SRA 76 Monthly Newsletter
Contents Cover Story, The Four Crowned Martyrs Every Mason is a Landmark Too Famous Freemason – Carl H, Claudy The Sons of Lee Marvin The Caledonian Lodge of Uganda No. 1389 Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Did You Know? The Next Generation of Freemasons Degrees and Degrees of Work The Masonic Dictionary Main Website – An Interpretation of Symbolism
Volume 11 Issue 6 No. 88 October 2015
In this issue: Page 2, ‘The Four Crowned Martyrs’ Quatuor Coronati, the four Crowned ones, an excellent article about these Masonic martyrs.
Page 6, ‘Every Mason is a Landmark Too.’ Actions outside the Lodge as well as inside.
Page 7, ‘Carl H. Claudy.’ A Famous Freemason.
Page 10, ‘The Sons of Lee Marvin.’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World.
Page 11, ‘The Caledonian Lodge of Uganda No. 1389.’ Another History of one of our Scottish Lodges.
Page 15, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “The Mason & Society”, our Regular monthly feature.
Page 15, ‘The Sublime Degree’ A Poem
Page 16, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Hep Hep”, the Forty-fifth in the series from Carl Claudy.
Page 19, ‘Did You Know?’ What is ‘That bright morning star’?
Page 21, ‘The Next Generation of Freemasons’ An interesting article on one Brother’s view.
Page 23, ‘Degrees and Degrees of Work’ Preparing for floor work.
Page 27 ‘The Masonic Dictionary.’ Volume of the Sacred Law. The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘An Interpretation of Symbolism.’[link]
The front cover artwork is off the four crowned martyrs sourced by the editor.
Quatuor Coronati: Four Crowned Martyrs The Four Crowned Ones
A curiosity of Freemasonry is her choice of patron saints - just why the Saints John should be in the positions in which the Craft places them, when she has four (or perhaps nine!) of her very own, may only be accounted for by the fact that when the Sts. John became identified with the two parallel lines bordering the point in a circle, her early leaders had forgotten, if they had ever known, the Four Crowned Ones of ancient days. It is interesting to note that on this point, Freemasonry and the Church of Rome saw eye to eye - indeed, up to the time of the Reformation, at least, there was a day (November Eighth) when Catholic prayers were to be said for the souls of the Four Crowned Martyrs which Freemasonry claims for her very own! Did the Four Crowned Ones ever live? Were they martyred? Were they stonemasons in our sense of the word, or artists, carvers in precious metals? To answer, one needs to be wise enough to untangle fact from fancy. It is the history of all legends of which the sources are lost in the mists of time, that passing the story from tongue to tongue, year by year, century to century, often confuses the original facts, adds decorations, subtracts verities, until the student has a hard time digging down through this literary patina of the ages to the hard metal of truth beneath!
However, the legends of the Four Crowned Ones - for there are more than one - are not dependent on one source alone for the telling. Several Latin and Greek manuscripts; and at least eight histories of martyrs, ranging in date from A.D. 400 to A.D. 894, tell the tale - or tales. Then there are the Brevieries, principal among which is that of Rome, dated 1477, but evidently compiled from earlier sources. All record different versions of two distinct stories which in the course of time, have been confused, interwoven, merged, disentangled, again mixed. In brief, four officers of the Roman Army were executed, and five sculptors, artists or stonemasons, were martyred, all for their faith in Christianity. The murderer was the Emperor Diocletian. The names of the five artists were in time forgotten; it was then ordered that all nine should be commemorated under the title Four Crowned (or Holy) Martyrs. Later the missing names were recovered, but by this time, a church having been consecrated to the Four Crowned Ones, and years having passed, the pleasant fiction was continued and the Nine are still the Four! Thus, in all strangeness, four soldiers of Rome became the patron saints of early builders, instead of the five sculptors who should have been, although their trade or profession persisted under the names of the four! To make it still more confusing the names of two are also those of two other martyrs with whom these original victims have no connection. Masonically, thirty-eight lines from the Regius poem (oldest known document of Freemasonry, dated approximately A.D. 1390, sometimes called the earliest Constitution although strictly speaking it is 2
not a Constitution at all) commemorate the Four Crowned Ones in old English words which are extremely difficult to understand. Somewhat modernized the verse runs:
Pray we now to God almight, (almighty) And to his mother Mary bright, That we may keep these articles here, And these points well all y-fere, (together) As did these holy martyrs four, That in this craft were of great honour; They were as good Masons as on earth shall go. Gravers and image-makers they were also. For they were workmen of the best, The emperor had to them great luste; (liking) He willed of them an image to make That might be worshipped for his sake; Such monuments he had in his dawe, (day) To turn the people from Christ's Law. But they were steadfast in Christ's lay, (law) And to their craft without nay; (doubt) They loved well God and all his lore, And were in his service ever more. True men they were in that dawe, (day) And lived well in God's law; They thought no monuments for to make, For no good that they might take, To believe on that monument for their God, They would not do so. though he were wod (furious) For they would not forsake their true fay (faith) And believe on his false lay. (law) The emperor let take them soon anon. And put them in a deep prison; The more sorely he punished them in that place. The more joy was to them of Christ's grace. Then when he saw no other one, To death he let them then gon; (go) Whose will of their life yet more know. By the book he might it show In the legend of sanctorum (holy ones) The names of quatuor coronatorum (four crowned ones) Their feast will be without nays (doubt) After Hollow-e'en the eight day. 3
The meaning of these lines is plainer after reading some of the Church's accounts of the men who died for their faith. Summarized, these may be set forth as follows: Four ingenious artists, sculptors, workers in metal, by name Claudius, Castorius, Nicostratus and Simphorianus, employed or worked with an artisan called Simplicius, Simplicious had a bad habit of breaking his tools. Admiring the skill of the four Masters, he begged their help to so sharpen his tools that they would not break. Claudius held the tools in his hands and prayed: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, be this iron strong and proper for work." The prayer succeeding and the tools not thereafter breaking, Simplicious asked if the Roman God Zeus was not responsible, whereupon Claudius said to him: "Repent, my brother, for you have blasphemed God, who has created all things, whom we acknowledge; but we do not acknowledge as God, him whom our hands have made." The four were secretly Christians and they converted Simplicious to that faith; and this was an evil age for the followers of the Carpenter of Nazareth. The Emperor Diocletian, worshiping the gods of his day and age, commanded the five to carve him a statute of the god Aesculapius. When they repeatedly refused, the angry Emperor had them first scourged, them immured alive in sealed coffins and cast into the river. Later, one Nicodemus, a Christian, raised the coffins. Two years later four officers of the army, by name Severus, Severianus, Carpophorus and Victorinus, refused to worship Rome's
idols and false gods. Again by order of Diocletian they were beaten to death with whips armed with lead balls, and their bodies thrown into the streets for the dogs, where they lay five days. The names of these soldiers who died for their faith were lost for many years: then (according to legend) they were recovered by a direct revelation from heaven. These two legends, two sets of martyrs, and two dates of martyrdom, in time became confused one with the other. Sometimes it is the four soldiers who were artists and cast into the river in coffins, sometimes it is the five who suffer death by whipping. Sometimes they die on the same day, sometimes eleven months, again two years apart. Sometimes it is five, then it is four, who first suffer. In one version, one set of names is lost; in another the second set is recovered by a revelation from heaven. What's common and agreed upon in almost all accounts is that nine men were put to violent deaths for faith in Christ and refusal to worship images, that their names were lost and recovered, and that all, by order of Pope Melchiades (A.D. 310) became known as the Four Crowned Ones. The Craft has commemorated the Four Crowned Ones in a way known to all students; the great Research Lodge in London, Quatuor Coronati, is named in their honour. It carries a good little picture, or sketch of the Four Crowned Ones, taken from a decoration or illumination of a page in the Isabella Missal (dated about 1497), on the first page of all its monumental Transactions (now in their forty sixth year). The Lodge published, as the first of its priceless reproductions of old Masonic documents, the Regius Poem which
connects the Four Crowned Ones directly with Masonry. From very early days, the Four Crowned Ones became the patron saints of builders, first in Italy, later in Germany and elsewhere. Statues of the Martyrs were placed in niches in churches, as in the exterior of the northern wall of the Church or San Michele, church of the trade guilds of Florence. The German Constitutions of Strassburg (1459) open as follows: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of our gracious mother Mary, and also of her blessed Servants, the Crowned Martyrs of everlasting memory." Flemish Guilds of operative Masons were known as Vier Ghecroonde or Quatuor Coronati. In A.D. 619, a church is Canterbury was dedicated to the Four Crowned Martyrs. As late as 1481 an Article for the regulation of craftsmen in London (Masons Company) reads: "That every freeman of the Craft shall attend Christian church (within Aldgate) on the Feast of Quatuor Coronati, to hear Mass, under penalty of 12 pence.' Why did the Four Crowned Ones, (whether four, or five, or nine) at once, seemingly, become famous in the annals of craftsmen? During the early centuries a succession of cruel men ruled in Rome: Christians were persecuted, burned, thrown to the lions, tortured, martyred. A noble company and large - why should these four (or five or nine) have been celebrated in Roman church, in story, song, missal, brevity, statue and legend, above others equally as deserving, equally as brave, equal in suffering and death? No certain answer can be given. But it seems a reasonable guess that Christianity, starting among the poor and lowly, the 4
"underprivileged" as we should call them, spread much more rapidly among the humble than among the patrician. The guilds of workmen, the collegia of Rome, the associations of workers, would normally become Christians far sooner than the rulers, the nobles, the patricians, the wealthy class. It is universal in history that the stronger the persecution, the greater becomes the strength of associations of melt and the more tenaciously they hole to the bond which unites them. If the four (or five, or nine) who died for their faith, were members of the craftsman's guild or collegia, their fellows would at once think of them as heroes; not only men who died for their faith, but as craftsmen who upheld the honour and dignity of their order. Whatever the reason, the fact of their fame and its spread is as undoubted as is the confusion which reigns among the many accounts given of their martyrdom. Equally as puzzling as their fame, is the sinking into obscurity of names and reputation. In England, when the builders chose a patron saint, they picked first one, then the other Sts. John, instead of those ancient martyrs who were craftsmen all. No manuscript Constitution after the Regius mentions the Four Crowned Ones, which leads students to believe that the copyist who set down the old poem had source material not known to the makers of the other manuscript Constitutions. English Masons, of course, lost sight of the Regius until about 1840. But what became of the reputation of the four during the Middle Ages up to the time of the Reformation, that Masons should neglect heroes whose story is so close - - at least in its courage and its sacrifice - to the great legend of the Master in Freemasonry ? 5
No one may say why - the fact exists and that is all we know. But cast not the tale aside, thinking that because Freemasonry gave to the Four Crowned Ones no place in ritual and degree, therefore the story is of little importance. To historians and students who delve into the curious bypaths of Masonic lore which permeate the past, the tale of the Four Crowned Ones is one of the great romances of the Craft. To the average Craftsmen it should be far more than a mere entertaining tale of olden times and forgotten men. The Four Crowned Ones died rather than betray their God. The Hiramic Legend has been an inspiration to countless millions. Whether true in the sense of having been actual happenings, or true only in the sense of recording man's aspiration, it can hardly be by chance alone that the tragedy of the Master Builder of King Solomon's Temple, and the martyrdom of the Four Crowned Ones should have echoed down the ages in the ears of Masons for century piled on century. He who would keep memory of those who died so bravely in the long ago for the faith that was in them, may recall the words of another great Roman soldier; For how can man die better Than facing fearful odds For the ashes of his fathers And the temples of his gods? So be it a hit of the holy fire is kept alight in Craftsmen's hearts, the Four Crowned Ones died not in vain! Sourced from the Masonic Trowel; The Four Crowned ones.
Every Mason is a Landmark too “Your fidelity must be exemplified by a strict observance of the Constitution of the Fraternity, by adhering to the ancient landmarks of the Order; so must your obedience be proved by a close conformity to all our laws.” So runs the General Charge of the First Degree. More simply stated, any landmark could be that corner peg which indicates the limit of your property, or any other prominent projection that immediately identifies our location. A little known record indicated that in World War II, a little church on the East Coast of England was destroyed by the enemy. When the British navy inquired whether or not the parishioners were prepared to rebuild, their answer was to the effect that a shortage of funds made such a project impossible. 'Well, if you cannot build then we will, because that little church is a landmark on our charts,' was the reply. Suffice it to say on such a theme as this that landmarks occupy an important place in our busy workaday world. However, much more significant and thought provoking is the sobering fact that EVERY MASON IS A LANDMARK TOO. Your Editor recalls that during World War II, street photographers snapped you all too often as you approached them. Whether you turned up your nose or smiled your prettiest, that impression would be seen on the developed negative. However, we should not be deluded into believing this humiliating or pleasing experience, as the case may be, is limited to the casual photographer, because John Doe is taking
notice of our everyday actions. All too often unconsciously we are making an imprint on the public. When the J.W. is asked by the W.M. 'Are you a M.M.?' his reply is 'I am, try and prove me', and in so doing is not only answering for himself, but everyone else. That challenge of Masonry meets us on every corner, in business and professional relationships, in occupations and recreations, but more especially OUTSIDE the Lodge rather than WITHIN. We are acquainted with the closing exercises where 'And while the ALL-SEEING EYE beholds us. ..', let us not forget what influence WE are exerting when others see us and register their mental thoughts accordingly about whom they see. The Mason who demonstrates by his deeds rather than by his words the moral qualities of truthfulness, honour, integrity and charity undoubtedly does more to convince the 'profane' world of our sincerity in contrast to the ritualist whose life outside the lodge may be coloured by moral deviation. This exhortation is a part of the Installation ceremony of every W.M. – “Charge your brethren to practice outside the lodge those duties which are taught within it and by amiable, discreet and virtuous conduct to convince the world.” That world is no vague distant country, instead it's that little community in which each of us lives and moves and has our being. Sourced from Fidelity Highlights monthly bulletin of Lodge of Fidelity No. 231 Ottawa.
Famous Freemasons Carl H. Claudy
when Freemasons read. An age when sitting before a fire with a book of Masonic lore or history was regarded as an evening well spent. Emerging from that time is the name of an author unparalleled in his contributions to Masonic literature. Anyone who has read just a little of Carl H. Claudy's works cannot help but be charmed by the story told and the manner of expression. Foreign Countries, Old Tiler Talks, The Old Past Master, A Master's Wages, These Were Brethren, Where Your Treasure Is, The Lion's Paw, and Masonic Harvest, are but a few of his more well known Masonic works.
Regular readers of SRA76 will recognise the name of this monthâ€™s featured Famous Freemason, Carl H. Claudy. This magazine has been re-printing his Old Tiler Talks series of Masonic writing since November 2009. This month we reach the 45th short talk, and the editor is delighted to use this bio in this feature.
For students of Masonic literature, one name sticks out over every-one else for longevity and the shear amount of work produced. Brother Carl H. Claudy is best known for his 350+ Short talk bulletins published by the Masonic Service Association between 1923 and 1957 and for the â€• Introduction to Freemasonry books that are handed out to newly raised brothers. Intro There was a time, an age before television, video rentals, and pro sports, 7
Carl H. Claudy was born in 1879, and died in 1957. The preceding year he had been named Honorary Passed Grand Master of North Dakota. An author of 32 books and a galaxy of essays and short stories numbering more than 1,600, his literary life began inauspiciously enough. His formal education concluded after only a year of high school whereupon he found himself in the hardscrabble workaday world of the late 19th century. At age 19 he headed to the Alaskan gold fields. Finding no gold after six months, he returned to the States and took up employment with an emery wheel manufacturer. After several years he left that job to move back to Washington, DC, where he became the editor of a popular science paper. This was his springboard. Despite the lack of a formal education Claudy began to read and to write. In fact, the first story he ever wrote appeared in The Washington Post. He freelanced for
The New York Herald, eventually joining its staff in 1908 with a special assignment covering the then infant aeronautical industry. During this time he wrote a number of articles on the subject and published a book titled, Beginners Book of Model Airplanes. But he was also a photographer. His photos of early flights were given to Alexander Graham Bell who placed in the Smithsonian where they remain today. At the end of World War I, Claudy went overseas as a correspondent for Scientific American. An avid athlete and outdoors man, his hobbies included camping, mountaineering, boxing, rowing crew, tennis, and football. His love of the outdoors brought him frequently to Montana and inspired many short stories written for various Boy Scout publications. Claudy's association with Freemasonry began in 1908, when, at the age of 29, he was raised a Master Mason in Harmony 17 in Washington, DC. He served as its master and eventually served as grand master of Masons in the District of Columbia in 1943. His Masonic writing career began in earnest when he became associated with the Masonic Service Association in 1923, serving as associate editor of its magazine, The Master Mason until 1931. He became executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association in 1929 â€” a position held until his death in 1957. Under his single handed leadership the Masonic Service Association was brought to a place of preeminence through his authorship and distribution of the "Short Talk Bulletin"
which made his name familiar to virtually every lodge in the country. Claudy can personally lay claim to authorship of approximately 350 Short Talk Bulletins. In addition to the bulletins themselves he wrote and distributed innumerable digests, special bulletins, and portfolios of historical and factual nature all designed to promote the Craft. One of his finest works of this nature is the "Little Masonic Library," a collection of 20 pocket size volumes by noted authors. In 1930 he published serially in The Master Mason his delightful novel, The Lion's Paw, shortly followed by several others, including the timeless Master's Book, in which are set out the principles and practices of a successful lodge master. Another classic written during this time, his primer for new Masons entitled Introduction to Freemasonry, enjoyed international popularity. In 1934 he penned the first of his series of 12 Masonic plays while in his Washington office. The succeeding plays were all drafted on the road, so to speak. Nine of them were written in a log cabin in Montana in the sight of Emigrant Peak â€” a blue lodge in the Gallatins as Claudy called it. The plays have, in the past, had a powerful impact on the fraternity and formerly were performed countless times in nearly every grand lodge jurisdiction. In consequence of his long service, Masonic recognition was mighty. He was a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, recipient of the Henry Price medal and honorary member of many Grand Lodges and lodges. (MSA)
Books Authored By Claudy; Here is but a small sample of the work by Claudy. It would take me forever to 8
compile a master list. Introduction to Freemasonry 1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellowcraft 3. Master Mason (Vol. I, II, & III) Blue Grotto Terror (Adventures in the Unknown ) Foreign Countries: A Gateway to the Interpretation & Development of Certain Symbols of Freemasonry The Master's Wages These Were Brethren: 24 Masonic Short Stories "Where Your Treasure is..." 12 Masonic Plays Lions Paw Do You Study Geometry? The Ideal Mason The Masonry You Make Ancient Landmarks A Mason's Christmas Old Tiler Talks Essential Masonic Writings What You Probably Didn’t Know:
published as novels; and DC Comic's early super-hero title, All-American Comics. He served as editor for a number of specialinterest publications: American Inventor from 1900-04; Prism, 1908-09; Cathedral Calendar, 1921-27. He wrote books about aviation, photography, and baseball. Comics written by Claudy: All-American Comics Vol 1 16 All-American Comics Vol 1 18 All-American Comics Vol 1 1 All-American Comics Vol 1 25 All-American Comics Vol 1 2 All-American Comics Vol 1 3 All-American Comics Vol 1 4 All-American Comics Vol 1 23 Poetry I’ve read many of Claudy’s stories and as you know I used his ―Old Tyler Talks every month in TWT. They are too good not to share with you. What I wasn’t very aware of was just how good his poetry was as well. This one in particular talks to me in ways that most poems do not. “The Book On The Altar “ At the Meuzzin's call for prayer The kneeling faithful thronged the square; Amid a monastery's weeds, An old Franciscan told his beads, While on Pushkara's lofty height A dark priest chanted Brahma's might, While to the synagogue there came A Jew, to praise Jehovah's Name. The One Great God looked down and smiled And counted each His loving child; For Turk and Brahmin, monk and Jew Had reached Him through the gods they knew.
Outside of Masonry, he also wrote science fiction adventure serials for American Boy magazine, some of which were also 9
If we reach Him in Masonry, it makes little difference by what sacred name we arrive.
Conclusion Claudy’s work has done so much for Freemasonry. His books are some of the first a new Mason reads, it’s only fitting this was a man who once wrote for DC Comics the home of Superman for he is that to the Craft a Super Man. I value each and every piece of literature he wrote and am grateful of his gifts to us. CS Sourced from The TWT Magazine to whom we give thanks.
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘The Sons of Lee Marvin’ The Sons of Lee Marvin is a tongue-incheek secret society devoted to iconic American actor Lee Marvin. The sole entry requirement for the club is that one must have a physical resemblance to plausibly look like a son of Marvin. Founding member and film director Jim Jarmusch explained, "If you look like you could be a son of Lee Marvin, then you are instantly thought of by the Sons of Lee Marvin to be a Son of Lee Marvin".
Besides Jarmusch, the founding members of the society are said to include the actors and musicians Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Richard Boes. Musician Nick Cave, whom Jarmusch knew when living in Berlin, was inducted as a member after having been mistaken for a brother of the director. Director John Boorman is an honorary member, having been presented with one of the society's elaborate Waits-designed business cards. Others rumored to be members include Thurston Moore, Iggy Pop, Benjamin Biolay, Josh Brolin and Neil Young though none have been formally recognized by the society, which refuses to disclose its inner workings to the public. The society meets occasionally, supposedly to watch Lee Marvin films together. The society's members perpetuate the joke in the media. Tom Waits described it to Rolling Stone in 1986 as "somewhere between the Elks Club and the Academy Awards", and claimed to have met Jarmusch at an annual meeting of the New York chapter. When asked about the society by friend and collaborator Luc Sante in a 1989 interview, Jarmusch commented "I'm not at liberty to divulge information about the organization, other than to tell you that it does exist. I can identify three other members of the organization: Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Richard Boes ... You have to have a facial structure such that you could be related to, 10
or be a son of, Lee Marvin. There are no women, obviously, in the organization. We have communiques and secret meetings. Other than that, I can't talk about it." Jarmusch revealed in a 1992 interview that the real son of Lee Marvin, Christopher, had objected to the existence of the organization in an encounter with Waits at a bar:
The Caledonian Lodge of Uganda No. 1389 A History
Six months ago Tom Waits was in a bar in somewhere like Sonoma County in Northern California, and the bartender said, ”You’re Tom Waits, right? A guy over there wants to talk to you.” Tom went over to this dark corner booth and the guy sitting there said, ”Sit down, I want to talk to you.” So Tom started getting a little aggressive: ”What do you want to talk to me about? I don’t know you.” And the guy said, ”What is this ‘bs’ about the Sons of Lee Marvin?” Tom said, ”Well, it’s a secret organization and I’m not supposed to talk about it.” The guy said, ”I don’t like it.” Tom said, ”What’s it to you?” The guy said, ”I’m Lee Marvin’s son” — and he really was. He thought it was insulting, but it’s not, it’s completely out of respect for Lee Marvin. Jim Jarmusch, in interview with Film Comment, June 1992 Yes, this secret society really does exist! And yes it is tongue-in-cheek, and I’ve included it in this issue to lighten the readers day. The Editor.
When Lodges reach their hundredth birthday, and grow even older, it is not to be expected that there will be Brethren alive who can recall the Consecration ceremonies. At twenty-five there should still be some Founder Members around— we had six or so out of the original twenty. Approaching our fiftieth anniversary we were hoping to have at least one Founder Member present. Regrettably, our last traceable Founder Member died just a few months before the Lodge Jubilee. Charles was an engineer, whose job it was to help developing Africa by collecting and delivering piped water. Unlike much of Africa, this was an uncomplicated problem in most of Uganda, particularly along the fringes of the many lakes and waterways. The Lodge birthplace was Kampala — described in the British Press as an “African Village”, but by 1935 it was in fact a well-established township, and the
major centre for the development of Uganda. By then Uganda was some forty years old as a British Protectorate. This “Pearl of Africa” had been adopted in 1894, after hitting the headlines first of all when Speke stumbled on the long-sought source of the Nile at Jinja in 1858. Uganda was, and remains, a beautiful land — 4,000 feet above sea level to temper the equatorial sun, green and fertile, and blessed by the waters of untold streams and lakes, including the mighty Nile and the vast Lake Victoria. There were then already entrenched at least four despotic tribal rulers, who had to be persuaded away from their autocratic and tyrannical ways. Development towards a more benevolent and liberal culture was slow — schools and hospitals spread, first through independent and sometimes competing missions, but eventually with Government funds. Dirt roads began to expand communications, then came telephones and even glimmering flickers of electric light, produced at first from wood-burning generators until, much later, the Nile was harnessed at Owen Falls, near Jinja. By the 1920s and 1930s, Uganda was a recognisable political entity — the African population, mostly Bantu, was around three million, but Europeans were fewer than 2,000. The railway was on its way through Kenya from the coast, but there was yet no sign of tarmacadam on the streets, nor drainage, nor anything approaching all-weather roads. Safaris were still done on foot, occasionally helped by a bicycle. Such motorcars as appeared in these early days needed a hill or a push to start as often as a battery. Freemasonry began in Uganda in 1911 under the English Constitution with the
establishment of Victoria Nyanza Lodge, No.3492. Outside Masonry there had been a Caledonian Society in Kampala since 1907, so there had been at least two Scotsmen running the place for quite a few years! Indeed, next door in Kenya, Lodge Scotia No.1008 dates from 1906. There had therefore been Scotsmen in the area for a considerable time, but we cannot now say why they delayed so long in Uganda in seeking a foundation under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. But once the decision was taken events moved rapidly. Sponsorship from Lodge Scotia in Nairobi was dated January 1935, and in these unhurried days of leisurely surface mail, Grand Lodge reaction in producing our Charter by 2nd May in the same year was pretty smart. The Consecration Service took place on 22nd June 1935. The consecrating officer was a Past Master of Lodge St Andrew, No.1360, Dares Salaam, his deputy came from Nairobi and his other officers were English Past Masters. Our twenty Founder Members all had Scottish descent, but were not themselves all Scottish Masons — at least six were English initiates, including the first Master of the Lodge. There must have been many debates and discussions about procedures and ritual. Harvey’s little book was chosen, but he is hardly noted for his Rubric! To begin with there was no Director of Ceremonies, and the mantle of “Navigator” fell on John Calvert, our second Right Worshipful Master. John had graduated from Girvan St John (Ayrshire), No.237, and he continued to be our mentor, to the great good of the Lodge, for some thirty years until he retired from Uganda in the 1960s. For a long time he was one of our few contacts with Grand Lodge. He used to visit Edinburgh on leave — pester Grand 12
Lodge officers, take detailed notes of their advice and of Grand Lodge procedures at its Communications, and bring these notes back to Kampala — we have some of them still. In these days we were under the direct supervision of Grand Lodge so far as dues and returns were concerned, but apart from Brother Calvert there were no contacts, no inspections nor official visits until 1956, when we were 21 years old. That year brought us Brother G. D. Burrows, Grand Director of Ceremonies, and Brother Alex Buchan, Grand Secretary (who was the originator of these overseas appearances). Brother Alex Buchan returned in 1960, with the then Grand Master Mason, Brother Lord Eglinton, and again in 1965 and 1969 with the respective Grand Master Masons, Brother Lord Bruce, as he then was, and Brother Sir Ronald Orr-Ewing. In our isolation as the only Scottish Lodge, we had always to parry the surrounding English influences, for their Lodges had multiplied, but in doing so we became a magnet for these same neighbours, and invitations to attend our workings were highly prized — particularly when a 3rd was due. But we remained in this isolated limelight until 1969, when another — the only other — Scottish Lodge was formed in Uganda. This was Ruwenzori, No.1652, which was located some 200 miles away beneath the snows of the Mountains of the Moon, in an area suddenly become crowded because of the copper deposits of Kilembe. With the emergence to power of Idi Amin in early 1971, meetings continued to be held under increasingly difficult conditions. The final meeting in the Kampala Lodge rooms took place on 28th 13
July 1972. The last meeting in Africa was held on 19th July 1973 in Nairobi. Thereafter meetings were suspended. In all of our years in Uganda fewer than half-a-dozen members were under 30 years of age when they joined us. Among the Brethren were accountants, bankers, lawyers, doctors, engineers with a variety of skills, tea and cotton experts, coffee growers, bakers, chemists, numerous policemen, oilmen, railwaymen, admini-strators, dentists, teachers, salesmen, several judges (including a chief justice who became our Master) and men of many another accomplishment. From our beginnings our roll carried men of sense and maturity — fortunately, perhaps, for the Lodge had to stand virtually on its own feet, with little direction from Grand Lodge, and without a District Superintendent or District Grand Lodge to support us in maintaining our own Scottish standards vis-à-vis the several Lodges operating under the English Constitution. Indeed, there were only two others in the whole of East Africa, and they were out of regular touch — one was 400 miles away in Nairobi and the other over 1,000 miles distant in Dar es Salaam. Members undertook the task of removing Lodge property from Uganda, at considerable risk to themselves, along with good friends and helpers, from the marauding undisciplined squads of soldiers. Many an unexpected location was used to foil the soldiers, including the internals of a mechanical digger! Unfor-tunately, during this operation one life was lost. In the end, the Lodge lost some records and furnishings, but the Charter, along with nearly all the office-
bearers’ aprons and collars and the Altar Bible, were recovered. After considerable wanderings several trunks of lodge furnishings appeared in North Berwick, and feelers began to go out — could the Lodge be brought back to life in Scotland? It may have been an omen, but on 1st March 1975, Scotland beat Wales by 12 points to 10 in a grossly overcrowded Murrayfleld. Later that same day, a party of ex-Uganda folk assembled in Edinburgh, and from that gathering a few of our 1389 Brethren considered the feasibility of re-opening the Lodge, with thoughts on enlistment and recruitment in a new home. That meeting led to others over the next year or two. Following these meetings, and after a great deal of dedicated secretarial work involving several District Superintendents and District Grand Lodges in East and Central Africa, Grand Lodge agreed to re-designate our Charter for Edinburgh in 1977. The first Regular Meeting in Scotland was the Installation Ceremony of 25th November in that year. Thereafter all that voluminous correspondence began to bear fruit, and Affiliates rallied to our ranks from widely scattered Lodges — some Scottish, some Irish, some English — from Kenya, from Tanzania and from a cluster of Zambian Lodges — a flashback to Ruwenzori and the copper mines — which carried melodious names like Mufulira, Chingola, Chililabombwe. After the dispersal all over the world from the Uganda troubles of so many of our old Brethren, and without the backing of these
newcomers to our ranks we could well have gone under. Perhaps in the “Overseas Influence” they found some common ground with us, and we are deeply grateful for the stimulus they have provided. Now, in Edinburgh, we have tried to retain our own old landmarks, initially sifted and winnowed in Kampala; we have screened and adopted some others; we have been given staunch support from members old and new. We have tried to preserve our standards — of ceremonial and of ritual, of behaviour and courtesy, of fellowship and concord, and of continuing fealty to the Grand Lodge of Scotland. On our fiftieth birthday, on 2nd May 1985 we were honoured by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master Mason, Brother Marcus Humphrey, who presided over our ReDedication Ceremony, in the Chapel of St. John, Edinburgh, and who pointed the Lodge towards its centenary. We begin that journey with hope and humility under the guidance of the Great Architect, and we pray too for God’s rest for us all. This history was produced to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Lodge and appeared in the 1986 Year Book of The Grand Lodge of Scotland. In 1997 The Caledonian Lodge of Kampala No. 1815 was founded and now meets in Kampala. History of the Caledonian Lodge of Uganda was written by Bro. Ian D. Gunn PM, and Sourced from https://sites.google.com/site/caledonianuganda/Home/ history Our thanks go to the Lodge No .1389 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owners.
Rays of Masonry
The Sublime Degree
“The Mason & Society” The responsibility that goes with the privilege of being a Mason cannot be stressed too much. The consciousness of that responsibility is not alone important to Masonry; it is of the vast importance to society. The Mason who reads the history of Masonry, who understands the moral force of Masonry, finds something of profound meaning. He is imbued with the desire to add to the flow of society that which will be a bed-rock of good to posterity. The desire on the part of man to perpetuate himself through acts and deeds which will stand the test of time is a perfectly understandable and normal desire. The persistency of man in his belief that both good and bad are things of the future as well as of the present becomes the proof and light of all religions. That persistency has brought man to the idea of God, and it leads to a higher conception of the Deity. Masonry has been described as one of the forms of the divine upon earth. The Mason then has a duty far beyond the duty to an institution. Since Masonry is an agency by which God is made real and visible, then the Mason assumes the highest responsibility to society. The consciousness of that responsibility is the greatest contribution the Mason can make to Masonry and to society. The Mason adds strength to Masonry in the measure that he adds strength to society.
Dewey Wollstein 1953
Thrice I knocked and was challenged “Upon that which you enter - take heed” The long forgotten secrets I would learn are an answer to man’s primordial need. The Compasses inscribe a circle, a unique form which has neither beginning nor end. Its points presented to my breasts, a message designed to send. What’s this? - ‘tis all in darkness, save in the East a glimmering light. The sober warning of a far greater trial and I feel a sense of fright. I listen to the legend of the widow’s son, his honour and fidelity rewarded by hate. And then to my surprise and horror I’m forced to share his fate. A haunting bell tolls, the dust returns from whence it came, covered by the sod. The Spirit, released from its perishable frame is now free to return to God. Strong hands seize me in a lion’s grip reassuringly, they ease my fear. Clasped in the warm embrace of friendship strange words are whispered in my ear. The ‘Sublime’ degree of a Master Mason I think at last I understand. For the lesson taught on being raised is about the divinity of man. Don Beattie
such harmonious conception of their goal, and others, like ours, are always fighting. " ''Did you ever see I do-fight, with only one dog?" asked the Old Tiler. ''Did you ever see a boiler explode without too much steam and not enough water in it? Did you ever see a team of horses take a heavy load uphill all pulling different ways?
Hep Hep Thank you for tiling," smiled the Old Tiler, as he resumed his sword after a trip for ice water. "What are they doing in there now?'' "Fighting like a lot of snarling puppies!" responded the New Brother disgustedly. ''My idea of Masonry is not a red-hot discussion every meeting, as to whether or not Jim Jones is or isn't, or we ought or ought not, to spend eleven dollars for something or other." "Go on, tell me what your idea of Masonry is!" The Old Tiler's voice was sardonic. The New Brother had crossed swords with the Old Tiler before. ''Not much I won't, and have you blow my ideas full of air holes!" he retorted. "But you tell me why some lodges pull so well together, have
"A lodge can't fight unless it has something to quarrel about. We are having a series of floor fusses because we have about three or eleven alleged brothers who don't know anything about military drill! If they had heard an old drill sergeant say, ‘hep, hep, hep,’ a few thousand times, they'd get 'hep' to themselves. At first they'd be like the soldier son of the proud old Irish mother watching her boy parade and saying, ‘Ah, do yez moind, they is all out o’ step but him!’ After a while they'd learn that they couldn't keep in step by going as they pleased -- they'd learn to watch the fellow to the right and the chap to the left. "In a lodge there are brothers who won't stay in step, not because they can't, but because they are too busy watching their feet to see the other fellow's shoes. Take Biggsby, now; Biggsby is the big fellow with the overgrown grip on a nickel, who is forever and always blocking business by insisting on a detailed explanation of every appropriation. He isn't in step. Our lodge is rich enough to spend some money without worrying. Biggsby thinks that if we don't pinch ten cent pieces until they coppers, we are going to the Masonic Home! "Isn't it right to have someone watch the appropriations?" interrupted the New Brother. 16
"Watch 'em by all means," answered the Old Tiler, "and kick if anyone tries to slip something over. But watching is one thing and objecting to the wishes of the majority because of private beliefs regarding the sacredness of two-bit pieces is another. No one cares if Biggsby wears out a dollar's worth of shoes saving a ten-cent car ride. They are Biggsby's shoes and that's Biggsby's business. But in lodge he should get in step and not object to lodge expenditures on personal grounds. "There should be no politics in Masonry, but there never was a lodge that didn't have politics in its elections. If Jim Jones lobbies trying to get Bob Smith elected, and Frank. Robinson spends time and effort to get Bill Brown elected, no special harm is done, unless they keep up their fight after it is won and lost. 'Some people never know when they are licked' is not always a compliment. In a lodge with real spirit, Bill forgets after he loses his fight and works for the successful candidate. In a lodge where Bill isn't 'hep' to his Masonry or himself, he carries a grouch, tries to make the successful chap unhappy, gets in the way of the machinery and generally stirs up trouble. "You are just beginning in Masonry. You have joined a good lodge. What’s happening in there is just a phase. Those fellows will learn, in time, that when ten or forty or four hundred men form a real Masonic lodge, as a body they are something bigger and better than ten or forty or four hundred times the bigness and goodness of the individuals. A true lodge spirit provides a lot of give and not much take. When every member is ‘hep’ to the other fellows’ ideas – when every member makes a distinction between conduct for himself and what his organization should 17
do – when each of us thinks of his fellowmember as his brother in heart as well as in organization, then your lodge develops real lodge spirit and stops foolish fighting." "I see," answered the New Brother. "A lodge, like a piece of machinery, squeaks if it isn’t well oiled. If any part of it is out of order, the whole suffers. And because Masons are human beings, we are not perfect and so no lodge is ever perfect. But we can make our lodges better by sinking individual desires for the good of the organization." "Well, well!" said the Old Tiler. "Almost do you persuade me you have the makings of a real good . . . " But then there were three raps, and the New Brother is still wondering what the Old Tiler meant to say "fellow" or "Mason" or "officer!" This is the Forty-fifth article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
FOUR TASSELS In the early lodges of England, and other European countries, the square-pavement was depicted on a carpet. The inner meaning of this carpet is the chequered way of life; and the alternations of joy and sorrow of night and day, which we all experience in the course of our lives. This carpet was bordered with a rope and four tassels traditionally shown at its corners but we are now left with only the indented border as a representation of the cords of the â€˜pray-scarfâ€™ worn by Jews, the cords of which had different colours twisted around them and knotted into a tassel. The corners of the chequered carpet had originally four tassels which also appear at the corners of the first degree tracing board, at the corners of some altar cloths, and sometimes at the corners of the cushion on which rest the V.O.S.L.
virtues is not clear. Maybe the true origin of these tassels lies in a study of the methods used by the medieval operative masons when laying out the ground plan of a new building. The Master Mason or architect commenced his work by striking the centre of the piece of ground, on which the building was to be erected, and from it he plotted the square or rectangle on which the containing walls were to rise. To do this he extended ropes from the center pin to the four angles and being tied they formed loose tassels and were pegged down at the corners of the building. By the simple use of square and triangle, he was able to check the four corners, and make certain that they were true, as the walls rose. From time to time a piece of wood was extended from the corners inward and a plumb line was dropped down to make sure that the walls were perpendicular and the angle as true on its upper tiers as it was at the base. So a dim remembrance of these corner plumb line lingers on into Speculative Masonry. I have seen pictures of the woven tassels on the carpet and we have but to look around to see tassels hanging in the four corners. We are told in the ritual that it is these hanging tassel which represent the four cardinal virtues. Implying that the four cardinal virtues are guides to enable a man to live an upright life.
But of all the tassels seen in lodge the oneâ€™s which strike the initiate more than others, are the four tassels at the four corners of the room. We are told that these represent the four cardinal virtues, which were possibly brought into the ritual toward the close of the 18th century. Why they should represent the four cardinal
These tassels seem to have disappeared from some European lodges but, in other constitutions we are still left with the symbolic representation of the four ends of the ropes, which crossed the ground plan and plumb lines of the building. A closing section of an interesting lecture practiced mainly in Lancashire near the end of the 18
18th century illustrates Masonic thinking on the construction of a Masonic Lodge: Question: What do you furnish it with? Answer: The four cardinal virtues. Question: What are they? Answer: Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude. Question: How do you place them? Answer: Justice in the East, Prudence in the West, Temperance in the South, and Fortitude in the North, as every honest Mason stands, upright on the square, fronting the four cardinal points of heaven with extended arms, ready to receive and comfort the worthy and deserving from all the points. Question: When silence shut the door of your lodge, what charge did she give you? Answer: She required me to do justly, love mercy, to walk humbly with my God, and to remember my three duties that I might be a welcome guest whenever I returned. Sourced from The Newsletter of the Committee on Masonic Education of The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario
Did You Know? When we are exhorted, in the Third Degree, to lift our eyes to that bright morning star, whose rising brings peace and salvation . . .' are we referring to a particular star, or is this pure symbolism? Answer: The various aspects of this problem may be best envisaged, perhaps, from the following quotations, beginning with some extracts from Miscellanea Latomorum, (Series ii) Vol. 31, pp. 1 - 4: It is argued that this reference to `that bright Morning Star' is an allusion to the Founder of Christianity, and as such should never have been included in, or retained in, the ritual of an Association professing entire freedom from denominational creed or dogma, outside of the simple basic belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. This attitude has unfortunately been bolstered up by a frequent misquotation of the wording, the phrase `whose rising brings peace and tranquillity' being often rendered as `peace and salvation', which is erroneous and decidedly mischievous. [N.B. Emulation, Stability and Logic use the word `salvation'; Exeter says `tranquillity'.] As a symbol, the Morning Star is indeed most appropriate to the ceremonial incident just previously enacted; so apt, in fact, that it may be confidently asserted that no other symbol could be found which would so perfectly fit the circumstances of the case. Astronomically the Morning Star is the herald of the dawning of a new day, just as its opposite, the Evening Star, presages the
coming of night. The latter foretells the dying of another day; the approach of the time when man can no longer work; when darkness covers the face of the earth. Darkness has ever been associated with evil, and in its sombre, unknown possibilities is a fitting emblem of death. On the other hand, the rising Morning Star brings joy and gladness with its promise of yet another day, of light once more, in which man may work and renew his association with his fellow man in business or in pleasure. In short, with the new born day, man rises to a new life. What more fitting symbol, then, than this of the promise of new life after death - of the immortality of the soul. The late Dr. E. H. Cartwright, in his Commentary on the Freemasonic Ritual, (2nd edn., 1973, p. 186), wrote, with customary forthrightness: `That bright morning star'. It should, of course be `that bright and morning star', the phrase being a quotation from The Revelation, xxii, 16. The reference is definitely to Christ and is a relic of the time when the Craft was purely Christian. The allusion apparently escaped the notice of the revisers at the Union, when Christian references generally were excised. Some hold that, as we are not now exclusively Christian, but admit Jews, Moslems and others who, though monotheists, are not Christians, this reference should be deleted, as others of a like nature have been. If the phrase be objected to, the Revised Ritual provides an appropriate alternative rendering, namely, `and lift our eyes to Him in whose hands are the issues of life and death, and to whose mercy we trust for the fulfilment of His gracious promises of Peace and Salvation to the faithful etc.' My own view
is that the reference to the `Bright Morning Star' would be quite inexplicable if we read it in an astronomical sense, to imply that a particular star can bring peace, or tranquillity, or salvation, to man kind. As a Christian reference, moreover, this passage must cause embarrassment to Brethren who are not of that Faith and in two of my Lodges (of mainly Jewish Brethren) where this point arose, we now use the following: ... and lift our eyes to Him whose Divine Word brings Peace and Salvation to the faithful, etc. This form of wording has two great advantages: 1. It provides a definite meaning to the passage instead of an ambiguous one. 2. It is in full accord with Masonic teaching and respects the religious beliefs of all the participants. The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
MY CREED To live as gently as I can, To be, no matter where, a man; To take what comes of good or ill; To cling to faith and honour still; To do my best and let stand The record of my brain and hand; And then, should failure come to me, Still work and hope for victory! To have no secret place wherein I stoop unseen to shame or sin; To be the same when I'm alone As when my even deed is known, To live undaunted, unafraid Of any step that I have made; To be without pretence or sham, Exactly what men think I am. 20
The Next Generation of Freemasons COMMENTS I have read with considerable interest the paper found in the reading room entitled Preparing For Change - The Next Generation Of Freemasons by W.Bro. Max Rush. The difficulty I have with W.Bro. Rush's paper is that it remains quite unclear as to the changes which he is suggesting are either desirable or inevitable. Therefore the following comments may in fact miss the mark. It is interesting to see him refer to the familiar phrase "It is not within our collective power as masons to make innovations in the body of Freemasonry." No doubt this phrase has been indelibly imprinted on the minds of the members of the Craft and has unfortunately served as an impediment for sensible adaptation of the structure and operation of the Craft as an organization to changing times. However, it is my view that such an attitude is founded in a FUNDAMENTAL MISUNDERSTANDING of the phrase itself. Consequently, our refusal to adapt is based on the Crafts inability to interpret the phrase in a symbolic or philosophical even though it seems reasonably clear that the Draftsmen so intended. A brief explanation my be useful. If the phrase were to be interpreted and applied literally, it would mean that someone intended that the Craft in its 21
organization, practices, and structure, would remain unchanged "until time should be no more." It is doubtful that the Draftsmen of our ritual who were themselves steeped in the thinking of the enlightenment and of whom many were spearheads for social change within the outside world had any such intention. The question then lies "well what did they mean?" or "why was the phrase included?" The answer to this, I would respectfully suggest, lies in philosophy. However, before we delve into the argument it is necessary to make one vital distinction in relation to our ritual. The ritual often refers to physical or structural things .... but this is solely to give imagery and concreteness to a purely conceptual idea. A simple example of this may suffice. In the first degree in the Canadian rite we see a reference to the fact that our lodges "stretch from east to west, from the surface of the earth to its centre, and even as high as the heavens." It is of course quite absurd to interpret this phrase in a literal sense because it is perfectly obvious that our lodges in physical dimensions are quite limited ... and in fact occupy a single room within the Temple. Although there are many interpretations of this phrase .... one possible explanation shows that it is intended to be interpreted symbolically. That interpretation is this..... that when the Junior Warden refers to LODGES he is not talking about a room where masons meet .... he is talking about THE MIND OF MAN. In this sense the Junior Warden is bringing to the candidate that lesson which the Enlightenment had taught the world, namely, THE MIND OF MAN IS A WONDROUS AND LIMITLESS CREATION. It is a testimony to "Man's Unconquerable Mind."
In like manner the phrase "It is not within our collective power as masons to make innovations in the body of Freemasonry" IS NOT INTENDED to be a statement that the organizational structure and the methods of operating of Freemasons cannot change. It is intended to invoke an infinitely more philosophical train of thought. Freemasonry here is, I suggest, synonymous with the concept of RIGHTEOUSNESS and the concept of UNIVERSAL MORALITY. If it is understood in this way then the phrase in question lays down a very profound (albeit debatable point) .... that there is a universal righteousness which pervades the earth and which like natural law ... no man can change. This idea is reflected in the writings of that outstanding American moralist, Emerson whose equation of fundamental and basic moral values with nature suggests the eternal and unchangeable quality of Universal Goodness. If the quoted passage from our ritual is understood in this sense then it has some validity and relevance to modern freemasonry. What the passage is intending to teach is that there exists a Universal Law of Morality and by its very nature it pervades all the universe and is a constant apriori truth which mere mortal men cannot change. It is difficult to believe that the phrase was ever intended to be so shallow as to suggest that we cannot change the procedures of the sociological structures or physical organizations which Freemasons create to administer there affairs. If the foregoing is incorrect then one wonders why we faithfully have Grand Lodge Communications to deal with amendment to our Constitutions and other matters. Having made the foregoing argument I must confess that I see no impediment to
our making changes in the organization. However at the same time I often think that some of the proposed changes are motivated by the same misunderstanding of our ritual as I have attempted to expose in my previous argument. However, the one REALITY which we must address our attention to is the one outlined by Worshipful Bro. Rush when he refers to the fact that in this busy world imposed on young men they only have 5 hours a month to devote to the organized events of Freemasonry. If we combine this with a second REALITY namely: that young men have a wide diversity of interests and then look critically at our lodge structure and recognize that we have only one career path for masons .... namely through the chairs to the Throne of King Solomon, we will begin to see one of the major dilemmas in our system of doing things. Our problem is that not every young man who kneels before the alter wants to become a ritualist and proceed through the chairs to become the worshipful master of his lodge. They have other very Masonic interests which they would like to pursue within the lodge structure and yet there is in reality no other career pattern for them within the Craft Lodge structure. As a result they either lose interest and stop coming to Lodge, or they are forced to proceed with the only career pattern that we offer and we lose their talents in the field of Charity and a host of other legitimate activities. The net result is that our lodges become degree factories in which the only objective is to ensure that the ritual is performed. Possibly thoughtful masons such as W.Bro. Rush may consider that there is merit in an idea which has evolved in discussions between myself and Bro. G. Helmer. Maybe we should have several career paths within a Lodge and 22
those masons who dedicate several years to promoting charity, masonic education, public service or whatever could ultimately become rewarded with the rank of VIRTUAL PAST MASTER. In this sense the Craft would know that they had not served as the Master of their Lodge, but their Masonic contribution was of such a nature to establish that they are a Master of the Royal Art. I would appreciate any comments whether favourable or unfavourable to the foregoing proposition. In so saying, I have never held to the view that a mason who bluntly disagrees with my ideas is acting un-masonically. In fact most masons who know me intimately consider it an integral part of the fulfilment of their obligation to explain to me that I am quite full of it. However, I would ask you to consider the idea since it may not be the solution to the problem I have pointed out, but if we do not make some change in our method of operating the problem will continue to exist. This article on comments about The next generation of Freemasons was written by Cameron MacKay PM. It is certainly thought provoking and he is right not everyone wants to progress to the chair of the Lodge, and we would do well to realise this, and use these Brethren to the best of their abilities f or the good of the Lodge. Ed.
DEGREES AND DEGREES OF WORK It's very difficult to come up with a topic when called upon to speak on Freemasonry. Oh there are many subjects at your disposal. But, when I'm speaking, there is often a nagging suspicion within me that the subject is dull, boring, has probably been covered many times in the 23
past, and is therefore not very interesting to my listeners. So a person spends a lot of time wondering about a topic that is common to us all. We have a lot in common due to the fact that we are all Freemasons. But one thing just as common to all of us, maybe more so than the fact that we are called Freemasons is that we all, everyone of us here, received the three most important degrees in all aspects of Masonry - E.G., F.C. and M.M. There is no doubt about it, everyone here one way or another has received these degrees. So that, brothers, is the topic I chose to bore you with is called "Degrees and Degrees of Work". Actually, the topic should be something I said a few seconds ago, "One Way or Another". That's the key brothers, one way or another. We were not born Masons, we became Freemasons, through degrees, one way or another. But, how did we receive these three degrees? What do we remember that was outstanding, other than the fact that we got it between the eyes and saw the light? Do we remember a funny story that was told by one of the orators after the degrees were finished? Do we remember the colour or maybe costumes or that everyone was wearing a funny apron? What I am getting at brothers is the fact that unfortunately not too many of us were left with a remembrance of what we heard at the time of the degrees and the manner in which it was presented. Hence the topic - Degrees of Work - good or bad. It would be great to have all of our degrees carried out in an unforgettable manner, wouldn't it? But that's been the goal of all
Masonic lodges for many years and unfortunately, it will remain a dream fro many years to come. But, we can all help towards the attainment of that goal in our own little ways. We have the ability to memorize. some more than others. But we all have done memory work at one time or another, when we proved our degrees. How well we proved up was entirely up to ourselves and the mount of preparation we did at the time. And the same goes for putting on the degrees. We must prepare ourselves individually whether it's as a conductor, a prompter, a lecturer or an instructor. We should always be thinking about the candidate, not of ourselves. That will look after itself, but of the impression that we are making upon the candidate. What is he hearing? What is he thinking? Do we have his attention? The only way that we can every hope to accomplish this is by working on our presentations. We could start with self discipline, force ourselves to practice, and after a while it would be an automatic effort. WE should do this in two stages, memorize and then perfect. We memorize our part then we practice to perfect it. We should try not to make it sound as if it's being read. If we put some feeling into it, it can make all the difference. You have to be a bit of an actor sometimes to deliver this special feeling, and of course, this comes from practice. Sometimes we feel embarrassed to say certain words. We become self-conscious or feeling foolish and maybe being made fun of. But we have to strive to put this aside. As an example, take the apron presentation in the first degree. What can we do with it. It's really the first lecture
that the candidate receives in Freemasonry without a hoodwink. It's the first he sees or hears other than the instructions at the altar. This could be a very long lasting impression on the individual. You know, we can take written words and make them sound as if they were our own. Or we can make them sound as if we are reading them. Now if we have to read the words (and by the way the only words that are permitted to be read in open lodge from this book are the words of the edict prior to the drama portion of the Third Degree). But if we are caught short and find at the lat minute that for some reason or another a portion of the work has to be read, it still requires practice. At least read it over a few times. Mouth the words silently, try to give it some feeling. Impress the candidate with our feelings towards what we are teaching them even while we are learning it ourselves. And we are continually learning. Okay! Let's have some on the job training.---Read Charge--- Now let's assume that you have been asked to make the apron presentation. Let's also assume that you have been given lots of notice before the time of the degree. First, you have to read it over a few times, quietly as well as out loud, until you understand the content of the charge. We sometimes think we understand it all because we received the degrees. But we don't. Think about it. Have you ever sat back and listened to a lecture or charge and after hearing a certain line or two, think to yourself, "I didn't know that". We hear, but we don't hear. It's all in the presentation Brothers and as I said earlier, this makes the impression. So assume we have read it over a sufficient number of times and we understand the 24
content. Then of course we memorize it in our own individual way. Once this is done, we work on it. WE try to perfect it. WE give it the proper speed and personalization. Even though we are not supposed to make changes in the work book, I sometimes do. But I like to think that the changes are for the better. Sometimes there is a word or two that we can't pronounce correctly or we have trouble retaining it and we stumble over them or we grope for words. Try replacing the words with ones that have the same meaning but are easier for you to retain. Sometimes you have to ad lib a couple of lines, but not too many, if any, notice because you understand the story and are able to tell part of it in your own way. It's like telling a funny story, you may not tell it as it was told to you but you get the point across to your listeners. The most important thing is the feeling you are passing on to the candidate.
word brother a few extra times. But most of all Brothers, I would like to think that the new Brother will remember the words and think about their meaning. You can tell if you have his attention by his face. Watch his eyes. Be sure and direct your words to him. Don't continually look at the floor or to his left or his right. Look at him. Hold his or their attention. It's easier when there are two or more candidates as you can look from one to the other and you don't become too self conscious. I had five Brothers once. I had all but one looking at me. I paid particular attention to him by directing my words to him, but I couldn't hold him. He would sneak a glance at me, then quickly away as if he had done something wrong. I thought that I had lost him but afterwards he told me how much he was impressed with what he had heard. Even then, he couldn't look at me. That was his nature. So don't feel bad if it happens. You never know.
So now brothers, let's try the apron presentation from memory, a little personalizing and some feeling. ---Give Charge--- Alright, which was more impressive? The one we read or the one we memorized? You can only add to or take away bits and pieces of Masonic work and still deliver the same meaning by working on it. Prepare yourself, practice. And the same applies to all the degree work whether the part is big or small. Do it well and to do that with the feeling needed to impress the words upon the candidate, it takes preparation.
What other important ingredients do we need to make a successful degree? The Master of the Lodge calls for a practice. We surprise him and show up. It's called supporting your Master. We come prepared for the practice. And by the way, we should practice our individual work outside the lodge as well as in it. You know, we memorize something over and over and, boy, we have it down pat. We go to lodge to do the work and when we start to say the same words out loud, zap! it's gone. Say your work out loud several times outside lodge hours.
I would like to think that in the example I just used in the form of the apron presentation, that I gave it some feeling, that I held the attention of the recipient, that it was a bit personalized by adding the
How about prompting? You're giving your work and you're stuck for a word. In many cases this happens. The prompter is there is one, and there should be, whispers the
word, "A" or "IN" or "THE". He whispers. You didn't hear him and then someone else gives you a word? Usually the wrong one also in a whisper. By then you're really mixed up. But that's nothing. Think about the candidate, he's hoodwinked and doesn't know that this is memory work. So then Brothers, just what is his impression of the mumbled whispers? Brothers, if you are the prompters, speak up loud and clear. Don't be afraid. Give the lecturer several words to get him back on the right track. As an example, the Master is giving the first degree obligation. At the altar he gets to the part in paragraph two - Furthermore I promise and swear that I will not write, inscribe, print, paint, etc., and he says "Furthermore I do promise and wear that I" and he forgets, which happens no matter how prepared you are, and after a long pause the prompter whispers "will". Instead he should say loud and clear, "that I will not write, inscribe." Give him a good start. There should also be an understanding between the prompter and the degree team. Don't prompt too soon. Some lecturers have their own pace. They pause for effect not because they forget and if you prompt too quickly or before they say something like "light" or "word", it may throw them way off. Also Brothers, it's important to let the Master know in plenty of time if possible that you will be unable to attend a degree in which you have a part. Give him a chance to find a replacement and give that replacement a fair chance to work on his "Degree---and his Degree of Work". This article was prepared by Bro. Tom Arab and has been presented at several Masonic Workshops and Educational Sessions since 1991. Sourced from Skirret.
Did You Know? Explain the significance of the candidate's dress in the first degree. Why does he bare his R.A., L.B. and K. and why is he slipshod? When did this first originate? Answer: The sum total of these procedures were not standardized in England until 1813 -1816. The individual items came into use at various times and the records are very scanty. The 'L.K. bare' appears in the Dumfries No.4 M.S. dated 1710. The 'N.L.B.' appears in Masonry Dissected 1730 and the Wilkinson M.S. 1730. Slipshod and other hints relating to clothing, appear in a curious Q & A in Masonry Dissected: Q. How did he bring you. A. Neither naked nor clothed, barefoot nor shod... The French exposures, from 1737 onwards, say that 'he is made to wear his left shoe as a slipper'. The bare R.A. came in much later and I have found no explicit record of that until the 1700s, in Preston's First Lecture. The Graham MS, 1726 says 'poor penyless and blind...' and also 'half naked, half shod, half barefoot, half kneeling, half standing'. As to the reasons for these preparations: The candidate is slip- shod, as a reminder that the lodge stands on Holy Ground (Exodus 3. v5) and to confirm the bond in the obligation (Ruth IV, vv 7,8). The bare R.A. to show that the candidate carries no weapons. The N.L.B. to ensure he is male and the left is nearest the heart. The L.K. because Christian brethren take their obligation on the L.K. These are the traditional reasons, but practices are not uniform in different countries. The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr,
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY Volume of the Sacred Law
Two purposes are served by the Volume of the Sacred Law in a Masonic Lodge. It shows that Masonic ritual and teaching are based on the Bible, and it provides an appurtenance to enable the taking of a solemn obligation. For a Christian the two purposes coalesce, since the VSL placed on a Lodge room pedestal (in some places still called the altar) is generally the King James Version containing both Old and New Testaments, though the effect would be the same with a different translation. For a Jew, a volume with the New Testament presents a problem when he takes an obligation, and for this purpose a Jewish candidate would probably want the Hebrew Scriptures, Genesis to Malachi, or the Pentateuch. This means placing two sacred books on the pedestal – the King James Old and New Testament as the “official” VSL and a separate Jewish Bible for the obligation (Israeli Lodges have a third book, the Koran). It is highly unusual for a Jewish Master or Mason to object to the presence of the New Testament on the Lodge pedestal, knowing that the VSL passages which are read generally come from the Hebrew Scriptures. As a private matter, a Jewish Master will occasionally have his own Hebrew volume on display or at least at hand on his Master’s pedestal; one Master I knew always had beside him a miniature Hebrew scroll of the Pentateuch. Non-Biblical faiths have a problem with both the Old and New Testaments, but candidates or Masons from such faiths cannot dispense with the VSL since this is the basic document which shaped Masonic ritual (in some cases it may be the Lodge which provides a Mason’s Biblical education). A person can use his own holy book (e.g. the 27
Koran) for the personal obligation. The procedure they use is whatever is customary in their own tradition (holding the book, placing their hand on the book, holding the book over their head, etc.). It is not the role of Freemasonry to try to reconcile possible contradictions between the Bible and other sacred literature, whether it be the Koran (Muslim), Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh), Bhagvada Gita (Hindu), Khordeh Avesta (Parsee), Dhammapada (Mahayana Buddhist) or other text. Why is the Bible called the VSL, bearing in mind that Biblical literature is far more than law? The conventional terminology indicates the authoritative status we ascribe to Biblical ethics, though there is a difference between the ethics of Judaism and Christianity and the popular slogan, “the Judeo-Christian ethic”, is something of a myth. Why are certain passages read or recited when opening the Lodge in each of the three craft degrees? The First Degree passage in many Lodges is Ruth 2:19, which refers to B..z as an exemplar of kindness and charity. In the Second Degree it is I Kings 7:21, which refers to J….n and asserts the importance of the Jerusalem Temple. The Third Degree reading is Psalm 133, which speaks of brethren sitting in harmony and, with its reference to “life for ever”, hints at Hiram Abif. There are critics who allege that Masons take oaths “which are against what the Bible teaches”. Such allegations are highly pejorative and have never been proved to be true. The only problem for Christians is that the obligations do not mention Jesus, but it is open to them (or anyone) to understand the references to God in their own way. 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.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Sep 30, 2015