Welcome Brethren To the Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76 Newsletter February 2009
Brethren, thank you ever so much for all the kind comments I received regarding January’s newsletter, for those who took the time, I’m glad you liked it. It really was worthwhile putting out an edition of the newsletter dedicated to our Bard, Robert Burns, it could be a thing for the future, producing a special on someone or something, we’ll see. This month, you will find all the regular articles back where we left off in December such as the dictionary and the Scottish Rite. So on to this month’s newsletter,
February’s contents…. In the main lectures and articles web site, the article for this month is ‘The Altar of Freemasonry,’ by our old friend Bro. William Harvey. “A lecture on the first degree which emphasises the beauty of the degree in a singularly attractive fashion,” so says Brother Harvey. This article is typical of Harvey, well written and at times hard to get into, but well worth the read.[link]
Page 2, A Tale of the Old West, I came across this little article by an unknown author some time ago, I thought it might just appeal to all the Brethren who read this newsletter. Page 3, The Scottish Rite – Part 3, The Scottish Rite organization, confers the 4th through 32nd degrees in degreeconferring meetings. In part 3 of this article we look at the 15th to the 18th degree, the regalia and their teachings. Page 5, The Masonic Encyclopaedia, this month we look at the letter, ‘K’, from Keystone to Koran. Page 6, William Schaw, the cover story for this month looks at William Schaw the author of the Schaw Statutes written in 1598 and who could be described as the founder of Speculative masonry. Page 9, ‘Odds and Sods’, when I first revealed that Superman and Batman were freemason’s in this newsletter, I was met with disbelief, now do you believe me?
A Tale of the Old West…. A group of Masonic men surrounding a campfire in the Old West, at night, were discussing the Fraternity and its teachings. One old man listened patiently, and finally spoke up: "I can tell you more about Masonry in a little example than some of the great Masonic philosophers can in books. Everybody stand up, and gather in a circle around the campfire." They did that. "Now, everybody hold hands with the man next to him." They did that, too. "Now, what do you see, looking ahead?" "The face of a Brother Mason through the flames." "What do you feel in front of you?" "The warmth of the fire, and the comfort it brings on a cool night." "What do you feel at your side?" "The warm hand of a Brother." "OK. Now, drop the hands, and turn around." They did so. "Now, what do you see, looking ahead?" "Complete darkness." "What do you feel, looking ahead?" "A sense of loneliness, of being alienated."
"What do you feel at your side?" "Nothing at all." "What do you feel on your backside?" "The warmth of the fire." "So it is with Masonry," said the old man. "In Masonic gatherings, you can feel the warmth of Masonic interaction, you can see the face of a Brother through the light Masonry brings to you, and you can always feel the warm hand of a Brother. When you turn away from Masonry, and are out in the world, you see darkness, feel alienated and alone, and do not feel the warm hand of your Masonic Brother. But Masonry, and the warmth and light it brings, are just a turn away from you." -- Unknown
I read somewhere that a Lodge in the U.S.A. once presented this as part of the ritual during a degree. The Brethren and Candidates formed a circle around the altar and the above “ritual” was carried out. A witness who watched this ceremony said, “It was probably the most touching experience I've ever encountered in a lodge meeting.” I don’t know about you Brethren, but I for one would like to see this being enacted at a meeting in a Lodge, so how about it, maybe the Brethren of Alexander’s (see Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2008 of the newsletter) could incorporate it into their unique degree work! The Editor.
The Scottish Rite….Part 3 Continuing from December, we present the next degrees within the Scottish Rite, looking at the 15° through to 18°, better known as the Chapter of the Rose Croix. The Chapter of Rose Croix attempts to provide the candidate with a deeper understanding of religion, philosophy, ethics and history though a variety of complex "historical degrees". The intellectual challenges presented in these degrees are numerous, and at times overwhelming and can take years to master. A thorough reading of the chapters related to them in Morals and Dogma and in Legenda and Readings is essential to achieve even a basic comprehension of their true meaning.
15° - Knight of the East, of the Sword or of the Eagle Fidelity to obligations and perseverance of purpose under difficulties and discouragement are the lessons of this degree. The striking
crimson velvet apron of this degree is edged with green, having a bleeding head above two crossed swords and a triangle (top point to the left) with three interlaced triangles inside it. The jewel is three golden concentric triangles encompassing two crossed swords. The duty is to rebuild the Masonic Temple of liberty, equality and fraternity in the souls of men.
16° - Prince of Jerusalem We learn of heroism of patience, the nobility of selfsacrifice and compassionate judgment; along with charity, fidelity and brotherhood. The crimson apron is edged in gold and aurora-colour, with a square, shield, Delta with three YODs, balance and a hand of justice. The jewel is a mother-of-pearl lozenge with a hand holding a balance in equipoise; under it a sword with five stars surrounding the point. On the left is a Hebrew D, on the right is a Hebrew Z. The duties are to aid those who labour to build the Symbolic Temple; to judge equitably and fairly; to keep faith in the justice and beneficence of God and to press forward with hope for the persecuted and oppressed.
17Â° - Knight of the East & West The wisdom of this degree is that loyalty to God is man's primary allegiance and that temporal governments not founded upon God and His righteousness will inevitably fall. The apron is of yellow satin with crimson and gold, with a Tetractys of the sword and Tetragrammaton on it. The jewel is a heptagon of half silver and half gold, with crossed swords on a balance on the obverse and a lamb on the Book of Seven Seals on the reverse. The jewel is hung from a double order - one black (left-to-right) and one white (right-toleft), representing good versus evil. A gold coronet is also presented. The duties are to work, reflect and pray; to hope, trust and believe; to teach the truths that are hidden in allegory and concealed by the symbols of Freemasonry.
18Â° - Knight Rose Croix This degree emphasizes that life and its strength come from God. The rose signifies the dawn and the cross is a sacred symbol of antiquity in many cultures. One is also taught to be tolerant of other's errors and faults. The apron is of white leather or satin, bordered in red, with a skull and cross-bones, a red passion cross and three red rosettes. The grand jewel is a gold compass open a quarter circle. A rose-cross is between the legs of the compass and under it is a pelican, tearing its breast to feed its seven young on the obverse and an eagle with wings extended on the reverse. On the circle are the letters I.N.R.I. The duties are to practice virtue; to labour to eliminate vice; to purify humanity; to be tolerant of the faith and creed of others. Brethren, I hope you have enjoyed the third part of this article, in next monthâ€™s issue we will look at more of the degrees in the Scottish Rite. The 19th degree to the 24th, 6 degrees known as the Council of Kadosh Permission to use this article and the pictures was granted to the newsletter from the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite Masons of the Orient of Minnesota and webmaster George M. Hough.
Masonic Encyclopaedia…. Keystone The stone placed in the center of an arch which preserves the others in their places, and secures firmness and stability to the arch. As it was formerly the custom of Operative Masons to place a peculiar mark on each stone of a building to designate the workman by whom it had been adjusted, so the Keystone was most likely to receive the most prominent mark, that of the Superintendent of the structure. Such is related to have occurred to that Keystone which plays so important a part in the legend of the Royal Arch Degree.
Kilwinning As the city of York claims to be the birthplace of Freemasonry in England, the obscure little village of Kilwinning is entitled to the same honor with respect to the origin of the Order in the sister kingdom of Scotland. The claim to the honor, however, in each case, depends on the bare authority of a legend, the authenticity of which is now doubted by many Masonic historians. A place, which, in itself small and wholly indistinguishable in the political, the literary, or the commercial annals of its country, has become of great importance in the estimation of the Masonic antiquary from its intimate connection with the history of the Institution.
Kipling, Rudyard Celebrated author and poet. Born in Bombay, India, December 30, 1865. His writings frequently give Masonic
allusions peculiarly significant to the Craft. The story of The Man Who Would be Ring is a good specimen of the kind in question. His poems, the Mother Lodge, the Palace, and L'Envoito Life's Handicap are splendidly typical. He was made an honorary member of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge at Edinburgh, a Masonic distinction of which he very properly has been not a little proud. Brother Kipling was initiated in Freemasonry at the age of twenty and a half, by special dispensation obtained for the purpose, in the Hope and Perseverance Lodge, No. 782, at Lahore. In 1888 joined the Independence and Philanthropy Lodge, No. 391, meeting at Allahabad, Bengal. In the issue of the London Times quoted in the Freemason, March 28, 1925, there is an interesting statement from Brother Kipling regarding his active service in his own Lodge in Lahore, Punjab, East Indies
Knights of the North The Knights of the North (KOTN) is the name given to a group of Masons from throughout North America who have pooled their experience and knowledge, allowing them to cross borders in order to look at the bigger picture.
Koran The Koran is the Volume of Sacred Law for followers of Islam. Also transliterated as Quaran, its literal translation is "The Recitation." If the Masonic candidate is a Moslem, he would take his obligation upon the Holy Koran.
Next Month the Letter ‘L’. The Webmaster
The Cover Story…. William Schaw. Author of “The Schaw Statutes” William Schaw was born in Scotland in 1550, and is thought to have been a younger son of Schaw of Sauchie. Of his early life we have no particular knowledge beyond the fact that he received a liberal education and devoted himself especially to the study of architecture, becoming sufficiently proficient in the art of building to warrant his appointment to the office of “The King’s Master of Work,” succeeding Sir Robert Drummond in 1583. He had already become one of the household of King James VI and as such was among those who signed the original National Covenant on January 28, 1581, including King James himself. He was one of three Commissioners appointed to arrange the matrimonial alliance of King James with Princess Anna of Denmark and accompanied his Majesty there in 1589, where the nuptial of the Royal couple were solemnized. The Royal party spent the winter and spring there, but Schaw returned earlier to make the necessary arrangements for their proper reception and accommodation. One of the dowries bestowed upon the royal bride by King James was the Lordship of Dunfermline, an extensive possession and the ancient Royal seat of the Kingdom. Schaw had received the sum of 400 pounds “by his Majesty passing thereto,” which she did in July, 1590, remaining there for a couple of months. She frequently occupied this
palace in later years and there gave birth to two of her children, Elizabeth, who became Queen of Bohemia and the ancestor of the present dynasty on the British throne, and her ill-fated son, Charles I. Schaw devoted considerable of his time and energy to the restoration of the old Dunfermline Abbey and adjacent buildings that had suffered greatly at the hands of the English invaders, and some of the present prominent features are the result of his skilled efforts, including the north porch, the steeple, the roof of the north and south aisles, etc. Besides being the Master of the King’s Work and Chamberlain to the Queen, he also held by royal appointment the office of Sacris Ceremonis Praepositus, which is interpreted to mean Director of the Sacred Ceremonies of the Royal Family; so that he was not only interested in the work of restoring the House of the Lord in Dunfermline to its original purpose, but was closely identified with the services conducted therein, and it is not surprising to learn that upon his death, after a short illness, on the 18th of April, 1602, he was buried close behind the pulpit-pillar situated about midway the North Aisle of the Church, and there a massive monument was erected in his memory by order of his Royal Patroness Queen Anna, with an inscription in Latin which translated reads: To his most upright Friend, WILLIAM SCHAW, "Live with the Gods, and live for ever, most excellent man; This life to thee was labour, death was deep repose. ALEXANDER SETON, Erected DEO OPTIMO MAXIMO. (To God the Best and Greatest.) This humble structure of stones covers a man of excellent skill, notable probity, singular integrity of life, adorned with the greatest of virtues -
William Schaw, Master of the King's Works, President of the Sacred Ceremonies, and the Queen's Chamberlain. He died 18th April, 1602. Among the living he dwelt fifty-two years; he had travelled in France and many other Kingdoms, for the improvement of his mind; he wanted no liberal training; was most skilful in architecture; was early recommended to great persons for the singular gifts of his mind; and was not only unwearied and indefatigable in labours and business, but constantly active and vigorous, and was most dear to every good man who knew him. He was born to do good offices, and thereby to gain the hearts of men; now he lives eternally with God. Queen Anna ordered this monument to be erected to the memory of this most excellent and most upright man, lest his virtues, worthy of eternal commendation, should pass away with the death of his body.
In 1754 this fine old monument was removed from its original site for the purpose pf permitting more light to shine on the pulpit Bible. It was in part re-erected at the west end of the north aisle at the foot of the bell tower and immediately to the right of the memorial window. A distinctive feature of the monument is a white marble stone about a foot square in the centre with his monogram carved thereon, the full name being readily traced in the interlaced letters in relief. It has been suggested that this was piece of his own handiwork, and had been incorporated in the monument as a memento of his ability as a craftsman, but while there is nothing to prove that it was or was not carved by him, there is little doubt of its being one of his own designs. That he was a builder in the fullest sense of the word, both in the material intellectual and spiritual phases of life, there is no room for doubt; and he stood in as close relation to Scottish Masonry of his day as did Sir Christopher Wren to English Masonry a century later, even
more so, for we know that he took an active part in the management of the organized Craft, which cannot be said with absolute certainty of Wren. He was not only “Master of the King’s Work,” appointed thereto by his majesty, but he also stood at the head of the Masonic lodges then in existence in Scotland. He held this position not merely by virtue of his appointment to the above office, but also by and with the consent of lodges themselves, as set forth in the preamble to the statutes laid down by him for the guidance and the observance of all Masons in the realm. Be it noted that the Warden was at that time the head of the individual lodge, and, in accordance therewith, Schaw was known as the Warden-General of the Craft at large, these offices being now represented by that of the Worshipful Master and Most Worshipful Grand Master, respectively. The Schaw Statutes issued on December 28, 1598, were found in the earliest known records of the Lodge of Edinburgh (St. Mary’s Chapel), the oldest existing lodge in the world today. They were a revised revival of laws previously enacted, but which had fallen into desuetude, thereby engendering “manifold corruptions both among themselves and in the Craft, giving occasion to many persons to conceive evil opinions of them and of the Craft by reason of their great misbehaviour without correction.” The Craft had evidently fallen into some disrepute and it became the selfimposed task of Schaw to enact and enforce laws calculated to remedy the condition. These laws dealt with the social and business relations of Masons one to the other individually, their duties toward their employers, the admission
and conduct of Apprentices and their promotion to Fellowcraft of Master Mason. They provided for the regular election of Wardens of the lodges, subject to the approval of the WardenGeneral, and required the implicit obedience of all to the laws as laid down. In pursuance of this policy of reform, he, as “Principal Warden and Chief Master of Masons,” was called upon in 1600 to preside at the trial of John Brown, Warden of the Edinburgh Lodge for some infraction of those laws, of which he was found guilty and a nominal fine imposed. While it is to be observed that these Statutes were enacted for the observance of operative Masons only, nothing being in them, either stated or implied, to indicate that any other than operative Masons were members of the Fraternity, it has been suggested and generally accepted that even non-operatives were admitted to honorary membership, since the name John Boswell, Laird of Auchinleck, appears among those present at that trial. At the risk of differing from so eminent an authority as Bro. D. Murray-Lyon, author of the history of the Edinburgh Lodge, we venture the thought that there was nothing to prevent this brother from having been an operative Mason “despite his title, power, and pelf,” which came to him heredity. If we are to believe the “Old Constitutions and Charges” of the Fraternity, it was just for such as he that skilled masonry was originally developed to give remunerative employment to, and it does not seem that honorary membership would entitle him to take part in the trial of an operative Mason, especially the Warden of the lodge, for
the violation of operative rules, much less sign his name with his “Mark” appended, as did all those present, the Mark being the talisman of their vocation, and the evidence of their accepted membership as operative Masons. In further development of this reformation of the Craft, and with a view to giving it a greater measure of prestige in the realm, Schaw was instrumental in having a Charter given to Sir William St. Clair, of Rosslyn, in 1601 authorizing him to purchase or obtain at the hands of the Sovereign Lord (King James VI) jurisdiction over the Craft as patron and judge, and to his successors in line for all time to come. This was prompted no doubt by the desire to have a man of title and high standing as a disinterested judge to settle matters of dispute between members of the Fraternity or with their officers or employers – a court of last resort, as it were – a characteristic which still obtains and seems to be inherent in British Freemasonry. This introduction of the nobility into the Fraternity may be looked upon as the first step taken in recorded Freemasonry toward the development of the nonoperative or, as we know it now, Speculative Masonry, and William Schaw may be looked upon as the progenitor, unintentionally perhaps, of the Masonry of today.
This article was taken form an old American magazine, “The Master Mason,” and was written by a Bro. David McGregor. The webmaster is always looking for articles such as this for the newsletter, if you know of one, please get in touch.
Odds and Sods
Last year I mentioned that both Superman and Batman were Masons. Doesnâ€™t it make you feel safe, knowing both Brother Superman and Brother Batman are watching over us?
Until next month, Keep the faith!