Friday, June 29, 2007

A Restless Midnight Post

It’s time to dust off the thin layer of dust that has accumulated on this blog and give some explanation of what’s going on both in my personal life and my Masonic development. While I have stated from the beginning that this blog was not really about me and my day to day activities, to properly put into context my Masonic development.

My supervisor in an abrupt move has left and has left my branch in essence we have scrambling to cover for her being gone. I will have to cover part of her travel for at least the next six months, while we try to figure out who is going to take her place. A week before all of this the WM called me and asked if I could help out in the upcoming Masonic year, I explained to him that I could do what I could. Not really knowing the status of anything, and my work/travel schedule over taking my commitments, I didn’t give it much thought. I have been gone for the last two weeks out on the road, and really haven’t had a chance to think about it. Well I received an e-mail this past week with the installation ceremony participants, next thing I know I am listed as Senior Stewart?

This isn’t sitting well with me, as I feel like I am being plugged in as a warm body in the chair, and right now it looks like I will be at lodge 50% of the month, while Masonry is always on my mind, I don’t know if this is the year I should be sitting in any type of chair, even one as minor as the Senior Stewart. My other Masonic commitments have been towards learning the lectures, and not really wanting to sit a chair this year.

The future WM and I have been trading messages, but I hope to talk to him tomorrow before the installation ceremony, and see what comes of it. I still don’t know if either decision is the right one, going a head and sitting in a chair that I can’t really sit in, or if I am allowing outside pressures to put undo strain on helping my lodge.

Hence, I am writing this @ 3 in the morning.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Today my mentor lent me his copy of Lightfoot’s Manual of the Lodge – TEXAS. This is like most monitors, but this one at the end has commentary where most don’t have that. This book was written in 1934, which immediately perked my ears up. For those that don’t realize that, I really enjoy reading Masonic books pre-WW II. While I don’t mind current authors, I am not into exposes on Masonry; I want to read more about the symbolism. It talks about such great topics as Speculative vs. Operative Masonry and Dedication of the Lodge to the Holy St. John’s. So be expecting some more posts on that.

Our lodge tomorrow night is having officer elections, I am very happy to attend as it will be my first stated meeting as a Master Mason, next week I will be giving my catechism. I have already started to learn the EA Lecture, I enjoy the learning the lectures, I have no idea why. Most of the brothers run the other direction, but the words with the pictures make me feel centered. Bro Sean and I are trying to learn as much as we can, we are like sponges, and I enjoy our mentor’s enthusiasm.

Time for bed, but more later...

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Day I Became a Master Mason

Tuesday was a peculiar day; coming off of a three/four day weekend is hell. You have a mountain of e-mails to catch up on, add to the fact that I was out of town all last week, and you have for one busy Tuesday. At lunch it dawned on me that “Tonight you will be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.” I then didn’t think about it for the rest of the day, entrenched in research and government politics (two things that never go together). Around 1600, everything was starting to wind down, people starting to go home for the day, and I started to think more and more about what was in store for me that evening, the preparation that I had done up to this point, and wondering if I was properly prepared.

Around 1715 I got in my truck and I drove out to the lodge, trying to keep calm. I found myself to be as nervous as I was when I first drove to the lodge back in October. When I arrived, I made my rounds to the various brothers. I was asked many times if I was ready or nervous, both being answered in the affirmative. After while I talked to Brother Sean, he had a friend who had submitted an application, I had lost sight on that status and asked him about it. He got this look on his face as if I kicked him in the gut and he told me that the guy went and discussed being made a Mason with his Minister who told him that once he became a Master Mason he wouldn’t be considered a Christian anymore. He e-mailed Sean last Tuesday and told him that he was withdrawing his application to be made a Mason. Sean had a sense of frustration, this is reasonable considering how much interest the guy seem to have at first, but that’s the way the “cookie crumbles”.

During dinner they made light hearted comments about Goats/Sheeps and the usual rubs, it annoyed me a little, while I understand the sophomoric humor, it was a situation I was taking pretty seriously, but again everyone has different perceptions. Also, given the military nature of our lodge it isn’t unreasonable for there to be this attitude, as when you are new in the military it is customary to make you the brunt of a lot of torment. I remember being a 2Lt and having to do the Superman, a thing to this day I cringe at the thought of it, but that’s another story. Normally I wait downstairs for them to do lodge business before conferring the degree, which is usually a good 40 minute wait. This time in less than five minutes they called for me. I went into the antechamber as before and changed into a similar yet different outfit. The Senior Deacon came out fixed the “mistakes” that the Master of Ceremonies made and then proceeded to start the degree.

During the ceremony when being lead around, I could feel a difference in the tone of the ritual, it was much more solemn and a strange feel. The obligation seems to be the majority of the first part, it was also asking me to be willing to give up my safety and comfort to aid a brother, something that I take seriously.

At a later point in the ceremony I was directed to go to the alter and pray, at that moment everything got personal and the ritual took on a whole different meaning, and it became something completely different. During my journey of the last six months I have stayed away from exposes, internet articles, anything that dealt with the ritual. I did this to keep the ritual as a complete surprise to me, and I know that there are men who read this blog in hopes of getting a little insight as they to start their journey of Masonry, what to expect, etc. To them I say stay away from books, media and other works that delve directly into the ritual, I don’t know what my experience would have been like if I had done that, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t of been as powerful, so no I didn’t peep behind the curtain.

During the ceremony, you learn the inevitable meaning of when evil overtakes good. This experience is something that all grown men have gone through in their life (at least from their perception of being good), and from that experience takes on a whole new level of symbolism and teaching. During the ritual, I enjoyed being the candidate for once, and not trying to capture every word uttered or phrase spoken, there will be plenty of time for that.

After the ritual and I received my lambskin apron, I realized that my journey while coming a long way is still in it’s infancy, and that is the most beautiful part.

Here is to exploring the 3rd degree and receiving further light in masonry.