Volume 12 Issue 7 No. 97 November 2016
Cover Story, Freemasons’ Band of Brothers Lodge Breadalbane Aberfeldy No. 657 Did You Know? Famous Freemason – James Orr Independent Order of B’nai B’rith The Serpent Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Some Curious Masonic Words The Masonic Badge Did You Know? Why not Speculative Alchemy? The Emblems of Freemasonry Main Website – The Three Scripture Readings
In this issue: Cover Story – page 2 Freemasons Band of Brothers, a fascination introduction to a lecture delivered in 2005 by the Prestonian Lecturer of 2006, Bro. Granville Angel, the world’s foremost authority, on Freemasons who have been awarded the Victoria Cross.
Page 6, ‘Lodge Breadalbane Aberfeldy No. 657.’ A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 8, ‘Did You Know?’ Page 12, ‘James Orr.’ A Famous Freemason. Page 16, ‘Independent Order of B’nai B’rith.’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World. Page 18, ‘The Serpent.’ A Masonic Symbol?. Page 19, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Modernizing Masonry”, our Regular feature. Page 20, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Pep”, the Fifty-fourth in the series. Page 22, ‘Some Curious Masonic Words.’ Explaining some our more obscure words. Page 25, ‘The Masonic Badge’ Our promise to the new Brother. Page 28, ‘Did You Know.’ Page 29. The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 31. ‘The Emblems of Freemasonry.’
In the Lectures website The Month’s article Readings.’[link]
The front cover art is a drawing of Pte. James Davis Kelly VC, a member of Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76
The Victoria Cross
officer class and an inability to admit errors in the chains of command.
Freemasons’ Band of Brothers
The campaign caused the death in battle of some 3,400 men. However, a further 20,000 died as a result of such diseases as cholera, typhoid fever, smallpox, severe diarrhoea, septicaemia and gangrene.
Conceived in the minds of a number of observers and participants of the Crimean War, the embryonic idea of what was to be become the Victoria Cross medal emerged from the carnage of battle. It was the first war to be covered by regular war correspondents who especially produced accurate, perceptive and often critical eyewitness accounts. Their reports showed how the courage and endurance of the British soldiers and sailors was being devalued by service shortages of the most basic of the logistics of war: clothing, footwear, blankets, food, medicines and even clean water. The situation was compounded by the rigid attitudes of the
For officers below the rank of Major and “other ranks” military prowess found little reward. At best, perhaps, a campaign medal which was issued to everyone who took part in the war. For those engaged in front-line action, an occasional “well done” was small reward or a little crumb of comfort to those who craved some more tangible recognition for possible loss of life or limb. This inequality was very clearly expressed by William Howard Russell of the Times newspaper. It was perhaps him, more than anyone else, who galvanized public opinion into a demand for action based on the British sense of fair play and a genuine admiration for gallant behaviour. If the French, our allies also fighting in the Crimea, could reward their troops with the Legion d’ Honneur (first instituted by Napoleon in 1803) and also the Medaille Militaire, our troops deserved nothing less in national appreciation and stature than an award for gallantry regardless of rank. Quickly appreciating the mood of the nation and not slow in responding to this demand were the politicians. In December 1854 an ex-Naval officer, now a Liberal Member of Parliament, Captain Thomas Scobell, placed a motion before the House of Commons that an Order of Merit should be awarded to “Persons serving in the Army or Navy for distinguished and prominent personal 2
gallantry ... and to which every grade and individual from the highest to the lowest .... may be admissible.” The following month, January 1855, the then Secretary of State for War, the Duke of Newcastle, wrote to the husband of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, also suggesting that a new decoration should be “open to all ranks” to both “Commoner” and “Consort”. It was seen by them both as an incentive to courage in battle and also cheap to produce. On 29 January 1855, the Duke further advanced the idea by a public announcement in a speech in the House of Lords. It would be another year exactly for the warrant to be signed by Queen Victoria, (29 January 1856). This lecture coincides with the 150th anniversary of that warrant. ‘Within three days of the Duke of Newcastle’s (Henry Pelham) speech the government was defeated, to be replaced by Lord Palmerston’s Whig government. The new Secretary of State for War was the Right Honourable Fox Maule, 2nd Lord Panmure, who was to become the Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. It was to be his responsibility to evolve the whole practical process of bringing the Victoria Cross medal into fruition. This he did in a pragmatic approach to the contents of the Warrant and the design, wording and production of the ultimate Victoria Cross which would meet with the Royal approval. The “Panmure Papers” show that a great deal of correspondence ensued between the interested parties until a satisfactory conclusion was achieved. I believe that Masonic influence was inherent in a number of subtle ways. The 3
second clause in the Warrant states “it is ordained that the Cross shall be suspended from the left breast by a Blue Ribbon for the Navy and a Red Ribbon for the Army.“ Nowhere does it give any indication on what shade of colour the ribbons should be. It therefore came as quite a surprise to me in my early research to discover that the Naval Ribbon on the early issues is of a Masonic blue that we associate with a Past Master ribbon. The evidence is there for all to see from the Ten VC Naval Medals in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, London. Lord Panmure would have also been well aware that the Monarchy wished to control the award of this most coveted award to the exclusion of politicians. It remains a special feature of the award system. In the fullness of time the ribbon was again changed. On the formation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, it became a uniform colour of maroon, sometimes referred to as claret. The royal warrant was signed by King George V on 22 May 1920. It was the Queen’s wish that the medal should be produced for no more than “a few pence” and Panmure took the commission for its production to the firm of Hancocks in Bruton Street, London. Well known for their fine silversmith work, they also held a Royal Warrant which must have helped them secure this most prestigious appointment. Accepting the appointment, Hancocks initially produced a proof design in which the Queen took a keen active interest. From these original drawings she suggested the Cross should be “a little smaller“, and changed the words from “for the brave“ to “for valour“ just in case anyone came to the conclusion that only brave men were those to get the cross. The warrant had
already established that the new medal would bear her Majestic name Victoria.
available. However a little more investigation would have been beneficial.
It was also decided that it would be made with a base metal, thus of low intrinsic value (neither gold, silver, precious stones or elaborate enamels). Copper was a malleable metal, and the preferred choice of the manufacturers, and a die stamp could be used easily. In essence the medal would be of a simple cross patée design, not ostentatious in its wearing. Obverse, a Royal Crown, surmounted by a lion, with a scroll underneath and the inscription. On the reverse side of the medal is an indented circle with the date or dates of the act of bravery inscribed in it. The suspender bar would have laurel leaves on it (the ancient Roman sign for a victor), suspended by the letter “W” via a small round link. The name of the recipient is engraved along the back of the bar, with rank, number, and unit or ship, as appropriate. The date of the act of bravery is inscribed in the centre of the reverse of the cross.
The truth was that the cannon were of a much older origin: Chinese, not Russian, an extremely harder form of gunmetal, and when used they split the dies. Just imagine the consternation this caused, with the medal presentation forthcoming, to mention nothing of the reputation of Hancocks being severely damaged. A solution was found by casting in hot metal bronze, this turned out to a very fortunate resolution because it resulted in the medal having a higher relief and more depth in the moulding, making every medal individually unique. The simple and unpretentious final result was of low value to its providers but priceless to those to whom it was given.
The Queen was most meticulous, and on inspection of the medal specimen wrote Panmure on 5 February 1856, stating she was not fully satisfied with the proof. “the cross looks very well in form, but the metal is ugly; it is copper and not bronze and will look very heavy on a red coat with the Crimson Ribbon. Bronze is properly speaking, gunmetal; this has a rich colour and is very hard (how true this observation turned out to be). Copper would wear very ill and soon look like an old penny“ Inspired by the Queen’s comments, suitable bronze was sought, and some unknown person suggested that at the nearby Woolwich Barracks languished a couple of old cannons brought back from the Crimea War, ideal, cheap and
Lord Panmure was also instrumental in bringing the attention of the Admiralty and Horse Guards to the new award. On his advice a selection board was established to consider all applications, subject to final approval by the monarchy, and subsequent publication in the London Gazette. A lot of time wasting did occur in the adjudication of who should be selected and twelve months elapsed. In consequence when it was decided on 12 June 1857 that the first Investiture ceremony would be a fortnight later on 26 June, arrangements had to be made in great haste with unexpected results. There would be a parade in London Hyde Park, an outdoor venue so as many people as possible could see such an historical spectacle. It turned out to be a very hot sunny day, with huge crowds gathering on three sides to witness a combination of firsts. Obviously the first time this new gallantry medal was to be awarded, but it was also the day on which Prince Albert was given the new title of 4
Prince Consort, the first time the Queen had ridden on horseback at a review in London, and the first time the royal princes had also accompanied their parents at such an event. The Queen was riding her horse, “Sunset”, and awaiting her were the sixty-two candidates from the original eighty-five names who had been Gazetted. The organizers did experience some consternation as the Queen electing to stay side-saddle on horseback throughout the ceremony. A table had been laid out with the sixty-two medals, in close attendance the awaiting recipients. The Royal Navy claiming their traditional seniority, were invested first, by rank, followed by the Royal Marines, and then the Army, Lord Panmure quickly realized that the Queen would be unable to reach the medals from the table and interposed himself to enable him to give her the appropriate medal. The first to receive his medal was Commander Raby, RN. who unwittingly had an unexpected experience, for the Queen, leaning forward, misjudged the distance when trying to affix the Medal’s pin and it was reported she went through uniform and flesh. Unflinching and in strong Naval attitude he suffered it like the true brave sailor he was. No harm is attributed to the remainder of the recipient freemasons, amongst those invested on that day, number 5, Lieutenant William Nathan Wrighte Hewett; number 7, Lieutenant Alexander Roberts Dunn 11th Hussars; and number 26, Corporal William Lendrim, Royal Engineers. Since the first investiture, the total has steadily grown to be at the present time 1,356. The latest recipient is Joshua Leakey, Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, (invested, Tuesday, 5
14 April 2015). This progressive journey total is marked by a series of military milestones, Crimean War, Indian Mutiny, Third Maori War, Ashanti War, Zulu and Basuto Wars, Second Afghan War, Egyptian and Sudan Campaigns, Tirah Campaign, Boer War, Somalia Campaign, First World War 1914-18, Second World War 1939-45, Korean War, Borneo, Vietnam War, Falklands War, the Iraq War and Afghanistan. In the 150 year history of this ultimate accolade for courage, 1,356 men (women are eligible, but none have yet achieved this distinction) have received the award, around half being posthumous. Combined research over time has revealed that 156 are freemasons, almost 12%. This relatively large number may not be a surprise to the Masonic reader. The fascinating article on the Victoria Cross was the introduction to a lecture given in 2005 by Wor. Bro. Granville Angel, the Prestonian Lecturer of 2006. Bro. Angel’s article has been updated to this year. The picture of the VC at the start of the article is a military VC from WW1. The end picture is a naval VC with the Blue ribbon.
Lodge Breadalbane Aberfeldy No. 657
IN THE BEGINNING Before the erection of Lodge Breadalbane Aberfeldy No.657 there were already a number of Freemasons resident in the district who were members of Lodge Tay & Lyon No.276 at Kenmore which had been founded in 1818. According to a minute of a meeting of Lodge Tay & Lyon Kenmore, held in December 1836 it was agreed that a “Deputation Lodge” should be given to Aberfeldy, with the power of opening and holding a branch of Lodge Tay & Lyon there, and Bro. James Kippen, a merchant in Aberfeldy was appointed Master Depute. It would appear that in order to promote and extend the benefits of Freemasonry to the areas around Kenmore, particularly Aberfeldy, Kinloch Rannoch, Glen Lyon, Killin and Fortingall that Lodge Tay & Lyon as it were, opened branches in these places by means of a document drawn up by themselves which they called a “Deputation Commission“. This rather irregular document nominated and
appointed a Master Mason of lodge Tay & Lyon who was resident in the area designated and gave him authority “to enter apprentices, pass Fellow of Craft, and raise to the sublime degree of Master Mason, as if done by us in our hall here” and further granted to their nominee the power “to make proper choice of two brethren to be Wardens, and an officer, who must all be Master Masons”. One of these interesting documents dated 18th December 1836 has survived and is in the possession of Lodge Tay & Lyon. It is of particular interest to Aberfeldy Masons as it is obviously the means by which Freemasonry was developed in the Aberfeldy area and which eventually resulted in the founding and erecting of Lodge Breadalbane Aberfeldy No.657 in the year 1881. This “Deputation Commission” is made out in favour of their “truly and well beloved Brother JAMES KIPPEN” and his designated place of working as a Lodge was “within the Breadalbane Arms Inn, Aberfeldy”. The names of the Initiates with the appropriate fees were transmitted to the Treasurer at Kenmore, and entered in the Books of Lodge Tay and Lyon “with entitlement to all emoluments agreeable to the Lodge and Society Laws”. These Lodge Tay and Lyon “Deputation Commission” meetings in Aberfeldy were held in one of the upper rooms of what is now known as Breadalbane Arms Hotel. As Aberfeldy grew more important as a market town and business centre it attracted more people to the town in different professional and business capacities, and as a number of the new residents were also Freemasons from other Lodges, they made a significant increase in 6
the number of Freemasons already in Aberfeldy. At the same time many informal meetings were being held among the Freemasons with a view to erecting a Craft Lodge in Aberfeldy. This required of course, that not fewer than seven Master Masons in good standing must apply by Petition to the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh. The Petitioners must also produce a recommendation signed with consent of their Lodges, by the Master and Wardens of at least two Daughter Lodges in the Masonic Province in which it is proposed to erect the new Lodge. There are seven Master Masons named in the Charter of the Lodge who petitioned Grand Lodge for a Lodge to be erected in Aberfeldy to be called “Lodge Breadalbane Aberfeldy.” The Grand Lodge Charter was duly granted and is dated 3rd February 1881, and Lodge Breadalbane Aberfeldy takes its precedence among lodges according to this date. As a Lodge must be consecrated before it can act under its Charter, the Founders lost no time in proceeding with the arrangements for the Consecration of the New Lodge. This was carried out by a Deputation from the Grand Lodge of Scotland within the Schoolroom of the old Breadalbane Academy, now known as the Lesser Town Hall, on 19th April 1881. After the Consecration Ceremony the first Office Bearers who are names in the Charter were installed by the installing Master. After the Installation Ceremony the Third Degree was conferred. The Brethren then marched in procession to the Breadalbane Arms Hotel where the Earls of Breadalbane presided at a banquet. That same evening the first Lodge Annual Assembly was held in the Public School 7
which was very gaily decorated for this important occasion, and was attended by a large company including. THE LODGE MEETING PLACES Between the foundation of Lodge Breadalbane No. 657 in 1881 and the year 1899 the meetings of the Lodge were held in several different places in Aberfeldy. Firstly they met in the Breadalbane Arms Hotel, Aberfeldy, and then in Reid’s Temperance Hotel. A house in Bank Street was the next venue for the meetings, though it is not recorded which particular house this was. The Lodge then moved to a house above the present Library at the Town Hall. This accommodation eventually proved to be unsuitable for Masonic purposes and the Lodge then obtained the lease of the ground floor house in Breadalbane Terrace next to the Palace Hotel from the Hotel owner. The lease was for five years and Bro. John Scott P.M. who was Master of the Lodge from 1897 to 1899, generously agreed to pay the rent of £13 per annum for the five years. The Brethren fitted out his house as a Masonic Temple and spent upwards of £40 on furniture, floor coverings, painting and decorating, gas fittings and also regalia boxes etc. The five-year lease expired at Whitsunday 1904 and the Lodge decided to keep on the lease of the Lodge Room in the meantime and apparently managed to negotiate a reduction in the rent to £8:10/per annum. There seems to have been a strong feeling among the Brethren at this time that the temporary nature of their accommodation for the Lodge was most unsatisfactory and that the only solution to the difficulty was
to acquire or build a hall of their own. The minute of a meeting in March 1904 seems to reflect this attitude where it is stated that the Lodge Committee were instructed to consider ways and means of raising money to add to their present Building Fund. The idea of a Masonic Temple of their own gathered momentum during 1904 with the satisfactory result that in the following year on 4th May 1905 the Foundation Stone of the new Masonic Temple was laid on a site in what is now known as Moness Terrace, and such was the speed of the erection of the new building that the Brethren were able to hold their First Regular Meeting in the new Freemasons Hall on 4th October 1905. THE PRESENT MASONIC TEMPLE On the 1st February 1905 a small committee was appointed to arrange for the possible building of a New Hall, and to make enquiries for a site and the preparing of draft plans along with the probable cost of the building and submit same to a Regular Meeting for approval. Events moved quickly and the committee approved two sites:1. A piece of vacant ground immediately to the south in the new road leading off Dunkeld Street to Athole Building. 2. The piece of ground running parallel with the Laundry in Home Street. Plans for the two sites were laid out in the Lodge Room for inspection. Plan for site (1) was to cost £470 and plan for site (2) was to cost £440.
On Saturday 18th February 1905 the committee met Bro. Lord Breadalbane on the arrival of the 1.35 train and had a conference with him in the Lodge Room. They adjourned and all went out and examined the two sites and they approved of the site to the south of Messrs. Haggart’s feu, and Lord Breadalbane expressed himself as being very happy and agreeable that they should have it. After this meeting the Acting Secretary wrote to the Marquis in order to have the conditions of the gift committed in writing. Lord Breadalbane’s letter in reply is pasted into the Minute Book. The Committee were then empowered by the Lodge to proceed with the erection of the New Hall, with the proviso that the Contractors to be asked to offer for the work were to be only those contractors operating in the Aberfeldy area. The Architect’s plans were passed by the Town Council and the Breadalbane Estate Office and the Foundation Stone was laid with due solemnity and in accordance with Masonic usage and declared duly and truly laid on 4th May 1905. It may be of interest to some to note that in the cavity of Foundation Stone were deposited copies of four different newspapers date 4th May 1905, a Highland Railway Time Table, a Highland Railway List of Furnished Lodgings, Cameron’s Historical Guide to Aberfeldy, the Bye Laws of the Lodge and a List of the Office Bearers and Members on 4th May 1905, a few of the current King Edward VII coins of the Realm and post cards of Aberfeldy. On 16th August, 1905 the Committee intimated that the Contractors had finished 8
their work and the Lodge agreed that the Provincial Grand Lodge be approached and asked to fix a date for the Opening Ceremony. However, it was not until 2nd December 1905 that the Consecration of the New Masonic Temple was carried through with all due and proper formalities by the Provincial Grand Master Bro. Captain C. Murray Stewart, and the Provincial Grand Chaplain in the presence of a large number of Brethren of Lodge Breadalbane No. 657 and representatives of neighbouring Lodges. The Provincial Grand Master in his Minute of the Visitation said he was very glad to take the opportunity of putting on record the great pleasure he had in consecrating such a beautiful and useful Masonic Temple and he hoped it would be the scene of many happy meetings of the Brethren, held in true Brotherly Love and Unity and he hoped that Lodge Breadalbane would long continue to flourish and shed around it all the beneficent Fruits of Freemasonry. On 4th October 1905 the Acting Secretary was instructed to convey to Bro. The Marquis of Breadalbane K.G. the thanks of the Lodge for his generous gift in granting the free site for the new Masonic Temple, to which his Lordship replied. Unfortunately, five years after the new Hall was completed the Lodge Committee reported that they had examined the Hall and found that the floor and joisting and some of the linings were seriously affected by dry rot. This was in December 1910 and when the Treasurer had only recently reported a deficit for the year of £40. The elimination of the dry rot and the subsequent renovation were to cost about £80. The Lodge was in trouble but the Brethren rallied round and made a great 9
effort to make arrangements to clear off their debts. A Brother offered to give the cement and asphalt and also supervise the work free for the clearing of the dry rot, and it was moved that a bazaar be held, which was agreed. Several Brethren made ‘handsome donations’ to the debt clearance fund. The Bazaar was held in the Hall which was ‘tastefully decorated’ and was opened in August 1911 by the Grand Master Mason of Scotland , Bro. the Marquis of Tullibardine M.V.O., D.S.O., M.P. It was so well supported by the Craft and the public alike that the Lodge was able to discharge all its debts and carried forward a credit balance at November 1911 of £61. On 18th January 1956 the Master reported that a committee had completed their estimates for the cost of an intended Lodge extension to mark the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Lodge, and which amounted to approximately £200. By the 15th February the Master reported progress in that Provost Haggart’s permission to go ahead had been obtained and now awaited the next sitting of the Dean of Guild Court, which in due course granted the Petition. An income to the Extension Fund totalling £262 collected by the Treasurer of the Fund, by way of donations, raffles, collections at harmony and proceeds from dances and the eventual cost of the extension amounted to £261 which seems a very happy way to finance an extension project with a balance of a pound to spare. The Lodge met on St. Andrews night 30th November 1956 for the Installation of the Officer Bearers and the Dedication and Declaring Open of the new Lodge
extension to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Lodge. This was done by a deputation from Provincial Grand Lodge of Breadalbane West, headed by the Provincial Grand Master who took the Chair and called for a brief history of the Lodge. After the ceremony of Dedication, the Provincial Grand Master then declared the new extension open. After the Installation the Lodge was closed and the Brethren celebrated the Festival of St. Andrew with a dinner in the Palace Hotel, Aberfeldy. Lodge BreadalbaneAberfeldy No. 657 has a website which the reader can visit to learn more of this old Lodge and its meeting dates. This can be viewed at, this link http://www.lodgebreadalbane657.co.uk/ Our thanks go to the Lodge No.657 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owners. This History has been adapted by the editor to fit the magazine; the full history is on the site.
Did You Know? Q. The second part of the three-fold sign, is it the Sn. of Prayer or Perseverance? I believe that the vast majority of modern rituals use the term `perseverance', though it is difficult to see why that word was adopted. A. In Exodus xvii, v. 8 - 13, we have the source to which the sign is most frequently attributed. The story tells of the Israelites in battle with the Amalekites, on the road to the Promised Land. Moses climbed to the top of the hill looking down on the battle, and `when Moses held up his hand, . . Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed'. Later, both his hands were supported until victory was won and, although the word `prayer' is not mentioned during this incident, there is
little doubt that the posture, one hand or two, was a posture of prayer. In the description of the origins of this particular sign, there are several English rituals which refer to the sun standing still and continuing the `light of day' etc. The rubrics in these rituals usually refer this incident, correctly, to Joshua, x, v. 6 - 14; but it is difficult to see in what way it is related to the sign. A careful reading of the text shows that Joshua spoke, or prayed, to God, and he [Joshua] commanded the sun `to stand still', i.e., to continue the light of day etc. There is positively no mention of a sign, and no hint that he made any kind of sign. A third famous case of hands lifted in prayer is in I Kings viii, v. 22, when Solomon `spread forth his hands toward heaven' at the dedication of his Temple, and again in v. 54, when he arose `from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven'. There is no clue to the idea of `perseverance' in any of these cases. Many of the Provincial workings do not use the word `perseverance' as the distinctive name of the sign in question, but call it the Sn. of Prayer, and the emergence of the sign is a problem in itself. There is an unusual note in `A Mason's Confession' (published in 1755 6, but claiming to describe the practices of c. 1727) which describes the Candidate's posture for the E.A. Obligation thus: ... the open compasses pointed to his breast, and his bare elbow on the Bible with his hand lifted up; This seems to be a confusion of two separate procedures, and it must be emphasized that a rather curious sign 10
which appears at a later stage in the text is not the sign in question, nor is it named. (See E.M.C., pp. 100, 102.) The second part of the Threefold Sign seems to have been quite late in coming into general practice, and the earliest details I can find in our ritual documents are in Three Distinct Knocks, 1760, and J. & B., 1762. Both texts indicate that it formed part of the F.C. Candidate's posture while taking his Obligation, and later in the ceremony he was entrusted with that part of the sign, though it did not yet have its distinctive name. Preston, in his Second Lecture of Free Masonry, was almost certainly describing pre-union practice when he used that sign as part of the Candidate's posture, and in the subsequent catechism, he used the word `perseverance', a title which probably came into use in the last two decades of the 18th century. The Shadbolt MS. has `perseverance' as the name of the sign. That text is now accepted as an early record of post union practice, representing the ritual and procedures after the Lodge of Reconciliation had made its final revisions. Cartwright dealt with the title `Perseverance' at length (in his Commentary on the Freemasonic Ritual, pp. 170 - 1); he believed that the Emulation school introduced it in order to distinguish that sign from what they call the Sn. of Prayer (i.e. the S. of F. with the thumb closed). We know now that this was incorrect, because that name was already in use long before the Emulation Lodge of Improvement came into existence, in 1823. The customary definitions of `perseverance', i.e. `steadfast pursuit of an aim' and `tenacious assiduity or endeavour' 11
are very appropriate, and they are supported by extracts from Preston's Second Lecture, First Section, Clauses I and III. In the preliminaries to the Candidate's admission for the F.C. Degree, (Cl. I) he is announced in a very long speech, as: A Bro. Mason who has been initiated into the First Degree of the Order, has behaved well, served faithfully and is desirous of becoming more expert ...; that he, being regularly proposed and approved by the Master . . . as a candidate for preferment, honoured by them with the Test of Merit, properly prepared by Craftsmen and comes of his own free will humbly to solicit, not to demand. the secrets and privileges of the Second Degree as a reward for his past industry. Later, in Cl. III, relating to the entrusting, the text runs: What is the first secret? It is the three-fold sign. Give the first part. Gives it [i.e. the Pen. Sn.] To what does it allude? To the penalty of the Obligation. Give the second part. Gives it [i.e. the S. of F.] To what does it refer? To the fidelity of a Craftsman. Give me the third part. Gives it. To what does it refer? To the perseverance of a Craftsman.
These two passages from Preston's Lecture, when taken together, show that the word `perseverance', which later became one of the names of that sign, was directly related to the Candidate's behaviour, service, zeal and industry, so that the conferment of the F.C. Degree was in fact a reward for `Perseverance'. It seems a pity that these passages have disappeared from our modern versions of
the Lecture, and nowadays we describe the supposed Biblical source of the sign, without adequate explanation of its name and meaning. Finally, the $64,000 question, which was not posed in this instance. Should the hand, when seen from the front, be seen flat, or edgewise? This question arises constantly, especially from Brethren who have witnessed both forms. Once again, there is no official ruling, and the innumerable printed versions of the ritual afford no information on this point. It is not possible, therefore, to determine that either version is correct, or incorrect. Dr. Cartwright held that `without doubt' the flat position was the original, and he supported it with a quotation from the Bristol working, in which the Master directs that the hand should be held p . . m to the f . . . t. The Bristol working has never been published by any authorizing body, and the instruction is an oral one; but the Bristol ritual is certainly one of the oldest versions in continuous use in England, and on that ground alone it must command attention. Many, if not most of the Provincial lodges follow Bristol fashion; the London lodges generally show the hand edgewise, which Dr. Cartwright described as an innovation. As a Preceptor, I have taught the `edgewise' position for many years, because my Mother Lodge inherited that practice, but I firmly believe that the Bristol usage is much older, and probably more `correct'. The position of the hand as described as being edgewise might seem strange to Scottish Freemasons who might not have visited an English Lodge as our Lodges tend to use the ‘flat’ position. The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Famous Freemasons James Orr The Bard of Ballycarry
Artist’s Impression of James Orr
Some 200 years ago, on the 24th April 1816 James Orr was buried in the old graveyard at Templecorran, Broadisland on the outskirts of the village of Ballycarry. The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, in the form of Wor Bro Billy Thompson, and a small party of Brethren from Redhall Masonic Lodge No 260, Ballycarry, were in attendance at Templecorran on the afternoon of Sunday the 24th April 2016, to take part in a quiet memorial to the memory of James Orr – Poet, Patriot and Philanthropist and United Irishman. Orr was born in the Parish of Broadisland, in the year 1770. He was an only child and was educated at home, by his father, a weaver and owner of a small tract of ground near the village of Ballycarry. He 12
was trained by his father in the use of the loom and followed in his footsteps to the weaver’s trade. He also became a small farmer, cultivating the few acres of land passed on to him in by his father. Due to the tedious nature of the work, Orr involved himself in, he developed his skills as a poet and joined the Roughfort Book Club. This was very much an activity of the 18th century, and a means of raising the standards of education among’st the rural population. Orr himself wrote of the Reading Societies in the following terms. The Sun has set in smiles and pensive eve Sheds soft’ning dew-drops on the thirsty soil; The slow-pac’d swains the cultur’d landscape leave, And from their work-shop stalk the sons of toil. My sweet associates, kind in thoughts and looks, Who all my toils, and all my pastimes share; Attend the reading circle with your books, And sensibly converse away your care.
In this poem, as in so many others Orr writes warmly about the life of the cotters, farmers, weavers and villagers, all friends and neighbours of his own, and records their attempts to better and improve their circumstances in the midst of the abject poverty of the time. This social conscience exhibited so clearly in his early work, made it a given that he would involve himself in the struggles of the United Irishmen at the time of the 1798 Rebellion. One of the first victims of this insurrection was another Orr, in this case William Orr who was found guilty of administrating the oath of a United Irishmen, to two soldiers, who turned him in to the Government. A trial took place, and despite the evidence presented, Orr 13
was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Carrickfergus on the 14th October 1797. This one event,, under the catchphrase ‘Remember Orr’ would influence many people including James Orr to involve themselves in the 1798 rebellion, or as it was known locally as The Turnout. Orr marched to Antrim with the men of Broadisland, encamped at Donegore Hill and took part in the Battle of Antrim. The men were out in force and Orr recorded his thoughts at the time in his poem Donegore Hill. While close leagu’d crappies rais’d the hoards Of pikes, pike shafts, forks, firelocks Some melted lead – somed saw’d deal boards Some hyde, like hens in byre-neuks: Wives baket bannocks for their men, Wi tears instead o water; An ‘ lasses made cockades o’ green For chaps wha us’d to flatter.
Sadly the battle was lost and Orr joined the small party accompanying Henry Joy McCracken, their leader, as they fled to the wild country around Slemish mountain. This was a very severe time in the history of Antrim. Men were forced on the run, as capture meant certain death for those involved in the Turn Out. Orr captured the desperation of these times in his song The Wanderer which tells the moving story of a man, hounded from pillar to post, seeking refuge in a local house to escape the winter storms around Slemish. The story is told against the backdrop of local informers, patrolling dragoons and the general hardship of the times. “Wha’s there?” She ax’t, The wan’rers rap Against the pane the lassie scaur’d The blast that bray’d on Slimiss tap
Wad hardly let a haet be heard. “A Frien’,” he cried, “ for common crimes Tost thro’ the country fore and aft” “Mair lown,” quo’ she – “thir’s woefu times! The herds’s aboon me on the laft”.
Orr successfully made good his escape, after making his way to the coast, where he eventually arrived in America after more adventures and close shaves. It was at this time, leaving his home in Erin that he wrote his best and most moving poem – The Irishman. The Savage loves his native shore, Though rude the soil and chill the air, Well then may Erin’s sons adore Their isle, which nature formed so fair! What flood reflects a shore so sweet, As Shannon great or past’ral Bann? Or who a friend or foe can meet, So gen’rous as an Irishman?
Within a couple of years Orr quietly returned home to Ballycarry, where he returned to his profession as a weaver cotter. He published his first volume of poems by subscription, and it was immediately successful. The list of subscriptions contains the names of the most notable people in South Antrim, as well as the names of his friends and neighbours. He joined Masonic Lodge No 302 Ballycarry in 1809 -10, which met in the upstairs room in Millars Public House, and in 1814, Warrant No 1014 was issued to these Brethren in lieu of 302. Orr would spend the rest of his life in Ballycarry in humble circumstances. Times were hard and the little cottage that he lived in, is still standing a short distance west of the village, nearly opposite the Presbyterian Manse on the Beltoy road. He continued to write verse, which was published in the Belfast Magazine and Commercial Chronicle and The Belfast Newsletter. He
also wrote numerous songs and poems for several local Lodges. Amongst these numbers we have – The Craftsmen of Ballycarry. Kind visiting stranger, who roam without danger Through Erin, the land we love dearly; Since you’ve passed the best judge that belongs to our Lodge, You’re a worthy, and welcome sincerely. Your health and your number, shall wake echo’s slumber, Nor shall you sleep long while you tarry, For the rafters shall ring, with a song that we’ll sing, On the craftsmen of sweet Ballycarry.
Other songs include the lines Spoken in St Patrick’s Lodge, Carrickfergus on St Patrick’s Day 1808 and St John’s Day. Then there was the famous Ballynure song; Come let us here, my Brethren dear, Secluded thus from vulgar sight, In Fellowship and Friendship rear A Temple up to Love and Light; On Truth’s firm ground its walls we’ll found; Our Union shall cement it sure; Strife’s hammer’r rash shall never clash Against the Lodge of Ballynure.
One of his most famous songs was – The Dying Mason – which was a popular song sung after the local Lodge meetings, as the Brethren enjoyed some conviviality. This was a song sung to the tune Lochaber which goes as follows:Farewell to the village, the best on the plain, The lough, glen, an gran’hill , I’ll ne’er see again; Adieu to my pleasure! Adieu to my care! My poor auld frail folk, an my lassie sae fair; The kirk whare I promis’d wi’ folly to part
An the Inn that ensnar’d me I lea without smart; But och! How the sons o’ the Lodge can I lea, An gae to my lang hame – the cauld house o’clay? Nae mair shall I gang, while in this side o’ time, A step nearer Light in the Order sublime; Nae mair, while ilk mouth’s closed an’ fast the door bar’d, Initiate the Novice, baith curious and Scaur’d; Nae mair join wi’scores in the Grand Chorus saft, Nor fondlt toast –“Airlan’” – an’ peace to the Craft; I ay cud been wi’ ye, but now I maun stay Confin’d in my lang hame – the cauld house o’ clay.
Orr died relatively young, on the 24th April 1816 and was buried in the graveyard at Templecorran. In the year 1831 a very fine monument was erected over his grave by Brethren from the local Masonic Lodges and other admirers. This is the Memorial that was re-dedicated by The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim in 2014, after extensive repairs had been completed, and which have been largely paid for by Members of the Masonic Order, with some assistance from the local community and other grant aid. This is one of only two public Masonic memorials in Ireland; the other memorial is located in Comber in memory of General Rollo Gillespie. When you arrive at the Orr Monument, have a look on the west elevation where you will find the lines – “When lost amongst nettles ye’ll find if ye search, my stone of remembrance is marked with an Arch”. 15
Brethren, James Orr, lived in dangerous times and thanks to his poetic ability, we have an excellent record of those times from his point of view. He was a keen Freemason, Secretary of Lodge 1014, after its formation, and some of his Minutes and correspondence still survives. And thanks to the efforts of a number of our recent Provincial Grand Master’s we now have a memorial, fit for purpose, rebuilt and repaired to a high standard, to tell the story of James Orr for another two hundred years. We mark the memory of this excellent Brother. He lived in far different and troubled times and yet lived his life, to the full, within the tenets of our Order. This article on James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry was written by Bro.Robert Bashford and sourced from this Masonic website http://irishfreemasonry.com/blog/
Fraternal Societies Of the World Independent Order of B’nai B’rith
B’nai B’rith in Hebrew means sons or brotherhood of the covenant. The organization was formed by German Jews to foster education and to improve the Jewish image in America. Twelve Hebrew men met on October 13, 1843, in the city of New York, to form the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith, as it was known then. Some of the twelve founders were members of Freemasonry and of the Odd Fellows. The early structure of the B’nai B’rith borrowed a number of features from Masonry and Odd Fellows. It adopted a secret ritual (six degrees), its members had secret recognition signs, and it used the blackball method of rejecting undesirable applicants for membership. During the first few years some of the lodges in the order conducted their business in the German language. The BBI from its very first meeting was a fraternal and benevolent society. Each lodge was obligated to collect dues from all its male-only members so that a fund for widows and orphans could be operated. Dues were paid according to member’s ages during the early years of the organization’s life. Those between twenty-
one and thirty paid $10 a year; between thirty and forty, $15; between forty and forty-five, $25. No one over forty-five years of age was accepted as a member because he was seen as a poor insurance risk. Countless fraternal orders in the United States once served to integrate their immigrant members into the mainstream of American life. The B’nai B’rith was no exception. Two years after its inception, some members participated (in lodge regalia) in the funeral procession of President Andrew Jackson in June 1845. The concern to become American soon made itself felt in other ways. One lodge (Emmanuel Lodge of Baltimore) petitioned the Constitutional Grand Lodge in New York to permit the initiation of "nonIsraelites." When Emmanuel Lodge’s request was denied, it voted in 1851 to surrender its charter. Virtually from its beginning the B’nai B’rith has been concerned with overcoming anti-Semitism. In 1851 the order sent letters of protest to the American Secretary of State, Daniel Webster, and others regarding anti-Semitism practiced in Switzerland, which in a treaty at that time with the United States prevented Jews from living in given Swiss cantons. The B’nai B’rith has undergone a fair amount of internal change over the years. In the 1860s it changed the titles of its officers from the Hebrew to standard English. By 1863 the order’s preamble to its constitution was amended with reference to the group’s mission. It no longer used the words, "the highest interests of Judaism," but referred only to "the highest interest of humanity." In 1913 it organized the Anti-Defamation League as a program to fight prejudice against 16
Jews. By 1920 it officially recognized the role of women by authorizing ladies auxiliaries. In the 1920s secrecy was dropped as part of the group’s posture. After 1910 it slowly abandoned the blackball method of voting, although the practice was not completely abolished in all lodges until 1948. The order began with the German language, but soon changed to conducting its business in English. The BBI has supported a wide variety of programs: community volunteer services, health drug-abuse education, helping the disabled, prisoner rehabilitation, disaster relief, world hunger relief, assisting new immigrants and refugees, helping older adults, and other programs. In order to become a member of the BBI today the individual must be male, at least twentyone years of age, of good moral character, and of the Jewish faith. Women and young people must join their own separate organizations. The youth group is known as B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. In 1978 the B’nai B’rith had about 500,000 members (about the number that the society had in the late 1960s) in seventyfive regional grand lodges. This membership figure includes the B’nai B’rith Women, Anti-Defamation League, Hillel, and the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. The number of local lodges stood at 3,500. The B’nai B’rith is truly an international group in that it has lodges in a number of countries. It founded a lodge in 1882 in Germany, and by 1888 it had also established a lodge in Jerusalem. After 1948 it reopened lodges in eastern European areas. Structurally, the B’nai B’rith is organized on three levels: international, regional, and local. The international operation has since 17
1935 been known as the "Supreme Lodge." Prior to that time, it was the "Constitutional Grand Lodge." The international headquarters have been in Washington, D.C., since 1938. Regional groups are called "District Grand Lodges," and local entities are referred to as "Lodges." International officers use the titles of president, vice-president, secretary, and the like. However, on the district or regional level the old lodge nomenclature prevails: Grand Nasi Abh, Grand Aleph, and so on.
These societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World
A True Arch In the true arch, as Freemasons understand the word, there is a wedge shaped centre stone which crowns and completes the arch and forms an absolutely essential part of it. Without the key stone, the arch would collapse. There were arches in the 1st Century spanning a width of 83 feet (25 Metres) and rising to a height of 121 feet (37 Metres). The true arch, the arch of Freemasonry, derives its strength from its construction with a series of wedge shaped stones, the first stone on each side resting on the support, or abutment. As regards the other stones, some strength is borrowed from the presence of cement or mortar in the joints; but the real strength – the capacity of the arch to sustain a great weight bearing down upon it – is due to the arch stone or centre stone or key stone as it is variously called, which functions independently of any mortar or cement, and transmits a load evenly through the other stones to the vertical supports or abutments. An arch correctly designed and built should function without the cement or mortar joints, but, of course, is better with their presence.
It cannot be overemphasized that the serpent or snake plays no role in the teachings or ritual of regular Freemasonry. Its introduction as a fastener for Masonic aprons is easily seen as the work of regalia manufacturers. That said, the symbolic usages of the snake are of interest to students of religion, esoterica, and of history. On the other hand, George Oliver writes that the serpent is a "significant symbol in Freemasonry: Moses' rod changed into a serpent, "The serpentine emblem of Masonry... is a bright symbol of Hope; for the promised Deliverer will open the gates of Heaven to his faithful followers by bruising its head, and they shall enter triumphantly, trampling on its prostrate body." "A striking emblem of Christianity triumphant; and bearing an undoubted reference to the promise made to Adam after his unhappy fall." In mainstream Christian beliefs, the snake represents temptation and evil: the snake is the servant of Satan. But it has also had its more positive significance. In ancient Egyptian mythology the world was created by four powers, one of which was the sun god Amun-Ra who took the form of a snake and emerged from the water to inseminated the cosmic egg, the kneph, which was created by the other gods. In another story, a god named Hathor transformed himself into a poisonous snake
called Agep and killed Seth. He also guarded the wheat fields where the spirit of Horus was said to live, bringing the sheaf of wheat to be regarded as the symbol of rebirth. Bro. H. Meij suggests that this is the root of the masonic usage of an ear of corn in the Fellowcraft degree. In Greek mythology Zeus freed two eagles which met at the centre of the world, sometimes called the navel of the earth, which is guarded by a snake called Pytho. The symbol Serpens Candivorens, a snake biting its tail, represents the unending cycle of nature between destruction, and new creation, life and death. The Greeks called this figure Ouroboros. Chinese mythology maintained that the world was surrounded by two entwined snakes, which symbolized the power and wisdom of the creator. In another legend the Buddha was attacked by a snake which bound itself seven times around his waist. Due to the inner strength of the Buddha, the snake could not kill him but instead became his follower. Astrologers, or those interested in the historical development of astrology, will point out that some systems include a thirteenth sign of the zodiac known as Ophiuchus Serpentarius, the Serpent Holder. This constellation lies between Sagittarius and Libra, somewhat over Scorpio. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries this constellation was called Alpheichius. Known as the "God of Invocation", this house was named after the legendary healer, Ophiuchus (Asclepius). The two serpents in his hands later replaced the twin ribbons around the caduceus which became a symbol for physicians. Plato called this thirteenth sign "the god of the underworld", Pluto, although Christians during the mediaeval ages, changed it into the figure of St. Paul 18
holding a viper, before dropping it altogether. The 28th degree of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, the Knight of the Sun (Prince Adept), incorporates the Worm Ouroboros (the dragon, or serpent, holding his own tail in his mouth), into its iconography, representing the immortal and eternal principle as well as both love and wisdom. The 25th degree, The Knight of The Brazen Serpent, also incorporates this symbol. Some writers have seen in the snake the duality of the male, phallic principle exemplified by its physical shape, combined with the regenerative female principle demonstrated by its shedding skin. The caption under Bryant’s picture of the Orphic Egg reproduced in Manly P. Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages reads: "The ancient symbol of the Orphic Mysteries was the serpent-entwined egg, which signified Cosmos as encircled by the Fiery Creative Spirit." "The egg also represents the soul of the philosopher; the serpent, the Mysteries. At the time of initiation the shell is broken and man emerges from the embryonic state of physical existence wherein he had remained through the foetal period of philosophic regeneration." Some Masonic writers will identify this initiatory aspect of the serpent with Masonic initiation. Freemasonry teaches the hope in eternal life and promotes the principles of brotherly love and wisdom. In these attributes the serpent can be seen to have Masonic significance. It is simplistic though—and false—to assume that if the serpent represents specific Masonic attributes, that other attributes of the serpent are therefore also Masonic. Sourced from BC Masonic Bulletin, author unknown.
Rays of Masonry “Modernizing Masonry” The statement is often voiced: "We must modernize Masonry." If any importance can be attached to such statement, it must be that Masonry has not been properly interpreted. The why and how of Masonry must be confusing to the extent that the modernization plan is also confusing. Masonry is a way of existence. It is life. What can I do to change conditions? Surely, I cannot do anything about the fundamentals of life, breathing, walking or sleeping. I cannot improve upon the rays of the sun. I cannot do anything about finding a substitute for water. In all the fundamental departments of life I cannot think of any plan to modernize them. And I must accept Masonry as it is, its history, its tradition, its principles and purposes. I must judge its worth by what it has meant and means to humanity and to society. The only possible change is in the manner that I apply Masonry to my life. What Masonry offers to the Mason of today is as necessary and worthwhile as it was to Masons of a hundred years ago. What its philosophy is worth today, it was worth a century ago. What part of it can I eliminate without losing something of lasting value? What can I put back into it that will make it a more progressive system? The modernization of Masonry must take place within the individual Mason. There are no hidebound restrictions. There is some understanding that I can gain today which I failed to see yesterday. May Masons, through the faithful performance of their duties as Masons, through a more careful study and understanding of our Institution, find a new appreciation, rather than to generalize on the vague and indefinite plan of "modernizing Freemasonry." Dewey Wollstein 1953
"It is a wonderful idea," commented the Old Tiler, "but you don't carry it far enough." "I thought maybe you could add to it," said the New Brother, enthusiastically. "What would you suggest?" "I think a small boat in the river is undignified. Why not hire an ocean liner? Why not go halfway to Europe, and instead of having diving and swimming matches, get a couple of whales and have a real whale of a time? Or you might be able to get Uncle Sam to lend you a couple of submarines.
Pep It's a wonderful idea! I'm strong for it, strong!" cried the New Brother to the Old Tiler in the anteroom. "Tell me about it!" begged the Old Tiler. "Wonderful ideas are rare!" "A lot of us think the old lodge needs pepping up. We go along in the same old way, never doing much of anything different, just making Masons and having little lodge room talks and all. So we thought - Smithy and Bunny and Wilmot and a few others and I â€“ that we'd start something. We plan to hire a boat and take the lodge down the river and have a special dispensation to hold a third degree and feed out on the water. We'll hire a band, all Masons, of course, and probably have an entertainment afterwards; maybe we can get some high divers and hold a swimming race, too."
''I wouldn't hire just a Masonic band. Get three or eleven bands, and have a competition to see which can blow the loudest. Hold all three of the degrees at once; the first in the hold, the second on deck and the third up in the crowâ€™s nest. That would be different and exhilarating. Don't be a piker! If you are going to innovate, innovate right!" "Why, you are laughing at me! Don't you think it's a good idea to put pep in the lodge? Didn't the Shriners hold an initiation in a cave, and another in the locks at the canal, and didn't our ancient brethren hold their lodges on hills and in valleys and . . ." "The Shrine did, and does, and will again, more power to it. The Shrine is a modern organization, with no need to uphold ancient traditions. The Shrine is a funloving organization, the playground for Masonry and Masons; it thrives on the new, the different, the novel, the startling, I love the Shrine, and everything it does. I love a good comedy, too, but I don't like to see a minister pulling funny stuff in the 20
pulpit. And what is fine for the Shrine is poor for the lodge. "If our ancient brethren held their meetings on hills and in valleys, it was because they had no buildings. Had we no temples we would do the same. But our ancient brethren didn't go out under the stars to be 'peppy,' nor should we." "Somewhere or other in Shakespeare (I think it's Henry IV) are the lines, 'Fickle changelings and poor discontents, which gape and rub elbow at the news of hurlyburly innovations.' There are 'poor discontents' who are dissatisfied unless they are amused, but they are not devoted lodge members. "I can't say much for your idea. Trying to put ‘pep’ into Masonic degrees is like painting a statue or putting perfume on a flower, or having red fire and a brass band at a funeral. ''Masonry is sacred and beautiful. It is beautiful with age that has mellowed and softened it, and given it the tints and colours of the glory of service. Could you improve the Grand Canyon with better colours than nature gave it? How can you improve a lodge meeting with a boat, a brass band and a diving contest? When you go on your knees to your Creator, do you play the phonograph, dance a jig arid tell a funny, story to put ‘pep’ in the performance? "Masonry is much more than lodge meetings. It is selflessness, brotherhood, charity, toleration, veneration; it is the sweet and quiet influence which makes a brother more than a mere lodge member; it is an expression of the divine will to make men better. You cannot aid it with a boat 21
trip or a brass band, my son; you cannot help it by innovations. You must take it or leave it as it is; that which has endured for centuries needs no such artificial stimulation." "But don't you believe in entertainment or excursions or play?'' asked the New Brother, "Of course! Hire a boat, get a band, hold a diving contest, make merry, by all means. Have a lodge picnic, blowout, whatever you will, and I'll help you. But don't spoil it by trying to make it into a lodge meeting, and don't spoil a good meeting by trying to make it a picnic. "We are taught to have refreshment. But we are not taught to mix labour and refreshment. It is first of the ancient laws that it is beyond the power of any Mason to change ancient laws. Find me any authority in the ancient laws for holding a third degree in a boat with a brass band and a diving contest and I'll help you. Otherwise, I'll try to keep the old lodge just as she is and save your pep for the excursion you want to give and don't know it!" "Something tells me this proposition will not be popular if I bring it up in lodge, unless I make it plain it's an excursion and not an attempt to put 'pep' in the degrees," answered the New Brother. "Something tells you right, son," answered the Old Tiler. This is the Fifty-fourth 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
Some Curious Masonic Words Freemasonry has many curiosities, and indeed, many mysteries as yet unsolved. Among the former are several often misunderstood words with odd or involved meanings. ABIMAN REZON is the title still used in some parts of the USA for their Books of Law. It was the title given by Dermott to the Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge (Ancients) of England. Presumably the words had an Hebraic origin, but no one has as yet settled on a translation so authoritative that all are satisfied. "Will of Selected Brethren", "Secrets of a Prepared Brother", "Royal Builder", "Brother Secretary", "Intimate Brother Secretary", "A Prepared Brother", are all suggested meanings by various scholars who adduce various Hebrew words and their compounds as possibilities for the meaning Dermott had in mind when he first used the syllables as a title. Scholars also dispute the pronunciation. Ah-HIGH-man REEzon is common, but the better scholarship seems to indicate that properly the second word should be pronounced with the accent of the second syllable--Re-ZON LEWIS is an iron tool inserted in a cavity in a large stone, which expanded as it is pulled upwards, holds the weight of the stone firmly as it is swung through the air by a derrick so its position in the wall of a building. Both the term and the invention are very old. Pennsylvania used it as a symbol of strength, but as such it is absent from the symbolism of other Grand Jurisdictions. Masonically, the word is
universally used to denote the under-age son of a Freemason. Obviously the term has so applied because the strength of a man's later years is in his sons, and the lewis, in England, is a symbol of strength. In England a dispensation may be obtained, permitting the initiation of a lewis under twenty-one years of age. In Scotland any lewis may be initiated at eighteen. In North Dakota, a lewis may apply to a lodge before his is twenty-one, but cannot be initiated until he has reached man's estate. The Classic instance of a lewis being initiated in this country is George Washington, who was only twenty years and some months of age when he became an Entered Apprentice in "The Lodge at Fredericksburgh" (Virginia), November 4,1752 In France the term is not lewis but louveteau, but has the same meaning. The ABIF of Hiram Abif does not appear in the Bible. The word Abi or Abiw or Abiv is translated in the King James version both as "his father" and "my father" - using the word "father" as a term of respect and not as denoting a parent. Hiram, the widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, was "my father" in the same sense that Abraham was "my father" to members of the tribes of Israel. The thought that the two syllables are a surname is obviously in error. The legend gains, not loses, in appeal when Abif becomes a title of honor. Just when and how it came into the Masonic terminology is still a moot point; it does not appear in the Regis document (oldest of our Constitutions, dated approximately 1390) but does appear - only as one name among many - in the Dowland manuscript of 1550. Apparently the term was not in common use until after the King James Bible (1611) had become familiar in 22
Masonic circles. The story of Hiram Abif as told in the Masonic tale is not found in the Bible, nor is there any meaning in the word which can be construed as port of the story as Masons tell it, except that of veneration. DUE GUARD is two words, forming one, which scholars fight over and Masons accept as a matter of course. Every Mason knows what it is. None apparently, really knows where it came from. Mackey says that it is a contraction of "duly guard". According to the great authority it is an Americanism and not used abroad now to mean what we mean, even though two hundred years ago it was the name given to a sign. Some who dare to raise their small voices against the thunder of the great Mackey are convinced that the words are a ontraction or alteration of "Dieu-garde" -"God guard" -- of the french. Haywood gives both Mackey and the immediately foregoing as a choice; Dr. Pease is wholly on the side of Mackey. Authorities with less fame still cling to a derivation from the French words, probably because of their poetic content more than any etymological foundations. Universally in this country a ritualistic difference is perceived between the due guards and the signs, but as a matter of actual practice a due guard is a sign and cannot be taken from the category of signs by a mere definition; even the ritualistic definition of a sign does not preclude the due guard from the classification. Few wholly Masonic words have been so much talked about and so little understood by the average Mason as "COWAN". Every one understands that it is a term of contempt; that it denotes some one wholly without the Masonic circle; but just what its real meaning may be, where the word 23
came from, how it came into our system, is disputed to this day by Masonic scholars. It is generally - not wholly - agreed that it has a Scotch ancestry. certain old Scottish books lend color to the theory. according to these tomes a COWAN is a man who builds walls without mortar-as any farm hand in America may do, piling into a wall the stones from nearby streams or turned up in ploughing. From this the term cane to be used as meaning an uninstructed Mason, a self-taught builder, one not of the trade. Apparently its earliest appearance is in the Schaw Manuscript, dated 1598. It appears in the second, or 1738 edition of Anderson's constitutions. Scott puts the words into the mouth of one of his characters. Whence came the word? A Greek work KUON means dog, and in early church days infidels were called dogs, probably because of such passages as Matthew 7:6-"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs." old Swedish KUJON means a silly fellow. The French word COYOU means a coward, a base person. Mackey had a different theory; that COWAN was either a derivation of, or the ancestry of the English word "common". Old English spelled the word both coen and comon. If this is correct, COWAN, meaning common, is still a term meaning the lesser, vide "common people," also the English "House of Commons" as distinguished from the House of Lords. However derived the word is now wholly the property of the Fraternity, not otherwise used, and means to moderns an uninstructed and ignorant person, one not of the Fraternity, just as eavesdropper means to us one who attempts to gain the secrets of Masonry unlawfully. Moderns do not go as far as bloodshed over the word "HELE" (pronounced HAIL), but in spite of the determinations
of philologists and Masonic authorities who may well be considered final, now and then some more or less learned Freemason wishes to change either the meaning of the word or its pronunciation, or its spelling, or any two, or all three! HELE is almost invariable associated with the word "conceal" (as it should be) and "HELE and conceal" may be translated by transposition-"conceal and HELE". "HELE" is old Angle-Saxon belan, meaning to conceal. "Conceal" is Norman, and means to hide. Dr. Pease has well brought out that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries language in England was part Norman-French and part AngleSaxon and that early ritual writers, desiring to make sure that no misunderstanding was possible, often expressed ideas in word pairs, one word from each language. Hence such phrases as "HELE and conceal", "parts and points", "Free will and accord", etc. To the objections of those who contend that "HELE" should be pronounced "heel" because it rhymes with "conceal and reveal" the answer is that in the early days of the language, our "conceal" was pronounced "consayle" and our "reveal" was pronounced "revayle". The word "HELE" (meaning to hide) has no connection with the word "heal", meaning to make whole again, or Masonically, make legitimate, nor with the word "heel", meaning part of the foot, or with the word "hale", meaning in good health, or the word "hail", meaning to call to, or greet. Few words are more wrongly used, at least in Masonic circles, that "oath". A candidate takes upon himself a solemn obligation to do certain things and to refrain from certain actions. the word "OBLIGATION" is from the Latin-of (to) and ligare (to bind). It is a tie, a bond, an agreement, a profession of intention, a
responsibility, a duty agreed upon, a constraint of action, a pledge, an acknowledgement of promises made. In no such definitions can be found any similarity to the meaning of the word "oath", which is the concluding phrase by which the assumer of the OBLIGATION calls upon that which he holds sacred to witness his vow. In a court of law the witness swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That is an assumed OBLIGATION. He ends "So help me, God" which is the oath, attesting to the sincerity of his OBLIGATION. In taking both OBLIGATION and attesting it by the oath, the witness is required to raise his right hand, a curious throwback to ancient days in which a man offered his right hand to be cut off if his oath was broke,. Still more an oddity is the small boy's attestation "by golly" made without knowing that he is offering the ancient "gol"(hand) if he tells not the truth! The Masonic OBLIGATIONS are high-minded duties voluntarily assumed by candidates as their part in becoming brethren of the Ancient Craft. the oath which they take is their attestation of the validity of the covenants the thus make. To speak of the whole as a Masonic "oath" is to name the whole for a minor part. Words change in meaning as the centuries pass. The classic examples are the word "hell" and "hellfire" which in the King James Version (Mark) mean a place where refuse and garbage are burned and in more modern eschatology becomes a place of punishment, somewhat worse than the sheol of the old testament. Among words much used in Masonry two-PROFANE and LIBERTINE - have changed in meaning with the passage of the years. Anciently "PROFANE" came from "pro" (without) and "fanum" (temple) and 24
signified one uninitiated, not within the circle of the Craft. "LIBERTINE" was once a free thinker, one who did not subscribe to the doctrine of the church ". "PROFANE" in common parlance is now one given to taking the name of God in vain and the "LIBERTINE" is a licentious person. Masonically a profane is merely one not initiated, and an "irreligious libertine" is an agnostic or an atheist, and not a man of promiscuous habits. Anciently the word "TOKEN" (from the Anglo-Saxon tacn, a gesture, a sign and art) was properly used as we use it Masonically. But through the years it has changed, in common parlance; now may be an offering of flowers to a lady or a box of cigars to a man. In Biblical days the word was used to signify a memorial or other reminder of a covenant or promise as the rainbow was "a TOKEN of a covenant". In Freemasonry the TOKEN is never a thing, always an act. This article pronounces the word “Hele” as in Hail. In most of the Lodges I visit here in Scotland, it is pronounced Heal, I wonder if down through the years this was arrived at from rhyming with conceal, and reveal?
This article was sourced from the Connecticut Freemason, to which our grateful thanks go.
The Masonic Badge
“Why should I join masonry?” What would you say to a possible new member? You’re interested in joining the Masonic lodge? We’d love to have you. You’re the type of person we look for: committed, enthusiastic, a leader. We think you’ll do great things here. You will make lifelong friendships, and hopefully, you’ll be the type of person whose positive impact will be felt here for many years. This is the start of something really cool. We know you have your reasons for joining, and we also know that the reasons you’ll stay will be entirely different. Trust us on that one. People tend to join for different reasons. They stay around for the friendships and because they find a place where they can impact the lives of others. It’s a family. We know this. Soon, you will, too.
The badge of membership will soon be yours. But, there’s one lesson that we need to impress upon you before you sign your name on the dotted line, pay that first fee, and take that first step. It’s the single most important thing we’re going to ask of you, so you need to listen and understand it, now, before you say “yes.” It’s the one most important thing that any fraternity can impress upon its new members. Truly, our survival as an organization depends on you understanding this one simple lesson and taking it to heart. It’s more important than our history, our traditions, our structure, or our rules. Because, if you don’t understand this most fundamental lesson, then none of the other stuff will matter. If you don’t get this one “golden rule of masonry,” then your son and grandson won’t have this organization to join someday, and all of this will just be a fuzzy memory. Here it is. Ready? From the moment you say yes to this organization, you are always wearing your badge. I’m going to repeat it. From the moment you say yes to this organization, you are always wearing your badge. We’re not talking about t-shirts, or sweatshirts, or hats made with logos of the group. We’re not talking about a tattoo on your ankle, some party favour, or a badge you wear on your dress shirt.
What we mean is that when you say yes to lifetime membership in masonry, everything you say, do and represent from that moment forward is a direct reflection on this group, your brothers, and the thousands of members who have come before you. Everything you put out to the world is a direct reflection of this fraternity. Every decision, every achievement, every mistake you make happens to all of us from this point forward. When you go to the grocery store, you represent us. When you drive down the road and slow down so a pedestrian can cross the street, you represent us. When you become a leader, you represent us. When you insult someone or talk badly about another, you represent us. When you make decisions about how you behave, you represent us. When you go anywhere, you represent us. When you go home and sit at your mother’s dining room table, you represent us. When you get a job and go to work for a company or organization, you represent us. When you commit your life to that special person, you represent us. You are always wearing your badge From this day forward, always. Every day, in every situation. it never comes off. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a jersey with our name on it, or a business suit at an interview. You have to assume that every person you meet will form a permanent opinion about masons – good or bad – based on how you interact with them. Every good thing you do builds us up. Every dumb thing you do tears us down. 26
We live in a time when the actions of one man can kill a group like ours. One person who acts in a way that is inconsistent with our shared values can end hundreds of years of tradition and pride. One bad choice you make can take away everything that generations of men have worked to build. All the stuff you see that belongs to us can be boxed up or thrown out, because of the choices you make. If this seems a little intense, that’s good. Because it’s serious. If it sounds like too much responsibility, or if you don’t think you can behave in a way that reflects well on us at all times, then walk away now. Do us the favour. We won’t think less of you. In fact, we’ll thank you. This sort of commitment isn’t for everybody. But, don’t say yes unless you understand. We’re not asking you to give up anything. We aren’t asking you to become something you aren’t. We’re asking you to become something more. We’re inviting you to become part of a group of men who make a promise to take care of each other, every day. We’re asking you to become the very best version of you that you can be. It’s a big deal, and not everyone can do it. Forget everything you’ve heard up to this point. Forget how much you might desire this, or how much we might want to bring you into the group. Just clear your mind and ask yourself one question. Are you ready to never take off the badge? Because when you say yes, you’re not just putting a badge on a sweatshirt. You’re putting it in your heart. You’re forever 27
stamping your identity with it. Everything you are, from this point on, becomes who we are. You will make mistakes, and brothers will remind you of your commitment. There will be times where you will see other brothers forgetting their promise, and you’ll need to remind them. That’s part of this whole “Masonic” thing. We work together to make ourselves better men who stand for something. We carry each other. We matter to one another. If we’re doing our Masonic duty right, then we’ll make you a better man. If you’re doing everything right, then you will make us a better organization. So, please think about it. Take it seriously. Because if you say yes, this badge belongs to you as surely as it belonged to our founders. If you say yes, this badge becomes your responsibility forever.
That’s the promise. This Article by Bro. Hugh Goldie was sourced from the Sunday Masonic Paper. Many thanks!
Masonic Limericks The Master asked the Candidate from Fife, “In times of difficulty and strife, Tell us, you must, In whom do you trust?” The Candidate replied, “In the wife.” There was a Freemason from Clydes Who wore a newspaper apron. He confides, The apron caught fire And burned his entire Front page, sports section and classifieds.
Did You Know? Q. What is the significance of the right hand stretched out at length, palm downwards, when voting for the confirmation of minutes, as being `the manner observed among Masons'? A. After discussion with several learned Brethren, I am still not sure of the answer. It is probably an act of ratification and, as such, it may bear some relationship to the position of the R.H. during the Ob. In that case I suggest that the outstretched hand alone is not enough, but that the thumb should be forming a square. We are taught that `... all squares, levels, etc.... are true and proper signs . . . etc.', and the early eighteenth century catechisms indicate that `squares' and similar moreor less unobtrusive modes of recognition were quite common practice (even to the point of writing the superscription of a letter in the form of a square). So far as I know, the outstretched hand is customary all over England and in the Commonwealth. But the problem has a different aspect if we distinguish between confirming the minutes and voting in general. A regulation of the Grand Lodge on 6 April 1736 prescribed that the mode of voting should be by `holding up one hand', and those same words appear in Rule 59 of our present-day Book of Constitutions. Clearly the regulation requires that the hand should be held up, not outstretched, and if we assume, as we must, that the
Grand Lodge adheres to its own regulations, then `holding up one hand' has been, for more than two centuries, `the manner observed among Masons'. Yet, it must be admitted that even in Grand Lodge, when confirming the minutes and for ordinary voting, the vast majority of Brethren use the outstretched hand.
Q. What is the origin of the phrase `darkness visible'? A. It appears in Milton's Paradise Lost (Bk. 1, 1. 63): A dungeon horrible on all sides round As one great furnace flam'd, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv'd only to discover sights of woe.. This great work was begun in 1658, when Milton was already blind, and the sombre gloom of these lines may well be contrasted with the many beautiful passages in which the poet was able to conjure up his visions of light, in words which seem to acquire a greater strength and majesty because of the perpetual darkness in which he lived. The same phrase, `darkness visible', was used, far less effectively, by Alexander Pope, in the Dunciad (Bk. iv, 1, 3), and by Gilbert White, in his Natural History of Selborne (Letter xxvi). The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 in his Book â€œFreemasons at Work.â€? (Please remember for the most part these questions and answers concern usage in Lodges under the English Constitution, editor.)
Why not Speculative Alchemy?
electricity; he was the inventor of planetariums. As a Freemason, Desaguliers was the third Grand Master (1719) of the premier Grand Lodge in England and largely shaped the doctrines, ritual and structure of the Masonic craft.
Enlightenment thinking taught that it was man’s reason that determined truth, not dogma or precedent. The movement had no one beginning: historical forces never do. But what the historian Peter Gay has called “the sacred circle” of inherited dogmatism could not remain uncriticised. The challenge built up over a number of decades. To an extent it developed in clandestine societies that met behind closed doors to discuss and debate theory and, in the field of science, to carry out experiments.
Freemasons’ lodges pre-dated his time. They had a scientific bent, sometimes circulating works which could not be published openly. Freemasonry could thus have developed as a scientific subculture of the Royal Society. Desaguliers seems to have determined differently.
In England the scientific process led to the creation in 1660 of the Royal Society for the Improvement of Natural Science. Its informal meetings in the 1640s brought the name, “The Invisible College”; then it emerged in public under royal patronage. Members were not necessarily professional scientists; some were “gentlemen” (scientific amateurs and/or affluent patrons). By the early 19th century there were attempts to reduce the numbers of honorary members, though the borderlines were not always clear: thus in 1836 Sir Moses Montefiore, a non-scientist, became a Fellow for promoting coal gas as a source of illumination. Crucial contributions were made by Sir Isaac Newton, president from 1703-27. His assistant was Rev Dr John Theophilus Desaguliers (1683-1744), a clergyman and natural philosopher from a Huguenot family who had fled to England and was possibly the discoverer of the properties of 29
As a clergyman as well as a scientist he probably decided that the movement would fill a different gap. Instead of focussing on science, he would develop a network of societies that would examine the nature of man and man’s role in the universe. It would promote a doctrine of man as inherently good, rational and capable of creating his own destiny. It would be man’s task to build a good society through first building a good human person: an approach reminiscent of Plato’s plan in “The Republic” (c 360 BCE) of the wellordered man and the well-ordered state. God would be the Great Architect of the Universe, its Grand Geometrician, its master builder. These ideas were incorporated into Masonic ritual and in the Constitutions which, drawn up by James Anderson, were supervised by Desaguliers. The Constitutions, believing that a good man could use his own initiative to become a better man, appeared harmless enough, but they alarmed Augustinian thinkers who upheld the theology of Original Sin and opposed the Pelagian “heresy” that man
could be saved on his own and did not necessarily require a Divine gift of grace. Because Freemasonry challenged conventional theology, prudence dictated the adoption of a mild disguise. One was available in the now declining operative lodges which not only spoke of building but had a structure and an inclination for secrecy. Operative Masons were practical people, not so highly educated, but if their movement could be taken over by the intellectuals, the new thinking could find a home and protect itself. In time the need for secrecy disappeared, but the movement developed it into a fetish and almost invited the allegation, in an age of more open communication, that it was a secret society and therefore apparently reprehensible.
THE FIVE POINTS SYMBOLISM Foot to foot that we may go, Where our help we can bestow: Pointing out the better way, Lest our brothers go astray. Thus our steps should always lead To the souls that are in need. Knee to knee, that we may share Every brother's needs in prayer: Giving all his wants a place, When we seek the throne of grace. In our thoughts from day to day For each other we should pray. Breast to breast, to there conceal, What our lips must not reveal; When a brother does confide, We must by his will abide. Mason's secrets to us known, We must cherish as our own.
In the meantime Desaguliers and his colleagues had provided Freemasonry with a largely mythical structure of symbolism and story that clothed its origins and ethos in ancient fables and phrases. Freemasons enjoyed their ritual without knowing that its ideals and practices had developed to meet a need at a particular time.
Hand to back, our love to show To the brother, bending low: Underneath a load of care, Which we may and ought to share. That the weak may always stand, Let us lend a helping hand.
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.
Cheek to cheek, or mouth to ear, That our lips may whisper cheer, To our brother in distress: Whom our words can aid and bless. Warn him if he fails to see, Dangers that are known to thee.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
Foot to foot, and knee to knee, Breast to breast, as brothers we: Hand to back and mouth to ear, Then that mystic word we hear, Which we otherwise conceal, But on these five points reveal. By BRO. N. A. McAULAY
THE EMBLEMS OF FREEMASONRY The First Degree Fortitude Fortitude is that virtue which arms the soul against the storms of adversity, enables it to rise superior to distress and danger, and gives it strength to resist the temptations and allurements of vice. But this virtue is equally distant from impetuous rashness on the one hand, and from dishonest cowardice on the other. The truly brave neither shrink from the evils which they are constrained to encounter, nor rush on danger without feeling and estimating its full extent. Fortitude, therefore, differs from constitutional hardiness, as real benevolence is distinguished from weakness, being actuated not by a principle of blind instinctive daring but by the nobler motives of virtuous energy. He who with steady aim pursues the course which wisdom recommends, and justice consecrates, can cheerfully meet the hour of trial, smile at impending danger, and contemn every sordid and unworthy motive which would deter or seduce him from the path of duty whilst fearing God alone he knows no other fear, and dares to do all that doth become a man. Prudence Prudence may justly be defined as the clear and distinct perception of the several relations between our actions and the purposes to which they are directed. In this view it deserves to be considered as the first great principle of human wisdom, and justly has the great Roman moralist declared that where prudence rules the mind fortune has no influence. The prudent man, before he engages in any enterprise, maturely reflects on the consequences which may probably result from it, balancing with steady deliberation, the several prob- abilities of good and evil, extending his views into futurity, and revolving in his mind every circumstance of doubtful event affecting the end which he has in view, or the means which lie purposes to use. He decides not hastily, and when he has decided, commits nothing to chance ; but, comparing the three great periods of time with each other, from the reflection of the past regulates the present, and provides for the future, by which means lie neither wastes his energies improvidently, nor meets the occurrences of life incautiously.
This monthly feature is taken from William Harveyâ€™s book, â€œThe Emblems of Freemasonryâ€? 1918.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor. 31
The Monthly Masonic Magazine of Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No. 76.