SRA 76 Monthly Newsletter
Cover Story, The Invisible Lodge Famous Freemason – Harry Kellar Did You Know? Lodge St. Molios No. 774 The Ancient Order of Hibernians Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Did You Know? Twelve Points of Light Hiram Abiff and the ever-dying Gods Which Lodge is Best? The Emblems of Freemasonry Main Website – Travelling Craftsmen
Volume 12 Issue 4 No. 94 April 2016
In this issue: Page 2, ‘The Invisible Lodge’ Magicians and Freemasonry
Page 5, ‘Harry Kellar’ A Famous Freemason
Page 8, ‘Did You Know?’ It Proves a ‘Slip’.
Page 9, ‘Lodge St. Molios No. 774.’ A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges.
Page 13, ‘The Ancient Order of Hibernians. Fraternal Societies throughout the World.
Page 14, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Masonry’s Plan”, our Regular feature.
Page 16, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Mirror Lodge”, the Fifty-first in the series from Carl Claudy.
Page 18, ‘Did You Know?’ How should the Bible be placed?
Page 21, ‘Twelve Points of Light’ From the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Page 22, ‘Hiram Abiff and the ever-dying Gods’ The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple.
Page 27 ‘Which Lodge is Best? Why you are, of course.
Page 28 ‘ The Emblems of Freemasonry.’ Emblems of freemasonry in the first Degree.
In the Lectures website The article for Craftsmen.’[link]
The front cover artwork was sourced from the Pintrest website, the magic wands square and compass logo on page 7 was designed by the editor.
The Invisible Lodge The expression, “the magic of Freemasonry,” takes on a different meaning when one realizes the great number of professional and amateur magicians who are and have been members of the Ancient Craft. It was only natural that these skilled performers of the art of producing baffling effects and illusions should band together to share their interests with the Fraternity. In the strictest sense of the word, Lodge, “the Invisible Lodge” is not a Lodge. It is an international organization of Freemasons who also have as their vocation or avocation - MAGIC. The Invisible Lodge was formed in 1953 by Sir Felix Korim of England, who served as the organization’s first President. Membership in The Invisible Lodge has been accorded to more than 800 selected Masons throughout the world, including such notable and well-known figures in the world of magic as Blackstone, Okito, Ballentine, Levanto, McDonald Hirch and Jack Gwynne. Joined by the common bond of magic, these Brethren who may be or have been professional entertainers, hobbyists, collectors or students of both magic and Freemasonry, combine those interests to produce the organization known as “The Invisible Lodge.” Just as the roots of Freemasonry are entrenched in antiquity, so are those of Magic. Magic is a word referring to the craft of the magi. The magi were the
priests of the ancient Medes and Persians. After the rise of Zoroaster, they became the priests of the Zoroastrian religion. The ancient Greeks and Hebrews knew them as Astrologers, Interpreters of Dreams, and givers of Omens. The reign of the priests was more than eight thousand years ago. Zoroaster is believed to have lived about five thousand years before our era. He is said to have been an unusual child who was gifted to have visions at an early age. Born in Azerbaijan in Northern Persia, he taught a belief in one God, the existence of the devil, and the doctrine of immortality. It is alleged that these priests (the magi) predicted the birth of the Christ Child and were the ones who brought him the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. As ruling monarchs, the priests were referred to as “Kings of the Orient” and “the wise men.” There are certain similarities between the order of the Magi and Freemasonry which should be noted. The word, “Dao” is Persian in origin. It signifies Light and Wisdom and is the forerunner of the word Deity (Bright One). Fire or light was used in the rituals of the magi to symbolize intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. It is recorded that during the initiation, the Arch Magus sat upon a throne of gold in the East. The established dates of the reign of the Magi was five thousand years before the Trojan War, which took place in 1200 B.C. King Solomon began his temple in 966 B.C. This gives room for interesting speculation. The Magi were Kings, Priests, Lawyers, Engineers, etc. In essence, they embodied most of the knowledge of their time, earning the respect of the people. It is the hypothesis of some historians that the 2
Magi even possessed knowledge that has since been lost to man and that they possessed powers that would seem awesome to us even today. Always in history there have been those who sought knowledge for knowledge’s sake and those who sought to use it to manipulate and enslave the less informed. As the knowledge of those ancient wise ones became the specializations of medicine, law, astronomy, and philosophy, there were those who specialized in those little known principles of the miracle worker and became just that. These individuals, whether in quest for power or riches, formed a special priesthood that manipulated the ignorant and robbed the credulous. Magic has passed through many forms and many lands until today it is deception for the purpose of entertainment with the trappings and refinements of those lands. Masonry, in its language and ritual, retains much of the various sects and institutions it passed through before arriving at its present state. In Masonry, as in Magic, we meet with Chaldean, Indian, Egyptian, Jewish, and Christian symbols and ideas. It is little wonder then that at some time in history a group of men with an interest in both Magic and Masonry would form an organization that would embody the two as its focus. Many Masons are surprised to find that many of the Great Magicians, whose names are familiar, and many others were active Masons and active in the various appendant bodies. Many could and did tell 3
interesting anecdotes about their Masonic experiences. One of those deals with Brother Harry Keller, famous for the floating lady illusion which he introduced in this country. Brother Keller was shipwrecked in the Bay of Biscay and his Blue Lodge diploma went to the bottom of the sea. It was later recovered by divers who brought up baggage from the sunken steamer. He later remarked it had been viewed by Grand Master Neptune and returned. Membership in the Invisible Lodge is limited to those persons interested in Magic, who have been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. The publication of the Invisible Lodge is called the “Trestle Board” and is published quarterly, giving information on the Masonic and Magical activities of the members. The annual stated meeting of the Invisible Lodge is held in conjunction with the Columbus, Ohio Magic Fest. The date and time are announced annually. Additional meetings are held at the National Conventions of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and The Society of American Magicians as well as recognized Regional Conventions. The Invisible Lodge publishes Bert Douglas’ book, “Masonic Magic,” which is the sole work devoted to presentation of Magic with a Masonic interpretation. Members are encouraged to participate in Masonic education programs by using their Magic abilities and skills to illustrate the under-lying principles of Masonic philosophy, as well as providing entertainment within the Fraternity. They are further urged to labor in the non-
magical areas by the Invisible Lodge’s award system.
our inner feelings and convince us of the lasting value of both.
The first of these, the ZB Award, so named after the second president of the Invisible Lodge, Dr. Zina Bennett, is a certificate presented to any member who gives a total of five certified gratis performances for the residents of a Masonic Orphanage, Masonic Home for the Aged, or the patients of a Shrine Hospital. Another award of the Invisible Lodge is the Masters Award, consisting of a certificate and wand presented to a Brother who has received the coveted 33° of the Scottish Rite. Another award is presented annually, known as the Harvey Award, based on the traditional invisible rabbit, to a Brother who has served the Invisible Lodge or Masonry with distinction.
In our hurried view of the history, we made mention of knowledge that was lost. Of course this came about as the result of persecution of both the thinking individual and the organizations to which they belonged, by those who would bend mankind to a life of superstitious slavery. The individual Mason cannot and should not lose sight of the sacrifices of our predecessors and our debt to them to preserve our ways and customs in their entirety and guard them against exploitation by the politically ambitious.
Membership in the Invisible Lodge is not necessary to be a recipient.
This Short Talk Bulletin was prepared by Worshipful Brother Walter J. Harmon, Past Master of Richmond Lodge No. 10, Richmond, Virginia, a magician for more than 28 years, and an active member of “The Invisible Lodge.” Sourced from Masonic World website.
The meetings of the Invisible Lodge are held at midnight, with a special ritual prepared for it that combine the elements of Masonry and Magic. At these meetings, honours are given to both the oldest and youngest members present. Probably the most singular important lesson to be learned by the average Mason from the Invisible Lodge is that all of the great Magicians saw fit to give a certain amount of their time to Masonry and with their travel and exposure to the blandishments of the world felt that this brotherhood was of value. Another lesson lies in the origins of both Masonry and Magic. Rooted and entwined in antiquity as both are, the mystical qualities of both manifest themselves in 4
Famous Freemasons Harry Kellar ‘Dean of Magic’
Keller, had been a soldier under Napoleon. At the age of ten, Harry was put to work and found employment at Carter’s pharmacy on North Park Row. One day, while experimenting with chemicals he knew to be off-limits, he blew a hole in the shop floor. Knowing his father would be harsh with him, he jumped aboard an outbound train and left Erie. Now a vagabond, Harry performed a series of odd jobs and was soon taken in by a minister in upstate New York, who offered to adopt him if he would study for the ministry. However, it was a chance visit to a travelling show that displayed the conjuring of The Fakir of Ava that enchanted the youngster. Kellar later confided to Houdini that he “immediately got the urge to go on the stage… became very restless, bought books on magic and finally left my friend and benefactor.” Harry traced down the Fakir, became his assistant, and began his professional training.
Harry Kellar, known as the “Dean of American Magicians,” enjoyed both public recognition and financial success. His was the largest and most elaborate stage illusion show touring during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is best known for his spectacular version of the Levitation, in which a girl mysteriously rises up from a couch, floats across the stage to the audience, then disappears into thin air. Upon his retirement in 1908, Kellar chose to spend his remaining years in Los Angeles. Kellar was born Heinrich Keller on July 11, 1849 in Erie, Pennsylvania. The son of German immigrants, his father, Francis P. 5
After several false starts and some disappointing results, Harry became connected with the Davenport Brothers and Fay, celebrated mediums who were involved with the “Spiritualism” movement. Harry continued with the Davenports for four years as their business manager, learning the cabinet tricks and becoming more expert at them than the brothers themselves. During this period he travelled extensively throughout the United States. Harry reportedly changed the spelling of his name to Kellar because there was another popular magician named (Robert) Heller and wanted to avoid any possible confusion. It wasn’t until 1911 that he
legally changed his name to Harry Kellar. Kellar was famous for his playbills and advertisements featuring imps and devils, implying, without totally stating, that his skills were really powers gained through dealings with dark forces. This enticing idea brought people to his show in droves. In 1873, Kellar formed a partnership with Fay, former partner of the Davenport Brothers, and as Fay and Kellar, toured Mexico and South America, acquiring an extended knowledge of the magician’s craft. Combining Kellar’s old magic tricks with a Davenport-inspired séance, was one of their showstoppers. On their way to a tour in England, the ship Kellar and Fay were sailing on, the Boyne, sank in the Bay of Biscay. Lost in the wreckage was Keller's show, clothes, as well as the ship's cargo of gold, silver and uncut diamonds.
performing in Melbourne, Australia and met a fan, Eva Lydia Medley, who wanted his autograph. Kellar was smitten and promised to correspond with her while on the road. They exchanged letters for the next five years. Kellar specialized not so much in feats of sleight-of-hand, as in other branches of the magicians art, more particularly those involving the use of apparatus, many of which Kellar was the originator, and are still models in magic today. One of Kellar’s more popular illusions was The Levitation of Princess Karnac. One version of this was later purchased by Harry Blackstone, Sr., who used the trick for many years. Others included the Vanishing Birdcage, the Vanishing Lamp, and his automation Psycho, which was a popular attraction wherever it played.
After the shipwreck, Keller was left with only the clothes on his back and a diamond ring he was wearing. Even worse, his bankers in New York cabled him telling him that his bank had failed. Desperate for money, Kellar sold his ring, while Fay left to rejoin the Davenports.
Kellar returned to the United States in 1884 and began appearing alone and played here continuously. Eventually Eva arrived in America and played the cornet in the show and began learning about magic. They were married on November 1, 1887 at a church in Kalamazoo, Michigan and she continued to play an important role in his shows.
On his return to the United States, Kellar joined Ling Look and Yamadura, billing themselves as Royal Illusionists, setting out on a tour of South America, Africa, Australia, India, the Philippines, Japan and China. While performing in China in 1877, both of his partners died, and for a time he toured alone.
Kellar’s strength was his presentation. Over the next twenty years, he became one of the best known magicians in the world and once performed “The Nested Boxes” illusion at the White House for President Theodore Roosevelt and his children.
For five years beginning in 1879, he traveled with J. H. Cunard under the name of Kellar & Cunard, giving exhibitions in Asia and Egypt. In 1882, Kellar was
On May 16, 1908, Kellar retired and in a grand onstage ceremony at Ford’s Theatre in Baltimore, removed his cape and placed it on the shoulders of his chosen successor, Howard Thurston. Not long after, Kellar 6
and his wife retired to Los Angeles where his sister Anna Marie lived. They bought a house at 698 Wilshire Place and it was here that Eva died sometime before 1910. At the end of his career, Kellar befriended Harry Houdini, who idolized the elder magician. Houdini was a frequent guest at Kellar’s Wilshire Place home. Much of what is known about Kellar comes through Houdini, who conducted several interviews to help chronicle the history of magic. Houdini, in his fight to unmask fake mediums, once admitted that there was only one man who knew more about them than he did – Dean Harry Kellar. Houdini once announced that he would perform the bullet catching feat, which had already killed several magicians, at an upcoming convention of the Society of American Magicians. Kellar got wind of it and fired off a letter. “Don’t try the damn bullet catching trick,” he warned, “no matter how sure you may feel of its success. There is always the biggest kind of risk that some dog will ‘job’ you. And we can’t afford to lose Houdini.” Few men were more stubborn than Houdini, but he was no fool. He knew that Kellar had investigated the stunt himself and assumed that there must be more than enough reason for such strong advice. Houdini quietly withdrew his plan. On September 7, 1917, a banquet in Kellar’s honour was held at the Angelus Hotel on the corner of Fourth and Spring Streets. After the meal, each magician gave exhibitions of their skill. Kellar demonstrated his famous “Kellar Rope Tie” and string tricks, and even those who assisted could not solve them. 7
Two months later, on November 11, 1917, Houdini convinced Kellar to perform once more. The event was an enormous show held at New York’s Hippodrome to benefit the families of soldiers who perished when the USS Antilles was sunk by a German Uboat. After his performance, Kellar started to leave, but Houdini stopped him, saying that “America’s greatest magician should be carried off in triumph after his final public performance.” The members of the Society of American Magicians helped Kellar into the seat of a sedan chair, and lifted it up. The 125-piece Hippodrome orchestra played “Auld Lang Syne” while Kellar was slowly carried away. At some point, Kellar moved in with his sister Anna Marie Buck. It was here that Harry Kellar died after a brief illness on March 10, 1922. He was interred at Rosedale Cemetery, California, but his grave was unmarked for almost 80 years until 2001 when the Academy of Magical Arts, who are headquartered at Hollywood’s Magic Castle, placed a stone there. Harry Kellar was made a Mason in May, 1875 in Lodge Fraternidad y Home at Pelotas, Brazil; received the Royal Arch Degree on the Isle of Mauritius (Port Luis). In 1880 he received the Scottish Rite degrees in Triple Esperance Lodge, Port Luis, Mauritius, and 33° AASR in New York City.
Source: The website, “The Brotherhood of magicians.”
Did You Know? `It proves a slip'. How did those words arise? Answer: Those words are the last relic of something that was a distinct feature of all early versions of the third degree. If one were challenged today to describe the lessons of the third degree in three words, most Brethren would say `Death and Resurrection', and they would be right; but originally there were three themes, not two, and all our early versions of the third degree confirm three themes, `Death, Decay and Resurrection'. Any Brother who has a compost heap in his garden will see the significance of this `life-cycle'. Eventually, the decay theme was polished out of our English ritual, but `the slip' which is directly related to that theme remains as a reminder of the degree in its early days. The first appearance of `the slip' in a Masonic context was in Samuel Prichard's Masonry Dissected, of 1730. That was the first exposure claiming to describe a system of three degrees and it contained the earliest known version of a Hiramic legend. Prichard's exposure was framed entirely in the form of Question and Answer and the main body of his legend appears in the replies to only two questions. Many other and better versions have appeared since 1730, but Masonry Dissected (though it gives no hint of a long time-lag which might have caused decay) was the first to mention `the slip' and to indicate that the cause was decay. The words occur in a footnote to the so-called `Five Points of Fellowship'.
N.B. When Hiram was taken up, they took him by the Fore-fingers, and the Skin came off which is called the Slip; ..
The next oldest version of the third degree was published in Le Catechisme des Francs-Masons, in 1744, by a celebrated French journalist, Louis Travenol. It was much more detailed than Prichard's piece, and full of interesting items that had never appeared before. In the course of the story we learn that nine days had passed when Solomon ordered a search, which also occupied a `considerable time'. Then, following the discovery of the corpse, . . . One of them took hold of it by one finger, & the finger came away in his hand: he took him at once by another [finger], with the same result, & when, taking him by the wrist it came away from his arm . . . he called out Macbenac, which signifies among the Free-Masons, the flesh falls from the bones.... In 1745, Travenol's version was pirated in L'Ordre des Francs-Masons Trahi, but there were a few improvements: ... the flesh falls from the bones or the corpse is rotten [or decayed] The English exposure Three Distinct Knocks, of 1760, used the words `almost rotten to the bone', but before the end of the 18th century the decay theme seems to have gone out of use in England, so that `the slip', in word and action, remains as the last hint of the story as it ran in its original form. But the decay theme is not completely lost; several ritual workings, in French, German, and other jurisdictions, still retain it as part of their legend. One more document must be quoted here, because it has particularly important implications. The Graham MS., of 1726, is 8
a unique version of catechism plus religious interpretation, followed by a collection of legends relating to various biblical characters, in which each story has a kind of Masonic twist. One of the legends tells how three sobs went to their father's grave
Lodge St. Molios No. 774
“for to try if they could find anything about him ffor to Lead them to the vertuable secret which this famieous preacher had. . . . Now these 3 men had allready agreed that if that if they did not ffind the very thing it self that the first thing that they found was to be to them as a secret . . . so came to the Grave finding nothing save the dead body all most consumed away takeing a greip at a flinger it came away so from Joynt to Joynt so to the wrest so to the Elbow so they R Reared up the dead body and suported it setting ffoot to ffoot knee to knee Breast to breast Cheeck to cheeck and hand to back and cryed out help o ffather . . . so one said here is yet marow in this bone and the second said but a dry bone and the third said it stinketh so they agreed for to give it a name as is known to free masonry to this day. . . . (E.M.C., pp. 92/3).”
The first Masonic Lodge on Arran was Arran Castle No 297. It was chartered in November 1822 and ceased working in 1843. It is not known where the meetings were held, but was probably in Brodick Castle.
The decay theme again, but the important point about this version is that the `famieous preacher' in the grave was not H.A., but Noah, and the three sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The appearance of this legend in 1726, full four years before the earliest H.A. version by Prichard, implies, beyond doubt, that the Hiramic legend did not come down from Heaven all ready made as we know it today; it was one of at least two (and possibly three) streams of legend which were adapted and tailored to form the main theme of the third degree of those days. The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr.
A Brief History
By 1890 there were about 65 qualified Masons on Arran, members of Lodges on the mainland. On 14 February that year they met in Mr Bannatyne’s Hotel (now the Pierhead Tavern) in Lamlash. There were 14 Brethren present and Brother James Macintosh was called to the chair “to consider the desirability of forming a Masonic Lodge in Lamlash.” They agreed unanimously to form same and to name it Lodge St Molios. The ancient parish of Kilbride (or Church of St Bride – a legendary Celtic Saint) has its roots in Molias, an Irish Missionary Monk, who took up residence in the cave behind the raised beach near White Point on the Holy Isle in Lamlash Bay about 585AD. From early times the island was known as Eilean Moloise, the Gaelic for Molaise’s Island, corrupted to Elmolaise, Limolas and finally to Lamlash, now applied to the village across the bay. The choice of name for the lodge was a wise one, for not only is the island seen from the village but also from the entrance to the Lodge. There is a stained glass window in Lamlash Church, a memorial window to
the Late Rev. Douglas Fulton, our Minister from 1958 to 1992, who was Chaplain in St Molios for a number of years. The seven doves at the top represent the seven spirits, gifts as in Isaiah Chapter 12 verse 11. They are set in grey and yellow, the colours of Glasgow University, where he took his Degree. The blue and white sky represents the St Andrews Cross. The lower section shows the coast of Ayrshire and the Holy Isle. The sixth century Celtic cross (now standing outside the Church) depicts the presence of St Molios on the Holy Isle. On 19 March, 1890, the Brethren held a meeting in the then Parish Hall, now the Lamlash Church Hall. There were 14 Brethren present and Brother James Macintosh was called to the chair. He explained the purpose of the meeting was for the signing of a petition for Charter to Grand Lodge and appointing Office Bearers. Some Brethren not able to attend the meeting had already signed. The first Office Bearers for Lodge St Molios were duly nominated with Brother George Fisher (PM 129 Paisley) as RWM. At a regular meeting in the Parish Hall on 7 May, 1890, the Master Elect intimated that a Charter for Lodge St Molios No 774 had been granted by Grand Lodge and was now in the hands of Brother Lodge Sec Elect. Permission was sought from the Provincial Grand Master of Argyll and the Isles, Brother Sir Charles Dalrymple for the consecration to be delayed until the necessary Jewels, Clothing and Furniture were delivered. Many of the present Jewels, furnishings and other items, including the carpet, were presented to the Lodge by Brethren in these early years. It was agreed that the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason of Scotland, Bro. Sir Archibald C. Campbell Bart., MP, B.E., be
assumed and enrolled as a member of St Molios. At this meeting it was agreed that the Initiation Fee be two pounds and two shillings, and the Affiliation Fee be seven shillings and six pence. Six candidates were proposed for initiation before the Lodge was closed. A deputation from Ardrossan Royal Arch, No 320 led by their R.W.M. attended this meeting. This meeting was the beginning of a strong fraternal relationship with St Molios which I am happy to say continues to this day. On Friday 24 October, 1890, at 2.30 p.m. in the Parish Hall, Lamlash, the Lodge was opened and various business was conducted prior to the Consecration and Installation Ceremony. After recess the Lodge was again opened and a large and distinguished deputation was admitted, led by the Provincial Grand Master of Argyll and the Isles Brother Sir Charles Dalrymple Bart, M.P. Other deputations followed. At the conclusion of the ceremony about 60 Brethren in number walked in procession to the School (the Old School, now the council offices), where they had dinner and harmony. A Ladies’ Night was arranged for 23 October 1891 and the extract minute read “they decided to have a processing of Brethren (Weather Permitting) which should take place about 5 p.m. and that there should be a Meat Tea afterwards. A piano and two violins should be engaged. Refreshments to be had in the ante-room, and Gentlemen to appear in their Masonic Office.” It is not clear where the procession began but the “Lady Friends” would await the Gentlemen at the Parish Hall. By 1901, it wasn’t unusual for E.A.s to be passed to F.C., and then raised to M.M., at 10
the same meeting. On 28 October 1901, after ballot, an applicant was passed through the three Degrees to M.M. This was done as the applicant was a seaman and would be out of the country for a while. The practice was later prohibited. On 13 May 1892, a Deputation of 18 Brethren from the Lodge attended the opening of the New Ardrossan Docks. Afterwards at the next meeting Brother Murchie D.M. was accorded a hearty vote of thanks “For the kindly treatment by the deputation at the opening of the Docks. “On 28 October 1892, a large Deputation from St Molios attended the Consecration of St Brides 784 at Lochranza. Unfortunately the Lodge ceased working in 1896. Two boxes of Working Tools were given to St Molios with the proviso that if a new Lodge were to form on Arran they were to be given to that Lodge. Another large deputation from St Molios attended at the laying of the Memorial Stone at the New Public Hall, Brodick, on 15 September 1894 by Brother A. Graham Murray, M.P. Before this ceremony, the Lodge was opened in the then Court House, at one time the British Legion Hall, Scout Hall and now the Roman Catholic Chapel. Before the First World War and through to after the Second World War, Lamlash Bay was used extensively as an anchorage for units of the Home Fleet. RFA Maine (Hospital Ship), HMS Hood (not the one sunk in the Second World War) and many old battleships and destroyers. Navy personnel were frequent visitors to the Lodge and some took their Degrees there. Records show that seven were killed in action and some never completed their Degrees. We have no record of those lost in the Second World War or actions since. 11
In December 1912, Brethren of RFA Maine presented the present VSL to the Lodge. In 1909 Officers of the 3rd Division Fleet presented the Lamlash Golf Club with a handsome trophy in the form of a silver bowl, named the “Fleet Cup”. To this day all Navy personnel have the courtesy of the Course when their ships are in the bay. The Cup is competed for annually by members there. By October 1918, there were 118 available members, 64 life members and 73 deceased. Good for a Lodge only in existence for 28 years. There were 34 Initiates between 1912/13 and 42 between 1918/19. The War clearly influenced this increase. The present Public Hall in Lamlash was built by the MOD in 1913. It was used as a Hospital (not surgical) but was a place where service personnel could recover after surgery elsewhere. It was handed over to Buteshire County Council when hostilities ceased but the Navy stipulated that they had first call on it in time of war. The present Lodge building was built about the same time (1913) by the Episcopal Church, to serve the big numbers of English Navy Personnel stationed there. It was named St Columba’s Episcopal Church. At a Lodge meeting on 14 November 1919, as the Church was no longer in use, it was proposed that the Episcopal Church Authority be asked if they might dispose of their building. The reply was not encouraging. However, at a later date the Rector of St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rotheray offered to rent the Lodge part only of the hall. The Brethren took no further action. In May 1923, a lawyer acting for the church re-opened negotiations. As a result, the present building was purchased for the sum of
£275, which included 71 chairs, 4 stoves and oil lamps. The Holy Isle Order of the E. Star applied for and was granted use of the hall at 10/- per night. So St Molios now had its own Lodge Temple. From its consecration in 1890 till 1919 the Lodge had used the Parish Hall, now the Lamlash Church Hall, Brodick Public Hall, the present R. C. Church in Brodick and Lamlash Public Hall. In the past 3 years a major refurbishment of the building was commenced and is now almost complete. When finished, St Molios will have a fine Temple for future generations of Free and Accepted Masons to practice their craft. Two of the senior Brethren of the Lodge are Bros George Jaap Lyle PM and Duncan McArthur PM. George was initiated on 3 October 1937 in Lodge St Barchan No 156. On 14 April 2007, George gifted to St Molios a Diploma of Distinguished Service Membership (70 years) which he had earlier in the year received from his Mother Lodge. George is very much respected by all Brethren and visitors. His advice is often sought and is freely given on matters arising at meetings. He can best be described, as a fatherly figure at St Molios and is just as popular wherever he goes. He has held 5 senior offices at Grand Lodge as well as Offices in Provincial Grand Lodge. He continues to attend meetings not only in Scotland, but in London and in France. Duncan McArthur PM was initiated in Lodge St Molios No 774 on 29 June 1945. Duncan was an enthusiastic Free Mason and in particular about his Mother Lodge. Although in failing health, he continued to attend meetings in St Molios and in Lodges in the Province of Argyll and the Isles. He
was a well-kent face in the Daughter Lodges and he was a Burns fanatic. We were all saddened when Duncan died in October 2007, while this article was being prepared. Duncan, in his own words, “had a rich life”. As an Island Lodge, with limited resources and a small population, Lodge St Molios is in good heart. The Brethren are always mindful that others may be having difficult times and can be offered help. Sponsorship of local voluntary organisations and in particular young persons working in third world countries are also supported. With that in mind, a major restoration to the Lodge property is almost complete and future generations of St Molios Brethren can continue the good work of the Scottish Craft. Note: – There is some doubt about the name of the first Lodge on Arran. I was lead to believe that it was named Arran Castle Lodge No 297. Chartered in November, 1822 but ceased working in 1843. According to the late Brother George Draffen’s book, List of Scottish Lodges, published around early 1950s and photocopied a few years ago for a fellow Brother, it was named The Duke of Hamilton’s Lodge. Located at Brodick Castle, Chartered 4 November 1822 and ceased working 1843. The Chartulary states that this Charter was not granted but the Lodge appears on all lists. The Regalia were dark blue with light blue edge. By Bro P. Mackay, Archivist, Lodge St Molios, No 774, Lamlash. This History of Lodge St. Molios No. 774 was sourced from the Lodge’s Superb Website This can be viewed at http://www.lodge774.co.uk/ Our thanks go to the Lodge No. 774 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owners.
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘The Ancient Order of Hibernians’
The American Ancient Order of Hibernians was founded in 1836 in New York City as a religious, political, fraternal society, which later offered insurance. It was open to Catholic men of Irish decent, aged 16-45, and there were 191,000 members in 1994. Even since its appearance in the United States in 1836, the A.O.H. has been through a number of revisions. It was always an example of ‘muscular Christianity’, and in the 1840s and 1850s it was called upon to combat so-called ‘nativist’ parties epitomized by the KNOW-NOTHINGS, who detested immigration and Catholicism about equally. In 1853, members were sufficiently numerous to muster 12,000 for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which in the political atmosphere of the day must have come close to incitement to riot. 13
In the 1860s and 1870s, it provided the structure for the ‘Molly Maguires’ labor movement, described below. Only in the 1880s did it begin to resemble its present form, and even then, there was a brief schism between the A.O.H. proper and the A.O.H. Board of Erin (1894-1898). Since then it has continued to support the Catholic faction in Ireland, even since the partition into Eire and the Six Counties (Northern Ireland). Molly Maguire was a widow who was ejected from her poor cottage in Ireland by a heartless landlord, and in the vigilante days of the Ribbonmen, her name was frequently signed to notes warning other landlords not to overstep their bounds. She may of may not have actually existed. In American usage, the Molly Maguires were Pennsylvania coal miners who formed a union against mine owners. Going beyond ordinary trade union practice, the Mollies probably engaged in arson, sabotage, intimidation and murder. Whether they did or not, 19 of them were hanged for such offenses. The A.O.H. provided the structure, passwords, and meeting places for the Mollies, though the Mollies could be seen more as an organization that exploited the A.O.H. than as a part of it – except, of course, that pro-Molly feeling generally ran strong in the relevant lodges. Their actions were repudiated at the 1876 National Convention, at around the same time that the Mollies themselves were penetrated and broken by agents of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The basic unit of the A.O.H. is the Division (Lodge); the next layer seems to be the biennial national convention. The number of degrees is not clear, the rituals are very hard to get.
The initiation ritual teaches lessons of friendship, unity and Christian charity and Irish nationalism. The emblems of the order (predictably) the harp and shamrock, as well as the clasped hands. Each Division used to be substantially autonomous, setting dues and benefits, but since the insurance has had to conform to relevant federal and state law, greater uniformity has become the norm. The purpose of the Order is: - To promote friendship, unity and Christian charity among its members; - To uphold and sustain loyalty to the government of the United States of America; - To aid and advance by all legitimate means the aspirations and endeavours of the Irish people for complete and absolute independence; - And to foster the ideals and cultivate the history and traditions of the Irish race throughout the world. On a charitable level, the A.O.H. has supported Catholic educational charities and Catholic missions overseas. The Order is not hesitant to expressing political views on matters as abortion. Membership was given as 125,000 in 1897 (plus 40,000 in the schismatic A.O.H./B.O.E.); 181,000 in 1965; 191,000 in 1978 and again 191,000 in 1994. The Irish branch of the A.O.H. has evolved into a catholic counterpart of the Orange Orders and became more and more radical.
These societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World.
Rays of Masonry â€œMasonryâ€™s Planâ€? Progress is growth. An institution cannot be great unless its objective is great. It cannot exert an influence unless its own purpose is directed toward physical, mental and moral growth. With all the sublime teachings of Freemasonry, our philosophy, our history, Masonry could not have lived through the ages because of these alone. Practical application, the interpretation of ideals into action, into life- these are responsible for the perpetuation of our Fraternity. A system represents the blue prints; deeds and acts, the work on the building. Krause, the founder of a great school of Masonic thought, expressed it in terms of philosophy: "Masonry has to deal with the internal conditions of life governed by reason. Hence, its fundamental principles are measurement and restraintmeasurement by reason and restraint by reason- and it teaches these as a means of achieving perfection." Masonry looks upon life as it is- views man divinely created, yet in a state of constant struggle to rise above himself step by step, from superstition, idolatry, hate, brutality. Often it seems that the struggle is of no avail, that never will man be willing to cast off the shackles by which he binds himself. What is Masonry's plan in this struggle? Is it the useless one of standing by and reprimanding human nature, raising its voice above the tumult to demand "Order"? NO. Masonry's plan is to walk with men on the crowded squares of life; to enter the 14
struggle; to make men- which can be done only by natural growth. Masonry's doors are not open to the world, but its light shines for all humanity. Masonry does not attempt to enforce morality, but only to point out the natural blessings and happiness that arise from obedience to and harmony with Spiritual Laws. The question is asked: Will Freemasonry have a place in the future? Can you imagine a world without Masonry? There will be readjustments, because ours is a progressive science, and changes consistent with today's requirements will be made. But never will these be a change in the fundamental plan of Freemasonry.
'Tis that, brother mine, makes a Mason of you. Secure in your heart you must safeguard and trust, With lodge and with brother be honest and just, Assist the deserving who cry in their need, Be chaste in your thought, in your word and your deed. Support he who falters, with hope banish fear, And whisper advice in an erring one’s ear. Then will the Great Lights on your path brightly shine, And you’ll be a Mason, O brother of mine. Your use of life’s hours by the gauge you must try, The gavel of vices with courage apply;
Dewey Wollstein 1953
WHAT MAKES A MAN A MASON? What makes a man a Mason, O brother of mine? It isn’t the due guard, nor is it the sign, It isn’t the jewel which hangs on your breast It isn’t the apron in which you are dressed It isn’t the step, nor the token, nor the grip, Nor lectures that fluently flow from the lip, Nor yet the possession of that mystic word On five points of fellowship duly conferred. Though these are essential, desirable, fine, They don’t make a Mason, O brother of mine. That you to your sworn obligation are true 15
Your walk must be upright, as shown by the plumb, On the level, to bourn whence no travelers come, The Book of your faith be the rule and the guide, The compass your passions shut safely inside; The stone which the Architect placed in your care Must pass the strict test of His unerring square. And then you will meet with approval divine,
And you’ll be a Mason, O brother of mine.
"You remind me of a story," grunted the Old Tiler. "A chap came to a wise man and said, 'I'm not popular. People don't like me. They leave when I come around. I like people; I don't like to be unpopular. What's the matter with me?' "The wise man looked his inquirer over and then said, 'What do you do when you are alone?' " â€˜I don't do anything when I am alone,' was the answer, 'I am never alone. I hate to be alone. It bores me. I bore myself. I have to be with people to be happy.'
Mirror Lodge How do you like it now you've been a member six months?" asked the Old Tiler. "I am discouraged, " was the dejected answer of the New Brother. "Tell me about it," suggested the Old Tiler, leaning his sword against the wall and shifting in his chair. "Maybe I expect too much. My dad was a Mason and he always thought a lot of it he was a Past Master and a trustee. He talked much about the friends he made in lodge and the spirit of brotherhood there, and how Masons helped each other. I have found none of that. I come to the meetings and listen to the degrees, of course, but the rest is all talk so far as I can find. I don't know any one in lodge. I am not really a part of it - I just play audience.''
"The wise man smiled and answered, 'How do you expect not to bore other people if you bore yourself? The man who has no resources to interest himself, cannot interest others. Go, read, think, reflect, get an idea, a personality, a smile, a story, an accomplishment â€“ learn something, do something, be something, amuse yourself, please yourself, interest yourself, and you can please, interest and amuse others!' " "You mean I find no brotherhood in lodge because I bring no brotherhood to it?" "You get it!" exclaimed the Old Tiler. "Masonry offers treasure for her children who take it. But it has to be taken. She doesn't stuff her treasures down your throat. Your father was a Past Master. That means he gave years of service to the lodge. He was a trustee â€“ so he was well known, liked, trusted. Men do not get well known, liked and trusted by sitting in a corner listening. They get up and talk, get out and work, do something, serve their fellows, to be known and liked. Your father brought rich treasures of service, interest, ability to his lodge. His lodge gave him back honor, responsibility, respect, 16
love. You sit on the benches and listen! We made you a Master Mason but only you can make yourself a good one. We give you privileges - only you call enjoy them. We give you opportunities – only you can use them. We did all we could for you. Now you must prove yourself. "Many a man comes into the lodge expecting a special reception committee, crowding around him at every meeting, saying how glad it is to have him there. Many a man is disappointed. You had our undivided attention as a candidate, as an Initiate, as a Fellowcraft, and when we made you a Master Mason. "Now it's your turn. We are through with your candidacy - you are now a part of the lodge. Every privilege has a duty attached. When you perform those duties, other privileges await you. If you never perform them, you will get no farther. The responsibility we assumed in approving you as a man worthy to be a Master Mason and sit with us must be shared by you. Your responsibility is to be a good lodge member. There are good Masons who are poor lodge members, but they are not the beloved ones. The beloved lodge member, like your father, finds labor and service and takes his pay in the spirit of fraternity, in the love and admiration of other men, in the satisfaction which comes from playing his part." "But what can I do – what is my first step?" "You want to make friends in the lodge?" "I surely do." "Then be a friend! I am told that the Master read tonight that Brother Robinson is ill. 17
Go and see him. Old Willis is back at work after being sick a year. Call him up and tell him you are glad. Hungerford just returned from the West. He is out of a job and wants help. Ask him to come see you. Maybe you can help him, maybe you can't. But if a brother takes an interest in him, he will be heartened and given courage. Ask the Master for a job – he’ll use you, never fear. A sister lodge comes to visit us next month. Offer your car to the chairman of the entertainment committee. Bob always has trouble getting enough for his personal column in the Trestleboard; scout around, learn a few things, tell him them. I understand you play the piano. Offer your help to the choirmaster when he needs someone to take the organist's place. There are one thousand and one ways a chap can make himself known and liked in a lodge. All you have to do is look for them." "I see . . ." "Not yet, you don't! But you soon will. When your eyes are opened you'll see the lodge as a mirror. Look at yourself in it and see just what you are. And if the reflection is dejection, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, it is because those are you. When you look in the lodge and see yourself happy, busy, well liked, giving service and taking joy in brotherhood as a return, you will know that you are a real Mason, a real lodge member, a real son to a father who learned that the secret of Masonic joy is to give, that it may be given back to you." "I'll begin now! Don't you want to get a smoke? I'll stay on the door until you come back!'' This is the Fiftieth 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.
Did You Know? Should the Bible be placed so that it can be read by the W.M., or the Candidate? Answer: This question would not arise in Ireland, Scotland, U.S.A., or in the many jurisdictions which have their Altars at a distance from the W.M., usually in the middle of the lodge. In such cases the V.S.L. is always arranged to face the Candidate, i.e., so that it can be read from the West. In English Masonic practice, however, the Master's pedestal is, in most cases, the Altar, so that when a Candidate is taking his Obligation, both are near enough to the Holy Book to be able to read it; hence the question. In all regular Masonic jurisdictions the V.S.L. is an essential part of the lodge while it is in session; but in English practice there is no official rule as to which way it should be turned. My own view is that it does not matter at all which way the Bible is facing on a night when the Brethren are listening to a lecture, or when the lodge is conducting business without a Candidate. But on a night when a Candidate is to be obligated, the question becomes vastly more important. Under English Masonic law, our lodges are required to provide for each Candidate that particular version of Holy Writ which belongs to his faith. The precise words are extremely interesting and will bear repetition: 4. The Bible, referred to by Freemasons as the Volume of the Sacred Law, is always
open in the Lodges. Every Candidate is required to take his Obligation on that book or on the Volume which is held by his particular creed to impart sanctity to an oath or promise taken upon it.' (Aims and Relationships of the Craft, 1949) A similar regulation, adopted in 1929, is still in force, although it omits the alternative: 3. That all Initiates shall take their Obligation on or in full view of the open Volume of the Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above which is binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being initiated. (Basic Principles For Recognition, 1929.)
This means that for a Jew we must provide an Old Testament; for a Mohammedan, a Koran; for a Hindu, a Bhagvada Gita, etc., etc. It might well happen that a Mohammedan or a Hindu, to avoid embarrassment, would say `Don't worry; a New Testament will do just as well'. If we allowed that, we would be compounding a Masonic felony! We are bound to obligate him on the Holy Book which is sacred to his faith. In the best sense of the words it will be his Book and there can be no doubt that, for the Obligations, at least, the Book should be so arranged that he can easily recognize and read it. For those who would like to have an official example as a check on their own practice, in our own Grand Lodge of England the V.S.L. is always opened facing westwards, with the points of the Compasses towards the foot of the page. It may be interesting at this point to observe the procedure in two other jurisdictions: 18
Bro. G. L. Austin, Local Secretary for Q.C. in New Zealand, writes: In the New Zealand Ritual there is a rubric instructing that the Volume shall be placed `... so as to be read from the E ', i.e., it faces the W.M. It is the custom of the Lodges in this Constitution to present to each newly raised Candidate a copy of the V.S.L. This copy measures about 6 in. x 4 in. It is placed between the large Volume and the Candidate in all three Degrees, and most Masters place it so that it may be read from the W., i.e., by the Candidate. He uses the same Volume for each Degree and seals his Ob. on the small Book, which is presented to him after Raising. Bro. R. E. Parkinson writes: In Ireland the V.S.L. rests on the Altar in the middle of the Lodge Room, and it is placed so as to be read by the Candidate. In the Grand Lodge Room in Dublin, and in some old Lodges (including my own, No. 367, in Downpatrick), each of the principal officers also has a copy on his pedestal, and one of these should always be open, i.e., as the J.W. declares the Lodge open he closes his copy: the S.W. and W.M. in turn open theirs. Similarly, at closing, the J.W. opens his copy, and the S.W. and W.M. close theirs in turn. There is another aspect of the use of the V.S.L. which may have a bearing on our problem. A number of our old documents contain de tails of the manner in which the Obligation was administered. In many of the Old Charges, we find an instruction, often in Latin, which runs: Then one of the Seniors holds the book and he or they [that are to be admitted] put their hands upon the book while the Charges ought to be read. 19
The Beaumont MS., c. 1690, precedes this instruction with a heading: The Mannor of taking an Oath att the Making free Masons. But the Old Charges do not say which way the `book' was facing. The Edinburgh Register House MS., 1696, and its two sister texts, furnish different details: Imprimis you are to take the person to take the word [i.e., the Mason Word] upon his knees and after a great many ceremonies to frighten him you make him take up the bible and laying his right hand on it you are to conjure him to sec[r]ecie . . . [followed by the form of the oath]. It is clear that the Candidate lifted the Bible, holding it in or on his left hand, with his right hand upon it and it would seem safe to assume that he held the Book so that he could read it, not upside down. Yet another method is described in Prichard's Masonry Dissected, 1730. The catechism indicates that the Candidate was shewn `how to walk up (by three steps) to the Master' and the Candidate's posture for the Obligation is described as follows: With my bare bended Knee and Body within the Square, the Compass extended to my naked Left Breast, my naked Right Hand on the Holy Bible; there I took the Obligation .. . The Mason's Confession (published in 1755 6, but claiming to de scribe the ceremony of c. 1727) gives an unusual posture:
... the open compasses pointed to his breast, and his bare elbow on the Bible with his hand lifted up; and he swears .. . Later, in the same text, we find: After the oath, a word in the scriptures was shewed me, which, said one, is the mason word. The word is in I Kings vii. 21 .. . Since the Candidate was invited to read the passage, we may fairly conclude that the V.S.L. was placed facing him. It has been suggested that in the earlier years of Speculative Masonry under the premier Grand Lodge, the Bible on the Master's pedestal would be arranged to face him, as `the source of light and instruction', and that the Antients generally administered the Obligation in the West, with the Bible resting between the Candidate's hands. Both practices were certainly in use, but there are two important and influential exposures which show that there was no such clear cut distinction. Three Distinct Knocks, 1760, which claimed to describe the practice of the Antients, contained a diagram showing that the Candidate took his Obligation facing the Master, but standing just one pace in front of the S.W. in the West, and the posture is described in excellent detail, as follows: .. my left Knee bare bent, my Body upright, my right Foot forming a Square, my naked right Hand upon the Holy Bible, with the Square and Compass thereon, my Left Hand supporting the same; .. . It is virtually certain that in this posture, in the West and away from the Master's
pedestal, the V.S.L. was held by the Candidate so that he could read it. J. & B. was first published in 1762, claiming to represent Moderns' practice, but on this point the rival procedures are word for word identical. These two documents were exposures, not official publications, and despite their apparent uniformity there can be no doubt that other forms were in use. The best evidence for this is in Wm. Preston's First Lecture of Free Masonry, which describes the body and knee positions as in Three Distinct Knocks, but then continues: right hand voluntarily laid on the Holy Law, left hand either supporting the Law [i.e., the V.S.L.] or holding the compasses in the form of a square and one point extended at the n . . . . 1 . . . b . Preston's First Lecture is the only version I have been able to trace which gives full sanction to both forms and shows that both were in general use. Browne's Master Key, 1802, had the left hand supporting the Compasses, and that posture seems to have been adopted at the union of the Grand Lodges; but no regulation was made as to the orientation of the V.S.L., and there is not a single document that affords instruction on that point. These notes are not intended to conflict with established practice, or with any particular working that contains a ruling on the subject. Unfortunately, most of our modern workings fail to provide any such directions. One final note; whichever way the Bible faces, the Compass points must always be towards the foot of the page. Otherwise, something is noticeably upside down. 20
Twelve Points of Light From the 12 Tribes of Israel. "There are in Masonry," say the ancient lectures, "twelve original points which form the basis of the system, and comprehend the whole ceremony of initiation. Without the existence of these points, no man ever was, or can be, legally and essentially received into the Order. Every person who is made a Mason must go through all these twelve forms and ceremonies, not only in the first degree, but in every subsequent one." Esteeming these points of the highest importance in the ceremonies of the Order, our ancient brethren exercised great ingenuity in giving them symbolical explanations, and refer the twelve parts of the ceremony of initiation to the twelve tribes of Israel. Notwithstanding the value and importance our ancient brethren deemed theses points to possess, the Grand Lodge of England thought proper, at the Union in 1813, to strike them from its rituals, and substitute three "new" points. Neither of these systems has ever been practiced in this country; the "four" perfect points" constitute an adequate substitute for either. The symbolism embraced in the explanation of the "Twelve Grand Points" may not be uninteresting or unacceptable to the reader. 21
1. The opening of the Lodge was symbolized by the tribe of Reuven (Reuben), because he was the first born of his father Jacob, who called him "the beginning of his strength," the door, as it were, by which the children of Israel entered the world. He was, therefore, appropriately adopted as the emblem of that ceremony which is essentially the beginning of every initiation. 2. The preparation of the candidate was symbolized by the tribe of Simeon, because Simeon prepared the instruments for the slaughter of the Shechemites, which excited the heavy displeasure of his parent; and therefore, to perpetuate abhorrence of his cruelty, candidates for initiation were deprived of all weapons, both offensive and defensive. Remember from the scriptures, Shechem violated the chastity of Simeon's sister, Dinah, and with his brother Levi, killed the Shechemites during the third day of recovery from their circumcision. This is a period of time, when the male organ is most sensitive when circumcised as an adult. 3. The report of the Senior Deacon referred to the tribe of Levi, in commemoration of the signal or report which Levi was supposed to have given to his brother Simeon when they assailed the men of Shechem at a time when they were incapable of defending themselves, and put them all to the sword, because of the affront which, Dinah, their sister, had received from Shechem, the son of Hamor. 4. The entrance of the candidate into the Lodge was symbolized by the tribe of Judah, because they were the first to cross the river Jordan and enter the promised land of "milk and honey," coming from the darkness and servitude, as it were, of the
wilderness by many dangerous and wearisome journeys into the light and liberty of Canaan. 5. The prayer was symbolized by Zevulun (Zebulun), because the blessing and prayer of Jacob were given to Zevulun, in preference to his brother Issachar. 6. The circumambulation referred to the tribe of Issachar, because, as a thriftless and indolent tribe, they required a leader to advance them to an equal elevation with the other tribes.
11. The ceremony of the northeast corner of the Lodge referred to Joseph, because as this ceremony reminds us of the most superficial part of Masonry, so the two half tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, of which the tribe of Joseph was composed, were accounted to be more superficial than the rest, as they were the descendants of the grandsons only of Jacob. 12. The closing of the Lodge was symbolized by the tribe of Benjamin, who was the youngest of the sons of Jacob, and thus closed his father's strength.
7. The advancing to the altar was symbolized by the tribe of Dan, that the candidate might be taught by contrast to advance in the way of truth and holiness as rapidly as this tribe advanced to idolatry, for it was among the tribe of Dan that the serpent was first set up for adoration.
Source, The Masonic Trowel
8. The obligation referred to the tribe of Gad, in allusion to the solemn vow which was made by Jephthah, Judge of Israel, who was of that tribe.
In the third degree ritual the central feature is the death and upraising of Hiram Abiff. It brings solemnity and drama into the occasion, though our version lacks the theatricality of some other rites which use costumes and elaborate dialogue. All versions believe it is a true story that happened at the time when Solomon constructed the Temple in Jerusalem, but those who look for Biblical backing are bound to be disappointed.
9. The entrusting of the candidate with the mysteries was symbolized by the tribe of Asher, because he was then presented with the rich fruits of Masonic knowledge, as Asher was said to be the inheritor of fatness and royal dainties. 10. The investiture of the lambskin, by which the candidate is declared free, referred to the tribe of Naphtali, which was invested by Moses with a peculiar freedom, when he said, "O, Naphtali, satisfied with favour and full with the blessing of the Lord, possess thou the West and the South."
Hiram Abiff and the ever-dying Gods
In an article I wrote for the “NSW Freemason” in 1978 I examined the view of W. Bro. Rev. Morris Rosenbaum concerning the Biblical account as found – with intriguing differences – in the First Books of Kings and the Second Book of Chronicles. The relevant chapters are I Kings 5, where Solomon asks his friend Hiram king of Tyre for building materials; and II Chronicles 2, where he asks him 22
also for an expert artisan. Both passages feature a – non-royal – Hiram, who in one account appears to be an architectcraftsman and in the other an artisan skilled in working with brass. Both are called Hiram in tribute to the king: it is possible that Hiram was a generic name for a king of Tyre, like the title Pharaoh for a king of Egypt. Rosenbaum thought there were two separate Hirams. The Hiram of the Book of Kings is the son of “a widow of the tribe of Naphtali”: the one in Chronicles is the son of “a woman of the daughters of Dan”. If there are two Hirams the mother of one is from Naphtali and the mother of the second from Dan; if there is only one, which I will argue in a moment, his father is from Naphtali and his mother from Dan. The connection with Tyre is more than geographic co-incidence, since there was a Tyrian school of craftsmanship and Solomon wanted to use Tyrian expertise. Next problem: if Hiram (or at least one of them) is the son of a widow, his father is dead. II Chronicles mentions Hiram aviv, “Hiram his father”. Maybe Hiram the father started the work and Hiram the son completed it. This is the view of the 19th century commentator Malbim, who quotes I Kings 7:40 and II Chron. 4:11, though Malbim may have been influenced by the Masonic legend that Hiram was murdered; when I Kings 7:13 says that Solomon “sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre” it may mean that an escort was sent to bring the younger Hiram to Jerusalem to finish his father’s work. This in outline is Rosenbaum’s theory, but I believe he has read too much into the scriptural account. The Books of Chronicles are not always objective history 23
and it is possible that we have not two Hirams but two versions of the one narrative with slight differences between them. If then there was only one Hiram, how are we to handle the reference to “Hiram his father”, with its implication that father and son were both involved in the work? The answer is that av, a father, does not necessarily mean a parent. It can also be an originator or master. Hence the title “Hiram Abif(f)” tells us of Hiram’s professional status as a master craftsman, not about his parentage. Even so, there is no objective evidence that one Hiram dropped out and another replaced him. It is more likely that there was only one Hiram and the Bible does not record his eventual fate. For that we have to go to legend. In a moment we will examine the Masonic version, but first we need to know whether Jewish Midrash knows of a murder during the building works and whether the victim could have been Hiram. There are Midrashim (e.g. Pesikta Rabbati, Friedmann ed., 1880, p. 25a) which hold that some of the builders met an unusual death, but Freemasonry compresses the tragedy into the death of one builder, the foreman, and though the midrashic material speaks of the dead men entering the afterlife, Freemasonry thinks the foreman was restored to earthly existence, though it is silent as to his subsequent life. The Midrash asserts that whilst the Temple was being built none of the workmen died or even became ill, enabling the project to proceed apace – presumably illustrating the principle that God protects those who are engaged on a sacred mission (Talmud Pesachim 8a). However, once the project
was completed, they all died, for God wished to prevent heathens using the Temple builders to erect idolatrous shrines, illustrating the rule that one must ascend in sanctity and not descend (Talmud B’rachot 28a). The builders were assured of a rich heavenly reward, and as for Hiram the master craftsman himself, he went straight to Paradise and never tasted real death (Louis Ginzberg, “Legends of the Jews”, vol. 4, page 155 and notes). There is a midrashic idea that nine people did not die in the usual way but entered Paradise alive. These included Enoch and Elijah… and Hiram king of Tyre (Derech Eretz Zuta 1:9; Yalkut, Gen. 42 and Ezek. 36:7). The commentators debate whether Hiram really deserves a place in the list, but in any case the reference must be to Hiram the craftsman and not Hiram the king. The formulators of Masonic ritual possibly knew enough Hebrew to access rabbinic works, but they totally changed the Midrash to make Hiram die a very earthly death at the hands of the other workmen and then rise from the dead. They must have been influenced by Christian tradition about the death of Jesus, though they were careful not to turn the story into an antisemitic canard. However, we should not read too much theology into the Masonic story, which probably has contemporary political motives. If the story as we have it has been deliberately crafted (I dislike the stronger term “fabricated”) with a basis in the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish Midrash, we must still investigate whether there are additional sources from other cultures. But first we have to add one more attempt, over
and above those of countless historians, to posit a theory of Masonic beginnings. There are three main historical theories about Masonry. One begins at the time of Creation with God as Great Architect, Grand Geometrician and Master Builder, Adam as the first Grand Master, and Masonry as a thread running through ancient history. The second does not make claims about Biblical times but posits a fellowship of builders working on the great edifices of the Middle Ages. The third sees Enlightenment man creating culturalscientific societies to study ideas and ethics and giving them a pre-history, a wellknown habit developed in the interests of credibility. The third theory is bound up with 17th and 18th century events. The Stuarts ruled England from 1643-1688, except for 16491660 after Charles I had been executed by Parliament under Oliver Cromwell. The last Stuart, James II, had to abdicate in 1688. After the Hanoverian George I assumed the monarchy in 1714, the Stuarts mounted invasions in 1715 and 1745 via Scotland but failed to win back the throne. They lived in exile in France with support from some quarters in England. They were called “Jacobites”, from the Latin (and prior to that the Hebrew) for “James”. Some Jacobites were Masons, including Bonnie Prince Charlie, the grandson of James II; some French and Italian lodges were entirely comprised of Jacobites, who may have adopted or invented Hiram Abiff to represent the executed Charles I and to express their belief in the restoration of the Stuarts. Plans for the return of the Stuarts were made in secret vaults which may have been Masonic lodges. HA’s refusal to divulge a 24
secret bolstered the pledges of confidentiality which these Brothers made to each other. This theory implies that Jacobite influences were involved in the development of Masonic ritual, which was the combination of the ideas and efforts of a number of men, notably Anderson, Desaguliers and Preston, though they might have been kept in the dark about the hidden agenda of Jacobite lodges. Hiram’s name was not new to the authors of the third degree since he is referred as the master artisan in the Regius Poem of c 1390. The first time we find the Hiram legend in a degree ritual is in the 1730 pamphlet, Freemasonry Dissected, by Samuel Prichard, though there was a rival attempt to give Freemasonry a death/resurrection story in the narrative of Noah and his sons (Graham MS, 1726; cf. Harry Carr, “Hebraic Aspects of the Ritual”, Ars Quatuor Coronatum, vol. 97, 1984, page 77).
the ways of early Speculative lodges and can only conjecture. CS Madhavan of the Grand Lodge of India notes that a drastic change entered Freemasonry between the first and second editions of Anderson’s Constitutions. In the first edition in 1723 we read only that “The king of Tyre sent (Solomon) his namesake Hiram Abif, ‘prince of architects’”. The second edition in 1738 speaks of the sudden death of Hiram Abiff who was interred “in the Lodge near the Temple”. The new wording shows that the displacement of Noah by HA had taken place between 1723 and 1738.
Hiram Abiff conveyed the message better because the Noah story lacked betrayal, violence, martyrdom and revenge, even though there was a theory that his sons put his body together again after he died. Hence HA supplanted Noah and settled into the newly created third degree.
The change must have had something to do with Prichard, whose work was published in 1730, but we need more than circumstantial evidence. English Masons would presumably have welcomed the general idea of a good man who died and rose again and would have been on familiar territory in linking royal history with poetic symbolism in view of the wellloved legends of King Arthur, the symbol of chivalry and idealism, about whom Tennyson later wrote, “He passes to be King among the dead/And after healing of his grievous wound/He comes again” (Idylls of the King, 1859).
The idea of Hiram as Charles I might derive from Elias Ashmole (1617-92), the antiquarian, lawyer and alchemist who is the first (or second) known Speculative Freemason, initiated in 1646. Ashmole (like other early Speculatives, Robert Moray, Inigo Jones and Nicholas Stone) was a Royalist and a supporter of Charles II, and his lodge may have practised Masonic ritual with a Royalist meaning. However, we do not know enough about
The Hiram Abiff story was not concocted out of thin air. On the other hand no-one has found any proof that there really was a Hiram Abiff who was murdered on the Temple site and then brought back to life by his supporters. Nor has anyone proved that there was an Israelite custom to pray at “high twelve”, to bury a person in proximity to the Temple, or to place an acacia sprig on a grave. There is also no proof that the real Hiram (unless he was
the king of Tyre) was on close terms with King Solomon. HA is a cultural typology developed at and reflecting the mores of a later time. Its lineage appears to have travelled through two disparate lines: • the well known concept of gods and messiahs that die and overcome their death (examples are Osiris, Isis, Horus and Tammuz), an idea that appealed to members of secret or other societies who saw true believers martyred but the cause survive; • widespread accounts of disasters that occurred during the building of churches, palaces and other major edifices. The first idea has a modern equivalent in Nietzsche’s Death of God theory, plus the religious insistence that God will make a comeback. In Jewish thinking the Death of God is inconceivable, since it is an article of faith that God was not born and cannot die (“I am the first and I am the last”: Isa. 44:6), though in a metaphorical sense it could possibly tolerate the Nietzschean notion that human beings had “killed” Him. Christianity might be thought of as receptive to a Hiram Abiff narrative as consonant with the history of Jesus. However, it is difficult to reconcile a proChristian interpretation with the Andersonian dechristianisation of Masonic ritual, though there is admittedly a more Christian element in the Royal Arch. Whatever the case, it is likely that this is one more example of how Masonry utilised well-known strands of folklore to construct its narratives and rituals, often starting with sketchy Biblical material but adding so much from other sources that it almost completely changed the original story. Other examples are the stories about
King Solomon and the dedication of his temple, which, though crucial to the craft, should not be taken literally but understood as an amalgam of folk ideas and literary imagination. All Masonic writers attach symbolic significance to the HA story, regardless of its origins and political significance. A popular interpretation links it to the three stages of life; as the first degree symbolises birth, when one begins to glimpse light, the second stands for manhood, when one toils toward wisdom and experience, and the third represents old age, when human powers gradually wane but one yearns for a life after death. Perhaps Anderson and Desaguliers, unaware of or unconvinced by Jacobite political theories, decided to incorporate HA into the third degree because the death/resurrection theme appealed to them as Christians. In 1775 William Hutchinson wrote in his Spirit of Masonry, “The Master Mason represents a man under the Christian doctrine, saved from the grave of iniquity, and raised to the faith of salvation”. The dechristianisation of the craft must inevitably have been difficult for some Masons. However, with or without christological issues the narrative illustrates and justifies the doctrine that goodness must and will prevail over doubt and difficulty, and is evidence of the common phenomenon whereby a custom or story loses its original significance, undergoes reinterpretation and rationalisation, and gains a new message and mission. 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.
Which Lodge is Best? Candidates for Masonry are often surprised to find that there are many Lodges from which to select one to petition. When given a choice between two or more Lodges, which Lodge should they choose, and what are our responsibilities as Masons in guiding them in their decision? Let's be candid and realize that all Lodges need new members. The petitioner for the degrees of Masonry should be encouraged to join the Lodge which he feels will offer him the greatest opportunity to serve his fellowman and to learn our teachings. He might choose the Lodge closest to where he lives, the Lodge of his friends, or the Lodge of relatives or co-workers. Once his decision has been made, he should be congratulated on taking the initiative for joining the ranks of Freemasonry. Each Lodge differs slightly in its ritual work, accoutrements, and building design. The superstructure of Freemasonry, however, is founded upon materials mined from the same mother quarry: our Masonic heritage and teachings. It doesn't matter, then, which Lodge the candidate joins because we are all building the Great Lodge on High-the temple not made by axe, hammer, or any tool of iron. If you are fortunate enough to discover someone seeking the Light of Masonry, then guide this soul into any Masonic Lodge; raise him into the realm of lofty thoughts and ideals; instruct him in our hallowed Craft; and boldly send him forth into the world that he may displace the darkness with his newly discovered Light. 27
Which Lodge is best? The best Lodge is that one which zealously guards the teachings of our Ancient Fraternity, practices its precepts, promotes its idealism, and defends Masonry's untainted integrity with all of its might. Ultimately, the best Masonic Lodge is in the heart, mind, and soul of its worthy vassal: the
Donâ€™t bring them into the Lodge Room Don't bring them into the lodge room, Anger and spite and pride; Drop at the gate of the temple The strife of the world outside. Forget all your cares and trials, Forget every selfish sorrow, And remember the cause you met for, And haste ye the glad-to-morrow. Drop at the gate of the temple Envy and spite and gloom; Don't bring personal quarrels And discord into the room. Forget the slights of a sister, Forget the wrong of a brother, And remember the new commandment That ye love one another. Bring your heart into the lodge room, But leave yourself outside â€” That is, your personal feeling, Ambition, vanity, pride. Centre every thought and power On the cause for which you assemble, Fetter the demon selfishness, And make ye the Old Harry tremble.
THE EMBLEMS OF FREEMASONRY The First Degree
The Three Great Pillars. The three grand pillars which support the Lodge are Wisdom, Strength and Beauty wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn. The R.W.M. in the E...represents Wisdom, the W.W. in the W. -. represents Strength, and the W.J.W. in the S... represents Beauty. The Pillars further represent Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff. Solomon, King of Israel, for his wisdom in building, completing and dedicating the Temple at Jerusalem to Godâ€™s service; Hiram, King of Tyre for his strength in supporting him with men and materials ; and Hiram Abiff for his curious and master workmanship, as seen in the incomparable beauty of the same. As there are no noble orders in Architecture known by the names of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, the Freemason refers them to the three most celebrated - Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian. The Ionic column represents Wisdom, because it wisely combines strength with grace; the Doric column represents Strength, as it is the strongest and most massive of the orders; and the Corinthian represents Beauty because it is the most beautiful and ornamental. The Universe is the Temple of the living God whom Masons serve. Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty are about His Throne as Pillars of His Works. His Wisdom is infinite, His Strength omnipotent, and His Beauty shines through the whole of creation. The Heavens He has stretched forth as a canopy, He has planted the Earth as His footstool, He has crowned His Temple with stars as with a diadem. The Sun and Moon are messengers of His divine will, and all His laws are concord. The Covering The Covering of a Freemason is Lodge is a celestial canopy of divers colours, even the heavens. The sun, moon, and stars which adorn it are emblems of the power, goodness, omnipresence and eternity of God. The way by which Freemasons hope to arrive at it is by climbing the ladder which in Scripture is called Jacobâ€™s Ladder. The Ladder. The Ladder is composed of many staves or rounds which point out as many moral virtues. The three principal ones are Faith, Hope, and Charity - Faith in God, Hope in immortality, and Charity towards all men. The Ladder, which reaches to the Heavens, rests on the V... of the S... L , because in that work the Great Architect of the Universe has set out those holy truths by the patient study of which we are enabled to ascend step by step towards the immortal mansions where the Grand Master rules and reigns for ever. 28
The Three Precious Jewels. The three principle staves or rounds of the Ladder - Faith, Hope, and Charity - comprise the Three Precious Jewels of a Fellowcraft, and as such should be held in high esteem by Brethren of every degree.
Faith. Faith is the foundation of justice, the bond of goodwill between men, and the main support of society. A wise and sincere Faith is the evidence of things not seen : the substance of those for which men hope. The Freemason walks by Faith, by Faith he believes in the existence of a Supreme Being Whom he hopes one day to join in the realms of bliss.
Hope. Hope is the Anchor of the Soul. The emblems of Freemasonry teach the Craftsman to have a lively hope in immortality. If a firm reliance on the faithfulness of the Great Architect of all things animates his endeavours success shall attend him.
Charity. Charity is the brightest gem in the Masonic crown, and the Mason who is possessed of that virtue in the most ample sense, may justly be deemed to have attained the summit of his profession. But even in the practice of charity, it is necessary to be cautious, for it is an error to dispense alms to all applicants without discrimination. By such a course the hypocrite and knave may well eat the bread by which virtue in distress ought to be relieved. Charity is often abused for there are many miscreants who infest our streets and doors with their importunities, many even showing their sores and distorted bodies to prompt a false compassion, with which ill-gotten gains they revel away the hours of night in debauchery Charity, when misapplied, loses the dress of virtue and assumes the garb of folly. Benevolence attended by Heaven-born Charity is an honour to a nation whence it springs, is nourished and cherished. Happy is he who has sown the seeds of Benevolence in his breast: he envieth not his neighbour, he believes not a tale when told by a slanderer. Malice and revenge having no place in his breast, he forgives the injuries of men. This Regular feature is taken from William Harvey’s book, “The Emblems of Freemasonry” 1918.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Mar 29, 2016