Volume 12 Issue 1 No. 91 January 2016
Contents Cover Story, The Near Miss of Robert Burns Famous Freemason – Donald Campbell The Supreme Tribe of Ben-Hur The Equilateral Triangle, the Compasses, the Seal of Solomon and the Perfect Cube Lodge St. David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No. 133. Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Education – The Unspeakable Masonic Word The God Concept in Freemasonry The Emblems of Freemasonry Main Website – Robert Burns (Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry.)
In this issue: Page 2, ‘The Near Miss of Robert Burns.’ Why the Caledonian Poet was not a Calypso Balladeer, and why Burns choose to stay in Scotland. Page 5, ‘Donald Campbell.’ A Famous Freemason. Page 8, ‘The Supreme Tribe of Ben-Hur.’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World. Page 10, ‘The Equilateral Triangle, the Compasses, the Seal of Solomon and the Perfect Cube.’ An explanation of the 60° Angle. Page 13, ‘Lodge St. David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No. 133.’ The Mother Lodge of Robert Burns. Page 14, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Masonry in the Home”, our Regular feature. Page 15, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Gold and Iron”, the forty-eighth in the series. Page 17, ‘Did You Know?’ Why is the sun over the J.W.'s chair and the moon over the S.W.'s chair? Page 18, ‘The Unspeakable Masonic Word.’ Education, lets talk about it! Page 20, ‘Is Ignorance in Masonry a Crime?’ Education makes a Mason. Page 24, ‘The God Concept in Freemasonry.’ The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 25, ‘The Emblems of Freemasonry.’ Emblems of freemasonry in the first Degree.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Robert Burns from the Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry. [link] The front cover artwork is a vector picture of Robert Burns adapted an re-coloured by the editor.
The Near Miss of Robert Burns Why the Caledonian Poet was not a Calypso Balladeer
Scotland, as an ideal and as a place apart, was central to Robert Burns’s durable posterity and to his poetic voice as the national bard of that wee country hard by the sea. What Burns celebrated was other than the greatness of Scotland’s landscape-its moors and heather, its peat bogs and highlands. Rather, he raised up its folk traditions of song, sentiment and, on occasion, satire. The appeal of Burns to the Scots and all other admirers is always personal. There is nothing metaphysical or philosophical about his verse. It is simply about life experience--playful friendship and sad aloneness, love and love-making, appetite and thirst, disappointment and anger, new children and old homes. Clearly, Burns (1759-1796) was a prodigy who had the plain poetic gifts to express intense personal emotions and thus evoke immediate feelings in the reader. Ultimately, however, Burns transcends Scotland’s tight grip on his own national devotion. His flexible use of dual idioms, for instance, formed by Scots dialect and standard English, elevates our common humanity to make the vital point that we can understand each other despite differences in language and class. This sensibility was born of trouble and no light affliction.
As a boy, Burns watched his father, William, make every attempt to improve the family’s lot, only to receive, without fail, the short straw of hard luck. Poor fortune always dogged the father and son like a yipping cur with a perverse form of canine loyalty. Burns and his father struggled against poor land, short leases, and bad markets. Seeing his father die, physically used up and in debt, crushed by the burdens of tenant farming, shaped Robert Burns’s antipathy to the social order of his day. Before his father’s death unleashed in him a torrent of spirited feeling about life, his life and the life of Scotland, Robert Burns became a Freemason. He found in the experience something unlike the political and religious institutions that had kept his father in a state of perpetual frustration. Unfortunately, something of the same trouble that found his father extended to Robert. His bad luck seemed to accrue compound interest and drive good luck into other accounts. In chronic financial straits and poor health, Burns died in 1796, at 37, from rheumatic heart disease caused by premature physical strain while growing up on a deficient diet. But poor health was scarcely more than one of Burns’s burdens. In matters religious, his impatience placed him squarely at odds with church life, already splintered in Scotland by a variety of schisms. In politics, his exuberance for the French Revolution carried over to indiscreet opinions about the consequences of Gallic liberty, opinions which nearly cost him his position as an “excise man,” a tax collector, and threatened important friendships with moderate powers. In his personal life, Burns’s greatest difficulty 2
was a result of his rapt attention to women. He was a shameless flirt who often acted hastily on the bearing of those natural impulses. Early on, his temperament marked him as a congenial romantic. Around the age of 21, embracing love and light diversions, he wrote: “vive l’amour et vive la bagatelle, were my sole principles of action.” Perhaps his revelling was an antidote to constant anxiety about his future. Whatever the case, he fell in love more than once and finally married the woman, Jean Armour, who had earlier rejected his marriage proposal even when a child was on the way. The tumult with the Armour family began when Jean’s father refused to give his consent because her suitor had the reputation of opposing orthodox religion. This rebuke wounded and enraged Burns, who then rashly took up with another fetching lass, Margaret (“Highland Mary”) Campbell. In his desperation, he wrote a love song which made clear that Jamaica was his last hope: “Will you go to the Indies, my Mary, And leave auld Scotia’s shore?” Mary’s untimely death from typhus, very soon after he entered her life, further depleted Burns’ emotional reserves. At this dismal juncture of despair, a collision of the un-mended heart with unsparing financial brokenness, it is clear that Burns, then age 27, thought seriously of emigrating to Jamaica. It was a near miss. Burns, of course, never left Scotland, though his life there must have seemed a torture. In proposing a move to Jamaica, he thought he had nothing else to lose in love or in his search for prosperity. His reaction was typical of the forlorn lover with an empty pocket. 3
What changed his mind about venturing to Jamaica for a fresh start? For all the world of trouble familiar to Burns, he realized, when it mattered most, two steady, untroubled constants in his life-Freemasonry and poetry. At the moment to decide whether to emigrate or not, he confessed to a friend in a wrenching selfanalysis, “I have yet fixed on nothing with respect to the serious business of life. I am, as usual, a rhyming, Mason-making, rattling, aimless, idle fellow.” He could laugh off some misery, and he could cry some haplessness out of his system, but he took as signals to remain in Scotland both his affection for the Masonic Lodge and the muse only he could hear. Before his intended departure for Jamaica, he composed a farewell poem for his home Lodge, St. James’s of Tarbolton: Adieu! a heart-warm, fond adieu; Dear Brothers of the Mystic Tie! Ye favour’d, ye enlighten’d few, Companions of my social joy! Tho’ I to foreign lands must hie, Pursuing Fortune’s slidd’ry ba’ With melting heart and brimful eye, I’ll mind you still, tho’ far awa. Masonry was one of the final holds Scotland had upon him once he was prepared to leave all tribulation behind as “Stern Ruin’s plowshare.” Hanging by a thread of faith, which Masonry helped preserve, he prayed for his Lodge that “the glorious Architect divine...may keep th’ Unerring Line” so that “Freedom, Harmony, and Love, Unite you in the Grand Design.” When he wrote these lines, he was just coming into his greatest period of creativity. Critics believe his finest poetry
was born in this formative moment, the spring of 1786. Just then, too, his first collection of poems was published in Edinburgh and quickly acclaimed. When that happened, his home found him; he stayed forever in Scotland. The influence of Masonry cannot be underestimated in the emotional development of Burns. No trifling connection, it was more important to him than any other institution in Scotland possibly could have been. In fact, the Craft’s sociability, however pleasant, was not its sole attraction for him. Burns could, for instance, become apprehensive at times about the practical conduct and stability of the Lodge. He once wrote the Master of his Lodge to express concern over the questionable use of the treasury as a widely available loan source for members. He was counting on the Masons to be there in a pinch: “To us, Sir, who are of the lower orders of mankind, to have a fund in view on which we may with certainty depend to be kept from want should we be in circumstances of distress or old age, this is a matter of high importance.” The Masonic Fraternity was constantly held to a high standard by Burns. In the poem “Libel Summons,” Burns offers the transcript of a mock trial where two carousing rogues, one a Brother Mason, end up in the docket. One has avoided his responsibilities, the other has been a hypocrite. Then, for that Ancient Secret’s sake, You have the honour to partake; An’ for that noble badge you wear, You, Sandie Dow, our Brother dear,
We give you as a Man an’ Mason, This private, sober, friendly lesson. In these lines, Burns reminds his Masonic readers that honour and honesty are virtues which travel beyond the Tyler’s post. True, “a man’s a man for a’ that,” and Burns would deny no man his passions, but he could not condone duplicity and dishonesty, acts which of themselves rob a man of his manhood. After Burns had passed the narrow moment to decide either for Jamaica or for Scotland--Calypso or Caledonia--he noted that for the first time in his life he felt appreciated for his talents. One of the earliest instances came to him at a Masonic occasion in January 1787. He described in a letter how his life was renewed in strength and meaning: “The Grand Master who presided with great solemnity, and honour to himself as a Gentleman and Mason, among other general toasts gave, ‘Caledonia, and Caledonia’s Bard, Brother Burns.’” It was a moment of triumph set against years of discouragement. In that instant of “multiplied honours and repeated acclamations,” Burns declared that he was “downright thunderstruck, and trembling.” With the Scottish Masons and all of Scotland, he knew he was home.
Sourced from Scottish Rite Journal, Jan, 1998. By William L. Fox, Grand Historian & Grand Archivist Washington, DC
Will ye go to the Indies, My Mary? Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, And leave auld Scotia's shore? Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, Across th' Atlantic roar?
Famous Freemasons Donald Campbell Speed King
O sweet grows the lime and the orange, And the apple on the pine; But a' the charms o' the Indies Can never equal thine. I hae sworn by the Heavens to my Mary, I hae sworn by the Heavens to be true; And sae may the Heavens forget me, When I forget my vow! O plight me your faith, my Mary, And plight me your lily-white hand; O plight me your faith, my Mary, Before I leave Scotia's strand. We hae plighted our troth, my Mary, In mutual affection to join; And curst be the cause that shall part us! The hour and the moment o' time! This song was written to Highland Mary in 1786 whilst Robert Burns was planning to emigrate to the West Indies. In March 1792 he wrote to George Thomson concerning this song 'In my early years, when I was thinking of going to the West Indies, I took this farewell of a dear girl. All my earlier love songs were the breathings of ardent passion ; and though it might have been easy for me in aftertimes to have given them a polish, yet that polish to me, whose they were, and who alone cared for them, would have defaced the legend of my heart, which was so faithfully inscribed on them. Their uncouth simplicity was, as they say of wines, their race.'
Donald Malcolm Campbell born in 1921 was the only son of the celebrated Sir Malcolm Campbell who held 13 world speed records captured on land and water in his famous Bluebird cars and boats. Donald was always destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, and following Sir Malcolm’s death in 1948 he began his pursuit of the world speed records in an attempt to emulate his famous father. Donald decided he would firstly make an attempt on water and began using his father’s old boat the Bluebird K4 in 1949. His first attempts were unsuccessful, although he did come close to breaking his father’s existing record, and in 1950 after learning that the World record and rising
from 141 mph to 160, he realized the old K4 boat would never managed speeds like that without extensive modifications, the Bluebird was adapted and changed from the propeller always being immersed to make it a prop-rider which greatly reduced the drag through the water, which he knew would allow the boat to break the World record. Then in September 1951 and after extensive trials on water, Campbell finally reached the speed of 170 mph. The boat then suffered structural damage at that speed and the boat crashed and was wrecked, which prompted him to develop a new boat, the Bluebird K7. In 1952 John Cobb had a turbo jet hydroplane boat built which was capable of reaching speeds of 200 mph and speed trials began on Loch Ness in Scotland. Cobb was killed later that year when his boat Crusader broke up during an attempt on the record. Although devastated by Cobb’s death, Malcolm Campbell was determined to build a new Bluebird and regain the World Speed Record for Britain. The K7 was everything he dreamt off, and between the years 1955 and 1964 he set 7 World Speed Records, the first was at Ullswater where he set a record of 202 mph. He continually modified the Bluebird and this was realized when the speed record was raised to 216 mph at Lake Mead in 1955. Then began a sequence of record raising runs at Coniston where he finally attained 248 mph in 1958. He finally raised it to 276 mph at Lake Dumbleyung in 1964. Now that the World speed record on water was safely in his hands, Campbell soon turned his attention to the land World speed records. It was after Lake Mead his ambition was to hold both the water and
land speed records, and he decided to build a car which would break the land speed record, which at that time was 394 mph. Donald wanted the car to be the best of its type, the most advance car the world had seen and a showcase of British engineering skill and so the Bluebird CN7 was developed with the leaders of the British motor industry, capable of achieving speeds of 475-500 mph and completed in spring of 1960. Speed tests began at Goodwood racing circuit and in the summer the CN7 was transported to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The trials began well and on the sixth run, Campbell lost control of the CN7 at over 360 mph and crashed. It was the structural design of the car that saved him, he suffered a fractured skull a burst eardrum and other cuts and bruises, the Bluebird was a write off. Campbell was not put off, the manufacturers of the CN7 offered to rebuild the car for him and he accepted, he was determined to reach a speed of somewhere around 500 mph before he retired. By the summer of 1962 Bluebird CN7 was rebuilt, it was basically the same car but with a large tail fin and a reinforced cockpit cover for safety. And then at the end of the year the car was shipped out to Australia for a new attempt, this time the site chosen was Lake Eyre where it had not rained for nine years and the dry bed of the salt lake with the course of 20 miles was perfect for the attempt at the World record. However as luck would have it, the rains came, the Lake became flooded and the attempt had to be abandoned. Then in 1963 news reached Donald that an American had driven his thrust jet car ‘The Spirit of America’ to a speed of 407.45 6
mph at Bonneville. The car did not conform to the FIA rules which said that cars had to be wheel-driven with a minimum of 4 wheels, however, the papers of the time were calling the driver Breedlove, ‘The fastest man on Earth.’ Campbell returned to Australia in 1964 for more attempts, not getting anywhere near, then in July he broke the official Land Speed record, he recorded a speed on 403.10 mph. Campbell was not happy, he knew that CN7 could go faster and in fact he had covered the last third of the measured mile at an average speed of 429 mph and peaking at 440 mph, but at last he held the record. Donald Campbell with the Land Speed record in his pocket, decided to have one last attempt at the Water Speed record in Bluebird K7, and achieve what he had always wanted, to break both records in the same year, and then in on the last day of the year 1964, he recorded a speed of 276.33 mph in the Bluebird at Lake Dumbleyung, Australia. He had become the first, and so far only, person to set both land and water speed records in the same year. But Campbell’s Land Speed record did not last long, the FIA changed the rules allowing pure jet cars to set the records from October 1964. Accordingly, Donald Campbell asked his car makers to come up with a design for a supersonic rocket car with a potential speed of 840 mph to be called Bluebird Mach 1.1 and called a press conference in July 1965 to announce his plans; ... In terms of speed on the earth's surface, my next logical step must be to construct a Bluebird car that can reach Mach 1.1. The 7
Americans are already making plans for such a vehicle and it would be tragic for the world image of British technology if we did not compete in this great contest and win. The nation whose technologies are first to seize the "faster than sound" record on land will be the nation whose industry will be seen to leapfrog into the 70s or 80s. We can have the car on the track within three years. In spring 1966 Donald again tried for a World Water speed record, the Bluebird K7 was fitted with an engine taken from a jet aircraft, and the boat was taken to Coniston in November to begin trials. Problems with the engine and the Bluebird’s fuel system meant that he was unable to go faster the 250 mph, below his existing record, and by the end of December with modifications in place, Campbell waited for better weather before attempting to break the record. On January 4th 1967 the weather conditions improved and Donald began his attempt. Just after 8.45 in the morning, Bluebird moved slowly out to the middle of the lake, and Donald lined her up. Powering up, he applied full throttle and the boat began to move forward. At 70 mph Bluebird rocketed off from the surface and she entered the measured mile at 8.46. At the first marker buoy she reached a speed of 285 mph perfectly aligned, at the end of the run Bluebird was travelling at over 310 mph, Donald had reached an average speed on the first run of 297.6 mph. Campbell decided to make the return run immediately instead of refuelling and waiting for the boat’s was to subside. The second run was even faster, Bluebird quickly accelerated to a speed of 328 mph
around 200 metres from the marker buoy and began ‘bouncing’ and in reaching the peak speed a last ‘bounce’ caused Bluebird to drop onto the water, engine flame-out occurred. The boat could not keep her nose down and Bluebird began to lift out of the water and did a complete somersault before plunging into the water. Donald Campbell was killed instantly. The boat then cartwheeled across the water coming to a rest, the impact was such that the main hull sank. Royal Navy divers attempted to find and recover the body and although the wreckage of K7 was found, after two weeks they called off the search without locating the body. In January 1967 Donald Campbell was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct, “For courage and determination in attacking the world water speed record.” His body was found and recovered in 2001. Donald Malcolm Campbell one of Great Britain’s sporting heroes became a Freemason in February 1953 in the Grand Master’s Lodge No. 1 under the English Constitution, his proposer was the Master of the Lodge Robert James Coley his benefactor. Passed and raised the same year, he joined the Royal Arch in 1954. Although he never took office in the Lodge, he appears to have enjoyed the fraternity and attended the Lodge frequently, being present at the Lodge’s bicentennial celebrations in 1957. His father Sir Malcolm Campbell another British hero was also a Freemason, He joined Old Uppinghamian Lodge No. 4227 in 1924. Sources. MQ Magazine 2005 Across the Lake website and other sites.
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘ The Supreme Tribe of Ben-Hur ’ Chances are, when you hear the name "Ben-Hur," you think of Charlton Heston starring as Judah Ben-Hur in the 1959 film. But did you know that the novel that inspired the 1959 film also inspired the creation of a fraternal organization? Published in 1880, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, was written by Lew Wallace, who lived in Crawfordsville, Indiana. By the 1890s, Wallace had become a celebrity due to the huge popularity of his book. Although perhaps difficult to imagine today, Ben-Hur was one of most widely read and commercially successful of all nineteenth-century novels. Thirteen years after the publication of the book, David Washington Gerard, Wallace's neighbour, approached Wallace asking if he would approve of a plan to start a fraternal organization based on the characters in his popular novel. Wallace consented and the organization - a mutual benefit society which provided insurance to its members - was founded. The objectives of the order were to provide life insurance benefits, to improve members socially, to provide entertainment, to aid in business and secure employment, to care for the sick, and to bury the dead. Like some other mutual benefit societies of the time, they also accepted both women and men equally as members of the organization. They were, in short, like 8
many other mutual benefit societies that had been formed in the late 19th century. What was quite different was their ritual. The 1914 ritual contains a preface that includes "General Directions to Officers of Court," that explicitly states the connection of the ritual to the 1880 book. Under a prefatory listing of six important points that should be "faithfully observed" in order to properly carry out the ritual, the top of the list reads: 1. Study the book Ben-Hur. You cannot properly give the work unless you are very familiar with the story, as the Ritual embodies the tragic scenes and incidents in the career of Ben-Hur, his mother and sister, whom the candidates are supposed to represent, and in many passages, the exact language of the book is given. Although the ritual we have doesn't feature any chariot races (although references to it abound in the ritual, and the official publication of the group was called The Chariot), another memorable part of the Ben-Hur story does feature prominently: Ben-Hur's enslavement as an oarsman on a ship. Indeed, the ritual of the Court Degree even features a collapsible boat, or at least a collapsible bench, serving as the galley of a ship, as part of the ritual. (Yes, some of us have a thing for collapsing fraternal props.) The candidate is told: "One day in battle as Ben-Hur was rowing, the vessel received a great shock, the oars were suddenly dashed from his hands, 9
and the rowers from their benches, and for the first time the beating of the gavel was lost in the uproar, and the galley went to pieces." Here the Master of Ceremonies pulls the cord and the collapse comes. The Captain and Guide quickly assist the candidate to his feet... For many years, the Tribe of Ben-Hur maintained
its ties to the novel that inspired it - an increase in membership of the fraternity in the 1920s can likely be traced to the 1925 MGM silent film, a blockbuster of its time (and, incidentally, the second film-version of the novel; the first being in 1907). In 1928, the fraternity released a book called The Boy's Ben-Hur, an abridged version of the novel, published by Harper Brothers. Pictured is a beneficial (i.e. insurance) certificate (FR001.100) issued to Hattie M. Thompson of Manila, Arkansas in 1924. The image above is from the front of the certificate. The image seen here is a detail from the inside of the certificate and the illustrations show three important elements of the Ben-Hur story: the ship on which Ben-Hur was an enslaved oarsman, the chariot race (made especially famous by the 1959 film), and the three wise men, or Magi, of the nativity story of Jesus Christ (Ben-Hur takes place in the early days of the Biblical account of the life of Christ). By the 1980s, Ben-Hur Life Association (a modernizing name change occurred in the 1930s) was essentially a life insurance company with fraternal roots. In 1988, the association officially disbanded the fraternity, converted to a mutual insurance company and changed its name to the decidedly less romantic-sounding USA Life Insurance Company of Indiana. (In 1990, the name changed slightly again to USA Life One Insurance Company of Indiana, after another company with a similar name objected.) Today, USA Life One Insurance Company of Indiana is still in existence. On their website, you'll see that while they note that they've been in business for over 100 years, Ben-Hur's name, alas, is nowhere to be found. Sourced from the blog site of Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library
The Equilateral Triangle, the Compasses, the Seal of Solomon and the Perfect Cube.
According to an ancient custom, the compasses, as a Masonic emblem, whether reposing on the altar or worn as an officer's jewel, should be set at an angle of 60째. What is the reason of this? The reason is principally geometrical. It was upon the triangle that Pythagoras erected his celebrated and invaluable "Forty-seventh Proposition." He is also said to have discovered that the sum of all the angles of any triangle is equal to two right angles. The equilateral triangle is also a sacred symbol of the Deity, being the same in its form as the ancient Greek delta, or letter "D." The Phoenician letter "D," as well as the Egyptian, was of a similar form. The equilateral triangle, in the Greek tongue, as well as many other ancient languages, was thus the initial letter of the name of Deity. In the days of Pythagoras we are told that, whenever an oath of unusual importance was to be taken, it was administered on the equilateral triangle, as, by so doing, the name of God was directly invoked. This oath is said never to have been violated. The EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE, therefore, since it is at once the emblem and essence of geometry, and the initial letter of the name of Deity, should be seen in the midst of every regular Masonic assembly. Now, as the sum of all the angles of any triangle is equal to two right angles, or 180째, it follows that each of the equal 10
angles of any equilateral triangle is equal to one third of two right angles (180°/3 = 60°), which is 60°. The compasses being set at 60°, thus allude to the equilateral triangle, and, if the two points were united by a straight line, one would be formed. There can be but little doubt that it was the equilateral triangle itself which our ancient brethren placed upon the altar, since it was upon that emblem their most solemn obligations were taken. In modern times the compasses, set at an angle of 60°, have been substituted. This may have been done purposely, or it may be that, during the dark ages, some of our ignorant mechanical brethren mistook the sacred emblem for one of their workingtools, and that the change was thus brought about. Other mistakes equally as singular, as will be seen in the sequel, were thus made at that period. The angle of 60° has also an allusion to the zodiac, being equal to two signs thereof, and, if multiplied by the sacred number three, becomes 180°, or the dimensions of the Royal Arch. Again, if a circle of any size be drawn, a chord of 60° of that circle will be equal to its radius, and the compasses so set will divide the circumference into six equal parts. The points thus made, taken with the one in the center, constitute the mystic number seven. The six exterior points, if joined by six straight lines, will form a perfect hexagon within a circle, one 11
of the perfect figures. Or, if we unite these six points in another way, we have the double equilateral triangle, in union with the symbol of "a point within a circle." This was one of the most sacred of all the emblems of Pythagoras, and is also known even to this day through the whole East, and has been there revered for ages, as the SEAL OF KING SOLOMON, by the power of which he bound fast the genii and other spirits who rebelled against God. If the whole seven points be joined by straight lines, we obtain the figure of a perfect cube within a perfect sphere. The cube has in all ages been held sacred. All altars were in the form of a cube, or double cube, which last is the form that ancient custom prescribed for the masonic altar. The ancients esteemed the double cube "holy," but the perfect cube was "most holy." We also read in the Scriptures that the house of God, which King Solomon built, was in the form of a double cube, being forty cubits long and twenty cubits broad (1 Kings 6). The holy palace itself was a perfect cube, being twenty cubits each way (2 Chron. 3:8). According to the teachings of Pythagoras, also, the cube was the most sacred of all the perfect bodies. From what has been said, the deep emblematic significance of the Masonic altar, or double cube, upon which was anciently placed the equilateral triangle, or sacred symbol of Deity, is sufficiently apparent. To this we have in modern times,
with great propriety, added, as having a corresponding place upon our altar, the holy Scriptures, the inestimable gift of a later period, the blessing of its possession having been denied to our ancient brethren, from whom, however, was not withheld a knowledge of the true God; but the holy Bible, as we possess it, was not only unknown to Plato and Pythagoras, but also to King Solomon, the wisest of mankind. Taken from Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy by Robert Hewitt Brown - Chapter 7 Astronomical Explanations â€“ The Compasses â€“ page 150.
DID YOU KNOW? Question: What does the word free signify when connected with Free Masonry?
Answer: The origin of the term has given rise to much debate. In the earliest attempt to regulate building wages in 1212, the 'freemason's' (sculptores lapidum liberorum) were distinguished from 'masons' (caementorie) as separate classes of workmen, notably in their wages. Masons were paid 1 1/2 to 3 pence per day; free-masons receive 2 1/2 to 4 pence, and in numerous later building accounts, the 'freemason' (in a variety of spellings) is regularly distinguished from 'rough masons', layers, rough hewers, hard hewers etc. Originally, the term 'freemason' is undoubtedly connected with 'freestone' (franche pere in Old French, where the 'franche' means of excellent quality). Freestone was a fine grained stone that
could be worked in any direction and could be undercut, lending itself particularly to the carving of foliage, images and mouldings, vaulting, window frames and doorways. The skilled worker in freestone was an artist and a precision worker, so that the designation 'freemason' denoted superior qualifications in the mason trade. Confusion arises however, when the titles are occasionally interchanged doubt less through carelessness. It is not surprising, perhaps that when the character of the Craft began to change by the admission of 'Accepted' or nonoperative Masons, the title Freemason was adopted, quite unofficially, for men who had never worked in stone. When Elias Ashmole recorded his admission on 16 October, 1646, he wrote in his diary: "4:30 p.m. I was made a Freemason at Warrington, in Lancashire, with Colonel Henry Mainwaring, of Karincharn in Cheshire". Two other uses of the word Free arise in the records of the mason trade: (1) Free, i.e. not a bondman, who would not be eligible for admission even as an apprentice. (2) Free of the trade: it was customary in the London Masons Company as in may other crafts, for an apprentice at the end of his indentures to buy his 'freedom' by the payment of certain fees. He then became 'free of the trade' and was entitled to set up as a master. I am satisfied that neither of these cases is connected with the title 'Freemason'. The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Lodge St David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No.133 The Mother Lodge of Robert Burns
It was then realised by the members of both Lodges, that there was not room for two Lodges to operate successfully in such a small village, and naturally a little jealousy crept into both Lodges. After discussions by members of either Lodge, it was agreed to sink their differences and form a union of the two Lodges. This was affected on 25th June 1781, under the name and charter of St. David Tarbolton No.174 since this Lodge held the oldest charter from Grand Lodge. Robert Burns of Lochly was initiated into Lodge St David Tarbolton No.174 on 4th July 1781 for a fee of 12/6d. Joseph Norman being the Master at that time. Burns was passed and raised on 1st October, 1781.
On 17th May 1771 Lodge Kilwinning No.0, granted a charter to form Lodge Tarbolton Kilwinning (in Tarbolton). Several of the brethren however, seeing clearly that the power of Mother Kilwinning was on the decline, and wishing to erect a Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which since 1736 was steadily growing in power, applied to that body to form another Lodge, and on 5th February 1773, St. David Tarbolton No.174, was chartered. Those brethren still attached to the original Lodge, seeing the wisdom of working under the Grand Lodge of Scotland likewise applied to that body for recognition, which resulted in the erection of Lodge St. James, No.178 in 1774. 13
A disruption of the joint Lodge took place in June 1782, so the history of the United Lodge, although brief, was none the less glorious for all times, having the distinction of making Burns a Mason. Some of the members of the united Lodge objected to Lodge St. James losing its identity, and on 17th June 1782, another Lodge was erected under the former name of St. James, Tarbolton. At the present time, this Lodge appears on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland as Lodge Tarbolton (Kilwinning) St. James No.135. Both Lodges operated rather shakily for a time, the stronger one being Lodge St James, having the support of Bro. Robert Burns, who was one of the seceders of the distribution. He was appointed Depute Master on 27th July 1784. In 1816 Lodge St. David Tarbolton No.174 was renumbered by Grand Lodge to No.131, and in 1826 was again renumbered to it's current No.133.
Lodge St David eventually became dormant in 1843, the Minute Books and certain other articles passing into private hands, but fortunately the Charter was recovered by the then Provincial Grand Master and returned to the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Lodge was re-opened in 1869 as Lodge St David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No.133, having had several meeting places in Mauchline until acquiring itâ€™s own premises on 10th October 1959. In the late 1920's or early 1930's, the wooden chest containing quite a number of historical possessions of the Original Lodge was unfortunately destroyed by fire, but fortunately we still possess the Original charter, Masters' Gavel, Lodge Standard and Senior Warden's Chair. The Lodge St. David Minute book containing the entry documenting the Initiation of Robert Burns was also fortunately recovered from private ownership and is now in the possession of Lodge Tarbolton (Kilw.) St. James No.135. Lodge St David (Tarbolton) Mauchline No.133 continues to go from strength to strength. The present day members are committed to carrying on with the duty of preserving the Lodge's glorious history, and to do everything necessary to ensure that the Lodge will be preserved for future posterity. Revised and updated from an original commentary by Robert James Lawrence PM 133
This Short History of Lodge 133 along with Burns portrait was sourced from their website, which can be viewed by clicking here. Our thanks go to the Lodge No. 133 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owner of this History.
Rays of Masonry â€œMasonry in the Homeâ€? Home is the sphere in which Masonry should find its most effective expression. It is here that teachings, principles, obligations, take on a living, breathing form and are recorded in every deed, by every act. Those virtues which command respect and promote love are here exemplified by the father who was schooled in Freemasonry. Little children, seeking to adapt themselves to a world that is new, eager to give expression to childish thoughts, find a true companion in the father or brother who himself stood as a child in the "northeast corner" of life. The Masonic influence creates a feeling of confidence and hope that through calm, deliberate thought, obstacles will be surmounted. Between husband and wife there is a natural exchange of confidence, a proper recognition of each other's rights. Within the family circle there is a bright outlook upon life, a manifestation of the Mason's belief in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. Because he is a Mason, the vows of marriage become even more sacred. His obligations are infinitely more binding. In the domain of home, limited though it may be, the Mason sees the foundation of all good government. In the performance of his duties as a husband and father he contributes to the welfare of all the people. His value as a citizen is proportionate to the standards of his home. All the while he supplies the tenets of Freemasonry he does more. Through his son he perpetuates Masonry: through his daughter he perpetuates the ideals that she will look for and expect in all men. As long as woman looks for these ideals, man will possess them. A "key to perfection" is not claimed by Masonry. Yet we know that the Mason who holds his obligations as sacred trusts is a kind father, a faithful husband and a good citizen. Dewey Wollstein 1953.
"I'll try," answered the Old Tiler. "A great many years ago there was a great leader of men on earth; I don't know whether it was Guatama Buddha, or Mohammed, or Brahma. No matter what his name was, this great leader and teacher of men wandered in a sparely settled part of the back country near the sea, hungry and tired and footsore. He had asked several of the country people for aid and shelter but while they were not unkind they also were poor and offered him nothing, thinking him one of themselves.
Gold and Iron.
"At last, however, he found a poor peasant who took him in. The peasant gave him some dry clothes, for his were wet from storm, and shared his crust of bread and his humble cottage. In the morning he gave the wanderer breakfast and a staff to help him on his way.
"Old Tiler, why are not more Masons, Masons?" asked the New Brother in the anteroom.
"'What can I do to repay you?' asked the great leader of his host.
"For the same reasons that not more friends are friends, or hot dogs, sausages, I guess," answered the Old Tiler. "You tell me the answer."
"'I need no payment. I, too, have been a wanderer and you have both my sympathy and my aid for love only,' answered the peasant.
"It seems mighty queer to me that we can't make more lodge members feel the inner spirit of Freemasonry," answered the New Brother. "I can't understand it."
"'Then the great leader told him who he was. 'And because I have power, I will reward you in any way you wish,' he said. 'Choose what you will have.'
"That shows you haven't a very observing pair of eyes or a great understanding of human nature," smiled the Old Tiler. "If this were a perfect world made up of perfect men there would be no need of Freemasonry!"
"'If it is indeed so, oh, my Lord,' answered the peasant, 'give me gold; gold, that I may buy clothes and food and women and wine; gold, that I may have power and place and prominence and happiness.'
"Maybe not. But if you can see what I can't, and understand what is hidden from me, tell me, won't you?" 15
"'Gold I can give you, but it would be a poor gift,' answered the great leader. 'Who has gold without earning it eats of the tree of misery. And because you have been
kind to me I will not give you such a curse. Gold you shall have, but a task you shall do to earn it. You wear an iron bracelet. On the shore of the sea, among many, is a pebble which if you touch it to iron will turn it to gold. Find it, and all iron will be your gold.' "Hardly stopping to thank his benefactor, the peasant ran to the seashore to pick up pebbles and touch them to his bracelet to see if it would turn to gold. All morning he ran, picking up pebbles, touching the iron, and then, so that he wouldn't pick up the wrong pebble twice, he tossed the useless pebbles, which were not the magic stone, into the sea. "After a while the task became monotonous; pick up pebble, touch it to iron, throw it out in the sea- over and over again. So he amused himself with visions of what he would do when he should have won the great wealth. He planned his harem and his wine cellar, pictured the great banquets he would give, thought of the slaves he would purchase and how he would be recognized by all as a rich and powerful noble. Meanwhile, of course, he was busy picking up pebbles, touching them to his bracelet and throwing them into the sea. "The day wore on. The visions became more and more entrancing, the task more and more mechanical. And at last, just as the sun was going down, the peasant looked at his bracelet- and behold! It was ruddy yellow gold! Some one of the thousands of pebbles he had touched to the iron was the lucky one, the magic one, and because he had been thinking of something else, doing his task mechanically, he cast it into the sea."
The Old Tiler stopped, puffing at his cigar.
"That's a very nice fable," observed the New Brother. "Much," answered the Old Tiler. "In Masonry we are too much like the peasant. We take the pebbles of the beach, the many who apply to us, touch them to the iron of our Freemasonry and cast them out into the sea of life. Or we take the touchstone which is Freemasonry and touch it to the iron which is a man, and let him throw it away. Work the simile how you will, what we do is to neglect the newly made Mason; we give him only perfunctory attention. We do our work mechanically. We are letter perfect in our degrees, and too often without the spirit of them. We have ritualists who can dot every I and cross every T, who have every word in place and no wrong words, but who have no knowledge of what they say. I once knew a Grand Master who didn't know what a hecatomb was, and plenty of Masons cannot tell you if the two pillars on the porch were supports for a loafing place or whether they have a spiritual meaning not at all concerned with the porches. "The reason more Masons do not deserve the title is not altogether their fault. It's our fault! We don't know enough ourselves to teach them; we don't care enough about it to teach them. A good balance in the bank, a growing membership, a free feed, 'nice' degrees- and we call ourselves a successful lodge. But we make only ten men real Masons for every hundred to whom we give the degrees, and the fault is ours, not theirs; my fault, your fault, our fault because we don't study, don't learn, don't care to learn the real secrets of Freemasonry and so cannot teach them." 16
"There is one who teaches in this lodge," answered the New Brother, slowly, "and one who tries to learn." "Yes?" answered the Old Tiler. "Who are they?" "You, who teach, and I, who try to learn," answered the New Brother. "Humph," grunted the Old Tiler, but his eyes smiled, well pleased. This is the forty eighth article in this regular feature, â€˜The Old Tiler Talks,â€™ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
DID YOU KNOW? Question: Why is the sun over the J.W.'s chair and the moon over the S.W.'s chair if the S.W. is in charge during the work of the lodge and the J.W. in charge during refreshment, or not at work? Answer: Two unrelated problems are linked here, which were not designed to fit logically with each other, though they are not really incompatible. Perhaps the best explanation will appear if we trace how the sun and moon, J.W. and S.W. got into those positions. In our earliest ritual documents, we read frequently of 'three lights' candles, standing in various indeterminate positions. An exposure of 1724 said that they stood 'East, South and West', (clearly implying the course of the sun at sunrise, at meridian and at sunset, though this was not mentioned in the text). In Masonry Dissected, 1730, the 'Three Lights' are still... situated 'East, South and West' and they represent sun, moon, and Master- Mason and the same text says that 17
both Wardens stand in the west. In operative times, when the masons worked with hammer and chisel, there was only one Warden in charge of the craftsmen; he was a 'progress-chaser' and it was his duty to ensure that nothing disturbed the progress of the work. In non-operative lodges certainly before 1730, there were two Wardens and some time between 1730 and 17fiO, when, for ritual purposes, it was deemed advisable to allocate specific duties to each, the S.W. remained in charge of the lodge at labour, and the J.W. was placed in charge of the lodge at refreshment. The earliest ritual text that describes this is Three Distinct Knocks, 1760, where the W.M. is in the East, and for the first time, the J.W. is in the South and the S.W. as before in the West. In the opening ceremony the J.W.'s duty is: The better to observe the Sun, at high Meridian to call the Men off from Work to Refreshment and to see that they come on in due time. Notice the J.W. only called the lodge to refreshment at the midday break and it seems to me that the points raised by the Question are not incompatible. In the course of this lengthy answer I have tried to show: 1. How the three. lights, E.S. and W. came to represent the daily course of the Sun. 2. How the J.W. and S.W. arrived at S. and W. and acquired the Sun and Moon emblems on their chairs. 3. Row the J.W. duties came to be allocated. The real problem is how to reconcile the E., S. and W. with the 'Sun, Moon and Master', the traditional reply which still appears in our modern ritual. After much study, I am convinced that if we said 'South, West and East', that problem would disappear as well. The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Education - The Unspeakable Masonic Word When we speak of “Masonic Education,” we are needlessly redundant. Freemasonry is Education, simultaneously moral instruction, spiritual enlightenment and intellectual growth so that a man may come to know – and improve – himself. But this isn’t supposed to be a solitary activity; Freemasonry is also a brotherhood. The Master Mason Lecture explains the symbolism of the Beehive: “He who will not endeavour to add to the common stock of knowledge may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of the care and protection of Masons.” Together the brethren seek “that which was lost.” What was lost? - Truth. It is that search after Truth that makes Freemasonry philosophical, and where there is a love of wisdom, education is the act of courtship. Because Freemasonry’s teachings intentionally address the fundamental and perpetual curiosities of man, it can accurately be said that it is education without limit in both appeal and scope. Truly any wholesome field of study or discipline intersects somewhere along Freemasonry’s path of learning and much of Masonic teaching coincides with the Humanities. Masonry reveals itself through ritual. These centuries-old ceremonies are a framework, or more accurately, a map that each Freemason may follow in his search for Truth. To summarize just one aspect of this process, as an Apprentice, the newly initiated Mason is taught to subdue his passions while letting the Four Cardinal Virtues guide him toward candid self-
awareness. From this ceremony one finds commonality with Plato and Aquinas. The former saw these virtues as a recipe for a perfect society; the latter adapted the virtues for the betterment of an individual’s attitudes, values and behaviour. Next, as a more experienced Mason called a Fellow-craft, he is shown the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy these guide the Masonic student as they had the thinkers who gave Western civilization its Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, with all the culture contained therein. A proper understanding of the Arts and Sciences empowers Masonic man to make his mind the rational master of his primal Five Senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting, and so this progress builds upon the Platonic-Thomist foundation. In the Third Degree of Freemasonry, the Master Mason is sufficiently aware of his place in the universe so as to fear no danger, not even death itself. Ultimately, upon exiting the Holy of Holies for the final time, the Master Mason goes gamely “into that good night” knowing that there is no sting of death and no victory of the grave, but only eternal life. We’ve dubbed Education “The Unspeakable Masonic Word” because it seems like no one ever talks about it. In my experience, research lodges, study groups and the like are treated like red light districts where only the furtive venture in search of the forbidden. So at first you’re pretty much on your own. To get started, think about what you most desire to know about Freemasonry, and then go find the answers. Easy? Not 18
Really , but it shouldn’t be. Depending on the subject, a researcher can spend months looking for a long out-of-print book; even years can pass before inadvertently coming across a needed factoid in an unexpected source.
Nor is there anything extraneous about the grave consequence awaiting the unskilled, untested, and unlucky operative builder in the ancient world. The pre-biblical Babylonian ruler Hammurabi set down a legal code that included:
Naturally the internet delivers limitless information, but – even as with books – one must exercise discriminating choice. Again, let the ritual be your map. Choose an unfamiliar word, an odd phrase, a seemingly antiquated idea. Then define it. Identify its Masonic significance and apply that meaning to a broader context of how it could benefit others; and then translate that idea into your own words so that you take possession and internalize it. Once it is yours, it is there as a tool for use in your growth, and it’s there for good. Repeat the process, as needed, for life.
If a builder has built a house for a man and has not made his work sound, so that the house he has made falls down and causes the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of the son of the owner of the house, they shall kill the son of that builder.
That education is interwoven in Freemasonry is a reality that predates modern Masonry itself. In the Old Charges – the dozens of manuscripts penned over the course of more than three centuries prior to the start in 1717 of the Masonic Order we know today – are found clear procedures on how new members of the building trade were to be schooled in their craft over long spans of time. In the Halliwell Manuscript, believed written in the 14th century, and the earliest of these documents, are found the “Fifteen Articles for the Master Mason,” including: 3. He must take apprentices for seven years, his craft to learn. 11. He must be both fair and free and teach by his might. 12. He shall not disparage his fellow’s work. 13. He must teach his apprentice. 19
Clearly the importance of education in the building arts is indisputable. Today Freemasonry’s instruction is all presented in allegory and symbolism, but the education is no less crucial to the Speculative Mason’s life. Tragically few seem to understand or want to understand, and this power goes neglected in the quotidian realities of contemporary Masonry. Why? Because it is hard work! In mastering his Craft, Masonic Man spends his life relentlessly scrutinizing himself, the condition of his fellow man and of the world, and the role of the Great Architect of the Universe in it all. It is not by accident that the hard labour of constructing in stone is the metaphor through which Masonry’s instruction is imparted. Nor is it by chance that the seeker of the degrees of Freemasonry is repeatedly tested for his willingness to proceed further. While the teachings of Freemasonry are universal - “Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices.” - it was never intended for every human being to enter its temples, and yet its doors have been flung open for many years allowing practically any man to enter. Consequently,
the libraries that once were busy beehives have been converted to other, more simple purposes, their books locked away in storage, forgotten. Indeed the word “temple” itself, as in a place for conTEMPLation, has been abandoned for the monotonous “Masonic Centre ”
Is Ignorance in Masonry a Crime?
Simultaneously, the discussions that once compelled Masons to reconsider their opinions, to re-examine their very lives, and to improve their world have been replaced by charity walk-a-thons and other activities that, while helpful, should be entrusted to our neighbours in the Lions, Rotary and Elks organizations. While organizing and staging a charity fundraiser is a big job, it is child’s play compared to the vital challenge of metabolizing Masonic thought, and achieving that state of being where the heart of Jerusalem meets the mind of Athens.
All Masons naturally seek for "more light." If they love the principles of Freemasonry, they cherish a desire to learn more of the history and literature of such a noble Order, and become acquainted with the law, usages, and jurisprudence governing Freemasonry at the present day.
In the fundamental duty of educating oneself and one’s fellow Masons, we today are not negligent. We are uninformed, and the craziest thing about it is that the ritual tells us what to do. Remember the advice imparted to you upon your first knocks on the Inner Door: “knock and it shall be opened unto you, ask and it shall be given unto you; seek, and you shall find ” One’s search is a personal endeavour, but there are friends to help you along the way. When enough of us start speaking aloud about Masonic education we can restore to its rightful place the paramount purpose of Freemasonry: to labour together in replenishing the “common stock of knowledge” in our pursuit of Truth.
Written by Jay Hochberg and Sourced from The Educator
They desire to give information to their less informed brethren, who have just been obligated on its holy altars. As "education makes the man," so it also makes the Mason. The obligation taken on the holy altar does not virtually make a man a Mason. The Masonic world acknowledges him as such, but if he has no knowledge of Masonry, and does not seek to obtain any, he is simply a fraud upon the Craft, and has no rights that Masons are bound to respect. He is a living monument of the folly, so common at the present day, of making Masons of all applicants, without regarding their mental qualifications. A wide distinction should be made between candidates for Masonry and the idiotic asylum. Mr. Pointless makes application to be made a Mason, because he finds that Masonry is very popular, and he thinks he will be able to sell more cabbages in the market. A correct prognosis would make very little difference between his head and the cabbage heads he sells in the market. Both are harmless specimens of verdancy, unequalled in the vegetable kingdom. 20
Mr. Pointless never had an idea above an oyster in all his life. Two distinct ideas never crept into that head at the same time, because it would cause an explosion. The boiler would burst, like any other boiler. It was a wise provision of nature that such boilers should burst. He fully realizes that "The wise are happy, nature to explore; The fool is happy that he knows no more." The committee call upon Mr. Pointless, and find him an honest, truthful, upright man, with no bad habits, and an exemplary member of Rev. Mr. Blowhard's church. The committee make a favorable report, and Mr. Pointless is made a Mason in due and ancient form. No one could measure his appreciation of the degrees by the quart or gallon. As years roll by, his knowledge of Masonry is just about the same as that he possesses of the differential calculus, of Socrates, or Hippocrates. He cannot be stimulated to learn anything, because he invariably says he "has no learning." He dies in good standing, without ever having been able to prove himself a Mason, or even give the passwords. The question arises, when Mr. Pointless dies, did Masonry make him a better man, or make him serve his fellow-men as the Bible teaches? All must reply in the negative. Mr. Pointless did not profit by the valuable lessons taught in Masonry, because he knew nothing about them, and was too ignorant to learn them. But can he be blamed for his ignorance? Most assuredly; for in this country schools are free, and education flows like the mountain streamlet, and he who refuses to drink at its fountain is a criminal. 21
The ignorance of such a man casts a stain upon Masonry. No such person can be considered a worthy candidate. His life was not only a blank to Masonry, but an actual disgrace. The dangerous classes are always ignorant men. Mobs and riots originate among these classes. Ignorant men are dangerous to Masonry. They must be kept out. In the dark days of antimasonry, it was the ignorant men in the Craft who rose up and took the life of our beloved Order. If dark days come again, the same class will do the same thing. We can only judge the future by the past. Antimasonic conventions have been held the past year in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Syracuse, New York; Worcester, Massachusetts; and in various other places. The cloud is now no larger than a man's hand, but it may increase, until it bursts into a storm that will sweep all before; it, as it did forty years ago. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. There are too many drones in the Masonic hive, whose negligence is only surpassed by their ignorance. They have passed through all the degrees, but never visit their Lodges, Chapters, Councils, or Commandereries (Preceptory). They howl once a year, when they pay their dues to the secretary, otherwise they do not disturb the harmony of the Craft. As they joined Masonry in order to benefit themselves, they never give a dollar for charity. They look upon Masonry as a popular Order, but should a storm arise and its popularity be shaken, these men would be the first to leave the ship. Then they would declare that they never had a good opinion of it. Such hypocrites are always ignorant men, and their ignorance is a crime in Masonry. We have also a class of sincere and enthusiastic Masons, who are not ignorant
in one sense, yet they are in another. They have committed to memory the ritual, so they can confer almost any degree, and yet they know so little of the history, literature, and jurisprudence of Masonry, that any profane would make them blush for shame if he asked them very common questions. Their senseless gabble over the ritual makes the Craft call them "Parrot Masons," because they learn Masonry as the parrot learns a language. Darwin would say that their origin could be traced back to a parrot. With contracted and narrow ideas about Masonry, they oppose the publication of anything on Masonry in newspapers or periodicals, and have a cold chill whenever they see a word in print about Masonry. They have an idea that Masonry is something like a black coalhole, in which no light should enter. They foster ignorance, by opposing everybody in the Order whose ideas are not as narrow as their own. They oppose Masonic books and papers, because they educate Masons to know more than they ever hope to possess. All their long lives they have been
accordance with the strict meaning of that term in Masonry. This light is simply more knowledge. The great question to meet now, face to face, is how this Masonic information can be imparted. It is, perhaps, the most important question now discussed by learned Masons all over the world.
"Dropping buckets into empty wells, And growing old in drawing nothing up."
A diagnosis of this disease in Masonry has been made, the prognosis given, and now the remedy must be applied. There is a specific that stands ready to cure ignorance in any form, no matter how virulent. It is reading, study, and thinking. If Masons will only do their own thinking, and not hire it, done by the job, there will be a radical change. If they will study Masonry as a science, they will glean rich gems from her precious mines. If they will read the history and literature of Masonry, they will be astonished to find so rich a harvest. Well-informed Masons often say that Masonry has no literature. The proceedings of Grand Lodges, Chapters, Councils, and Commanderies (Preceptory)all over the world, the different Masonic events that are celebrated by addresses, orations, poems, &c., all furnish a rich current literature of Freemasonry.
Some of the most ignorant even go so far as to oppose the calling of Masonic meetings through the daily newspapers, or the simple announcements what degrees would be worked. They can give no reason for such foolish and ridiculous assurances, and only refer to the fact, that King Solomon did not publish such notices, as no newspapers then existed! If they followed King Solomon in other things as closely as in this, they would each possess more wives than Brigham Young. Would that be Masonic also? "Where ignorance is bliss 'Tis folly to be wise." All the abovenamed classes need -more light," in
The reports on foreign correspondence, in all the Grand Bodies in the United States, compare favorably with our best magazine literature. Here is a rich field, in which to gather information, and to obtain all the Masonic news in every State. And yet how few Masons carefully peruse them! The writer reads annually over three thousand pages of proceedings of Grand Bodies, and two thousand pages of Masonic addresses, poems, and newly- published books on Masonry, and yet feels ashamed that he only has time to read these five thousand pages. The other sources of Masonic information are all good, but cannot 22
compare with a monthly magazine. This is unquestionably the best. Such varied information is obtained, that any Mason who takes a monthly or weekly Masonic publication, and reads it carefully, is generally the best educated on all Masonic subjects, and knows also what is being done by his fraters abroad. He finds answers to all the questions that naturally occur to an inquiring mind, and finds it is his best Masonic companion.
bear his weight, so hand over hand he climbed upward. As he was nearing the light, he heard below him the voices of many others who were climbing the apparently frail spider's thread. Fearing that all the weight would break the thin, trembling silk, the robber called angrily to those below, "Get off, get back, this thread belongs to me!" The words had scarcely been spoken when the thread snapped and the robber fell to the gloomy depths from which he had so nearly escaped.
Article by John Edwin Mason, M.D. published in the National Freemason Magazine, 1872.
The robber of the fable has many human imitators. Every day we see cases of those who have given all their efforts to acquiring material things for themselves without thought for others. The physical body cannot stand the effort and the silken cord snaps. On the other hand, we see others who have no ambition to have more than enough to provide for their own comfort, but who get much out of life because of -their regard for the welfare and happiness of others.
THE ROBBER AND THE SPIDER The selfishness and disregard for the welfare of others that we find in the world today brings to mind the Japanese fable of the robber and the spider. The robber had been sent to the infernal regions. One day the Lord Buddha paid a visit to the gloomy underworld and the robber cried out to be returned to the world of light. When questioned by Buddha as to the kind deeds he had performed while on earth, he could think of only one. Once, instead of crushing `with his foot a spider in his path, he lifted the spider to the side of the road, where it would be safe from the feet of others. Buddha responded not. He merely smiled and went his way, but soon the robber saw before him a thread of finest silk glittering in the darkness. It was a thread of spider's silk leading upward. To his astonishment the robber found the silk strong enough to 23
Interest in others is not demonstrated by contributions of material things, but rather by forgetting material things long enough to show a keen interest in what others are endeavoring to accomplish. By forgetting material things long enough to have time to mingle with friends. By forgetting material things long enough to have time to take a smile into a sick room. By forgetting the race for material possessions long enough to have time to sympathize with the misfortunes of others. By taking time we might otherwise employ to our own profit to show others how they may follow in the way where we have succeeded. After all, should any man wish to be the only one to reach a goal? He'd be very lonesome.
The God Concept in Freemasonry
which fit the needs of the craft. Three phrases in particular – “Great Architect”, “Grand Geometrician” and “Most High”. In a movement that focuses on building, the thought of God as architect and geometrician is obviously relevant. As any good building needs to be properly designed and measured, so do the macro-edifice of the world and the micro-edifice of the human being. In the history of theology, the existence of God was often demonstrated on the basis of the “argument from design”, which said, “How can there be a design unless there is a Designer?”
The letter “G” dominates the Masonic Lodge room (in Israel it is the Hebrew letter Heh, symbolising HaShem, the Divine Name). It stands for God, who is at the centre of craft thinking. Not that Freemasonry is a theology, but its terminology is religious This is not the only context which speaks of God without being bound by a particular denominational interpretation. Other examples are the American currency notes, which proclaim, “In God We Trust”, and the Australian parliament, which opens its sessions with a prayer to God. No-one asks the United States or the Australian government whether they have any official view of what they understand by God, but they are apparently content to use His name. In the Australian federal system there was a debate some years ago about whether God should or should not be mentioned in the preamble to the constitution, and I vividly recall my own participation in that debate. What is the situation in Freemasonry? A Freemason is required to have a belief in the Supreme Being. “G” for God must metaphorically stand at the centre of his life. What we mean by God is not defined, though there are characteristic phrases about Him
God as the Most High is also relevant to the craft. The name represents higher authority, majesty and dignity, all of them concepts that inform the dynamics of the lodge and the life of the Freemason. None of these Divine names, however, expresses the inner personal spirituality which is basic to the religious life. Perhaps it is out of the question to expect Freemasonry to say, “Love the Lord your God”, or to echo the Psalmist, “As the hart pants after the brook, so does my heart yearn for You”. The passion, exaltation and reverence of the believer are a different dimension of religion, not part of the ideology of Freemasonry. The craft finds God in the order, design, harmony and dignity of the world, though hopefully the individual Freemason also finds the God of emotional encounter and spiritual experience. Masonic ritual does not cry out to the loving One of the Psalms, but it seeks to honour His word as it ponders making the world into a place where His word rules. 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 EMBLEMS OF FREEMASONRY The First Degree The progress of a Freemason from the Degree of Entered Apprentice to that of Master is a pilgrimage towards Light - as travelling from the uncertain gloom of Time to the radiant sunshine of Eternity. Robert Burns, dropping into the familiar speech of his mother tongue says, in one of his Letters, “a guid life mak’s a guid end ; at least, it helps weel,” and the Freemason who is true to his principles will gather strength for his daily duties from what he learns in the Lodge. At every step there is something - an emblem or an ornament, a touch of ritual or an old-world rite - to indicate the duty of man towards his God, his neighbour, and himself, or to point him to a higher life. The leading purpose of the First Degree is to symbolise man entering into the world. It represents youth as ignorant and blind. At the door of Freemasonry the Candidate for its privileges is asked to lay aside everything that pertains to rank or riches so that he may enter the Lodge with a mind divested of all selfish and worldly considerations.
Hoodwink. The Hoodwink is an emblem of Darkness as opposed to Light, of Ignorance as opposed to Knowledge. Thus, the Initiate is hoodwinked to indicate that he is in mental darkness with regard to Freemasonry. When the Hoodwink is removed, the Initiate receives the blessing of Light, and is enabled to pursue his researches into the hidden mysteries of the Craft. Cable-tow. The Cable-tow with a running noose is emblematical of the Dangers of this life and of the need of caution in all things. It teaches the Freemason that he must proceed without fear, but, at the same time, with humble dependence on others more learned than himself, in his travels towards the Light that is revealed to those who are found worthy. The Three Knocks. The three Knocks allude to that passage in Scripture-” Ask and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” They also denote three of the Masonic virtues Peace, Harmony and Brotherly Love. The Sword. The Sword reminds the Freemason that, though his thoughts, words and actions may be hid from the eyes of mortal man, nothing is hidden from God, and that justice will sooner or later overtake him. He should be constant, therefore, to his trust, ready at any moment, without fear, to pass the grim Tyler of Eternity and enter the Grand Lodge above. 25
Shoe. The s... of the shoe alludes to an ancient custom in Israel. The shoe played a part in symbolical actions in Hebrew law. We read in Ruth IV., 7, that it was an ancient custom in Israel, on completing a purchase, for the seller to draw off his shoe and hand it to the buyer, as a symbol of the transference of the property sold. The rite is incorporated, into the symbolism of Freemasonry, and the initiate is invited to s.. the shoe in token of his fidelity with regard to things Masonic. The Altar. Every Lodge is provided with an Altar. Altars differ in size and design. The usual form is that of a cube about three feet in height. On it are placed the three great lights of Freemasonry, which are the V... of the S... L..., the Square and the Compasses. Around it, in the form of a triangle, are the three lesser lights. The Altar should ever hold a sacred place in the affections of Freemasons. Kneeling there in awful solemnity he passes some of the most precious moments of his life, from which he should draw inspiration during all his later days. The Three Great Lights. The t... g... 1. ..s of Freemasonry are the V... of the S... L... the S... and the C.. s. The sacred volume is a gift from God to man to rule and govern his faith, the S... is to regulate his actions, and the C...s to keep him in due bounds with all mankind, more particularly Brother Masons. The Three Lesser Lights. The t.. I... 1. ..s in Freemasonry are situated in the E... S..., and W... respectively, and are depicted by t... b... c...s or t…s. They represent the Sun, the Moon, and the Master of the Lodge - the Sun to rule the day, the Moon to govern the night, and the Right Worshipful Master to rule and govern his Lodge in all things that pertain to Freemasonry. The Course of the Sun. The Sun in its daily course is traced from the R.W.M. to the W.J.W. and thence to the W.S.W. As the Sun rises in the E... to open and enliven the glorious day, so the R.W.M. is placed in the E. - -that he may open his Lodge and instruct the Brethren in the Principles of the Craft. The W.J.W. in the S... represents the Sun at its meridian, and it is his duty at that hour to call the Brethren from labour to refreshment, so that pleasure and profit may result. The W.S.W. in the W. represents the Sun at the close of day, and at sunset it is his duty to satisfy the Brethren as to wages, discharge them for the day, and then close the Lodge when commanded to do so by the R.W.M. This new monthly feature is taken from William Harvey’s book, “The Emblems of Freemasonry” 1918.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor. 26
Published on Dec 30, 2015