Contents Page 2, ‘Neil Munro’ Journalist, Novelist and Poet, a short bio of the creator of Para Handy!
Page 4, ‘The Mother Lodge.’ A Poem written by a Neil Munro
Page 5, ‘Hurricane Jack of the Vital Spark.’ The story of Para Handy’s initiation!
Page 8, ‘Lodge Montrose Kilwinning No.15.’ Another History of one of our Ancient Scottish Lodges.
Page 10, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “Examining Committee”, the twenty second in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’
Page 12, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “Bringing Masonry to Lodge’ our monthly feature of writings.
Page 13, ‘Order of AHEPA’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World.
Page 17, ‘Brothers and Builders’. The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry, Chapter Six – The Master’s Piece.
Page 20, ‘The Mysteries of the Order’. Page 22, ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ Brother, Cowan.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘The North East Corner’. [link]
The cover picture of Neil Munro and the Vital Spark is a collage designed by the editor of the newsletter.
‘Neil Munro’ Journalist, Novelist and Poet. Neil Munro was born on the 3rd June 1863 in the town of Inveraray, on Loch Fyne in the picturesque area called Argyll in Scotland. He was brought up by his Mother and Grand-mother, (the identity of the father has been alleged to have been the Duke of Argyll) both of whom were native Gaelic speakers and it is believed that from them Neil gained an understanding of both the highland language and its culture. His mother would later marry the retired governor of Inveraray jail in 1875 and it is highly likely that Neil lived there for that part of his life. Neil Munro was educated at the local parish school in Inveraray and left there in 1877 to work as a clerk for a local lawyer called William Douglas who would later become immortalised as Dan Dyce in the novel Daft Days (1907). It was during this period in the lawyers office that Munro taught himself shorthand and on the 1st of June 1881 just before his eighteenth birthday, he left Inveraray and moved to Glasgow to begin a new life, and a new career. Munro for a short time worked as a cashier, but all too soon he began working as a journalist, the profession that he had always longed to for. After learning his trade as a reported on The Greenock Advertiser, The Glasgow News and the Falkirk Herald, he moved to the Glasgow Evening News as its Chief Reporter at the age of 23 and
married Jessie Adam the daughter of his landlady. Along with his reporting of the local news, Neil tried writing other topics, such as humorous sketches and in 1896 he published The Lost Pibroch and Other Sheiling Stories. Then in 1898 appeared the publication of his first novel John Splendid, which has been described as the first truly authentic Highland novel. Now that his career as a novelist had taken off, Munro became part-time on the paper and produced only two weekly columns for the Glasgow Evening news, which would allow him to concentrate on his literary work, and in 1899 the novel Gilian the Dreamer was published. This was followed quickly with Doom Castle, The Shoes of Fortune and Children of Tempest all connected with the 1745 Jacobite Uprising. The column that Neil Munro was writing for the newspaper was called the “Looker On” and would continue to produce it for the rest of his working life, and it was through this discourse that the public was introduced to Para Handy in 1905. These hilarious stories caught the imagination of the public and Munro published the collection of them in; The Vital Spark, In Highland Harbours and Hurricane Jack of the Vital Spark. The column also was to host sketches about Erchie MacPherson and Jimmy Swan which appeared under the pen name Hugh Foulis, Munro had decided that he would only use his real name for his more serious creations.
By this time Neil Munroâ€™s reputation a writer of some repute was known throughout Scotland and in 1908 he was honoured with an LLD from the University of Glasgow. This was followed the next year with the award of the Freedom of his beloved Inveraray. Neil Munro's most accomplished novel, however, and also his last, was The New Road (1914) again keeping to a highland theme. The story centres on the new road which General Wade is building between Stirling and Inverness and is a powerful novel about the forces which shape the destinies of individuals. It is great historical fiction! Then with the outbreak of World War I, Munro went back to being a full time journalist, he visited the Front on four occasions as a war correspondent, and in 1915 his son Hugh was killed at Loos. Undoubtedly this event would prove to be a distressing time for Munro, and did affect his writing as there were no more novels published, however the first ten chapters of a sequel to the New Road exists but never finished, perhaps the distress of the loss of his son played a part, but he also became the editor of the Glasgow Evening News in 1918 which would have curtailed his serious writing. In 1927 Neil Munro's health was failing. He retired from the Glasgow Evening News but even in retirement he continued to work. His last book was a History of the Royal Bank of Scotland (1928) and he continued to write articles called , "Random Reminiscences". In October 1930, he was honoured with a second LLD, this time by the University of Edinburgh, but sadly at the ceremony he was in obvious ill health.
He died a few months later on 22nd December at his home, in Helensburgh. Journalist, critic, and novelist, he was also a poet. In 1931, after his death, John Buchan (39 steps) edited a collection of his poetry for Blackwood. These poems had appeared throughout his life in magazines, newspapers, and as parts of his novels. They do not, however, have the quality of his prose. Indeed, Buchan comments: "His prose seems to me more strictly poetic than his verse." In 1935 An Comunn Gaidhealach erected a monument to him at the head of Glen Aray. The decoration at the top of the simple column is in the shape of a Celtic book shrine and on it is the Gaelic inscription "Sar Litreachas" "Excellent Literature". Among those present at the ceremony were many friends and admirers including Sir Harry Lauder. In his address, the writer R. B. Cunninghame Graham praised Neil Munro as "the apostolic successor of Sir Walter Scott". A fitting tribute! Neil Munro was a member of the Lodge St. John No.50 Inverary, he was entered an apprentice on 1st August 1890 and as one would expect of such a man whose love of the area never diminished, he chose to join the Lodge of his beloved home town. I would like to thank the Neil Munro Society for allowing me to use this adapted Bio.
THE MOTHER LODGE NEIL MUNRO
There’s many a sorry day will come To part good company To send them wandering on endless roads That lie by land and sea. They are free to forget the days that were, They may never cease to roam, But a curse on their souls if they ever forget The Mother they left at Home. The Mother she sits in her upper roomy With her portals starkly tyled, And she reads in her antique, register The name of each darling child. “Never a Cowan among them all Since the day they saw the light,” May the boast be hers till the end of time On her patron saint, his night. Oh! the wandering brothers are scattered wide, In many a distant land, And when they have word or sign to give, There are plenty to understand, But dear though the Master's grip may be, And the welcome and all the rest, It’s the Mother who sits so fond at home, They remember and love the best. She has sons tonight in Australian bush, Where the dingo bays the moan; Or questing in lone Pacific seas, Round the coy and the hushed lagoon;
They cherish her secrets on Indian sandal On the veldt and wide karoo) They mention her name, at the touch of hands, In the O1d World and the New. Japan and America, South and North, have lured them caver the tide ; And Canada claims them for her own, And many a land beside. But whether they sit around her knees, Or follow the sea in ships, Or kiss the women of foreign parts With the, alien's wanton lips, Or court Dame Fortune nearer home, In the city's fret and noise, They are all one blood and all one Craft, They are all their Mother's boys. Some of us drowned in the roaring seas, Some, of us fell in the wars, Some of us won to wealth and ease By the grace of our natal stars; But whether we failed, or whether we won, Or we died on field or foam, The cable-tow bound us hard and fast To the Mother we left at home. So, Mother, tonight, as you sup serene, With our brothers gathered round, We, wandering Craftsmen scattered far To earth’s remotest bound, Would pray you remember your exiled sons, Wherever their fortunes roam, Who pledge in the filial loving-cup – O1d Mother Lodge at Home.
This wonderful poem by Bro. Neil Munro was extracted from, William Harvey’s book, ‘Masonic Readings and Recitations.’
Hurricane Jack of The Vital Spark By Hugh Foulis (pseudonym of Neil Munro)
INITIATION THERE was absolutely nothing to do to pass the time till six o'clock, and Hurricane Jack, whose capacity for sleep under any circumstances and at any hour of the day or night was the envy of his shipmates, stretched himself out on the hatches with a fragment of tarpaulin over him. In about two seconds he was apparently dreaming of old days in the China clipper trade, and giving a most realistic imitation of a regular snorter of a gale off the Ramariz. "There's some people iss born lucky," remarked the Captain pathetically. "Jeck could go to sleep inside a pair o' bagpipes and a man playin' on them. It's the innocent mind o' him." "It's no' the innocent mind o' him, whatever it iss," retorted Dougie with some acidity. "It's chust fair laziness; he canna be bothered standin' up and keepin' his eyes open. Ye're chust spoilin' him. That's what I'm tellin' ye!" Para Handy flushed with annoyance. "Ye think I'm slack," he remarked; "but I'm firm enough wi' Jeck when there's any occasion. I sent him pretty smert for the milk this mornin', and him wantin' me to go mysel'. I let him see who wass skipper on this boat. A body would think you wass brocht up on a man-o'war; ye would like to see me aye
bullyin' the fellow. There's no herm in Jeck Maclachlan, and there iss not a nimbler sailor under the cope and canopy, in any shape or form!" Dougie made no reply. He sat on an upturned bucket sewing a patch on the salient part of a pair of trousers with a sail-maker's needle. "There ye are!" resumed the Captain. "Darnin' away at your clothes and them beyond redemption! Ye're losin' aal taste o' yoursel'; what ye're needin's new garments aalthegither. Could ye no', for goodness sake, buy a web o' homespun somewhere in the islands and make a bargain wi' a tyler?" "Tylers!" exclaimed Dougie. "I might as weel put mysel' in the hands o' Rob Roy Macgregor! They're askin' ÂŁ6, 10s. the suit, and it's extra for the trooser linin'." Para Handy was staggered. He had bought no clothes himself since his marriage, and had failed to observe the extraordinary elevation in the cost of men's apparel. "Holy Frost!" he cried. "That's a rent in itsel'! If that's the way o't, keep you on plyin' the needle, Dougie. It's terrible the price o' everything nooadays. I think, mysel', it's a sign o' something goin' to happen. It runs in my mind there wass something aboot that in the Book o' Revelations. I only paid ÂŁ2, 10s. for a capital pilot suit the year I joined the Rechabites." The mate suspended his sewing, and looked up suspiciously at the skipper. "It's the first time ever I heard ye were in the Rechabites," he remarked
significantly. "Hoo long were ye in them?"
a lot o' tips to start wi'. What clothes will I need the night o' the meetin'?'
"Nearly a week," replied Para Handy, "and I came oot o' them wi' flyin' colours at the start o' the Tarbert Fair. It wass aal a mistake, Dougie; the tyler at the time in Tarbert took advantage o' me. A fisherman by the name o' Colin Macleod from Minard and me wass very chief at that time, and he wass a Freemason. He would aye be givin' grips and makin' signs to ye. By his way o't a sailor that had the grip could trevel the world and find good company wherever he went, even if he didna ken the language.
"He was a big soft-lookin' lump o' a man, the tyler, wi' a smell o' singed cloth aboot him, and the front o' his jecket aal stuck over wi' pins; and I'll assure ye he gave me the he'rty welcome.
"Colin wass high up in the Freemasons; when he had all his medals and brooches on he looked like a champion Hielan' dancer. "He wass keen, keen for me to join the craft and be a reg'lar chentleman, and at last I thocht to mysel' it would be a great advantage. "'Where will I join?' I asked him. "'Ye'll join in Tarbert; there's no' a Lodge in the realm o' Scotland more complete,' says Colin. 'And the first thing ye'll do, ye'll go up and see my cousin the tyler; he'll gie ye a lot o' preluminary instruction.' "The very next time I wass in Tarbert I went to the tyler right enough for the preluminaries. "'I wass thinkin' o' joinin' the Lodge,' I says to him, 'and Colin Macleod iss tellin' me ye're in a poseetion to gie me
"'Ye couldna come to a better quarter!' he says to me, 'and it'll no' take me long to put ye through your faoin's. There's a Lodge on Friday, and by that time ye'll be perfect. Of course, ye'll have the proper garments?' "'What kind o' garments?' says I. 'I have nothing at aal but what I'm wearin'; my Sabbath clothes iss all in Gleska.' "'Tut! tut!' says he, quite vexed. 'Ye couldna get into a Lodge wi' clothes like that; ye'll need a wise-like suit if ye're to join the brethren in Tarbert. But I can put ye right in half a jiffy.' "He jumped the counter like a hare, made a grab at a pile o' cloth that wass behind me, hauled oot a web o' bluepilot stuff, and slapped it on a chair. "'There's the very ticket for ye!' he says, triumphant. 'Wi' a suit o' that ye'll be the perfect chentleman!' "I wassna needin' clothes at aal, but before I could open my mouth to say Jeck Robe'son he had the tape on me. Noo there's something aboot a tyler's tape that aye puts me in a commotion, and I lose my wits. "He had the measure o' my chest in the time ye wud gut a herrin', and wass
roond at my back before I could turn mysel' to see what he wass up to. 'Fortytwo; twenty-three,' he bawls, and puts it in a ledger. "He wass on to me again wi' his tape, like a flash o' lightnin'; pulled the jecket nearly off my back and took the length o' my waistcoat, and oh! my goodness, but he smelt o' Harris tweed, and it damp, singein'! "'Hold up your arm!' says he, and he took the sleeve-length wi' a flourish, and aal the time he wass tellin' me what a capital Lodge was the Tarbert one, and aboot the staunchness o' the brethren. "'Ye'll find us a lot o' cheery chaps,' he says; 'there's often singin'. But ye'll have to come at first deid sober, for they're duvvelish particular.' "By this time he wass doon aboot my legs, and the tape wass whippin' aal aboot me like an Irish halyard. I wass that vexed I had entered his shop withoot a dram, for if I had a dram it wasna a tyler's tape that Peter Macfarlane would flinch for. "By the time he had aal my dimensions, fore and aft, in his wee bit ledger, I wass in a perspiration, and I didna care if he measured me for a lady's dolman. "'Do ye need to do this every time?' I asked him, put aboot tremendous. "'Do what?' says the tyler. "'Go over me wi' a tape,' says I. "'Not at aal,' he says, quite he'rty, laughin'. 'It's only for the first initiation
that ye need consider your appearance. Later on, no doot, ye'll need regalia, and I can put ye richt there too.' "'It's only the first degree I'm wantin' to start wi',' I says to him; 'I want to see if my health'll stand it.' "'Tach!' says the tyler; 'ye'll get aal that's goin' at the wan go-off. There's no shilly-shallyin' about oor Lodge in Tarbert. Come up to the shop tomorrow, and I'll gie the first fit on.' "I went to him next day in the afternoon, and ye never in aal your life saw such a performance! The tape wass nothin' to't! He put on me bits o' jeckets and weskits tacked thegither, withoot any sign o' sleeves or buttons on them; filled his mooth to the brim wi' pins, and started jaggin' them into me. "'Mind it's only the first degree!' I cries to him. 'Ye maybe think I'm strong, but I'm no' that strong!' "Him bein' full o' pins, I couldna make oot wan word he wass mumblin', but I gaithered he wass tellin' me something aboot the grips and password. And then he fair lost his heid! He took a lump of chalk and began to make a regular cod o' my jecket and weskit. "' Stop! Stop!' I cries to him. 'I wass aye kind o' dubious aboot Freemasons, and if I'm to wear a parapharnalia o' this kind, all made up o' patches pinned thegither, and chalked aal o'er like the start o' a game o' peever, I'm no' goin' to join!' "The tyler gave a start. 'My goodness!' he says, 'it's no' the Freemasons ye were wantin' to join?'
"'That wass my intention,' I told him. 'And Colin said his cousin the tyler in Tarbert wass the very man to help me. That's the way I'm here.' "'Isn't that chust deplorable!' says the tyler, scratchin' his heid. 'Ye're in the wrong shop aalthegither! The tyler o' the Mason's Lodge in Tarbert's another man aalthegither, that stands at the door o' his Lodge to get the password. I'm no' a Mason at aal; I'm the treasurer o' the Rechabites.' "'The Rechabites!' says I, horror-struck. 'Aren't they teetotal?' "'Strict!' he says. 'Ye canna get over that--to start wi'. And ye're chust ass good ass a full-blown Rechabite noo, for I've given yc aal I ken in the way o' secrets.' "So that's the way I wass a Rechabite, Dougie. I wass staunch to the brethren for seven days, and then I fair put an end to't. I never went near their Lodge, but the suit o' clothes came doon to the vessel for me, wi' a wee boy for the money. It wass £2, 10s., and I have the weskit yet." "£2, 10s. and aal that sport!" said Dougie ruefully. "Them wass the happy days!"
This story regarding Para Handy’ initiation is a chapter taken from the book, Hurricane Jack and the Vital Spark. The author Neil Munro was an active Freemason.
Lodge Montrose Kilwinning No.15 The Lodge history is currently being researched in detail. It is anticipated that a comprehensive account of the origins of the Lodge and the events that have shaped Lodge 15 will be published in time for our 300th Anniversary in November 2013. The Lodge was formed under the name 'Lodge of Montrose' in 1713. The Jacobite rising in 1715 made this a turbulent period in the history of the Angus area and of Scotland in general. There is speculation as to whether Lodge 15 held a charter from Mother Kilwinning prior to the founding of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, however, such charters were often issued without a regular account being held. The Lodge of Montrose later became known as the 'Honourable Fraternity and Incorporation of Freemasons at Montrose' and took part in the organisation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736. A Formal Charter was not requested until 1745 in the name of 'Montrose Kilwinning'. Yet another tempestuous period in Scotland's history! Throughout the early history of the Lodge there was a strong commitment to undertake charitable works and support the poor and needy. A commitment that continues to this day. The minute of 18 January 1716 records that the brethren agreed to pay "......four shilling Scots or four pence Sterling per quarter" towards this cause. In 1734, in this regard, the minutes record that
"......we are concerned and willing to the utmost of our power to supply" support for those in need. Meetings during the early part of our history were held in various locations e.g. " the Meason Lodge Court". "Mrs Moir's" and "Daniel Stewart's house". In 1744, the committee agreed to spend £200.00 Sterling to build a permanent meeting place. It seems that this was never carried through to a conclusion as the Lodge continued to meet in a variety of premises. However, a property was eventually bought for £211.00 Sterling. It is not certain what happened to this property, for in 1790 the Lodge met at "Mrs Bean's". In 1745, 18 glasses were purchased and the bylaws noted that these were to assist".....for the more effectual relief of the poor of the Lodge, the profits arising from the sale of liquors should be applied". The first recorded visitation was on 5 August 1745 when "......our neighbouring Lodge at Arbroath" attended. In these days, a trades-person being a member of one of the bodies forming the Incorporation of Trades became a Freeman or Burgess of the Burgh on being admitted into Freemasonry. Included in the Roll of the Lodge are such notables as Sir James Carnegie of Pitcarrow; Lieutenant Robert Gordon; Francis Gardyne, Sheriff of Kincardine and Thomas Lyon of Hallgreen, the brother of the Earl of Strathmore. The Lodge room in New Wynd was built in 1882 for the sum of £550.00.
In 1913, the 200th Anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated. Bro Alexander Bruce was RWM and presided at the " evening of celebration". The special event was attended by distinguished brethren from all over Scotland including the Marquis of Tullibardine, the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason. On that occasion, the Lodge conferred Honorary Membership on the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason. The Grand Master stated the "Proud as he was of being Grand Master of Scotland, he was also proud of being an ordinary Master Mason and junior member of Lodge Kilwinning". The Grand Master was presented with a commemorative bi-centenary jewel to further mark the occasion. The jewel is now on display in the museum within Blair Castle. In 1913, 150 brethren paid test fees and 38 new members were enrolled. The Lodge moved in 1964 to the premises in Bridge Street. The hall was also let out for a variety of functions. In 1969, application was made to Royal Arch Chapter No. 3 to allow the Lodge to meet at Upper Hall Street. The Lodge has met there ever since. In 1986, the Lodge held an anniversary meeting, ceremony of re-dedication and dinner which aligned with the anniversary of the formation of Grand Lodge. The event was held in Montrose Town Hall and was attended by, amongst others, Bro J M Marcus Humphrey of Dinnet, the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason. Bro Robert P. Gibb presided as RWM on that occasion.
Over the years the Lodge has continued to strengthen ties with the Montrose and Forfarshire Lodges. In addition, links have been developed with various Lodges throughout Scotland and beyond including, Lodge New Monkland Montrose No. 88 and Lodge Cadder Argyle No. 147. At the present time, preparations are well under way for the 300th Anniversary of Lodge Montrose Kilwinning No. 15. We all look forward to this event, which will be held in November 2013, and, what we anticipate will be, another memorable occasion in the history of Lodge Montrose Kilwinning No. 15. The newsletter acknowledges Lodge No.15 for allowing us to use their History. The Lodge website can be accessed at this link. If your Lodge has a history that it might like our readers to read, contact the editor.
Examining Committee "I have just had a great shock!" announced the New Brother, sitting down weakly beside the Old Tiler. "What is wrong?" asked the bearer of the sword.
Interesting Masonic Facts. On August 23, 1879, Lodge #239 of France held a meeting in a balloon flying over Paris, at which time a brother was initiated. Dr. Edward Jenner, in 1789 discovered the vaccination process against smallpox. He was worshipful master of Faith and Friendship Lodge #270 in Berkeley, England at the time.
"I have been away for a few weeks," responded the New Brother, "I visited in every lodge where I could. I took delight in the very thorough way into which I have had my ritualistic work drilled into me. I wasn't stumped by a single question. And believe me, I had some examinations! Most of them lasted an hour, at least. But I knew my work, so I got in without any trouble. "That was nice," answered the Old Tiler, "though it seems a long time to me."
"What's a long time? Never mind! It was nice, yes; but it was awful to get on an examination committee with Brother Filson here and have him get through in less than five minutes! He only asked three or four questions, and for all I know to the contrary, there is an imposter sitting in our lodge right now!" "Upon my word!" exclaimed the Old Tiler. "Is that so! We'll have that perhaps-imposter out of there as quick as a wink..." He started for the door. "Here, wait a minute! Don't go off halfcocked that way!" protested the New Brother. "I don't suppose he is *really* an imposter. But I don't know that he knows his work. How could I, after hearing Filson ask him just four or five questions?" "Oh, well!" responded the Old Tiler, seating himself again, "that's different. But I thought better of you! I have watched you go into the lodge and through the degrees and I thought you were going to be a regular Mason. And here you are neglecting your duty, forswearing yourself, betraying your brethren, being false to your trust!" "Why, what do you mean? I have betrayed no trust!" cried the New Brother angrily. "Oh, yes; you have," responded the Old Tiler, sturdily. "The Master trusted you; your brethren trusted you. They believed when they sent you out with Brother Filson that when you came back and stood sponsor for the brother you had examined you meant what you allowed Filson to say at the Altar-that
the brother was a Master Mason. Now you tell me you are *not* satisfied; that for all you know he may be an imposter! You don't know he knows his work! It was your business to know. That's what you were on the committee for. Masonry demands two on a committee. Both must be satisfied. You were not satisfied, yet you let the brother go in; and if that isn't betraying a trust, what is it?" "Well-I-er-Oh, come, Old Tiler, you know I didn't want to butt in on Filson, and if he thought it was all right -and I'm so new in lodge and all -Oh, come now!" "Worse and worse!" cried the Old Tiler. "You were not satisfied, yet rather than 'butt in' on Filson, you were willing to let Masonry and this lodge, which raised you, take a chance on an imposter. I shall certainly report you to the lodge. I shall certainly see that you learn what is what in Masonry, I shall..." "Oh, you wouldn't do that!" cried the New Brother. "I didn't mean any harm. I was just trying to be Masonicly courteous to a brother and -you wouldn't do that, would you?" "Certainly not!" answered the Old Tiler, eyes twinkling. "I wouldn't think of it." "Then what did you say it for?" demanded the New Brother. "To scare you into the realization that you don't know what you are talking about!" responded the Old Tiler. "All I said was true, if you were *really* not satisfied. But you *were* satisfied. You
know perfectly well that brother is a Mason. But you wanted Filson to put on dignity and conduct a heavy examination and humiliate the brother to show how big and grand you and he were. Oh, I know! I was young myselfonce. You say they took an hour to examine you. Brethren don't take an hour to find out if visitors are Masons, unless they have doubts. You were too cocksure, too full of pride, too eager. So they doubted you, and made sure. Filson is an old hand. He has been a Mason for years. And he knows what questions to ask. One doesn't have to ask you if you know that twice two is four and twice four is eight, if ones asks you what twice eight is and you say sixteen. The lengthy, involved, elaborate, difficult examination is only given to him who is more ritualistic than Mason, unless there is a real doubt of the applicant. "Old Masons know that the visitor who seeks to enter compliments the lodge. The lodge is host, he is a guest. Hospitality demands all the courtesy possible. Masonry demands knowledge. The middle course is to find out as briefly and as quickly yet as surely as possible. It is not necessary to put a man through the whole ritual to know whether he is a Mason. Filson knows it. Evidently the visiting brother knew his work and his answers were satisfactory. "But remember, my brother, *you* must be satisfied on a committee, or be faithless to your trust. Be satisfied as quickly and as gracefully as possible, or be false to the standards of hospitality and courtesy which are taught in Masonry. Understand?"
"I-I think so. My head is rather going around. About all I am sure of is I have rather made a fool of myself," said the New Mason. "Never mind!" comforted the Old Tiler with a grin. "Give yourself time. It's rarely fatal. A few years and you'll get some sense!" This is the twenty second article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
Rays of Masonry “Bringing Masonry to Lodge” We must ever remember that Masonry is men who are Masons. The good of an institution must always result from the acts and deeds of the members of such an organization. The Masonic Institution is the achievement of Masons. Many times the question is asked: "What degree are they going to work tonight?" Perhaps the brother who asks the question is interested in witnessing one particular degree and prefers not to attend unless that degree is going to be conferred. Still, there is a mighty impersonal ring to the word "they." Many other times the question is: "What are they going to do tonight?" We cannot leave ourselves out of the lodge. Whether or not we attend regularly, we are forever a part of the lodge. We are its success and its failure. We contribute, or we fail to contribute to its welfare.
The degree that is to be conferred, the business meeting that is to be held, or the program that is to be presented -all are important, but they are secondary to the question: "What will I bring to lodge tonight?" The spirit of brotherly love, the warm and friendly handshake, the smile that reflects the Mystic Tie -all that I am capable of bringing to lodge -are the important factors. Dewey Wollstein 1953. Rays of Masonry are the musings of Dewey Wollstein, and make for very good reading, these appear as a regular feature in the newsletter.
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘Order of AHEPA’ The Order of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) was founded in 1922 at Atlanta, Georgia, as a fraternal, national, and patriotic society for men of Greek extraction: The order operates in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Greece. There were 60,000 members in 1989, including the auxiliaries the Daughters of Penelope (women), Maids of Athena (young women), and Sons of Pericles (young men). AHEPA was originally founded of six Americans of Greek ancestry to help Greek immigrants assimilate into American society—meetings have always been held in English—while
keeping alive Greek ethnic awareness and supporting the country of origin. During the 1920s, the United States was in the throes of one of its periodic fits of xenophobia, and Greeks were frequently targeted for discrimination. One of the main initial functions of the Order of AHEPA was to overcome this prejudice. Since its founding, the order has expanded into Canada and Australia, with additional chapters in the Bahamas and Greece. The order has the trappings of a secret society on the Masonic model, with an initiation ritual and a vow of secrecy and signs, but is essentially a benevolent, civic-minded fraternal aid association. The degrees are the same as the elective offices —Officer of the Local Lodge, Officer of the State Lodge, and Officer of the Supreme Lodge — and these are also the three levels of organization, on the usual Masonic plan, though in addition to Supreme Lodge officers (elected for one year) there is also a Board of Directors, who are again elected but who hold office for three years. Surprisingly for a Greek organization, the regalia consists of Turkish-looking fezzes and white trousers. Although it maintains that it is a nonpolitical and nonsectarian organization, AHEPA maintains a proGreek stance on Cyprus. Apart from that, the order has organized programs for disaster relief in the United States, Greece, and even Turkey. It has funded schools in the United States and Greece, and provided a surprising amount of civic statuary.
Initiation Part Two In performing the second part of the initiation it is necessary that the President instruct the Brothers to keep absolutely quiet. Many Brothers feel that the second part is given in order to have some fun, but in reality with the second part you are teaching the candidates the lesson you expect them to learn. If there are many candidates then the President will ask the assembly as to how many they wish to have tried. If one or two, then the President asks the Captain of the Guard to bring in all the candidates with the exception of the ones to be tried. The President then will immediately appoint two Brothers, one for the prosecution and the other for the defense. These Brothers to speak from their seats without coming forward. The candidate then should be taken to the Secretary’s Office while a discussion is going on in the lodge. The Secretary will then ask the Candidate in this manner: It is our desire to prevent undesirables from becoming members of this lodge. If you know of any man who has committed an offense or who has harmed you or anyone else we would like to have his name. Whereupon the Secretary will pass him a slip of paper and pencil. While this is done the Captain of the Guard will stand behind the candidate, indifferent, and when, if the candidate marks someone’s name, he will pound his sword upon the desk, grabbing the candidate by the shoulder. The President will say: Captain of the Guard, what is the meaning of the disturbance?
Captain of the Guard: This Candidate is about to violate his oath and obligation. President: Bring him before me. Whereupon the Captain of the Guard, taking the slip of paper and the Candidate, he stands before the President. President: What evidence have you that he is about to violate his oath and obligation. Captain of the Guard: He was about to write the name of someone who has committed wrong to him. The President, turning to the Candidate: Were you about to write someone’s name down who has committed wrong to you? The Candidate will answer yes or no. If he says yes, then the President will ask the Candidate how long he has been in this country. If he understands the English language, whether he understands his oath and obligation, whether he remembers the paragraph where it says “I will speak evil of no one” After he gets the answer of the Candidate, the President will say: I am very much surprised to see that you have so little regard for the oath you have taken. A few minutes ago you have sworn to speak evil of no one and here I find you violated that very same oath. If I had the power I would have you expelled immediately, but since that power rests with the Brothers, I will consult them in regard to your act.
Brothers, you have heard what this Candidate has done, He has already violated his oath. What is your pleasure? Assembly: Put him out. If there are some Brothers who say give him a chance, then the President will ask for a rising vote at which time the majority should rise for expulsion President: Candidate, Iâ€™m sorry, but you see yourself that it is the desire of the majority for you to go out. Captain of the Guard, you will conduct this man out, giving him his check. At this time, while the Captain of the Guard is conducting the Candidate out, the Brother who was appointed to defend the Candidate should get up and ask the President to say a few words in favor of the Candidate. After the defense finishes then the Brother who has been appointed for the prosecution should begin to speak against the Candidate. When he is through the President will ask the candidate if he has anything to say himself before he takes another ballot as there seems to be dissension among the members and in order that justice might be given the Candidate. When the Candidate is through the President will again ask for another rising vote and again the majority should be for his expulsion. President: I am sorry, but you see yourself the majority wishes you to go out. Inasmuch as I have given you the grip and our secret word, it is necessary that you toke another oath that you will not reveal anything to anyone.
And the President will ask the Captain of the Guard to blindfold the Candidate and conduct him before the Altar, cause him to kneel. At this time the spanker should be filled with a blank and one of the Brothers stand behind the Candidate. The President should get down from his rostrum and give the Candidate the following oath: I solemnly swear that I will not reveal anything that I have seen or heard here this evening. If I do, may they do to me as they do to me now. The Brother who stands there with a spanker should strike the Candidate, causing the spanker to explode, the hoodwinks to be immediately brought down and the President congratulating the Candidate while the Brothers applaud. After the applause is over and while he holds the hand of the Candidate the President will say: Speak evil of no one. He who steals my gold steals trash, but he who robs me of my good name enricheth him not but leaveth me poor indeed, I solemnly promise to guard the good name of every member of this Order. I further promise to live by the Golden Rule and â€˜Do unto others as I would have them do unto me,â€™ and guide my actions so that they may be a shining light and example to my fellowmen and let my heart spread the mantle of charity over the actions of every man in his weakness and to help create a spirit of Brotherly Love and Fidelity among men. Whereupon, the Brothers congratulate the candidate. If, however, the candidate does not give any name then the same procedure can take place charging the candidate with disobedience. Or if the
Secretary wishes he may ask the candidate to put down on a piece of paper the secret word and if the Candidate does he can be charged for disclosing a secret and can be tried the same way as heretofore provided. In many Chapters where they have different devices, electric mats, or chairs, or any of those and they wish to have some fun, either with the same or another Candidate they can do so. Some one of the Brothers gets up and tells the President that he has heard this and that about the Candidate and that he wishes to make sure whether it is so or not, The President then asks the Lodge what is their pleasure and the Lodge answers: Let us try him. Then the President orders the Captain of the Guard to prepare the Candidate according to the device that they have, but by no means should this take place before the real trial takes place which is one of the most important ports of the initiation. After that’s over the President will say: My Brothers, I congratulate you for becoming members of our Order; with the trial that you have witnessed we wish to teach you three lessons: Speak evil of no one. If you can not say anything good about a man, say nothing at all. If you did not give anyone’s name, you would be tried just the same for disobeying the officer. With this, we want to teach you that obedience is the paramount duty of every Ahepan. With that I do not mean that you should obey blindly. You have a perfect right to express your opinions in the lodge room, but when the majority speaks, then that is final. And the third lesson
that we wish to impress upon your mind is secrecy. Then the President gives to the Candidates some short lecture for the Order and instructs them as to how they should come into the lodge when the lodge is in session, giving them, also, the keyword, thus finishing the initiation. Those Scottish readers who have ‘fallen of the goat’ will recognize this part of the ceremony! These fraternal societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World, the reader will notice the similarity to the Craft.
The Lodge Where I belong Though my Lodge may lack the splendor Of a temple or a shrine, Or possess the gaudy fixtures That are classed as superfineYet the fellowship it offers Is in price beyond compare And I wouldn't trade it ever For life's treasures- rich or rare! The hand-clasp firm, the word of cheer, Oh, such meanings they impart: The mystic ties of brotherhood That links us, heart to heart! You'd really have to travel far, For the friendships quite so strong As those one always finds right here In the Lodge where I belong. When all my earthly travels end, And at last I'm borne to rest Where mortal hands no longer toil And I cease life's endless quest Why there's nothing I'd like betterShould I join the heavenly throngThen to meet with all the brothers Of the Lodge where I belong
Brothers and Builders The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry CHAPTER 6 â€“ THE MASTERâ€™S PIECE. IN the olden time it was no easy matter for a man to become a Freemason. He had to win the right by hard work, technical skill, and personal worth. Then, as now, he had to prove himself a freeman of lawful age and legitimate birth, of sound body and good repute, to be eligible at all. Also, he had to bind himself to serve under rigid rules for seven years, his service being at once a test of his character and a training for his work. If he proved incompetent or unworthy, he was sent away. In all operative Lodges of the Middle Ages, as in the guilds of skilled artisans of the same period, young men entered as Apprentices, vowing absolute obedience, for the Lodge was a school of the seven sciences, as well as of the art of building. At first the Apprentice was little more than a servant, doing the most Menial work, and if he proved himself trustworthy and proficient his wages were increased; but the rules were never relaxed, "except at Christmastime," as the Old Charges tell us, when there was a period of freedom duly celebrated with feast and frolic. The rules by which an Apprentice pledged himself to live, as we find them recorded in the Old Charges, were very strict. He had first to confess his faith in God, vowing to honour the Church, the
State and the Master under whom he served, agreeing not to absent himself from the service of the Order save with the license of the Master. He must be honest and upright, faithful in keeping the secrets of the Craft and the confidence of his fellows. He must not only be chaste, but must not marry or contract himself to any woman during the term of his apprenticeship. He must be obedient to the Master without argument or murmuring, respectful to all Freemasons, avoiding uncivil speech, free from slander and dispute. He must not frequent any tavern or ale-house, except it be upon an errand of the Master, or with his consent. Such was the severe rule under which an Apprentice learned the art and secrets of the Craft. After seven years of study and discipline, either in the Lodge or at the Annual Assembly (where awards were usually made), he presented his "Masterpiece," some bit of stone or metal carefully carved, for the inspection of the Master, saving, "Behold my experience!" By which he meant the sum of his experiments. He had spoiled many a hit of stone. He had dulled the edge of many a tool. He had spent laborious nights and days, and the whole was in that tiny bit of work. His masterpiece was carefully examined by the Masters assembled and if it was approved he was made a Master Mason, entitled to take his kit of tools and go out as a workman, a Master and Fellow of his Craft. Not, however, until he had selected a Mark by which his work could be identified, and renewed his Vows to the Order in which he was now a Fellow.
The old order was first Apprentice, then Master, then Fellow - mastership being, in the early time, not a degree conferred, but a reward of skill as a workman and of merit as a man. The reversal of the order today is due, no doubt, to the custom of the German Guilds, where a Fellow Craft was required to serve two additional years as a journeyman before becoming a Master. No such custom was known in England. Indeed, the reverse was true, and it was the Apprentice who prepared his masterpiece, and if it was accepted, he became a Master. Having won his mastership, he was entitled to become a Fellow - that is, a peer and Fellow of the Craft which hitherto he had only served. Hence, all through the Old Charges, the order is "Masters and Fellows," but there are signs to show that a distinction was made according to ability and skill. For example, in the Matthew Cooke MS. we read that it had been "ordained that they who were passing of cunning should be passing honoured," and those less skilled were commanded to call the more skilled "Masters." Then it is added, "They that were less of wit should not be called servant nor subject, but Fellow, for nobility of their gentle blood." After this manner our ancient Brethren faced the fact of human inequality of ability and initiative. Those who were of greater skill held a higher position and were called Masters, while the masses of the Craft were called Fellows. A further distinction must be made between a "Master" and a "Master of the Work," now represented by the Master of the Lodge. Between a Master and the Master of the Work there was no difference, of course, except an accidental one; they were both Masters
and Fellows. Any Master could become a Master of the Work provided he was of sufficient skill and had the fortune to be chosen as such either by the employer or the Lodge, or both. What rite or ritual, if any, accompanied the making of a Master in the old operative Lodges is still a matter of discussion. In an age devoted to ceremonial it is hard to imagine such an important event without its appropriate ceremony, but the details are obscure. But this is plain enough: all the materials out of which the degrees were later developed existed, if not in drama, at least in legend. Elaborate drama would not be necessary in an operative Lodge. Even to-day, much of what is acted out in an American Lodge, is merely recited in an English Lodge. Students seem pretty well agreed that from a very early time there were two ceremonies, or degrees, although, no doubt, in a much less elaborate form than now practiced. As the Order, after the close of the cathedral-building period, passed into its speculative character, there would naturally be many changes and much that was routine in an operative Lodge became ritual in a speculative Lodge. This is not the time to discuss the origin and development of the Third Degree, except to say that those who imagine that it was an invention fabricated by Anderson and others at the time of the revival of Masonry, in 1717, are clearly wrong. Such a degree could have been invented by anyone familiar with the ancient Mystery Religions; but it could never have been imposed upon the Craft, unless it harmonized with some previous ceremony, or, at least, with
ideas, traditions and legends familiar and common to the members of the Craft. That such ideas and traditions did exist in the Craft we have ample evidence. Long before 1717 we hear hints of "The Master's Part," and those hints increase as the office of Master of the Work lost its practical aspect after the cathedral-building period. What was the Master's Part? Unfortunately we cannot discuss it in print; but nothing is plainer than that we do not have to go outside of Masonry itself to find the materials out of which all three degrees, as they now exist, were developed. Masonry was not invented; it grew. Today it unfolds its wise and good and beautiful truth in three noble and impressive degrees, and no man can take them to heart and not be ennobled and enriched by their dignity and beauty. The first lays emphasis upon that fundamental righteousness without which a man is not a man, but a medley of warring passions - that purification of heart which is the basis alike of life and religion. The Second lays stress upon the culture of the mind, the training of its faculties in the quest of knowledge, without which man remains a child. The Third seeks to initiate us, symbolically, into the eternal life, making us victors over death before it arrives. The First is the Degree of Youth, the Second the Degree of Manhood, the Third the consolation and conquest of Old Age, when the evening shadows fall and the Eternal World and its unknown adventure draw near. What, then, for each of us to-day, is meant by the Master's Piece? Is it simply a quaint custom handed down from our ancient Brethren, in which we
learn how an Apprentice was made a Master of his Craft? It is that indeed, but much more. Unless we have eyes to see a double meaning everywhere in Masonry, a moral application and a spiritual suggestion, we see little or nothing. But if we have eyes to see it is always a parable, an allegory, a symbol, and the Master's Piece of olden time becomes an emblem of that upon which every man is working all the time and everywhere, whether he is aware of it or not-his character, his personality, by which he will be tested and tried at last. Character, as the word means, is something carved, something wrought out of the raw stuff and hard material of life. All we do, all we think, goes into the making of it. Every passion, every aspiration has to do with it. If we are selfish, it is ugly. If we are hateful, it is hideous. William James went so far as to say that just as the stubs remain in the check book, to register the transaction when the check is removed, so every mental act, every deed becomes a part of our being and character. Such a fact makes a man ponder and consider what he is making out of his life, and what it will look like at the end. Like the Masons of old, apprenticed in the school of life, we work for "a penny a day." We never receive a large sum all at once, but the little reward of daily duties. The scholar, the man of science, attains truth, not in a day, but slowly, little by little, fact by fact. In the same way, day by day, act by act, we make our character, by which we shall stand judged before the Master of all Good Work. Often enough men make such a bad botch of it that they have to begin all over again. The greatest truth taught by religion is the forgiveness of God,
which erases the past and gives another chance. All of us have spoiled enough material, dulled enough tools and made enough mistakes to teach us that life without charity is cruel and bitter. Goethe, a great Mason, said that talent may develop in solitude, but character is created in society. It is the fruit of fellowship. Genius may shine aloof and alone, like a star, but goodness is social, and it takes two men and God to make a brother. In the Holy Book which lies open on our altar we read: "No man liveth unto himself; no man dieth unto himself." We are tied together, seeking that truth which none may learn for another, and none may learn alone. If evil men can drag us down, good men can lift us up. No one of us is strong enough not to need the companionship of good men and the consecration of great ideals. Here lies, perhaps, the deepest meaning and value of Masonry; it is a fellowship of men seeking goodness, and to yield ourselves to its influence, to be drawn into its spirit and quest, is to be made better than ourselves. Amid such influences each of us is making his Master's Piece. God is all the time refining, polishing, with strokes now tender, now terrible. That is the meaning of pain, sorrow, death. It is the chisel of the Master cutting the rough stone. How hard the mallet strikes, but the stone becomes a pillar, an arch, perhaps an altar emblem. "Him that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God." The masterpiece of life, at once the best service to man and the fairest offering to God, is a pure, faithful, heroic, beautiful Character.
"Oh! the Cedars of Lebanon grow at our door, And the quarry is sunk at our gate; And the ships out of Ophir, with golden ore, For our summoning mandate wait; And the word of a Master Mason May the house of our soul create! "While the day hath light let the light be used, For no man shall the night control! Or ever the silver cord be loosed, Or broken the golden bowl, May we build King Solomon's Temple In the true Masonic Soul!" This is the sixth Chapter in the Book, Brothers and Builders by Joseph Fort Newton, the last Chapter - The Foundation will appear next month.
The Mysteries of the Order At the start of the journey which the initiate into Freemasonry takes, he is told to "keep sacred the Mysteries of the Order." What are the mysteries? Ask any number of Brethren this question and the replies are varied and significant. For the mystery is that part of the ceremony which is least understood by them. The candidate enters the Lodge in a state of darkness, and at the proper time he is restored to light. The word "restored" signifies that he has made no progress actually, but that he has been exposed to the Truths of Freemasonry during his initiation. He sees the light of day even as he saw it before he was deprived of light by Freemasons. Is this
a mystery? We may answer, Yes. But there is a deeper one than this. In the north-east corner of the Lodge he has impressed upon him the need for Charity, and also his own inability to do anything about lit. For he cannot-he dare not give, although he might be constrained to do so. Is this also a mystery? One might answer Yes. But still we have to go deeper invested with the lambskin and the significance of the greater and lesser lights is pointed out to him. He is given a lecture on the Tracing Board and finally he is told to "Keep sacred and inviolate the mysteries of the Order." All are mysteries to him, and I fear to many who sit in Lodge as well. But we have to go even deeper for the true mystery of Freemasonry. I think the key to this puzzle is given in the sentence, "To converse with well-informed Brethren." And well-informed Brethren, we must remember, means wellinformed, those who will be most capable of explaining what the initiate has gone through, and of pointing out the lessons which his experience symbolizes. Thus we see that by slow and painful stages we finally get to the Soul of man or to his mind. The mind or the soul of man has been a closed book for countless ages to all but the most advanced Freemasons or Mystics. And all the rituals have been written to enable us to learn something about it. When we initiate a man we initiate his body-we cannot do otherwise, but we do so in the hope that his soul or mind may be impressed thereby. And it is here in the soul of man that we find the true mystery of
Freemasonry. "Man know thyself" strikes more forcibly when we recall this. A man may see in the rough Ashlar a common stone with no potentialities. After initiation we hope that he sees it in a different light, and with chisel and hammer will set about making it smooth and fit to adjust his jewels thereon. But he is not a Freemason in the highest sense until he learns that the stone, however rough or smooth it may be, has within it countless billions of atoms-all in motion and all active, and that every particle of matter is alive with God. Also that he is in no wise different, but is charged with a Spiritual energy which he alone can know, and which cannot be touched by another. This, to my mind, is the true mystery of Freemasonry. Therefore it behooves us all to have active and alert minds, to be what the ritual calls "wellinformed," not with a surface knowledge alone, but with a calm poise and a peace which is a sure indication of having founding a measure "that which was lost." Such a man rules his world by his understanding of Goodor God-for our ritual tells us that "God is the chief good." And having found this Good we have found all. Published in Masonic Bulletin-BCY-Oct. 1946 By Bro. Rev. T.C. Jones, Unity Lodge, No. 106
How did we come to be so called? Freemasons in calling each other ‘brother’ follows the practice of old guilds and operatives. The admission of a working mason to the fellowship of his craft in Scotland was at one time known as ‘brothering.’ Freemasons have all passed through the same ordeal of Initiation, have been made brothers of Hiram Abiff, received the same modes of recognition and been taught the same philosophy. It seems fitting that we should have a fraternal means of address. Friars and Monks are still called Bros, as a mark of their fraternal relationship. We also have ‘brothers in Arms and fire service ‘brothers.’
Who and what was a Cowan? From old records it appears that cowans were permitted to carry out the less skilled work of a regular mason who was free to carry out tasks needing higher skills. They were the kind of workmen who learned their trade in an ‘irregular’ manner: an apprentice who failed to serve his full time? It has been suggested that a cowan is a ‘mason without the word.’ The word was entrusted to the apprenticed mason to prove his regularity and skill, and was highly prized as a guard to their professionalism. The term ‘cowan’ has variously been described as ‘eavesdropper’ and nosy-parker (and worse!) The 18th century brethren might indicate the approach of a cowan remarking ‘it rains.’ The eavesdropper got his name by hiding within the overhang of the eaves where the rainwater falles from the eaves, hoping to listen to the conversation in the house. 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 Oct 29, 2012