Contents Cover Story, The Symbolism of Christmas A Freemason’s Christmas Wish Famous Freemason – Tommy Douglas Apron Flap up, Corner up? The Skull and Bones Society Operative Lodge of Airdrie No. 203. Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Due Trial and a Strict Examination You Called me Brother The Throne of Solomon The Masonic Dictionary Main Website – The Three Supporting Pillars of a Lodge
In this issue: Page 2, ‘The Symbolism of Christmas.’ Two articles looking at the spirit of Christmas and Freemasonry. Page 5, ‘A Freemason’s Christmas Wish.’ A Poem. Page 6, ‘Tommy Douglas.’ A Famous Freemason. Page 9, ‘The Skull and Bones Society.’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World. Page 11, ‘Did You Know?.’ Apron Flap up, Corner up? Page 13, ‘Operative Lodge of Airdrie No. 203.’ Another History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 18, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Just a Dream”, our Regular monthly feature. Page 18, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Inviolable”, the thirty ninth in the series from Carl Claudy. Page 20, ‘Due Trial and a Strict Examination.’ Testing a visiting Brother. Page 22, ‘You called me Brother.’ The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 25, ‘The Throne of Solomon.’ A description of King Solomon’s Throne. Page 26, ‘The Masonic Dictionary.’ Pomegranate.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘The Three Supporting Pillars of a Lodge’ wisdom, strength and beauty. [link] The front cover artwork was created by the Editor using PSP7.
THE SYMBOLISM OF CHRISTMAS dedicates this season to good will and peace on earth. To the children it is the time of gifts and family affection. To many it is a time of feverish buying and an attempt to make up, in a few days, for the neglect of months and years. In short, Christmas has lost much of its real significance because of its commercialization and accepted activities. As Masons, we consider the Wise Men, who came to the Manger, bringing gifts of incense, myrrh and precious stones. The Wise Men are the symbol of Christmas, seeking the Light of the Christ-Child; bringing the gift of their wisdom, and returning to their own country filled with the essence of good, and teeming with the qualities of Brotherhood, Good Will and the love of their fellows. Too often has the Christ been misinterpreted to represent that which he is not; to become the symbol of hate, paganism and vengeance. An eye for an eye was not the gospel of love in the Christ, and the spirit of Christmas is not that of placid lip-service, but a call to all men to practice Brotherhood and live according to the Golden Rule. We as Masons, have not seen the vision. We have not caught the message of SERVICE which is sent to us - Masons, as representatives of the Wise Men of old, are the LIGHT-BEARERS of humanity, the bringers of Truth. We heed not the call, nor read the omens that token reversion to paganism unless we revive our Faith.
The PHILALETHES, an organization of light-bearers, has dedicated itself to the diffusion of Light; to the alleviation of ignorance, superstition and tyranny. With few exceptions this has been unenthusiastic lip-service, and Masonry is weighed and found wanting in a practical and definite practise of the Christmas virtues. All men cannot have the same interpretation of Christmas, hence the differences in religions, creeds and beliefs, but all have the same basic and fundamental basis of "Love God and Serve Man." We as Masons deserve nothing better than we are getting, should we fail to live up to our principles, and NOW seems to be the time, THIS the Christmas, when we ought to search our souls, sweep out the cobwebs, and truly interpret Christmas as a time of dedication, a day of service, and a period which will mark a new endeavour on the part of all of us to live in the Christmas spirit all the rest of the year. In the words of Tiny Tim - "God Bless Us - Every One"!
The Symbolism of Christmas Once more - in the endless cycle of the years - we are in the Christmas season. Throughout the year we observe various holidays, such as Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, and Thanksgiving. In our time, when the superficial and the material are so greatly in the ascendancy, people generally, do not stop to realize the 2
historical significance of these special "days." The first three of the "days" I have mentioned have wide Masonic significance and implications. They offer us a challenge to meet the problems of our day in the courageous spirit in which our forefathers met the problems of their day. Christmas, however, is a day which is primarily associated with home and childhood. In our time the Spirit of Christmas is often deplorably commercialized. And yet - back of all the sordid extravagances that too often mar the Christmas season - there lies a deep-felt, though often obscure, understanding that Christmas is the children's day. In whatever way we regard the Child for whom Christmas is named, we still realize that His Birth was the great event that divided time in twain. When we write about the days of antiquity, we designate a particular year as "B.C." - before Christ. We denominate a particular year since the birth of Christ as "A.D." - Anno Domini, which is Latin for the phrase In the Year of the Lord. Christmas is, first of all, a fact. The actual date of the birth of Christ is lost in the mists of time. Nevertheless, each December 25 the Western world commemorates the birth of a Child born nearly two thousand years ago to poor parents in an obscure nook of a little Oriental country - a Child whose birth divided time into Before and After. Christmas dignifies womanhood and motherhood. It gives lustre to the home. It emphasizes the joys of giving - of bringing gifts to those who are near and dear to us by the ties of friendship and human relationships. Out of the brief life of that Child and Man grew miraculously the 3
beneficent influences of Western civilization - care for the young and the aged; for the sick and the poor; for the inherent and inalienable rights of men as men and as human beings. The Masonic teaching of the Brotherhood of Man is intimately related to the Man for whom Christmas is named. Yes, Christmas is a fact - a fact attested to by the story of the human race through nearly two millenniums of time. Wherever you look, you find that story marred and mutilated by hate and cruelty and all manner of unbrotherliness. But still the Light of Christmas shines high above the sombre shadows of our world. Christmas is a fact, just as the sun and the stars in the heavens are fact. In addition to being a fact, Christmas is also a symbol. "By symbols." wrote Thomas Carlyle, the great English essayist and historian, "is man guided and commanded, made happy, made wretched. He everywhere finds himself encompassed with symbols, recognized as such or not recognized. The Universe is but one Vast Symbol of God." Let us think about the symbolism by which Christmas is encompassed. First, there is the symbolism of "good tidings of great joy." Christmas has become almost a synonym for joy, happiness, and peace. It is the one Day when millions try consciously to cast selfishness and greed out of their hearts. Perhaps on Christmas Day more than on any other day we come to realize, to some extent at least, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Christmas has become symbolically intertwined with the idea of giving and with the inward joy that comes from making gifts.
How large a part the word gift plays in the Sacred Volume that lies open on the altar of every regular Masonic Lodge when the Lodge is at work! We read that "the gift of God is eternal life;" that "faith . . . is the gift of God;" that "every man has his proper gift of God." It is not at all strange, therefore, that Christmas is the veritable symbol of giving and receiving gifts. Christmas, too symbolically portrays the divine in human life - a union which brings heaven and earth together. Perhaps the deepest meaning of Christmas is simply "God in man." In that meaning lies all our hope for that better day "when swords will be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks; when nations shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.' Without something divine in the human, the defences against hate, bitterness, and war can never be built. Christmas assures us that the divine does dwell in man; hence there is hope. That hope - in the long run comes not from charters, paper writings, peace treaties, or from political arrangements of one kind and another. It is a hope that must be built - slowly, painfully, but eventually - into the will for peace which Christmas throughout the ages has symbolized. The symbolism of Masonry is consistent with the symbolism of Christmas. Let us read again what Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, 33d - eminent Masonic student, writer and clergyman - has beautifully written: "In the First Degree we are symbolically born out of darkness into the light of moral truth and duty. Symbolically we enter into a new environment, as the child does at birth with a new body of motive and law, taking vows to live by the highest standard of
values. In other words, an Entered Apprentice discovers his own divinity learns who he is, why he is here, and what he is here to do. No secret that science can uncover is half so thrilling. Finding a new star out on the edge of the sky is nothing alongside the discovery of God in the soul." It is not, however, enough to discover truth; we need to live that truth - to put it into practice in our day-by-day thinking and acting. "The hope of the world and each of us," as Dr. Newton also wrote, "lies in the growth of the divine in man - in your life and mine - refining lust into love, and greed into greatness. Also since we have the same spark of divinity within and the same starry ideals above us, it behoves us to love one another, to seek to know, to understand, and to help our fellow man. For here, in truth, is the basis and the prophecy of brotherhood. " Christmas is thus the symbol of an ever new beginning in the life of the individual and of mankind - a life that has in it possibilities of spiritual achievement because it embodies the indwelling spirit of divinity. Back of the simple, human joys which Christmas emphasizes and brings to the surface of our lives are these profound truths that ring down through the corridors of time. As men and Masons we shall do well - at this Christmastime - not to be satisfied merely with outward expressions of the Christmas Spirit, but to seek to penetrate to the heart of that symbolism with which Christmas is everywhere encompassed. Both theses articles were sourced from 50 years of Philalthes Magazine. Ed.
A Freemason's Christmas Wish
Then wonder what lessons you may them teach, and with your guidance what heights they may reach.
It is the time of year when the Brethren rejoice, and sing carols of praise in resounding voice. Days of merriment and long nights of cheer, as we all await the "Happy New Year!".
So, to all of my Brethren from far and wide, whether your Christmas be snow, or hot and dry, may the Architect grant his celestial boon and keep your good health 'til we meet again soon.
It is a time of family and life long friends, a time of happiness and to make amends. Roast turkey and baubles and the Nutcracker Suite, we each have our own way to make Christmas complete.
Take care of yourself and those you find dear. Keep this festive spirit throughout the next year. Look toward your next date with our happy band. 'Til our next merry meeting. Apron, heart, and hand. –
As we stroll through this happy month of December find time to pause and take time to remember that distinguishing sign of a Freemason's heart those acts of Charity. How great they are.
Bro. Andrew Bradley
As your family gathers 'round your Christmas tree, and the children play with giggles of glee, spare a thought for the poor, the man with no shoes, whose money for food is less than your dues. Remember also the Grand Lodge above, and the Supreme Great Architect's act of love. And practise those virtues we hold so true. Have some fun! But let Temperance chasten you. And during this season of peace and joy look well to our future - the girl and boy. 5
Peace on Earth, and goodwill towards all men “God Bless Us, Every One!” Merry Christmas from the Editor
Famous Freemasons Tommy Douglas
The Greatest Canadian Ever!
Thomas Clement Douglas was yet another of those remarkable Scots who did so much to shape the history of Canada. Born in Falkirk (where he is still regarded as that city’s most famous son) “Tommy” moved with his family to Winnipeg as a child. He became a Baptist minister before entering politics in the early 1930s, also becoming a Freemason. Brother Douglas was elected to the House of Commons in 1935 as a member of the CCF, before switching to Provincial politics in 1942, becoming Premier of Saskatchewan in 1944, a position he held for 17 years. In 1961, Brother Douglas moved back to the Federal scene when he became leader of
the newly-formed New Democratic Party, stepping down from that position in 1971 and finally retiring from politics in 1979. Of his many achievements, perhaps his greatest was the creation of the first North American universal health care system, in Saskatchewan, which became the model for the present day Canadian Medicare program. Douglas was born in Camelon, Falkirk, Scotland, in 1904, the son of Annie (née Clement) and Thomas Douglas, an iron moulder who fought in the Boer War. In 1910, his family emigrated to Canada, where they settled in Winnipeg. Shortly before he left Scotland, Douglas fell and injured his right knee. Osteomyelitis set in and he underwent a number of operations in Scotland in an attempt to cure the condition. Later however, in Winnipeg, the osteomyelitis flared up again and Douglas was sent to hospital. Doctors there told his parents his leg would have to be amputated. Fortunately, a well-known orthopaedic surgeon took an interest in his case and agreed to treat the boy for free if his parents would allow medical students to observe. After several operations, Douglas's leg was saved. This experience convinced him that health care should be free to all. "I felt that no boy should have to depend either for his leg or his life upon the ability of his parents to raise enough money to bring a first-class surgeon to his bedside", Douglas told an interviewer many years later. During World War I, the family returned to Glasgow in Scotland. They returned to Winnipeg in late 1918, in time for Douglas to witness the Winnipeg General Strike. From a rooftop vantage point on Main Street, he witnessed the police charging the strikers with clubs and guns, a streetcar 6
being overturned and set on fire. He also witnessed the RCMP shoot and kill one of the workers. This incident influenced Douglas later in life by cementing his commitment to protect fundamental freedoms in a Bill of Rights when he was Premier of Saskatchewan. Douglas started elementary school in Winnipeg. He completed his elementary education after returning to Glasgow. He worked as a soap boy in a barber shop, rubbing lather into tough whiskers, then dropped out of high school at 13 after landing a job in a cork factory. The owner offered to pay Douglas's way through night school so that he could learn Portuguese and Spanish, languages that would enable him to become a cork buyer. However, the family returned to Winnipeg when the war ended and Douglas entered the printing trades. He served a five-year apprenticeship and worked as a Linotype operator finally acquiring his journeyman's papers, but decided to return to school to pursue his ambition to become an ordained minister. In 1924, the 19-year-old Douglas enrolled at Brandon College, a Baptist school affiliated with McMaster University, to finish high school and study theology. During his six years at the College, he was influenced by the Social Gospel movement, which combined Christian principles with social reform. Liberalminded professors at Brandon encouraged students to question their fundamentalist religious beliefs. Christianity, they suggested, was just as concerned with the pursuit of social justice as it was with the struggle for individual salvation. Douglas took a course in socialism at Brandon and studied Greek philosophy. He came first in his class during his first three years, then 7
competed for gold medals in his last three with a newly arrived student named Stanley Knowles. Both later became ministers of religion and prominent leftwing politicians. Douglas was extremely active in extracurricular activities. Among other things, he became a champion debater, wrote for the school newspaper and participated in student government winning election as Senior Stick, or president of the student body, in his final year. Douglas financed his education at Brandon College by conducting Sunday services at several rural churches for $15 a week. A shortage of ordained clergy forced smaller congregations to rely on student ministers. Douglas reported later that he preached sermons advocating social reform and helping the poor. "The Bible is like a bull fiddle", he said, "you can play almost any tune you want on it." He added that his interest in social and economic questions led him to preach about "building a society and building institutions that would uplift mankind." He also earned money delivering entertaining monologues and poetry recitations at church suppers and service-club meetings for five dollars a performance. During his second and third years at the College, he preached at a Presbyterian church in Carberry, Manitoba. There he met a farmer's daughter named Irma Dempsey who would later become his wife in 1930. They had one daughter, actress Shirley Douglas, and they later adopted a second daughter Joan, who became a nurse. His grandson is the actor Kiefer Sutherland. In 1932 With the Great Depression raging through drought-ravaged Saskatchewan, Douglas witnesses great human suffering first hand. Seeing farmers unable to afford
medical care for their families, he joins the Saskatchewan Labour Party in 1932, believing he could do more as a politician than as a priest. The SLP forms the backbone for the creation of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. Three years later, Douglas becomes one of the first CCF Members of Parliament, the beginning of a nine-year run as an MP. The fiery debates of Parliament give him a chance to polish his oratory skills that had served him in the pulpit. In 1942 with the leadership of the Saskatchewan provincial CCF vacant, Douglas returns home in 1942 to lead the party. He leads the CCF to a resounding victory in the 1944 provincial election, kicking off five terms as Premier of Saskatchewan. His government is the first social democratic government elected in North America. The opposition derides him as a communist or worse, but Douglas sets out modernize rural Saskatchewan. He brings electricity to family farms and provides a much needed expansion of health care in the province. Tommy Douglas had long been a believer in universal health care, a belief borne out of his social gospel background and seeing farmers unable to afford health care during the Great Depression. 1959 is the year that Douglas is finally able to make his Medicare plan public. His plan covers every person in Saskatchewan with prepaid, publicly administered health care. Saskatchewan doctors and Douglas’ political opponents attack the plan viciously. Yet by the time Medicare is adopted in Saskatchewan in 1962, these attacks dissipate. Douglas does not see Medicare implemented under his watch, as he leaves provincial politics in 1961.
By 1960, the national CCF has fallen on hard times. The party’s brain trust decides that the only way it can be saved is to develop a relationship with the Canadian labour movement. Out of the ashes of the CCF, the New Democratic Party rose in 1961 with Tommy Douglas as its national leader. Douglas leads the NDP from its birth until 1971. He continues to serve as an MP until he retires from politics in 1979. In 1966, the Pearson Liberal government enacts a national Medicare scheme whose basis is the success of Douglas’ Saskatchewan Medicare plan. Tommy Douglas died of cancer, in Ottawa, on Feb. 24, 1986, 81 years old. On Nov. 29, 2004, Tommy Douglas is named The Greatest Canadian of all time by voters across Canada. Douglas’ social democratic legacy is widely appreciated by people from coast to coast and his legacy can be seen in the social and medical programs that serve Canadians. Scotsman Tommy Douglas was a active Freemason, he was a member of the Weyburn Lodge No. 20, GRS, Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He also played a huge part in the Demolay Chapter, British Columbia, and was the Chapter’s first Chaplain.
This article was sourced from a number of Canadian sources. Ed.
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘The Skull and Bones Society’
On the 100th anniversary of Geronimo's death, descendants of the Apache warrior filed a federal lawsuit against the secretive Skull and Bones society of Yale University demanding that the group — which it claims is in possession of Geronimo's remains — return them to his family. "I believe strongly from my heart that his spirit was never released," Geronimo's great-grandson Haryln Geronimo, 61, told the National Press Club. As legend has it, Prescott S. Bush — the father of President George H.W. Bush and grandfather to President George W. Bush — dug up Geronimo's grave in 1918 with the help of several other "Bonesmen," as members of the society are known, and stole the warrior's skull, two bones and some riding gear from his grave at Fort Sill, Okla. The society allegedly put the remains on display at the "The Tomb," an imposing, windowless crypt in New 9
Haven, Conn. that has served as the group's headquarters since its founding in 1832. Conspiracy theories about the Skull & Bones Society are almost as old as the society itself. The group has been blamed for everything from the creation of the nuclear bomb to the Kennedy assassination. It's been aped in bad teen horror films and satirized — along with fellow conspiracy-group targets the Freemasons and the Illuminati — in The Simpsons. Even CNN has done a segment on the Prescott grave-robbery saga. Minus the trappings of wealth, privilege and power, Skull and Bones could be a laughably juvenile club for Dungeons-andDragon geeks. But its rumored alumni have made up a disproportionately large percentage of the world's most powerful leaders. (One historian has likened the society's powers to that of an "international mafia," for as another writer put it, "the mafia is, after all, the most secret of societies.") Bonesmen have, at one time, controlled the fortunes of the Carnegie, Rockefeller and Ford families, as well as posts in the Central Intelligence Agency, the American Psychological Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and some of the most powerful law firms in the world. During the 2004 presidential election, the Republican and Democratic candidates were both former Bonesmen, though neither would say much about the subject. "It's a secret," John Kerry said when asked about his membership; "So secret, I can't say anything more," George W. Bush wrote in his autobiography, as if to complete Kerry's sentence. A young Yale junior named William Russell founded the group after spending a
year in Germany among members of some of the most mystical and elite clubs in the world, including organizations that mimicked the Enlightenment-era Illuminati. Russell returned to the U.S. determined to found a secret society of his own and "tapped" Alfonso Taft, whose son would later become President William H. Taft, to be among the first members of "The Brotherhood of Death," or as it was more formally known, "The Order of the Skull and Bones." Members worshipped Eulogia, a fake goddess of eloquence, glorified pirates and reportedly hatched schemes of world domination at the "Tomb" — which is rumoured to have a landing pad on the roof for the society's private helicopter.
three Bush Bonesman (Prescott, H.W., and W.) really received a gift of $15,000 and the guarantee of a lifetime of financial security upon being selected — all these rumors, publicized over the years by Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times and numerous independent book authors, might never be known. The group has remained silent about the lawsuit from Geronimo's descendants. But in a time when the Internet is opening up previously private information to the world and even Swiss banks are spilling their secrets, the activities of the Skull & Bones society might not be able to stay so clandestine for long. Sourced from the Time Magazine.
Skull and Bones formed at Yale University, the third-oldest school in the U.S. and an institution "known for its strange, Gothic elitism and its rigid devotion to the past," according to journalist (and Yale secret society alumnae) Alexandra Robbins, who published Secrets of the Tomb in 2002. Skull and Bones is not the only secret society at the school either: others include the Scroll and Key, Wolf's Head, Berzelius and Book and Snake, all of which like keeping tabs on one another, some in the form of dossiers that include "reliability ratings." Each group picks its members in a highly confidential manner and subjects them to rounds of occult hazing rituals — what pledging a fraternity might be like, perhaps, at Hogwarts. But whether a young Henry Luce (founder of Time magazine) actually laid naked in a coffin and told the tales of his early sex life during his Skull and Bones initiation, or if William F. Buckley jumped into a mud pie as part of his hazing, or whether any of the
“I’m on a Committee” Oh give me your pity, I’m on a Committee Which means that both morning and night We attend and amend and content and defend Without conclusion in sight. We confer and concur, we defer and demur And reiterate all of our thoughts, We revise the agenda with frequent addenda And consider a load of reports. We compose and propose, we support and oppose And the points of procedure are fun! Though various notions are brought up as motions, There very little gets done. We resolve and absolve, but we never dissolve Since it’s out of the question for us; What a shattering pity to end our committee, Where else could we make such a fuss! Metro Mason Issue 2
Did You Know? Q. In many jurisdictions the E.A. Apron is worn with the flap up. Some Lodges have a practice of turning up the corner of the apron. Is there any symbolic significance in these matters, and why did the practices arise? Answer: In non-operative or speculative Masonry these practices owe their origin to the time when all Freemasons wore a plain white apron, so that the `flap up', or `corner up', was used to indicate the Masonic grade of the wearer. Two of the early exposures, A Mason's Examination, of 1723, and Prichard's Masonry Dissected, of 1730, both mention the apron given to the Candidate, but make no reference to distinctive ways of wearing it - for the different grades of Masons. The earliest documents that offer information on the subject are the French exposures. Le Catechisme dcs FrancsMasons, of 1744, says: `Fellow-crafts wear the apron "point up", while Masters allow the flap to fall.' The English exposure, Solomon in all his Glory, published in 1768, is a translation of Le Macon Demasque, 1751, and it says that the Apprentice ties his apron with `the flap on the inside'. The F.C. is entitled to wear the flap outside `and fixed to one of my waistcoat buttons' (i.e., flap up) . . . the Master is `at liberty to let it fall down'. Here, within a space of seven years, we find new details of the E.A. method of wearing the apron. Both texts are agreed that F.C.s wear the `flap up' and M.M.s wear `flap down'. We may assume that in England variations persisted throughout the eighteenth 11
century, until aprons were standardized after the Union, and many examples of early aprons are to be found (e.g., in the Grand Lodge Museum) with a button-hole in the flap. With the introduction of two rosettes for the F.C. and three for the M.M., there was no longer the need for any other means of distinguishing the grade of the wearer, but the `point up' for the E.A. has persisted in many cases to this day. In some jurisdictions, however, it is still customary for all Brethren and visitors to a Lodge to wear a plain white apron. Only the Officers wear decorated aprons in those countries, and there the need remains for some means of distinguishing the grade of the wearer. I quote first from a letter from Bro. Conrad Hahn, Secretary of the Masonic Service Association of the U.S.A.: In answer to your questions about aprons and apron wearing in the States: every initiate receives his personal white lambskin apron (without any decoration or distinguishing mark) when he is initiated. He carries it home, puts it away carefully, and leaves it there until his death. It is then brought out and put on his body and interred with him. At lodge he wears a cloth apron (usually all white, but sometimes embroidered in blue, and sometimes bearing the lodge name and number on the flap) taken from a supply of such aprons furnished by the lodge and kept in a pile near the Tylerâ€™s station.
In Connecticut, USA, they are taught to wear the apron as follows: E.A. `with the bib (flap) turned up'. F.C. `with the bib turned down, and the left hand corner of the apron brought up and tucked in'. M.M. `with the bib turned down, and the apron spread'. Bro. Dwight W. Robb confirms similar practice in Massachusetts for the E.A. and M.M., but there the F.C. wears the 'flap up' and the right-hand corner of the apron tucked into the string at the waist. Lodges under the Grand Lodge of Scotland also use the plain white apron, and their practices are described in the following note from Bro. George Draffen of Newington, M.B.E., R.W. Depute Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland: It is impossible to say what percentage of the Scottish Lodges use what, for want of a better term, I shall refer to as the `English System', and what number use the old Scottish custom. At a guess, I'd say that the bulk of the country Lodges use the old system and most, but not all, of the City Lodges use the English system. (The regulations allow for the English system by laying down sealed patterns of aprons for Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and M.M.) In those Lodges where the old custom is still in use, the practice is to wear the apron in the E.A. Degree with the flap UP, covering the chest. The apron is plain white and, when worn with the flap
UP, presents the appearance of a square with a semi-circle on one side. (Note: The flap on all Scottish aprons is semi-circular in shape and NOT triangular as in England.) In the F.C. Degree the flap is still up, but the lower left-hand corner (lefthand as viewed from the wearer's point of view) is tucked up and held in position by the apron-string. The shape now is a triangle with a semi-circular shape on one side. In the M.M. Degree, both corners are tucked up, but so that the bottom of the apron has a little short flat bit between the turn-ups. The shape now is meant to be reminiscent of a coffin! Bro. I. H. Peters, of Loge Rosa Alba, Eindhoven, Holland, furnishes details of present-day practice under the Grand East of the Netherlands. The Candidate gets his own apron for all three Degrees, and it is the normal Lodge apron, i.e., edged with the Lodge `colours'. (Each of the Dutch Lodges, as in Scotland, has its own distinctive colours.) The E.A. wears his apron with the flap tucked inside, i.e., invisible. The F.C. wears his apron with the flap `point up'; the M.M. wears it with the flap down. From our correspondents listed above, I have quoted only four current variations; of course, there must be many more. The Scottish practice of the 3rd apron resembling a coffin is perhaps the only instance in which some sort of symbolism is involved. In all other cases the practices are simply to distinguish the grade of the wearer and nothing more. The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, in the book, Freemasonry at Work.
Operative Lodge of Airdrie. No. 203
The members of 203 have long argued that the Lodge was a continuation of Lodge Airdy Kilwinning which was formed in 1749. Unfortunately there is no surviving minutes of the older Lodge, however there is strong evidence that the Brethren from that Lodge originated the Operative Lodge in 1788. In 1798 the government passed an act through parliament making it impossible for lodges to work without a charter, this spurred 203 into action as to obtain it's charter from Grand Lodge. The Charter was granted on 6th August 1799. During theses early years the minutes record that the meetings were being held in various local taverns. The very first time that it was ever mentioned in the minutes that a candidate was initiated in all three degrees on the same evening was in Nov. 1801 when a gentleman was admitted to the degree of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. The earliest mention of diplomas was in 1808. 13
In 1809 the lodge was obviously considering building its own hall as it was minuted that resolutions were entered into by the general committee for the purpose of erecting a common hall to do business in, the subject was put back until December but it never appeared in the minutes again. The lodge continued to meet in various inns about the town including The Black Bull. During the early eighteen hundreds there was a severe lack of initiates coming into the lodge as a proposal was motioned to allow Wrights, Slaters and Smiths to join the lodge, one speculative to three operatives, it was finally decided to allow any sober, well disposed man to be a member except coal hewers or miners. In May of 1825 it was decided a flag for the lodge was to be purchased to be used in all processions. This flag is on display in our lodge at present. The wearing of the tiled hat by the master on the night of installation dates back to when the lodge was strictly operative and is recorded in the minutes as far back as 1830. In Jan 1836 lodge 88 must have ceased working as 203 purchased their clothing [regalia] for the princely sum of one pound ten shillings. Into the 1840's and we are still meeting in various public houses such as the Caldercruix Tavern and the Airdrie Arms. Strangely the lodge did not celebrate its jubilee in 1838, but preferred to wait until 1849 to do so. In 1851 a motion was raised that any member who filled the wardens chair was bound to stand for master, but if they did not do so they would be fined 5 shillings.
The first Speculative to hold the post of Master of the Lodge occurred in 1866 Lodge 203 was very much involved in the laying of foundation stones such as Hamilton Kilwinning No.7's temple, Bathgate Acadamy, New Town Hall in Hamilton, Coatbridge Tech, New Grand Lodge, Airdrie Working Mens Club and probably most famous of all the Wallace Monument, when the lodge opened then adjourned their meeting then walked through the night to Stirling to assist in laying the foundation stone, then walked back re-opened the meeting then closed it. In 1888 the Grand Lodge of Scotland took away the right of the lodge to elect and install a Mark Master, but with the assistance of P.G.L. Grand Master this was restored to the lodge. A second attempt was made to take this right away from us in 1923 but after a strong appeal by the lodge this was also resolved in our favour. The brethren of the lodge at the turn of the century must have been very strong willed as they refused to take part in a procession to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in protest to what they considered an insult to the town of Airdrie by her sanctioning of the disbandment of the local Volunteer Battalion. 1899 was the lodgeâ€™s centenary year, the celebrations took place in the Albion Hall, Graham St. In the year 1904 a set of working tools for the F.C. degree were presented to the lodge having been made from a piece of wood from the old lodge room of Mother Kilwinning No. 0.
In 1906 after the 3rd reading of a motion it was decided that life membership would be available at the cost of 21 shillings. In getting Life Membership cards the lodge was in a dilemma whether to have the Operative Lodge of Airdrie or St. John's Operative Lodge printed on the cards. The secretary was instructed to write to Grand Lodge secretary asking when the name was changed. In Grand Lodge secretary's reply he stated that St. John's Operative was in their records as far back as 1852, which was as far back as he could go. After a search of the old minute books of the lodge, three old working letters from Grand Lodge were found in which the lodge was referred to as Airdrie Operative Lodge. Permission was then obtained from Grand Lodge to revert to its original name, The Operative Lodge of Airdrie and from then on St. John's was left out. The Lodge continued to meet throughout the First World War and many brethren were involved in it, and indeed the first brother of the lodge to receive military honours was Bro. Corp. Hugh J. Graham who was given the D.C.M. for bravery in bringing a wounded officer to safety under enemy fire. Unfortunately along with the many honours that came the lodgeâ€™s way there were also many brethren who lost there lives in this war. The Lodge purchased a memorial alter to honour the war dead of the lodge at a cost of Eighty pounds, this alter is still used in the lodge today. In Feb. 1923 a dedication ceremony was held for the purpose of unveiling the alter, this was carried out by Bro. Col. J. Maurice Arthur C.M.G., D.S.O., who paid tribute to the fallen, R.W.M. Bro. Wm. Blair presided on that occasion. 14
It was also in June of this year that the Burgh war memorial was unveiled at which all the local lodges were in attendance. This year was the lodgeâ€™s 125th anniversary, a meeting was held to mark this occasion and a large deputation from P.G.L. was present, the usual loyal and Masonic toasts were exchanged with an excellent harmony to follow. In 1929 Bro. Robert Paterson was installed as R.W.M. this was indeed a memorable occasion as he was the fourth generation of Robert Paterson's to occupy the chair in our lodge. At the beginning of 1931 the Lodge had to go into mourning for six months owing to the death of The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Bro Sir Robert King Stewart of Murdostoun. On the 12th of Feb. 1936 a letter from P.G.L. was read stating that the lodge had to go into mourning for his late Majesty King George V. until 30th April, the lodge not only draped the alter but also draped sashes, aprons and jewels at this time. It was passed in open lodge on the 23rd of Nov. 1939 that all the old lodge minute books be deposited in Airdrie Savings Bank for safe keeping where they are still kept to this very day. At the meeting of 14th. Feb. 1940 it was reported that the lodge had again successfully defended the right in our charter to keep the office of mark master, although thanks were due to the R.W.M. and the W.S.W. for moving an amendment, it was considered that the work done by Bro. Sec. Wm. Blair in penning letters to about fifty Grand Officers and Committee members must have had some weight with 15
the decision, and as such the lodges thanks were minuted. Again the lodge continued to meet throughout the Second World War, and contributed to the war effort in any way it could. After opening the lodge on the 8th Sept. 1943 the R.W.M. said he felt sure the news on the wireless at six o'clock namely that Italy had unconditionally surrendered would be pleasing to all. In appreciation for the office-bearers running dances to raise funds for the lodge, the building fund committee arranged a drive as it had the previous year but in 1948 the cars were available but there was no petrol to be had. The year of 1949 was the lodgeâ€™s 150th anniversary and was celebrated in the usual manner with a re-dedication ceremony and dinner attended by THE MOST WORSHIPFUL G.M.M. THE EARL OF GALLOWAY L.L., J.P. and Grand Lodge office bearers and PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER CAPT. JOHN C. STEWART D.L., J.P. and his office bearers. On the 23rd Jan. 1952 a circular was read from Grand Lodge stating that all lodges were to go into mourning for 3 months owing to the death of King George VI, R.W. Past Grand Master, and that  the alter had to be covered in crape,  the aprons, gauntlets and jewels of masters and office-bearers be also covered and  that no social functions to held until after the Memorial Grand Lodge of Sorrow be held. In the correspondence of a meeting held June 1953 a telegram from Buckingham Palace conveying Her Majesty The Queen's sincere thanks to the Lodge for the
Loyal message sent to her on the occasion of her coronation. The following meeting in March two very interesting points arose, firstly it was proposed and seconded that the Lodge should seek negotiations with the owner of a suitable piece of land with the view of building our own temple. In Feb. 1955 it was agreed that when "Passing or Raising" the Lodge the W.J.W. when asked if satisfied if all who remain are F.C's or M.M's will state so and add "if each brother is satisfied with his neighbour”. That year it was brought to the attention of the Lodge the availability of two pieces of vacant ground in Airdrie one of them being Clark St. After receiving expert advice it was decided at the following meeting in Oct. that an offer of £200.00 be submitted for this piece of land. This bid was accepted by Airdrie Town Council and a Notice of Motion was moved by that the general committee be permitted to withdraw the £200.00 pounds plus any additional funds required to pay any incurred legal expenses. A special meeting held in April to discuss the erection of our Masonic Temple in Clark St., after a lengthy discussion it was decided that the temple be built by voluntary labour, an amendment was put forward to wait until the lodge had raised more money. This was defeated 83 votes to 22. A circular was sent to every member appealing for donations to build a temple worthy of the dignity of the Lodge. By June the lodge had received donations of £100.00 and the plans for the Temple were there for the members to view. A combined committee meeting on Wed. 5th Mar. 1958 decided that 250,000 bricks
were to be bought from Drumbathie brickworks and 15 tons of washed gravel purchased for the concrete foundations. Arrangements were made for the laying of the foundation stone on the 8th March. At the regular meeting in May 1958 labour organiser Albert Farmer spoke of the poor turnout of volunteer workers at the building of the temple. Work on the Temple continued at a very slow pace, with a lot of the work being carried out by willing helpers of the other local lodges. It was decided to ask building companies for quotes to complete the building work. The Temple nearing completion the general and building committee insured the building for £20,000 at a cost of £2 .10 shillings per annum in April 1965. The first meeting in the new Temple was finally held on the 9th. Nov. 1966 Bro. James Tennant R.W.M. presiding, one of the first items of business was correspondence from Grand Lodge asking all the lodges to consider removing the antient penalties from the obligations as they considered them to be outdated and unnecessarily horrific, it was decided to refer this to a sub-committee to discuss. In Jan.1967 the Brethren voted against removing the penalities. At one of the very first committee meetings a discussion was held on having a dance in the new temple, and it was decided to purchase stiletto heel pads to protect the floor. On the 14th Feb. 1973 a very special event took place in Airdrie, a visit from the Grand Master Mason David LiddellGrainger of Ayton. He was given a tour of all the local lodges and inspected the books 16
and artefacts of these lodges. In the evening 203 had the privilege of having the GMM at their regular meeting, the Grand Master mason commented on the orb and suggested that the master carry it on all ceremonial occasions and that it be mounted on the masters dais while the lodge is at work as this would add dignity and originality to the work of the Lodge. While examining the Lodge regalia and jewels, he took a particular interest in the jewel of the Lodge Standard Bearer, it would appear that it dates back to the mid 1700's. So much was his interest in this jewel, that he asked for it to be photographed and a copy sent to him for his private collection. The meeting of 28th. August 1974 was the 175th. Anniversary of the Lodge, in attendance on behalf of Grand Lodge was Right Worshipful Depute Grand Master Capt. R. Wolridge Gordon of Esslemont also Provincial Grand Master accompanied by their respective deputation's. A celebration dinner followed the meeting with the usual toasts and harmony to follow. In March 1978 the social committee recommended that the Lodge endeavour to rent a colour television for the month of June, this may have had something do with the world cup in Argentina. By 1982 the Lodge was considering extending the building by drawing up proper plans and estimating costs, after extensive discussion on the subject this was agreed to by the brethren. In 1984 the Lodge asked for tenders to be submitted for the building of the extension to the lodge, and on the 12th of Sept. the Lodge accepted a recommendation from the 17
building and property committee to accept the tender of ÂŁ39,745 for this work. The 27th. Dec. 1995 was indeed a strange day for the Lodge, for the first time in many years a master was installed for a consecutive year, the RWM decided he would not have an installing board this year. This was to prove a blessing in disguise as the top lounge where this ceremony is normally held suffered burst pipes and the ceiling collapsed. This did not spoil the evening and the brethren carried on with the harmony after the meeting. On Saturday the 12th of April 1996 brethren of the lodge took part in a sponsored walk from the Lodge to the Wallace Monument in Stirling in commemoration of our ancestors who had walked there to assist in laying the foundation stone of this monument. This is an abbreviated version of a book written by P.M. William Blair who wrote the history of our first 150 years, this was added to for the occasion of our 200th anniversary thanks to several brethren who went through the minute books and picked out memorable moments in the following 50 years This History of the Operative Lodge of Airdrie No. 203 was sourced from their website, which can be viewed by clicking here. Our thanks go to the Lodge No .203 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owners.
Conrad Hahn, a most distinguished Mason, once observed, â€œThe lack of educational work in the average lodge is the principal reason for the lack of interest and the consequent poor attendance in Masonry over which spokesmen have been wringing their hands for at least a centuryâ€?
Rays of Masonry â€œJust a Dreamâ€? He was an inveterate kicker. His fellow workers had come to take his complaints with a forced smile. They wanted to like him but he made it difficult for them to enter into his heart. To this forever complainer the world and all that is in it were all wrong. Amazing to tell, however, there came a time when his whole attitude changed. There was a perfect transformation. He went about with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. The change was so remarkable that one of his coworkers asked him: "What happened?" The former kicker told him: "The other night I had a dream. I was talking with God. I told Him how unpleasant everything was down here- how things were all wrong an, and just how I would have made the world and people if I had been given the job." "What next?" asked the astonished questioner. "Well, the God told me to go to it, to change the unpleasant to the pleasant, the wrong to the right, hate into love, the ugly into the beautiful- to just go ahead and make this a better world- for that's why He put me here." A story- a dream? Yes. But it is a story that tells a great deal. It's one that we can all ponder over and examine from a very personal standpoint. So many times we are prone to see the faults of others while we remain blind to our own. The other fellow's sin is always more terrible than the one we privately own. The other fellow often reflects our own faults so vividly that we dislike him for that reason alone. Let us see good in others. It is always there. And, just as surely as we contribute kindness, Love, and Unselfish Service to life, this old earth will take on a Radiant Robe of Beauty. Dewey Wollstein 1953.
Inviolable. "Jones didn't get through, I knew he wouldn't," said the New Brother, sitting down in the anteroom. The Old Tiler hitched his sword to be more comfortable. "Some of you young Masons sure do know a lot." "I knew he wouldn't get through because I know two brethren who were going to blackball him," defended the New Brother. "I have heard that before, too. Don't tell me who your friends were. Perhaps they try, once in a while, to be good Masons. But they don't succeed very well." "What do you mean? They are splendid fellows, both of them. They know this fellow Jones ought not to be made a member and so they kept him out. One of them is..." 18
"Wait a minute son, wait a minute. The secrecy of the ballot is one of the great guardians of the Masonic fraternity. Every brother has a right to vote as his conscience tells him he should. None has the right to tell others either how he will vote or how he has voted. Whoever does so tears down the fraternity to some extent. If every Mason told how he would or had balloted there would be no secret ballot. If the ballot is controlled by outside influence, Masonry is no longer under the guidance of the hearts of its members. "If I know you will vote against my candidate, I argue with you. I plead with you. I remind you of the favour I did you. I work upon your feelings and perhaps, for my sake, you let into the lodge a man I like but whom you believe unfit for membership. If I don't know how you will vote, I cannot argue with you, and your vote is dictated, as it should be, entirely by your conscience." "But..." "Never mind the 'but' just yet. After my candidate gets in because of your affection for me, in spite of your knowledge of his unfitness, then what? Isn't the lodge weaker than it was? Even if you are mistaken and a good man thus gets in, isn't your telling that he isn't a good man a weakening influence? Are you not apt to value it a little less because you weakened it? The harm, once done, may persist for years- and all because you opened your mouth and let out a few words of your intentions before you balloted." "Suppose I want advice as to how to ballot? How can I ask your advice without telling you why I want it?" 19
"You can't. But there is a remedy provided for such cases. Masonry demands that every application be investigated by a committee a month prior to the ballot. You have ample time to go to the committee. If you know anything against a petitioner it is your duty to tell the committee. If you heard something against the applicant, tell the committee. Let the committee find the facts. If what you heard is an idle rumour, the committee will learn it. If there is a foundation to the gossip, they will learn that, too. Then you can be guided by what the committee reports." "Isn't that to say that all balloting should be done by the committee?" "Not at all!" answered the Old Tiler. "The committee decides for you as to the foundation of the rumour or the malice behind the gossip. If you know anything which in your mind justifies a blackball your course and your conscience are clear. You asked me what you should do when you needed advice." "But committees are often perfunctory." "That's your fault!" was the sharp answer. "My fault? How do you make that out?" "If you think a committee has made a perfunctory investigation, tell the Master you want a new committee appointed. If you think a committee isn't doing its duty, ask its members what they have done. If they won't tell you, notify the Master that you wish more time. He won't refuse it; he knows such a request means a blackball if it is refused. No Master wants any good man kept out, or any unfit man in. Finally, get yourself on a few committees- the Master will be happy to have your request for such work. Then by example show the
other committees what a real committee can do." "I see!" said the New Brother. "I wonder why all this isn't told to us when we first come into lodge?" "Humph! 'All this.' Boy, there are thousands of books written about Masonry. Do you expect someone to teach you the contents of them all? The shoe is on the other foot." "How do you mean, other foot?" "When you first came into this lodge, why didn't you ask?" responded the Old Tiler, as he rose to answer raps on the door. This is the thirty ninth 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.
Did You Know? Q. During the M.M.Degree, the Chaplain recites " Or ever the silver cord be loosed--." What is meant by the "silver cord"? Answer: The words are from Ecclesiastes XII which describes, in great detail, the decline of man in old age, and the failure of his senses, limbs and faculties. I would quote from my annotated Geneva Bible, which says that the 'silver cord' is "the marrow of the backbone and sinews." It may be pure coincidence, but I am forcibly reminded of a passage in the Graham Ms., 1726, which, after describing the earliest raising within a Masonic context, contains the words "Here is yet marrow in this bone."
DUE TRIAL AND A STRICT EXAMINATION. TESTING A VISITING BROTHER. Visiting another Lodge is a privilege and not a right. A Brother may ask to be admitted to a Lodge as a visitor and he will always be made welcome, but he cannot demand to be admitted. That right belongs only to the Grand Master Mason and, in his own Province or District, the Provincial or District Grand Master. The Master of a Lodge is entitled to refuse to admit, as a visitor, any Brother whose presence may, in his opinion, disturb the harmony of the Lodge. He may also ask any visitors to retire if he thinks that the business before the Lodge is of a private nature. The Constitution and Laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland are quite specific regarding Brethren visiting another Lodge Law 159. A Brother shall not be introduced into a Lodge as a visitor unless he has been regularly vouched for by a Master Mason known to an Office-bearer of the Lodge or has been examined and recommended for admission by two Brethren appointed by the presiding Brother who may require written evidence of Qualified Membership. Law 220. Any Brother who is not in good standing in every Lodge of which he is a member is not entitled to attend any meeting of a Lodge as a visitor and shall be guilty of a Masonic offence should he attempt so to do. 20
Law 225. While a Brother in good standing is entitled to visit other Lodges, admission to any Lodge is by courtesy only and may be denied. Visitors are required to retire immediately if requested to do so. These Laws are self-explanatory, and every Right Worshipful Master under the Scottish Constitution has a duty to see that none but Freemasons are present in his Lodge whilst it is being opened. The visitor to a Lodge in which no one can vouch for him cannot expect to be admitted into that Lodge simply because he says he is a Freemason and is in good standing.
Lodge is unique in its method of carrying out the Degree work, and the many variations in signs, secrets, charges etc can and do differ from Lodge to Lodge. Thus it could be argued that that it is possible for there to be as many different Rituals as there are Scottish Lodges. So trying to bring conformity into the testing of Candidates within the Scottish Constitution would prove to be difficult unless the test questions were basic, and that is the reason why it is impossible for Grand Lodge to legislate the examinerâ€™s questions to be put to the unknown visitor and formulise a standard procedure for the examination.
The Master of the Lodge has to satisfy himself that the visitor is in fact a Freemason, a member of a Regular Lodge and not under any Masonic suspension or exclusion, and unless the visiting Brother can be vouched for by a Brother who can truthfully say he has sat with him in open Lodge, then the Master has a duty under Law 159 to ensure that the visitor is a proven Brother by calling on him to be examined as to his membership of the Craft.
However, there are certain Masonic Etiquette when visiting a Scottish Lodge as an unknown Brother for the first time to be observed with no one to vouch for you. The proper method is, after arriving at the Lodge in good time before the Lodge is to be opened, approach an office-bearer and introduce yourself as a visitor and have never been to the Lodge before. Explain that you have no one to vouch for you and may be required to be tested as to your Masonic Membership.
The method of examining the visitor to the Lodge is not and never has been set out in any form by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and it is left to each individual Lodge as to how they proceed. In fact, even the examiner can and does vary from Brother to Brother, and whilst it is normal for the assessment to be carried out by a Past Master, there is no hard and fast rule as to who should conduct the test. Also there are no guidelines laid down as to what questions should be asked. The reason for this is that unlike most Constitutions, the Grand Lodge of Scotland has never dictated to its daughter Lodges as to what Ritual they should use. Each Scottish
The visitor should be ready to produce his Grand Lodge Diploma if asked, as well as his current yearâ€™s test card, or life membership card. It is the responsibility of the Lodge receiving the Brother to ensure that he is in good standing, as it has been known for a Brother to visit a Lodge whilst not in good standing in his own Lodge, contrary to Law 220. (A few years ago, a Masonic Passport was mooted by Grand Lodge, which would prove that the brother was in fact properly qualified, but this never came about.)
The visitor will then be introduced to the RWM, who will ask two Brethren (usually
Past Master’s) to examine the Brother and report as to his qualification. This can be an intimidating procedure if not carried out with due propriety. Sometimes an over zealous Brother can forget that he is simply trying to prove the Brother is a member of our Craft, and that there is no need for a Spanish Inquisition type of examination, uncomplicated and straight-forward is best, - and the most innocuous question will put the examinee at ease and always get the required response. Please remember, we are only trying to satisfy ourselves that the visitor is a Mason. We certainly do not want to embarrass him or make him feel uncomfortable. As soon as we are satisfied that the visitor is a Mason, we should start giving him information about our Lodge or the meeting that will make him feel more "at home", and will keep him from being embarrassed. Then hopefully, he will either be a regular visitor to your Lodge or he will at least go back to his Mother Lodge with a warm and fraternal report on his visit. Make the Brother feel he is welcome, give him the respect he deserves and by showing him common courtesies will sooth any nervous Brother, and in all likelihood the Lodge will have a visitor that will keep coming back, time after time! The Editor. Sources; Masonic Etiquette and Scottish Usage – George Draffen of Newington M.B.E. – Editor of the 1966 Grand Lodge of Scotland Year Book. The Constitutions and Laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Examining a Visitor to your Lodge – Michael Pobat – 1994.
You called me Brother! In a very special Masonic sense this has been a week of festal processions wending their way Temple-wards, and in the heart of every participant there must have been a feeling of genuine gratitude to a bountiful Providence thanks to whom the Craft in New South Wales has flourished and been enabled to erect and inaugurate one of the most magnificent Masonic buildings in the world. Masonry has an unashamedly religious basis, and this week’s events have begun and ended with acts of worship. Fittingly, one of these acts of worship is in a synagogue, since so many Jews have been associated with the Craft, and so much of Masonic ritual and teaching derives from Biblical and rabbinic tradition – even to the extent that once upon a time, apparently, everyone attending a Lodge meeting sat with covered head! The last Masonic service at the Great Synagogue was in 1974. In the intervening five years an almost revolutionary change has taken place in Masonic New South Wales. Now there is a new, more open policy which recognises that too much of Masonic activity has hitherto been shrouded in mystery. The Craft is a society with secrets, but until recently, the public at large thought it was a secret society. The secrets must and will continue to be guarded, but a general understanding of what Masonry stands for and does is now becoming available to the ordinary citizen.
As a result, some of the old myths will be exploited, respect for our aims and activities will increase, and our numbers may grow – not because numbers as such matter, but because every additional citizen who joins and commits himself to a notable ethical movement brings added strength to society.
go seeking my brethren” (Gen. 37:16). They know one can depend upon a brother.
The point is stressed by the Scriptural passage ordained for reading in the Synagogue next Sabbath. The passage deals with God’s command to take a census of the Israelites. But not by means of counting heads. No! Everyone who wished to be counted had to contribute half a shekel, and it was the half-shekels that were counted. The lesson? That one should be impressed, not so much by mere numbers as by whether an individual was willing to make a worthwhile contribution.
But more than this, even greater and far more momentous, they know that each fellow man is also a brother, and that to each fellow man one must be able to say,
What then is the worthwhile contribution that one makes as a Mason? To me it is suggested by a story told by a Russian writer. He relates that a man is walking along and is accosted by another who asks him for alms. “I’m sorry, brother,” is the reply, “I have nothing and cannot help you”. “Don’t worry,” says the beggar, “you called me ‘brother’, and that’s enough!” This is the first thing that Masons learn to do, to call each other “brother”. They meet in fellowship. They commence work in harmony and conclude in peace. They have their honest differences but respect each other the more highly for them. They see each other’s virtues and with good humour tolerate each other’s faults. Wherever they go, their unspoken motto echoes the words of Joseph, Et achai anochi mevakesh – “I 23
They are not angels – far from it – and at times their brotherliness is found wanting, but never will they let themselves forget that it is goodly and pleasant to have a brother and to dwell in harmony.
Brother, I acknowledge you. Brother, I trust you. Brother, you can rely on me. Brother, I honour your dignity. Brother, I respect your opinion. Brother, I rejoice in your success. Brother, I am happy at your happiness. Brother, I feel your pain. Brother, I understand your need. Brother, I support your hand. Brother, the world needs you. Brother, I need you. Brother, even if I have nothing to give you, I call you ‘brother’. Someone has described this as the age of the un-brotherhood of man, and it is little wonder. There appears to be an epidemic of immorality wherever you turn. Injustice, exploitation, self-seeking, arrogance, callousness, corruption, victimisation, viciousness, violence – no wonder the poet wrote, “A mighty wave of evil is passing over the world.” There is an old allegory in the Talmud (Gen. R. 8:5, etc.). It tells that before creating man, God called the angels together and asked their opinion on what He had in mind. “Shall I create man?” He asked them.
“Create him not!” said the angel of Justice. “He will be unjust towards his brother man; he will injure the weak and exploit the vulnerable!” “Create him not!” said the angel of Peace, “He will stain the earth with the blood of his brothers; he will spread mischief and discord wherever he goes!” “Create him not!” said the angel of Truth, “Though You create him in Your image and stamp the impress of truth on his brow, yet will be desecrate Your creation with falsehood and dishonesty!” They would have said still more, but Mercy, the youngest and dearest of them all, stepped up to the Divine Throne and said, “Father, create him! Make him in Your image, as the crowning glory of Creation. When others forsake him, I will be with him. I will touch his heart with pity and make him kind to others weaker than himself. When he goes astray, turning from the ways of justice, peace and truth, I will gently direct him back again to the upright path, and he will be a brother again to his fellow man!” The Father of Mercy, relates the tradition, listened to the voice of Mercy, and with Mercy’s support He created man. Might one not be right in suspecting that there were times, possibly quite frequently, when the Almighty was tempted to regret His decision? When Justice was slighted, and the other fellow did not get a fair go; when people gave in to blackmail and bribery; when you were decent to others, provided they belonged to your side, but the rights of
others could impunity…
When Peace was brushed aside, and even when there was no outright war there was no concern for each other, no understanding of each other, no goodwill and generosity of thought and deed… When Truth was disdained, and the world grew full of broken promises, ambiguous half-truths and hypocritical double-talk… And yet the angel of Mercy suggested there was a fundamental decency in human beings which would, with her help, at last rouse itself. And this is where the Masonic Craft has a crucial contribution to make. By learning to call each other “brother”, by learning to recognise a brother in every fellow man, Masonry will by attitudes and acts, help to build up the moral fibre of mankind. Leo Baeck, a saint, scholar and sage, was imprisoned by the Nazis in Theresienstadt. He refused to compromise his dignity or become demoralised. He said on his release, “Some of us were determined to demonstrate that the goodness in man can be victorious over brutality and bestiality”. If we are going to use this impressive service in the midst of this vast assembly as a spur and inspiration to anything, let it be our resolution that we renew our pledge to learn to call each other “brother” and thus to stand at all times, and wherever we may be, for the goodness in man. If we are going to allow the eventful experiences of this week of Masonic gatherings to leave a permanent impress, let it be our determination that Masonry in 24
New South Wales will find fresh energy to be benevolent in the old ways, and new vigour to seek and adopt new ways to be of service to each other and to our society. And may the Great Architect of the Universe, whose favours we acknowledge in reverence and humility, continue to preserve the Masonic Order, by cementing and adorning it with every moral and social virtue. Address given at the Great Synagogue, Sydney, 11 March, 1979, at a service to mark the opening of the NSW Masonic Centre. 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 THRONE OF SOLOMON The following account of a remarkable piece of mechanism is taken from the Persian manuscript called the History of Jerusalem. It purports to be a description of the throne of King Solomon, and if the details are correctly given it undoubtedly surpassed any piece of mechanism produced in modern times. The sides of it were of pure gold, the feet of emeralds and rubies intermixed with pearls, each of which was as large as an ostrich's egg. The throne had seven steps, on each side were delineated orchards full of trees, the branches of which were of precious stones, representing fruit ripe and unripe; on the tops of the trees were to be seen figures of plumaged birds, particularly 25
the peacock, the etaub, and the kurges. All these birds were hollowed within, artificially, so as to occasionally utter a thousand melodious sounds, such as the ears of mortals never before heard".
"On the first step were delineated vine branches, having bunches of grapes, composed of various sorts of precious stones, fashioned in such a manner as to represent the various colours of purple, violet, green and red, so as to render the appearance of real fruit. On the second step, on each side of the throne, were two lions of terrible aspect, large as life, and formed of cast gold”. "The nature of this remarkable throne was such that when Solomon placed his foot on the first step the birds spread forth their wings and made a fluttering noise in the air. On his touching the second step the lions expanded their claws. On reaching the third step the whole assemblage of demons and fairies and men repeated the praise of the Deity. When he arrived at the fourth step voices were heard addressing him in the following manner: 'Son of David, be thankful for the blessings which the Almighty has bestowed upon you'. The same was repeated on his reaching the fifth step, on his reaching the sixth all the children of Israel joined them, and on his arrival at the seventh, all the throne birds. and animals became in motion, and ceased not until he had placed himself on the royal seat, when the birds, lions and other animals by secret springs, discharged a shower of the most precious perfumes on Solomon, after which two kurges descended and placed the golden crown upon his head". Extracted from “The New Age”
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY Pomegranate
The pomegranate, as a symbol, was known to and highly esteemed by the nations of antiquity. In the description of the pillars which stood at the porch of the Temple (see First Kings via, 15), it is said that the artificer "made two chapiters of molten brass to set upon the tops of the pillars." Now the Hebrew word caphtorim, which has been translated chapiters and for which, in Amos (ix, 1), the word lintel has been incorrectly substituted, though the marginal reading corrects the error, signifies an artificial large pomegranate or globe. The original meaning is not preserved in the Septuagint, which has nor in the Vulgate, which uses sphaerula, both meaning simply a round ball. But Josephus, in his Ardiquities, has kept to the literal Hebrew. It was customary to place such ornaments upon the tops or heads of columns, and in other situations. The skirt of Aaron's robe was ordered to be decorated with golden bells and pomegranates, and they were among the ornaments fixed upon the golden candelabra. There seems, therefore, to have been attached to this fruit some mystic signification, to which it is indebted for the veneration thus paid to it. If so, this mystic meaning should be traced into Spurious Freemasonry; for there, after all, if there be any antiquity in our Order, we shall find the parallel of all its rites and ceremonies. 26
The Syrians at Damascus worshiped an idol which they called Rimmon. This was the same idol that was worshiped by Shaman before his conversion; as recorded in the Second Book of Kings. The learned have not been able to agree as to 'he nature of this idol, whether he was a representation of Helios or the Sun, the god of the Phoenicians, or of Venus, or according to Grotius, in his Commentary on the passage in Kings, of Saturn, or what, according to Statius, Feems more probable, of Jupiter Cassius. But it is sufficient for the present purpose to know that Rimmon is the Hebrew and Syriac for pomegranate. Cumberland, the learned Bishop of Peterborough (Origines gerLtium antiquissimae, or Attempts for discovering the Times of the First Planting of Nations, page 60), quotes Achilles Statius, a converted Pagan, and Bishop of Alexandria, as saying that on Mount Cassius, which Bochart places between Canaan and Egypt, there was a temple wherein Jupiter's image held a pomegranate in his hand, which Statius goes on to say, "had a mystical meaning." Sanconiathon thinks this temple was built by the descendants of the Cabiri. Cumberland attempts to explain this mystery thus: "Agreeably hereunto I guess that the pomegranate in the hand of Jupiter or Juno, because, when it is opened, it discloses a great number of seeds, signified only, that those deities were, being long-lived, the parents of a great many children, and families that soon grew into nations, which they planted in large possessions, when the world was newly begun to be peopled, by giving them laws and other useful inventions to make their lives comfortable." Pausanias (Corinthiaca, page 59) says he saw, not far from the ruins of Mycenae, an image of Juno holding in one hand a sceptre, and in the other a pomegranate; but he likewise declines assigning any explanation of the emblem, merely declaring that it was a Greek expression meaning a forbidden mystery. That is, one which was forbidden by the Cabiri to be divulged. In the Festival of the Thesmophoria, observed in honour of the goddess Ceres, it was held unlawful for the celebrants who were women to eat the pomegranate. Clemens Alexandrinus assigns as a reason that it was supposed that this fruit sprang from the blood of Bacchus. Bryant (Analysis of Ancient Mythology in, page 237) says that the Ark was looked upon as the mother of mankind, and on this account it was figured under the semblance of a pomegranate; for as this fruit abounds with seeds, it was thought no improper emblem of the Ark, which contained the rudiments of the future world. In fact, few plants had among the ancients a more mythical history than the pomegranate. From the Hebrews, who used it mystically at the Temple, it passed over to the Freemasons, who adopted it as the symbol of plenty, for which it is well adapted by its swelling and seed-abounding fruit. Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor. 27
Published on Nov 28, 2014