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THE STAR, THE WORD AND THE SOUL.

Masonic ritual and usages have ever been associated with King Solomon, his wisdom and his building of the mighty Temple at Jerusalem. It is well known that his father David could not qualify to build the House of God, because he was a warrior with blood upon his hands and human weakness in his soul. But David had the touch of greatness too. The shepherd boy who came to sit upon the throne achieved this end without resorting to the murder of his predecessor, when this might have been excused
Of all the works ascribed to David, we remember best the “Book of Psalms”, that great collection of his thoughts on God and man, on life and death, on sorrow, happiness and praise, on everthing there is in heaven, earth or hell. These thoughts are multitudinous as the seas or single, clear and concentrated as a vision of the sun.By the help of God, being free and of good report”
The nineteenth Psalm has particular significance to Masons as it touches on the three great subjects which concerns us most. These are the Universe, the Sacred Law and, most of all, the Soul of Man.
The Psalm commences with a manifesto of the glory and the power of God throughout the Universe, reminding us that He is present in the distant stars and in our own great sun whose influence controls our ways. It then refers us to the Word of God within the Volume of the Sacred Law, reminding us that here we find perfection, wisdom, purity, the truth and righteousness. Then finally, it turns to Man himself, the greatest of created things, reminding us that he should keep his soul from errors, secret faults and from preumptuous sins.

While David does not have the same importance to our Craft as Solomon, we must remember that his people owed him much. His star became the symbol of the race. His writings occupy a place of honour in their scriptures. His campaigns drove the invader from the land. His capture of Jerusalem made it the sacred place of Israel, and his diplomacy secured alliances his son was able to exploit. In short, he laid a sure foundation for King Solomon to build upon.
We too can build upon the Three Great Truths proclaimed within the Psalm–God in the Universe, God in the Volume of the Sacred Law and God within the Soul.
As speculative Masons we are able to appreciate the Grand Design of Him who has created and who still preserves our Universe. The Star that brings peace and salvation to us, takes its light from the Great Architect Himself. We teach men that the Scripture holds His Laws which to obey is life and which to disregard is death. Our system holds that man is free to choose between the good and evil of the world, but with the certainty that he must bear the consequences of his choise. Where God controls the Soul, no danger can ensue. On such foundations we can raise “that House not made with hands”.
Kind David did not build the Temple, but he did do much to set it on a sure and lasting base. He saw God in the Star, the Law and in his Soul, and if he erred, his sorrow and regret were genuine. No matter to what depths he sank, he rose again and made atonement for his sins. None but a great man could have offered up this prayer.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strenght, and my redeemer”.
Rt. Wor. Bro. Raymond Pattinson
Lodge Education Officer.


MASONIC DEGREES AND LIFE

By Masonic Vibes on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 10:47am.

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.


FREE

What is the meaning of the word “FREE” as used on two occasions in the First Degree?” asked a questioner.
The word occurs quite early in the ceremony, in fact, before the Candidate is admitted. The IG advises that he come of his own free will and accord. In this there is nothing profound or of deep Masonic significance. The word may be taken as its normal meaning as ‘unrestrained’ or being at liberty. This question is followed by another, the answer of which is; “By the help of God, being free and of good report”.

Before the Candidate takes his obligation the M.W. informs him that: “Masonry is free and reqires a perfect freedom of inclination in every Candidate for its mysteries”. Later he is told that he is in a Lodge of “Free and Accepted Masons”. It will be seen that the word “Free” is used a number of times and not just on two occasions as indicated in the Question. The questioner may have been a little prophetic, in as much as the various uses of the word may be divided into two groups, each having a similar meaning applicable to that group.

The second group has a much deeper Masonic meaning and significance. The word “FREE” in our title of “Free and Accepted” has been given a number of probalbe origins, some of which are highly imaginative but two alternatives are reasonable and possible.
In the Book of Constitutions of the First Grand Lodge of England, prepared by Dr. James Anderson in 1723, there was a long preamble purporting to be the history of Masonry from the beginning of time.
Speaking of the ancient masons Anderson says, “in many places, being highly esteemed, they taught the Liberal Arts only to the Free-born, they were called Freemasons”.

The word, however, even wider intent than that of birth alone. A man must not only be free-born, not a slave or serf or bonds-man, but he must be free of all obligations both civil and religious, that would prevent him from entering into a solemn obligation or contact to keep inviolable the promises he may be required to make in his relations to the Craft.

The othe possible origin of the word is also quite feasible ang logical. It refers to the days of the operative lodges, when most of the were under the direction of the Civil Authorities and were “tied” to a particular city or area. As many of the large building, Cathedrals, Castles and such like, were built outside the confines of any town, it was necessary to draw together bodies of masons who lived on the site of the work and might be so employed for a whole lifetime. These particular masons were said to be “Free of the Guild” and masonic researchers claim this as a reason for the inclusion of the word in our name.

Rt. Worshipful Bro R.C. Pattinson.
Lodge Education Officer


WHAT IS IMPORTANT? AS A MASON

by Masonic Vibes on Friday, May 6, 2011 at 11:44am.

In the work of Masonry there are many field of endeavor, all a part of our plan “to improve ourselves in the way of life.” One brother may outline in appropriate words the duties that are ours as Masons. His words inspire us.

Another brother may not have the same ability to put his ideas into words, but he know with equal certainty about his duties as a man and a Mason.

If he learns of a brother who is sick, or in distress, he understands, and it is more than an understanding of duty, it is the understanding of the principles of Love and Brotherhood, which quickens the desire into action, and sends him to the sick or the distressed.

One brother may be a good ritualist, another a student of symbolism, and still another a good worker on any committee.

Each brother doing the special task for which he has the greatest ability results in the success of the lodge and Masonry.

There are no special degrees of importance. Doing what we can in the work assigned to us is the important thing.

SEMPER SUMMUM BONUM! SEMPER FIAT LUX!


WHY IS IT CALLED A BLUE LODGE?

 Why have we adopted blue into the lodge name? Where does it come from? What does it represent and mean? I’m glad you asked!

The mother of all Freemasonry. The place where every man begins his journey into the Ancient Craft of Free and Accepted Masons. “The Blue Lodge” – It has been here in America that the term “Blue Lodge” has become popularized and so widely used. Originally, it was frowned upon, and Lodges were called, Craft Lodges or Ancient Craft Lodges, some were even called a St. Johns Lodge.

According to Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, there may be a number of reasons why symbolic lodges are called Blue Lodges. Since ancient times, the color blue has been associated with immortality, eternity, and fidelity. References to the color blue in the Bible emphasize the special place blue has as a color symbolizing goodness and immortality. The Druids also honored the color while the ancient Egyptians used the color to represent Amun, one of their most important gods. The ancient Babylonians associated the color blue with the gods. In Medieval times, Christians saw blue as the symbol of perfection and hope, and well as of immortality and fidelity. It is not known when blue first came to be associated with Freemasonry, although some historians think that initially the color was used in Craft Masonry to represent the sky. Today, blue for Masons symbolizes brotherhood and symbolizes the fact that Masons should seek out virtues as extensive as the blue dome of heaven.

Albert Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry under “Blue” has further light to share. He says “Blue is emphatically the color of Masonry. It is the appropriate tincture of the Ancient Craft degrees.

The Hebrew word for blue when referring to spiritual matters is tekhelet התכלת derived from a root word meaning perfection.

It is well known that among the ancients, initiation into the mysteries and “perfection” are synonymous terms and this is why blue is the appropriate color for the greatest of all the systems of initiation the world has ever known, The Ancient Blue Lodge Craft.”

Beyond the allegory and symbolism of the colour blue, there is the reality of millions of men who have experienced things beyond themselves, transformed and evolved into their highest potentials, reached even further to give the same to other men, while standing in and being a member of a Blue Lodge.

It is said over and over again, “There is no other degree “higher” than the third degree and being a Master Mason. There is no higher distinction in our entire institutional Fraternity! ” With that being said, we all should remember, support and love our Blue Lodges, where we began as good men and through the motherly love of our Ancient Craft Lodge, we were brought into the world anew….literally brought from the dark to the light, to rise as GREAT MEN!

Source: Sotoyome-Curtis Masonic Lodge


10 GUIDELINES FOR FREEMASONS.

 by Masonic Vibes on Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 3:26pm.

  1. I am the representative of my Lodge and of all Free and Accepted Masons. Whatever I do or say reflects directly upon myself and my fellow Freemasons everywhere and our good works.
  2. I am responsible for what my Lodge and Freemasonry represent. They can be no more than what my fellow Freemasons and I make them.
  3. I should not criticize what my fellow Freemasons do for Freemasonry unless I have a better suggestion and I am prepared to do it myself.
  4. I must remember that the fact that I bear the name, Master Mason or Freemason, is not enough. I must continue to be worthy.
  5. My fellow members and I are our Lodges and Freemasonry. Without our active support they cease to exist.
  6. My Lodge does me a favour by calling upon me. I am not doing the Lodge a favour by serving. It is both an obligation and a privilege to help the Lodge and Freemasonry.
  7. I should treat my fellow Freemasons with the same respect, honour, and understanding that I would like to receive from them.
  8. It is not a right to be a Freemason, it is an honour. I should respect that honour by abiding by all of the precepts of my Lodge, my Grand Lodge, and Freemasonry as a whole.
  9. Whatever differences my fellow Freemasons and I may have, we are all bound together by the bonds of our loyalty to The GAOTU, our families, the Lodge, and Freemasonry.
  10. The willing Master Mason and his understanding family are the lifeblood of the Lodge and Freemasonry.

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MASONIC SHOE

EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE MASONIC SHOE? HERE IS A THUMBNAIL GUIDE:

The best explanation of the Masonic Shoe is that it is” symbolic of a physical confirmation of a spoken deed or act”. “Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.” During the ceremonies of your Entered Apprentice Degree, you were instructed about the above passage of scripture from the Volume of the Sacred Law.

The deed or act mentioned in this passage is meant to signify both the confirming of a contract, as well as the commitment to carry out the terms and conditions of that contract without fail. This symbolism, as far as Freemasons are concerned, is intended to express the sanctity of the contract made between yourself and the Lodge where you have taken your vows.

For the Israelite of Ruth’s era there was nothing more essential than shoes, or sandals without which men and women were compelled to walk across hot sands, dirt and rock. Consequently, giving a shoe to another person not only conveyed the importance of the commitment, but a sense that the person to whom the shoe was given was as important as the person giving it.

You will recall that to unloose one’s shoe and give it to another was the way of confirming a contract in ancient times. In The First Degree: The Shoe Denotes a Promise – In the Book of Ruth in the Christian Bible, we read that Boaz, (a wealthy land owner and the Great Grandfather of David,) having given notice to the nearest kinsman of Ruth that he would exercise his legal right by redeeming the land of Naomi, which was offered for sale, and marrying her daughter-in-law. The kinsman being unable to do so, resigned his right of purchase to Boaz.

The scriptures go on to say: Ruth 4: 7-8: – “Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.” Therefore, the kinsman said unto Boaz, “Buy it for thee.” So he drew off his shoe”. The reference to the shoe is symbolic of a covenant (a promise if you will) that you have entered into with your Mother Lodge. Keep your promises. Enjoy your Freemasonry. It is a better way to live and a great place to be.

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THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM

by Masonic Vibes on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 3:05pm

Latin for Holy of Holies. Every student of Jewish antiquities knows, and every Freemason who has taken the Third Degree ought to know, what was the peculiar construction, character, and use of the Sanctum Santorum of Holy of Holies in King Solomon’s Temple. Situated in the western end of the Temple, separated from the rest of the building by a heavy curtain, and enclosed on three sides by dead walls without any aperture or window, it contained the Sacred Ark of the Covenant, and was secluded and set apart from all intrusion save of the High Priest, who only entered it on on certain solemn occasions. As it was the most sacred of the three parts of the Temple, so has it been made symbolic of a Master’s Lodge, in which are performed the most sacred rites of initiation in Ancient Craft Freemasonry.

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TRUE BROTHER MASON.

By Michael Gillard in Free Masons

Our true Brother Masons are men who have entered this august order with the intellectual and moral conditions necessary to receive the light as we present it and, having been accepted into our Masonic Lodge, pledge to uphold the Masonic ideals which we as Free and Accepted Masons propound. Our true Brother Masons are men transformed into better persons in all aspects of their lives by having been tested in the many vicissitudes incidental to life, and by understanding that the teachings inherent in the Masonic philosophy are true, steadfast, and uplifting, and that by a careful study and practice thereof, may transform themselves into living stones polished and fit for that spiritual building, “eternal in the heavens.”

Our true Brother Masons are Brothers who will daily read, study, and apprehend the Masonic ritual and many books incidental to the laborious working of polishing rough stones into perfect ashlars. With zeal, loyalty, sincerity, steadfastness, and perseverance in the study of the Royal art, coupled with spiritual edification, they may hope to finally become beautiful and brilliant cut stones symbolic of our inner transformation from profane man to true Brother of the ancient Craft.

Our true Brother Masons are, as said: “always with us in good times and in bad,” and pursues the light of knowledge offered by our august Order to those who, without mental reservation or self evasion, may seek the true light which shines from a higher view and displays itself in all of our thoughts, words, and actions. They will display the “Light of Intelligence,” as is given us so freely by the Grand Architect of the Universe and which they might obtain by a steadfast study of the history and purposes of our ancient and honorable fraternity.

Our true Brother Masons are those men who will never give up regardless of adversity. Who offer support and help when another man stumbles; who erect columns where others decry change; who struggle to succeed despite problems that would confound a lesser man; who is always at your side when the lesser man has long departed; who never judges by mistakes but encourages in their correction; who never gives up despite the bloodiest of adversity; who uses their creativity and imagination to achieve the unimaginable; and who strives to deny support to all who would encourage extremism, innuendo, intolerance, or fanaticism. The true Brother Mason will stand forth unconditionally to render help, aid and assistance; to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bind up the wounds of the afflicted.

Our true Brother Mason is bold and brave; unafraid to ask the difficult question; unconcerned that his view may not be the popular view; unrelenting in his zeal for seeing that wrongs are righted, mercies extended, the desolate not forsaken, and that unjust accusations are repudiated. Our true Brother Mason arrives at the moment when his support is needed and departs when the task is accomplished. He is there to intervene when persecution is threatened, or want needs relief. It is his lot to offer protection when savage ideology, religious intolerance, or prejudiced extremism threatens the calm of the Craft. He is the one of whom Christ spoke when he said “no greater love hath a man than that he lay down his life for his Brother.” That is our true Brother Mason.

Our true Brother Mason may have been adorned with the jewels of many stations – or perhaps none. He may have worn upon his lapel the Square of the Master; the Breastplate of a High Priest; the Silver Trowel of a Thrice Illustrious; or the Passion Cross of the Templar Knight. He may have displayed the Jewish yod of the Lodge of Perfection, or the double headed eagle of a Sublime Prince; perhaps the scales of justice exemplifying the Prince of Jerusalem, or the red rose symbol of the Rose Croix. He may wear a banded ring of the 33rd. Degree, Knight of the York Cross of Honour, or the Order of the Purple Cross. He’s the man who shook your hand at the door of the Lodge; who helped an elderly Past Master to use the chair lift rather than struggle up the Lodge steps. He sat next to you in Lodge last night or will tonight.

Look around my Brother, our true Brother Mason is everywhere, and he is setting an example for you!

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WHAT’S YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S AGE?

Most of our Masonic Brethren have heard that question asked at one time or another – usually while traveling when a stranger happens to notice a Masonic ring or lapel pin. For our newer Master Masons who have not heard the question “What’s your grandmother’s age?” the questioner is actually asking for your Lodge number. The times that I’ve been asked that question my stock response has always been: “She’s two hundred twenty nine years of age and has about two hundred fifty grandsons.”

Now, my point in presenting this question and answer is twofold: One, it is a good way to strike up a Masonic conversation with someone you haven’t ever met before; and two: the number of your Lodge should always be given in whole numbers.

Several years ago, actually back when I was a relatively new Master Mason, the Grand Lodge of Indiana utilized a Grand Lecturer system. Each year the Grand Lecturer or his assistant would visit the Lodge and instruct the Officers and Brethren in the correct ritual usage. Quite frequently the Grand Lecturer would halt the proceedings and make “on the spot,” corrections to ritual wording, etc. During one such Grand Lecturer visit the Worshipful Brother Grand Lecturer halted the opening of our Lodge and admonished the Officers that “whole numbers, and whole numbers only,” were appropriate in Freemasonry.

Our Worshipful Master of the time had started to proclaim “Whitney Lodge No. 229 (two, twenty nine,) open. “No,” said the Grand Lecturer, “there is no such number as two, twenty nine!” He went on to explain that Lodges are numbered according to their rank in Grand Lodge – the number of the Lodge indicating at what point in the existence of Grand Lodge that particular Lodge came into being. Our Lodge – number two hundred and twenty nine – was the 229th. Lodge to receive a Charter from the Grand Lodge of Indiana. “Therefore,” he explained, “it is number two hundred twenty nine, not two, twenty nine. There is no such number as two, twenty nine, but there is the number two hundred twenty nine. And it is a number to be proud of.”

Point taken and understood! I had majored in English in High School and had elected to minor in English while in College. The Grand Lecturer was correct. There is no such number as two, twenty nine. There IS the number two hundred and twenty nine. All these years later and still that Grand Lecturer’s words ring in my ears whenever I hear Lodge Officers opening their esteemed Lodge with a non-number. In Freemasonry your Lodge has a number. Correctly espousing that number is proper Masonic etiquette and displays an understanding of good Masonic usage. Calling the Lodge by a non-number is offensive to the ear and actually could be considered insulting to the history of the Lodge.

So, the next time you hear someone phrasing the question “What’s your grandmother’s age?” you will know that she is (insert whole number) years of age, and that is also what the correct wording is when you are called upon to express your Lodge number. Use a whole number! Pay Freemasonry the respect it is due! Don’t fall into the sloppy habit of giving a non-number for your Lodge. Your Lodge deserves the respect being paid it by the Grand Lodge when they issued a Charter and proclaimed your Lodge as number (insert number.)

So mode it be.
By Michael Gillard “Whitney Lodge No. 229

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