biblical origins, which was probably deliberately constructed to endow the movement with status and self-respect and, in an age when the study of history was becoming more sophisticated, to anchor it in pre-history and tradition. 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.
KIRKWALL SCROLL Part FIVE As I said before let us see what Andrew Sinclair in his book “The secret Scroll” writes about the symbols.
But let us look at the symbols and see what they are; (A) the three Royal Arches, all three are different, this maybe as we read in the Bible there are three Arks: Noah's Ark, the Ark of Moses, and the Ark of the Covenant.
A. The Royal Arches. B. The Temple Lamb and Flag. C. The two Cherubim above the Ark. D. The Serpent on the Cross. E. The Ten Commandments. F. The Triple Tau Cross. G. The Tabernacle of the Holy of Holies. H. King and Priest, Melchizedek. I. The St Clair and mariners ship seal. J. Two sea dragons worshipping the Serpent on the cross in the disc of the Sun. K. The Ark of Noah and Moses. L. Two Hands. Now when I look to this and read the Rituals of The Royal Ark Mariners degree, the only symbols that can be from the Ritual are; A. The Royal Arches. G. The Tabernacle of the Holy of Holies. K. The Ark of Noah and Moses. L. The hands. The Lodge layout is in a Triangular form, there is porphyry stone as an altar, a small V.S.L. but not open. The working tools are axe, saw and auger, there is no lighted candle. The Wardens names are; S.W. Son Japheth, J.W. is Son Shem and the Wor. Master is Noah. The hands can be the grip. 27
(B) The Temple Lamb and Flag are symbols from the Knights Templar. In the middle we find two figures forming an arch with their hands (C), and on the other side the Ten Commandments (E). This to me is part of the York Rite, the Royal Arch seventh degree. (D) The Serpent on the Cross. The gruesome symbol of a crucified serpent is an old alchemical drawing representing the “fixing of the volatile,” or, making the
elixir of mercury, a legendary curative, by removing the ‘volatile’ or poisonous element. The picture is derived from the biblical story of Moses, who erected a brazen snake as a charm against the plague. The most popular explanation however, is from the story of the Israelites who, whilst crossing the desert, began complaining against God and the prophet Moses. God punished the people by sending serpents among them and many were bitten and died before Moses interceded by praying to God to forgive them. God instructed Moses to raise a venomous snake on a staff and all the wounded Israelites who looked on it were immediately healed. (F) The Triple Tau Cross symbol is in this form and is used in the Holy Royal Arch Chapter. Esoterically, the Tau represents a gate or opening, symbolic death. Here we see together seven Tau symbols, are they the seven gates we have to go through? It can also be a Triple Cross; this is a symbol used in the Knights Templar (KT’s) and the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest (KTP), and the Royal Order of the red branch of Eri. Sometimes this Cross is referring to the Tree of Live. (H) King and Priest, Melchizedek. We only hear of this person in the Masonic Orders, such as Knights Templar, Knight Templar Priest, Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD), and Scottish Rite. Melchizedek has no part in the Ritual or legends of the Craft Masonry. The Orders of the Priesthood of Melchizedek were know around 1770 – 1780 in Central Europe.
(J) Two sea dragons worshipping the Serpent on the cross in the disc of the Sun. I cannot find anything in the Rituals reference this symbol. But when we look to the (I) picture, the St Clair and mariner’s ship seal, and that St Clair was the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, that operative masons who worked on the Rosslyn Chapel were dispersed from the village of Roslin and where later found in the Lodge of Aberdeen, we find on a pillar in that Chapel eight dragons, called the Neifillim by the Scandinavians also the boats of the Norse has a figurehead of a dragon. They may have used this for the connection between St Clair and the Masons Lodge, in (L) we see two hands together, and this is symbolic of friendship or brotherhood (K) The Ark of Noah and Moses. The Ark is the symbol of Hope or eternal life, and an emblem of the concealed, tiled, guarded and safe place where the bonds which united the brethren were secretly and sacredly preserved. We see here again that the symbols pictured here are found back in many different Orders which were founded after 1717. So now let us look at the next picture on the scroll. (next page) In this picture we see the plan of the Temple of Solomon. The Tabernacle was in two parts; The Outer Courtyard and the Holy Place which also contained the Holy of Holies. In the Holy Place was the table of Shewbread the Seven arm candlestick and the Golden Altar. In the Holy of Holies’, the Ark of Covenant. 28
It is remarkable that when we look to the ground plan of the Rosslyn chapel, we find the same pattern back. So is there a resemblance between the two? Next month we look further on this picture.
THE EMBLEMS OF FREEMASONRY The First Degree Harmony As one of the purposes of Freemasonry is to cultivate the social virtues, the brethren may adjourn at all reasonable times from labour to refreshment. One of the Ancient Charges set out that after the Lodge was over, and the brethren not gone, they might enjoy themselves with innocent mirth, treating one another according to ability, but avoiding all excess, or forcing any brother to eat or drink beyond his inclination, or hindering him from going when his occasions call him, or doing or saying anything offensive, or that may forbid an easy and free conversation; for that would blast the harmony, and defeat the laudable purposes of Freemasonry. Private quarrels must not therefore, be brought within the door of the Lodge, nor must there be any disputes about religion or politics. The following very estimable Sentiments are culled from a List of Toasts that found favour with the Fraternity in the merry days of old May every Brother have a heart to feel and a hand to give. May no Freemason desire plenty but with the benevolent view to relieve the indigent. May we be more ready to correct our own faults than to publish the errors of the Brethren. May all Freemasons go hand-in-hand on the road of virtue. May honour and honesty distinguish the Brethren. May all Freemasons live in love and die in peace. May every Freemason be distinguished by the internal ornament of the upright heart. May Freemasons ever taste and relish the sweets of domestic affection. May every Freemason find constancy in love, and sincerity in friendship. May temptation never conquer a Freemason’s virtue. May bur conversation be such as that youth may therein find instruction, women modesty, the aged respect, and all men civility. Masonic Festivals The two Red Letter Days in the Masonic Calendar are Midsummer Day and 27th December. The former is dedicated to the memory of St. John the Baptist, and the latter to St. John the Evangelist, both of whom were Patrons of Free- masonry and constitute the two Grand Parallels. These days are generally regarded as fit seasons for “Harmony,” and afford opportunities to Brethren to cultivate the social virtues. The Wind of Masonry. The wind is said to blow favourably in Masonry when it is due East or West, The purpose is to cool and refresh men at labour, and it alludes to the miracu- lous wind which proved so 30
essential in working the happy deliverance of the Children of Israel from the bondage of the Pharaohs, In commemoration of their safe passage across the Red Sea, Moses and the Israelites went several days journey into the wilderness, singing hymns, praises and thanksgivings to the Almighty, since which time the wind when blowing East or West has been deemed favourable to Freemasonry. The Sun In Masonry. The Sun is said always to be at its meridian in Freemasonry, and when a Brother is asked to explain such a statement he replies that, as the Sun is the centre of our solar system, with the Earth constantly revolving on its axis around it, and Freemasonry is universally spread over the surface of the globe, the Sun is always at its meridian at some point as regards the operations of Freemasonry. The Sun never sets on the ancient Craft. Clothing. The Freemason is regarded as “clothed” when he assumes the Apron. Grand Lodge recognises as full Masonic costume, black clothing, with white tie and gloves, but at Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge, at Meetings of Provincial and District Grand Lodges and daughter Lodges, brethren may wear dark clothes and black ties. No clothing nor insignia purporting to be Masonic may be worn in Grand Lodge or in any subordinate Lodge, except that appertaining to Craft Masonry, which alone is recognised and acknowledged.
This monthly feature is taken from William Harvey’s book, “The Emblems of Freemasonry” 1918.
This now concludes The First Degree emblems from William Harvey’s book. In the next issue we will start the second part of the book – The Second Degree Emblems.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor
The Monthly Masonic Magazine of Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76.