In this issue: Page 2, ‘The Masonic Altar.’ An Article looking at the History of the altar in the Lodge. Page 5, ‘Friend to Friend.’ A curious incident at Gettysburg. Page 6, ‘The Hiramic Legend.’ A Masterpiece, the Master Secret explained? Page 8, ‘Patrick St. Mary’s Lodge No.117.’ Another History of one of our Ancient Scottish Lodges. Page 12, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “Degrees and Life”, our Regular monthly feature. Page 12, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’. “Keepers of the Door”, the twenty sixth in the series from Carl Claudy. Page 14, ‘The Ancient and Honourable Order of Turtles’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World. Page 17, ‘The Origin of Masonry’. Part 3 – The symbolism of the Father’s house. Page 20, ‘Famous Freemasons’ Oliver Hardy, one half of the famous Laurel and Hardy duo. Page 23, ‘The South’. The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 24, ‘The Masonic Dictionary’ Corn, Wine and Oil.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘The Tracing Board of the Third Degree’. [link] The front cover used by permission is a picture of the Masonic Altar lit by a spotlight taken by Bro. Bill Bradford of Houston Texas. Many thanks Bill.
The Masonic Altar A Masonic Lodge is a symbol of the world as it was thought to be in the olden times. Our ancient Brethren had a profound insight when they saw that the world is a Temple, over-hung by a starry canopy at night, lighted by the journeying sun by day, wherein man goes forth to his labor on a checkerboard of lights and shadows, joy and sorrows, seeking to reproduce on earth the law and order of heaven. The visible world was but a picture or reflection of the invisible, and at its center stood the Altar of sacrifices, obligation and adoration.
but at some time has mused over the meaning of this great adoring habit of our humanity, and the wonder of it deepens the longer he ponders it. The instinct which thus draws men together to prayer is the strange power which has drawn together the stones of Great Cathedrals, where the mystery of God is embodied. So far as we know, man is the only being on our planet that pauses to pray, and the wonder of his worship tells us more about him than any other fact. By some deep necessity of his nature he is a seeker after God, and in moments of sadness or longing, in hours of tragedy or terror, he lays aside his tools and looks out over the far horizon.
While we hold a view of the world very unlike that held by our Ancient Brethren - knowing it to round, not flat and square - yet their insight is still true. The whole idea was that man, if he is to build either a House of Faith, or an order of society that is to endure, he must initiate the laws and principles of the world in which he lives. That is also our dream and design; the love of it ennobles our lives; it is our labor and worship. To fulfill it we too need wisdom and help from above; and so at the center of the Lodge stands the same Altar - older than all Temples, as old as life itself - a focus of faith and fellowship, at once a symbol and shrine of that unseen element of thought and yearning that all men are aware of and which no one can define.
The history of the Altar in the life of man is a story more fascinating than any fiction. Whatever else man may have been - cruel, tyrannous or vindictive the record of his long search for God is enough to prove that he is not wholly base, not altogether an animal. Rites horrible, and often bloody, may have been part of his early ritual, but if the history of past ages had left us nothing but the memory of a race at prayer, it would have left us rich. And so, following the good custom of the men which were of old, we set up an Altar in the Lodge, lifting up hands in prayer, moved thereto by the ancient need and aspiration of our humanity. Like the men who walked in the grey years agone, our need is for the living God to hallow these our days and years, even to the last ineffable homeward sigh which men call death.
Upon this earth there is nothing more impressive than the silence of a company of human beings bowed together at an Altar. No thoughtful man
The earliest Altar was a rough, unhewn stone set up, like the stone which Jacob set up at Bethel when his dream of a ladder on which angels were ascending
and descending, turned his lonely bed into a house of God and a gate of Heaven. Later, as faith became more refined and the idea of sacrifice grew in meaning, the Altar was built of hewn stone - cubical in form - cut, carved and often beautifully wrought, on which men lavished jewels and priceless gifts, deeming nothing too costly to adorn the place of prayer. Later still, when men erected a Temple dedicated and adorned as the House of God among men, there were two Altars, one of sacrifice, and one of incense. The Altar of sacrifice where slain beasts were offered stood in front of the Temple; the Altar of incense on which burned the fragrance of worship stood within. Behind all was the far withdrawn Holy Place into which only the High Priest might enter. As far back as we can go the Altar was the center of human society, and an object of peculiar sanctity by virtue of that law of association by which places and things are consecrated. It was a place of refuge for the hunted or the tormented - criminals or slaves - and to drag them away from it by violence was held to be an act of sacrilege, since they were under the protection of God. At the Altar, marriage rites were solemnized, and treaties made or vows taken in its presence were more Holy and binding than if made elsewhere, because, there man invoked God as witness. In all the religions of antiquity, and especially among peoples who worshipped the light, it was the usage of both Priests and people to pass around the Altar following the course of the sun - from the East, by way of the South, to the West - singing hymns of praise as a part of their worship. Their ritual was thus an allegorical picture of the truth which
underlies all religion - that man must live on earth in harmony with the rhythm and movement of heaven. From facts and hints such as these we begin to see the meaning of the Altar in Masonry, and the reason for its position in the Lodge. In English Lodges, as in the French and the Scottish Rites, it stands in front of the Master in the East. In the York Rite, so called, it is placed in the center of the Lodge - more properly a little to the East of the center - about which all Masonic activities revolve. It is not simply a necessary piece of furniture, a kind of table intended to support the Holy Bible, the Square and Compasses. Alike by its existence and its situation it identifies Masonry as a religious institution, and yet its uses are not exactly the same as the offices of an Altar in a Cathedral or a Shrine. Here is a fact often overlooked, and we ought to get it clearly in our minds. The position of the Altar in the Lodge is not accidental, but is profoundly significant. For, while Masonry is not a religion, it is religious in its faith and basic principles, no less than in its spirit and purpose. And yet it is not a Church. Nor does it attempt to do what the Church is trying to do. If it were a Church its Altar would be in the East and its Ritual would be altered accordingly. That is to say, Masonry is not a religion, much less a sect, but a worship in which all men can unite because it does not undertake to explain, or dogmatically to settle in detail, those issues by which men are divided. Beyond the Primary, fundamental facts of faith it does not go. With the philosophy of those facts, and the
differences and disputes growing out of them, it has not to do. In short, the position of the Altar in the Lodge is a symbol of what Masonry believes the Altar should be in actual life, a center of division, as is now so often the case. It does not seek fraternity of spirit, leaving each one free to fashion his own philosophy of ultimate truth. As we nay read in the Constitutions of 1723: "A Mason is obliged, by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, not an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charged in every Country to be of the Religion of the Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and True, or Men of Honor and Honesty, by whatever denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remained at a perpetual distance." Surely those are memorable words, a Magna Charta of friendship and fraternity. Masonry goes hand in hand with religion until religion enters the field of sectarian feud, and there it stops; because Masonry seeks to unite men, not to divide them. Here then, is the meaning of the Masonic Altar and its position in the Lodge. It is first of all, an Altar of Faith - deep, eternal Faith which underlies all creeds and overarches all sects; Faith in God, in the Moral Law, and in the Life Everlasting.
Faith in God is the Cornerstone and the Keystone of Freemasonry. It is the first truth and the last, the truth that makes all other truths true, without which life is a riddle and fraternity a futility. For, apart from God the Father, our dream of the Brotherhood of Man is as vain as all the vain things proclaimed of Solomon a Fiction having no basis or hope in fact. At the same time, the Altar of Freemasonry is an Altar of Freedom not freedom "From" faith, but Freedom Of" faith. Beyond the fact of the reality of God it does not go, allowing every man to think of God according to his experience of life and his vision of truth. It does not define God, much less dogmati-cally determine how and what men shall think or believe about God. There dispute and division begin. As a matter of fact, Masonry is not speculative at all, but operative, or rather, co-operative. While all its teaching implies the Fatherhood of God, yet its ritual does not actually affirm that truth, still less does it make a test of fellowship. Behind this silence lies a deep and wise reason. Only by the practice of Brotherhood do men realize the Divine Fatherhood. As a truehearted poet has written: "No man could tell me what my soul might be; I sought for God, and he has eluded me; I sought my Brother out, and found all three." Here one fact more, and the meaning of the Masonic Altar will be plain. Often one enters a great Church, like Westminster Abbey, and finds it empty, or only a few people in the pews here and there, praying or in deep thought.
They are sitting quietly, each without reference to others, seeking an opportunity for the soul to be alone, to communicate with mysteries greater than itself, and find healing for the bruising of life. But no one ever goes to a Masonic Altar alone. No one bows before it at all except when the Lodge is open and in the presence of his Brethren. It is an Alter of Fellowship, as it is to teach us that no man can learn the truth for another, and no man can learn it alone. Masonry brings men together in mutual respect, sympathy and good will, that we may learn in love the truth that is hidden by apathy and lost by hate. For the rest, let us never forget - what has been so often and so sadly forgotten - that the most sacred Altar on earth is the soul of man - your soul and mine; and that the Temple and its ritual are not ends in themselves, but a beautiful means to the end that every human heart may be a sanctuary of faith, a shrine of love, and Altar of purity, pity, and unconquerable hope. Source: Short Talk Bulletin - Feb. 1924
Friend to Friend General Lew Armistead vaulted the stone wall, yelled "give them cold steel" and headed for the cannons that had until recently been firing on his men. As he laid his hand on one of the guns of the 4th US Artillery, the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry fired upon the grey coated General and the men who had followed him. Many went down including Armistead. He was heard to
cry for help "as the son of a widow." Colonel Rawley W. Martin of the 53rd Virginia lay near by and witnessed as some of the men of the 69th Pa. rose up and came to Armistead's aid. Captain Henry H. Bingham, a physician and Mason, was brought to assist Armistead. Armistead inquired about his friend and Masonic Brother General Winfield Hancock. Learning that Hancock had also been wounded, he entrusted to Bingham his Masonic watch and personal papers to give to his friend and Brother General Hancock. Hancock and Armistead had attended West Point and had fought in the same regiment in Mexico, and were the closest of friends prior to the war. Two days later Armistead died of his wounds in a Union hospital on the Spangler farm. Bingham survived the war and in fact won a Congressional Medal of Honour in 1867. He retired in 1867 and went on to become a member of the United States Congress where he served for 33 years. He died in 1912 at the age of 70. General Hancock survived his wounds though it was a long time until he returned to the army. He later commanded the Department of the East of the United States Army and died in 1886 still in command. In 1880, he lost an attempt for the United States Presidency to James Garfield. This incident of the famous charge at Gettysburg known as Pickett's Charge is only one of many incidents in history where one Mason has come to the aid of another or another's family and has inspired the Masonic "Friend to Friend" Monument at Gettysburg.
The Hiramic Legend A "Masterpiece" The Hiramic Legend - as expounded in one of the most popular rituals used in Scotland (Scotland has no official authorized Standard Work) - indicates that the Master Secret could only be transmitted "with the consent and in the presence of all three." There is more in this phrase than might be apparent at the first hearing. One can understand the desirability, if not the necessity, of all three parties consenting to its transmission, but why should the physical presence of all three be essential? It we accept, purely for the sake of discussion, the Hiramic Legend as being founded on fact, then this phrase which I have quoted may well contain within it a clue as to what that Master Secret may be. There is, of course, a purely esoteric answer. But may there not be also a practical answer? In King Solomon's time the Hebrews were in no position to erect a large mechanical structure. They were by upbringing agriculturists and not city dwellers. Any buildings which they built were probably strictly utilitarian and served only to provide them with some rude shelter from the elements. Little wonder then that King Solomon had recourse to a man of another nation to provide that skill for which the erection of the Temple of Jerusalem would call. In the construction of the Temple the three chief persons were Solomon (who provided the money), Hiram of Tyre
(who provided much of the material) and Hiram Abiff (who provided the knowledge and skill). We are told in the V.S.L. that the temple was constructed without sound of hammer or chisel. If this statement is true it infers great-very great-accuracy in the measuring instruments used. Stones quarried at a distance from the building site would require to be cut with an accuracy sufficient to permit them to be placed in position without further working. In short, the whole stonework would have to be wrought with almost hair-breadth correctness. Apart from measures indicating length, which could be easily checked by being laid alongside a "Master Length," the tool whose correctness was vital was the square. This tool, too, was more easily damaged than a rule and cannot be accurately checked and re-aligned by comparison with a "Master Square." It can, however, be easily checked by one who is skilled in the Science of Geometry. There are two well known methods of geometrically checking the corrections on an angle of 90ยบ. The first method is first to draw a circle. Then draw a line passing through the centre and cutting the circumference at either side of the centre. In other words divide the circle into two equal sectors. Now, take any point on the circumference and mark it. From that marked point draw two more lines, one to each of the points where the dividing line cuts the circumference. The angle on the circumference will be exactly 90 degrees provided always that the line dividing the circumference passes exactly through the centre of the circle.(Fig 1) "A centre is a point within
a circle from which a Master Mason cannot err." This method of proving the accuracy of a right angle is one that can be carried out by one person alone - thus it does not fit our ritual requirement "in the presence of all three."
his clues where he will, for he knows the solution. Similarly these "clues" may well have been "planted" to provide just such a solution as I have suggested. The origin of the Hiramic Legend still remains unsolved, but it is interesting to reflect that, if it were true, the solution I have offered is at least geometrically possible.
4 3 a 5 Fig 2
Fig1 A second method depends upon Pythagoras' Theorem (expressed algebraically as a² = b² + c²). If each of the three Chiefs had a Wand or Rod of Office, and if these rods were, in length, 3 units, 4 units, and 5 units, then by placing them on the ground they would obtain a right angled triangle. Simple, effective, easy to remember, but only possible if all three were present in person. This method fulfils the requirement of the Scottish Craft ritual and provides interesting ground for speculation. (Fig 2) This "theory" of mine does not establish the genuineness of the Hiramic Legend. Far from it, for it seems to me quite probable that the phrases I have quoted were written with the legend in mind. The detective-story writer has an easier task than one might think. He can put
This article is by Bro. George Draffen who for many years was the editor of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Year Book. George S. Draffen, of Fife, served in 1975 as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland he is a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London, and Past Grand Deacon of the United Grand Lodge of England. The graphics are by the editor.
Masonic Criticism We know that in the character of a Master Mason, you are authorised to correct the errors and irregularities of your uninformed Brethren, and to guard them against a breach of fidelity. But, before criticising a Brother, take heed of that old adage and never criticise another until you have walked a mile in his shoes. There are two good reasons for this. Firstly if he gets mad at your criticism, you’ll be a mile away. And secondly, you’ve got his shoes!
Patrick St.Maryâ€™s Lodge No.117 The History of Masonry in Partick, as would be expected in so small a community, is closely associated with the history of Partick itself. The first active signs, however, seem to have become associated traditionally with one William Miller, a building contractor of Glasgow and Partick, originally from that home of Freemasonry, Kilwinning. It must be assumed that Miller brought with him some skilled Operative Masons, and we first hear of him in connection with a contract for the building of a house in Partick for one George Hutcheson of Lambhill, one of the Hutcheson brothers famed for their philanthropy and (later) being the founders of the Hutcheson's Hospital and, of course, still connected with the school of that name in Glasgow. The actual date of Miller's contract is dated 9th and 14th July 1611, and it is certain that Masonry was practised from some time around that date: a Lodge without a charter must have been in being, probably with the members being all Operative Masons. At what stage Speculative Masons were accepted, history does not inform us but, whether as a prelude to their acceptance or a result of their acceptance, a Charter was applied for to the Mother Lodge of Kilwinning in 1756. This was granted on 24th May 1759, the Lodge being given the title of Partick Kilwinning Lodge No 64. There is a certain amount of dispute about the name and number of the Lodge. In his book entitled "Notes and Reminiscences relating to
Partick" published 1873, James Napier FCS, the author, gives the name as "Partick Kilwinning St John's Lodge No 77", claiming that the true date of this Lodge cannot be established, as the books of the old Lodge of Kilwinning were destroyed by fire, and the Lodge of Partick St John has been extinct since 1837. In his book "The History of Partick St Mary's No 117", Thomas A Bell, Master of the Lodge in 1946, may have used Napier's book for the earlier history of the Lodge, for they are in complete agreement but he is quite emphatic that the title was "Partick Kilwinning Lodge No 64", stating that in the publication, "The History of Mother Kilwinning Lodge No 0". In Napier's book (1873) there is a copy of the original Charter granted to a Partick Lodge under the number 77, the Lodge granting this number was Paisley St Andrews Lodge. It is possible that Napier was mistaken, since he was not intent on compiling a history of Masonry, whereas Bell was, and it might be assumed that his research was more through. All are agreed, however, that at its inception the Lodge was Operative in the fact that all the leading Office Bearers were Operative Masons. At some stage, Speculative Masons had been admitted, and in the light of the fact that the Disruption Meeting occurred in 1763, only four years after the Charter had been granted, it would be fair to assume that Speculatives had been admitted before 1759, for how otherwise could their numbers have been enough to outvote the Operatives as did happen at the meeting held on St John's Day, December 27th 1763?
The cause of the dispute was simply that the Speculatives wished to have a say in the management of the Lodge by becoming eligible for office. In the open dispute that followed, the Operatives, finding themselves outvoted, retired from the meeting in protest. The majority of Speculatives left at the meeting proceeded with the elections, one Thomas Miller being elected the RWM. They continued to meet and act as a Lodge, without a Charter according to Bell, but as "Partick St John" according to Napier. What the Operatives did was appoint a committee of five to bring the Speculative dissenters to account. This in turn led to an appeal being made to the Sheriff, but the prospect of interminable discussion becoming increasingly apparent, it was finally agreed to settle the matter by arbitration, a committee of Brethren chosen from each of the Glasgow Lodges being set up for that purpose. Agreement was reached on the 10th May 1765 whereby the Operatives, or 'Dissenting Brethren', were to retain the Charter, Register, Chairs, Jewels etc, at a valuation, which, with such money, bills and so on belonging to the Lodge, were to be equally divided between the parties. The Speculatives were to retain the Old Lodge Room. The dissenters continued to meet in Partick under the old name and number, but finally moved to Glasgow in 1807 when they received a revised Charter from Mother Lodge of Kilwinning, the last charter granted by her before joining the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The name given was that of "Glasgow
Partick Kilwinning St John's Lodge No 77", according to Napier. The Charter and all the records of this Lodge were unfortunately lost when the Lodge was destroyed by fire in 1837, according to Napier, but in 1839 according to Bell. The Speculative section, after the arbitration, continued to meet and initiate candidates without a Charter. Some attempt seems to have been made around August 1766 to apply for a Charter, but no record of this can be traced at the Grand Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No 1. However, a petition was drawn up by the Lodge, now at least 50 members strong, on the 10th February 1796 and submitted through the Royal Arch Lodge of Glasgow (the original name of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow) which, being approved, was carried to the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Charter was granted under the name and title of "Partick St Mary's Lodge No 150" and the date was 29th March 1769. It was signed by the Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master; it was received in the Lodge on 21st July 1769. In 1817, the number was changed from 150 to 115, and in 1846 it was again changed to 117, which it has remained ever since. There is no record as to the reasons for these changes in the number: they simply appear in the Minutes of the meetings. The name "St Mary's" owes its origin to the fact that the old Lodge Room built in 1619 by one of the Craig Family, in which Partick Kilwinning Lodge No 64 met, was in fact the local inn or public house. In the upper left hand window there was a transparency of St Mary, which when the room was
illuminated, was a well known focus of admiration and wonder to the people of the district. When the new Lodge was formed, it was natural that the members would want to take the name of the transparency that had stood over their place of meeting for so long. The Old Inn was in Castlebank Street, at the foot of Keith Street, and a water colour of it is still in possession of the Lodge. The Charter and By Laws of the Lodge limit its place of meeting to Partick, but during a very chequered career this rule was not always adhered to. Meetings were held every Quarter, viz: Candlemass, Whitsunday, Lammas, and Martinmass. In 1811, the date of the installation was changed to St Mary's Day: July 22nd. At this particular meeting, the Master after being duly elected and installed, and presiding over the meeting for a short time resigned upon payment of fine of five shillings which was unanimously remitted back to him. Another Brother was elected to fill the vacancy. Torchlight processions were held on 29th December, and on the Friday nearest to 29th March, the date still being used by the Lodge for its Annual Festival. Interim meetings were held at various times between quarterly meetings, sometimes as many as three times a week. These meetings were not held in the Lodge Hall but usually in the house of one of the members: for preference, that of a publican. In those days the meetings were called by the Tyler going round each of the members with the Master's command to
meet at a certain time and place. The emoluments of the Tyler are not noted, but he was periodically voted the sum of four shillings and six pence to buy shoes. At a meeting on August 19th 1770, it was passed that the Lodge should not be opened till one hour after the time appointed by the Master, and that all Lodge meetings, other than that on St John's Day, be closed by 10pm. This is one rule that never seems to have been enforced. During the later part of the Eighteenth and the early part of the Nineteenth century, the behaviour of some of the members, and in consequence the fortunes of the Lodge, reach a fairly low point, largely due to the fact that meetings, seemed to have been more for social reasons than business, reflected in the places used for these meetings. Attempts were made from time to time by some more worthy members to raise the character of the Lodge, and this may have been one of the reasons why the Lodge moved to Anderson for a few months in 1810, and again for a longer period in 1814. On the other hand, the moves may have been only a desire for a change of venue to carry on with the debauchery which so often took place as an excuse for a Meeting. For quite long periods the management of the Lodge certainly passed into the hands of some unworthy Brethren, its only periods of renewed but short lived vigour depending upon some public occasion, such as the laying of a foundation stone. At this time the character of the Lodge was such as to be a barrier to all
respectable people holding fellowship with it. Better influences gradually prevailed, however, and in 1855 we find a number of the members binding themselves to try to improve the Lodge, mention actually being made of the attempt to enable Brethren who were total abstainers to hold office. Also, the Lodge was not to be transferred from labour to refreshment, but to be closed as soon as Masonic business was finished. In 1856, a tremendous improvement in the affairs of the Lodge did take place, from which it has gone from strength to strength. This was almost entirely due to the Secretary, one Thomas McKell Campbell who seems to have been especially chosen by the Brethren, as he became Secretary only one month after his initiation. Realizing that drastic measures were needed, he took the calculated risk (against the Charter) of shifting the place of meeting of the Lodge to his home at 7 Carrick Street Glasgow, changing the name to "St Mary's Partick and Glasgow Lodge No 117". In January 1857 he instituted an Instruction Class, inviting eminent members from other Lodges to lecture. He cut down Harmonies. In November 1858 he instituted a Sick Fund, the members contributing one penny per week. During 1859 some meetings were being held in the Masonic Hall, 57 Hutcheson Street, Glasgow, but in June 1860, after repeated warnings, the Lodge was suspended by Provincial Grand Lodge.
The Lodge transferred back to Partick, to 151 Dumbarton Road, to what was known as Brother James Craig's Hall. The Lodge has moved twice since then. In 1875 the Memorial Stone was laid for a new hall (which consisted of the upper floor of a building built in Douglas Street) by the local schoolmaster and then RWM, Brother Wylie. The ground and first floor were to be used as a school, and the upper floor as a Lodge Room. During the ceremony, the Depute Grand Master, Brother Robert Barrow, pointed out the fact that there was not one Lodge in the Province which met in a Hall in any way connected with a Hotel or Public House: a tremendous step over the last twenty five years when previously the Public House and Masonry were synonymous. On the 28th May 1908, the Lodge moved to its present premises at 92 Dumbarton Road, the Consecration service being held on the 16th September, 1908. At its foundation, the fees of the Lodge were five shillings on Initiation, two shillings and sixpence on Passing, and two shillings and sixpence on Raising. These fees were paid either by cash or by bill. As very few paid cash, there is a long history of attempts to get members to settle their bills. On 11th February 1903 a committee was appointed to correct and amend the articles and regulations of the Lodge. The editor and the newsletter acknowledge Lodge 117 as the copyright owner of this history. The Lodge can be accessed at this link, from where this history was extracted. If your Lodge has a history that it might like our readers to read, contact the editor.
Rays of Masonry â€œDegrees and Lifeâ€? We cannot introduce innovations in Masonry. However, this does not mean that we cannot put something of ourselves into Masonry. It is the responsibility and duty of everyone who has a part in conferring the degrees to not only speak the words but to deliver their meaning. His own heart must reach the heart of the candidate. Together with the words there must be a feeling that the lessons are not related to life, but are life. Moral lessons are taught men by good mothers and good fathers. Men are morally qualified before they are qualified to become Masons. The great purpose of Masonry then is to make possible a system of moral development which will widen the path of improvement. When the lessons of Masonry fail in the objective of creating a living philosophy, a philosophy that helps to make life a richer, fuller experience, then the greatest good is lost. A great poem becomes even greater when one takes the time and effort to study the state of mind of the author, and to clearly understand the thought and inspiration behind the printed words. So it is with the lessons of Masonry. We must take that which is warm, pulsating, alive, and drive it into the heart of the candidate. Dewey Wollstein 1953. Rays of Masonry are the musings of Dewey Wollstein, and make for very good reading, these appear as a monthly regular feature in the newsletter.
Keepers of the Door.
"Darn the luck! I am assigned on a petition again and I am going fishing tomorrow!" The New Brother looked dolefully at his notification slip. "Why not see the applicant the next day?" asked the Old Tiler. "Because he is going out of town. I got to see him tomorrow or else. And I want to go fishing. This committee stuff makes me tired, anyway. Say, if I get the Master to change my name to yours, will you do it for me?" "Why, of course," answered the Old Tiler. "I am always proud to be one of the Keepers of the Door."
"Now that," said the New Brother, "sounds both interesting and dangerous. It's interesting, because I don't understand it, and experience has taught me that when I come at you below the belt, as it were, I usually get kicked pronto and unexpectedly. Please explain the door which you like to keep, where the honor is, what me and my committee work have to do with it, and remember that I am a poor orphan cheild alone in the wild anteroom with a raging Old Tiler, and not to be too hard on me?"
one of which a man must pass who would see it from the inside. There are so many doors in order that any man who desires, and who is fit, may find the door which is easy for him to enter. It is not true that it is 'hard to be as Mason."
The Old Tiler did not smile. "I would laugh," he confessed, "only it's Masonry you are jesting about and it's not a jest. Yes, I will tell you about the door. I wish I could speak the word in capital letter.
"So we have 16,000 lodges -doors- to our temple of Masonry, that no man can say he came not in because he could not find a way.
"Masonry is a structure of brotherly love, relief and truth, cemented with affection, erected on a square to God, and towering miles high above puny humanity, its foibles and its failings. Masonry is a structure of which we, its humble builders, are proud, because we know that we have built better than we knew. We have so built, partly because we have had help from so many men of so many past ages, and partly because we have had help we could neither see nor understand. "Some look at our temple of Masonry and wonder. Some look, shrug shoulders and pass by. Some look at our temple of Masonry and see it not; others gaze on it and seek to enter. "In this country there are nearly 16,000 doors to our temple of Masonry, through
"We only ask that an applicant be freeborn, of age, a man, and of good character. He may be high or low, rich or poor, great or obscure, famous or unknown. If he is a good man we want him to see our temple from the inside as soon as he expresses a desire to do so.
"Certain things a man must do, inside our temple, and in a certain way he must live. If he lives the life, the temple is stronger. If he does not live the life, the temple is weakened. "Hence, Keepers of the Door. Like any other symbol in Masonry, they are three; three brethren to keep each door safe, sacred and undefiled from the footsteps of evil men, self-seekers, the wicked, the blasphemous, the immoral. Those three who keep each door are not assigned to it for any length of time. "Not theirs a service which may become onerous from time-taking and effort. The Master appoints three Keepers of the Door for every man who tries to enter. Today there is you and John and Jim. Tomorrow it will be George and Jack and Will. The next day another three will keep the door, if any man raps upon it.
"With due humility, but infinite pride, I am the Guardian of the Locked Door. As Tiler I suffer none to pass within who have not the right. But the open door no one man may guard; it takes three. "You were appointed tonight as one of those three. Some one has rapped at the door and now it stands ajar. To you it has been said, 'Keep thou the door; keep thou the faith; keep thou this thy temple pure and undefiled.' "You do not want to labor. You want to go fishing. You ask me if I will do your work for you and I answer you, gladly, if so the Master shall find me worthy of the honor." "I shan't ask him," he answered low. "I am ashamed. I didn't understand. I am not, I know, worthy of the honor, but as well as I know how, I will keep the door.." "I thought you might," smiled the Old Tiler. "After all, no one will catch all the fish; there will be some left for you some other time." "Not if it interferes with being Keeper of the Door," answered the New Brother vigorously.
This is the twenty sixth article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘The Ancient Order of Turtles’ The Ancient and Honourable Order of Turtles ("International Association of Turtles", "Turtle Club", or similar title) started as an informal "drinking club" between World War II pilots, selfdescribed as "an honourable drinking fraternity composed of ladies and gentlemen of the highest morals and good character, who are never vulgar." To gain admission, one must answer four from a list of about twenty-five qualifying questions. Each question suggests a vulgar, lewd, or salacious answer, but the actual correct answer is rather innocuous. Once inducted, a member must reply to the question, "Are you a turtle?" with "YBYSAIA". Otherwise, the member must buy the questioner a drink. It is assumed that all prospective turtles own a diabetic donkey, or one of a sweet and kindly disposition, which is the reason for this password. If the member is unable or unwilling (perhaps because of the restriction on vulgarity) to provide the correct answer, he or she owes to each other turtle present a drink of the recipient's choice. The Supreme Imperial Turtle (Emeritus) of the "Ancient and Honourable Order of Turtles", Denis P. McGowan, says that his father was one of the originators of the tradition. Other groups claim an
earlier origin, but none have provided believable documentation.
History of the Order According to McGowan, the Order of Turtles began among World War II pilots as a way to amuse themselves while relaxing with a cool drink between missions. His father, the late Captain Hugh P. McGowan, U.S. Army Air Corps/U.S. Air Force Reserve (Ret.) and several pilots of the U.S. Army Air Corps 8th Air Force founded the Ancient and Honourable Order of Turtles in an officers' club while stationed in England during the Second World War: "We were flying daytime bombing missions over Hitler's Third Reich. We just wanted a little fun. We had seen a sign showing that the 'Ancient Order of Foresters' and the 'Royal Antedeluvian Order of Buffalos' would meet in the local pub, so I devised the name 'Ancient and Honourable Order of Turtles' for the fun of it. It was not meant to be serious, it had no constitution or by-laws, and was a relief from the horrors and dangers we saw every day on our missions. It spread after the War through the VFW and American Legion posts, and eventually, to Masonic groups, colleges and even to the high schools of the U.S.A." Turtles are bright eyed, bushy tailed, fearless and unafraid folk with a fighter pilot attitude. They think clean, have fun a lot, and recognize the fact that you never get any place in life worthwhile unless you stick your neck out.
Turtle Rank Candidate - Someone wishing to become a member of the Order. Turtle - Any Brother or Sister Turtle initiated into the Order through the initiation and interrogation ceremony. Snapping Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 25 new Turtles into the Order. Grand Snapping Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 50 new Turtles into the Order. Imperial Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 100 new Turtles into the Order. Past Imperial Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 150 new Turtles into the Order. Master Imperial Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 500 new Turtles into the Order. Supreme Imperial Turtle Emeritus this title is held by the successor to the founder.
References During the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission (part of the United States space program), astronaut Wally Schirra was asked by a ground controller whether he was a turtle. Not wanting to use vulgar language while his communications were being broadcast worldwide, he temporarily stopped transmitting while he gave the required response. Deke Slayton, a mere 3 minutes into Sigma 7's flight, came on the radio, which was open for everyone to hear, and asked, "Hey, Wally, are you a turtle?â€? Schirra switched his mic from live to record and uttered the
appropriate response. On the open line, he said, "Rog."
from Paul Haney there." Cunningham asked, "You mean he's speechless?" A short while later, CAPCOM Cernan informed Schirra, "Wally, this is Gene. Deke just called in, and we've got your answer, and we've got it recorded for you return." Schirra acknowledged, "Roger. Real fine."
Later, on board the USS Kearsarge (CV33), in front of Slayton, Walt Williams and the other astronauts, Walt Williams demanded to know how Schirra replied to Deke's question. The Ancient and Honourable Order of Shirra played the recorder. Shortly TURTLES "Hey, Wally, thereafter, are you a Schirra This is to certify that turtle?" asked Stewart Donaldson followed by CAPCOM Is a member of Bonnie Scotland No.1 the proper "Have you YBYSAIA response. got Haney's In good standing and will remain so as long as he/she continues to give This incident answer the password when asked by a fellow turtle. is also yet?" Member No., Inducted by. Date. recounted in Swigert BS 00001 the heid turtle 19/07/12 Tom Wolfe's replied, book The "Somebody Right Stuff. tells me he isn't talking, but just buying." Schirra responded, "He is Wally Shirra's membership in the buying. Thank you very much. Ancient Order of Turtles came up again during Apollo 7, which was captured by This exchange about turtles was a the in-flight recorder: reference to the notorious Turtle's Club drinking club of which Wally Schirra CAPCOM radioed, "Just a minute, held the title of a Grand Potentate. Wally. Let's see. Oh, it's a little message During Schirra's Mercury flight Deke to Deke Slayton. A little bit closer Slayton had radioed up to Schirra asking Wally. Kind of looks like something Schirra if he was a turtle. about - 'Are you a, are you a—" Schirra acknowledged, "That's right." President Kennedy was allegedly asked CAPCOM continued, "Looks like it if he was a Turtle at a press conference, says, 'Are you a turtle, Deke Slayton?" to which he replied, "I'll buy you your Schirra confirmed, "That's right." Eisele drink later". added, "You get an A for reading today The membership card shown is the Editor’s for the Jack." Swigert continued, "Here comes Masonic ‘Bonnie Scotland No.1’ Turtles. If another one. Walt, oh, that-a-way, that's anyone would like a copy of the card, drop me a the way to turn it. It says, 'Paul Haney, line and I’ll send it on. These fraternal societies really do exist. Some of them are mutual societies are you a turtle?'" Cunningham radioed, and most of them are based on Freemasonry, "You'll get a gold star. Perfect score!" Wally Schirra was a member of the Craft! Swigert reported, "And there is no reply
The Origin of Masonry PART 3 â€“ THE SYMBOLISM OF THE FATHERâ€™S HOUSE Speculative Masonry was instituted by Moses for the purpose of bringing the true "word" of God to his followers. These were the people of the Exodus, most of whom had been engaged in building the treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses, in Egypt. They were not a literate people, for at that time the art of writing was confined to the rulers of Egypt and their official families. Although Moses himself was a loyal scribe, he knew that the only way he could spread his doctrine among the people was through the medium of symbolism. The nucleus of that symbolism was the Ark of the Covenant, in which was deposited the true word of God. The setting for this sacred instrument was the Tabernacle, every part of which symbolized some feature of the Father's house in the celestial. This symbolism is concealed in the cabalism of the writings of Moses, and the key to that cabalism lies in the pattern of our planetary system. For example, the superstructure of the" House was made up of 7 bents, or frames, for they were symbolic of the 7 days of the week. This may be picked up from Exodus 36:27, wherein the e boards of the sides westward are specified. These 6 boards were strung out, end to end, across the 5 vertical bars, also specified for this west wall in Exodus 36 : 32. Obviously, the terminal ends of boards No. 1 and No. 6 also were attached to vertical bars, for they
were the corner bars in the north and south walls, respectively. Added to the 5 specified for the sides westward, these two corner bars brought the number up to 7. Each of these 7 bars was paired off with a corresponding bar in the eastwall, and, with the other members of the framing, formed the 7 bents. The symbolism of these 7 bents is to be found in the Second Degree, wherein it is stated that in 6 days God created the heaven and the earth, and rested on the 7th day. The total number of structural numbers with which the Tabernacle was framed is also given in the Second Degree. However, this symbolism was lost in the Temple of Solomon, for the stone walls of that structure replaced the function of the 7 bents used in the Tabernacle. These bents were designed as trusses, the pattern of which is indicated in the specifications for the north and south walls. Each of these walls contained 5 vertical bars. They were braced at the corners with the diagonals specified in Exodus 36:28 as corner boards, and were tied together at the top with the horizontal cross bar specified in Exodus 36:33. An extra cross bar was used in these wallsto form the eaves of the Tabernacle, and was supported on 5 struts. In all, there were 14 members in each of these end wall bents, and there were 12 members in each of the 5 intermediate bents. The bents themselves were held together at the top with a series of 60 rafters, and were also held together at the ceiling level with a series of 26 horizontal ties. In all there were 178 structural members in the Tabernacle proper. There were also 67 structural members in the Court of the Congregation, which
surrounded the Tabernacle. In the specifications, 20 pillars each were assigned to the north and south sides of the Court, and 10 to the west side. The specifications for the east side are quite complicated, and, when properly analyzed, only yield 9 pillars for this side of the Court. To these 59 pillars must be added the 8 corner boards used as diagonal bracing at the corners of the Court, which makes the total 67. The lower part of the Tabernacle was sheathed with boards, which were 120 in number. The 178 structural members of the Tabernacle, plus the 67 members of the Court and the 120 boards, bring the grand total up to 365. These 365 members were symbolic of the days of the year, and correspond to the phenomenon arising from the annual revolution of the earth around the sun, and its diurnal rotation on its own axis, as set forth in the monitorial work of the Second Degree. There was no such symbolism incorporated into the stone walls of the Temple, although the 1,453 columns and 2,906 pilasters used to enclose the court before the Temple were evidently multiples of 365, less 7, and 14, respectively. The specifications for the east wall of the Tabernacle are rather brief. They simply call for a Door, and the 5 pillars of it (Exodus 36:38). Between the 5 pillars were the 4 archways, which formed the Door. In addition, there was a panel flanking the Door on either side, making a total of 6 panels in all. These, of course, matched the panels formed by the "six" boards in the west wall. These flanking panels in the east wall contained the corner boards, which served as diagonal wind bracing to
impart stability to the structure. They ran from the tops of the corner posts down to the adjacent end pillars of the Door. Since these diagonal braces blanked off the use of these two end panels in the east wall, it is obvious they must have been sheathed with boards. This brings the total number of panels up to 12, for there were 6 in the west wall, 2 each in the north and south walls, and these 2 in the east wall. This also accounts for the 120 boards, for each panel was 10 boards high. These 12 panels represented the 12 tribes of Israel. This arrangement of the panels is confirmed in Genesis 48:13, wherein it is stated that "Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand, toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him." In other words, the two panels flanking the Door were named Ephraim and Manasseh. The 5 pillars of the Door are now represented by the 5 orders of architecture, although these orders were actually formulated by Vignola, worthy successor to Michel Angelo. The parts so far enumerated are all authentic, for they have been worked out according to the bill of materials Moses left to posterity. Among other items, this bill lists the fastenings which held the Tabernacle together. As it was a portable structure, these fastenings were so designed that the House could be dismantled and reassembled at will. The structural members were held together by means of rings, but the specification covering them is very brief, and is only given in connection with the corner boards (Exodus 36:29):
"And they were coupled beneath, and coupled together at the head thereof, to one ring." The ring in this case was cast with two lugs, and the corner boards had sockets in their ends, which fitted over the lugs of the ring. To make the joint secure after assembling, pins were inserted through both lug and corner boards. This same type of fastening was used wherever two or more structural members intersected each other. Where more than two structural members were brought to a common focal point, rings were supplied with additional lugs. Rings with as high as 4 lugs were used in some of the complicated portions of the bents. The boards which formed the sheathing of the Tabernacle were also held to the framing by means of rings. These rings encircled the vertical bars and had lugs projecting outward from them in a horizontal plane. The boards themselves were joined together by means of dowel pins, in the same manner that extra leaves are joined together in a diningroom table, except that they were in a vertical plane. The lugs of the rings fitted in between the edges of two boards, and the dowel pins in the boards also passed through holes in the lugs. This type of joint is covered by the specification for the sockets and tenons of the boards in Exodus 36:24 From the use of these rings and pins it truly may be said of the Tabernacle that there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the House, while it was in building. These lines are to be found in I Kings 6:7, and are applied to the stone work of Solomon's Temple. It is hard to conceive of the fabrication of a stone building in which
no tools of iron are employed. The insertion of the word "axe," even though it was not used, raises the question as to whether this passage was not also borrowed from the Tabernacle along with the attempt to copy its design. The axe was used to shape the boards and bars of the Tabernacle during its initial fabrication, but, after that, no tool of iron was ever required during its subsequent assemblies. The book, The Origin of Masonry, is in 5 parts, part 4 will appear in the next issue.
When the manâ€™s put together right. Father wished a little relief from answering questions while he read his Sunday paper. The paper contained a full-page map of the world. A brilliant idea was born. Dad took the map to the dining room table, cut it into zigzag pieces and told his little bunch of questions that she couldn't ask another until she had put the map together. He figured on a peaceful two hours, but in a few minutes the little tot called dad to see the completed work. "How did you get it together so quickly?" dad wished to know. "As you started to cut the map up I noticed there was a picture of a man on the other side. I turned the pieces over, put the man together, and when the man was put together right the whole world was all right." I need not point out the moral in that story. Have we ever had a calamity, have we ever had a crisis, have we ever been in any kind of mess that wasn't due to men not being put together right? When men are put together right, the whole World will be all right. It is Masonry's job to see that men are put together right.
Famous Freemasons Oliver Hardy
resuscitate him. He was sent to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville as a youngster. In the 1905 school year, when he was 13, Hardy was sent to Young Harris College in north Georgia. He had little interest in education, although he acquired an early interest in music and theatre. He joined a theatrical group, and later ran away from a boarding school near Atlanta to sing with the group. His mother recognized his talent for singing, and sent him to Atlanta to study music and voice, but Hardy skipped some of his lessons to sing in the Alcazar Theater, a cinema, for US$3.50 a week.
Oliver Hardy known as Ollie, was an American comic actor famous as one half of Laurel and Hardy, the classic double act that began in the era of silent films and lasted nearly 30 years, from 1927 to 1955. Oliver Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in Harlem, Georgia. His father, Oliver, was a Confederate veteran wounded at the Battle of Antietam, 1862. The family moved to Madison in 1891, before Norvell’s birth. His father died less than a year after his birth. Hardy was the youngest of five children. A traumatic moment in his life was the death of his brother Sam Hardy in a drowning accident. Hardy pulled his brother from the river but was unable to
Sometime prior to 1910, Hardy began styling himself "Oliver Norvell Hardy", with the first name “Oliver” being added as a tribute to his father. He appeared as “Oliver N. Hardy” in the 1910 U.S. census, and in all subsequent legal records, marriage announcements, etc., Hardy used “Oliver” as his first name. In 1910, a movie theater opened in Hardy’s home town of Milledgeville, Georgia, and he became the projectionist, ticket taker, janitor and manager. He soon became obsessed with the new motion picture industry, and became convinced that he could do a better job than the actors he saw on the screen. A friend suggested that he move to Jacksonville, Florida, where some films were being made. In 1913, he did just that, where he worked as a cabaret and vaudeville singer at night and at the Lubin Manufacturing Company during the day.
The next year he made his first movie, Outwitting Dad, for the Lubin studio. He was billed as O. N. Hardy. In his personal life, he was known as “Babe” Hardy, a nickname that he was given by an Italian barber, who would apply talcum powder to Oliver’s cheeks and say, “nice-a-bab-y.” In many of his later films at Lubin, he was billed as “Babe Hardy.” Hardy was a big man at six feet, one inch tall and weighed up to 300 pounds. He was most often cast as “the heavy” or the villain. He also frequently had roles in comedy shorts, his size complementing the character.
film series. The film was directed by Stan Laurel.
By 1915, he had made 50 short onereeler films at Lubin. He worked with Charlie Chaplin imitator Billy West and comedic actress Ethel Burton Palmer during this time. Hardy continued playing the “heavy” for West well into the early 1920s. In 1917, Oliver Hardy moved to Los Angeles, working freelance for several Hollywood studios. Later that year, he appeared in the movie The Lucky Dog, produced by G.M. (“Broncho Billy”) Anderson and starring a young British comedian named Stan Laurel. Oliver Hardy played the part of a robber, trying to stick up Stan’s character. They did not work together again for several years.
In 1927, Laurel and Hardy began sharing screen time together in Slipping Wives, and With Love and Hisses. Roach Studios’ supervising director Leo McCarey, realizing the audience reaction to the two, began intentionally teaming them together, leading to the start of a Laurel and Hardy series later that year. With this pairing, he created arguably the most famous double act in movie history. They began producing a huge body of short movies, including The Battle of the Century (1927) (with one of the largest pie fights ever filmed), Should Married Men Go Home? (1928), Unaccustomed As We Are (1929, marking their transition to talking pictures), Brats (1930) (with Stan and Ollie portraying themselves, as well as their own sons, using oversized furniture sets for the ‘young’ Laurel and Hardy), Another Fine Mess (1930), and many others. In 1929, they appeared in their first feature, in one of the revue sequences of Hollywood Revue of 1929 and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-colour (in Technicolor) musical feature entitled The Rogue Song. This film marked their
Between 1918 and 1923, Oliver Hardy made more than forty films for, mostly playing the “heavy” for Larry Semon. In 1924, Hardy began working at Hal Roach Studios working with the Our Gang films. In 1925, he starred in the film, Yes, Yes, Nanette!, starring Jimmy Finlayson, who in later years would be a recurring actor in the Laurel and Hardy
In 1926, Hardy was scheduled to appear in Get ’Em Young but was unexpectedly hospitalized after being burned by a hot leg of lamb. Laurel, who had been working as a gag man and director at Roach Studios, was recruited to fill in. Laurel kept appearing in front of the camera rather than behind it, and later that year appeared in the same movie as Hardy, 45 Minutes from Hollywood, although they didn’t share any scenes together.
first appearance in colour. In 1931, they made their first full length movie (in which they were the actual stars), Pardon Us. The film Music Box, a 1932 short, won them an Academy Award for best short film — their only such award. In the 1940s, Laurel and Hardy began performing for the USO, supporting the Allied troops during World War II, and teamed up to make films for 20th Century Fox, and later MGM. In 1947, Laurel and Hardy went on a six week tour of the United Kingdom. Initially unsure of how they would be received, they were mobbed wherever they went. The tour was then lengthened to include engagements in Scandinavia, Belgium, France, as well as a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. They continued to make live appearances in the United Kingdom and France for the next several years, until 1954. In 1949, Hardy’s friend, John Wayne, asked him to play a supporting role in The Fighting Kentuckian. Hardy had previously worked with Wayne and John Ford in a charity production of the play What Price Glory? Initially hesitant, Hardy accepted the role at the insistence of his comedy partner. Frank Capra later invited Hardy to play a cameo role in Riding High with Bing Crosby in 1950. During 1950–51, Laurel and Hardy made their final film. Atoll K (also known as Utopia). Both of them suffered serious physical illness during the filming.
In May 1954, Hardy suffered a mild heart attack. During 1956, Hardy began looking after his health for the first time in his life. He lost more than 150 pounds in a few months which completely changed his appearance. Letters written by Stan Laurel, however, mention that Hardy had terminal cancer, which has caused some to suspect that this was the real reason for Hardy’s rapid weight loss. Hardy was a heavy smoker, as was Stan Laurel. Hardy suffered a major stroke on September 14, which left him confined to bed and unable to speak for several months. He suffered two more strokes in early August 1957, and slipped into a coma from which he never recovered. Oliver Hardy died on August 7, 1957, at the age of 65. His remains are located in the Masonic Garden of Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood. Oliver Hardy was initiated into Freemasonry, at Solomon Lodge No. 20 in Jacksonville, Florida. His membership is mentioned in the TV interview on an episode of "This is Your Life" in 1954. Contrary to some web sites, Stan Laurel was not a Freemason; this is from a letter he wrote two weeks after Babe’s death; August 21st 1957 It was interesting to note that you are a Mason - a wonderful organization. My Dad was a 32nd. Degree Member in the Scottish Order, for some reason I never became one. Not only was Stan’s dad a mason, he was a member of Lodge Dramatic No.571 in Glasgow, Scotland. (ed) This article was adapted by the editor from various web sites on the Internet.
The South The Junior Warden in the south is in charge of meal breaks, and the meals themselves have become known in some quarters as “The South”. Whilst operative Masons worked from dawn to dusk and needed something substantial to eat at the end of the day, speculative Freemasons may well have eaten before coming to their Lodge meeting, and the type of meal they have in the South tends to vary, though in most cases it is more than mere refreshments.
The South has a much more relaxed atmosphere than the formal part of the Lodge meeting. The conviviality of the occasion is an important means of fellowship, as are the speeches and toasts. The humorous chit-chat of the South would be anathema in the Lodge room itself, though I must admit to have been present at Lodge meetings in some places where there was inadequate dignity and decorum and one almost thought it was a comedy show. On the other hand, I have been at Lodge dinners which were rather too stiff and formal and one wondered whether the brethren had forgotten how to smile.
Understanding that food would normally follow a Lodge meeting explains why the early speculative Freemasons often met at inns and taverns, even naming the Lodge after the meeting place. It also explains why there was a constant concern on the part of Lodge treasurers that the “house bill” (i.e. the cost of catering) was becoming too large, and some tavern keepers threatened that if a particular
Lodge created too many difficulties they could always find another Lodge. These days the catering is generally in-house, but some Lodges have developed the practice, in the interests of making Masonry a quality experience, of moving to a good restaurant once the formal meeting is over.
Possibly modelling themselves on Greek and Roman symposia or talk-fests, speculative Freemasons in some places combined their dinners with their debates. For Jews this all has a familiar ring, since life-cycle events and the Sabbath and festivals are universally celebrated with a combination of serious discussion and relaxed eating. The leading example is the Passover night Seder at which the Exodus from Egypt is discussed at table and the story and songs are interspersed with symbolic foods that represent the sourness of slavery and the sweetness of freedom. Lest the food become more important than the discussion, the Jewish sages were highly critical of those who ate without accompanying the meal with religious and intellectual discussions.
The Masonic South is one of the last places to maintain traditions derived from military banquets. Thus the practice of honouring a toast with “fire” (regulated stamping, clapping, etc.) reflects the military custom of firing muskets after toasts, and possibly entered the craft as the tradition of the many so-called military Lodges that originate in 18th and 19th century imperialism.
By Rt. Wor. Bro. Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple, AO RFD, Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory. Click the name to go to his website.
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY Corn, Wine and Oil. Corn, wine, and oil are the Masonic elements of consecration. The adoption of these symbols is supported by the highest antiquity. Corn, wine, and oil were the most important productions of Eastern countries; they constituted the wealth of the people, and were esteemed as the supports of life and the means of refreshment David enumerates them among the greatest blessings that we enjoy, and speaks of them as "wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart" (Psalm civ., 15). In devoting anything to religious purposes, the anointing with oil was considered as a necessary part of the ceremony, a rite which has descended to Christian nations. The tabernacle in the wilderness, and all its holy vessels, were, by God's express command, anointed with oil; Aaron and his two sons were set apart for the priesthood with the same ceremony; and the prophets and kings of Israel were consecrated to their offices by the same rite. Hence, Freemasons' Lodges, which are but temples to the Most High, are consecrated to the sacred purposes for which they were built by strewing corn , wine, and oil upon the Lodge, the emblem of the Holy Ark. Thus does this mystic ceremony instruct us to be nourished with the hidden manna of righteousness, to be refreshed with the Word of the Lord, and to rejoice with joy unspeakable in the riches of divine grace. "Wherefore, my brethren," says the venerable Harris (Discourse iv, 81), "wherefore do you carry corn, wine, and oil in your processions, but to remind you that in the pilgrimage of human life you are to impart a portion of your bread to feed the hungry, to send a cup of your wine to cheer the sorrowful, and to pour the healing oil of your consolation into the wounds which sickness hath made in the bodies, or afflictions rent in the heart, of your fellow-travellers?" In processions, the corn alone is carried in a golden pitcher, the wine and oil are placed in silver vessels, and this is to remind us that the first, as a necessity and the "staff of life," is of more importance and more worthy of honour than the others, which are but comforts. Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Feb 26, 2013