Volume 11 Issue 3 No. 85 March 2015
Contents Cover Story, The Brotherhood of Horse Whisperers Some Patron Saints of Masonry Famous Freemason – Irving Berlin Elgin’s Lodge at Leven No. 91. Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Masonic Brotherhood. Darkness Visible Cowans and Intruders The Importance of the Legend of Hiram Abiff The Masonic Dictionary Main Website – What’s your Answer?
In this issue: Page 2, ‘The Brotherhood of Horse Whisperers.’ Our regular feature of Fraternal societies looks at the secret society which began in Scotland. Page 6, ‘Some Patron Saints of Masonry.’ A look at some of the Masonic Patron Saints. Page 10, ‘Irving Berlin.’ A Famous Freemason. Page 12, ‘Elgin’s Lodge at Leven No. 91.’ Another History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 17, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Liberty”, our Regular monthly feature. Page 18 ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Joke; the forty-second in the series from Carl Claudy. Page 19, ‘Masonic Brotherhood’ Do we understand the meaning of this?. Page 21, ‘Darkness Visible’ A look at what this means? Page 22, ‘Cowans and Intruders.’ The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 23, ‘The Importance of the legend of Hiram Abiff’ This ritualistic drama explained. Page 26, ‘The Masonic Dictionary.’ Shoe.
In the Lectures website The article for Answer?’[link]
The front cover is a stock photograph sourced by the editor.
Fraternal Societies Of the World Brotherhood of Horse Whisperers The Horseman’s Word The Brotherhood of Horse Whisperers, The Horseman's Word, was the mystical phrase that gave Scottish horsemen total control over horse and woman It was taught to initiate into the secret Society of the Horseman's Word which reached its peak between 1830 and 1930. The Society was strongest in North-east Scotland but was also taken by emigrant Scots to the Canadian prairies, and the United States. The original Ku Klux Klan in the southern states was based upon it. Its roots lay in a horse cult brought by the Celts as they moved west across Europe, and into Scotland. By medieval times the Society of the Horseman’s Word ranked as a secret craft alongside that of miller and masons. Freemasonry became open to non practising masons from 1717 onwards, and about the same period technological advances rendered the millers’ secrets obsolete. However, three events helped advance the horsemen and make their Society the longest surviving trade craft in Britain The first was the breeding of the mighty Clydesdale horse from six Flanders stallions imported into Scotland by the Duke of Hamilton in the mid-18th century. The second was the invention of the twohorse swing plough, and the third was the
Napoleonic Wars which required vastly increased agricultural output. Until about 1810 oxen still remained the principal work beast on a Scottish farm but gradually the horse took over. The small Highland pony was used in the glens where the top soil was shallow and the ploughs still primitive. However, on the heavy soil of the Aberdeenshire and Kincardine plain only the massive Clydesdale horse could cope. Thus the Society of the Horseman's Word began to grow in power and prestige from 1820 onwards. It was helped by the farm town system of North-cast Scotland where each farm had a little, close knit, community grouped around it. Membership of the Society was essential for any youth wishing to rise in the strict, social hierarchy of the farm. Unless he was an initiate he could not become a ploughman nor could he court the female servants. He would begin work at the age of 14 in charge of the cows, by 16 he would he given the spare plough team and on his 17th birthday would find on his pillow an envelope containing a single horse hair. This was his summons to join the Society and one he dared not refuse An old ballad tells of his progression. Syne I got on for baillie Loon, (head boy) Syne I got on for third, (third Plough team) And syne I had to get of course, The Horseman’s grippin Word! The initiation ceremony was usually carried out at Martinnas and had to be attended by 13 novices. Each was required to bring a jug of whisky, a loaf of bread and a candle, all purchased with difficulty from his meagre six monthly pay. His 2
sponsors, usually the older ploughmen on each farm, would lead the youth blindfolded to a barn at midnight. They would stop before the closed door and the senior Horseman would give a measured knock and a whinny like a horse. From inside came the question:
figure sat on a corn stook with cloven foot outstretched. The youths would tremblingly shake the foot of the Auld Chiel before being led out. More and more whisky was passed round until the youngsters were stupefied. The older men raised their jugs in a final toast:
“Wha telt ye to come?” “The Deevil!”, was the reply. “Which wey did ye come?” “By the hooks and crooks of the road.” “By which licht did ye come?” (light) “By the stars and licht of the moon.” “How high is your stable door?” “As high as taks the collar and the hames.” (rein bars) “Where were ye made a Horseman?” “In a Horseman’s Hall where the sun never shone, the wind never crew, and the feet of maiden never trod.”
“Here’s to the horse with four white feet, The chestnut tail and mane. A star on his head and a spot on his head, And his master’s name was Cain!”
When the interrogation finished the door suing open to admit the initiates. The youths were stripped naked and forced to kneel before a makeshift altar formed by an upturned sack of corn The presiding Horseman questioned them: “What is the tender of the Oath?” “Hele, conceal, never reveal, nor write nor dite, nor carve nor write in sand”, the youths chanted. Then they repeated the Horseman’s Oath and swore never to reveal the secrets they would learn “and in failing may my body he quartered in four parts with it Horseman’s knife and buried in the sea 40 fathoms from the shore where the tide ebbs and flows every 24 hours, or may I be torn to pieces by wild horses.” Each youth was then plied with whisky and taken to a comer of the barn where the Horseman's Word was whispered in his ear. Then he was led to the innermost recess of the barn where a horned. shaggy 3
The youth would be carried back to bed and roused a few hours later for the normal 5 am start. He would be allowed to lead out the first plough learn to prove he now had total control over the most powerful horses. The farmer usually watched in disgruntled silence. knowing he would now have to pay the youth a man's wage. He knew, too, that neither he nor any member of his family would ever be allowed into the Society. Such was the superstitious awe of the secrets of the Society that disputes between master and workers were rare. The farmer and his family could be persuaded to mend their ways by fear of the supernatural. This was aided by sheet covered figures swaying outside at midnight, or by mysterious taps on the farm windows. The farmer also knew that only an initiated Horseman could work his fields. Those who weren't would find the farm horses refusing to leave the stable. Much of the initiation ceremony, which continued in this form until the 1930's reeks of witchcraft. The 13 initiates. the shaking of the Auld Chiefs foot (the Devil), the parody of a religious ceremony, and lastly the spells cast over horse and woman. The persecution of Scottish witches in the 16th and l7th centuries did not destroy
witchcraft, the surviving element of the old pre-Christian religions It simply went underground and found a last refuge amongst the isolated farming communities of North-east Scotland. Once a youth was initiated his studies continued for five year. He was taught first the Four Rules of Horsemanship - *To make him stand. *To make him lie. *To make him hip, *To make him hie. He was then gradually admitted to more and more secrets by older Horsemen. He was taught how to prepare certain drugs and how toad's blood and pig's dung are totally repellent to a horse. Smear either on a stable door and the horses within will refuse to leave. Similarly. a small nail placed beneath a collar would turn the mildest horse wild. By such means the Society ensured that only their members could work a farm’s horses. One trick was to plant a fork in a dung heap and hitch a team to it. The Horseman then urged the horses forward. Their muscles bulged but the fork did not move. It seemed like magic to the watchers unless, of course. the horseman was holding a totally repellent object right beneath the horses’ nostrils! The reason a new initiate could suddenly master the powerful first plough team was due to the senior horseman on the farm placing in oatcake made from various herbs beneath the youth’s armpit hen asleep. This was broken beneath the horses’ nostrils and the aromatic spices cleared the smell of their normal handler and replaced it with the odour of the youth. This potion known as Drawing Oils, was first mentioned in the 1st century by the Roman writer Pliny who described it as a love potion. Certainly, it was believed
Horsemen were irresistible to women and this may explain the high illegitimacy rates in North-east Scotland both last century and this. To say you had been courted by a Horseman would bring nods of understanding rather than condemnation. Confidence in courting has always proved successful, as has confidence in handling animals, and belief in the Horseman's Word helped create confidence in a young initiate.
Both as one. Total empathy between man and horse created by the knowledge of the Horseman’s Word. The deliberate framing of the horse in the triangle of the barn has a secret significance.
There is no doubt the Horsemen of yesteryear had an amazing control over horses to an extent never seen today. The 4
expression “a Scottish Horseman” was known as far as London and a Victorian writer recorded “The Kincardine horsemen are dexterous to a fault. They govern them wholly by the tongue and never use the hand reins. The horse turns to the right or left or goes forward or follows his guide like a dog.” Much of the horseman's control over horses seemed like magic to the uninitiated and it was these seeming spells that created superstitious awe, particularly amongst isolated farming people. There Is the tale of the Horseman who drove a tram of horses across the Loch of Skene near Aberdeen but more authentic are the stories of old horse dealers returning from market with a long line of untethered horses trotting behind him. These were men who had an amazing control over horses but also a deep knowledge of spices and chemicals attractive to them. However, much of it was simply the ancient art of horsemanship handed down from pre-history As to the Word itself - it is believed this is the phrase “Both as One” signifying total empathy between man and beast This undoubtedly derives from the legendary centaurs of our ancestors, halfman, half-horse. The centaurs were the Celtic tribesmen who pushed west across Europe in the first millennium B.C., riding small shaggy ponies and whose sheer horsemanship on their half wild beasts made them seem part of their mounts. The Scottish horsemen also pushed west in the 19th century particularly to Canada and the United States where their skills with plough teams found ready employment. Many fought in the Civil War and shortly after its end, in May, 1866, six Confederate veterans of Scottish extraction met at 5
Pulaski, Tennessee. to form a fraternal society. They called this Ku Klux from the Greek word for a circle and added Klan to mark their Scottish descent. As a joke they rode out one night covered in bed sheets and found the superstitious local Blacks thought they were the ghost of the Confederate dead. From this came the idea of forming a society based on that of the Horseman's Word to inspire as great a fear amongst lawless freed slaves as it had amongst Scottish farmers. In North Carolina a horned hood was worn while Blacks were forced to shake the skeleton hand of the “Auld Chiel.” New members were obliged to go through the same initiation rituals as Scottish ploughboys and their oath was identical. Alas, from these relatively harmless beginning the Ku Klux Klan was usurped by evil and criminal elements and the original Klan was officially disbanded five years later. In Scotland, increased mechanisation from 1930 onwards saw the gradual demise of the Society of the Horseman’s Word although it does still exist in outlying pans and the age old secrets are still passed on. Was it all just confidence and ancient “tricks of the trade”, or does something much older lie behind it? Only those with the Horseman’s Word today will really know, and they guard their secret carefully. This excellent article was written by Archie McKerracher and was reproduced by the editor from The Highlander Magazine Vol, 27 No.1. Jan/Feb 1989.
SOME PATRON SAINTS OF MASONRY Looking back to the mediaeval guilds through whose usages we may trace the descent of our present Speculative Craft, we find that the Patron Saints associated with various callings and trades had usually been chosen on account of some affinity, often more or less remote, with the pursuits of the members. Some cases in which the reason for this association baffles explanation are really to be accounted for by the accidental grouping together of several callings under a patron properly belonging to one in particular, or through a purely practical consideration dictated by convenience, which decided that the members should attend a church dedicated to a Saint whose history had no special relation to the Craft in question. Many Saints, owing to several different incidents in their lives, were claimed as Patrons by a large number of callings which had no Craft associations with one another. An invocation of the HOLY TRINITY always formed the religious foundation of such guilds, and to this might be added the names of Saintly Exemplars, but, in many cases the TRIUNE MYSTERY stood alone as the title of the guild - GOD HIMSELF was the Patron of the fraternity, and this seems to have been the case in the Fifteenth Century with the Masons' Company of London. More than one cause may have been a factor in this particular choice, as the Company had special relations with the Priory of the Holy Trinity at Aldgate, whilst the idea of the Great Master Craftsman of the World, so
familiar to us, was also present to the minds of those days. Illustrations contemporary with the connection I refer to, and also of much earlier date are extant, in which THE GREAT ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE is represented creating the World, as was described by Milton  when be wrote how "the Omnific Word took the golden compasses, prepared In God's eternal store, to circumscribe This universe, and all created things. One foot He centred, and the other turned Round through the vast profundity obscure, And said, 'Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, This be thy just circumference, O world." Turning then to the consideration of the earthly Patron Saints of Masonry, and dismissing the names of those the exact reason of whose connection with the Craft is uncertain, we are left with three remarkable legends relating to ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE, ST. BARBARA, and the FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS. Each of these legends illustrates a somewhat different point of view, and their main characteristics may aptly be described as being respectively mystical, symbolical, and historical. All three stories alike are coloured, more or less, by such influences, and are calculated, by means of allegory and symbol, to lead the Operative Craftsmen to the contemplation of the highest principles of piety and virtue. Let us briefly review the leading particulars of these legends in this light : When ST. THOMAS was at Caesarea, OUR LORD appeared to him and said, 6
'The King of the Indies, Gondoforus, hath sent to seek for workmen well versed in the science of Architecture, who shall build for him a palace finer than that of the Emperor of Rome. Behold now, I will send thee to him.' The Apostle went on his mission, but whilst the King was absent in a distant country, instead of building a palace, he distributed all the treasures which the King had accumulated to the sick and poor. When the King returned he was full of wrath and cast St. Thomas into prison to await a fearful death. Meanwhile a brother of the King died, but after four days he returned to life and warned the King -'The man whom thou wouldst torture is a servant of God,' and told him that in Paradise angels had shown him a wondrous palace of gold and silver and precious stones which Thomas the Architect had built for the King. The Saint was loosed immediately from his bonds, and exhorted the King, 'Knowest thou not that those who would possess heavenly things, have little care for the things of this earth? There are in heaven rich palaces without number, which were prepared from the beginning of the world for those who purchase the possession through faith and charity. Thy riches, O King, may prepare the way for thee to such a palace, but they cannot follow thee thither.' It is in allusion to this legend that, in all devotional repre-sentations which are not prior to the thirteenth century, St. Thomas cames as his symbol the square or builder's rule, and that he is claimed as the Patron Saint of Architects and Builders. I venture to fancy that an old-time Operative seeing an English Worshipful Master's apron of to-day would, in its T square emblems, expect to find a reference to St Thomas. 7
The point of view reminds one of St. Laurence and his production of the sick and poor as the treasures of the Church. The beauty and significance of the allegory will be appreciated by those whose craft it is to build a spiritual edifice in their hearts. SAINT BARBARA was the daughter of an Eastern Noble, a pagan who dwelt in Heliopolis. The father, fearing that her beauty would lead to her being sought in marriage, and that so he would lose his only and beloved child, confined her in a high tower. There contemplating the stars of heaven in their courses, the future Saint apprehended the Omnipotence of a Power vastly superior to the idols of the heathen; to her mind so prepared came tidings of the true faith, and her conversion followed. Her directions to the builders to put three instead of two windows in her chamber, brought the knowledge of her conversion to her father. His love changed to fury, which event-ually led him to be himself the instrument of her martyrdom. In association with the Tower and its Builders St Barbara is claimed as the Patroness of Architects and Builders, and more especially in connection with castles, fortifications, and the military arts. Her emblem in this connection is a Tower. The legend seems to have originated in Eastern Christendom and to have been brought by the Crusaders to Western Europe, where the Saint acquired great popularity, in mediaeval times; as the Patroness of the Knight and man-at-arms. A mystical tower where Truth is to be found is a symbol not unknown to some of our Brethren.
We now come to the legend of the FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS which really commemorates NINE SAINTS comprising two separate groups, a company of Five excellent Masons - four friends soon joined by another - and a fellowship of Four Soldiers. When the Emperor Diocletian went to Pannonia to visit the stone quarries he found, among the craftsmen there employed, four skilled above all others in the stone-squarer's art. Their names were CLAUDIUS, CASTORIUS, SEMPRONIANUS, and NICO-STRATUS; they were secretly Christians, and the motive of their good work was that it was all done in the Name of their LORD. To these Was joined by their example a fellow crafts-man, SIMPLICIUS, who also embraced their faith. By declining to make a statue of the heathen god Aesculapius they forfeited the favour of the Emperor, and eventually were done to death by being fastened up alive in leaden coffins and cast into the river. Thence a fellow Christian raised the poor remains and carried them to his own house. On his return to Rome the Emperor directed a temple to be made to Aesculapius in the Baths of Trojan, where some time later on, on its completion, the soldiers, and more especially the City Militia, were ordered to present themselves and offer incense before the image of the god. Four Christian soldiers refused to sacrifice to the idol: they were scourged to death with leaden-weighted thongs, and their bodies, thrown to the dogs, were recovered by their friends and laid to rest with other Saints. Twelve years later the Bishop founded a church on the Caelian Hill, under the title of the FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS, dedicated to commemorate these nine Saints all equally
to be accounted winners of the Martyr's Crown Celestial. Later on the names of the soldiers were given as SEYERUS, SEVERIANUS, CARPOPHORUS, and VICTORINUS. The Church of the Quatuor Coronati has survived through many vicissitudes and rebuildings to the present day, and the legend, too, has passed through many parallel stages, but as regards the main points, it is agreed that the story rests upon an historical foundation, and some of the difficulties and discrepancies, which I cannot now enter into, have only served to confirm the general credibility of the legend. The relics of the Martyrs were not deposited in the church until many years had elapsed since their Martyrdoms, which in the case of the Five Worthy Masons may be dated on November 8th, A.D. 302, and as regards the Four Soldiers in the year A.D. 304. There was a special significance in this case in the title Coronati, beyond its aptness to apply to all Saints, for the soldiers might have gained the distinction denominated 'crowned'. in the Roman Army, yet they chose the Heavenly Crown. Crowning, too, would have, in the minds of mediaeval guilds-men a familiar association with some election ceremonies as maintained in the London City Companies to these days. Both in England and on the Continent the Four Crowned Martyrs were widely recognised as the Patron Saints of the Masons' Craft, but as the representations of them show, the memory of the military element seems to have been largely eclipsed by the commemoration of the 8
Masons who appear grouped alone with the usual emblems of their calling. These symbols, which were easily recognised, and the simple story of how the Saints worked worthily in the Name of their Master, and were faithful even unto death, made a direct appeal easily understood by folk of all classes, and, no doubt, most of all appreciated by those who were practising the same craft. The historical legend of the Quatuor Coronati was essentially the legend of the Operatives. That of St. Barbara contains in its symbolism elements of romance and chivalrous associations; whilst the mystical allegory relating to St. Thomas has clearly a savour of the cloister. We know that the building operations of the middle ages necessarily involved special relations between the clergy and the craftsmen in ecclesiastical work; there must have been a very analogous association between military experts and craftsmen with regard to castles and works of fortification, and I think it is to such influences that we owe the association with building of these two legends, which both appeal to builders in general, but in each case have a particular interest in addition, either for the soldier or the priest. We of the Speculative Craft have a very real bond of union with the martyred Masons in that our labours, like theirs, are always undertaken under the Divine Invocation, and we have also, besides actual associations past and present, a symbolic link with the Soldier Saints. For, as the material building is exposed to the war of the elements, so in the moral sphere combat is the necessary accompaniment of building, and so it will ever behove all worthy Masons to labour trowel in hand and sword by side, as did the ancient 9
craftsmen at the building of the Holy Temple, until the designs laid down by the GREAT ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE on the Tracing Board of His Divine Providence are brought to perfect completion in the Grand Lodge above. "We are told that the great purpose of Freemasonry is to build character. What is character but a reflection of God? The trouble with Freemasonry is that it is not understood. The need of the world to-day is a better setting forth of the object and the principles of this fraternity, a need for keener analysis of that which is behind the teachings of this great society in the hope that men may be brought to realise the function and purpose of life." FOOTNOTE (1)Paradise Lost, Book VII, 225pp by W.B. Gordon P. G. Hills P.M. Quatuor Coronatj Lodge, No.2076 (E.C.) Published in 'The Treasury of Masonic Thought', Dundee 1924
Did You Know? The “three lesser lights” are placed E.S.&W. Why is there none in the North? Answer: The answer to this question is “ …. Because the sun darts no ray of light from that quarter to our hemisphere.” And the search for light is a major inspiration in our ceremonies. The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Famous Freemasons Irving Berlin
“There’s no business like show business” On May 11, 1888 Irving Berlin was born Israel Baline in Eastern Russia, near the Siberian border in the village of Tyumen. He was one of eight children. His father was Shochet – (shoykhet in Yiddish) one who kills kosher animals as prescribed by Jewish religious laws. He was also the cantor in their Synagogue. His family moved to New York in 1893 to escape the pogroms in Russia. At the age of five, Israel (Izzy) Baline’s American success story began when he stepped onto Ellis Island in 1893, on his way to Gotham’s teeming Lower East Side, “the eyesore of New York and perhaps the filthiest place
on the continent,” according to the New York Times of the era. However dirty and poor, this Jewish ghetto was incubating an American renaissance that would produce gangsters, legislators, merchants, professionals of all stripes— and Munn Lodge’s very own, Brother Irving Berlin: one of the most prolific songwriters in history and a man who would change the music business forever… So many articles have been written about this very famous Freemason, I couldn’t even imagine scratching the surface of his accomplishments — in such a short article. However, I have learned so much (in doing the research for this article) there are many things I found were missing in other articles about Brother Berlin. I believe, to truly understand the character of this remarkable man, I feel it’s important to understand his environment. In a moment I will paint a picture of NYC at the turn of the 20th Century; I will then illustrate Irving Berlin through his own words and actions as a Man, a patriot, a father, a Freemason, and through some of his peers… Everybody ought to have a Lower East Side in their life ~Irving Berlin The East Side of Manhattan is where it all began for generations of immigrants from around the world. Originally, “Lower East Side” referred to the area alongside the East River from about the Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street up to 14th Street, and roughly bounded on the west by Broadway. It also (then) included areas known today as East Village, Alphabet City and NoLIta. The character of this neighbourhood began to evolve more than three hundred years 10
ago, when extended families from around the world squeezed their hungry families into the tall tenement buildings that filled lower Manhattan. This area was formerly known as Corlaer’s Hook and was notorious for streetwalkers, who were dubbed hookers. There were several overlapping neighbourhoods in East Side’s “Five Corners” district: Chinatown, Little Italy, Bowery, Germantown and Jewtown (mostly of Eastern European: Russian, Polish & Ukrainian descent) – these were among the largest ethnic enclaves – between the Williamsburg & Manhattan Bridges. In search of opportunity, turn-ofthe-century newcomers quickly hit the streets selling their wares out of potato sacks slung over their shoulders, becoming the Lower East Side’s first business owners. Not stopping there, many successful business owners expanded their inventory and purchased pushcarts, and eventually storefronts, making the Lower East Side one of the busiest commercial districts in the world. As with their Italian counterparts, many Jewish gangs (dubbed: Kosher Nostra) – specializing in extortion – began operating in the heavily Jewish neighbourhoods of New York’s Lower East Side most prominently the so-called Yiddish Black Hand headed by Jacob Levinsky, and later by Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. Amidst all of this negativity the young Izzy (Irving Berlin) Baline steered clear of illegal activities and instead developed a quick whit, a strong work ethic, a talent for singing and an ear for music. Talent is only the starting point… Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it! ~Irving Berlin
During his youngest days, Israel lived a relatively wild and unsupervised life belonging to a gang and playing street games with his pals. Berlin’s family was too poor to provide piano lessons, let alone a piano; Berlin would remain musically illiterate. He took to the Streets of Jewtown on the Lower East Side of New York City to help support his family. To supplement the family’s meagre income, Israel, more fluent in English than his parents and five older siblings, haggled with a nearby junk shop. “I used to go there selling bits and pieces of an old samovar that my mother had brought from Russia and kept under the bed,” he once recalled. “I’d get five and ten cents for the pieces and kept selling them until the entire samovar disappeared.” As with many immigrant families, times were tough and even the kids had to pitch in and earn money. Berlin understood the value of hard-earned money from early on. Hawking papers as a “Newsie” on a downtown pier in 1901, a 13-year-old Israel had just sold his fifth copy of the New York Evening Journal when a loading crane swung into his path, knocking him into the East River. Fished out just in time, he was given artificial respiration and carted off to Governor’s Hospital. An hour later, as the young newsie slept, a nurse pried open his clenched hand. In it: five copper coins. He remained tight-fisted for the rest of his 101 years. In 1896, Moses died and 15 yr old Israel ran away from home. Young Israel was determined to find an easier way to make money. He began his show business career earning money for himself first as a street singer beginning as a companion to an unsavoury singing beggar. Israel began singing too and hung
around some popular cafés and restaurants in the Bowery.
Whatever his rights or his wrongs, he can only speak through his songs.
He Joined Munn Lodge in 1910 at the age of 22.
This was his theme. As mentioned above, his first published hit was “Marie From Sunny Italy.” His successes continued through the years. Some of his songs that have become classics include “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Easter Parade,” and “White Christmas.” He was the top money maker among songwriters in America.
In the early 1900s Berlin found worked as a singing waiter in many restaurants including Pastors Music Hall (The birthplace of Vaudeville) and the Pelham Café — this is also where he began writing songs. According to Parlorsongs.com: “[He] became quite popular entertaining customers with parodies of current popular songs. Baline became well known and even was mentioned in the papers thus becoming better known. Two waiters at a rival café had written an Italian song and had it published. Not to be outdone, Pelham asked their pianist, “Nick” Nicholson to write a song and tapped Baline to write lyrics. The two wrote Marie Of Sunny Italy and Berlin introduced the song himself and often sung it while at work. The song was quite popular with the clientele and when Stern picked it up to publish, a printer’s error on the cover gave him the name, Irving Berlin. Not one to tempt fate, the newly named Berlin stuck with the name for the rest of his life. Berlin made a total of 37¢ in royalties from the song.” There’s No Business Like Show Business……no business, I know! ~Irving Berlin Irving Berlin went on to write more than 3000 songs, 19 musicals and the scores of 18 movies. He once wrote: A fiddler can speak with his fiddle, A singer can speak with his voice, An actor can speak — With his tongue in his cheek, but a songwriter has no choice…
In 1924, fellow songwriter Jerome Kern said “Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music.” He was equally at home writing for Broadway and Hollywood. He wrote 17 complete scores for Broadway musicals and revues, and contributed material to six more. Among the shows featuring allBerlin scores were The Coconuts, As Thousands Cheer, Louisiana Purchase, Miss Liberty, Mr. President, Call Me Madam, and the phenomenally successful Annie Get Your Gun. Among the Hollywood musical classics with scores by Bro. Irving Berlin are Top Hat, Follow The Fleet, On the Avenue, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Holiday Inn, This is the Army, Blue Skies, Easter Parade, White Christmas, and There’s No Business Like Show Business. His songs have provided memorable moments in dozens of other films, from The Jazz Singer (1927) to Home Alone (1991). Among his many awards were a Your Newsletter special Tony Award (1963) and the Academy Award for Best Song of the Year for “White Christmas” in 1942. Never hate a song that has sold more than a half a million copies. ~Irving Berlin 12
An intuitive businessman, Bro. Irving Berlin was a co-founder of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), founder of his own music publishing company, and, with producer Sam Harris, built his own Broadway theatre, The Music Box. In 1918, this (30 yr old) Munn Lodge Brother made history when he scribbled a most beautiful series of simple words onto a piece of paper — while at boot camp in Long Island, NY. The song was God Bless America and he became immensely wealthy from it. It wasn’t until 20 years later – on Nov 10, 1938 those famous words were sung live on the radio by the #1 songstress in the nation – Kate Smith to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I (later to become Veteran’s Day). The lyrics were inserted into the Congressional Record, and there was even a movement to make the song our national anthem. Although it was recorded by Bing Crosby, Barry Wood, Gene Autry, and Horace Heidt’s orchestra at the time, it was destined to be associated with Kate Smith forever, giving her a certain immortality, as well as a guaranteed standing ovation at all of her concerts. A patriotic song is an emotion and you must not embarrass an audience with it, or they will hate your guts…” ~Irving Berlin In 1940, in true Masonic spirit, Irving Berlin established the God Bless America Foundation, with all royalties from its performance earned by either Berlin or Miss Smith going to the Boy and Girl 13
Scouts of America. To date, Tens of Millions of Dollars have gone to these children via this foundation. Brother Irving Berlin, the Free & Accepted Mason, received the first of his Three Degrees of Freemasonry in Munn Lodge, New York City on May 12, May 26 and June 3, 1910, becoming a life member of the Lodge on December 12, 1935. Berlin received the 32° Scottish Rite (Northern Masonic Jurisdiction) on December 23, 1910 and was also initiated as a Shriner into Mecca Shrine Temple on January 30, 1911, becoming a life member of the Shrine in December 1936. You’re not sick, brother, you’re just in love. ~Irving Berlin Berlin was married twice. His first wife, singer Dorothy Goetz, sister of songwriter E. Ray Goetz, contracted pneumonia and typhoid fever on their honeymoon to Cuba, and died five months after their wedding in 1912 at the age of twenty. Her death inspired Berlin’s song “When I Lost You”, which became one of his earliest hits. Curiously, a year before Dorothy Berlin’s death, Irving Berlin, E. Ray Goetz, and Ted Snyder co-wrote a song called “There’s a Girl in Havana”. His second wife was Ellin Mackay, a devout Irish-American Catholic and heiress to the Comstock Lode mining fortune, as well as an avant-garde writer who had been published in The New Yorker. They were married in 1926, against the wishes of both his family, who objected to religious intermarriage, and her father, Clarence Mackay, a prominent Roman Catholic layman, who disinherited her.
Without a dispensation from the Church, the two were joined in a civil ceremony on January 4, 1926, and were immediately snubbed by society: Ellin was immediately disinvited from the wedding of her friend Consuelo Vanderbilt, although Vanderbilt was not a Catholic. Finances were not a problem, however: Berlin assigned her the rights to his song “Always” which yielded her a huge and steady income.
copyright for “God Bless America” to the God Bless America Fund, which has raised many millions of dollars for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Berlin’s World War I dough-boy uniform and many of his original patriotic scores are on display in the Jewish War Veterans Museum in Washington, D.C. He also received the Freedom Medal from President and Bro. Gerald Ford in 1977.
The couple had three daughters—Mary Ellin Barrett (oldest daughter, was born on November 25, 1926.), Linda Emmett, and Elizabeth Peters — and a son, Irving Berlin, Jr., who died as an infant on Christmas Day. Irving and Ellin remained married for the rest of their lives.
The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success. ~Irving Berlin
After you get everything you want, you find you don’t want everything. ~Irving Berlin As a Freemason, Berlin supported many charities and organizations and is responsible for generating hundreds of millions of dollars to worthwhile causes. For this ha had received many honours, accolades, and awards. In 1944, he was honoured by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for “advancing the aims of the conference to eliminate religious and racial conflict.” His actions were also acknowledged with such accolades as the Army’s Medal of Merit from President and Bro. Harry Truman, in 1945, also a Congressional Gold Medal for “God Bless America”. Five years later, he was honoured by the New York YMHA as one of “12 outstanding Americans of the Jewish faith.” On February 18, 1955, President Eisenhower presented him with a gold medal in recognition of his services in composing many patriotic songs for the country. Earlier, Berlin assigned the
Berlin often said: “There are really only six tunes in the world.” But from those six tunes he fashioned, according to his catalogue, thousands of songs – and nobody knows how many more he may have stored somewhere. When someone admired one of his melodies, Mr. Berlin was quick to say: ”I like it, too. I’ve used it lots of times.” — Following a gala 100th birthday celebration concert at Carnegie Hall (which Berlin did not attend but gave his blessing), Morton Gould, president of ASCAP, said that “Irving Berlin’s music will last not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but for always.” As per the New York Times, Berlin’s earning capacity seems remarkably undiminished from the time of his unimaginable fame. The 2004 annual Forbes.com list of the rich and deceased claims that Berlin’s works earned $7 million from ASCAP — 15 years after his death (tying two others among the departed, Johnny Cash and George Harrison). Not bad for a poor immigrant who had only two years of formal schooling and who never learned to read or write music! 14
In a NY Times interview (published: May 15, 1988) on Irving Berlin’s 100th Birthday a reporter asked another famous musician — What makes an Irving Berlin song special? ‘What makes an Irving Berlin song special? The answer is quite simple: Irving Berlin! And that’s ”not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but always.” In a world where many make sausages, Irving made beauty. ‘ ~ Frank Sinatra I got lost but look what I found!“ ~Irving Berlin Bro. Irving Berlin died in his sleep an immensely wealthy man on September 22, 1989, at the epic age of 101. He was survived by his 3000 songs, 17 Broadway Musicals, 3 daughters, 9 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and 1 incredible story. In his Obituary in the New York Times, many of his peers commented about his long and illustrious career. Songwriter Sammy Cahn once said Mr. Berlin: ”If a man, in a lifetime of 50 years, can point to six songs that are immediately identifiable, he has achieved something. Irving Berlin can sing 60 that are immediately identifiable. Somebody once said you couldn’t have a holiday without his permission.” Born penniless, steering clear of the many potholes in the “Streets of New York”, joining Munn Lodge and going on to become one of the most notable Freemasons of the 20th century: Brother Irving Berlin is a shining example of “A Good Man Made Better”. His body of work, legacy and Masonic benevolence will immortalize him. He is one of the 15
reasons I joined this Lodge. I can only pray that following in his footsteps, walking the same halls, following the same rituals & sitting in the same seats as this most famous brother – a man whom I wish I could have gotten to know personally – will help to shape my own future. Maybe this article will persuade another young Brother to do the same… “Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.” ~Irving Berlin Article by Joe Negron Sourced from the Masonic Network Blog
Did You Know? Why does the E.A. apron not contain one rosette? Answer: It is not necessary. The E.A. apron is always described as. a plain white lambskin‟ and every English mason would know that is designates E.A. status. In the U.S.A. especially (but probably elsewhere too), only the Lodge officers wear ornamented aprons and all visitors and members wear a plain white, as emblems of equality, and in many jurisdictions, the grade of the wearer, EA, FC, or MM is indicated by turning up the corners of the apron or some similarly recognizable practice. The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Elginâ€™s Lodge at Leven No. 91.
9th September 1763 and on the 4th October 1763, 79 men described as members of Elgin's Lodge at Leven signed their name and one made his mark. They signed on the pain of undergoing such penalty or censures the Lodge shall think proper to inflict on any of us if we act to the contrary, Witness our hand. A remarkable number of people to be founder members and able to write their name. On the 5th April 1768 the Lodge agreed to impose a fine of 4 pence on any Brother who, living within 2.5 miles of the Lodge did not attend the meetings without a reasonable excuse, and 6 pence on office bearers. From around 1774 the Lodge was operating in Leven but it is not known where this was. It must have been in the west of the town as in one of the minutes it is noted that the Lodge marched in possession from the west of Leven.
The first meeting of the steering committee to form a lodge was in the house of Mrs Williamson in the village of Kennoway in September 1762. A charter was requested from the Grand Lodge of Scotland and this petition was read in Grand Lodge on the 8th February 1763 and was approved. (This is date on the Charter). The petitioners were Thomas Peat, who was the first Master, Christopher Seton, Alexander Livingstone and other Brethren. The first meetings were held in the house of Mrs Williamson on the Causeway in Kennoway. The regulations of the Lodge cover seven pages of the first minute book and on the
The corner stone of the first Lodge was laid in Leven on the 1st of July 1794. (This had been held in abeyance for 10 years due to lack of funds). They must have had a treasurer like our current one as he was only prepared to pay one of the Brethren for cartage 6 pence from Scoonie Den and 8 pence from Durie Quarry. The first Lodge was lit by gas in 1839. The foundation stone of the current Lodge was laid 8th October1898. The most famous Master is Field Marshal Earl Haig who was Master in 1925. The Lodge was given up as a barracks at the start of the first world war and it was agreed in committee that the Lodge would 16
not make Masons as long as it was occupied by the army. It was also used for the same purpose during the Second World War. As there appears to be no record of a change, it can be assumed that the ritual used today was agreed around 1820/30. The Lodge is in possession of all the minute books thanks to a Brother, who, was instructed by the Master to go out and collect them form all the Brethren who had taken them from the Lodge. He did this, and as he was a joiner had made a large chest and the books are still in the chest. This took place around 1885. This History of Elginâ€™s Lodge at Leven No. 91 was sourced from their website, which can be viewed by clicking this link. Thanks go to the Lodge No .91.
Rays of Masonry â€œLibertyâ€?
Liberty- Perhaps no single definition can be given which will convey all that is embodied in this precious word. For our purpose here, let us define it as "the normal balance between desire and restraint." This would be a proper Masonic definition. The words "normal restraint" must mean the understanding and application of Spiritual Laws, by which a perfect and permanent freedom is assured. The enjoyment of Liberty, or the extent of this enjoyment, is based upon the intellect of the individual. A privilege, therefore Liberty, is the possession of the man who feels a responsibility to give something in return 17
for that which he receives and appreciates; to suppress a base desire for a nobler one; to sacrifice a temporary selfish desire for one that means the most lasting values to the welfare of all people. Parents dare not indiscriminately grant every wish of their children. By doing so, an abnormal condition is set up. Desire is increased by reducing restraint. The virtue of freedom is turned into the vice of overindulgence, a violation of a law of Nature, a trespass against a Spiritual Law. In the state, frequent violations of these laws, by those governed or by those who govern, leave only a vestige of Liberty- the form but not the fact- the marble-like lips but not the voice. In like manner, the balance is lost when government exercises restraint without reason, depriving the people of privileges with which Spiritual Laws endow them. Those who govern them become the destroyers of Liberty, instead of the interpreters. The propagandist, who, ignoring the welfare of the people, spreads malicious falsehoods; the newspaper that acts in the interest of a few; the religious leader who thrives by denouncing those who do not conform to his creed; all craftily deceive, by their cowardly claims to unlimited freedom of speech, of press and of conscience, when they use that which is sacred as a shield to hide their iniquity. They cry out "We demand our rights," when they mean "protect us in our evil intentions." Freemasonry, is the great expounder of Liberty. It teaches Equality, Tolerance and Justice, without which Liberty cannot exist. Dewey Wollstein 1953.
twenty-five dollars. I asked him where the holes were. 'What holes?' he asked. I told him I meant the holes for the ears of the jackass who would pay twenty-five dollars for that hat. If your ears are long enough, maybe you can hear about our sitting up with our sick friends. But I presume you are hard of hearing?
Joke. I never saw much point in this joke about 'sitting up with the sick,'" began the New Brother to the Old Tiler, "but since I joined the lodge I do. I used to think it was a pretty idea; that a lodge member should sit up with a sick brother seemed real brotherhood. Now I find we don't so I see the joke." "Do you, now! How keen is your sense of humour?" answered the Old Tiler. "Who told you we didn't sit with our sick friends?" "Why, no one. But if we did, I'd have heard of it, wouldn't I?" ''Depends on the length of your ears. Yesterday I tried to buy a hat. The salesman showed me one and said it was
"In small towns a few decades ago, nurses were few. When a brother was sick we often sat with him, hand him water or medicine, doing what we could. In modern days there is less need for such help. But don't think we never do. Last month the Master called for volunteers to stay all night in a house where an old lady was dying. Our brother from that house was out of town. The old lady had a daughter and a nurse, but daughter was afraid to be alone. We had sixteen volunteers, and every night for a week two did their part. All they did was sit there and read, but who knows what comfort they were to that distracted daughter? The old lady finally died and in the day time. It looks as if what we did was wasted effort but the old lady might have died in the night. our brethren were there to help if she did. The daughter knew her husband's brethren were within call so she slept secure in the protection Masonry threw about her. "You say 'we don't sit up.' Don't confuse 'sitting up' with actually resting erect in a chair. No brother of Ellis or any other good lodge is reported sick but he receives a call from Master, Warden, chairman of the committee on the sick, or some brother. It makes no difference whether the brother is wealthy or poor, 18
we see what we can do. Most members of the lodge are fairly prosperous citizens, able to look after themselves, but even So a sick member is human enough to value the interest the lodge takes. Knowing that his mighty brotherhood is anxious about him acts as a tonic. The sick man may be too ill to admit us to his bedside, but they tell him about it, and it heartens him. "I was one visitor and a streetcar motorman was the other on duty last week. We visited an ill banker, president or director in half the companies in town. You never saw a man more pleased than Mr. Rich Man. He had us shown to his room and talked lodge and asked questions and wanted information about the fellows just as if lie was a poor man like the rest of us. He happens to be a real Mason as well as a wealthy man. He wrote a letter to the Master and said our visit had done him more good than his doctor, and wouldn't he please send us or some other brethren again. "I called on a sick brother too ill to see me. I saw his wife and his home and it was easy to see the brother needed help. He was too proud or his wife didn't know enough to ask for it. So I reported and we sent our own doctor and nurse and paid some bills and generally managed until the brother got well. He has paid back every cent, little by little, but he says he can never repay the kindness. " 'Sitting up with a sick lodge member' may be a good alibi for the poker player; I don't know. I have read it in joke papers. But I never thought it funny, because I know how well Masonry does 19
care for her sick, and how much it means to an ill man to have his brother take an interest in him. If you know any sick, tell us. If you hear of any, tell us. And if . . . say, did you ever visit a sick brother?" "I never had the chance," defended the New Brother. "You mean you never made the chance!" countered the Old Tiler. "Will you go to the sick committee and ask for duty, or will I report your name for that duty to the Master? Or do you want to go on thinking it's a joke?" "I got an earful, didn't I" responded the New Brother. "You tell me to whom to go!" This is the forty-second 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
MASONIC BROTHERHOOD What do the words "Masonic Brotherhood" really mean ? Is it an expression or term which has no meaning - empty, vague, and without value? Or does it mean something that is real, concrete, and of endless value in furthering our "Way of Life" in a manner that is pleasing in the eye of God? There are many who use this expression in their daily intercourse with society to gain its favor and respect by leaving the false impression that they really understand its philosophy, and then fail miserably in their
attempt to put it into practice through their daily words and actions. This group has failed to grasp the true meaning of their teachings regarding Masonic Brotherhood. There are also those who do understand to some extent the real meaning of this term but fail to carry out their convictions when it might put a crimp in their selfish interests or cause them physical exertion to carry through. Those who do understand the full meaning of Masonic Brotherhood are well-known through the sincere expression of their thoughts and their humble deeds, not only among their Brethren, but also among their neighbors, associates and friends. We are all Brothers in the sight of God. If our Brother should stumble, are we ever ready to prevent his fall? If our Brother needs aid, do we say "My hand is yours use it; my strength is united to yours, you are not alone in your struggle for I stand with you?" It makes no difference in what way our Brother stumbles. It may be mentally, it may be spiritually, it may be materially, it may be morally. To supply his need is our moral responsibility. There are no exceptions in the practice of true Masonic Brotherhood. We do not learn to stretch forth our hand in aid if, and perhaps, or but! It is not for us to judge, to condemn, to admonish. It is for us to put forth our strength unto our falling Brother in his time of need without question and without stint. For of such is the Kingdom of Brotherhood. Too often we are prone to offer counsel when it is not advice but help that is needed. Too often do we admonish of motes in our Brother's eye when our own
vision is blinded by beams. We are taught to admonish our Brother by plumb, square and level we carry in own hearts, but his plumb, his square, his level.
not the our and
If he build true by his own tools we have no right to judge him by ours. He may differ from us in opinion but we must not judge him by the plumb line of our own beliefs. When we observe a brave Brother shrinking, a virtuous Brother abandoning himself to vice, a good Brother acting as a Bad Man, then his building is faulty, judged his own plumb line, and it is then we should offer counsel and advise him to turn back and build again true to his own working tools. In times of sickness and distress, we should go to our Brother and extend him our aid without concern what the need may be. Visualize, if you will, his humble reaction to this kindly deed, the gleam in his eye, and the sunshine in his smile in expression of his gratitude for such Brotherly devotion. In times of sorrow and bereavement let us journey to his home and give of ourselves that his burdens may be lightened or those of his loved ones he has left behind. Our greatest virtue is to "keep faith" with our Brother by our kindly words and actions that our Brother may keep faith with us. In all our dealings and associations with our fellowman, in business, in society, and as public servants, we should ever be truthful, honest and just, keeping our faith with all mankind, ever meeting upon the level, ever acting by the plumb, and ever parting upon the square.
These teachings of Masonry put to work properly in our daily lives become a broad and beautiful band of blue - the True Blue of Masonic Brotherhood. Written by Leland Taintner and sourced from the December 1946 Philalthes Magazine.
DARKNESS VISIBLE The expression "darkness visible" is probably borrowed from Milton's "Paradise Lost" where we read:
"Yet from these flames No light, but rather darkness visible, Served only to discover sights of woe."
"Paradise Lost" was first published in 1667, and it was not until about 1725 that the Master Mason degree began to be accepted by Lodges in England, though its final form was not established until much later in that century. It would seem, therefore, that some brother who had a part in the wording of our ritual, especially this particular charge, must have been well acquainted with this masterpiece of literature. Let us understand, however, that the experience through which a candidate passes as he represents Hiram Abif, though it refers to the legendary death of our Grand Master, does not signify a physical death. It is a death in the moral sense. It is an experience which every man must face in his moral and spiritual development. The dangers to a man's moral character do not come from outside himself. They come 21
from within a man's own soul. Just as the three ruffians were members of King Solomon's own staff of trusted workmen, so it is the enemies within a man, his ignorance and selfishness, his passions and sins, which can destroy his moral and spiritual life. It is of this moral death and regeneration that the Master mason degree reminds us. The figurative descent into the grave, the emblems of mortality, are all symbolical of the death of the baser life of earthly imperfection, and the raising to the living perpendicular of an upright, pure life that will shine as the stars for ever and ever. All this is beyond our power fully to explain. It is an experience which each brother must feel and interpret for himself. But there is visible in that shadowy realm of mystery a truth that can be faintly discerned, darkness visible. Here are forces deep in our consciousness so mysterious that we can only describe them in symbol, for they transcend the power of mind. So the Master Mason, who, in that darkness visible, not only catches a glimpse of these things, but who applies himself to the cleansing of his soul by a death to his worldly possessions, a death to his selfish self, and has been raised to a true life of self-forgetful service, he indeed is a Master Mason. For such the world is calling out today. Author Unknown
Cowans and Intruders So fearful was the craft that “cowans and intruders” might gatecrash its proceedings that it posted a sentry outside the door of the Lodge room, called him the outer guard or tyler (see “Who’s Who in Masonry”) and equipped him with a sword to warn off any undesirable gatecrashers. To use the term “intruder” for an unwanted invader of Lodge privacy appears obvious, though some versions of the ritual call him an eavesdropper. The eave of a roof was a good place to spy on what was happening inside, and as we shall see it symbolised a particular problem in the early days of speculative Freemasonry, but more of this later. In the meantime let us examine the word “cowan”. So rare is it in modern English that it does not even figure in many dictionaries. As a surname it is well known in parts of Scotland (some say as a corruption of Colquhoun, pronounced “Cohoon”), but it is unlikely that Masonry had any bias against a person because of his surname. (Some Jews called Cohen have amended their name to Cowen or Cowan, but that is another story). If Cowan was originally an occupational name, it tells us two things – that Masonic history has special ties with Scotland, and that it derives from the operative building trade. The Oxford Dictionary definition of a cowan is, “One who builds dry stone walls (i.e. without mortar); a dry-stone-diker; applied derogatorily to one who does the work of a mason, but who has not been regularly apprenticed or bred to the trade”. This tells us almost everything we need to know. The highly trained and experienced
Mason certainly had no time for the unskilled cowan. 16th century Masonic writings report that masters were penalised for employing cowans, who were to be kept out unless there was no fully qualified tradesman available. The cowan – under this name – apparently posed a major problem in Scotland, though one can well imagine that unskilled labour disturbed the stability and solidarity of the craft in England and elsewhere. In speculative Freemasonry, the cowan is symbolic of a person who seeks rights and privileges which he has not earned. Were cowans, in an allegorical sense, to be tolerated as stowaways or gatecrashers in latter-day Lodges, their presence would undermine the carefully structured system of Masonry and its ethical teachings. The term “intruder” entered the craft somewhere at the beginning of the 18th century, when Speculative Freemasonry arose out of the often secret clubs in which gentlemen who knew each other well and trusted one another, discussed the reshaping of society and carried out clandestine scientific experiments in order to ascertain how nature, possibly also human nature, worked. It is likely that they posted sentries at the doors, because intruders could gravely jeopardise the whole operation. Today’s Freemasonry has quite different concerns. No longer is anything being worked out behind closed doors that could not be shared with the public, and the need of the day is to make Masonic ethics and works better known and not hide them from view. 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 IMPORTANCE OF THE LEGEND OF HIRAM ABIFF The legend of "Hiram, the widow's son," is the foundation of Freemasonry's ritualistic drama of the third, or Master's Degree. While it would be improper to reveal the details of the drama as it is presented in the lodge room, or to make public the ritualistic secrets and symbolism which it contains, the story of Hiram is so well known and has been referred to in Masonic writings so frequently that it has become a part of the cultural heritage of civilized men everywhere. Briefly stated, the Hiramic legend is as follows: When Solomon, King of Israel, undertook the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, he sent to Hiram, King of Tyre, for materials and assistance. In exchange for agricultural products like corn and wine and oil, King Hiram sent Solomon cedar trees cut from the forests of Lebanon and a skilled and cunning worker in metals. These facts may be found in the Old Testament, especially in Chapter 7 of I Kings and Chapter 2 of 11 Chronicles, where the skilled artisan, named Hiram, is referred to as the "son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali" whose husband was "a man of Tyre." This much of the Masonic legend of Hiram comes from the Bible; but the story known to Masons has a tragically different development. Hiram, called Abiff (which is simply a Hebrew expression for "father," a term of respect), worked for King Solomon at Jerusalem, not only in casting all the metallic ornaments for the Temple, 23
but also as a Master of the Works, a superintending architect. More than 85,000 workmen were employed in the building of the Temple; it took approximately seven years to complete. To those workmen who laboured faithfully on the project was promised the status of Master Workman, or Mason, upon its completion. But some time before the Temple's completion, some of the workmen became dissatisfied and demanded the promotion which they had been promised. Not being organized like modern employees and being used to the harsher and more brutal modes of direct action characteristic of the more primitive times in which they lived, they sought the higher wages and fringe benefits of a Master Workman by conspiring to extort them from Hiram Abiff. If spite of their violent threats, Hiram steadfastly refused to yield to their demands. Reminding them of their obligations to King Solomon and his God, he resolutely insisted that they honour the contracts by which he and they were bound. Three of them, more brutal than the rest, conspired to attack Master Hiram to force the concessions they were demanding; but he, being faithful to his trust, was more adamant in his refusal, and they in their wrath slew him in the unfinished Temple. That, essentially, is the legend of Hiram which has become in Masonry one of the most impressive ritualistic dramas of all time. Historically-minded Brethren continue to wonder from whence it came and whose imagination and gifts of language transmitted it into the matchless
drama which furnishes the core of "the sublime degree of Master Mason." Certainly, the tragedy of Hiram is not to be found in the Bible. If only one Hiram is referred to in the Old Testament, the story of his assassination is not corroborated in either I Kings or 11 Chronicles; for there we read as follows: "So Hiram finished all the work he did for King Solomon on the House of the Lord." Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, the most gifted and inspiring of Masonic writers fifty years ago, chose to believe that the tragic story of Hiram was long in the possession of operative Masons from the Middle Ages down to the dawn of Speculative Masonry in the 17th and 18th centuries. This I seriously doubt, since no mention of Hiram is to be found in any of the Old Charges and Gothic Constitutions, or in any of the remnants of old ritualistic practices to be found in the records of operative lodges which date from 100 years or more before the founding of the first Grand Lodge, which marks the beginning of the era of modern Speculative Freemasonry in 1717. Had there been even a shred of evidence that the Hiramic legend existed in Masonry before that date, I feel sure that Dr. James Anderson would have known of it and used it in the legendary history of the Craft which he published in The Constitutions of the Freemasons in 1723. Furthermore, modern Masonic scholars have shown rather conclusively that there was no tri-gradial system of initiation during the period of operative Masonry, that there was no third or Master Mason Degree as a rite or ceremony before the creation of the Premier Grand Lodge in 1717. The first recital of the Hiramic legend as the dramatic cornerstone of a
third or Master Mason's degree appears in an expose of the ritual of Freemasonry entitled Masonry Dissected, written by a Samuel Prichard and published in London in 1730. Consequently, it seems a logical conclusion to assume that the Master Mason Degree, and with it, the legend of Hiram Abiff, were introduced into Freemasonry when it became a speculative, or philosophic organization. Just where did the legend of Hiram come from? No one really knows; scholars have yet to discover its origins and its introduction into Freemasonry. My own scholarly prejudices lead me to believe that it's a re-working of some mediaeval mystery play, whose original may yet be discovered in a private library or the rubbish of an ancient building. Mystery plays were the most popular form of public entertainment in the Middle Ages. Each guild or trade had its own preferred dramas; most of them were Biblical in origin. They were produced, staged and acted by members of the guild, first in churches, and then in public squares, to which they were banished when the plays became too boisterous and irreverent for the sacerdotal authorities. These dramas were called mysteries, not because they treated of witches, ghosts, or detectives, but because they were produced by craft guilds or "mysteres," which is variant of the French word "mestaire," a craft or guild. So the plays became known in England as mysteres, or mysteries, because they were produced by "mestaires," or guilds. The expression, "the mysteries of Freemasonry," therefore, 24
originally meant the ritualistic ceremonies, or work of the Lodge. To Masons who thirst for historical certainty about Hiram Abiff and his position in Masonic ritual, I can only give a dusty answer. It's not really important. It's a mistake to consider the Hiramic legend as history. There was a Hiram Abiff in history, but our Third Degree is not interested in him as such. The drama of Hiram is a conflict of a man with other men, of an individual against evil forces embodied in other men. Hiram Abiff is the dramatized symbol of the human soul-of mine, of yours, of every man. The work he was engaged in is symbolic of the work which you and I are committed to perform in the supervision, organization and direction of our lives from birth to dissolution. The enemies that Hiram meets are really symbols of those lusts and passions and failures of the spirit which in ourselves and others make war on our characters and spiritual aspirations. In my opinion, this symbolic increment to the Hiramic legend was added by one of the Speculative Masons of the early Eighteenth Century, by someone with the education and philosophical attainments of a man like Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers or other Rosicrucian adept.
Truth by steadfastly maintaining the necessity of their noblest aspirations, even to apparent defeat in death, out of which can arise a more perfect Living Perpendicular! Edwin Booth, the famous actor and loyal Mason, was no mean judge of the essence of tragedy; he evaluated the Hiramic legend in these words: "In all my research and study, in all my close analysis of the masterpieces of Shakespeare, in my earnest determination to make those plays appear real on the mimic stage, I have never, and nowhere, met tragedy so real, so sublime, so magnificent as the legend of Hiram. It is substance without shadow the manifest destiny of life which requires no picture and scarcely a word to make a lasting impression upon all who understand. To be a Worshipful Master, and to throw my whole soul into that work, with the candidate for my audience and the Lodge for my stage, would be a greater personal distinction than to receive the plaudits of people in the theatres of the world." And that should tell us, if we are Master Workmen, what we should do with the legend of Hiram when we work in "the mysteries of Freemasonry." We must make it truly sublime! by Conrad Hahn, P.G.M.
Hiram's death was also his triumph--as the resurrection of truth over ignorance is always a victory, in spite of its being buried for a while in the rubbish of scorn and deliberate persecution. This is the real importance of the legend of Hiram, that it still stirs men to serve the 25
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY Shoe
The Shoe, as a Masonic symbol, is employed to remind us of the duty of constancy and fidelity in our engagements, that whatever contract we make we must honestly fulfil; whatever work we undertake we must perform to the utmost of our power, not undertaking any work which we do not believe ourselves to be well capable of performing, nor promising its completion within a time which we cannot reasonably regard as sufficient for it. It is thus a symbol having reference to conduct in the common affairs of life: but the duties of which it reminds us are nevertheless duties, the obligation of which must be referred to the highest principles, to those of justice and truth. The use of this symbol is derived from an ancient custom of the Jews, of which we read in the Book of Ruth, in the account of the transaction between B*** and his kinsman who was nearer in relationship to Ruth than himself, concerning the redemption of the land that had been 26
Elimelech's, and concerning the marriage, in accordance with the Jewish law, of Ruth the Moabitess, the widowed daughter-in-law of Elimelech. The transaction took place in the gate of their city, in presence of ten men of the elders of the city, and when the kinsman refused to redeem the land and to marry the youthful widow, saying, "I cannot redeem it, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it" he drew off his shoe and gave it to B***; and this formality is thus spoken of by the narrator: "Now this was the manner in former time in Israel, concerning redeeming, and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man drew off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto B***, Buy it for thee; so he drew off his shoe" (Ruth iv. 6-8). This was done in accordance with a law which we read in the book of Deuteronomy, and in which probably an ancient custom was sanctioned (see Deut. xxv. 5-10). It was a custom somewhat similar to that long enforced by the law of Scotland in the completion of sales of land or of mortgages on land, of the handing of earth and stone from the one party to the other, the transference of the handful of earth and stone being in token of the transference of the right of property. So the kinsman who relinquished his right may be understood as saying to B***, I give over to thee all my right in this matter as fully as I now give thee this shoe; I divest myself of it as completely as I do of this shoe. And the elders of the city having witnessed this transaction, the bargain was completed and could not be resiled from. The shoe as a symbol, reminds the Freemason that his contracts are never to be resiled from, but faithfully implemented, even if he should find them less profitable than he expected. This principle or rule, however, is only applicable to contracts fairly made. If a man has been entrapped into a contract by false representations on the part of another, he may honestly and honourably renounce it as soon as he discovers the imposition which has been practised upon him. If, however, after discovering this, he still proceeds for a time as if he had made no such discovery, he must be regarded as having condoned the offence, and is then bound by the contract. It is as if, in full knowledge of the facts, he entered into it anew.
Sourced from Bro. Chalmers I. Patton, P.M., #393, England
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Feb 26, 2015