Contents Page 2, ‘Is Father Christmas a Freemason?’ This article examines the evidence and sets out to prove that Santa is indeed a Freemason.
Page 5, ‘The Celtic Lodge No.291.’ A short Historical sketch about The Celtic Lodge, Edinburgh and Leith No.291.
Page 10, ‘Famous Freemasons.’ James Anderson, the Scotsman who compiled the English Constitutions
Page 11, ‘Strange but True.’ Looks at another strange fact about Freemasonry.
Page 12, ‘A Mason’s Christmas’, This article is from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Past Master’ series.
Page 14, ‘The Old Master’s Wages.’ A lovely old poem.
Page 15, ‘E Clampus Vitus’. Never heard of this Order? Neither had I, read all about this ‘fraternal’ society.
Page 17, ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry.’ The word ‘Tubal Cain’. In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Secrecy and Freemasonry’. [link] The front cover picture is a Christmas card adapted with the S&C by the editor. Merry Christmas to all!
Is Father Christmas a Freemason? I have a very serious question to put to you all. I would like to raise it with you and then do some detective work, examining the evidence that might lead us to answering it. It is a most important question that I am sure you have often asked yourself, and relates our Craft to the wider society in which we live and concerns several major issues of this season. This very serious question is "Is Father Christmas a Freemason?" Let us consider the facts of this case: Of whom does this remind you? A worthy gentleman, who is (we must admit) getting on a bit in years and is perhaps a little overweight, who wears a very distinctive costume as the badge of his activities, who provides the opportunity for friends and visitors to meet in fellowship, who is surrounded by secrecy and mystery, dispenses goodwill and the charity of gifts all over the world (avoiding ostentatious public display while doing so) and is there doing it year after year! Well, fellow detectives, you must admit that this description could fit either Santa or a freemason. But this is merely circumstantial evidence. We need some proof! Let us start with his movements on the evening in question. All the reports have him coming from the North Pole. As the
sun rises in the east to open and enliven the day, and with him needing to finish the world before dawn, then he would have to begin in the East and move towards the West. Therefore Father Christmas must begin his journey at the north-east corner of the world. This, of course, is exactly what we do with an entered apprentice. Similarly, you would assume he would finish heading for home, which would place him in the north-west corner at the end of his work, to give his salute to the world and leave. Convincing proof, you must agree! But, think too, he undertakes this great journey to provide the gifts but once a year, and I am sure that any Brother Treasurer will agree that this is exactly the frequency with which most brethren provide the gift of their charity to the lodge! And the secrecy, the mystery? Those of you, who are parents, remember. What was the worst crime that an older child could commit at this time of the year? To tell the younger ones the secret of Santa, to break the faith that they should have kept. And I am sure your punishment of them pointed out that they were void of all moral worth and totally unfit to be received into the dinner table but be sent to their room for destroying something that was so good, so worthwhile and so innocent. Surely all this evidence shows us beyond doubt that Father Christmas is a Freemason! He practices Brotherly Love and Relief; we are happy to meet him and the Christmas season, and sorry to part.
All the details, his wearing of a uniform, the rituals that happen year in year out, the fact he is a male ... On a more serious note, brethren, the way the whole Christmas season has developed and is practiced does have many things in common with Freemasonry, and we can learn much about each from the other. For instance, where did the figure we call Father Christmas come from originally? What is his background? Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, or St Nicholas has elements of pre-Christian myths and legends, which developed through the middle Ages by being built into the great Christian story of God's wonderful gift to the world. By the eighteenth and nineteenth century these details were formalized into the character that we still have today: his stylized uniform, his way of working, his ritual activities and sayings. This all sounds very Masonic. The pre-Christian legends of Solomon's Temple, the pyramids, Pythagoras, and so on were developed through the middle Ages by the great Christian cathedral builders, and then formalized in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries into the uniform, the work, the rituals that we use today. St Nicholas was actually a 4th century Turkish bishop who had originally been a rich nobleman. One of the stories about him was that he had helped a poor man who could not afford to pay for weddings for his 3 daughters. St Nicholas climbed onto the roof and threw a handful of gold coins down the
chimney and these coins fell into the girls' stockings that had been hung up by the fire to dry. The girls were then able to marry well and lived happily ever after. He has been considered the patron saint of poor children ever since. The legend became very popular in Europe, especially the Netherlands where it was mixed with elements from the pagan Yule or mid-winter festivals. St Nick became Santa Claus, who would arrive on December 6th (St Nicholas' Day) mounted on a white horse and visit children to Enquirer about their behaviour the previous year. Good children would be rewarded, and bad ones punished. The night before, children would leave a pair of the shoes or clogs out, filled with hay and carrots for the horse. In the morning these would be found, filled with sweets or small presents. These traditions were taken to America by Dutch settlers, but it was the famous poem by Professor Clement Clark Moore which begins " 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house...." which settled most of the details into the Santa figure we know today. Many of these details (such as the reindeer, and their names, the flying sledge, coming down the chimney) were first brought together in this poem, but Professor Moore took them from old traditions from as far afield as Finland and Siberia and they have stuck and become a single story. You can see how similar this is to the creation of our ritual and ceremonies.
While these also certainly include many elements that are ancient folklore, they were put together quite deliberately by identifiable people, with a specific aim: to create an impression in the minds of the brethren taking part. Like the Santa legend, the details may be fictional, they may come from many different sources, and they may even be inconsistent with each other. That does not matter. It is the impression that all of them create as an entirety that is important. Would you deny all the good that the Santa story achieves, all the happiness it creates, just because it is a story? Of course not. And this is the real linking of Father Christmas and Freemasonry. Why do we have Christmas and why do we have Father Christmas? We celebrate religious beliefs about the birth of goodness, and hope for the future; we reaffirm the belief that people are basically good and can develop into loving, caring, helpful, supporting friends to each other. We look to a New Year where things can be better. We do this at this season whether we are celebrating the Christian Nativity, or the Jewish Hannukah with its lights and gifts and story of peace, or the Hindu Diwali with its festival of lights and gifts of sweets and toys, or even if we hold no formal religion except the pleasure of seeing a child's face transfixed with wonder and delight. And why are we freemasons? Because we believe that there are important things like goodness and hope for the future, and that men can develop into loving, caring, helpful, supporting brethren to their families and each other.
We not only look to a future where things can be better, but we see it as our role, as Free and Accepted, or Symbolic, Masons, to help to build that future. So, I feel I can safely say that Father Christmas is a freemason. Not only does he show so many of the signs and tokens of being one, but he brings us a message that we, as freemasons, can heed for the whole year. Peace on earth, good will towards men! Merry Christmas. David Downie St Trinians Lodge No 2050 Isle of Man
I came across this article when searching the net for this Christmas edition, I think you will agree, Santa has to be in the Craft! The cover Christmas card was adapted and redesigned by the editor.
Peace on Earth, and goodwill towards all men Merry Christmas from the Editor
THE CELTIC LODGE OF EDINBURGH AND LEITH NO 291 Brodie’s Close was a thoroughfare passing from the Lawnmarket to the Cowgate. It entered between Fisher’s Close and Old Bank of Gourlay’s Close which stood on the site of what is now Melbourne Place. Brodie’s Close was truncated by the erection of Victoria Street whereby the portion next to the Lawnmarket was contracted into a small courtyard. The Close took its name from the notorious Deacon Brodie, who lived in the Close, and whose woodyard adjourned the southern end. The Celtic Lodge was conceived in 1821 in the house of Alexander Stewart, 188 Cowgate, Edinburgh. The petitioners for a charter being actuated by a strong desire, which they trusted was a powerful motive in the breast of every Scotsman, “to promote the manufacture of the tartan of their native land and encourage the wearing of the ancient costume of their country.” For this reason one of the Bye-laws of the Lodge was to be that – “all members should be clothed at their own expense in the Royal Tartan in honour of their Celtic forefathers, who wore their tartan at Church and on the battlefield.” The expense so caused was no trifle, as the fine display, so often noted in the minutes, appears to have been obtained at an individual cost of £40 or £50. For many years the kilted Lodge, escorted by its pipers, and headed usually by some of its military members, was a prominent object in every public Masonic ceremonial, and the enthusiasm
of its members for everything national was unbounded. The godmothers of the Celtic Lodge were Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2 and Lodge Canongate and Leith No 5, both of whom, notwithstanding the opposition of some other Lodges, recommended the petition, hence the use of Edinburgh and Leith in the title of the Lodge. The first regular meeting took place in the Old Freemason’s Hall, which still exists in the Cowgate. At that meeting, the first to be entered, passed and raised, in the Lodge, was “Alexander Stewart, Spirit Merchant”, a respectable highlander of the Stewart Clan, who at refreshment “liberally treated his brothers with a plentiful supply of sandwiches, Glenlivet Whiskey, and some bottles of wine.” The regular meeting of the Lodge thereafter took place in the Freemason’s Hall on Tuesdays and Fridays, but Brother Stewart and his house in the Cowgate was also a popular resort as all private and committee meetings were fixed to take place there. The Bye-laws state that the Celtic Lodge took its rise in the Cowgate, the most ancient place in Edinburgh, except the Castle so it was only right that they should meet there as often as possible, and it helped that Brother Stewart had his house there and that he was so liberal with his Highland Whiskey and good food. For five years during its early history the Lodge met in the Masonic Temple in Brodie’s Close, Lawnmarket. This was the house once occupied by Deacon Brodie which had been made into a Masonic Temple by the Roman Eagle Lodge. The Celtic Lodge were very
happy in these premises but circumstances made them move on.
For the next twenty years the Lodge met in many places, they were quite itinerant in their movements about the town and most of the places they did meet were either inns or hotels until eventually at a suggestion of Grand Lodge in 1891, it moved to George Street. During this period the buildings in Brodie’s Close became vacant and allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.
In 1945 their long search came to an end and they were able to purchase Deacon Brodie’s Close from the Town and Gown Society who were unable to make use of the premises because of the cost of refurbishing them. The fight was now on to raise funds to restore the building to its former glory, to reclaim all the artistic treasures that the building contained and to make a permanent home for the Lodge that would make the brethren proud of their heritage and a joy for visiting brethren to visit and be entertained and primarily to restore to what has been acclaimed as “a bright jewel in the Crown of the Royal Mile”.
The Celtic Lodge was always a happy Lodge with a great number of friends both at home and abroad. They had visited more than most Lodges throughout the length and breadth of Scotland and all Lodges looked forward to a visit by their Celtic Brethren, dressed in their highland outfits and led by pipers. But being Celts they also had a dour side to their nature. In 1891 a division arose about the arrangements for the Lodges Annual Ball, neither side could see their way to cede the point and it is recorded that by a majority of four that the Lodge would cease to function and that they would all part as good friends as usual. The Lodge was resuscitated in 1921 and has continued with the same flamboyant spirit as their forefathers and are a welcome and honoured member of the Masonic family in Edinburgh. The Lodge met in the Canongate, their landlord being their old friend, the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2. But the brethren wanted premises of their own and were on the lookout for something suitable but their thoughts were forever turning towards the
For many years the Brethren, their ladies and their friends held dances, whist drives, jumble sales, coffee nights, get togethers and raffles to raise funds for the restoration work. Eventually work started and soon they saw the fruitation of all their labours. On Tuesday 15th January, 1963 the Celtic Lodge were back in Brodie’s Close, to the premises they last used a hundred and forty years previously. The restored building consists of the east and west properties in Brodie’s Close and the arched properties linking them. The new Lodge premises were part of a group of properties purchased by the Celtic Lodge in 1945. As the whole properties were more than the Lodge required, it was decided to gift to the City of Edinburgh the buildings fronting the Lawnmarket, now transformed into the Carnegie Central Library and what were the Lothian and Peebles Police Headquarters but is now
part of the Regional Council. The Edinburgh Evening News of Wednesday 9th January, 1963 printed the following:-
BRODIE’S CLOSE SEES VAST CHANGES RESTORED HOME IN LAWNMARKET FOR MASONS A superb piece of restoration work has been completed in the Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, to provide a new home for the Celtic Lodge No. 291. The Lodge rooms in Brodie’s Close, contains some priceless and historic features which include ornate sixteenth and seventeenth century ceilings and a priceless handcarved fireplace surround. Eighteen months ago restoration work started in the property which included the Brodie family workshops where the renowned notoriety, the Deacon himself was brought after his execution in 1788 in a vain attempt to revive him. When the Celtic Lodge purchased the property in 1945, from the Town and Gown Society they also obtained property in excess of their own needs. The building fronting the Lawnmarket was gifted to Edinburgh Corporation and has since been transformed into the Carnegie Central Library and the Lothian and Peebles Police Headquarters. CONSECRATION Next Tuesday, the new Lodge Rooms will be consecrated in the presence of Lord Bruce, Grand Master Mason of Scotland, and the Celtic Lodge members will be back in premises where the
Lodge once met over a hundred years ago. The Lodge was founded in the Cowgate in 1821 to encourage the weaving and wearing of the tartan and from 1827 until 1832 they met in the room now known as the Thistle Room or Refectory. In the transformed premises, the former caretaker’s house above the Thistle Room has been converted into a magnificent chapel linked with the downstairs room by a winding staircase. The oldest part of the building is on ground level in the lower hall, where a part of the original stone vaulted roof, which is believed to date back possibly as far as 1300 when the Hospice of the Cambuskenneth Monks was on the site, has been preserved. The Refectory contains one of the most magnificent ceilings in old Edinburgh – an ornate plasterwork which has been restored to its former beauty, and which still retains the gold paint applied by craftsmen in 1645 and 1646. One third of the ceiling in the Refectory is even older – authorities place the date around 1575. That section is wooden with hand-carved decoration. Regarded by experts as perhaps the most interesting feature of all is a hand-carved wooden surround to a fireplace in the Master’s Room. The sixteenth century craftsmanship is one of the finest examples of this kind in Scotland. OLD LIGHTS Many of the furnishings have been donated by the Lodge members, Flamboux lights of the type used to light closes and streets many years ago have been fitted in the lower hall, the former oil torch being replaced by an electric bulb. In the Chapel, the music is provided by French organ-piano which
is a collector’s piece. Their new home has given the Lodge an opportunity to display many of their old records. Shortly after the reconstitution of the Lodge an old box was found and this contained many old relics of the Lodge. These have now been given places of honour in the Lodge and consist among other things, the original Master’s Apron, a Diploma belonging to Brother William Hyde picked up by Captain Thomson on the battle-field, after the action at Cawnpore in 1857 and also a chair which belonged to the Duke of Sussex and used by King George IV at the Peer’s ball in 1822 when he visited Scotland, and “received at his levies the Celtic Thanes and Chiefs of the Highland and Lowland Clans”. To celebrate their new home the Celtic Brethren held a Celebration Ball and the Evening Dispatch of Thursday 30th April 1964 printed the following:YES, THEY WERE ALL THE STYLE A bit of Edinburgh history was reenacted in the Royal Mile last night when three horse drawn landaus drove up the High Street with passengers dressed in the style of 134 years ago. Those taking part had taken immense care to ensure as much as possible, the authenticity of their costumes. They wore colourful brocades, ringlets caressing bare shoulders, and jewellery restricted by their sense of period to cameos, lockets and long ear-rings. Rather to their disappointment, they learned they were too early to wear the
crinoline cage which dominated fashion in later decades of the century, however, they stiffened petticoats to give some substance to the full skirts of their ground length dresses, and when they had to negotiate the narrow turnpike stair to the Thistle Room of the Celtic Lodge in Brodie’s Close, Lawnmarket, they were secretly rather glad not to have crinolines to manoeuvre up the spiralling staircase. The occasion was designed by the Lodge to recapture something of the romantic spirit of long ago. On this day in 1830 the Celtic brethren held their first ball, and only recently, when they took over the restored premises in Brodie’s Close, did they find from old minute books which had lain in vaults untouched for nearly a hundred years that their Thistle Room has been the scene of that first ball. The costume party drove to the ball from Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2 in St. John Street where the Celtic Lodge had met during many of the intervening years. In the first coach rode Mr. William Mitchell, a past master and Mr T K Francis, secretary with their ladies. Mrs Mitchell wore a gown of gleaming gold and red brocade, with puffed sleeves and v-necked back and front, and over it, a black taffeta stole. Apart from long ear-rings her only ornament was an angling medal won by her grandfather, which she wore as a locket. Mrs. Francis was in white, her full skirted gown trimmed with silver at the neck and lace on the sleeves. Both wore their hair in the style of the period, piled high
on the crown and with long ringlets to the shoulder. In the other coaches were Messrs John and Graham Lilly, Stanley Smith and Robert Milne with their ladies, striking in gowns of blue, green, heliotrope and floral brocade. As a foil to the bright colours of the ladies’ gowns, the men were more sombrely attired in black drain pipe trousers and square cut tail-coats, their touch of finery coming in brocade waistcoats, frilled jabots and cravats surrounding inches high collars. Sideboards and moustaches completed their guise. The men also wore the original Masonic sashes, which like the minute books had been carefully stored and preserved in excellent condition. The tartan of the sashes was a reminder that one of the purposes of founding the Lodge was to promote the manufacture of the tartan of their native land. For the last one hundred yards of their journey they were escorted by the Lodge piper, Mr Andrew Ross, wearing the tartan outfit he used when he appeared in the Royal Command performance of “Rob Roy” in the Lyceum Theatre for King Olav of Norway, and playing pipes made in 1840 by one of his ancestors, Thomas Glen, founder of J & J Glen, which are still in business opposite the Lodge. The guests were received at the arched entrance to the close by the Right Worshipful Master, Brother Alex Bade and Mrs Bade – just as the company were greeted by the reigning master in
1830. There, however, the resemblance ended. A receipt from 1830 shows the bill for four gallons of whiskey, ales and porter was £1.10s.0d. – little more than the cost of a round today. Today, 1981, the Lodge continues to flourish and its members still travel the length and breadth of Scotland and into England visiting other Lodges and are still welcomed and received as they were back in the eighteen hundreds. The brother still in the kilt and the Lodge piper still accompanies the Master when he goes visiting. Traditions die hard and there are still some which the Lodge will never give up bearing in mind the purpose of their being raised. The Lodge is still a haven for other masons and brethren from all over the world come to the Celtic Chapel to see the kilted Lodge at work and to enjoy the hospitality which the Lodge is famous. The Lodge was made famous by its many characters and is known today by the many men of humour and integrity who attend its meetings. The Lodge like many others who have their own building are finding it more difficult each year to meet the escalating costs in running their building, it is here that we have to be thankful of the great support we get from the ladies of the Lodge who give their invaluable support in running the Celtic Café during the Edinburgh International Festival. The Café which is held in the Banner Hall is open during the Festival from 10.00 am to 10.00p.m. with the exceptions of Thursday afternoons and Sundays. It is
hard work for those who take part as hundreds of sandwiches, cakes, pies, scones and biscuits are consumed every day and hundreds of cups, saucers and plates are washed in a constant cycle, a great deal of preparation is necessary and at ten oâ€™clock when the doors are closed, the ladies are thankful to be able to sit down, relax with a refreshing cup of tea before they start and prepare for the following morning. All agree it is hard work but very rewarding as they meet so many people from overseas. Visitors, who are thankful to rest for a moment in the peace of the old building and enjoy home made fare, while the ladies behind the tartan canopy make tea, butter scones and wash cups and saucers in the vault of the old hospice of the Cambuskenneth Monks. Without the Celtic CafĂŠ there would be no Lodge as the costs are escalating all the time. The money made by the CafĂŠ helps meet our rate bill and also for the fabric and upkeep of the building. I am sure the ladies realise this and do not mind the time and effort that goes into this labour of love. The Celtic Lodge is home to Stay! If anyone is planning a visit to Edinburgh, this coming year, pop in and say hello. This excellent history was sourced for the website of The Celtic Lodge of Edinburgh and Leith No.291 for inclusion in the newsletter. My thanks go to Lodge 291 for allowing me to publish it here. Click the link to visit their website, http://www.thecelticlodge.org/ If your Lodge would like to have its history published in the newsletter, please contact the editor.
Famous Freemasons Dr. James Anderson James Anderson (1680?-1739) Compiler of the famous Anderson's Constitutions of 1723 and 1738 which are recognized as being the first printed volumes dealing officially with Freemasonry. The records of the United Grand Lodge of England show that Bro. James Anderson was ordered to "digest the old Gothic Constitution in a new and better method," on Sept. 29, 1721. Only three months later Dr. Anderson presented his finished production to the grand lodge (Dec. 27, 1721), which has come down to us as the basis for all Freemasonry. The historical part, however, which traces the history from the Garden of Eden to 1721 is quite fanciful, unreliable and pretentious. No one today would quote that part as an authority. It was not until the following March (1722) that a committee was appointed to examine the character of the revision, and it was not until 1723 that the volume came from the printer. The first edition was followed by a second in 1738, the latter being more valuable because it contains some history about the grand lodge covering the period 1717-1738. James Anderson, M.A., D.D., was born about 1680 at Aberdeen, Scotland, and was educated at Marischal College where he received his M.A. degree and it is thought he earned his D.D. degree about 1731 from the same college. There are no records of his life from the time of his receiving his college training
until after his arrival in London. It is recorded in state records that he and his church (Scotch Presbyterian) purchased a lease of the French Protestant Chapel in Swallow St., Piccadilly on Feb. 15, 1709-10 from Rev. Jean Desaguliers, minister of the church and father of Dr. J. T. Desaguliers q.v. Anderson came from a Masonic family; his father serving as secretary of the well known Scottish Lodge Aberdeen and as master in 1688-89. It is highly possible that the son may have entered Freemasonry during the period the father served as master. Little can be learned of his Masonic connections previous to 1721. He was not at the revival of Freemasonry in 1717, but he assumed the station of grand warden of the grand lodge, January 17, 1723, and was master of Lodge No. 17 in 1723 (Masonic students have not been able to identify this lodge.) He was, however, shown as a member of Lodge of the Horn in 1723, and later of other lodges meeting in London. In addition to the Constitutions, he was the author of some non-Masonic books including Royal Genealogies, or the Genealogical Tables of Emperors, Kings and Princes, from Adam to These Times (1732) and Unity in Trinity (1733). He attended grand lodge fifteen times between 1723 and 1728, acting as grand warden on four occasions. His death was May 28, 1739, shortly after he had issued the second edition of the Constitutions. He was buried in Bunhill Fields with Masonic services, and accounted for the earliest known account of a Masonic funeral which appeared in the London Daily Post of
June 2, 1739: "Last night (June 1) was interr'd the corpse of Dr. Anderson, a Dissenting Teacher, in a very remarkable deep Grave. His pall was supported by five Dissenting Teachers, and the Rev. Dr. Desaguliers; it was followed by a dozen of Freemasons who encircled the Grave; and after Dr. Earle had harangued on the Uncertainty of Life &c, without one word of the Deceased, the Brethren, in the most solomn dismal Posture, lifted up their Hands, sigh'd, and struck their aprons three times in Honour to the Deceased.â€? This Bio was sourced from the Denslowâ€™s 10,000 famous Fressmasons.
Strange but True The oldest records in which signs and symbols occur were found in the rock excavated Temple of Rameses II, at Babel Molank, in Egypt, constructed, according to Champollion, 1720 years B. C. The frescoes on the walls of several of the chambers represent scenes in Masonic initiations. The aprons worn by the Masters are of pyramidal shape, except at the top, where there is a band on which an inscription signifying "Chosen of the Sun." At the two points or bottom corners are suns, the rays from which spread upwards over the apron; these devices are in red, gold, blue, green and brown on a white ground. Most of the signs are clearly depicted, and in one of the chambers is a stone coffin.
A Masonâ€™s Christmas
He shoved them deeper in as he spoke to emphasize his intention not to spend.
"I don't believe in a Christmas celebration by the lodge. I don't think we ought to have one, or be asked to contribute to one or in any way engage in Christmas festivities."
"Hum!" answered the Old Past Master. "So you think your Jewish brother across the way doesn't recognize Christianity? Don't you mean he doesn't recognize Christ as the Son of God? Wait a minute... Oh, Brother Samuels." The Old Past Master called across the ante-room. "Here a minute, will you?"
"The Junior Mason spoke emphatically and with marked disapproval of the little ante-room group nearby, making happy plans for Yule-tide. "That's very interesting," commented the Old Past Master. I like to hear points of view unfamiliar to me. Would you mind telling me why?" "Of course not. It's very simple. Masonry is not Christian. King Solomon, of course, wasn't a Christian, nor were either of the Hiram's. Masonry admits to her ranks any good man of faith; Christian, Jewish, Mohammedan, Buddhist... it makes no difference, so he has a Faith. Then, as a lodge, we celebrate a holiday belonging to one faith. Now I personally am a Christian, and of course I celebrate Christmas. But my brother across the way is a Jew, who does not recognize Christianity. To ask him to spend his proportion of lodge funds in celebrating the birth of a Leader in Whom he does not believe would be exactly like asking me to celebrate, with my proportion of lodge money, the birth of Confucius. Of course, I have only one vote and the majority rules, but when it comes to personal contributions to a Masonic Christmas celebration, my hands will never come out of my pockets."
The Jewish brother rose and came forward. "I just wanted to ask you if you are in favor or against the lodge Christmas celebration?" asked the Old Past Master. "Me? I am in favor of it, of course, both for the lodge appropriation and the individual contribution." "Thank you," nodded the Old Past Master. Then as the Jewish brother went back to his seat, he turned to the Junior Mason. "You see, my son, our Jewish friend is not narrow. He does not believe in Christ as the Redeemer, but he recognizes that he lives in a country largely Christian, and belongs to a lodge largely Christian. To him the Christmas celebration is not one of His birthday, but of the spirit of joyousness and love which we mean when we sing, at Christmas time 'Peace on earth, good will towards men!' If you argue that 'peace' is only a Christian word, he might even quote to you the words of One who said 'I bring you not Peace, but a Sword.'
"Now let me explain something to you. The Jew has just as much right to refuse to recognize Christ as the Son of God, as you have to refuse to consider Mohammed the Prophet the followers of Allah say he is. But as an educated man, you must know that Mohammed was a good man, a devout leader, a wise teacher. As an educated man, you admit that the religion founded by Buddha has much in it that is good, and you admit that Confucius was a wise and just leader. Were you in the land where the birthdays of any of these were celebrated, would you refuse your part in the people's joy in their Leader, simply because you followed another? I trust not. Well, neither do our Jewish brethren or our Mohammedan brethren, desire to be left out of our celebration. They may not believe in the Divinity of Him we, as Christians, follow, but if they are good men and good Masons... they are perfectly willing to admit that the religion we follow is as good for us as theirs is for them, and to join with us in celebrating the day which is to us the glad day of all the year. "Believe me, boy, Christmas doesn't mean Christ's birthday to many a man who calls himself Christian. It is not because of joy the He was born that many a good man celebrates Christmas. It is because his neighbor celebrates it, because it is a time of joy for little ones, because it is a day when he can express his thanks to his God that he is allowed to have a wife and family and children and friends and a lodge, because of that very 'peace on earth' spirit which is no more the property of the Gentile than the Jew, the Chinese or the Mohammedan.
"It is such a spirit that Masons join, all, in celebrating Christmas. It is on the Masonic side of the tree we dance, not the Christian side. When this lodge erects its Christmas tree in the basement and throws it open to the little ones of the poor of this town, you will find children of all kinds there; black, white, yellow, and brown, Jew and Gentile, Christian and Mohammedan. And you will find a Jew at the door, and among the biggest subscriptions will be those from some Jewish brethren, and there is a Jew who rents cars for a living who will supply us a dozen free to take baskets to those who cannot come. And when the Jewish Orphan Asylum has its fair, in the Spring, you will find many a Christian Mason attending to spend his money and help along the cause dear to his Jewish brethren, never remembering that they are of a different faith. That, my son, is Masonry." "For Charity is neither Christian nor Jewish, nor Chinese nor Buddhistic. And celebrations which create joy in little hearts and feed the hungry and make the poor think that Masons do not forget the lessons in lodge, are not Christian alone, though they be held at Christmas, and are not for Christians alone, though the celebration be in His honor. Recall the ritual: 'By the exercise of brotherly love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and low, the rich and poor, who, as created by one Almighty Parent, and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aid, support and protect each other'. "It is with this thought that we, as Masons, celebrate Christmas, to bring joy to our brethren and their little ones, and truly observe the brotherhood of
man and the Fatherhood of God, whether we be Jew or Gentile, Mohammedan or Buddhist." The Old Past Master ceased and stood musing, his old eyes looking back along a long line of lodge Christmas trees about which eager little faces danced. Then he turned to the Junior Mason. "Well," he said smiling, "Do you understand?" "I thank you for my Christmas present," came the answer. "Please tell me to which brother I should make my Christmas contribution?" This article is from the pen of Carl Claudy, and is taken from his Old Past Master series.
The Old Masterâ€™s Wages I met a dear old man today, Who wore a Masonic pin, It was old and faded like the man, It's edges were worn quite thin. I approached the park bench where he sat, To give the old brother his due, I said, "I see you've traveled east," He said, "I have, have you." I said, "I have, and in my day Before the all seeing sun, I played in the rubble, with Jubala Jubalo and Jubalum." He shouted, "don't laugh at the work my son, It's good and sweet and true, And if you've traveled as you said, You should give these things their due."
The word, the sign the token, The sweet Masonic prayer, The vow that all have taken, Who've climbed the inner stair The wages of a Mason, are never paid in gold, but the gain comes from contentment, when you're weak and growing old. You see, I've carried my obligations, For almost fifty years, It has helped me through the hardships and the failures full of tears. Now I'm losing my mind and body, Death is near but I don't despair, I've lived my life upon the level, And I'm dying upon the square. Sometimes the greatest lessons Are those that are learned anew, And the old man in the park today has changed my point of view. To all Masonic brothers, The only secret is to care, May you live your life upon the level, May you part upon the square. This poem was sent to the newsletter by Bro. Brian Finlayson. If anyone has a poem, short story or anything they think our readers might like, just get in touch, and Iâ€™ll do the rest!
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘E Clampus Vitus’ E Clampus Vitus was formed as a “fun” organization, probably in Mokelumne Hill, California, in 1849. It lapsed, and was revived as a fun-cum-historical society. In 1991 there were approximately 50,000 members in 62 lodges, but there was no settled head office. E Clampus Vitus (sometimes E Clampsus Vitus) is an example of a funloving society that eventually came to take itself too seriously, evolving from pure burlesque and serious drinking, it turned into a worthy organization with a penchant for local history. In its original form, it was not very attractive — there was a great deal of rowdyism and horseplay — but at least it lived up to its original mission, which was to parody the freemasons and other organizations that took themselves too seriously. Although Lois Rather (in Men Will Be Boys [Oakland, California, 1980]) traces the history of the “Clampers” to unspecified southern states before 1849, it is widely accepted in California that E. Clampus Vitus is a native California organization founded in Mokelumne Hill in the Gold Country by Joseph H. Zumwalt during the Gold Rush year. The Sons of Malta may, however, be an ancestor of the original Clampers. E Clampus Vitus originally seems to have existed for one simple reasons: to initiate new members, partly for the malicious pleasure of humiliating them, and more importantly because a new
member had to buy drinks all round for existing members. When a new “mark” was spotted by a Clamper—maybe a new businessman in town, maybe even an unfortunate travelling salesman — he would be fed the line that in order to do business in the area he had better join E Clampus Vitus. More often than not, especially if other Clampers joined the conspiracy and told him the same story, he would accede. The “initiation” took several forms, including pushing the candidate backwards into a pile of cow manure, hoisting him in the air and leaving him there, or dumping him in a vat of water; but the most usual form seems to have been the “ride on the rocky road,” in which the candidate was placed in a wheelbarrow and pushed along a ladder laid flat on the floor. Sometimes, the wheelbarrow would be lined with wet sponges. Before or after all this, the unfortunate candidate would also be subjected to a barrage of personal questions, often accompanied by jeers and catcalls. The only incentive to remain in the organization, once one had been tricked into joining, was that one could join the tormentors of the next candidate. The rituals, such as they were, seem to have been horseplay tempered with parodies of freemasons, Odd Fellows and other fraternal orders; the head of the order is to this day the Sublime Noble Grand Humbug, and there were other ranks (applied without excessive regard for detail or consistency), such as the Clampatriarch. An early head of the Clampers, Ephraim Bee, was known as the Grand Gyascutis and later as the Grand Lama.
At least one lodge also had higher degrees, but no one took them very seriously. It has long been said within the organization that, traditionally, no one was in a fit state to record what went on at the meetings, and the morning after, no one could remember. The move toward greater seriousness set in around the time of the Civil War, when the date of the Clampers parade was changed from the first Saturday after the snows to the Fourth of July — a reprehensibly sensible act suggesting that E Clampus Vitus was beginning to lose touch with its burlesque roots. Like many other organizations, the present-day E Clampus Vitus is a revival of the original. The old E Clampus ran out of steam in the late 19th century, but was revived about 1930 by a lawyer named Carl Irving Wheat. Wheat was deeply interested in California history, and under his guidance the revived organization devoted itself to that subject. Clamper commemorative plaques of bronze or stone are to be found on many “historical” California buildings, some of which antedate the 20th century. Typically, these plaques give a brief history of the building. Wheat was not entirely given to seriousness, however, and most Clampers remained thirsty men. He (and they) also had a weakness for misleading histories of the order, such as Adam Was a Clamber, An Abridged History of Clamperdom from the Garden of Eden to Hangtown and the Founding of Platrix Chapter No 2 (1979, by Don Louis Perceval, Montrose, California). When Wheat died in 1967, the soberer elements of the organization took over — or attempted to do so. The Clamper, the official organ
of the order since 1961, railed in December 1974 against the “grotesque antics, obscenities, vulgar displays and graceless manners” of some Clampers. Worse still, it attacked the holy institution of drinking Then again, there were problems: Many Clampers regarded a six-gun as a part of the regalia (along with blue jeans and red braces, or “suspenders”), and the combination of guns and alcohol can become excessively interesting. In 1967, one man was accidentally shot dead at a party in Columbia near Sonora. To this day, though, Clampers retain the image (where they are known, which is principally in the Gold Country of northern California) of being fond of a dram. For example, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) visited Petaluma in 1979 to read the inscription on the water fountain they had installed a century earlier in 1879: “TOTAL ABSTINENCE IS THE WAY TO HANDLE THE ALCOHOL PROBLEM.” They then went on to attempt to evangelize nearby Andresen’s Tavern. There they found a sign that read, “NEVER TRUST A MAN WHO DOESN’T DRINK” and a bunch of Clampers in fancy costumes and military outfits. These worthies encouraged the ladies to move on, in no uncertain manner. Needless to say, the name means nothing, and has been variously rendered as E Clampus Vitus, E Clampsus Vitus, E Clampsus Vitae, “Clampers” (also used as the name for members), and E.C.V. The Clampers appear to be in good order: There were 20 chapters in 1970, 32 in 1979, and over 50 in 1991.
Tubal Cain was mentioned in the ritual back in 1743, but the interpretation put on his name was not understood until many years later and such interpretation caused much controversy, which revealed many facts. We still do not know how the name was derived or what it properly means. There is reference in the Old Charges, but the ritual appears to have aligned with information in the Geneva Bible c. 1560 where a margin note explains ‘tubal’ as meaning borne, brought or worldly, with ‘cain’ as possession, so by joining the two words ‘Tubal Cain’, the interpretation is ‘worldly possessions’.
A fundamental flaw exists since the early scholars assumed that the language was Hebrew, which is incorrect. A similar reasoning would be ‘Tubal the Smith’ because ‘cain’ was not part of his name, but indicates his occupation. The authorised version of the Bible claims that Tubal Cain was an instructor in brass and iron. There is a suggestion that the nomadic tribe, the Kenites, who were travelling tinkers whose name was formed from ‘cain’ with haphazard opinions that Tubal Cain was not an individual but a figure representing and early race concerned with metallic iron. An heraldic arms was assigned to Tubal Cain in ‘Blazon of Gentrie’ (J. Ferne) in 1586 indicating ‘sable, a hammer argent’, dark, gloomy with a silver hammer.
Mystery still surrounds the origins and meaning of ‘Tubal Cain’! Sourced from Why? ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ by Bro. John Cane PPG Supt Wks (Surrey)
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on May 31, 2012