This month we start with the June quiz and another book review. The real-life report on Freemasonry while on active service in Afganistan is now on the "Archive Page" - click the dropdown-box just above this notice. I have left the informative article about our Research Lodges in New Zealand on this main page along with the article from the Encyclopedia about the Lodge pavement and another on the Rosicrician Society thanks to our VW Bro Martin McGregor in the deep South. The Video to help masons learn their Ritual is here - click on this link to learn your ritual as a Lodge Officer
The rest of the video-links are now on the ARCHIVE PAGE (click on the drop-down box at the top of this page) - well worth a look. There is a whole bundle of masonic stuff there, including all the past quizzes. Feel free to use any of the material in your Lodges at any time.
Also on the ARCHIVE PAGE - right down the bottom so they are easier to find - is the masonic knowledge curriculum, along with the job descriptions for Grand Lecturer, District Education Advisors and Lodge Education Officers. These were constructed after many hous of discussion with Masons up and down the coutry, and then discussed in committee and submitted to the BofGP for approval and authorisation.
2019 June Quiz
1. The first toast in our New Zealand Constitution masonic refectory is to The Queen and today (1st June 2019) is a public holiday in New Zealand to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday. What is the date of the Queen’s real birthday?
2. We are told the “monarchs themselves have been promoters of the art" - name three monarchs who were Freemasons.
3. We are told that our Lodges are situated due east and west - why is this?
4. What are the three immovable jewels in a masonic Lodge room?
5. King Solomon’s Temple - in which modern country is it reputed to have been built?
6. In the 1st Degree Tracing Board explanation, what is ‘the form’ of a Lodge?
7. What does ‘this form’ represent to masons?
8. Where were you made a mason?
9. One the working tools of the 1st Degree is the 24 inch gauge and there is often discussion on whether we should convert 24 inches to metric, but it is not the length that masons use symbolically, so what is the symbolism of the 24 inch gauge?
10. Which knee is made bare in the first degree and why?
Book Review of The Invisible College
The Invisible College by Robert Lomas ISBN 978 05521 58374 paper-back
Robert Lomas is a professional researcher and lecturer and was initiated in 1986.
He researches carefully and thorougly, then writes for the reader so his work is very understandable. He has a Docu-Drama style that tells the story in an interesting way without compromising the true facts.
This book starts in the year 1660 by briefly outlining the main characters and their backgrounds and how they fit into the connections between Freemasonry (as it was then in both Scotland and England) and the coming-of-age of science. He also explains how King Charles II became a mason.
Another cracking good read full of facts rather than fancy.
The 10 Research Lodges in New Zealand
Masonic evening have to be:
* Worth coming to
* Stimulating - or we lose members.
Worth coming to involves being worth my time, worth my effort to get there, worthwhile when I am there.
Interesting involves the subject matter being relevant, stimulating to my mind, something new for me to consider and worth listening to. The voice of any speaker needs to be loud enough for me to hear, clear enough for me to understand, at a speed appropriate to my listening and understanding. Any slides shown have to be simple and clear to see and delivered at an appropriate speed.
Stimulating involves a new look or approach that I may not have seen before, as contribution to my knowledge, making me want more and possibly research further for myself. I should feel motivated to find out for myself.
Here in New Zealand we have developed a masonic culture where some Brethren are really interested in the questions “what, how why” about the things we say and do in our masonic ritual.
There are 10 Research Lodges; two in the Northern Division; four in the Central Division and four in the Southern Division. A list and the days they meet is given at the end of this article.
The Book of Constitution gives the aim of a Research Lodge (as composed by our ancestral founding fathers about 100 years ago) emphasising historical research. Today most research is encouraged to be more interesting than historical fact. We are speculative masons so speculations allowed and encouraged. Each research lodge has its own bye-laws and Lodge customs so contact the secretary and go along to a meeting and see what takes place.
Here is a list of the Research Lodges in New Zealand:
Two in The Northern Division
United Masters Lodge No. 167 which meet on the 4th Thursday of April to September with their Installation in October.
The Waikato Lodge of Research No. 445 which meet on the 3rd Tuesday of May, July, September and November with their Installation in March.
Four in The Southern Division
Midland District Lodge of Research No.28 which meet on the 2nd Monday in May, 2nd Thursday in August, 2nd Saturday in September and the 1st Wednesday in December with their Installation on 3rd Tuesday of March.
The Research Lodge of Otago No. 31 which meet on the 1st Tuesday of May, 4th Wednesday of July and September, 5t Wednesday of November with their Installation on the 5th Wednesday of March.
Research Lodge of Southland No. 33 which meet on the 2nd Tuesday in April, June, August, October and December with their Installation in February.
Top of The South (TOTS) Research Lodge No. 415 which meet on the 4th Monday of May, August and November with their Installation in February.
Four in The Central Division:
The Research Lodge of The Taranaki Province No. 323 which meet on the 4th Wednesday of March, May, August and October with their Installation in May.
The Research Lodge of Ruapehu No. 444 which meet on the 1st Monday of February, May, July, September and November with their Installation in March.
The Research Lodge of Wellington No. 194 which meet on the 2nd Thursday of March, May, July, September with their Installation in November .
Hawke’s Bay Research Lodge No. 305 which meet on the 1st Monday of February, May, August and November with their Installation in August.
Any questions you have please contact the Grand Lecturer in your Division.
An Ear of Corn
Masonic Knowledge from The South Island thanks to VW Bro McGregor PG Lec
This was, among all the ancients, an emblem of plenty. Ceres, who was universally worshiped as the goddess of abundance, and even called by the Greeks Dewneter, a manifest corruption of Gemeter, or Mother Earth, was symbolically represented with a garland on her head composed of ears of corn, a lighted torch in one hand, and a cluster of poppies and ears of corn in the other. In the Hebrew, the two words, which signify an ear of corn, are both derived from roots which give the idea of abundance. For shibboleth, pronounced shib-bo-leth, which is applicable both to an ear of corn and a flood of water, has its root in pronounced shib-bole, meaning to increase or to flow abundantly; and the other name of corn, pronounced daw-gawn, is derived from the verb, no, pronounced daogaw, signifying to multiply, or to be increased.
Ear of corn, which is a technical expression in Freemasonry, has been sometimes ignorantly displaced by a sheaf of wheat. This was done under the mistaken supposition that corn refers only to Indian maize, which was unknown to the ancients. But corn is a generic word and includes wheat and every other kind of grain. This is its legitimate English meaning, and hence an ear of corn, which is an old expression, and the right one, would denote a stalk, but not a sheaf of wheat.
That sore battle, when so many died
Without reprieve, adjudged to death
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
To Be or Not To Be
We have been looking for some time (years not months) for a better term than that of MENTOR.
We are looking for a term that describes a Councillor who helps a fellow mason form his values by sharing their experiences (note the sharing of the learners experiences - this is very important).
Someone who shares masonic knowledge by explaining what it means; someone who is an exemplar in life; someone who is an inspiration.
Can any of you help with a good idea?
George Allan PG Lec
The Lodge Pavement
Our thanks to VW Bro Martin McGregor in the Southern Division for the following.
There is almost nothing anywhere in the early records of Speculative Lodges to suggest either a history or an interpretation of the Pavement, which is represented by a series of black and white squares inside a rectangular frame; nor does there anywhere appear an explanation of why a Blazing Star was set in the middle of it, or why a rope with a tie and tassels in the corners was combined with it. By general consent Masonic symbologists have treated these as separate symbols, yet they must belong together, or they would not have been shown together on old Tracing Boards.
Despite this paucity of data, the Pavement is one of the most interesting of Masonic symbols, and that interest is heightened with each discovery of news facts. As a design the Pavement itself, whether set from the sides in a system of squares or from a corner in a system of diamonds, is one of the oldest and most universally liked of decorative designs—old as Egypt, or as China, and found at the ends of the earth; checker-work was one of the favourite motifs of Byzantine artists; and from early Roman times has been so much used in Italy that walls as well as floors are decorated with it, outside as well as inside. It is one of the few symbols in which non-Masonic meanings and uses correspond with or are identical with Masonic meanings; and it also is one of the few symbols which is Operative and Speculative at one stroke, because Operative builders used a board of floor or tracing paper (or cloth) divided into squares in laying out plans—as architects and engineers still do. In it many types of symbolism converge.
"The Pavement," writes Pike in his Morals and Dogma, " alternately black and white, symbolizes, whether so intended or not, the Good and Evil Principles of the Egyptian and Persian creed. It is the warfare of Michael and Satan . . . " (Perhaps Pike should have written " a creed " because both Egyptians and Persians had many creeds; nevertheless, and apropos of the latter, the dualism was a cardinal doctrine in Zoroastrianism. Mithraism, Manicheism, etc.?
The Pavement also suggests the correct position of the feet; and the fact that in Circumambulation the turns are at right angles, which in itself impresses upon a Candidate the fact that in a Lodge no member can run to and from at will, and that goings and comings are ordered.
The checkered design may be thought of as inlay work or as mosaic work, but in Masonry it is described by the latter word. "Mosaic" is believed by some etymologists to derive from the Latin, by others from the Greek mousa, muse; in either event it passed from Latin into Italian, thence into French, and finally into English (it had no reference to Moses). The Greek artisans of the Byzantine Period used mosaic 60 extensively and so skilfully that it also came to be called in memory of them opus alexandrium, and opus graecanicum; and occasionally it was called opus sedile. But as a Greek art it died out in the Seventh Century, a short time before Charlemagne, and when the Western Empire was about to sever its last ties with the Eastern. In the Eleventh Century it was revived in Italy, and in the great Twelfth Century (which has a better right than the Thirteenth to the title of "greatest of centuries"—granted that there ever was a "greater"!) the extraordinarily talented Cosmati family made their mosaic work so famous that it came to be called Cosmati work.
If, as the majority of Masonic symbologists believe, the black and white squares symbolize day and night, the Pavement is a member of a recurrent theme—the Twenty-four Inch Gage represents the twenty-four hours, the Sun and Moon are day and night, the East is the place of light and the North is the place of darkness, the Master's station is at the beginning of the day and the Junior Warden's is at the end, the postulant is brought from darkness to light, there are High Twelve and Low Twelve. Masons are to know each other in the dark as well as in the light; in the dark a man needs a guide, in the daylight he can guide himself; a man hexes, or buries, his secrets in the dark where no other can find them. These meanings cluster around the symbolism of the Pavement; perhaps the sun is meant by the Blazing Star (as it was once called) and is in the centre because it makes the day by its shining and the night by the shadow it casts; and perhaps the rope around the perimeter reminds men that while for the world day and night go on endlessly they do not for him, and only a few days are going to be tied together in his span of them, so that it is good for him, as is the Masons' creed, to work while it is day for soon the night cometh when no man can work.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FREEMASONRY AND ITS KINDRED SCIENCES by ALBERT C. MACKEY M. D.
The Rosicrucion Society
Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (Rosicrucian Society of England) is a Masonic esoteric Christian order formed by Robert Wentworth Little in 1865, although some sources acknowledge the date to be 1866-67. Members are confirmed from the ranks of subscribing Master Masons of a Grand Lodge in amity with United Grand Lodge of England.
The structure and grade of this order, as A. E. Waite suggests, were derived from the 18th-century German Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross. It later became the same grade system used for the Golden Dawn.
The society claims to be inspired by the original Rosicrucian Brotherhood but does not allege a provable link thereto. It bases its teachings on those found in the Fama and Confessio Fraternitas published in the early 17th century in Germany along with other similar publications from the same time.
The society was founded in 1867, derived from a pre-existing Rosicrucian order in Scotland (which bore no relation to the similarly named Societas Rosicruciana in Scotia, which was a later creation), following the admission of William James Hughan and Robert Wentworth Little. Little was a clerk and cashier of the General Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, William Henry White. These Fratres were advanced quickly in Scotland and granted a warrant to form a Society in England. The formation meeting took place on 1 June 1867 in Aldermanbury, London with Frater Little elected Master Magus, the title of "Supreme Magus" not being invented until some years later. They produced a journal, called The Rosicrucian, which was co-edited by William Robert Woodman.
The society requires all aspirants for membership to declare a belief in the fundamental principles of the Trinitarian Christian faith and offers assistance to all its members in working out the great problems of nature and science.
Structure and governance
The Order is subdivided into:
Members of the 1st Order(Fratres) meet in a College which is equivalent to a Freemasons Lodge. A College is empowered to confer the first four degrees of the society which are known as Grades. A minimum of six months must elapse between the receipt of grades. However, the emphasis in the work of the society is learning, therefore every member is encouraged to deliver a paper of their own work on some topic of interest in open college.
Grade I - Zelator
Grade II - Theoricus
Grade III - Practicus
Grade IV – Philosophus
This is equivalent to a Masonic Provincial Grand Lodge headed by a Chief Adept and his deputy (Suffragan) who have jurisdiction over all first order Colleges within the Province. The Chief Adept is empowered to confer three further Grades at this level to deserving Fratres of Grade IV who have been a member of the Society for a minimum of four years.
Grade V - Adeptus Minor
Grade VI - Adeptus Major
Grade VII - Adeptus Exemptus
A minimum of one year must elapse between the receipt of grades at this level. A member can only serve as the Celebrant (Master) of a College of the First Order after receiving the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus.
This is equivalent to a Grand Lodge headed by a Supreme Magus, Senior Substitute Magus and Junior Substitute Magus. Members of the second order who have given service to the society and been selected by the Supreme Magus for such advancement may be awarded a further two Grades.
Grade VIII - Magister
Grade IX - Magus
In 1888, three members of SRIA formed the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which removed the restriction on membership, allowing non-Christians, non-Freemasons, and women to join. A great deal of the SRIA structure survived in the new order, which went on to greatly influence the modern occult revival in the 20th century.
Robert Wentworth Little (1869-1878)
William Robert Woodman (1878-1891)
William Wynn Westcott (1891-1925)
W. J. Songhurst (1925-39)
Frank M. Rickard (1939-56)
W. R. Semken (1956-69)
Edward Varley Kayley (1969-74)
Donald Penrose (1974-79)
Norman C. Stamford (1979-82)
Alan G. Davies (1982-94)
Ronald E. Rowland (1994-2002)
Andrew B. Stevenson (2002-06)
John Paternoster (2006-2019)
Tony Llewellyn (2019- present)
The Niblock Lecture 2018
By VW Bro George Allan PG Lec., K.L.
The Niblock Lecture is an annual event organised by the Reserach Lodge of Taranaki District in memory of Bro Niblock. he Research Lodge of Taranaki invited me to deliver the 2018 Niblock Lecture at a suitable venue in the New Plymouth area on Saturday 27th October 2018.
I gratefully accepted this honour with the suggestion that our ladies be invited to attend and if acceptable I would structure the lecture accordingly under the title of “The Secrets, Mysteries and Privileges of Freemasonry”. The Lodge agreed and the following is a report on the subsequent event.
After their Lodge meeting 15 masons joined the 4 ladies in the refectory area for afternoon tea and the Niblock Lecture. I explained that this was not to be a boring lecture, but I would facilitate an interesting and interactive event amongst those present arranged in teams of 4 around each end of the afternoon tea tables. There were three long tables giving us 5 teams in all. We will name these as teams A, B, C, D and E. The interaction would come from each team discussing points and then sharing their points with everyone. I would act as facilitator/secretary and record what transpired on clip-board sheets so that by the end of the session we could see our results and come to conclusions.
The topic was, “The Secrets, Mysteries and Privileges of Freemasonry” so taking the first point I asked them to think about this and discuss it in their teams and report back. A summary of their points and our discussions follow.
The secret hand-shake – most masons knew it as a means to prove yourself a mason and ladies knew that it was to recognise a fellow mason. I explained that it may have originated in the days before people could write as a method of each grade of mason proving his grade and collecting the correct wages for his work. There were strict penalties for cheating.
Someone suggested the signs by which one mason would recognise another were secret and most agreed that this would be worthless if everyone in the world knew these. Discussion followed on whether it was important for one mason to recognise another and as facilitator I explained that masons feel particularly uncomfortable if a stranger tries to pass himself off as a mason when he isn’t. I also explained that this was not the only method
The words associated with each masonic degree (most of the ladies were unfamiliar with these and we passed on quickly) but a point worth making for the Transactions of this Niblock lecture is that there are experienced masons who are not confident in the difference between the word in a degree and the password leading from one degree to the next. This point is worth explaining to younger (and older) masons because any lack of confidence is like the unseen rot in a tooth – it will only get worse and lead to pain unless it is treated kindly and put right.
Some of the ladies (and I’m sure some of our masons) thought that all the words in the ceremonies were secret. Discussion followed about what was and what was not secret and, what a mason was allowed to tell family and friends and what should not be divulged. I surprised some of those present by disclosing that anyone, mason or non-mason, could obtain a copy of our ritual book through their library and read the whole of all three rituals with the secret words left out.
And so, we moved onto “The Mysteries” within Freemasonry.
I asked the teams to make a bullet list of as many mysteries of masonry as they could think of. Here is what they said:
How is a good man made better?
Discussion revealed that most thought that watching the ceremonial work performed – and especially taking an active part in the ceremonies - helped develop self-confidence and overcoming the fear of speaking in public.
Being with other masons in Lodge was mentioned. We discussed this to find out what it was about being “in a Lodge”. Was it the high regard that masons were held in? Probably not in this day and age but in our fathers’ and grandfathers’ days masons were regarded as pillars of society and becoming a mason was recognition that a man was worthy in society. Was it being with “like-minded individuals”? Someone stated that there were all sorts in his Lodge with no common factor so the point of “like-minded” was unlikely.
The moral lessons brought out within each degree would contribute to a mason becoming a better person - provided that he listened and learned. The point was made that those masons who revisited and studied the ritual learned more than those who didn’t.
Why are women excluded from becoming masons? This was a mystery to most women.
Discussion revealed several valuable points, one being that it was started as a men-only club way back in the day when Scotland, England and Ireland (where we have our masonic roots) was a man’s world and only men made decisions. This arose passion and feelings on present-day New Zealand being a very different place from that old-fashioned world. Women had equality now so why shouldn’t women join a Lodge?
I surprised most by telling the meeting that there were ladies’ Lodges in some countries, but not as far as we are aware in New Zealand. In Lady Freemasons’ Lodges the women followed exactly the same ritual book as we do, take the same obligations, ware the same regalia and fill the same Lodge Offices as in the men’s Lodges. They are governed by their own Grand Lodge of Lady Masons and have a Grand Master and her Officers - a similar organisational structure as we do.
There is another organisation (again in some countries but not in New Zealand) known as Co-Masonry that have both women and men in Lodge.
Another organisation is The Eastern Star here in New Zealand that admit both sexes but follow a different ritual book and there is The Shrine, yet another organisation.
What is the mystery of “The All-Seeing Eye”? This was a question from one of the ladies and the teams were asked to discuss this amongst themselves for a few minutes and report back.
They nearly all agreed that this was one of the recognisable symbols associated with Freemasonry but were not sure what it meant. One team quoted the prayer in the second degree and thought that the Supreme Being saw all our actions in life. Another volunteered the three words associated with the Supreme Being: omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent and I explained their meaning as: omniscient means all-knowing, omnipotent is all powerful and omnipresent means present everywhere.
It was explained (for the ladies’ benefit) that one of the conditions of a man being initiated into freemasonry was his belief in a non-physical, spiritual being above all others (we avoid using the word “God” because it causes controversy.
Someone mentioned that the all-seeing eye means our words and actions are recorded throughout our lives and we will have to answer to the Supreme Being on the day of judgement.
It was noted that the all-seeing eye appears on American dollar bills and asked if this was connected to the fact that many of the founding fathers of what is now known as the USA were freemasons.
The hidden mysteries of Nature and Science. I asked for some deeper clarification of what was meant here, and this led to discussion of the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences. The headings were given as astronomy, arithmetic, geometry, logic, music, grammar and rhetoric. The first four are regarded as sciences and the last three are deemed to be arts. I pointed out that these were not the copyright of freemasonry but existed a long time before our fraternity started. They were known and studied in the ancient Roman civilisation and have been used as a framework for education by ancient, medieval and modern societies. The four sciences were known as the quadrivium and the three arts were the trivium. In days gone by, passing exams in these was equivalent to our school cert, and at an advanced level equivalent to passing a university degree.
We moved on to the last topic.
The Privileges of Freemasonry
This is probably the most misunderstood of all aspects of masonry by people who are not freemasons. Probably, our refusal to be drawn on what our society is all about has led the general public to call us a secret society and think the worst. We hear gossip of men joining to further their careers, masons giving favours to members of their own Lodge, stories of black magic and blasphemy, and ceremonial drinking the blood of goats. Much of these last points is due to a Frenchman who owned a printing works that was going broke in the 1700s. So, he started producing single sheet pamphlets telling gory stories about what went on inside his masonic lodge. All fiction, all utterly over-the-top, full of blood and cruelty and satanism. The Catholic church of those days loved it and held it up as proof of Anti-Christ in the masons. The printer sold hundreds of copies every week and made a pile of money. After about two years he ran out of stories and his conscience pricked him. Maybe he was getting old and feared that he would soon face his maker, the Great Architect of the Universe. So, he published an apology saying that he had made the whole thing up. The Catholic Church would have none of that and clung to their imaginative belief that freemasonry was evil. Even to this day Catholics are discouraged from becoming members. I myself was asked by the Roman Catholic bishop of the city where I sang in the cathedral choir, to give up freemasonry. I asked for his grounds and was told he didn’t need to give any, so I asked him if he would rather that I resigned from his choir. He asked why I wanted to do that, and I told him I didn’t, but I was not going to resign from freemasonry and asked him to join and find out what it was all about. We never spoke on this subject again.
The main ‘privilege’ for a freemason is really for his son when ready to become a mason like his father. This son is known as a Lewis – the term masons use to denote sons of a mason and the privilege consists of a Lewis being initiated before all non-Lewis men in the queue. A Lewis could be initiated any time after his 18th birthday, whereas all other men had to be 21 years of age before initiation. Recently this rule has been changed (possibly with the thought of initiating university students before they graduate which is usually around their 21st birthday. So, in reality this privilege has disappeared.
There are no other privileges that I know of. There is some talk of having a masonic card with arrangements with retailers to get a discount, but this is still in the talking stage as far as I know.
Well, ladies and Brethren I hope this afternoon has been of some value to you and I will take any last questions.
There were murmurings of appreciation and how (some of our Brethren) had learned a thing or two. The District Grand Master VW Bro Roly Blake said words of thanks, which was much appreciated.
VW Bro George Allan PG Lec