In this issue: Page 2, ‘The Real Mystery.’ Why do today’s writers try to associate Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper with Masonry? Page 8, ‘Oscar Wilde.’ A Famous Freemason. Page 11, ‘The Hiramic Legends.’ “An explanation of the drama of the third degree ritual.” Page 13, ‘Lodge St. Andrew No.814.’ Another History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 18, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “Durable Inspiration”, our Regular monthly feature. Page 19, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’. “He Found Out”, the twenty eighth in the series from Carl Claudy. Page 21, ‘To lecture or not to lecture!’ At a Conference of Secretaries in 1928, lectures given in Lodges were discussed. Page 22, ‘The Origin of Masonry’. Part Five – The Holy of Holies and the Resurrection. Page 25, ‘The Lost Secrets’. The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 26, ‘The Masonic Dictionary’ East.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Masonic Blue’ why are Craft Lodges called Blue? [link] The front cover artwork is a montage of Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes by the editor of the newsletter.
The Real Mystery Why do today's writers try to associate Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper with Masonry? "I say, Holmes, what is this mumbo jumbo?" This line spoken by an incredulous Dr. John Watson (played by the actor James Mason) as Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer) gives Masonic signs and proceeds to engage London's Police Commissioner (Anthony Quayle) in a mysterious hand grip, which Holmes explains to be the secret mode of recognition among Masons of the 33 degree. The scene, even more startling to real life Masons than to the play actor Dr. Watson, appears in the 1978 motion picture Murder by Decree. It piques curiosity. What connection did the world's most famous, albeit fictional, detective have with Freemasonry? In a later scene the question is answered for us, at least insofar as the screen drama is concerned. Holmes admits that he is not a member of the Society of Freemasons, but that he has made a study of its secret rituals as he has of many other arcane subjects, ranging from varieties of poisons to blends of tobacco. The film progresses to a climatic scene in London's Freemason's Hall, where Holmes confronts three leading figures of the British government, who also are identified as prominent Freemasons. (The spokesman for the three, the Prime Minster, played by
John Gielgud, in real life never was a Mason.) Holmes accuses the three of conspiracy in obstruction of justice. The case in point is the grisly murder of five prostitutes, crimes which actually were committed in London's ghetto-like East End during the autumn of 1888 by an assailant known to contemporaries and posterity only by the ghoulish sobriquet "Jack the Ripper." The theory advanced by Holmes on the cinema scene is that the infamous Jack was not simply a psychotic, as generally supposed at the time and since. He charges that the notorious killer was a confident of the Royal Family whose motive was to prevent disclosure of a scandal which he believed would endanger the British monarchy. More to the point, the killer was a Freemason. Therefore, his fellow Masons among the police and the highest levels of government "were sworn to protect him in his criminal intent." Masonic affiliation is the explanation given in Murder by Decree as to why the killer, called "Jack the Ripper," never was apprehended and why his identity has remained a mystery for more than a century. A possible Masonic connection was one of many theories explored in a six-part series, The Ripper File, which aired on BBC television in 1974. The BBC script was published in book form under the same title and is listed among the credits of Murder by Decree. As the television producer has pointed out, however, the series gave little more than a passing mention to the possibility of a Masonic conspiracy and discounted the theory for lack of evidence. There are three purported bases for the Masonic connection theory, all of them circumstantial and all of them contrived.
First, it is alleged that the Ripper's victims were killed and mutilated in such a way as to imitate the ancient penalties of the symbolic degrees. True, the throats of the victims had been cut. But this is a common and expedient method for murder, slaughter, or ritual sacrifice. Beyond that, the indescribable butchery inflicted upon the Ripper's victims reflects a bestially having no resemblance to the symbolic penalties of Masonic ritual. Moreover, the purpose of the penalties in Masonic ritual is to bind the initiate to his obligation. The initiate affirms the seriousness of his fraternal commitments by invoking a symbolic penalty upon his own head should he betray his trust. Nowhere does the ritual of Freemasonry suggest the infliction of penalties or retribution upon non-Masons, whatever their offenses might be. Thus, the study which the Sherlock Holmes of the film claimed to have made of Masonic ritual seems to have been as superficial as his supposition of the Prime Minister's Masonic affliction was erroneous. Secondly, a cryptic message concerning the "Juwes" was found scrawled in chalk on a wall near the scene of one of the Ripper's murders. Proponents of a Masonic connection argue that this was not an antisemitic slogan as commonly supposed, but a reference to the three assassins of the Hiramic legend. On the other hand, if a Mason committed the crimes, why would he leave such a clue incriminating the fraternity and why at the scene of only one of the five murders? Thirdly, the police officials responsible for the inconclusive investigation of the Ripper murders were known to be active Freemasons. Can it be inferred from the
mere fact of their Masonic association that they were unsuccessful in apprehending the murderer because they were shielding one of their own? Can a criminal conspiracy be inferred simply from a common interest and association? These questions should be rhetorical. Unfortunately, controversy in recent years over the extent of Masonic influence among the Masonic influence among the British police has led some to give credence to the possibility. "The insidious effect of Freemasonry among the police" was a theme articulated by Stephen Knight in Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, published in 1976. Knight began with the slender strands of supposition which The Ripper File had unravelled, but then discarded, weaving them into a conclusion that a Masonic conspiracy was not just an unsubstantiated theory, but incontrovertible fact. Fortunately, Knight's credibility is compromised by his rabid anti-Masonry. Among the "facts" to which Knight alludes gratuitously are the Masonic murders of William Morgan and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Subsequently, the very individual who had proposed the Masonic connection to BBC researchers confessed that the implication of Freemasonry in the Ripper murders had been a hoax. That should have ended the matter. Unfortunately, the story that the television producers had nibbled upon with a grain of salt, Knight had swallowed whole. He persisted in the delusion until 1985, when a brain tumour took him to an early grave, a victim, some said, of still another Masonic conspiracy. Very probably the reason why Stephen Knight and others like him have seized
upon the notion of Masonic conspiracy as an explanation for the crimes of Jack the Ripper is for purpose of effect. What really concerns them is not the solution of that mystery, not what may have happen today if the power of government, especially law enforcement, is concentrated in the hands of men whose personal allegiance to the bonds of a secret society may take precedence over their public duty. It was much the same apprehension, rather than the disappearance of William Morgan, which fanned the flames of anti-Masonry in America during the last century. But why bring Sherlock Holmes into all of this? It is perhaps an irresistible temptation to set the most famous sleuth of all time on the trail of the most infamous criminal to have eluded justice, especially since both (one in real life, the other in fiction) frequented the streets of London during the same space in time. Murder by Decree is not the only medium to have attempted this. Nevertheless, it is significant that the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, never succumbed to this temptation. In none of Doyle's four novels and 56 short stories which recount the adventures of Sherlock Homes, including encounters with the likes of the Mafia and the Ku Klux Klan, do we find the formidable talents of the master detective applied to solve the Ripper mystery which had baffled Scotland Yard. Although the Ripper murders coincided with the earliest Holmes stories, Doyle made no attempt to use the Ripper's notoriety to gain public acceptance when the success of his venture into detective fiction was far from assured. Moreover, there is no basis in the works of Conan Doyle for recruiting his immortal
character, as did the screenwriters of Murder by Decree, to provide a vehicle for a baseless expose and diatribe against Freemasonry. To be sure, many authors, playwrights, and screenwriters over the years have taken license in exploiting to their own ends the fame of Doyle's creation, one of the most universally recognized names in fiction, by placing him in new and different circumstances which Doyle never intended or could have imagined. Consider, for example, the popular film series of the 1940's starring Basil Rathbone, which saw Sherlock Holmes combating Nazi spies and saboteurs. Conan Doyle was born in 1859 into a devoutly Roman Catholic family and was educated in a Jesuit school. Entering the medical profession, he turned to writing as a means of supplementing the uncertain income of his fledgling practice. In 1887 he published A Study in Scarlet, which introduced Sherlock Holmes and his inseparable companion, John Watson, like Doyle himself, a struggling physician. A second Holmes novel appeared in 1890. It was not until the following year, however, when Doyle began to write a series of Holmes adventures for The Strand magazine, illustrated by the drawings of Sidney Paget, that his creation became a success. Indeed, he became a sensation. Almost overnight, the tall, gaunt figure in the deerstalker cap and caped overcoat, never without pipe and magnifying glass, became a household word. (The admiring public appeared to overlook Holmes' cocaine habit.) Eccentric as Doyle created him, many readers were convinced that Holmes was a real person and the storied flat at 221B Baker Street actually existed.
Doyle, however, did not share the enthusiasm of the reading public. He tired of Holmes, wishing to devote his literary talents to historical adventures. Thus, at the end of 1893, he rid himself of Holmes, sending him to his apparent death in the Swiss Alps at the hands of his arch-enemy, Professor Moriarity. Holmes' demise brought a public outcry. Readers vented their disapproval by cancelling subscriptions to The Strand. In time Doyle relented. The best known adventure of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, appeared in 1901. Then, late in 1903, Holmes was resurrected in the pages of The Strand. Despite his Catholic upbringing, or perhaps because of it, Doyle early in life rejected organized religion. He was repelled by what he saw as rigid dogmatism and divisiveness. He professed belief in a universal and beneficent God, who revealed himself to man through nature rather than through the church. Perhaps it was these beliefs and a desire to redefine his religious faith which led to Conan Doyle to become a Freemason. He was initiated in Phoenix Lodge No. 257 at Portsmouth in 1893. The Masonic experience does not seem entirely to have answered the need. Later in life he described himself as a "respectful agnostic" and experimented with spiritualism. Five of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes works contain Masonic references. In no instance, however, is the fraternity a subject of the plot. A Scandal in Bohemia, the first of the Holes stories to be published in The Strand, is reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe's
The Purloined Letter, just as Poe's detective hero, Dupin, often has been considered the literary precursor of Doyle's character. (Holmes typically, referred to Dupin as a "very inferior fellow.") Disguising himself as a groom to obtain information, Holmes explains to Watson that there is a "freemasonry among horsy men." The reference is not to Masonry as an organization, but employs the name as a common noun meaning fellowship, a recognized characteristic of the fraternity. There are four occasions on which Holmes takes notice of an item of jewellery which identifies the wearer as a Freemason. Once noted, no further mention is made of the fact. This does not mean, however, that the Masonic reference is trivial and of no account. Doyle invariably devoted much attention to Holmes' initial observations of a person's physical appearance, the detective is able to make an assessment of background, character, motivation, and veracity, which carries him a long way toward solution of the mystery before he stirs from 221B Baker Street. Enoch Drebber, the murder victim in A Study in Scarlet, is described as having a "low forehead, blunt nose, and prognathous jaw...a singularly sinuous and ape-like appearance." He also is wearing a ring with a Masonic device. As the story unfolds, we find that Drebber was killed in revenge, meeting his just deserts for past misdeeds which matched his sinister appearance. Much of A Study in Scarlet consists of a narrative of events during the early days of the Mormon settlement of Utah. Doyle obviously was using the excesses of Mormon theocracy to paint a melodramatic indictment of religious dogmatism. Writing six years before he became a Mason, was Doyle equating Freemasonry with the evils
he perceived to exist in organized religion or with Drebber's clandestine villainies?
incidentally, Barker's tie pin identifies him as a Freemason.
In The Red-Headed League, the second Holmes story to appear in The Strand, Jabez Wilson has been duped by a transparent scheme to leave his pawnshop each day so that criminals are free to use the premises to stage a robbery of a nearby bank. Wilson is described as being "obese, pompous, and slow," his clothing as frayed, ill-fitting, and "not over clean." He also is identified as a Freemason by a gaudy square and compasses pin. Again writing before his initiation into the craft, Doyle does not leave us with a very high opinion of the fraternity.
Doyle never tells the reader whether his detective hero is a Freemason. Nor are we told whether Holmes has made a study of Masonic ritual as is alleged somewhat unconvincingly in Murder by Decree. A Mason himself, Doyle may have been reluctant to reveal secrets of the Order or use his knowledge of Masonry for personal pecuniary gain. Nevertheless, by application of Holmes' own technique of deductive reasoning we can be reasonably certain that the master detective was not a member of the Masonic fraternity. Doyle did not intend for his creation to be the admirable image which most people associate with Sherlock Holmes. He thought Paget's drawings were too idealized. The public reaction always perplexed him. Holmes' life-style was reclusive, his habits eccentric, his manner brusque and often patronizing, his attitude haughty and conceited, if not supercilious, and his interests obsessively preoccupied with but one field of endeavour-criminal investigation. No, it is unlikely that a man who shuns society, the day-to-day concerns of his fellows, and the wider interests of mankind will be found upon the rolls of a Masonic lodge.
Quite a different image of Freemasonry is projected in The Adventure of the Norwood Builder. A young lawyer of modest circumstances, John Hector McFarlane, is charged with the murder of a wealthy client. Holmes finds his deductive powers taxed to the limit. Ultimately, however, he discloses an ingenious scheme whereby the supposed victim has staged his own death and implicated McFarlane as an act of revenge against the lawyer's mother, who many years before had rejected him as a suitor. What made Holmes so convinced of McFarlane's innocence when the evidence seemed to convict him? Could it have been the fact that at their first meeting Holmes had noticed the young man's Masonic watch fob? Lastly, in The Adventure of the Retired Colourman Holmes pays rare, if not unique, tribute to another detective by the name of Barker, going so far as to acknowledge him as a rival. Just
When, in the predawn hours, the timeless and tireless Sherlock Holmes routs the hapless Watson from his sleep and on to the fogbound streets of London with the familiar cry "The game's afoot," every widow's son can remain at heart's rest with the assurance that there is no Masonic connection.
From THE NORTHERN LIGHT--August 1991 by C. DeForrest Trexler
Famous Freemasons Oscar Wilde
at Trinity College Dublin and when at the time Oxford was strongly anti catholic. Prince Leopold, sixth son of Queen Victoria was an Oxford student at the time also. A study of the freemasonry records from the time shows that Prince Leopold was an accomplished Mason. Prince Leopold became Worshipful Master of the Apollo University Lodge on 22 February 1876, and was installed Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire the next day. In February 1875, John Edward Courtnay Bodley, a fellow undergraduate at Balliol College approached Oscar Wilde to join the Apollo University Lodge. Wilde who at the time was also flirting with converting to Catholicism would not have been a total stranger to Freemasonry. His father, Sir William Robert Wills Wilde (1815-1876) had been an active Mason in Ireland. (Initiated in Dublin on 12 December 1838 he became Master of the Lodge in 1841) Wilde accepted Bodley’s invitation.
Oscar Wilde studied classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874. He was an outstanding student, and won the Berkeley Gold Medal, the highest award available to classics students at Trinity. He received a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he continued his studies from 1874 to 1878. While at Magdalen, Wilde won the 1878 Oxford Newdigate Prize for his poem Ravenna. He graduated with a double first, the highest grade available at Oxford. His father, Sir William Wilde was also instrumental in getting Oscar into Oxford as he had become alarmed at the amount of catholic people Oscar was associating with
What attracted Oscar Wilde to Freemasonry? We can speculate that perhaps it was a mixture of things being part of a fraternity, the rituals, the secrecy, the symbolism, the spirituality, the traditions, the history and of course it would certainly have pleased his father. Once Oscar accepted the invitation they then set about to prime him on Freemasonry (Bodley kept a diary and Bodley recorded the following in his diary for 21 February 1875) ‘went down with W(ilde) to Corpus found the Count (W O Goldschmidt) … we called on Williamson where we had a long talk on Masonry. He produced his properties and Wilde was as much struck by their
gorgeousness, as he was amazed at the mystery of our conversation.’ Oscar Wilde’s initiation meeting on 23 February 1875 was a busy one, It opened with a third-degree ceremony where Frederic E Weatherly was raised. The passing of Guy, Lord Brooke, and Algernon H Mills, among others, was followed by the initiation of Charles Cross, William Grenfell and Oscar Wilde. Bro the Rev H A Pickard was Master. Oscar Wilde’s Masonic career only lasted for the four-year period where he studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. It began and ended there, but he was an enthusiastic member and took it quite seriously. The Craft of Freemasonry fascinated and enthralled him and his participation of course would have pleased his Father. In his maiden speech at the festive board following his initiation which all new invitees had to give, Oscar, who had been told that J & B stood for (St) J(ohn) the B(aptist), and was the founder of the Order, stated: ‘I hope we shall emulate his life but not his death – I mean we ought to keep our heads!’ Bodley also comments on another occasion when: ‘…his (Oscar Wilde’s) only attempts at practical harmony were on occasions when the Brethren, having adjourned from labour to refreshment, he would lift his voice in chorus in a well-meaning but unsteady monotone.’ The Apollo University Lodge, now number 357, continues today as a prestigious Lodge whose members practice the ritual
in a historic content and traditional costume. Officers of the lodge wear knee breeches, tailcoats and white tie and silk stockings and pumps as they have done for two centuries – an attire that would have very much appealed to Wilde’s embellished sense of dress and indeed it was this very outfit which he chose to wear when arriving in America in 1882 for his year-long lecture tour. Oscar took his Freemasonry seriously and was a keen and active participant in Lodge affairs. Within 2 months he had been passed to the second degree on 24 April and made a Master Mason the 25 May 1875. In November of the same year Oscar also joined the Churchill Lodge. He became Inner Guard in 1876 and Senior Deacon in 1877. The event was reported in the Oxford Chronicle for Saturday, 12 May 1877: ‘The anniversary festival of (the Churchill Masonic) Lodge was held on Tuesday… when there was a large and influential attendance both of members and visitors. … The Worshipful Master, Bro H 0 Wakeman MA, Fellow of All Souls College, presided… and The Worshipful Master Elect (Bro S Frankland Hood BA of Magdalen College), was duly installed as Master for the ensuing year… The new Master appointed and invested his officers … Junior Deacon 0 F W Wilde, Magdalen… ‘ With the start of his third term at Oxford, Wilde’s Masonic activities took on new vigour. On 27 November 1876 he was ‘perfected’ into the 18° of the Rose Croix at the Oxford University Chapter No 40. This was a period of religious consequence to him, with the Roman Catholic Church being an especially strong influence on him
which Oscar continued pursue despite his father’s annoyance. The Trinitarian content of the Rose Croix ritual will have particularly appealed to him at this time. It allowed his spirituality to surface. He took active office as Chamberlain, a position that no longer exists, as well as Raphael, which allowed him to conduct candidates in the perfection ceremony. Some months after his perfection, on 3 March 1877, Oscar Wilde wrote to his close friend and fellow Mason, William Ward: ‘I have got rather keen on Masonry lately, I believe in it awfully – in fact would be awfully sorry to have to give it up…’ The Order seems also to have brought out in Wilde his extravagant streak. In November 1876 he spent £15 18s 6d to buy from George Henry Osmond, a lamb skin Rose Croix apron and collar, a Rose Croix jewel, sword and belt as well as a Masonic leather jewel case, lettered with his initials. He paid £10 on account and Osmond’s solicitors sued a year later for the rest. On 22 November he was summoned before the University Chancellor’s Court, where action was brought against him, and the court ordered that he pay the difference plus 25 shillings costs. On 22 March 1878, Wilde progressed further in the Orders beyond the Craft. He was advanced, with no less than 12 more candidates, into the Mark degree at the University Mark Lodge No.55. He never attended a meeting after his advancement, his ‘mark’ was a mirror image of his initials, O-F-W, and is of some curiosity. It would seem that his membership here
expired naturally, so to speak, as this is the one Order where there is no evidence of his expulsions or exclusion. His demise from the Churchill Lodge was a more deliberate expulsion. In 1881 Bro Lt Col Thomas Crowder was appointed Secretary to the Lodge and decided on an efficiency drive to collect arrears of subscriptions. Oscar Wilde was among the 11 members who were excluded in 1883. Whilst the excuses were accepted from the Brethren concerned, who were duly readmitted, Oscar Wilde’s fate is recorded in the Lodge minutes for 4 June 1883: Bro Crowder Secretary proposed and Bro G L Hawkins seconded that the expulsion from the Lodge of Bro Oscar Wilde be reported to Grand Lodge, he having failed to acknowledge the three communications forwarded to him. This was carried unanimously.’ The expulsion from the Churchill Lodge effectively ended Oscar Wilde’s Masonic activities. He had not yet been disgraced by society, and the action taken against him in the Churchill Lodge and the rest of the Orders from which he was finally excluded, seem to have been a matter of neglect on his part and not deliberate action against him. By this time, September 1880, Wilde had divested himself from both Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry. Having left Oxford for London in 1878, he travelled widely and married Constance Lloyd in 1884. The next decade he spent balanced on that fine dividing line between what was and what was not morally acceptable to the late Victorian London society. In meeting Alfred Douglas, affectionately referred to as Bosie, in June
1891, Wilde was to be put to the test and he failed.
members in what is known as the Golden Book.
In February 1895, the Marquess of Queensberry left the famous open card at the Albemarle Club accusing Wilde of sodomy. His failed trial against Queensberry on 3 April, led to his arrest just two days later. His subsequent trials ended with his imprisonment, which finally took him to Reading goal in November, a month after being declared bankrupt.
Oscar Wilde’s name has been stricken through the entry in his Chapter’s Golden Book, with a note underneath: ‘Erased – P Colville Smith MWS Dec 5th 1895′.
It is here, whilst serving hard labour that he is reported to have made a last direct reference to Freemasonry. His close friend Robert Ross records that he asked Wilde whether he had met any Freemasons in prison, to which he replied: ‘Yes, it was very terrible. As I was walking round the yard one day I noticed that one of the men awaiting trial was signalling to me by Masonic sign. I paid no attention until he made me the sign of the widow’s son, which no Mason can ignore. He managed to convey a note to me. I found he was in for fraud of some kind and anxious that I should get my friends to petition for his release. He was quite mad, poor fellow. As he would always insist on signalling and I was afraid the warders would get to notice it, I persuaded Major Nelson to let me wear black goggles until he was convicted and sent to Portland. ‘ In 1895 the Masonic fraternity will have been aware though unperturbed by Oscar Wilde’s sad and tragic circumstances. He had, after all, ceased active membership of the last of the Masonic Orders in 1879. It was, and still is, customary for Rose Croix Chapters to inscribe the names of their
This followed on the earlier entry of 9 July in the Minute book of the Supreme Council 33° where the Report of the Committee of Supreme Council decided on: ‘The erasure from the Golden Book of the name of Oscar Wilde who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment with hard labour.’ Considering that Wilde had not been in any way involved with the fraternity for the best part of two decades, the measure appears harsh at best and certainly unnecessary. Victorian society moved quickly against Oscar after the scandal of his trials, his friends evaporated, his family fled to Switzerland and Oscar Wilde’s name was removed from the billboards of West End theatres in London where his plays were showing. The same happened in New York, where Wilde had gained fame and notoriety during his successful lecture tours just three-year earlier This article was sourced from the web site of the Oscar Wilde Fan Club, which credits these sources; Bailes B A, Archivist, Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, London. Bailey S, Oxford University Archives, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Christmas Matthew R, Secretary, University Mark Lodge No. 55. Sweeney Rev R, Recorder University Chapter No. 40, Oxford. United Grand Lodge of England. Library and Museum of Freemasonry. Yasha Beresiner article http://www.freemasonsfreemasonry.com/beresiner8.html
The Hiramic Legends By George S. Draffen During the ceremony of the Third Degree, which is so well named the Sublime Degree, you can hardly fail to have been deeply impressed by the tragedy of Hiram Abiff. To understand it, and to appreciate to the full its profound richness of meaning, is something that will remain with you as long as you live. It is first of all important to understand that the drama of Hiram Abiff is a ritualistic drama. We all know what a drama is. It is a conflict between a man and other men or between a man and other forces, resulting in a crisis in which his fate or fortune lies at stake. The crisis, or problem, is followed by a solution or resolution. If it turns out in favour of the man the drama is a comedy, in the true and original meaning of that word as a happy ending. If it turns against him, and as a result he becomes a victim or a sufferer, it means that the drama is a tragedy. By drama in either sense I do not refer to plays as they are acted on the stage, which are not dramas at all, but representations of dramas. I refer to drama as it occurs in our own lives, to everyone of us, and in our daily experience. The only reason for our interest in reading or seeing stage plays is because they mirror the drama in which in real life we ourselves are the actors.But the ceremony of Hiram Abiff is not only a drama, it is a ritualistic drama, and the major emphasis should be placed on the world "ritualistic." What is a ritual? It is a set of fixed ceremonies which address themselves to
the human spirit solely through the imagination. A play in the theatre may be built round some historical figure or some historical event, as in the case of Shakespeare's plays about the English kings and about Macbeth or Hamlet. And if the figures and events are not actually historical, they are sup- posed to be, so that the facts of time, place and individual identity are of some importance to it. A ritualistic drama, on the other hand, does not pay any heed to historical individuals, times or places. It moves wholly in the realms of the spirit, where time, space and particular individuals are ignored. The clash of forces, and crises and fates of the human spirit alone enter into it, and they hold true of all men, everywhere, regardless of who they are, or where and when they are. Since the drama of Hiram Abiff is ritualistic, it is a mistake to accept it as history. There was a Hiram Abiff in history, but our Third Degree is not interested in him. Its sole concern is with a Hiram Abiff who is a symbol of the human soul, that is, its own Hiram Abiff. If, therefore, you have been troubled with the thought that some of the events of this drama could not possibly have ever happened you can cease to be troubled. It is not meant that they ever happened in ancient history, but that they are symbols of what is happening in the life of every man. For the same reason it is an inexcusable blunder to treat it as a mere mock tragedy. Savage peoples employ initiation ceremonies as an ordeal to test the nerve and courage of their young men, but Freemasonry is not savage. Boys in school often employ ragging, which is horseplay
caricature of the savage ceremonial ordeals, but Freemasonry is not juvenile. The exemplification of our ritualistic drama is sincere, solemn, and earnest. He who takes it trivially betrays a shallowness of soul which makes him unfit ever to become a Mason. Hiram Abiff is the acted symbol of the human soul, yours, mine, any man's. The work he was engaged to supervise is the symbol of the work you and I have in the supervision, organization, and direction of our lives from birth to death. The enemies he met are none other than the symbols of those lusts and passions which in our own breasts, or in the breasts of others, make war on our characters and our lives. His fate is the same fate that befalls every man who becomes a victim to those enemies, to be interrupted in one's work, to be made outcast from the lordship (or mastership) over one's own self, and, at the end, to become buried under all manner of rubbish--which means defeat, disgrace, misery and scorn. The manner in which he was raised from that dead level to that living perpendicular again is the same manner by which any man, if it happens at all, rises from selfdefeat to self-mastery. And the Sovereign Great Architect, by the power of whose word Hiram Abiff was raised, is that same God in whose arms we ourselves forever lie, and whose mighty help we also need to raise us out of the graves of defeat, or evil, and death itself. Did you wonder, while taking part in that drama, why you were personally made to
participate in it? Why you were not permitted to sit as a spectator? You were made to participate in order to impress upon you that it was your drama, not another's, there being exemplified. No man can be a mere spectator of that drama, because it takes place in his own soul. Likewise because it was intended that your participation should itself be an experience to prepare you for becoming a Master Mason, by teaching you the secret of a Master Mason, which is, that the soul must rise above its own internal enemies if ever a man is to be a Mason in reality as well as in name. The reality of being a Master mason is nothing other than to be the Master of one's self. Did you wonder why it was that the three enemies of Hiram Abiff came from his own circle and not from outside? It is because the enemies to be feared by the soul are always from within, and are nothing other than its own ignorance, lust, passions, and sins. As the Volume of Sacred Law reminds us, it is not that which has power to kill the body that we need most to shun, but that which has power to destroy the spirit. Did you wonder why it was that, after Hiram Abiff was slain, there was so much confusion in the Temple? It was because the Temple is the symbol of a man's character, and therefore breaks and falls when the soul, its architect, is rendered helpless. Because the Craftsmen are symbols of our powers and faculties and they fall into anarchy when not directed and commanded by the will at the centre of our being. And did you wonder why the lodge appeared to neglect to explain this
ritualistic drama to you at the end of the degree? It was because it is impossible for one man to explain the tragedy of Hiram Abiff to another. Each must learn it for himself; and the most we can obtain from others is just such hints and scattered suggestions as these I have given you. Print the story of Hiram Abiff indelibly upon your mind; ponder upon it; when you yourself are at grips with your enemies recall it and act accordingly to the light you find in it. By so doing you will find that your inner self will give in the form of first-hand experience that which the drama gave you in the form of ritual. You will be wiser and stronger for having the guidance and the light the drama can give you. George S. Draffen, of Fife, served in 1975 as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Short talk bulletin Oct 89.
Did You Know? Why do the Officers leave their Chairs from the right side and return to their left side? Masonry is usually operated in a clockwise direction. For example, one of the working tools in the First Degree, the 24- inch Gauge, represents the 24 hours of the day, in a clockwise direction. The WM opens the Lodge in the East, depicting the Sun rising in the East and the SW, on instruction from the WM, closes the Lodge in the West, depicting the setting Sun. So the Lodge is opened and closed in a clockwise direction. Perambulations around the Lodge Room at the beginning and end of ceremonies, installation and candidates passing in view of the Brethren, are all carried out in a clockwise direction. Therefore, Officers of the Lodge leave and return to their chairs in a clockwise direction.
Lodge St. Andrew No.814
1895-1995 In the beginning a meeting was held in Scotlands Hotel, Pitlochrie on the 14th December, 1894 of those masons wishing to form a Masonic Lodge for Pitlochrie. Dr R.W. Irvine was called to the chair. Present were Wm Skinner, A. Robertson, Ch. Bruce, G. Flight, Vietch, Burns, Scotland Snr and Scotland Jnr, Livingston, McLennan and Menzies. Apologies were received from Simms, (Moulin) and StuartMerchant. The meeting appointed Mr Menzies, Secretary. A Petition was signed according to the Grand Secretary's instructions and the same was forwarded to Col M. Stirling as P.G.M. of Perthshire West. This concluded the business. Signed Finlay Menzies (Secy) A. Robertson (RWM). 22nd January, 1895 A meeting of Masons was held in Scotlands Hotel on the 22nd January, 1895, Dr R. W. Irvine presiding. It was arranged that Mr Veitch, Treasurer, and Finlay Menzies, Secretary, should call on petitioners and collect the amount of
charter. The Raising of money for working tools etc to be considered at a future meeting. 30th January, 1895 A meeting of Masons was held in Scotlands Hotel -Mr John Scotland presiding. It was agreed that a working committee be appointed; proposed by Mr Simms and seconded by Mr Scotland. The committee was to be: Gould, Veitch, Skinner, Secretary ex officio. It was also proposed that the 42nd Tartan be the colours of the Lodge, however an amended proposal by R. R. Kinner and seconded by Mr Flight that the colours should be the Athole Tartan, was carried. It was also carried that the Affiliation Fee should be l0/- Initiation Fee £2-2/- Annual Subscription 2/6. The Charter was received from Grand Lodge dated 7th February, 1895. 1895-1915 The first meeting of Lodge St Andrew No 814 was held on the 11th February, 1895 Br Dr McCallum presiding in Scotlands Hotel. It was agreed that pedestals be made for a cost of 22/- to 28/ -each. Br McLennan should provide aprons; ten or twelve to be trimmed with Athole tartan and that other necessary articles should be ordered from Kenning of Glasgow. Br Flight donated a Bible; three mallets were ordered from Mr Jay. Dr Irvine donated the emblems of mortality; and the permanent use of an engraved sword was given by Br Gould. It was moved by Br Skinner and seconded by Br Menzies that the name of the new Lodge should be St Andrew, Pitlochrie. Laws & Bye Laws: - It was moved by Br Veitch and seconded by Br Menzies that these should be printed according to a copy
sent by Br Col Stirling of Kippendale. It was also agreed that a loan of £50.00 be borrowed from the Bank of Scotland. At a meeting held on 6th March, 1895, Col Stirling presiding, it was agreed that it was unsuitable for Lodge No 14 Dunkeld to hold meetings to work Freemasonry in Pitlochrie but it was agreed that Lodge Dunkeld should have the use of the Lodge Rooms to finish the Apprenticeships made by them. On the 7th March 1895 at 11.30 am in Scotlands Hotel the Lodge was opened. Eight Brethren were initiated. At 1.30 pm P.G.L. opened a meeting at which Col Stirling presided. Br Robertson No. 814 was then installed as R. W. M. A deputation from G.L. was then admitted when the Earl of Rosslyn erected and consecrated the Lodge of St Andrew No.814. The Lodge was then closed and after a dinner attended by local dignitaries and members of Lodges No.14 and 152 Dunkeld, a procession headed by the Pitlochrie Pipe Band, marched to the Railway Station where G.L. and P.G.L. departed on their way. Thus Lodge St Andrew, Pitlochrie No.814 came into being. During the first few years, in fact up to 1900, 67 members joined the Lodge. The Lodge had also been putting aside money with the intention of building its own Masonic Temple, however, it was noted in the minutes at the P.G.L. visitation on 17th February, 1898 that £100 of this money be used to secure the Right of having the Lodge held in the New Public Hall. On the 18th May, 1899 the Lodge met in Scotlands Hotel and after an Initiation Ceremony, presided over by R. W.M. Br W. Skinner, they were joined by the P.G.L. The Procession, headed by a Pipe Band, marched by way of the Main Street and Moulin Road, to the Public Hall. Br Sir
Alexander Muir McKenzie P.M. Lodge No.14 performed the laying of the stone in Masonic Style and was presented with a silver trowel and rosewood mallet in remembrance of the occasion. The Lodge noted the death of P.G.M. Col Stirling of Kippendale on 14th February, 1899 and a copy of this minute was sent to his widow as an expression of sympathy. The Lodge held its last meeting in Scotlands Hotel on Thursday April 12th, 1900. The R.W.M. Br W. Skinner proposed a vote of thanks to Br Scotland, a founder member of the Lodge, for all the real Masonic spirit shown by him in his dealings with the Lodge. The next meeting was held in the Public Hall on May 4th, 1900. During the next few years the Lodge progressed steadily. Life membership was introduced at a meeting held on 15th March, 1905 and the fee was set at 25/that being the equivalent of ten years Test Fees. At the P .G.L. Visitation in 1912 headed by P.G.M. Major C. Murray Stewart, 166 new members had been initiated into Freemasonry. It had, however, only 45 members on the roll, this being put down to a fresh exodus to the colonies. On October 19th, 1914 it was proposed that the meetings be held monthly instead of fortnightly as so many of the members and office bearers had been called to military service, however, this was not carried. The last meeting was held on 22nd March, 1915 and no further minutes were kept until after the war. At this time there had been 185 members initiated into the Lodge. 1915 -1935 On January 27th, 1919 the Lodge met again in the Lesser Hall and intimated that no Brothers be appointed until those absent on military service returned and, still
holding meetings once per fortnight. At a meeting held on 27th February, 1923 it was proposed to form a committee to consider the question of building a Masonic Temple. In the meantime the Lodge was continually putting money into improving the Lodge furniture. New candlesticks, made of oak, were ordered in February, 1925 also apron cases and R.W.M.'s collar jewel. A new carpet was ordered in 1933 and during all this time the Lodge was competing in various sporting activities, however, the results are not recorded. The exception is in 1936 when the bowling rink skipped by won. Annual dances continued to be successfully held. Many visiting Brethren attended the Lodge and members of Lodge St Andrew reported on numerous visits to Sister Lodges both within and without the Province. In 1935 it was intimated that G.L. would require about ÂŁ5,000, to cover the expenses which would be incurred in celebrating its bicentenary and a contribution of 1/- from each member was suggested. Also in 1935 it was intimated that the amalgamation of the Dunkeld Lodges No.152 Operative and St Johns No.14 was to take place which would result in the United Lodge of Dunkeld No.14. 1935 -45 Despite the declaration of war the Lodge carried on as usual with meetings still being held every fortnight. In 1941 the first Canadians started to join the Lodge. They were mainly members of the Canadian Forestry Corps and continued their association for many years. They were mainly stationed at the "Black Island Camp" Blair Atholl during their wartime service. The Lodge made various and significant financial contributions to the war effort during this difficult period in our history and those who were not serving in
the forces strove to keep the Lodge running in as normal a manner as possible. On the 16th February, 1945 the Lodge Jubilee was celebrated. 482 members had joined the Lodge since its conception. The R. W .M. remarked that also present that night was Br Peter Gould the only surviving founder member of the Lodge. He then conferred honorary membership on Lord Galloway. The Depute Grand Master then conferred a Grand Lodge Diploma with the Honorary Rank of Grand Bible Bearer on P.M. Br T.P. Donald in recognition of his services to the Craft. All the Brethren then returned to Scotlands Hotel where a "Jubilee Dinner" was held. On Monday 4th November 1946, Mr George Whitton was initiated into Freemasonry by R. W. M. Br George Watson and so began a most illustrious career. Br Whitton became R.W.M. in 1955. His career in P.G.L. was exceptional in that he was P .G. Treasurer from 19611988 a total of 27 years. He was then appointed P.G.S.M. from 1989-1993. On 23rd February, 1947 a notice of motion was put to the Lodge â€“ that the Test Fees be raised from 3/6 to 10/-. All other fees were raised proportionally and Life Membership was to be discouraged. An amendment by G. Whitton that the life membership be 20 times the test fees was carried. It was decided at the business meeting held on 20th December, 1948 to hold a special collection to acknowledge all the help and co-operation given by Miss Stewart of Scotlands Hotel to the Lodge. This resulted in the presentation, to Miss Stewart, of a silver cigarette box at the dinner to celebrate the Festival of St John, held, in Scotlands Hotel, after the installation meeting held on Tuesday 28th December, 1948. In 1949 the question of building a Lodge Room again arose, this having been
shelved in 1924, the cost then being considered prohibitive. A building fund was now started and it was agreed that the collections taken at all meetings except those for the 1st degree should be put into this fund. The Lodge continued its usual business during the following years, participating in Masonic Sporting and Social events, and contributing generously to various appeals. On the 25th June, 1951 a special meeting was called at which it was announced that a letter had been received from Messrs. C.C. Stuart Ltd. agreeing to lease a piece of land adjoining Scotlands Hotel for a nominal Sum of ÂŁ1 per annum for the use of a Masonic Temple. The estimated cost of materials for the building of this Temple was put at about ÂŁ400 plus extras for furnishings. Br. M.H. Young offered to provide building materials; this most generous offer was accepted by the Lodge. It was agreed, on Br. Whitton's proposal, to accept the offer of Lease for a period of ten years. A special committee was then formed to pursue this matter. Once again business continued and on 19th May, 1952, at a special meeting it was agreed to order materials and commence work on the New Temple. At the installation held on 15th December, 1952 it was intimated that the Brethren from Blair Atholl were investigating the possibility of forming a new Lodge. At the meeting held on 5th January, 1953, the Master informed the Brethren that he and his wardens would, probably, be asked to sign the petition for a Charter to be granted by G.L. to the new Lodge in Blair Atholl and was given permission to do so by the members. On Monday 7th December, 1953 the R. W.M reported on having attended the consecration of Lodge Tulliebardine 1484, carried out by P.G.M. Br J.F. Halley. A
meeting held on 18th October, 1954 again addressed the shortage in the Building Fund. It was decided to augment this by holding a ladies sale of work. A motion to borrow £150 from the General Fund was also approved. On 15th December, 1955, Br. J. Campbell, Secretary since 1935, was honoured by the Lodge for hard work and long service. A presentation of a watch and Jewel was made by the P.G.M. Br. James Halley. On the 17th April, 1961 at a Regular Meeting the following communication was read: - (abridged) " From Scotlands Hotel" - "You are required to remove from the two storey building, i.e. the Temple belonging to C.C. Stuarts Ltd. in terms of the "minute of lease". Reasons for the leasers, who wished to develop the property, were given and various offers of alternative terms of lease were made. At the meeting held on 8th May, 1961 it was agreed to continue the lease for its remaining five years. Discussion over this matter, and its final conclusion, continued and at the meeting held on 4th February, 1963 it was decided that the Lodge should return to the Public Hall. At a special meeting held on 11th March, 1963 all the various financial options were discussed at length, and it was decided to accept the compensation of £320 offered by C. C. Stuarts Ltd. The last meeting in the Temple was held on 15th April, 1963. The R. W .M. remarked that whilst the Lodge had started, and grown in strength, with meetings held in the Lesser Hall, those who had voluntarily given so much time to the furnishing of the Temple should not be forgotten. At this time there were 645 members. Meetings continued in the Lesser Hall, the first being held on Monday 21st December, 1963. The meeting due to be held on the 16th December, 1963 was waived as the Lesser
Hall was due for decoration, although the Brethren of Lodge Tulliebardine 1484 had most – kindly offered the use of their Lodge, however, owing to transport difficulties this generous offer was declined. At the meeting held on 6th April, 1964 it was decided, after much discussion, to hold Regular Meetings only once a month and not every fortnight as had previously been the case. 1965-95 At the Regular Meeting of 16th January, 1967 a special donation was made in respect of a request from G.L. towards the cost of building a third Masonic Home in Dunblane. The business of the Lodge continued comparatively smoothly during the next decade; contributions to local and outside, benevolence being made. The children’s Christmas party and entry into various sporting events being carried out as usual. In April, 1980 a third degree was worked in the Lodge by Lodge St David No 78. This was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all present. The Lodge acquired new regalia for the office bearers in 1982. Br T .R. Donaldson P.M. was most influential and industrious in obtaining the necessary tartan and in having the aprons, sashes and collaretts made up. Visitations by Brethren continued unabated and many more visitors were welcomed into the Lodge. On Monday 4th April, 1983 a visit from the "Northern Lights" degree team from Discovery Lodge No.149 of Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada took place. They worked a Master Masons Degree to the American Ritual. Many visitors were present including a deputation from P.G.L This meeting was an unqualified success and the performance of the degree team truly
memorable. Two hundred and sixty Brethren were present; representing thirty eight Lodges. Afterwards a supper was held in Scotlands Hotel which was attended by 172 Brethren; many presentations were made, toasts drunk, and fine harmony enjoyed by all present. In 1983 the "200 Club" was started bringing a useful income to the Lodge and in 1984 a fund was started to provide funds for the Centenary year in 1995. At the meeting held 2nd December, 1991 it was decided that the most generous legacy left to the Lodge by the late Br Hugh McGregor who joined the Lodge in 1978 and was Lodge Secretary, 1978-1980, should be carefully invested in - Treasury Stock. 1980 -1995 The Lodge has continued with its Regular Meetings, new members joining, and, unfortunately, others passing to the G.L. above. Many problems, most minor, but some larger have arisen. These have been overcome as, no doubt, they will be in the future. The present number of Brethren who have joined the Lodge since 1895 stands at 776. The Lodge has completed its first hundred years and looks forward, with keen anticipation, to the future, believing as it did when it started, in the principles of Freemasonry, "Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth". The editor and the newsletter acknowledge Lodge 814 as the copyright owner of this history. Our thanks go to the Lodge and to RWM Kenneth C. Jack for allowing us to use this edited version of their History. The Lodge can be accessed at this link, from where this history was extracted. If your Lodge has a history that we can use, contact the editor.
Rays of Masonry â€œDurable Inspirationâ€? Attribute the general feeling of despair today to the war, but bear in mind that people who are for the moment without hope are not easily duped. They are not like drowning people grasping at a straw. Rather does a hopeless condition demand that which is lasting, that which is durable. Looking at the shiny surface, touching the bright veneer, will no longer suffice. There must be strength and wisdom, interspersed with beauty. Great business organizations are talking more today of factual truths than "pep meetings." "Pep Meetings" are injections that last until the meeting is over; factual truths are durable. What has this to do with Masonry? The ways of Masonry are slow; the sensational is absent. Yet war proves the value of her patient ways. Masonry came into being because society cried out for an institution that was free of superstition, of idle creeds, of mercenary dogma. Throughout the centuries our Institution has shown her votaries a pattern of life, a life in which men are brothers because God is the Universal Father. Simple, yet so comprehensive, the very future of the world depends upon its acceptance. Are these factual truths? Study and contemplate. From your own conclusions there will come, not a momentary inspiration, but a durable, lasting satisfaction that will reflect in every act of your life. So it is. Throughout the centuries Masonry has remained on guard against the evils of a purely emotional influence and has slowly, but surely, sought the way of Lasting Truths. Dewey Wollstein 1953.
"You speak of him as 'Old Brinkley.' How old is he?" "Must be all of 65, or maybe 68. Carpenter by trade, he is; worked for me off and on for years. The wife never wants a shelf put up or a hinge mended or a fence painted or the gutter spout fixed that we don't call on old Brinkley. He's a fine old chap, very religious too. I rather wondered at the Master putting you on his petition." "Why?" asked the Old Tyler.
He Found Out. "Old Tyler I can save you some trouble!" announced the New Brother. The Old Tyler leaned his sword up against the wall and motioned the New Brother to a seat. "I am never adverse to anyone saving me trouble!" "A petition was read in lodge tonight," continued the New Brother. "Man by the name of Ned Brinkley. I have known old Brinkley for years. I heard your name on his committee. I can tell you anything you want to know." "Nice of you!" repeated the Old Tyler. "Why does Mr. Brinkley want to be a Mason?" "Oh, I don't know... same reason we all do, I guess."
"I know your reputation as a committeeman!" smiled the New Brother. "You dig to the bottom. They don't waste you on people everyone knows about. Brinkley is a dead open-and-shut proposition. Everyone in town knows him, I guess. I don't see why they put an old ferret like you on his trail. But I can tell you anything you want to know about him." "Except why he wants to be a Mason!" answered the Old Tyler, dryly. "Well, that isn't important in this case. He is a very religious man, and I suppose wants the religious part of lodge work." "You suppose! Suppositions are not good enough for me. How does friend Brinkley know there is anything religious about a lodge or Masonry? Why does a very religious man find his church insufficient to supply his religion? Why does he wait until he is 65 years old to want to be a Mason? Those are questions I want answered. You know Brinkley as a workman, an obliging tinkerer with shelves and gutter spouts. But apparently you know nothing else about him except that he
is religious. Suppose you tell me how you know that much." "How do I know he is religious? Why, he goes to church every Sunday and he talks a great deal about it... I don't know!" "I'll say you don't know! You don't really know anything about Brinkley, do you? Your attitude is too sadly common for the good of Masonry. You are familiar with Brinkley's name and his appearance and his looks; he has worked for you as an odd job man for years. Because he never stole your silver or beat your dog you think he is a good man. Because he talks religion and goes to church you term him religious. He is a part... a small part, but yet a part... of your life, and therefore he is all right for your lodge! Oh, conceited man! As if you couldn't be fooled and taken in and hornswoggled and deceived like anyone else! "I happen to know considerable about Brinkley. I heard he was going to petition this lodge and I made it my business to find out. Listen, and see how much damage you might have done if I had been less well informed and had taken your estimate of Brinkley for truth! "Brinkley owes a lot of money. His credit is exhausted. There is nothing bad about the man; he is a well-meaning but shiftless person, who has never either the ambition or the ability to rise above sporadic day wages and occasional jobs. He is weak, so he borrows right and left and runs accounts which he seldom pays, not that he isn't honest, but that he is careless. "A few years ago he got into difficulties, and seeing no other way out, attempted to become a Catholic. But the good fathers of
the church turned him inside out in no time and found out that he had been, at various times, a member of at least four other churches, all for the work he could get and the charity he could receive from their organizations. He has been a member of the Odd Fellows, the Pythians, the Red Men and a few others, in all of which organizations he has been dropped for N.P.D. "At 65 or more years of age he suddenly conceives a great regard for the Masonic fraternity and wants to join our lodge. Why, I don't know, but I strongly suspect! And my suspicions are well founded in evidence that Mr. Brinkley wants to become a Mason for what he can get out of Masonry in a material way that I shall register a loud, round, and emphatic negative on my report, and I very much suspect that both other committeemen will do the same thing!" "Oh, well, of course!" answered the New Brother. "I didn't know!" "Of course you didn't! And because you only guessed and hoped and believed and had no real knowledge, you would have done this lodge a great injury if all the committeemen had depended solely on your report!" "But I know now... and I won't do it anymore!" pleaded the New Brother. The Old Tyler grunted.
This is the twentyeighth article in this regular feature, â€˜The Old Tiler Talks,â€™ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
Extracts from the Report of Proceedings, at the Conference of Secretaries 26th Sept 1928. The following is a report of a motion before a Conference of Secretaries held in Victoria, Australia in 1928. LECTURES. W. Bro. F. J. P. Facey, P.M. (Lodge of Sincerity, No. 179), moved: "That at least one night a year be set apart for a lecture on some aspect of Freemasonry." He said that it was a very important matter. At the present time there were poor attendances in Lodges, and if lectures were given, more interest would be taken in the regular meetings. The education imparted by experienced Brethren by means of lectures was beneficial, and helped the members to understand more about the Craft. At the last Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge a long list of Brethren excluded was read, and a good number of these exclusions were due to the fact that Brethren became tired of ordinary ritual work and wanted instruction on the meanings of the ceremonies. He was in favour of at least one lecture a year in every Lodge. V.W. Bro. F. C. Beck, P.P.B.B. (United Press Lodge, No. 281), said that his experience was not altogether in favour of lectures, and he had known cases where, when a lecture was announced to be delivered, there was a falling off in the attendance. He believed that the Brethren were not tired of Degree work. The witnessing of Degree work each night was always refreshing, just the same as listening to the same clergyman Sunday
after Sunday. (Laughter.) He would not like to see lectures made a compulsory addition to the work in the Lodges. There was the Lodge of Research, which met in Melbourne, and lectures were regularly delivered in that Lodge, but it would be somewhat surprising to find out how many Brethren attended those lectures. That was worth consideration. M.W. Pro Grand Master: We have lectures given in various Lodges, and the attendance of Brethren on the occasions when the lectures were delivered was less than at Degree work. It would not be conducive to our Degree work if lectures were made compulsory. Bro. Rev. F. E. H. Tolhurst (Cobden Lodge, No. 381), said the idea of the motion did not seem quite clear to him. When they spoke of lectures they referred to the lectures on the T.B. He had never heard a lecture on a T.B. delivered, and the reason of that was that none of the Brethren had the ability to deliver them. The T.B. lectures might be allowed to be delivered by members other than Past Master. M, W, Pro Grand Master: The Grand Masters had for some years urged that lectures should be delivered of an instructional nature, especially to the younger Brethren. Some of the Brethren complain that Degree work becomes monotonous, and ask for lectures to be delivered. It is desirable that lectures on the T.B. should be delivered at least once a year. I have heard of Brethren who were Freemasons for many years who had never heard a lecture on the T.B. The motion was lost! Many thanks to Bro. Tom Stirling who supplied this very interesting report from the archives of the Grand Lodge of Victoria.
The Origin of Masonry PART 5 â€“ THE HOLY OF HOLIES AND THE RESURRECTION. The Holy of Holies of King Solomon's Temple was called the Oracle, and was sometimes entirely different and apart from thee room called the "middle chamberâ€? of the Temple. The Temple itself was a stone building, 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. Around the outside of the main structure were three chambers, superimposed one above the other. These three chambers were designated as the nethermost, the middle, and the third chambers, respectively. They were narrow, corridor-like rooms, for the nethermost was 5 cubits wide, the middle 6 cubits, and the third, 7 cubits wide. The nethermost was on the ground floor level, and evidently served as a robbing room, as well as a place for the storage of implements and vessels used in the ceremonials. The middle chamber was one flight up, and served as a storage vault, as did the third chamber above it. Estimates as to the value of gold, silver, and other valuables stored in these upper chambers of the Temple, run all the way from five to ten billions of dollars. In short, this middle chamber of the Temple served as the storage vault for the material wealth which found its way into the coffers of the priesthood. These chambers were an innovation peculiarly adapted to the Temple, for there was nothing comparable to them in the original Tabernacle. The Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle was a perfect cube, formed of the veil, and the 4 pillars which supported it. This cube was the central theme of its design, and the unit of measurement by which all parts of the
Tabernacle were apportioned. For practical purposes, one edge of this cube was divided into 10 equal parts, and each of these parts was called a cubit. In other words, the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle was 10 cubits long in each of its three dimensions. The Oracle of the Temple, on the other hand, measured 20 cubits in each of its three dimensions. This increase in size destroyed the perfect harmony of design which had prevailed in the Tabernacle. In the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies was placed in the middle of the structure, and the celestial angle of 23 1/2 degrees was brought down to the centre of the cubical room. This descending angle was the essential ingredient of Jacob's ladder, and below the centre of the cubical it exactly subtended the 1 1/2 cubits of the Ark of the Covenant in section. It also did the same for the Ark in longitudinal section. The 7th ordinate of Jacob's ladder intersected the Arc in its exact centre, and joined the celestial and terrestrial spheres. It was the axis about which the Tabernacle formed a symmetrical design. These celestial ingredients set the Holy of Holies up as a material token that the Tabernacle was indeed none other but the House of God. This did not hold true of the arrangement in the Temple, for its Oracle was at the rear of the main room, and its volumetric displacement was 8 times that of the Tabernacle's Holy of Holies. The resurrection, or raising of the body from the dead, was exemplified as a ritual long before Moses came onto the, scene. The very temples where he was initiated into the mysteries contain graphic illustrations of this ceremony. The central figure is Osiris, who was raised from his bier at the command of Horus. The departed soul of Osiris is shown as a graven image in the form of a bird, perched
in the Erica tree at the head of the bier. Moses transposed this into a nobler conception, by coupling the rebirth of nature with the phenomenon of the spring equinox in the celestial. This position he gave to Reuben the first born, as the beginning of Israel's strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power, Genesis 49:3. But Reuben was unstable as water, and destined not to excel, because he wentest up to his Father's bed, and then defiledst he it, Genesis 49:4. The tribe of Reuben corresponded with the constellation of Taurus, the bull. This bull was called Apis by the Egyptians, and was part of the animal worship and deification practiced by them. The doctrine of Moses pointed out that the beneficence of God came from the celestial sphere, and this figure of Apis the bull in the constellation of Taurus defiled his Father's bed. Reuben was named as the firstborn because at the time of the Exodus the spring equinox occurred in the constellation of Taurus. The rebirth is now symbolized by the Acacia, instead of the Erica tree. It was this paganism of the bull in Taurus that caused Moses to shift the leadership to the tribe of Judah, from whence comes the strong grip of the Lion's paw. As a matter of fact, the 12 tribes of Israel originated in the Father's house, for they all correspond with the characteristics of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac. Every third one of these constellations contains one of the 4 guardian stars of the heavens; namely, Aldebaran in Taurus, Regulus in Leo, Antares in Scorpio, and Fomalhaut in connection with Aquarius. Reuben corresponded with Taurus, who defiled his Father's bed. Judah represented Leo, the lion, with the guardian star of Regulus. Regulus is described in Genesis 48:10 as the lawgiver, which shall not depart from
between his (Leo's) feet until Shiloh come. The next guardian star is Antares, in the constellation of Scorpio. It was represented by Dan; for he was to be a serpent by the way, that biteth the horse heels, Genesis 49:17. This designation comes from the fact that the scorpion is the only "serpent" whose striking range is limited to the heel of the horse. The fourth guardian star is Fomalhaut, actually in the constellation of Pisces Austrinus; but the stream of water which flows from the jar of Aquarius is inseparable from Fomalhaut in this mythological presentation. Aquarius was represented by Ephraim, one of the sons of Joseph, who Genesis 49:22 says was a fruitful bough by the well. These 4 tribes, which corresponded with the constellations containing the 4 guardian stars, occupied the 4 corners of the encampment about the Tabernacle. The other eight were interspersed between - these four encamped at the corners. The rendition of the so-called Hiramic legend has a great deal more fact in it than fiction. All that is needed is to replace the Temple with the Tabernacle. It was Moses who lived under the tyranny of Ramses II, and it was such a tyrant as he who struck first at the free speech of the individual. This is the episode that is enacted at the first station. If this blow at the power of guttural expression failed to quench the fire of independent thought, sterner measures were taken by striking at the very heart of such characters as Moses. Finally, the lash and the burdens were increased to the point where the workmen literally fell dead at their feet. The three stations which epitomize these episodes may be identified with the three stations in the Tabernacle; namely, the Altar in the east, the Candlestick in the south, and the Table of Shewbread in the north. The 12 tribes are
still preserved in the 12 fellowcraft, who are assigned to the same positions in which the tribes were encamped about the Tabernacle. According to Chapter 2 of the Book of Numbers, 3 of the tribes were encamped in the east, 3 in the south, 3 in the west, and 3 in the north." It is a common error to confuse that which was lost with the so-called "lost" word. This word is one of the most peculiar words in the dictionary, which gives it a prominence no lost word could ever assume. That which was really lost are the secrets of the Tabernacle's design, although, in a broader sense, they were merely concealed in the cabalism of the writings of Moses. As a matter of fact, the layout of the modern lodge room more closely follows the design of the Tabernacle than it does that of the Temple. The central feature of that design was the Holy of Holies, and the Ark of the Covenant, which was subtended below its centre by the angle of the ecliptic. The modern altar is in the identical position occupied by the Ark in the Tabernacle, which was in the exact centre of the structure. The token of the "Word" is now on top of the Altar, whereas in the Tabernacle it was deposited inside the Ark. The Candlestick still stands at the south, although its lights have now been reduced to 3. The Golden Altar in the east still retains its position as the station of the master of ceremonies. The Table of the Shewbread originally was in the north, but this station has now been shifted to the west. The modern master of ceremonies would be somewhat at a loss in an attempt to arrange the 10 candlesticks and the 10 tables specified for the Temple of Solomon, I Kings 7:49. He would be a little more successful with the "lost" word, for a clue to both it and the design of the
Tabernacle is to be found in the cabalism of Moses, when he changed the name of Abram to Abraham, and the name of Jacob to Yisrael. This is the final part of The Origin of Masonry.
A MASONIC TOAST By John Blair Here’s good health to the Craft, whose friendship we’ve quaffed, May it ever be found in good fettle; Success hath well crowned its efforts all round, And its ring is the ring of true metal. As can easily be traced, its heart is right placed, Through controlled by a clear-headed decision; Yet it never was known a mean thought to own, Nor to put a good cause to derision. Success often brings the spirit that clings To meanness and notions close-fisted. But the Craft knows no case – for ‘twould be a disgrace – Where its open hand hath not assisted. Through a much-chequered life, ‘mid business and strife, It hath held its “put” good ‘gainst all comers; And though we are told its records are old, ‘Twill live crowds of winters and summers. This poem was sourced from William Harvey’s, ‘Masonic Readings and recitations.’
The Lost Secrets The most commonly heard description of Freemasonry is “secret society”. Critics hurl it at us as an accusation. We use it ourselves, but in quite a different sense. So what should we say to the critics – and to ourselves? When a group of us some years ago discussed the question we all agreed that the assertion that we run a secret society was so loaded that whatever we said, we could not win. If, as usual, we issued a denial, we would be told, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. If we admitted it, we would be smeared even further. The fact is that in every area of life there are legitimate secrets and there is nothing untoward about them. Banks do not reveal details of customers’ accounts. Professionals respect clients’ privacy. There is even a legal question as to whether priests can be compelled to break the confidentiality of the confession box. Businesses take steps to protect insider information from disclosure. Historically many groups had their secrets. In early Christianity, believers had private signs. A person who used the toe of his sandal to draw a shape in the sand was testing others to complete the sign in order to form a cross. In medieval Masonry, trade secrets were protected by grips and passwords. There is nothing dangerous in all this. But modern critics imagine that Freemasonry is bent on world domination in the name of some sinister ideology. True, some early speculative Freemasons may have used the craft to disguise their political ambitions. But that is all ancient history, and modern Freemasons laugh at the thought that they have anything to hide or have designs on anyone’s government other than the hope that ethical principle can build a quality society. Our only secrets are a few words and signs by which Masons identify each other. And
even these are more or less public property. Your local library is bound to have books on Freemasonry with titles like “The Unlocked Secret”. Nonetheless, our ritual makes reference to lost secrets which are nowhere fully explained in craft Freemasonry, though the Royal Arch degree endeavours to show where and how to search for them. We presume they are esoteric truths about the world, or, more prosaically, indications of ancient or medieval building practices. An old ritual, no longer worked, hints, however, at a secret which was lost with the death of the main architect/artisan of King Solomon’s Temple. The secret is hinted at by the abbreviation “In… Sh…”. The reference is to the insect (“In…”) known as the shamir (“Sh…”). The Old York Lectures reproduce a Jewish legend about the miraculous worm called the shamir which only needed to touch a stone to split it. Since Solomon could not use metal implements in building the Temple (Deut. 27:5), he followed the advice of the rabbinic sages and used the worm to cut the stones for the Temple. Old Masonic literature calls the worm the shermah, but this is a mispronunciation. Other ancient cultures, not only the Jewish Midrash, know of this remarkable creature. Maybe our Masonic forebears found in the legend the key to one of the great puzzles of antiquity – how massive edifices could be constructed without elaborate technology. If this was the secret it only goes to prove how little things can lead to great achievements. It also shows how secrets can be so secret that they get lost on the way.
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 websit
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY East The East has always been considered peculiarly sacred. This was, without exception, the case in all the Ancient Mysteries. In the Egyptian rites, especially, and those of Adonis, which were among the earliest, and from which the others derived their existence, the sun was the object of adoration, and his revolutions through the various seasons were fictitiously represented. The spot, there fore, where this luminary made his appearance at the commencement of day, and where his worshipers were wont anxiously to look for the first darting of his prolific rays, was esteemed as the figurative birthplace of their god, and honored with an appropriate degree of reverence. Even among those nations where sunworship gave place to more enlightened doctrines, the respect for the place of sun-rising continued to exist. The camp of Judah was placed by Moses in the East as a mark of distinction; the tabernacle in the wilderness was placed due East and West; and the practice was continued in the erection of Christian churches. Hence, too, the primitive Christians always turned toward the East in their public prayers, which custom Saint Augustine (Serm. Dom. in Monte, chapter 5 accounts for "because the East is the most honourable part of the world, being the region of light whence the glorious sun arises." Hence all Masonic Lodges, like their great prototype the Temple of Jerusalem, are built, or supposed to be built, due East and West; and as the North is esteemed a place of darkness, the East, on the contrary, is considered a place of light. In the primitive Christian church, according to Saint Ambrose, in the ceremonies that accompanied the baptism of a catechumen, a beginner in religious instruction, "he turned towards the West, the image of darkness, to abjure the world, and towards the East, the emblem of light, to denote his alliance with Jesus Christ." And so, too, in the oldest lectures of the second century ago, the Freemason is said to travel from the West to the East, that is, from dark ness to light. In the Prestonian system, the question is asked, "What induces you to leave the West to travel to the East?" And the answer is: "In search of a Master, and from him to gain instruction." The same idea, if not precisely the same language, is preserved in the modern and existing rituals. The East, being the place where the Master sits, is considered the most honourable part of the Lodge, and is distinguished from the rest of the room by a dais, or raised platform, which is occupied only by those who have passed the Chair. Bazot (Manuel, page 154) says: "The veneration which Masons have for the East confirms the theory that it is from the East that the Masonic cult proceeded, and that this bears a relation to the primitive religion whose first degeneration was sun-worship." Source â€“ Mackays Masonic Encyclopaedia
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor. 26