Welcome Brethren To the Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76 Newsletter March 2009
Brethren, welcome to the March issue of the Lodge 76 newsletter. The arrangements for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the chartering of Lodge 76 are just about finalised and once completed, we will publish a full timetable of the events, here in the newsletter. So if anyone reading this is planning to come to Stirling on the day, get your tickets soon, as they are going fast.
March’s contents…. In the main lectures and articles web site, the article for this month is ‘Operative and Ancient Freemasonry,’ by Sir JOHN A. COCKBURN, K.C.M.G., M.D., in he says, “The statement in the ritual that Masonry has subsisted from time immemorial is not intended to imply that in the long lapse of ages has undergone no change. Mutability is inseparable from human affairs. But while Religions, Philosophies and
Empires have fallen under the destroying hand of time, the essential principles and practices of Masonry have remained unshaken.” [link] Page 2, The Lost Word, in search of that which was lost. This little article looks at the myth of the lost word and one interpretation as to it’s symbolism. Page 3, The Scottish Rite – part 4, The Scottish Rite organization, confers the 4th through 32nd degrees in degreeconferring meetings. In part 4 of this article we look at the 19th to the 24th degree, the regalia and their teachings. Page 6, the Masonic Encyclopaedia, this month we look at the letter, ‘L’, from Landmarks to Logic. Page 7, The Star O’ Rabbie Burns, the cover story for this month, describes the author of the song, ‘The Star O’ Rabbie Burns,’ Brother James Thomson of Hawick. Page 8, ‘Interesting facts’, some Masonic trivia that I have come across during my travels in cyberspace. Page 9, ‘Odds and Sods’, Another still from a film!
The Lost Wordâ€Ś.
The mythical history of Freemasonry informs us that there once existed a Word of surpassing value, and claiming a profound veneration; that this Word was known to but few; that it was at length lost; and that a temporary substitute for it was adopted. But as the very philosophy of Freemasonry teaches us that there can be no death without a resurrection-no decay without a subsequent restoration-on the same principle it follows that the loss of the Word must suppose its eventual recovery. Now, this it is, precisely, that constitutes the myth of the Lost Word and the search for it. No matter what was the Word, no matter how it was lost, nor why a substitute was provided, nor when nor where it was recovered. These are all points of subsidiary importance, necessary, it is true, for knowing the legendary history, but not necessary for understanding the symbolism. The only term of the myth that is to be regarded in the study of its interpretation, is the abstract idea of a word lost and afterward recovered.
The Word, therefore, may be conceived to be the symbol of Divine Truth; and all its modifications- the loss, the substitution, and the recovery-are but component parts of the mythical symbol which represents a search after truth. In a general sense, the Word itself being then the symbol of Divine Truth, the narrative of its loss and the search for its recovery becomes a mythical symbol of the decay and of the true religion among the ancient nations, at and after the dispersion on the Plains of Shinar, and of the attempts of the wise men, the philosophers, and priests, to find and retain it in their secret mysteries and initiations, which have hence been designated as the Spurious Freemasonry of Antiquity. But there is a special or individual, as well as a general interpretation, and in this special or individual interpretation the Word, with its accompanying myth of a loss, a substitute, and a recovery, becomes a symbol of the personal progress of a candidate from his first initiation to the completion of his course, when he receives a full development of the mysteries. This article was taken from Mackey's Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry. Brethren, Iâ€™m always on the look-out for interesting articles such as this for the newsletter. If anyone has a story/article/lectures/photos or even an idea, please get in touch, I will be only too happy to include it or try to find an article about it.
The Scottish Riteâ€Ś.part 4
Continuing from last month, we now take a look at the next degrees in the Scottish Rite, the 19th through to the 24th, known as the Council of Kadosh. The word "Kadosh" is a Hebrew word meaning Holy. Although Pike identifies the degrees of the Council of Kadosh as chivalric and philosophical, they are all intensely mystical with respect to the lessons conveyed and symbols employed.
the influence we live in the future in this degree. We as mortals strive to endure, produce and improve the world as it surrounds us. There is no apron, but the jewel is a gold "parallelogram" (rectangle) with a Greek Alpha on one side and an Omega on the other. The duties are to be content to labor for the future; to serve the cause of truth with patience and industry; and to destroy error, falsehood and intolerance with truth, honesty, honour and charity.
"Faith in moral principles, in virtue and in God is as necessary for the guidance of a man as instinct is for the guidance of an animal." - Albert Pike
19Â° - Grand Pontiff. We learn from the past and how it affects the present and
20Â° - Master of the Symbolic Lodge This degree demonstrates liberty, fraternity and equality. These truths teach morals, religious and philosophical understandings. This degree helps one to comprehend Deity, the forces of nature and good and evil. The apron is yellow, bordered in blue, with three concentric point-down triangles with the Tetragrammaton (horizontal) and "Fiat Lux" (vertical) at the center forming a cross. Its triangular
shape relates to the "fourth great light, which reminds us of the Deity and his attributes". The jewel is made of gold with the same three concentric triangles. The duties are to dispense light and knowledge and to practice Masonic virtues.
21째 - Noachite or Prussian Knight The lessons to be learned from this degree are that arrogance, defamation and cowardice are unworthy attributes of a Mason; and that humility, modesty and courtesy are the true virtues of men and Masons. The apron is yellow and contains an arm holding a sword, a winged figure holding a key in the left hand and the right forefinger on the lips (the Egyptian figure of silence). The jewel can be described as a point-up triangle, with an arrow, point downward, an arm holding a sword and the motto "Fiat Justitia, Ruat Coelum". The duties are humility, modesty, trust
in God and to be steadfast and courageous in the face of adversity.
22째 - Knight Royal Axe, Prince of Libanus This degree emphasizes work ethics. By doing good work we improve character and become better citizens. The apron of this degree is white, bordered in purple, and contains a threeheaded serpent and a table with instruments and plans on it. The jewel is an axe and handle of gold. On the top of the handle are the initials of Noah and Solomon. In the middle of the handle are the initials of Libanus and Tsidun. On the blade are the initials of Adoniram, Cyrus, Darius, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah and Ezra on one side and Shem, Kham, Yapheth, Moses, Ahaliab and Betselal on the other. The duties are to respect labor for its own sake and to do work.
welfare of man; to act with proper subordination to your superiors.
23Â° - Chief of the Tabernacle We learn in this degree that the man who forgets his duty to God, family, country and himself will be in danger of moral and spiritual destruction by thoughts and unworthy ambition. The apron worn is white bordered with red, blue and purple ribbons. These colors, from the curtains of the Tabernacle, represent earth, fire, air and sea respectively, as well as the Lord's beneficence, glory, wisdom and power. On the apron is the golden seven-branched candlestick, representing the seven planets and virtues; the sun, faith, and aspiration toward the infinite; the moon, hope; Venus, charity; Mars, fortitude, "victory over rage and anger"; Mercury, prudence; Saturn, temperance; Jupiter, conqueror of the Titans and justice. The jewel worn is a small silver censer, or ornamented cup, held by a handle in the shape of an open hand. The duties are to be devoted to the service of God; to constantly endeavor to promote the
24Â° - Prince of the Tabernacle A Mason must show evidence of compassion, piety and justice in this degree. After initiation he may "manifest faithfully the social virtues in order to receive the rewards", to serve humanity through our brotherhood. The apron is of white lambskin with scarlet green and blue. On it is a violet myrtle tree and a gold representation of an Arabian tent. The jewel worn is the Hebrew letter ALEPH, suspended from a violet ribbon. The duties are to labor incessantly for the glory of God, the honor of your country and the happiness of your brethren. Next month â€“ the 25th through to the 30th degrees 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.
permitted to join the craft at an age younger than tradition requires.
In the early Anglo Saxon, German, or Scandinavian languages the noun “land” meant the same as in modern English, although as a verb it meant “come to land,” a meaning reflected in our custom of saying a man lands from a ship, etc. “Mark” is found in almost all European languages, and derives from the Latin margo, edge, boundary, whence our margin, mark, and cognate terms. A “landmark” is some mark, line or object to indicate a boundary. The landmarks of Masonry are those principles by which the Craft is bounded, that is, marked off from all other societies and associations and with-out which it would lose its identity.
A candidate is “brought to light.” “Let there be light” is the motto of the Craft. It is one of the key words of Masonry. It is very ancient, harking back to the Sanskrit ruc, meaning shine. The Greeks had luk, preserved in many English words, especially such as have leuco in their make-up, as in “leucocyte,” a white blood corpuscle. The Latins had luc or lux in various forms, whence our light, lucid, luminous, illumine, lunar, lightning, etc. The word means bright, clear, shining, and is associated in its use with the sun, moon, fire, etc. By an inevitable association the word came into metaphorical use to mean the coming of truth and knowledge into the mind. ‘When a candidate ceases to be ignorant of Masonry, when through initiation the truths of Masonry have found entrance into his mind, he is said to be “enlightened” in the Masonic sense.
Level In Latin libra was a balance, the root of our libration, equilibrium; libella was the diminutive form of the same word, and from it has come our level, an instrument by which a balance is proved, or by which may be detected the horizontal plane. It is closely associated in use with the plumb, by which a line perpendicular to the horizontal is proved. The level is that on which there are no in-equalities, hence in Masonry it is correctly used’ as a symbol of equality. “We meet upon the level” because Masonic rights, duties, and privileges are the same for all members with-out distinction.
The art of reasoning, and one of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, whose uses are inculcated in the Second Degree. The power of right reasoning, which distinguishes the man of sane mind from the madman and the idiot, is deemed essential to the Freemason, that he may comprehend both his rights and his duties. And hence the unfortunate beings just named, who are without this necessary mental quality, are denied admission into the Order.
An iron clamp used to lift up a block of stone. Also the term in Masonry for the son of a Freemason who is often
Next Month the Letter ‘M’.
The Star O’ Rabbie Burns.. "Let kings and courtiers rise and fa; This world has mony turns, But brightly beams aboon them a' The star o' Robbie Burns." Apart from the National Anthem, it is said that the only song to be sung at a Burns supper not written by Robert Burns is, ‘The Star O’ Rabbie Burns. Written by Brother James Thomson the Bard of Lodge St. James B.U.R.A No. 424, Hawick in the Scottish Borders, the subject of this month’s cover story. James Thomson was born in 1827 in the village of Bowden. He served an apprenticeship as a wood-turner and cabinet-maker and set up a business in the small town of Hawick. Where his reputation for writing songs and poetry soon established him in the ranks of the minor bards of the Scottish Lowlands. In December 1866, James Thomson was initiated into Freemasonry in Lodge St. James, where he would for many years hold the office of Bard, and in 1884 he was elected to the office of the Provincial Grand Bard. Brother Thomson died on the 28th of December 1888 and the next day the Lodge called a special meeting to inform the brethren of the death of their esteemed and much admired bard. It was agreed that all the hospital and funeral expenses would be paid by the Lodge and that the brethren should attend the internment individually, where the Masonic service would be read by the R.W.M.
10 years later, a memorial stone to mark the final resting place of Brother James Thomson was unveiled in the presence of a large turnout of Brethren and friends. The Masonic memorial pictured on the front of this newsletter was designed by a Brother of the Lodge, an architect, and stands ten feet high. The inscription states; Erected by the brethren of Lodge St. James, B.U.R.A. No.424. In appreciative memory of BROTHER JAMES THOMSON Brother James Thomson is not forgotten in the town of Hawick, for, since that day until today, the brethren of Lodge No.424, gather together on the centenary of the bard’s birth at the memorial stone, to lay a wreath to his memory, and recently a new footbridge crossing the river Teviot, which meanders through the town was named the James Thomson Footbridge, with a statute of the great man erected alongside, next door to the ‘Burns’ club. Although James Thomson is probably better known for writing the words to, ‘The Star O’ Rabbie Burns,’ he was a prolific songwriter, he wrote many songs which are sung each year at the Common Riding festival which takes place each June in the town of Hawick. Among his most popular songs are, ‘The Border Queen,’ which has been sung at every official ceremony since 1887 and ‘Up wi’ the Banner,’ along with the ‘Widow’s Lament.’ ‘For years to come, there will be heard amidst the tuneful measures of later days, the sweetest notes of James Thomson.’ Front cover picture by the Webmaster.
Masonic Years. In the 17th century it was calculated that according to the Bible, the Creation of the World happened exactly 4,000 years before Christ. That was taken as zero year for the Masonic Calendar. Today it’s 6008 A.L., or Anno Lucis – The Year of Light. Royal Arch Masons count the time from the time when the second Temple was started by Zerubbabel. They call it The Year of The Discovery – Anno Inventionis (A.I.). Add 530 to the current year. The Knight’s Templar’s era starts with the formation of their Order in 1118, and it’s called Anno Ordinis (A.O.) – The Year of the Order. According to their calendar, this is year 890. Scottish Rite Masons count the time using the Jewish calendar. In order to get the proper year, add 3760 to the current year. Also, a curiosity is that the year starts in September.
At one time, Golden Lodge #5, Stanstead, Canada occupied a lodge room, which straddled the boundary between Canada and the United States. There were entrances on both sides of the border. Operative Lodge No.150 in Aberdeen, Scotland is unusual in that it is only open to operative stonemasons.
Hiram Abiff Boaz, born Dec. 18 1866 He received his degrees in 1922 before an unusually large crowd and served as a Grand Chaplin in 1953. Angelo Soliman, was born in Africa in 1721 and brought to Europe as a slave at the age of ten. He was educated, married, and became a favorite in the royal court in Vienna. Somewhere before 1771 he became a mason. When he died 1776, the Emperor had his body stuffed and mounted in the natural history museum, becoming not only the first black of African birth to become a mason, but the also the first mason to be stuffed, mounted, and displayed. In Scotland the earliest lodge records still in existence were recorded in Aitchison's Haven in 1598; minutes of Mary's Chapel lodge at Edinburgh are unbroken from 1599. In lodges of the 1700's the emblems and symbols of the different degrees were drawn on the floor of the lodge with chalk or charcoal. They were obliterated at the end of each meeting because lodges met in rented rooms, and they did not want strangers viewing their secret writings. As this was troublesome and messy they were next painted on cloth or canvas, carried to each meeting and laid on the floor, hence the name 'carpets'. Today, these carpets, or charts as they are now called hang from walls or frames, and are displayed as required for the different degrees. Brethren, I’m always on the look-out for interesting articles such as this for the newsletter. If anyone has a story/article/lectures/photos or even an idea, please get in touch, I will be only too happy to include it.
Odds and Sods
This is a still taken from the 2006 animation, ‘Ant Bully’. The Square and Compass can easily be seen on the grandmother’s chair, why? perhaps the animator is in the craft! Until next month, Keep the faith!