GEORGE ALLAN ON EDUCATION - ARCHIVE PAGES
The Landmarks of Freemasonry

The following is an extract from a text written by VW Bro Kent Henderson PGIWkgs Western Victoria, Australia

Masonic author Harry Carr defines a landmark as a principle or tenet that has 'always existed' in Masonic practice, and as an element in the form of the Society of such importance that, if removed, Freemasonry would no longer be Freemasonry. These are:

  1. That a Mason possesses a belief in God, the Supreme Being, the Great Architect of the Universe.
  2. That the Volume of the Sacred Law is an essential and indispensable part of the lodge, to be open in full view when the brethren are at labour.
  3. That a Mason must be male, free-born and of mature age.
  4. That a Mason, by his tenure, owes allegiance to the Sovereign and to the Craft.
  5. That a Mason believes in the immortality of the soul.

These items, he states, largely date back to the Old Charges, which were the written laws of the Operative Masons. The oldest of these documents dates back to 1390.

There are other authors, such as the American authority Dr Albert Mackey, who prescribed a larger range of Landmarks. What is, or is not, a 'Landmark of the Order' is to some extent academic. Clearly, there are quite a number of customs which are observable norms across the gamut of world Freemasonry. These include the division of symbolic craft Masonry into three degrees, the modes of recognition observed amongst members, the legend associated with the Third Degree Ceremony, the necessity of Masons to congregate in lodges, the government of a craft lodge by its Master and Wardens, the government of the fraternity by a Grand Master, and a number of others.




The V S L - which one to use?

My thanks to WBro Graham Morgan - District Education Advisor for District 21 for the following.  Reference to Coil's Masonic Encyclopaedia details the following under the entry Volume of the Sacred Law (p. 674).

The Pentateuch or the Old testament of the Hebrews.

The New Testament of the Christians (although some would include the whole bible).

The Koran of Islam.

The Zend Avesta of the Persians.

The Tripitaka of the Buddhists.

The Rig Veda and other Vedas of the Brahmins.

The Tao Te King of the Taoists of China.

The Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindus.

The Book of Mormon of the Later Day Saints.

If there is a brother of any of the above faiths attending your meeting, your Lodge should display an open copy of his VSL from the above list to make your Masonic meeting just.




The Patron Saints of Freemasonry

Freemasonry has two Patron saints – St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.

By VW Bro. Martin McGregor PG Lec

John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century AD. John is revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism. He is called a prophet by all of these traditions, and is honoured as a saint in many Christian traditions. Other titles for John include John the Forerunner in Eastern Christianity and "the prophet John" (YaḥyÄĀ) in Islam. To clarify the meaning of "Baptist", he is sometimes alternatively called John the Baptizer.

John used baptism as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement. Most scholars agree that John baptized Jesus. Some scholars believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John. John the Baptist is mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus. 

According to the New Testament, John anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself. Christians commonly refer to John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus' coming. John is also identified as the spiritual successor of the prophet Elijah.  He died by beheading in 28 – 36 AD in Machaerus, Perea, Levant.

John the Baptist was a patron saint of the operative masons since very early times and Grand Lodge communications used to be held on his Feast Day.

St. John the Evangelist is the name traditionally given to the author of the Gospel of John. Christians have traditionally identified him with John the Apostle, John of Patmos, or John the Presbyter.

Christian tradition says that John the Evangelist was John the Apostle. The Apostle John was a historical figure, one of the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death. He was one of the original twelve apostles and is thought to be the only one to have lived into old age and not be killed for his faith. Some believe that he was exiled (around 95 AD) to the Aegean island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation.  

In American Freemasonry, the two Saints John are represented by the two parallel lines at a tangent with the Point within a Circle symbol, but the New Zealand Ritual makes it very clear that the two lines represent Moses and King Solomon in the New Zealand Rite

The operative masons also revered the Four Crowned Martyrs as their patron saints.  The designation Four Crowned Martyrs or Four Holy Crowned Ones (Latin, Sancti Quatuor Coronati) refers to nine individuals venerated as martyrs and saints in the Catholic Church. The nine saints are divided into two groups:

Severus (or Secundius), Severian(us), Carpophorus (Carpoforus), Victorinus (Victorius, Vittorinus)

Claudius, Castorius, Symphorian (Simpronian), Nicostratus, and Simplicius

According to the Golden Legend, the names of the members of the first group were not known at the time of their death "but were learned through the Lord’s revelation after many years had passed."They were called the "Four Crowned Martyrs" because their names were unknown ("crown" referring to the crown of martyrdom).

The first group - Severus (or Secundius), Severian(us), Carpophorus, and Victorinus were martyred at Rome or Castra Albana, according to Christian tradition.

According to the Passion of St. Sebastian, the four saints were soldiers (specifically cornicularii, or clerks, in charge of all the regiment's records and paperwork) who refused to sacrifice to Aesculapius, and therefore were killed by order of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), two years after the death of the five sculptors, mentioned below. The bodies of the martyrs were buried in the cemetery of Santi Marcellino e Pietro on the fourth mile of the via Labicana by Pope Miltiades and St. Sebastian (whose skull is preserved in the church).

The second group, according to Christian tradition, were sculptors from Sirmium who were killed in Pannonia. They refused to fashion a pagan statue for the Emperor Diocletian or to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Emperor ordered them to be placed alive in lead coffins and thrown into the river in about 287. Simplicius was killed with them.

The Acts of these martyrs, written by a revenue officer named Porphyrius probably in the fourth century, relates of the five sculptors that, although they raised no objections to executing such profane images as Victoria, Cupid, and the Chariot of the Sun, they refused to make a statue of Æsculapius for a heathen temple. For this they were condemned to death as Christians. They were put into leaden caskets and drowned in the River Save. This happened towards the end of 305.

By way of explanation, it was not actually illegal to be a Christian in ancient Rome but, if you were a Roman citizen, you were expected to honour the gods of Rome over and above any other gods you might worship.  This was because the Romans believed they had a contract with the gods to protect Rome in return for their faith in them.  This belief was reinforced by the many battles when the forces of nature intervened to the detriment of the enemy, enabling a Roman victory.  Refusal, by a Roman citizen, to worship the gods of Rome was regarded as treason.  The Romans tended to view Christianity as an alien superstition that was undermining Roman traditions, a sort of social cancer.  The Emperor Diocletian was one who tried to stamp out Christianity in a massive persecution, but even he gave up the task in the end.

 The Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (its Latin title meaning Four Crowned Ones) is a Masonic lodge in London dedicated to Masonic research. Founded in 1886, the lodge meets at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street.  The name of the Lodge is taken from lines 497 - 534 of the Regius Poem. This poem from circa 1390 is one of the oldest Masonic documents.

The story is that the martyrs first tried to get out of the carving job by claiming that the marble was flawed.  However, there were too many experts around for them to get away with the ruse and an interrogation revealed their Christianity was the real reason for their refusal.

The references in the text of the martyrs' passion to porphyry quarrying and masonry located at the 'porphyritic mountain' indicate that the story's setting is misplaced; there are no porphyry quarries in Pannonia and the only porphyry quarry worked in the ancient world is in Egypt. Mons Porphyrites was quarried to supply the rare and expensive imperial porphyry for the emperor's building works and statuary, for which it was exclusively set aside. Mons Porphyrites is in the Thebaid, which was a centre of Christian erimiticism in Late Antqiuity. The emperor Diocletian did indeed commission the extensive use of porphyry in his many building projects. Diocletian also visited the Thebaid during his reign, though he was more usually associated with the Balkans, which might explain why the story's location was transposed to Pannonia over time.

Man of Arden




MASONIC EDUCATION CURRICULUM (version 6 October 2016)

The following curriculum lists the basic topics in Masonry that are useful to Masonic Lodges and every Mason who wants to know more about Freemasonry in New Zealand. Learning more about these topics will help Masons become confident about the signs, words and the meanings of our ceremonies.  
This document is the result of requests from Masons attending the three Divisional Conferences in 2014. It has been refined and added to by Freemasons throughout New Zealand during 2015 and 2016 and sets out the topics needed to strengthen Masons’ knowledge in our 3 degrees.

The Curriculum is subdivided into three areas: 1 Lodge Culture & Etiquette; 2 Activities Outside the Lodge; 3 Ceremonial.  The sections on Ceremonial will be found under the relevant Degee page (see drop-down box near the top of this Main Page) which is password protected.

The recommended method of Masonic Education is by Mentoring where a mentor is a masonic friend who does not have to know all the answers but should be a keen Mason who will allow a newer Mason to have a voice and discuss topics the journey of discovery. 

LODGE CULTURE & ETIQUETTE 
This section suggests topics in three areas: Etiquette in Lodge; at refectory; within other districts.

Etiquette in Lodge
* Explain and discuss the etiquette, traditions and customs in your Lodge.
* Discuss the history, culture and roots of your Lodge and that Lodge customs differ from Lodge to Lodge.
* Give an explanation of your Lodge structure and organisation. 
* Explain how to address Brethren in various Masonic ranks.
* Guide a new Mason when he is ready to volunteer for Charges.
* Discuss how to become a Mentor in Lodge.
At Refectory
* Explain the protocols in refectory for toasts, fires and speeches.
* Get to know your Lodge members and what they do/did professionally and socially. 
* Guide a new Mason when he is ready to volunteer for other activities in the Lodge e.g. social committee.
Within Other Districts
* Discuss the etiquette when visiting other Lodges.
* Explain that visiting into other Districts and overseas is permitted.
* Explain the history of New Zealand Grand Lodge.

ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE THE LODGE
This is divided into two parts: Personal Development; Sharing Masonry with non-Masons contributing to a better society.

Personal Development
* Making a Personal Development Plan.
* How to learn and deliver Masonic Charges.
* Explain and discuss the 7 Pillars of New Zealand Freemasonry. 
* Discovering the essence of Freemasonry and try to explain it.
* How to facilitate Self-Organized Discussion Groups (SODGs).
* Skills training for using the GL Website.
* Outline the broader picture of the six degrees in New Zealand Freemasonry.

Sharing Masonry with Non-Masons
The following questions should be discussed in full at every opportunity:
* What can I tell my family about Masonry?
* How much Masonry can I share with my friends and neighbours?
Assist the Mason to construct his own explanation of Freemasonry.

For the curriculum on the Three Degree Ceremonial issues please click on the drop-down box near the top of this page and select the degree in which you want the curriculum.




The Position of the Lesser Lights

As a result of Question 10 in our May quiz an interesting point has been raised.

The question asked why the Master of the Lodge gets the Senior Warden to close the Lodge instead of doing it himself? The answer given said that SW rules the night because he marks the setting sun so it is his job to close the Lodge at the end of a day’s work. The answer then went on to remind us that the JW rules the day because he calls us from labour to have a rest and then back to work. Thus the JW represents the sun to rule the day and the SW represents the moon to rule the night.

In our current Blue Book of ritual, the charge know as the Lesser Lights given after an Initiate is restored to light states that these lights are placed in the W, S and E which does not fit well with the explanation given about ruling the day and the night.

In ritual books of years gone by the positions of the Lesser Lights was given as E, S and W and the Brother delivering this piece of ritual could then indicate the JW in the S to rule the day, the SW in the W to govern the night and the M to rule and direct his Lodge.

So, the interesting point that this quiz question raises is, “When was the ritual changed and why? Was it a simple type-setting error by the printer or was there a deeper symbolical reason?”

My thanks to W Bro Bill McLaughlan PGBB District 21




The Number of Rungs on the 1st Degree Tracing Board

Question 2 in our May quiz asked you to look at the 1st Degree Tracing Board in your Lodge and see how many rungs were on the ladder. As this ladder represents Jacob's ladder - the number given in the Bible is 72. 

However, there are several different designs of this Tracing Board and some very old deisgns have only three rungs with a symbol appearing on each rung; a cross  representing Faith, an anchor representing Hope, and a goblet/cup/hand representing Charity.

But some Tracing Boards have a fourth symbol - a key, and the explanation dates back to 1696 in The Edinburgh Register House Manuscript where part of the Ritual asks, "Which is the key to your Lodge"? The answer is, "a well hung tougue". A further rendition appears in the Sloane Manuscript (usually written as Sloane MS) about 4 years later where the key is explained as the answer to the question, "What is the Keys of your Lodge door made of?" and the answer comes back, "It is not made of wood, stone, iron or steel or any other sort of metal but of the tongue of good report behind a Brother's back as well as before his face".

So, this is meant to remind us that the key to being a really good Mason is to keep silent about a fellow Masons faillings and short-comings and support his name in his absence as well as in his presence. This has to be a special part of being a true Mason.

George Allan

July 2016




So You Want to Start Giving Charges?

by W.Bro Richard Illingworth - June 2016

If you have been recently initiated, passed or raised, or have the time, making the decision to learn a charge is the first step (!)

I recommend you consider doing   this: 

You could peruse your Ritual book and find a charge that you like and learn that, or 

Talk to your DC or Master and let them know you want to be given some work..hopefully for an upcoming degree working.

Begin by reading the charge allocated to you, a couple of times, morning and night for a few days, and think about the message in the charge.

Now try this:

So the big day comes and the time arrives to deliver the Ritual. YOu may be nervous.
Remember we have all been in this position, and we all know there is a difference between talking to a mirror and a lodge room of people.
If you deliver “Word perfect” then congratulations, if you don’t then, don’t worry, that’s what the prompt is for, just get back on the horse.

Moving forward, being a regular attendee and visiting other Lodges is a good way to learn ritual.... by immersion, and familiarity.

Good luck !

WBro. Richard Illingworth
Director of Ceremonies
Westminster Lodge No 308
logtimer@yahoo.com




Giving Charges - Part 2

by V.W.Bro George Allan G Lec

Chair of Masonic Education Pillar

This article is the second in a series about learning ritual from the Blue Book.  It builds on the excellent start given by W.Bro Richard Illingworth in his article entitled “So You Want to Start Giving Charges?” (see the Archives page in the drop-down box). 

Richard gave good advice when he said to read many times the passage you want to learn. Learning is part hard work and part state-of-mind.  On the state-of-mind side, if you think you will succeed you are probably right and you will probably succeed. On the other hand, if you think you will not succeed you are also probably right there as well and you will probably fail. So, when learning your ritual get yourself into a good state-of-mind before the hard work. Tell yourself that you will do this, you will learn and deliver well, you will succeed.

Make no mistake, learning ritual properly takes a long time and is hard work. Notice the word “properly”. Anyone can make a quick attempt at learning ritual at the last minute but often the result in Lodge is a stumbling performance that requires continual prompting. You must allow yourself time to learn ritual, lots of time, a lot more than you would ever imagine to start with. I allow weeks or even months to learn my masonic ritual. Those who are currently Junior and Senior Wardens would do well to start learning the Master’s work in all three degrees now.

Proper planning produces professional performance. An alternative is - poor planning produces poor performance to learn a charge is a good step towards improving your understanding of Masonry.

Following W.Bro Illingworth’s advice we recommend that you take the following steps: 

Step 1. Find a charge your Ritual book that you would like to learn.

Step 2. Read the words from beginning to end several times each morning and night for several days and think about the message in those words.  Understanding the message is important because you will eventually speak those words with their message to a Candidate and it has to be meaningful to that Candidate. If you don’t understand the message nor will he.

Step 3. Think about which parts are important and look for patterns in the words - for instance, in the Obligations you see phrases go in threes - Antient, Free and Accepted; lawfully constituted, regularly assembled and properly dedicated; hele, conceal and never reveal.   Make a note of the patterns and learn them.

Step 4. Look at the rhythm of the words and learn the rhythm, for instance, ”any part or parts, point or points, of the secrets and mysteries, of or belonging to”. Say these to yourself over and over and over again until you cannot forget them.

Step 5. Memorise a few words at a time and speak those words out loud to yourself in a mirror. 

Step 6. Repeat this several times until you are confident and then add the next few words and repeat the exercise again and again in front of your mirror. Each time see how far you get without referring to the Ritual.  If you stumble - just check the book and try again. Break it up into paragraphs, I photocopy a paragraph and keep it in my pocket to say over to myself when out for a walk or working in the garden. 

Step 7. A good tip is to really memorise the starting words for each of your paragraphs. Gradually you can move from saying the ritual Words to telling the story. The key is understanding what the message is. Remember that you will be speaking to a Candidate and he is hearing the story for the first time.

Remember this - it is never too late to start learning - BUT it is always too early to give up.  

June 2016




One of many: A MASONIC EDUCATION COURSE

INTRODUCTION

Antient Charge: It is the duty of every Freemason to make a daily advancement in Masonic education.

The material contained within this training publication has been prepared for the use of Lodges under the constitution of “The Grand Lodge Of Antient Free And Accepted Masons of New Zealand”.  Organisations recognised by the Grand Lodge of New Zealand may use the material contained within this publication, providing the material is credited to the “The Research Lodge of Wellington”.

This training is intended to provide the on-going information required by the new Freemason and to be continuously updated as required by the Craft.  Should Lodges using the material feel it appropriate to amend or add to the material when using it themselves, a copy of the amendment or addition should be sent to the Research Lodge of Wellington, as the information may be of considerable value in updating the present document.

The adaptation and compilation of this present course was carried out by a Committee of the Research Lodge of Wellington consisting of:  W. Bro. Murray Alford (Convenor); V. W. Bro. Bob Collins PGLec; W. Bro. John Brookie PGD; Bro. Hugh Hill MM.

Syllabus Of the Course

The Entered Apprentice - Look at the 1st Degree Webpage in the DropDown Box top of this page
Section I.  
Introduction and welcome to Freemasonry    
The Lodge Room and its officers    
What is Freemasonry        
The Ceremony of the First Degree 
The Structure and Government of Freemasonry 
Section II
Training course and written research questions
 
Section III     
Test questions of the First Degree    
Obligation of an Entered Apprentice Freemason    

The Fellow Craft - Look at the 2nd Degree Webpage in the DropDown Box top of this page

Section I
    Introduction and welcome to the Fellow Craft
    The Ceremony of the Second Degree    
    Origins Of Freemasonry             
    You and the Non-freemason                
    Visiting in New Zealand and overseas lodges
Section II
      Training course and written research questions.

Section III   
Test questions of the Second Degree        
Obligation of a Fellow Craft Freemason


The Master Mason Look at the 3rd Degree Webpage in the DropDown Box top of this page

Section I. 
Introduction and welcome to the Master Mason    
The Ceremony of the Third Degree    
Masonic Benevolence and Charity         
Other Orders in Freemasonry    
The Grand Lodge System        
Section II
Training course and written research questions.    

Section III   
Test questions of the Third Degree        
Obligation of a Master Mason        

About The Masonic Training Course

The course is simple in concept and application, yet comprehensive.  Its aim is to provide new brethren with a basic knowledge of the Craft, appropriate to each Degree.  The Course is divided into three modules, one for each of ‘The Entered Apprentice’, ‘The Fellow Craft’ and ‘The Master Mason’ degrees.  Each of these three modules is presented as a separate assignment that lodges can present to the candidate at the time of his degree ceremonies.
For each module, candidates are presented with all the course material they will require.  They are asked to study the reference material provided and answer the comprehension questions applicable to each degree in Freemasonry.  The training course is intended as an introduction to the interesting study of Freemasonry.  A list of additional material is included in this introduction, and the new mason may find the material from these sources to his advantage.  Each module has three sections.  The first section is composed of five papers that are the resource and reference material for study.  The second section is a test paper for completion by the student in his own time and at his own pace.  The third section lists the test questions of the particular degree and the obligation, which he has taken in that degree.

Additionally to the study course, each candidate is required to learn the answers to the "verbal" test questions set for each degree.  The candidate is tested on the first group of questions as part of the ceremonial working of the Lodge.  The second section is composed of additional questions, which may be used by Lodges if they wish. 
The new mason’s Lodge may hold various “Lodges of Improvement” for candidates in combination with lodge rehearsals and selected meetings.  At these the candidates should be encouraged to bring their partially completed assignments for discussion and correction.   Alternatively the Lodge may appoint a lodge mentor/tutor, or a member of the Lodge Education Committee to work personally with the candidate. 

It is recommended that the candidate’s knowledge of the training material and the test questions be evaluated before the night of his next degree ceremony, so that his examination in open Lodge can be conducted smoothly and without embarrassment.

At the time the candidate made his obligation he may not have fully comprehended its extent.  A copy is included to remind the candidate of the obligations he has undertaken.

Lodges should feel free to add material that they have found particularly useful, but are asked to advise the Research Lodge of Wellington when they do this, so that that material may be considered for inclusion in later revisions of the course.

Acknowledgements

The Research Lodge of Wellington wishes to express its sincere thanks to Lodge Epicurean of Geelong, Victoria whose Masonic Training Course was the inspiration for this project and the source of much of the material used.  Our special gratitude is offered to the developers of that course: W Bro. Kent Henderson and W Bro. Tony Pahl.

Further Reading

Bibliography of Material Used in this Course

The Masonic Education Course of the ‘European Concept’ Lodges of Australian.
The training course material is available from a secure Internet site.
Refer to your Lodge’s Master or Preceptor.

The Book of Constitution of 
The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of New Zealand
Issued to all Freemasons at their Initiation ceremony.
 
‘New Zealand Freemason’
The quarterly publication of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.

‘Freemasonry Today’ 
An independent quarterly magazine published in Britain.
A limited number of back copies are available on the Internet.
www.freemasonrytoday.co.uk

‘Masonic Curiosities’
By Yasha Beresiner.  
Published by the Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council.
May be ordered through the Research Lodge of Wellington.

‘The History of English Freemasonry’
By John Hamill.  Published by Lewis Masonic Books
ianallanbookshop@talk21.com

‘Masonic World Guide’
By Kent Henderson. Published by Lewis Masonic Books
ianallanbookshop@talk21.com

Recommended Additional Material 
‘Freemason’s Guide and Compendium’
By Bernard E. Jones,  Published by Harrap

‘Questions and Answers’
By A. R. Chambers P.G.W.
Published by Masters and Past Masters, Lodge No. 130, Christchurch

‘Freemasonry  A Celebration of the Craft’
By John Hamill and Robert Gilbert
Published by Greenwich Editions
ISBN 0-86288-210-9

‘The series of educational papers prepared and issued by
The Research Lodge of Ruapehu’
    




Making Masonic Education Happen Through Mentoring

Prepared by the Masonic Education Pillar v3: February 2015 

The following six suggested topics came out of a recent visit of V.W.Bro. George Allan G Lec and V.W.Bro. Rick Williams G Lec to the Research Lodge of Otago which resulted in a ‘think-tank’ evening held at Mosgiel.   You may wish to consider these in your mentoring programme. They follow the same order as the Objectives in our publication "Guide To Mentors".

Objective 1. “Learning Together” as a good method to get to grips with understanding our Freemasonry; Understanding the reasons ”Why” as a learning process; Why we abide by Masonic standards in our daily life. 

Objective 2. Explain each topic covered in the Masonic Education Curriculum. Include the following: Respect for Secrets; How can we use understandable language; How to represent masonry in a way that everyone can understand and relate to; Promote the value and experience of public speaking to increase self-confidence.

Objective 3.  Encourage quest for knowledge; Don’t overpower him with history; Promote relevance to today. Explain the functions of a Research lodge and explain that many have no dues for first year plus an on-line library of masonic books;Feed his interest areas.

Objective 4. Guide to enjoyment of masonry; Encourage him to get his friends to participate in debate; Talk through local Community engagement; Celebrate his successes; Think young and include discussion on outdoor activities; Use new-age technology such as smart phones and facebook; Involve partners more.

Objective 5.  Create appreciation of the modern value of FM; Discuss his UNDERSTANDING of Masonry and the concepts covered to date;Encourage family circle involvement; Discuss our Charity works;  Reconnect with elderly/disabled brethren.

Objective 6. Discuss how to retain his Membership and others like him; Communication is KEY; Give him a meaningful job in Lodge not a tea-towel; Family involvement, both formal and informal; Discuss his possible active parts in his local Community involvement; Encourage his ritualist development but don’t rush his progress; Explain why we have a refectory and explain the procedures in refectory.

Three practical suggestions for all Mentors

1.You have probably been appointed as a Mentor because someone in your lodge thinks you have the ability to impart knowledge to your fellow masons.  Approach the task with confidence knowing that you have resources such as educational references and notes that give you a head start in talking with your ”students”.

2.The mentor system is a “sharing” experience not a lecture or school teacher exercise. Your preparation for each session will involve more time than the session itself, but you will get satisfaction in brushing up your own knowledge on well-known subjects. Avoid offering details that are of no immediate interest to the topic. The ideal situation will be to whet the appetite and encourage questions and discussion.  No lectures please. Don’t tell him what you know – tell him where to find the answer for himself and let him DISCOVER for himself.

3. Limit the time of each session to less than one hour at a time. Three subjects is the target and 20 minutes a subject should be enough. Better to stop short than peter out. Tailor your session to circumstances. If fewer subjects at greater length seems appropriate then exercise your judgement accordingly.  If a subject is disposed of quickly or is not getting across, move on to the next one (Source: Notes for Mentors, Sep 1981, GL NZ). 

Freemasons New Zealand

Masonic Education Committee

May 2016




To Read or Not To Read

It seems that an increasing number of Masons are having difficulty learning and remembering passages from the Blue Ritual Book and I am often asked if it is alright to read from the book during a ceremony.  If you watch a mason reading and compare that with a mason delivering from memory you will see several differences. I offer a few observations as follows.

The mason reading will have his head tilted forward as he looks down at his book or notes and his voice will be slightly muffled because his throat is slightly closed. Whereas, the Mason who can hold his head up while reciting a Charge from memory will probably speak more clearly.

The Mason reading his book/notes cannot look at the Candidate with more than a glance for fear of losing his place in the text, whereas the Mason who knows his words can look the Candidate in the eye which makes the Candidate feel more part of the proceedings.

The Mason who reads may lose his place and have to stop and silently look for where he is at, which breaks the flow of instruction to the Candidate. Whereas, the Mason narrating from memory usually makes the story flow and this is also more meaningful to the Candidate.

I feel very uncomfortable watching a Mason making a mess of reading passages of ritual because he has not prepared beforehand and is reading it for the first time in ages. Remember the 5 Ps - Poor Preparation Produces Poor Performance. The best preparation is to learn the work thoroughly.

 It is a fact that some people have great difficulties in learningand I have heard men say that they can’t learn or find it very difficult. I would ask whether a Mason has spent sufficient time on his learning.

Based on my prefessional researches into learning in adults over the last 30 years, one main reason for poor delivery in Lodge is insufficient time allowed to do the learning to a proper depth. Learning passages takes much more time than you would think and it takes technique as well. The brain learns to retain information by seeing/hearing/reading and speaking/writing that information over and over and over again, dozens if not hundreds of times. W.Bro. Richard Illingworth started us off with his article on learning charges (see Archive page in drop-down box) and we will be putting up more articles on learning in the weeks and months to come - so, watch this space.

Years ago there was an emphasis on each Freemason’s responsibility to learn the work of his Office so he could perform his duty competently.   Ritual books were not allowed in Lodge on the assumption that time spent learning the work lead to better understanding of Freemasonry and was part of a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.  I know that times have changed over the years with more in our lives today than in times past and the attitude to the word 'responsibility' has changed as well.  To make Freemasonry great again requires that extra mile.

V.W.Bro. George Allan G Lec K.L.

Chair of Masonic Education




Lecturers, Ceremonies and Masonic Education

Please note that this paper was written in October 2012 by V.W.Bro. George Allan G Lec, K.L., Chairman of Masonic Education

My last article (June 2012)  asked you to try to get your Lodge committee to agree to 20 to 30 minutes in each Masonic meeting for Masonic education. The feedback from many Brethren indicates that this is expecting too much and that maybe 30 minutes every 3 months might be OK, that’s less than 2 hours per year on Masonic education. Consequently, this article looks at the amount of learning we do in Lodge when we watch a ceremony or listen to a Masonic lecture.

    The majority of our watching and listening is at a superficial level – we see the actions and hear the words and, unless we really concentrate, our brain will not gain much of an understanding behind the story or the demonstration. We learn about 5% of what we hear and about 15% of what we see. During a degree ceremony or Masonic lecture lasting one hour we will take in less than 10 minutes of useful information. A lecture is regarded as Masonic education but I would suggest that, although it is a teaching platform, not much learning results in our typical Mason from the average lecture. It should be acknowledged that there are some excellent Past Grand Lecturers who hold the attention and impart large quantities of interesting Masonic knowledge whenever they perform. The Master, Wardens and Deacons have a responsibility to teach the candidate the proper steps, hand positions and words. 

    However, there is a difference between teaching and learning. Learning is an increase in knowledge by acquiring facts and information so we ‘know a lot’. We do this by memorizing information so we can reproduce it in our ceremonies. This is known as ‘surface learning.’ Deeper learning helps us make sense of meaning and enables us to relate the subject matter to the real world. In Masonic education we need to relate our degree rituals to our everyday lives. We will do this better if we really learn the words, steps and hand positions physically AND understand the hidden meanings metaphysically, but don’t be frightened off by this word – it just means ‘beyond-the-physical.’ In other words we need to think about why we do the things we do. 

    We learn about 80% from taking part and actually ‘doing’ something, so a good way to deeper learning is by being involved in small group discussions instead of simply listening to someone’s explanation. Three or four Masons in a small group can talk through their own understanding of the meanings in our ritual and each will grow in knowledge and understanding because of that discussion.

    

Try this in your Lodge – 

1. Use the 1st degree working tools, write each on a separate piece of paper making enough copies for one between three at a Lodge meeting

2. Get the Master to put the Lodge at ease and rearrange everyone into small physical groups of three or four Masons around the Lodge room so they can speak to each other. 

3. Hand each group one piece of paper with a working tool on it and give them 5 or 6 minutes to tell each other what that tool could mean in their day-to-day lives. Tell them to stay away from the physical meanings and think about the allegory in everyday real life. As this can be difficult for some people, have patience.

4. When each group is ready, call attention to the middle of the Lodge room and ask each group to say, in two minutes, what they came up with. Get everyone to listen in and comment (still being active).

The same framework can use the three Perfect Points of our Entry or the four Cardinal Virtues. 

    At the end of a recent session a Past Grand Director of Ceremonies stood up and said he had really enjoyed the education session and had learned more in 45 minutes than in the last 15 years in Masonry – a compliment to the framework indeed.

    The question might be – who should lead/facilitate such an educational session. An answer could be the Master or the Lodge Education Officer but anyone could lead/facilitate so long as they keep one eye on the timekeeping and the other on how each group is doing. There are three important points to watch for: avoid any person monopolizing his group; try to allow each person a go by encouraging people who are very reserved and quiet because they may relapse into just listening (if this is their earnest desire we have to respect it but usually a small amount of encouragement is rewarded appreciatively); allow feedback from each group but limit it to about 2 minutes per group.

    The fact is being involved is more fun than sitting listening and members feel more respected and useful when they are involved. For these reasons we learn much more from doing than from sitting listening. This is my basis for asking you to spend more Lodge time on Masonic education by allowing Masons to discuss points of ritual and learn the hidden meanings of nature and science instead of sitting listening and being taught. 

    Try it Brethren and let me have some feedback from your Lodge Education Officer through your District Education Officer who should pass it on to his Divisional Education Co-ordinator.

George Allan




TO TRY AND AJUST

The word try is often misinterpreted in Charges given from our Freemasons ritual book.

There are a number of different meaning to the word ‘try’ such as:

try to reach a target – try meaning to make an attempt

try a jacket on – try meaning see if it fits.

try and break it – try meaning have a go

a man was tried in court – try meaning investigate and decide

try me and prove me – try meaning test me and see what happens.

It is this last one that we mean in,

“The square is it try, and adjust rectangular corners …”

The corner is tested to see if it is exactly 90 degrees – and if it is not it is adjusted by mallet and chisle until it is exactly as required.

An operative stone-mason would try his square periodically on the perfect ashlar which was known to be exactly square, i.e. test his square for exact squareness.

So, when giving a Charge, pause after the word try to emphasis that you are not trying to adjust but you are testing and afterwards adjusting as necessary.

btw - another place in our ritual where people make a mistake is when saying just upright and free. Pause after the just (there is a comma in most ritual books) to give the meaning 'just" as in upright and trustworthy - not "just upright" meaning about to fall over. 




A Look at Future Activities from Masonic Education

Please observe that this paper was written in June 2012 by V.W.Bro. George Allan G Lec, K.L., Chairman of Masonic Education

A large number of masons are saying that Masonic Education needs a re-vamp, needs a new look, needs leadership. They want to see some action. I have been appointed to give that leadership to Masonic Education and I will. 

My philosophy of life is based on consensus and co-operation mediated with the practical knowledge that we can’t please all the people all of the time. Consensus and co-operation are themselves based on listening to all sides and finding a path that will not upset people.  So, under my chairmanship the National Education Committee will never dictate what to do in your Lodge.  Instead we will advise and assist, suggest things to try that focus Masonic Education on the tenets of the Craft. The NEC watch-words will be “Leadership – not dictatorship”. 

The following paragraph outlines the current situation as seen by many Brethren. The aim of Masonry is said to be to find worthy men and make them Masons, to get those Entered Apprentices passed to the Fellow Craft degree and to raise those Fellow Crafts to Master Masons. Then, in time, for these Master Masons to become Lodge Officers so they can take an active part in Initiating worthy men, passing them to the 2nd degree and assisting in raising them to the sublime degree of a Master Mason and in due time for a Lodge Officer to become Master. In short, many think that the aim of Masonry is to carry out 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree ceremonies, with a break once a year to install a new Master. We do seem to have fallen into a mind-set that says - “If we’re not doing a ceremony – we are not ‘doing’ Masonry, if we don’t have a candidate – we are failing.

Brethren, we seem to have lost sight of the main point of Masonry which is for a man to become a better citizen of the world, for each and every one of us to become better citizens. We can do this by trying to learn the Hidden Mysteries of Nature and Science, and to find our true self.  The Oracle at Delphi in 650BC had the moto “Know Thyself”, advice that has appeared in literature many times since and is as relevant today as it was then. We are taught these very things in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree rituals but how many of us really do become better citizens of the world?  How many of us look for and find the hidden mysteries in Nature and Science or come to know ourselves? I believe these are the true aims of Freemasonry. I believe that masonic education should help Masons do these tasks. So, in subsequent issues of this magazine I will write articles that contain things to try in your Lodge to bring these things back into the main main focus of Freemasonry. We can start this process by finding ways to engender more interest and enthusiasm into our Masonry.

Those who attended a Divisional Conference in June 2012 may have seen me outline a view that Masonic Education consists of 3 parts: 

Training for Lodge Office 

Training for running the Lodge 

Understanding our work as Freemasons

The first of these, Training for Lodge Office involves preparing masons for the posts of Master, Wardens, Deacons, Inner Guard, Tyler, Chaplain, Organist, Director of Ceremonies. This is best done at Lodge level under the watchful eye of a good DC and the NEC can assist by providing guidance in the form of booklets that outline the duties and how best to practice Charges. Some of these are already in existence and the NEC is working towards making these more readily available in digital form on an educational website. More news of this in due course soon.

The second part is Training for running the Lodge and revolves around the Lodge Secretary, Lodge Treasurer and the Lodge Trustees. These jobs come under the province of the National Development Committee chaired by W.Bro. Roger Carsons and the NEC will work closely with his committee to ensure we do not duplicate effort here. We also work closely with the National Communications Committee because educational matters need to be broadcast to every Freemason in New Zealand.

The third part Understanding our work as Freemasons is where we will focus over the next 3 to 5 years and try to put back the excitement into our masonry, make it more interesting to all of us and make it come alive. My articles will ask you to “Try This” in your lodges (and I will ask the Editor to use “Try This” as the title of my articles in future issues of this magazine).

The first thing to try is to get your lodge committee to agree to allow prime time in a Lodge meeting for Masonic Education. Some lodges already allow of 20 to 30 minutes in each lodge meeting but many will resist this because they have never done it this way. So I ask you to try this. In that 20 to 30 minute space (immediately after business or immediately after a ceremony) get someone to read 1 or 2 sentences from the ritual you are about to perform or have just completed and facilitate a discussion on what that means. Get Brethren to talk to each other in small groups or 3 or 4 for 5 minutes and then get each group to say what they have discovered. You will be genuinely amazed at what you learn about Masonry. Over the course of a few meetings you will probably be amazed at how your Lodge bonds together. Try it.

George Allan




Calling All Master Masons

Are you interested in improving your masonic performance?

Do you want to learn the signs, token and words correctly?

Do you want to get your masonry right and thereby develop your confidence?

Lodge of Instruction is a teaching and training ground where Master Masons can learn their Masonry correctly according to the New Zealand book of Ritual. It is a Master Masons' Lodge, no EAs, FCs because all three degrees will be practiced. 

MMs can volunteer to learn a role or Charge in a degree and perform that role at the next meeting under the guidance of the Preceptor V.W.Bro. George Allan and his two assistants who will give friendly guidance. One assistant Preceptor guides floor work, the other guides the words and phrases used. We will give you encouragement and help you build your confidence in performing Lodge work.

The Lodge of Instruction will be held every month, tyling at 7:30pm to be finished by 9:00pm. It is the place where Master Masons can practice their movements around the Lodge.

If you are interested in improving your masonry, finding out why we do the things we do, and having a go - please e-mail George Allan at drgeorgeallan@gmail.com




Masonic Evenings†have to be:

* Worth coming to

* Interesting

* Stimulating

Worth coming to involves being worth our time, worth the effort to get there, worthwhile when we are there so we will come back. Every masonic evening has two parts: in the Lodge room where it is a serious business, no place for frivolity or jokes; at refectory which is jovial, humorous, fraternity and a happy atmosphere.

Interesting involves the subject matter being relevant, worth listening to, stimulating to our mind, something new for consideration. The voice of any speaker needs to be loud enough to hear, clear enough to understand, at a speed appropriate to our listening. Any slides shown have to be simple and clear to see and delivered at an appropriate speed for us to take in.

Stimulating involves a new approach to that which we think we know well but may not have seen it that way before; or a new contribution to our knowledge, making us want more and possibly research further for ourselves. We should feel motivated to find out for ourself.

V.W.Bro. George Allan

September 2016




The Spirit of Freemasonry

Have you ever thought that Freemasonry as it is today may have lost some of its original spirit?

In my Grandfather's day and in my father's day the general public looked up to a man who was a Freemason. He was regarded as a pillar of society and, indeed, that term "Pillar of Society" was often used, but no more is it used. It may be regarded as old fashioned and most things regarded as old are treated with little more than contempt these days. Our society has changed so much in the last twenty years and it is still changing. New words are replacing previously well-known words to such an extent that some of our elderly don't understand modern speak (and this is an example if you see what I mean).

Is it any wonder that Freemasonry is struggling in a modern world of change? Well, it may come as a shock to learn that Freemasonry is not struggling in some countries of the world. Young men are queueing up to join. Waiting times are anything up to three years, and initiation is only after tough and strict examinations of a man's background, family and business connections to ascertain his credibility and character. In these countries the "spirit" of Freemasonry is alive and well, men enjoy being together in spirit as well as physically. This has nothing to do with religion. A wise old priest once told a group of us not to confuse spirit with religion and the reason he gave was that religion is man-made whereas spirit is something quite, quite different.

So, my questions for you are these:

What was that original spirit of Freemasonry and .... what is that spirit today?  How can you and I rebuild the spirit of Freemasonry in the days to come relevant to the here and now?

VW Bro George Allan PG Lec 

Chairman of National Masonic Education Committee




SEEK and Ye Shall FIND

by WBro Harvey Lovewell Queensland, Australia

The making of a Freemason consists of a continuing course of education, of training, and of character forming. While it may be accepted that it is an innermost desire, followed by obligations that makes one a member of the Craft, yet in a truer form and better sense, a man is never a Freemason until he truthfully and loyally lives up to his obligations. And he cannot do that until he understands them, and eventually knows their scope and real meaning.

Freemasonry can very well be divided into many phases. Its landmarks, its customs, its constitution and its laws, just to mention a few, if studied and mastered, can provide a more interesting course for the Master Mason seeking Masonic knowledge. Its historical background can provide in interesting program of investigation to the Member attracted to a desire for research.

One peculiarity about Freemasonry is that it will stand investigation. The deeper the research, the more extensive the knowledge of its hidden art and mysteries, the more highly it is appreciated. A member of the Craft who merely takes his degrees in a listless, careless sort of manner, and then remains as just a spectator at Lodge meetings, may hold to the opinion that Freemasonry differs little from other societies. To the contrary, the Master Mason who delves deeply into Masonic literature takes a lively interest in every part of the Ritualistic and Lodge Work, and learns the origin, meaning and moral bearing of its symbols, cannot possibly fall into such an error. To him Freemasonry has a refining and elevating influence not to be found in the ordinary run of organizations.

The philosophies of Freemasonry, when discovered and then accepted and practiced, provide that simple but profound solution to the problems of human relationships.
May it be accepted that Freemasonry is a way of living to the Master Mason who is interested enough to appraise and value the wealth that is his, and his alone, by virtue of his Masonic Membership. The best informed Mason is the Mason who reads and studies. Consequently, if we want Freemasonry to be of practical usefulness and cultural attainment, we, as Freemasons, must not neglect our Masonic reading, our Masonic studying and our research for more Masonic Light.




What does Masonic Education do for my Lodge?​​​​​​​†

It is reported Nationally from recently raised Brethren that they want someone in Lodge to help them to learn more (we call this mentors). After candidates are raised to the third degree we often assume they can fend for themselves but this assumption is not correct. We really should look after them and help them to understand what it is all about. Someone close to them in Lodge is the best person to help.

A question received from a recently installed Lodge Master was, “What can the Education people do for me and my Lodge”?  Many Freemasons are unaware of the educational resources that are currently available. So I have tasked the Masonic Education Committee with making current resources more “in your face”.

We are working on ways to get this information out there nation-wide to every Lodge Master and Warden who are the rulers of our Craft so they can use these materials in their Lodge tomake masonic evening more interesting for their Brethren.

I will ask the current Grand Lecturers and the incoming Grand Lecturers to arrange that every WM and Warden receives a personal e-mail containing the link to this educational website so he can view the resources here. I will also ask that the Masonic Toolbox be advertised more widely as it contains a large number of masonic educational material for use in your Lodge to make evenings more enjoyable.

It has been my personal experience when giving educational evenings in Lodges that the more established Brethren also enjoy knowing more about Masonry. There are many, many things that we miss, many things to find out about.

 George Allan




THE LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES

by W Bro Russell Ward of The Belmont Albion Lodge No. 45 inspired by W Bro Southwick

Europe is undergoing tumult from the massive migration of people who are leaving the East and going to the West, sadly for less than Masonic reasons. It may take generations for the changes to shake down. This is not a new thing: people have moved en masse in the past too. We often fail to credit some members of society with their dues. Our Craft was formed in an atmosphere of great learning and discoveries about the nature of things. This knowledge came about in part by Louis XIV’s incredible alienation of 50,000 French Protestants in October 1685. He revoked the 1598 Edict of Nantes at Fontainebleau that had guaranteed the Huguenots freedom from persecution on religious grounds.

They decamped to England (the present day equivalent of 650,000 immigrants), bringing the great Huguenot traits of inventiveness and dedication.  What was striking about the Huguenots was the extraordinary diversity of their manufacturing, scientific and artistic penchants. They were able to fill a huge void, in a country that didn't have much of that stuff. France lost heavily in the process. 

It was to be England’s gain and the Craft in particular profited by it. There became a huge need for gentlemen’s clubs in London (5% of the population) and our Craft marketed itself to the intelligentsia. In its infancy, there was a close connection between the Craft and the Royal Society. Nearly all Grand Masters during the first 50 years of Grand Lodge were Fellows of the Royal Society. You had to be pretty astute to become a Fellow, a glib turn of phrase wouldn’t cut it.

The important point I wish to make is that, in the times we are considering, a gentleman would have had a thorough grounding in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The influential thinkers of the times, who made such a contribution to the industrial improvement of the British economy, were deep thinkers who (for example) could look at such a simple thing as an apple falling from a tree and formulate the incredible scientific principles that Isaac Newton did. His work is still the background of all our physics of movement today. Denis Papin invented a steam engine 20 years before Newcomen and 70 years before Watt. Steam power was just what was needed for the cotton mills. And who were the bright people at handcrafts particularly spinning and weaving? The Huegenots. Papin was one.

So let’s consider the knowledge base of the Craft in our times. The Apprentice is advised, after his initiation, to make the Liberal Arts and Sciences his study: these are Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy. The hidden mysteries of Nature and Science are referred to in another of our charges. Chambers says that this really an intimation to the candidate that he is expected to study and continue in the pursuit of knowledge.

It can all be distilled down to a challenge to Freemasons to equip themselves as men, through education and study, to play a full and adequately informed part in the life of the society in which they live. A man who has learned to base his thinking on the teachings of moral truth and virtue (rather than the TV News) will be an exemplary member of modern society, making a daily advancement in his knowledge – particularly Masonic Education, as we understand it, is something that continues until one’s dying breath. Every day there is something new out there, so grab it, study it, understand it. Learn on, my brothers, especially teach the succeeding generations the Liberal Arts and Sciences!

References

1 Cryer, Neville Barker 1995 Hugenot Freemasons in A Masonic Panorama AMRC

2 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/refugee-week-the-huguenots-count-among-the-most-successful-of-britains-immigrants-10330066.html

3 Southwick L H: The Hidden Mysteries of Nature and Science Paper presented to United Masters Lodge 27 August 1964. Provided the inspiration for this missive.

4 Chambers A R : Questions and Answers 2 Edition 1983 edited by Hepburn R  

5 Personal feeling: I often want to cast off my boots and throw them at the TV.




The Masonic Education Committee & New Grand Lecturers for 2016-2019

The Education Committee and Associates for Craft Masonry met in Wellington on Thursday and Friday 8th and 9th September to welcome the three new Grand Lecturers who will be invested by the Grand Master in November. They are:
* Mark Hall in the Northern Division who takes over from Charles Miller,
* Rod Johnston in the Central Division who succeeds George Allan,
* Graeme Martin in the Southern Division taking over from Rick Williams.
Other members present were John MacDonald from the far North, Graeme Norton in the Auckland area, Ian Lawson in the Bay of Plenty, Jim Logan in the Hawke’s Bay, Richard Illingworth in the Wellington area, Max Currie in the top of the South Island and Alistair Church from the deep south.

Despite flight delays due to the poor weather conditions around Wellington airport everyone arrived and took a full and interactive part in the discussions that focussed on how to get Lodges involved in educating their own recently made Masons. 




Mouth-To-Ear Mentoring

The following article comes from Bro Ron Gale and describes the Mentoring form of Learning and Teaching Ritual in many North American Constitutions.
As explained to me recently by the Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA) ‘Many Grand Lodges have mouth-to-ear which simply means the Grand Lodge has not approved printing the ritual’. Ten U.S. Grand Lodges do not have ritual ciphers or plain text ritual books and prohibit their members from having them.
I have had the pleasure, opportunity, and good fortune to have visited a number of the Lodges in such Constitutions across North America, and as far away as South Korea (whose ritual practice follows that of California) over a number of years.
I found their ritual rendition to be identical and ‘word perfect’ in its accuracy and, every bit as important, refreshing in its delivery. It seemed, in a sense, to become ‘alive’.
One such meeting in South Korea, about 40 years ago, remains freshly in my memory as the most enjoyable, exciting, and educational meeting I have ever attended in my 60 year membership of the Craft. My impressions were, and remain, so vivid that I have written to successive Grand Masters outlining this experience.


To maintain the accuracy of their repetition of the ritual their system necessitates and inculcates the very importance of understanding the meaning and objective of each word and phrase in each and every charge.


Lodges in such Constitutions appoint a "mentor" to shepherd and assist each individual candidate, the Master appoints an education (ritual) chairman and committee in his Lodge to assist each class of candidates ... "mouth to ear" is usually a "one on one" review and repetition to establish an understanding of what transpired during the degree and a follow-up to determine the individual's understanding, learning and proficiency. 

As one Worshipful Master explained to me, ‘we look upon each degree ceremony as a ‘Masonic play’ in which all the officers and brethren ‘perform’ for the benefit of an audience of ONE, the Candidate’. Their Masonic mentors are usually Past Masters who, having ascended through the entire officer chairs of the lodge, are very knowledgeable in not only Freemason ritual, but Freemason history, Masonic Lodge etiquette and Lodge operations. 
The most obvious point to be discovered in a study of any Ritual is that it is a teaching system by which a student may be taught and when the student has learned, the student may then become a teacher, always with a constant result as the objective.
Help the ritualist grow in poise; composure and intellect, then surround him with fraternal love and affection for he will then be your brother.


Lodges have a tendency to select their best ritualist when it comes to the election of a new preceptor. 
The ability to do something well has little or no relevance to the ability to help others reach the same standard. Good preceptors create learning and guide their pupils within them.
RITUAL, if we can simplify it, is the performing of certain acts in order to demonstrate some mystery.
Nothing builds attendances and attracts visitors more than the ritual of our ceremonial being delivered, not just word perfect, but with the subtleties and nuances that paint a word picture of the lessons imbedded in the charges.


It is my very strong belief that maintenance of the high quality of the standard of ritual in North America has played a significant part in the very much slower decline in their membership. 
The time-honoured way to learn Masonic ritual is by listening to it during lodge meetings and studying to memorize it.
It is not just a matter of remembering the ritual words by rote and being able to remember and then recite them……the skill of a good ritualist lies in how he delivers it. To do that you have to study each word and phrase and interpret what the message is that you are intending to convey to the candidate through that particular charge.


The benefit of a ‘one-on-one’ mentoring system is that it enables an experienced mason to gauge how your delivery could be received by a candidate and whether you were getting the right method across.
Where you do not have a mentor, one of the fastest and best approach is for interested members and/or progressive Lodge Officers to form and join a Ritual Club...or Ritual Team. 
Masonic districts may even constitute one lodge or a designated body of members who solely perform degree work and Masonic funeral ceremonies for other lodges in their district
Lodges within a district could also form what is called a Warden's Club. The Warden's Club may consists of Junior Wardens, Senior Wardens, Worshipful Masters, Past Masters, Ritual Team members and any other lodge member who wishes to attend just to watch, listen and learn.


My own personal method was to walk around the local oval and read the charge aloud, over and over and over again, varying emphasis and expression from time to time to gauge my delivery, and the way that I emphasised a particular phrase to illustrate the lesson within the charge that had been devised to enlighten a candidate.
RW Bro Ronald L Gale PSGW (Member of the Grand Lodge Ceremonial Team 1970/1979)




The Historical Timelines of the Origins of our Freemasonry

by VW Bro George Allan PG Lec K.L. OMLJ PhD CEng

To understand how our fraternity of Freemasons came into being we need to get several pieces of the puzzle into the correct order relative to each other. The term ‘puzzle’ is a fitting one as it really is a puzzle and this presentation will probably leave you with more questions than answers.

We are told according to tradition that our Freemasonry came from Operative Lodges dating back to sometime in the 1300’s and possibly even earlier – who knows as there are no existing records that we know of.

What we do know is that there were Lodges of English Freemasons in existence in the 1600’s. The earliest record of an initiation is that of Mr.Elias Ashmole (1617 – 1682) an antiquarian (studied historic things especially the empirical evidence of the past), an officer on the Royalist side of the civil war, founder member of the Royal Society in London. He was made a mason on 16th October 1646 at Warrington, Lancaster

We know that in 1717 first Grand Lodge and that in 1751 there was another Grand Lodge styled the Antients or Atholl Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Old Institution 1751. These came together as the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813 and is the one and only current Grand Lodge for England.
There was also the Grand Lodge of York 1725 – 1792
And the Grand Lodge South of the River Trent 1779-1790.

Where did it all start.
A text dated around 1390 in Old English (the language of the day current in Chaucer’s time) written in rhyming verse of nearly 800 lines starts with the art of Geometry as related to teaching the children of the nobility of ancient Egypt and it calls this masonry. It tells of the spread of Geometry into other lands.  It also relates a good story of how masonry started in England under King Athelstan (895-939). This poem is called the Regius Poem probably because it was donated by persons unknown in 1734 to King George II as a gift and was filed away in the royal archives as unimportant until discovered around 1840 by James Halliwell. He was not a Freemason but recognised the important messages in the text. For example, the text lists 15 articles and 15 points for the governance of operative masons. 
The Regius Poem also called the Halliwell Document is regarded as an early form of The Old Charges because it tells mason apprentices how they should behave both professionally at work and morally in life.

An interesting parallel is the similarity of the Guilds of London dating back to the times of King Henry II who wanted to raise taxes. He commanded that the tradesmen of London should improve the quality of their work, become better and therefore sell more good, make more profit and pay more tax. The first of these to be Chartered was the Worshipful Company of Weavers in 1155. By the time of King Edward I, II and III in the 1300’s Guilds were established for most trades. No trade was allowed to take on apprentices unless they were registered and regulated.
Members were expected to adhere to very strict and proper behaviour.
Members of Guilds were appointed to the most important posts such as Aldermen and Mayor and became powerful citizens of London. 
Each Guild built its own Hall and was ruled for a year by an elected Master , SW and JW (some Guilds had Upper Warden, Middle Warden and Lower Warden) who progressed towards the master’s chair.
This was the situation in London around 1640 and middle and upper classes wanted to join, dine well, have a good time, intellectual discussions. The Royal Society was formed out of these gentlemen in November 1660.

We are told that the first Grand Lodge in England was formed from 4 Lodges meeting in London and named after the public houses where they met: the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul's Church-yard (now called Lodge of Antiquity No. 2); the Crown Ale-house in Parker's Lane off Drury Lane; the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden (now called Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland No. 12); and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster (now called Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. IV).  Representatives first met at the Apple Tree Tavern in 1716 to discuss forming a governing body, holding an annual assembly and feast. They met finally at the Goose and Gridiron and constituted themselves into the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster and elected their oldest Master Mr Anthony Sayer the first Grand Master. In 1720 George Payne was elected the 2nd GM and he wrote the General Regulations of e Free Mason. The third Grand Master the Reverend Dr John Theophilus Desaguliers ordered the Rev Dr James Anderson to write The Constitutions of the Free-Masons containing the History, Charges, Regulations, and of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. This was submitted to GL in 1722 and approved by a Grand Lodge committee. This work was reprinted in Philadelphia in 1734 by Benjamin Franklin, who was that year elected Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania. It was also translated into Dutch (1736), German (1741), and French (1745).

Important questions arise: 
How was it that news spread and many men travelled to central London to meet and decide to start this GL?
Secondly: Why would diverse lodges want to be governed by a London based GL?

One conspiracy theory is that it was the Hanovarian ruling class that pulled the strings in the background to secure a protestant grip on London and England. 
At the start of the 1800’s HRH the Duke of Kent was Grand Master of the Athol GL and his brother HRH the Duke of Sussex was GM of the premier GL. This facilitated the joining together and forming The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) which we know today.  However, there was considerable unrest when this governing body insisted that every masonic lodge would use the same ritual and obey the same rules and regulations.
References
Anderson, J. 1723, The Constitutions of the Free-Masons, "For the Use of the Lodges" in London and Westminster
Hibbard, W., 2016 “THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN BRITAIN IN 1717
ITS INFLUENCE ON THE FORMATION OF THE FIRST GRAND LODGE”, in Transactions of the Research Lodge of Wellington, May 2016
Roger, L. M., “English Speculative Freemasonry: Foundation and Empire”, in: Transactions of the Masonic Study Society, Vol. LXXIV
Page 1 of 4




The Origins of Freemasonry - Some of the theories explored

By V.W.Bro.M.I.McGregor, PGLec., District Education Advisor Southland District

Part 1 - The beginning of the Speculatives.

There are a number of theories as to the origins of Freemasonry.  One thing we know for sure is that, in 1717, four existing London lodges created the Grand Lodge of England but they were soon joined by a goodly number of other lodges scattered widely throughout England.  At least one of the original London lodges was largely operative at the time and probably others too, but it is generally believed that all the Lodges contained a number of non-operatives and that they were the dominant group by 1717.  These non-operatives formed a group within the Lodge known as the “Acceptance”, or “Accepcon”, men whose membership of the Lodge had nothing to do with the stonemason’s craft.  In other words, craft qualifications were not required of them as a condition of acceptance into the lodge but they had to swear an oath of allegiance and obey the laws and regulations nevertheless.

Much the same situation applied to Scotland except that, in 1717, the Scots lodges were almost all still mainly operative.  The craft of stonemasonry was particularly strong in Scotland because just about everything was built of stone.  What’s more, the Scots trade guilds had never been suppressed, as they had been in England.  The Scots masons were under Royal protection, especially after 1601, when King James VI himself was made a member of the Lodge of Perth and Scoon.  Some Scots lodges could produce minute books dating before 1500.  Nevertheless, in spite of their decidedly operative emphasis in 1717, the Scots lodges had long been admitting non-operatives and, encouraged by their English brothers, were warming to the idea of a Grand Lodge of Scotland. 

There is no doubt that the Freemasons Lodges grew out of the stonemason’s guilds or companies of old.  Among other proofs, this is proven by the fact that the Grand Lodge of England, and later Scotland, adopted the ancient constitutions of the operatives as the foundation constitution of the new Speculative Freemasonry.  The founding of the Grand Lodge of England, followed by Ireland and Scotland, marked the point when the operative masons handed over control of the Craft to the Speculatives on condition, however, that the constitutions be preserved.

The first ‘company’ of the operative craft was formed in London in 1395 after a demarcation dispute highlighted the need for some organization, rules and regulations.  From then on, lodges were formed throughout England along the lines on the London company.  Those in the towns adopted the guild system, but some of the country lodges were less formal.

It remains a matter of conjecture as to why non-operatives were either invited to join, or sought to join, operative stonemason’s lodges.  From the point of view of the operatives, it would have been advantageous to extend honorary membership to men of influence in the community for the purpose of protection and to have an advocate for their interests.  Membership would also bring in some useful money at a time of general decline.  One can well surmise that these honorary members may have recommended further members from amongst their friends and acquaintances, especially if there was a need to ensure that all within the group were loyal to each other, hence thorough scrutiny, means of recognition, oaths of allegiance and penalties for breach. The stonemason’s lodges already had this mechanism and were thus a ready-made system of meeting places throughout the country which could be used by an exclusive group of like-minded men pledged to secrecy and mutual support and protection. 

But – what were these early Freemasons like-minded and secretive about?   It is of great significance that Speculative Freemasonry came to light during the Renaissance and the more or less parallel Religious Reformation, during the 16th.century and the first half of the 17th century.   The Renaissance, which started earlier than the Reformation, was an expression of humanism, a rationalist outlook attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.  It resulted in a cultural movement, ‘Renaissance Thought’, which turned away from medieval scholasticism and revived interest in ancient Greek and Roman thought.  The study of the ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’ was central to Renaissance humanism.  Humanism tended to centre on the individual and, in particular, the philosophy of doing one’s best in this life and becoming a polymath, rather than concentrating on achieving ‘Salvation’ in the next.  The humanists believed in Free Will.

Although some theologians saw no conflict with humanism, most were concerned with matters of Original Sin, Free Will and Redemption and humanism was regarded as a dangerous distraction.  In any event, the Christian world was turned on its head by Martin Luther.  Luther was an Augustinian monk, lawyer and lecturer in philosophy at Wittenberg University.  In 1517, Luther preached against the selling of Indulgences and, on October 31, he nailed his theses on church reform to the door of Wittenberg's Castle Church.  Luther was declared a heretic by the Church of Rome in 1518 and excommunicated in 1521.  Although Luther had aimed a church reform rather than creating a new church, that’s the way it ended up.  By Luther’s time, the Church was already in dire need of reform and many could see the logic in Luther’s reform demands and felt aggrieved by the intransigence of the Church of Rome which seemed intent on persecuting the messenger, rather than heeding the message.  On the other hand, there were those who felt that Luther had gone much further than mere reforms of canon law.  Luther had preached Redemption “through Faith alone”, which negated Redemption through Faith and good works.  He had also preached against the whole theology of Purgatory and the purchasing of indulgences.  Even more significantly, Luther’s theology on Free Will argued essentially that man had the capacity of free will to do evil, but could not achieve Salvation through acts of free will, this could only be achieved by Faith alone and God’s saving grace.  John Calvin went further with his theology, which was that man was inherently sinful (depraved) but that this state was predestined and beyond his control and that only an “elect” few could be saved by God’s saving grace.

            There was a significant difference in the ‘English Reformation’ in that King Henry VIII made himself supreme governor of the Church in England and by virtue of refuting Papal authority, created the Church of England.  In Henry’s day the Church of England remained theologically Catholic but introduced some Protestant reforms.  It became officially Protestant for the last time during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I from which point on the Church of England was, and is, in its own terms, an autonomous Protestant Catholic Church, if that makes sense.  However, because the English, later British, monarch is the governor of the Church of England there was an insistence on “conformity” to its beliefs and ways and those who believed otherwise, such as Roman Catholics and non-conforming Protestants, ran the risk of persecution.  However, within its own ranks, there was wide divergence in the Church of England, from the Arminians who were close to the Church of Rome and the Puritans who were close to Calvin.  This begged the question as to what was, and what was not, “conformity.”

            Throughout the 16th century and onwards, there was little attempt at reconciling theological differences.  Instead, theologians pored over the Bible in every greater detail and the different theologies grew further apart and more schisms were created.  In truth, many of the differences were hair-splitting and had little to do with scripture.  Henry VIII, an unbridled tyrant, brought in several laws intended to establish “conformity” and persecuted – usually executed – both Catholics and Protestants who disagreed with his version of religion.   Queen Elizabeth hated bigotry and extremism and tried to turn the Church of England into a church which would suit everyone but she failed to win over the Roman Catholics and the Calvinists.  King James tried to carry on Elizabeth’s work but again failed to rein in the extremists.  In Europe, decades of hostility between the Catholics and Protestants culminated in the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648) which saw many massacres and the slaughter of one third of the German people.  The English Civil War (1642 – 1651) was fought between the Arminian (High Church) faction of the Church of England and the Puritan faction of the same church, with the Catholics supporting the Arminians and the Presbyterians supporting the Puritans.

            As for the effect of the Reformation on the Renaissance, it was impossible that the new Renaissance freedom of thought could be confined for long under the thraldom of medieval Catholicism, but neither could it be cramped by the dogmatism and intolerance of the early reformers. The Reformation, which was a direct outcome of the “New Learning”, was destined to deal the Renaissance an almost fatal blow, for the religious wars which plunged Europe into chaos and barbarism for so many years checked and ruined much of the great work of the Renaissance.  In England the universities suffered terribly during the religious persecutions.  Many of the great libraries were confiscated and burnt, the study of the classics ceased and the “New Learning” was almost forgotten.  However, just before the start of the Thirty Years War, a German secret group calling themselves ‘Rosicrucians’ issued a proclamation (Fama) calling for reform of religion and science, very much a plea to all men of learning and the princes to unite in carrying on the spirit of the Renaissance.

             It is no coincidence that the first concrete records of Speculative Freemasonry in England refer to events during the English Civil War.  On 20 May 1641, Sir Robert Moray, was initiated into the Lodge of Edinburgh in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, at that time occupied by the Army of Scotland in which he was a general.  The two deacons at the initiation were the Duke of Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton, general of artillery.  Moray was well known to Charles I and Charles II, and the French cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin. He attended the meeting of the 1660 committee of 12 on 28 November 1660 that led to the formation of the Royal Society, and was influential in gaining its Royal Charter and formulating its statutes.

            Elias Ashmole, the famous antiquarian, was initiated in the midst of the English Civil War into an apparently non-operative and possibly "occasional" lodge at Warrington in the diocese of Chester on 16 October 1646. Ashmole's diary records how: “I was made a Free Mason at Warrington in Lancashire with Colonel Henry Mainwaring (a Parliamentarian) of Karincham in Cheshire; the names of those that were then at the Lodge, Mr Richard Penket, Mr James Collier, Mr Richard Sankey [a Catholic], Henry Littler, John Ellam, Richard Ellam and Hugh Brewer.”  From what we know of the men he mentions, they were from both sides of the religio-political spectrum.  The Warrington lodge was at least partly operative.

            There is little hard evidence as to what the early “accepted” speculative Masons stood for, but it is possible to surmise that they stood for the same principles as we do today.  They were more than likely humanists who wanted to preserve the spirit of the Renaissance and make advances in the Liberal Arts and Sciences.  They were also moderate and tolerant in their religious beliefs, politics being intertwined with religion in those days.  More particularly, they were men who believed in the freedom of the individual to think and believe as he would, within the bounds of moral law.  That said, moral law, as enshrined in the Bible, was above religious division.  On the basis that the moral law could be agreed upon by all men, of whatever creed, Freemasons extended the hand of friendship and Brotherly Love to each other.  As well as that, charity was regarded as one of the most important expressions of the belief in the Brotherhood of Man. Freemasonry was a plea for Humanity in an age of judicial genocide and cruel intolerance in the name of religion.

            The need for secrecy was self-evident.  Wherever a person lived in the 16th and 17th centuries, whether Catholic or Protestant, Lutheran or Calvinist, the ruling religious and secular authorities were deeply suspicious of anyone who appeared to hold views which did not “conform” and the chances of being branded a “heretic” were high, as were the penalties – death, confiscation of property, etc.  Nonconformity was often branded as “treason” as well as “heresy.”  Although the Church of England theoretically allowed freedom of thought, but insisted on conformity of ritual, by the time of the Civil War friction between the Arminian faction and the Puritans amounted to extreme intolerance on the part of both.

            With their means of proof, secret signs of recognition, oaths of allegiance and penalties for breaches of the oaths, laws and regulations, the operative lodges provided a perfect infrastructure for the Speculative Masons. The operatives also had degrees, only two in those days, being ‘Entered Prentice’ and ‘Fellow Craft.’     

            That is the start of Speculative Freemasonry as we know it but there are several theories about the origins of Freemasonry in the distant past.  Some of these will be examined in the next article.

Note:  The spirit of the Renaissance resurfaced and revived into the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ at the beginning of the 18th Century.  The Grand Lodge of England was created in 1717 to preside over a movement imbued with the spirit of enlightenment.




Two Great Dangers That Await You

The following article is taken from the Editorial of Northtalk” – the news letter of District No. 1 Northland New Zealand prepared and published by WBro John MacDonald.


Two Great Dangers 
In the first Degree every newly initiated Brother is told, after being brought to light, that he has just escaped two great dangers. There are two other dangers that beset us as Freemasons of which we receive no warning, yet are as equally deadly to Freemasonry as an organisation: they are COMPLACENCY and APATHY. 
The Oxford Dictionary defines these two words thus:

Complacency (n) A feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements.

Apathy (n) Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. 

Translated into “Kiwi” English: complacency = look how good I/we am/are now or were back then. apathy = “she’ll be right” or “someone else will do it”. 


After the post WW 2 boom our Lodges were full to overflowing with Brethren and candidates. With standing room only it was quite common for new Lodges to be formed to accommodate the numbers. For example Lodge Wainuiomata No 379 founded in 1954 spawned a daughter Lodge Orongorongo No 440 in 1972. Both Lodges met in the same small town, same building, but on different nights. Both these Lodges are now closed as are all but one of the Lodges that used to meet in the Lower Hutt area. 


Complacency and apathy have played a significant part in the closure of  Masonic Lodges and indeed all “men only” organisations. These two factors, companency and apathy, are probably more to blame than the changes in social attitudes to serving and consuming alcohol which for hundreds of years were the dominant attraction in these societies. Most had a public focus on member personal development, family care, community service, or sport - which are all laudable objectives even in the self-opinionated world of today. Achievements were ticked off by the number of photos in the newspapers, plaques on walls in public places, and long service badges pinned on lapel jackets, proudly worn on every possible occasion. All meetings, including AGMs, were well attended and there were often queues for the position of President and Vice President. Society rules usuallyeven insisted that Presidents and Committee members had to stand down after serving 3 years. 
Secretary’s post office boxes were full of new member applications and committee meetings had time devoted to approving these after suitable scrutiny in the approved fashion set out in the By-Laws. New members were welcomed in with a free drink at the bar which was then added to by the proposer, seconder, and various other friends and neighbours who made sure that they were present for the occasion. The “new member” was often “poured into” a car and driven home to his long suffering wife who had a meal sitting on the stove on top of a pot of steaming water with the pot lid over the plate. 


After the complacency came the apathy. With everything “humming along” and W.Bro Ivanhoe doing a great job as Secretary and W.Bro Scrooge McDuck doing a great job as Treasurer why would anyone else want to take the job at the next election of officers. W.Bro Woodchop has been Tyler for 25 years and knew every face in the District, so why would anyone want to tbe Tyler while he was happy to do it? Did anyone ask him if he would like to be in the Lodge room during meetings on a cold winter’s night rather than preparing the tables in the refectory? How often did the Lodge hold a clean-up Saturday? You couldn’t see the cobwebs if you didn’t look up or the dust lying everywhere. Because there were not many social functions, how often were the toilets given a proper cleaning? What about building maintenance? Getting a bit short of money in the bank so let’s defer that for a while shall we? Cracked window facing the street? Yeah! We must get around to getting that fixed shortly? And then of course there is always some delightful, well know person  “Mr Sum One Else” who will come to our aid when all else fails. Sorry. Not today he won’t. He is not politically correct anymore. 
Are these two dangers present in your Lodge? If they are do something NOW because they very quickly become terminal illnesses. 
Fraternally 
WBro John MacDonald
District Education Advisor and Editor NorthTalk 




What Sort of Lodge is Your Lodge?

There are many, many different sorts of Masonic Lodge in New Zealand but put simply there are four main types. These can be summerized as:

Which sort is your Lodge?

National Education Team Position

Since May 2016 we have developed relevant masonic articles to help you make your Lodge evening interesting. These are at

http://www.themasons.org.nz/cdiv/education.php

Click on this link and see what you can see.  This is a resource that includes a teaching programme to assist members to learn and know their Masonry.

Topics relate to good Masonic practice and promote understanding of our Craft.

The Added Masonic Value

Good/great interactive masonic evenings lead to:

more engagement amongst members which ....

leads to motivation to learn more .... 

leads to fewer members leaving .... 

leads to speaking about Masonry to others ....

leads to possible new members.

Time spent in masonic discussions in Lodge (instead of simulated degrees) is good for your Lodge members’ engagement and leads to more interaction and understanding which impacts everyone in the Lodge.




Useful Sayings

My thanks to VW Bro Graeme Martin GLec in the Southern Division for the following Masonic Quips

Audi, Vide, Tace (Hear, see and be silent) – the motto of the arms of the Grand Lodge of England, adopted at the Union of 1813, instead of “Relief and Truth” which had been used by the “Moderns”.

Athelstan – King of England 925-941, According to the legends of the Craft he granted a charter to masons to hold an assembly every year.

Broken Column – the emblem of the fall or death of one of the chief supporters of the Craft.  Some lodges in the UK use a charity box representing a broken column.

Masonic calendar – most of the Masonic rites reckon the date from some event in their traditional history.  1. Craft date add 4,000 to vulgar era e.g. 1999 A.D. = this year is 5998 Anno Lucis, 2. Royal Arch add 530 = this year is 2529 Anno Inventionis, 3. Ancient and Accepted Rite add 3760 or after September 3761 = this year is 5759 Anno Hebraico.

The Old Charges – several old manuscripts which generally have three parts, first an introductory prayer, second the history of the Order commencing at the time of Lamach and ending with the era of Athelstan 926 A.D. and third the particular duties, regulations and observances which the Craft in general or masons in particular were expected to observe.

Fellow Craft – Originally mentioned in the Shaw Statutes of 1598 in which the Fellow of the Craft and Master are used as synonymous terms.  An apprentice was expected to serve 14 years and pass examinations before he could be made “Brother and Fellow in Craft”.

Eligibility for nomination – did you know that the Grand Master, Grand Chaplain and Grand Organist do not need to have achieved the rank of Past Master?  Rule 126(a)  BoC.

The significance of the Golden Fleece and the Roman Eagle – contrary to popular expectation the Flemish Guild Wool Merchants had as their symbol the Golden Fleece and the German Merchants had the Roman Eagle.  These were direct competitors to the English Merchants.  It is unlikely the Masons knew much of classical history when the devised the ritual of investiture.

“Free” in Freemason – The following have been suggested as derivatives; masons were: 1.  Free to pursue labours without interference, 2. Were free men and not slaves, 3. Guilds could not enforce apprentice rules over them and could work where they liked, 4. They worked on free stone, which could be cut or carved in any direction rather than simply cleaved.

“So mote it be.” – so may it be the word mote is derived from Anglo Saxon “motan” which has the general meaning “to be allowed”.  This differs from “amen” which is an expression that we all agree with what has been said.

The opening and closing hymns – are not provided for except by custom in the consecration Ceremony.  Odes have no doctrinal reference and are not part of the Ritual.

Belief in God is required of every initiate, but the conception of the Supreme Being is left to his own interpretation.

When visiting a lodge in America some lodges have a supply of the plain white apron needed and the members and visitors do not need to supply their own.

In some USA Lodges the Master wears a hat in Lodge as a symbol of his authority and it is only removed during prayers and when the name of the Deity is mentioned.




Answers to our May 2016 Quiz

Here are some answers to our May Quiz but I must point out that different Lodges have different designs of Tracing Board so some answers will vary.

Q 1. How many masonic symbols are there on your Lodge room 1st Degree Tracing Board?

Some Tracing Boards vary but nearly all show the following: an alter, VSL, Square & Compasses, Point within a Circle; Jacob’s Ladder, symbols on this ladder vary with some TBs showing a Cross (Faith), an Anchor (Hope), a Cup or Hand (Charity)while others show Angels; Blazing Star; Sun, Moon, seven Stars; three columns representing Wisdom, Strength and Beauty; workman’s Square, Level & Plumb-Rule; Rough and Perfect Ashlar (sometimes suspended from a tripod by a Lewis; Common Gavel, Chisel and 24inch Rule; Black & White pavement; Tracing Board & Plan; Tessellated Boarder around the TB with Tassels in each corner.

Q 2. On that same Tracing Board how many rungs can be seen on the ladder? The VSL tells us there are 72.

Q 3. At which chapter of the VSL does your Lodge open the book when opening your Lodge in the 1st Degree?  This varies with no right/wrong answer but see the beginning of your Ritual Book around pages 29 to 31 for recommended passages.

Q 4. Which chapter of the VSL tell us the dimentions of King Solomon's Temple? Chapter 6 of the 1st Book of Kings

Q 5. Why did King Solomon build the Temple and not King David?  Tradition tells us that one of Kind David's soldiers was a man called Uriah who was married to a beautiful lady called Bathsheba. David arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle so he could marry Bathsheba. They had a son and named him Solomon. However, if you read Chapter7 of the 2nd Book of Samuel you will see that although King David wanted to build a House for God to live in, it was God's choice to be transported from place to place in a tent, so he told David that it would not be him (David) who would build a Temple but one of his sons.

Q 6. Name King Solomon's mother. Bathsheba - see above.

Q 7. What is the difference between the Jewels of the Lodge and the Furniture of the Lodge? There are six jewels of the Lodge, three movable and three immovable. The three movable jewels are the Square on the Master’s collar, the Level on the SW’s collar and the Plumb Rule on the JW’s collar called ‘movable jewels’ because they are transferred on Installation; the three immovable jewels are The Tracing Board, Rough Ashlar and Perfect Ashlar.  The furniture of the Lodge are the VSL, the Square and the Compasses. 

Q 8. We lock up our secrets with fidelity - what is fidelity in this context? Fidelity means faithfully true and consistent.

Q 9. What is it that we are supposed to learn from the chisel in the 1st degree working tools? The advantages of being educated.

Q 10. Why does the Master of the Lodge get the Senior Warden to close the Lodge instead of doing it himself? The SW rules the night because he marks the setting sun so it is his job to close the Lodge at the end of a day’s work. (btw the JW rules the day because he calls us from labour to have a rest and then back to work - so the JW is represented by the sun and the SW by the moon).




Answers to our June 2016 Quiz

1) What order of architecture is the pillar that stands on the Senior Warden?s pedestal? Doric - named after the ancient Greek town of Doris whose inhabitants were reputedly solemn.

2) In the 1st Degree you were hoodwinked for several reasons, name two of them. That the mind should conceive before the eye should see. That you cannot see the people inside the Lodge in-case you change your mind before taking the S.O.

3) Of the seven liberal Arts and Sciences name the Sciences. Astronomy, Arithmetic, Geometry, Logic

4) How many knocks are there in closing a Lodge in the 1st Degree after the Master says, Brethren, assist me to close the Lodge?  19 but this may vary in your Lodge dependent on what the IG and Tyler do right at the end.

5) Name the Father and Mother of King Solomon. His father was King David, his mother was Bathsheba.

6) We know ourselves to be Masons by the regularity of our initiation. What is this regularity? Of; At and On: of your own free-will; at the door of a Masonic Lodge; On the point of a sharp instrument.

7) How many times does the Candidate walk round the Lodge during a 1st Degree Ceremony? Two complete circuits and then up the middle.

8) The four corners of the square pavement represent the virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude and Justice, describe the characteristics of the virtue Prudence. Careful to avoid unintended consequences and/or excesses.

9) In the Charge after Initiation you were congratulated on being admitted a member of our ancient and honourable Institution - what makes it honourable? Because it leads/encourages members to be honest, trustworthy, upright citizens who practice moral and social virtues.

10) Name the three distinguishing characteristics of a good Freemason (Hint - see page 84 in your Blue Book). Virtue, Honour, & Mercy.




Answers to our July 2016 Quiz

The following phrases come from our Ritual Book. Using the same principle as our ritual book the Uppercase Letters stand for a word in each case. For example: The T F H in a D would mean the twenty four hours in a day

This quiz can be used for EAs, FCs, MMs and PMs – if they don’t know a phrase it doesn’t matter - they will one day and this might whet their appetite.

  1. The G or T of an E A F  
  2. The P P of my E  
  3. The F R step in FM 
  4. The P or E M and S V 
  5. This P was P at your N L B   
  6. The T G though E L in Freemasonry  
  7. It is M A than the G F or R E 
  8. The F of these is S, F and O.   
  9. A C P P to be M a M   
  10. At my I I was T T be C  
  11. The G G of D, a P and R in I  
  12. They are the S, P and Cs.    
  13. A P within a C from which a M M cannot E  
  14. B Y meek and candid B this evening Y H E two G D 
  15. The T G P of B L, R and T  
  16. From the P which S at the L of the P or E of K S T  
  17. You are now E to D the T L L which are S in the W, S and E  
  18. Let me A T T R of the S W 
  19. I T P O T G A O T U A O T W, W, A W L O A, F, A A F 
  20. A A P O Y F A T R T O B U Y S L A Y S L

Brethren, feel free to use this with the masons in your Lodge

ANSWERS
1.    The Grip or Token of an Entered Apprentice Freemason  
2.    The Perfect Points of my Entry  
3.    The First Regular step in FreeMasonry 
4.    The P or E M and S V 
5.    This Poignard was Presented at your Naked Left Breast   
6.    The Three Great though Emblematical Lights in Freemasonry  
7.    It is More Ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle 
8.    The Foremost of these is Secrecy, Fidelity and Obedience.   
9.    A Candidate Properly Prepared to be Made a Mason   
10.    At my Initiation I was Taught To be Cautious  
11.    The Great Grandfather of David, a Prince and Ruler in Israel  
12.    They are the Scirit, Pencil and Compasses.    
13.    A Point within a Circle from which a Master Mason cannot Err  
14.    By Your meek and candid Behaviour this evening You Have Escaped two Great Dangers 
15.    The Three Grand Principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth  
16.    From the Pillar which Stood at the Left of the Porchway or Entrance of King Solomon’s Temple  
17.    You are now Entitled to Demand the Three Lesser Lights which are Situated in the West, South and East  
18.    Let me Add To The Remarks of the Senior Warden 
19.    In The Presence Of The Great Architect Of The Universe And Of This Worthy, Worshipful, And Warrented Lodge Of Ancient, Free, And Accepted Freemasons 
20.    As A Pledge Of Your Fidelity And To Render This Obligation Binding On You So Long As You Shall Live. 

 

V W Bro George Allan

Chairman Masonic Education

Freemasons New Zealand




Answers to our August 2016 Quiz

1. After the WM has asked members to assist him in opening the Lodge, how many knocks will be heard when opening in the first degree?
Nineteen if the IG opens the door to see that the Lodge is properly tyled but does not knock, twenty-one if he knocks and gets a response from the Tyler.

2. The words in the ritual tell us that fit and proper persons to be made Masons have to be ‘just”. If you were talking to a non-mason how would you describe being just?  Acting in accordance with what is morally right. This is a great word to start a discussion with other Masons.
 

3. The blindfold is used as a symbol of being in a state of darkness and to teach you what? That the heart must conceive before the eye can be permitted to discover

4. When investing a newly-made Mason with the distinguishing badge of an EA he is told it is more ancient than what two things? Golden Fleece & Roman Eagle

5. More honourable than what two things?
The Garter and any other Order in existence

6. Being the badge of what two things? 
Innocence and the Bond of Friendship

7. The newly-made EA is entrusted to wear this badge with pleasure to himself and which two other things?
Usefulness to the Craft 
& Honour to the Lodge in which you have been initiated

8. After being invested with the badge of an EA the candidate is told of two kinds of preparation, internal and external. Internally he was prepared in his heart by what two things?  By a favourable opinion preconceived of the Institution & a sincere wish to be a member

9. During the 1st degree prayer we ask TGAOTU to endue the Candidate with a competency of Divine wisdom to do what? Unfold the beauties of true godliness.

10. The ritual tells us that Masonry is founded on the purest principles of piety and virtue – what does each of these principles mean in modern life?  Piety means dutiful, devout; not boastful
virtue means justice, fortitude, temperance, prudence




Answers to September Quiz

1.  Name two of the immovable jewels of the Lodge. The immovable jewels in a Lodge are the Tracing Boards; the rough ashlar; the perfect ashlar.

2.  Freemasonry is supposed to imprint on our hearts three sacred dictates, what are 
they? Truth, Honour, Virtue.

3.  The four corners of the flooring represent the four cardinal virtues ? name them. 
Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, Justice.

4.   Explain any two of them to yourself in the mirror? This will surprise you and make you smile. This is a self-regulated exercise ? try it yourself.

5.  Name two pieces of the Ritual furniture of the Lodge.  The Lodge furniture consists of the VSL, the Square, the Compasses. 

6.  You should all know yourselves to be Masons by the regularity of your initiation, what does this mean in modern life?  To explain this in modern life we need to know what it is in masonic terms. You were made a Mason in the body of a Lodge which was Just (because of the open VSL), Perfect (because there were 7 or more Freemasons in attendance -  the Master and his two Wardens who conducted most of the ceremony, two Deacons to guide you who in days gone by might have been Fellows of the Craft or Fellowcraft masons, and two Entered Apprentices who might have assisted in some of the verbal work), Regular (because of the Warrant also known as the Charter from Grand Lodge gives the Lodge the authority to make a man into a Freemason). Initially to enter the Lodge you were admitted on the Perfect Points of your entry which means you came 'of' your own free will, you knocked 'at' the door of the Lodge requesting to come in, and you were received 'on' the point of a sharp instrument. In modern life you are expected to be Just by recognizing the spirit of God to guide your actions, be perfect in your acceptance of leadership and management of those superior in position and your peers, and recognize the authority of the law-of-the-land. Be involved only on those activities you are willing to pursue, ask when you need something, and remember the consequences of your actions.

7.  You demonstrate the proof of being a Mason by signs, tokens and the perfect points of your entrance. The signs are all squares, levels and perpendiculars so how should this be used in modern life to demonstrate you being a Mason? Meet your colleagues on the square by being honest in all your actions and words, conduct yourself carefully being on the level with everyone at all times, be an upright citizen.

8.  Name the perfect points of your entrance. Of, at, on ? see answer 6 above.

9.  When closing the Lodge in the first degree how many knocks are heard? After the Master has asked Brethren to assist him in closing the Lodge, in most Lodges the IG gives 3, the Tyles gives 3, the JW gives 3, then after the prayer the Master gives 3, the SW gives 3, the JW gives 3, the IG gives 3, the Tyler gives 3 making 24 in all. However some Lodges differ at the very end IG and Tyler knocks. 

10.  What is the last word spoken and who speaks it when closing the Lodge at the end of a Masonic meeting? [Read this question very carefully before answering].  Some would say that the SW actually closes the Lodge so his last word is "Lodge". Others would say that the closing is not complete until the  tracing board is concealed and the VSL is closed and we have asked God to preserve the Craft so the last word would be "Craft".




November Quiz

Q1. Why does the Master Elect take an Obligation in a Lodge of Fellowcraft Freemasons in the 2nd Degree?

Q2. The Master Elect promises that he will not permit or suffer any deviation from the established customs and landmarks of the Order - what are these established customs of the Order?

and Q3. What are the Landmarks of the Order?

Q4. He promises to maintain pure and unsullied the genuine tenets of the Craft - what are these tenets?

Q5. Before taking this Obligation the Master Elect has to acknowledge a number of qualifications requisite for the office of Master - how many?

Q6. He must have served the office of either Senior or Junior Warden for a minimum of how long?

Q7. Does he have to have served as a Warden in the Lodge in which he is about to be installed as Master?

Q8. After the new Master has been installed in the chair of King Solomon and the Board of Installed Masters is closed he is proclaimed by the G.D.C. or the District G.D.C. three times - in which parts of the Lodge does this happen?

Q9. Why is the new Master presented with The Book of Constitution?

Q10. The final address in the ceremony of Installation is to the Brethren (usually given by a Senior Mason present) in which "our main aim" is described as what?

George Allan




December Quiz 2016

Our Quiz this month comes from WBro John MacDonald in the far north. John is the District Education Officer in District No.1 and he poses the following to assist you in making a daily advancement in masonic knowledge.

Q 1. What is the correct form of addressing your Divisional Grand Master?  Very Worshipful Brother

Q 2. According to the rules and regulations in the Book of Constitution are EAs and FCs allowed to present Charges in Lodge during a degree ceremony?  Yes but only up to the degree they have taken

Q 3. Should your Master ask Brethren to stand when receiving a Past Master of another Lodge as a visitor?  No

Q 4. When your District Grand Master is received into your Lodgeand is accorded Honours - how many does he receive 3, 5 or 7?  5 - because he is a VW Bro

Q 5. Can EAs and FCs hold office in a Lodge according to the Book of Constitution?  Yes

Q 6. What shape is the jewel on the Deacons collars? A dove

Q 7. What is the main difference between a cowan and a mason? A Mason is qualified by training under a Master Mason and taking examinations in the art and skill of masonry; a cowen is a builder of dry-stone walls and has received on-the-job training from another cowen or learned on his own.

Q 8. Name the three lesser lights in Freemasonry.

Q 9. In which country is the oldest masonic Lodge still operating? 

Q 10. What was the Goose and Gridiron and why was it important to Freemasonry today? It was the London coffe house/public house where the first meeting to form a Grand Lodge was held.




January 2017 Quiz

The questions from VW Bro Graeme Martin in the Southern Division

Q.1 Our Masonic ritual states, "By the help of God, being free and of good report".  What does being free mean in this context? Free from bondage of any kind. In antient times a man had to be free from slavery - today we would like to think we are free from predudice.

Q.2  What does the expression "So mote it be" mean? So let it be.

Q.3  Are there any opening and closing hymns in Masonry. We dont have hymns but we do sing "odes" which - if you look at the words - are often prayers.

Q.4  What are the seven liberal arts and sciences to be acquired by an educated mason?  List them.  Ask another member in your Lodge and have a bit of fun here.

Q.5  From where is the title "deacon" derived. Ask another member in your Lodge and have a bit of fun here.

Q.6  Where does the word "tyler" come from? Ask another member in your Lodge and have a bit of fun here.

Q.7  What Masonic virtues do the four tassels of the tessellated pavement represent? Ask another member in your Lodge and have a bit of fun here.

Q.8  We see A.L. written on a master mason's certificate - what does A.L represent?  Anno Lucis meaning year of light. PLEASE NOTE There is no letter U




Quiz for February 2017

I am trying something different this year.  I am asking you as a Freemason you help set each quiz.  If you get together with a couple of masons and think up a question or two and send them to me at drgeorgeallan@gmail.com I will then publish it/them on this page and you and your Lodge will get the credit.

This Quiz come from WBro John MacDonald in District 1 as far up north as you can get in New Zealand.

All the qustions are taken from the Masonic Encyclopaedia by Albert G Mackey first pubished in 1874. Every effort has been made to ensure that the questions and correct answers are relevant to the history of Freemasonry in New Zealand and in accord with current teachings of the Craft today Much of the information in this publication has an American bias so great care must be taken when using this book for the preparation of Masonic research Papers and general discussions in our Lodges. 

It is hoped that you will enjoy this quizz and fulfil your committment to making a daily advancement in Masonic Knowledge. 

Some questions require you to choose one of three possible answers while others require you to insert a word or phrase to complete the statement.

Enjoy the challenge.

1. What was the alleged name of one of the traitorous craftsmen referred to in the Third Degree?

a) Aaron
b) Abiram
c) Abraham

2. A sprig of Accacia is often placed on the coffin of a Freemason who has gone to the Grand Lodge above. As a plant it is also used for:

a) Production of gum arabic 
b) Increase in hair growth to offset baldness
c) Increasing the body/mass index in underweight humans

3. In Masonic useage the term Accord means:

a) to grant power to a Brother in the Lodge
b) give hearty consent to 
c) win the decision of a ballot

4. The word "admonition" is used Masonically to mean:

a) to publicly rebuke a Brother for a perceived failing
b) to publicly criticise a suggestion made by a Brother in open Lodge
c) to whisper good counsel in a brother's ear and warn him of approching danger 

5. Freemasonry spread to South Africa in 1772 with the opening of a Lodge under a Warrant from the Grand Lodge of:

a) France
b) Holland 
c) Germany

6. In Freemasonry the verb “alarm” means:

a) to give notice of the approach of someone desiring admission 
b) to give notice that someone other than a Brother seeks admission to the Lodge
c) to warn of an possible intruder trying to get past the Tyler

7. In the Third Degree there is reference to the Almond Tree flourishing which refers to:

a) an increase in life expectancy
b) the white flowers of the tree signifying a lengthy period of peace 
c) an allegoric signification to old age - when the hairs of the head become gray.

8. The term Ancient Craft Masonry refers to:

a) the six degress of Freemasonry recognised by the Grand Lodge of New Zealand
b) the first three degrees in Freemasonry only 
c) recognition of all Masonic degrees up to the 33rd.

9. The badge of a Freemason is:

a) the Square and Compasses
b) the All Seeing Eye
c) the Lambskin apron 

10. Freemasons measure time in Anno Lucis (A.L.) which is found taking the current Gregorian year and adding a figure of

a) 2000
b) 3000
c) 4000 




Quiz March 2017

Q1.  A motto frequently found on Masonic jewel and used in Masonic documents  is Audi, Vide, Tace. Translated into English it means:

 a)  I came, I saw, I conquered

b)  Listen, Watch, and Learn

c)  Hear, See, be Silent.

Q2. The first Masonic Lodge meeting in Australasia was held in Sydney in the year:

a) 1803

b) 1820

c) 1843.

Q3. I know this was in last month's quiz but it's important so here it is again - the badge of a Freemason is:

a)  the Square and Compasses

b)  the All Seeing Eye

c)  the Lambskin Apron

Q4. Beauty is said to be symbolically one of the three supports of a Lodge. It is represented in a Lodgeroom by:
a) the Corinthian column

b) the Junior Warden

c) both the above

Q5. The colour black is used in Freemasonry to represent:

a) Eternal Darkness

b) Grief

c) Horror

Q6. The name of one of the pillars which stood at the entrance to King Solomons temple as given in scripture as Boaz. This name represents:

a) Strength

b) Wisdom

c) Piety

Q7. An applicant for admission into Masonry is called a candidate. This word is derived from the Latin word candidatus and literally means:

a) clothed in white

b) an honest and upright person suitable for admission to an organsiation

c) a person waiting at the door for admission to an organisation

Q8.  In Speculative Freemasonry cement as a symbol represents:

a) that brotherly love which binds the Masons of all countries in one common brotherhood

b) the sturdy construction and longevity of Freemasonry throughout the world

c) the tie that binds Freemasons together in peace, love, and harmony.

Q9. A Chapiter is:

a) a section in the Book of Constitution

b) upper-most part of a column, pillar, or pilaster, serving as the head or crowning

c) a section or division within the Volume of the Sacred Law.

Q10. There are only two occasions when a man is allowed into a Masonic Lodge without an apron when that Lodge is opened in due form. Name the circumstances in each case.




​​​​​​​Quiz for April 2017

Our thanks go again to WBro John MacDonald the District Education Advisor in District No. 1 for this multiple-choice quiz.

You are free to download this quiz and use it in Lodge or putside Lodge amoungst other Freemasons.  Enjoy discussing these questions and answers with others .... and make a daily advancement:

1. According to ancient tradition, the temple of King Solomon was destroyed in 587 BC by

a) Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Chaldees 

b) Hiram, King of Tyre

c) Jehoiachin, King of Babylon

d) Cyrus, King of Persia

 

2. The column of strength which supports a Lodge is of the Grecian Order

a) Corinthiian

b) Ionic

c) Doric 

d) Composite

 

3. A visitor to a Lodge who is not known to any of the Brethren may be proved by

a) production of a letter of Introduction from his own Lodge

b) production of his Grand Lodge Certificate

c) strict trial, lawful information or due Examination 

d) a nod and a wink from a well known Brother

 

4. During the 18th and 19th Centuries there existed a number of different Grand Lodges in England. The actual number of these was

a) 2

b) 3

c) 4 

d) 5

 

5. In the Second Degree the celestial and terrestrial globes on the tops of the pillars suggest

a) Truth

b) Brotherly Love 

c) Relief

d) Freemasonry universal

 

6. The Goose and Gridiron was an alehouse, in St . Paul's Church Yard, London famous masonically because

a) it was there that the first quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge of England, after the revival of 1717, was held on the 24th of June, 1717 

b) it was there that the the two Grand Lodges of the Ancients and the Moderns agreed to join together in 1717.

c) it is the site on which Freemasons Hall stands today in London

d) it was there that the first meeting to form the first Grand Lodge was held.

 

7. High Twelve in Freemasonry symbolises

a) time to return to labour

b) time to retire for an afternoon nap

c) time to go from labour to refreshment. 

d) time to go home at the end of the day.

 

8. The pillar know as Jachin which stood a the entrance of King Solomon’s temple . This pillar is sometimes called

a) the pillar in the East

b) the pillar of establishment 

c) the pillar of strength

d) the pillar in the West

 

9. In the Bible and in Freemasons tradition Jephthah is famous as

a) a prophet in Israel

b) telling King Solomon to cut a baby in two and give half each to the two women who claimed to be the mother of the child

c) opening a window so that a bee would settle on the real rather than the artificial flower given to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba

d) leader of the Gileadites in their war against the Ephraimites 

 

10. Every Masonic Lodge has or ought to have as furnishing a total of

a) three jewels

b) four jewels

c) six jewels 

d) seven jewels

 

11. A lewis is found on the tracing-board of the Entered Apprentice Degree. It symbolises

a) lifting - as in lifting one’s eyes to the heavens while in daily prayer

b) strength - a builder is enabled to lift the heaviest stones with comparatively ease 

c) binding - as with a lewis the heavy stone is bound to the ropes and pulleys lifting it

d) the future - as in new members.




Answers for May 2017 Quiz
  1.  How many master masons must be present to “open” a lodge of entered apprentices?    Answer   5.
  2. What are the three great lights of a lodge?   Answer  The V.S.L., the Compasses and Square
  3. Why is the entered apprentice placed in the north-east corner of the lodge?  Answer  To signify that he has begun his Masonic life and he needs to embed its principles.
  4. What is a “Token” and why is it issued to an Entered Apprentice Freemason?   Answer   A sign, or symbolic evidence, or material object that is used to authenticate a person.
  5. Why was a P. applied to the N.L.B of all initiates?   Answer To remind them of the fidelity expected from all masons.
  6. What is the connection between the phrase “…..from the P. that S. at the L. of the P. or E. of K.S.T. and the first regular step of an entered apprentice?   Answer  You are reminded that you always take the first step with the left foot.
  7. State the three (3) reasons why Masonic Lodges ought to be facing due East to West?  Answer  1 the sun rises in the East and sets in the West; 2 learning originated in the East, and spread its benign influence to the West: 3 King Solomon’s Temple was East West because Moses was instructed by God to locate the Tabernacle in the Wilderness in that manner. 
  8. What do the “Three Lesser Lights” represent?  Answer The sun, moon and Worshipful Master
  9. What is the significance of the letter “G”?  Answer A symbol for geometry and a Holier Significance.
  10. What is the main reason you were you divested of all metallic substances at your initiation?  Answer  To teach you that a man is not measured by worldly possessions. 



Quiz for June 2017

Here is this months quiz - see if you can fill in the missing parts.

1. .... as no man can be m... a M.... unless he is  f... and of m..... a..

2. Vouchsafe Thine aid A....... F.... and S...... G...... of the U.......

3. to show that he is the C......., p...... p.....and a f.. and p..... p..... to be made a Mason

4. a poor C...... in a state of d......w.. h.. b... w... and w....... r.......

5. in the presence of the G.... A........ of the U.... and of this w...., w......... a w....... L.....

6. I further s...... p...... that I will not w.... t.... s......, i....., c...., m..., e......, o. o........ the, d.......

7. You are expected to stand p....... e...., your f.... f.... i. a s....

8. you are never to put on that badge s..... y... be about to v.... a L.... i. w.... t.... i. a b..... w... w... y.. a.. a. v.......

9. t. s.... m... e....... s... o. t.. L..... A... a.. S......a. m.. l.. w..... y... c.....

10. i...... i...... o. y... h.... t.. s..... d...... o. T...., o. H..... a.. o. V.....




​​​​​​​Quiz for August 2017
  1. The apron of a Master Mason has three rosettes, that of a FellowCraft has two. Logically we would expect the Entered Apprentice to have one but it doesn’t - why?
  2. What is the lowest Grand Lodge rank that entitles the holder to be called Very Worshipful Brother?
  3. Where in the Book of Constitution would an Installed Master find the correct wording for presenting the working tools during the Ceremony of Installation?
  4. When a Candidate is being initiated and has sealed his Obligation on the VSL he is asked what is the predominant wish of his heart - what should be the reply?
  5. Our Lodges are supported by three pillars, respectively of the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian orders of architecture - where do these names come from and why are these three used and no others?
  6. We say there are six Jewels of the Lodge, three movable and three immovable - can you name them and explain the difference?
  7. What constitutes the ‘Furniture of the Lodge’?
  8. Towards the end of the Charge After Initiation the Candidate is exhorted to study such of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within his compass of attainment - what are the individual arts and sciences that you consider in your circle of attainment?
  9. What does the word ‘exhort’ mean?
  10. At the end of a prayer we say “So Mote it be” - what does this mean?



2017 September Quiz Answers

1. The Earth constantly revolving on its axis around the sun - does the Earth revolve from East to West or from West to East? The Earth moves towards the East therefore it revolves from West to East.

2. In which country was Hiram Abif born? Tyre - now part of Lebanon.

3. In one of our prayers we use the term 'supplicate' - what does this mean? To ask humbly.

4. Only two of our original Grand Masters were kings, one was Solomon King of Israel, the other was Hiram, King of Tyre - in which modern country is Tyre? Lebanon, see question 2 above.

5. Think of the three grand principles on which our Institution is founded - what is the middle one and how would you demonstrate it in modern life? Relief - by helping another person or persons. This differs from charity which is interpreted by some as giving money. Relief is more personal.

6. How would you describe 'a cowan' to a non-masons? Dictionary definition is a dry-stone-wall-builder, but we take it tome an imposter who lacks the skill of a qualified craftsman.

7. We know that the three immovable jewels were big and heavy, but why are the movable jewels so called? Because they are moved each year to different people. In olden days these symbolic tools were actually handled and used, thereby they had to be movable.

8. What constitutes the ‘Ornaments' in a Lodge? Ornaments make things beautiful and in our Lodges these are the Mosaic Pavement, The Blazing Star, the Indented Tessellated Border.

9. What is the lowest Grand Lodge rank that entitles the holder to be called Right Worshipful Brother? Past Grand Junior Warden.

10. What does the word ‘inculcate’ mean? To encourage strongly or impress with some urgency.

 




Quiz for November 2017

Q 1. Where do you find a list of The Ancient Charges?
Q 2. How long does a Grand Master serve in Office?
Q 3. How many masons must be present to open a Lodge?
Q 4. How many Offices are needed to open a Lodge?
Q 5. If no degree work is carried out during a masonic evening but the Lodge is properly opened and closed – how many times does the Tyler knock on the Lodge door?
Q 6. When opening in all three degrees how many knocks does the Senior Warden give?
Q 7. When you visit a Lodge in which you are not know how do you prove yourself?
Q 8. How do you know yourself to be a mason?
Q 9. You owe duty to God, to yourself and to your neighbour, what is your duty to yourself?
Q 10. Of the Furniture, Ornaments and Jewels of Lodge, one gets mentioned twice – which one?




Answers to Quiz for February 2018​​​​​​​

Q 1. What are the  working tools in the 1st degree? 24 inch gauge (ruler), common gavel (malet or hammer), chisel.

Q 2. Where would you find the phrase “the all seeing eye observes us” ? Closing prayer in the 2nd Degree.

Q 3. On many Lodge tracing boards the middle chamber is shown as being inside King Solomon’s temple.  Why is this incorrect? See the following link http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/saltemp.html

Q 4. Where in our ritual could you show this error?  Second degree tracing board.

Q 5. The art of Geometry is regarded as important in freemasonry - why?  For erecting buildings with square corners.

Q 6. A man presenting himself for initiation into Freemasonry is received on t.. p…. of a s…. i………  Give two reasons for this unusual event.

Q 7. In life we use the term “being given the third degree” to indicate what sort of happening?  A challenging line of questioning.

Q 8. Somewhere in almost every Lodge room in New Zealand there is a point within a circle with two straight and parallel lines touching that circle. What do these two lines represent? The two patron saints of Freemasonry - St John the Evangelinst and St John the Baptist. 

Q 9. What does that point represent?  There are various opinions on this one but most believe it to be a belief in a Supreme Being. 

Q 10. What does that circle represent? There are various opinions on this one too, infinity is one, continuous brotherly love is another.

Please, please - if any mason in New Zealand can give me a hand with a few questions and answers that would be gratefully received and faithfully applied. Thank you.

 

George Allan




Improving Your Masonry

Are you interested in improving your masonic performance?

Do you want to learn the signs, token and words correctly?

Do you want to get your masonry right and thereby develop your confidence?

Lodge of Instruction aka Lodge of Improvement aka L of I is a teaching and training ground for Master Masons to learn their masonry correctly according to the New Zealand book of Ritual with the proviso that, back in your own Lodge you observe Lodge customs. Each L of I is for Master Masons of any Lodge who want meet and know more about Freemasonry. It would be ideal if there was a L of I in every District throughout New Zealand to help our masons to understand their masonry. 

A L of I would meet monthly and perform a degree under the guidance of a Perceptor and two Assistant Perceprors who assist in correcting mistakes and suggest improvements. One assistant preceptor guides floor work including foot positions and the giving and receiving of signs/tokens: the other assistant teaches the best way to deliver the words and phrases used. We will give you encouragement and help you build your confidence in performing Lodge work. At the end of each meeting Master Masons can volunteer to learn a role or a Charge in the degree to be performed at the next meeting in one month's time.  It is the place to practice movements around the Lodge floor and gain confidence.

If you are interested in improving your masonry and finding out why we do the things we do and interested in having a go - please e-mail the Grand Lecturer in your Division or me - George Allan at drgeorgeallan@gmail.com

Northern Division Grand Lecturer is VWBro Mark Hall mrkfhll1@gmail.com

Central Division Grand Lecturer is VWBro Rod Johnson rodwj06@gmail.com

Southern Grand Lecturer is margaret.graeme@kinect.co.nz




​​​​​​​The Old Tyler Talks On Finding Out

The following article is from The Discoverer November  2017

I'm sore!" announced the New Brother to the Old Tiler.

"Where?" demanded the Old Tiler. "I'm no doctor, if it's your teeth or your back."

"It isn't. It's my feelings."

"That's different. As a soother of sore Masonic feelings I am the best doctor in captivity!" smiled the Old Tiler. "Pull out your symptoms and let's look at them."

"It's being jumped on, if you must know," began the New Brother. "I asked a friend to give me his petition to the lodge and Brother Smith heard it and walked all over me. How was I to know we didn't go around asking for petitions? At lunch a man I know made slighting remarks about Ma- sonry and I defended it, and a brother took me to task afterwards and told me I shouldn't discuss Masonry with the profane. How was I to know it wasn't done in the best Masonic circles? Just this evening I answered the telephone and a feminine voice asked for Brother Jones and I said he wasn't here. The Master walked up and down my spine for giving out information as to who was and who wasn't present. How was I to know that was a secret?"

"How do you usually find things out?" asked the Old Tiler.

"But I think I ought to be told these things! I think I should be instructed what to do and what not to do. I think."

"I don't think you think," interrupted the Old Tiler. "I think you think you think. Really, you just react. Now answer a few questions, like a good patient, and I'll cure your pimpled feelings, relieve the congestion in your inflamed emotions and reduce the swelling in your cranium and you'll feel a lot better. In the first place, what's your business?"

"Why, I am in the hardware business - I own the store at the corner of Main and Oak Streets - what's that got to do with it?"

"When you went into the hardware business, did you know all there was to know about it?"

"Well, no I didn't. But what. . ."

"I'm doing the question asking!" snapped the Old Tiler. "Did all the other hardware dealers of this town give you good advice? Did they all surround you day and night with counsel and assistance? Or did they let you paddle your own canoe?"

"Just that. I learned what I know by asking questions and reading, by listening to others who knew the game, by. . ." 

"Exactly. You hung up a sign and launched out for yourself, and they accepted you at your own value - as a competitor, a man, a business agent, able to fight your own battles. That's what we do in the lodge. We make you a Master Mason. We give you instruction in Masonry. We make you one of us. Then we turn you loose and expect you to act as if you were a man and a Mason, not a school child. If we spent all our time telling every new brother all we know, we'd have no time to practice brotherhood. We expect you to open not only your ears but your mouth. There are seventy-six men in that lodge tonight, any one of whom will answer any question you ask, and if they don't know the answer they will find someone who does. But to expect the seventy-six to force information on you is unreasonable. They don't know what you know, they have a natural reluctance to put themselves in the position of teachers, when they don't know if you want to learn or what your want to learn. Ask a question and you'll hear something. Stick around with your mouth shut and you won't.

"The fraternity has certain customs and usages. Those who denounce it in public can do it no harm, but defence can harm it. If a man gets up in public and says he thinks the public school is useless, the church is a bad influence, and the government a failure, banks a hindrance to business and the automobile a blot on civilization, do you defend the school, the church, the government, the bank, the automobile? Every thinking human being knows the public school has made this country what it is, that the church makes men and women better, that this is the best of all governments and that the automobile is the greatest of time savers. These things are self-evident. The man who denies them makes himself, not the thing he criticizes, ridiculous. Criticism of Masonry hurts the man who utters it, not the Craft."

"All that is true. I admit it, but I didn't know it!"

"No, and you didn't know you were not supposed to say whether Brother Jones was here or not. That's his business. But I'm telling you because you asked me. I thought you knew all this. How was I to know you didn't? You never told me you didn't!"

"Well, er - I thought - I mean-"

"You thought you thought but you thought wrong!" smiled the Old Tiler. "Just remember, don't do, don't say, don't think Masonry while you are new until you have asked. We are old, old; we have ideas, ways of doing and thinking, which have grown up through the years. You will learn them gradually as you attend lodge and talk with well-informed Masons. Don't be afraid to open your mouth. No one will laugh at you, all will help. But don't ask questions outside the lodge and don't talk outside the lodge until you know what you are talking about."

"I know one place outside the lodge where I can, do and shall talk! defended the New Brother. "In spite of what I say?" demanded the Old Tiler, somewhat tartly.

"Yep, in spite of what you say! And that place is right here in the anteroom," smiled the New Brother. "And thank you." 




​​​​​​​A View Point on Freemasonry

The following paper is adapted from a paper by Francis G. Paul 33* Northern Light, May 1990

Reproduced from Masonic Bulletin October 1990, Vol. 53, No. 2  To discover more, try this link

http://www.lod8737.org/newsletter.html

The majority of our membership derives its satisfaction by simply belonging. Most Masons do not feel a need to attend Lodge meetings or to be “active” in the life of our fraternity in order to reap the benefits of membership.

It is easy to conclude that this type of passive participation is a serious problem. We lament the fact that so few seem interested enough to attend meetings and even fewer are ready to take on leader- ship responsibilities.

At the same time we must never lose sight of the fact that the primary goal of Freemasonry in mak- ing Master Masons is to challenge men to achieve moral and ethical excellence in life and start him on his own Personal Spiritual Journey. This is why the Ceremonies of the degrees of Symbolic Masonry are the bedrock of Freemasonry.

By the time a man becomes a Master Mason, the vision and the expectations are (or should be) crys- tal clear! At that point, he is ushered to where he belongs – on the streets of life.
It is there where his Masonry will make a difference. “In the long run,” writes James Fallows, the au- thor of More Like Us, “a society’s strength depends on the way that ordinary people voluntarily be- have.”

This has been the message of Freemasonry down through the centuries. And it’s our message to men today. It is what’s inside a man that determines how he thinks and acts every day of his life, and that’s what our fraternity is all about.

We must never allow ourselves to forget that it is the Masonic message, planted deep within a man that makes him a Mason. Not the attending of meetings; the holding of office; not having accolades piled upon him.

We are concerned about how he lives on Main Street, not how many times he attends lodge meetings. The power of Freemasonry rests in the mysterious fact that once a man has received the Light, he can never forget what is expected of him by, most importantly, himself!!

Of course we need to make our meetings more interesting & educational.

Of course we need to offer opportunities for Masonic service that make sense to our members.

Of course we need to foster more of a family atmosphere.

Of course we need to challenge men to shoulder the responsibilities of keeping our fraternity alive and active.

Nevertheless, it is the Masonic spirit in a man’s heart and life that makes Masonry work. What does all this mean? Where is it taking us? We should be neither surprised not shocked that a majority of our members achieve satisfaction from “simply belonging” to our fraternity. Their quiet pride and im- mense loyalty send a powerful message – Masonry is doing its work in their lives!

At the same time, our work is cut out and waiting for us: To make it possible for more men to dis- cover the immense and profound mystery that is Freemasonry.

by V.W. Bro. Norman McEvoy

From an Individual Masons Perspective adapted by V.W. Bro. Norman McEvoy from a paper by Francis G. Paul 33* Northern Light, May 1990 Reproduced from Masonic Bulletin October 1990, Vol. LIII No. 2




The Anomalies of the Second Degree Tracing Board.

by WBro John Mitchell  Master of the Research Lodge of Wellington  No.194

The second degree tracing board is the story and significance of the building of the first temple at Jerusalem.
The story of the first temple (herein referred to as the Temple) owes it origins to the Old Testament of the bible and for this lecture I shall refer to Kings I and II and Chronicles for the description and measurements used.
The bible can be viewed as an ancient history of facts and happenings or as a series of parables and legends to be interpreted by the reader ( veiled in allegory). For the purposes of this lecture I intent to treat it as the later. It must be remembered that the Israelites had no permanent written records and that the biblical stories would have been passed down oral through several generations before they were catalogued by Seder Olam in 2nd century work.

Why is Freemasonry in the second degree founded on a believe of a Temple built by Solomon when there is no evidence both written or archaeology to support either. Solomon is a biblical character who exists only in the bible, where he is described as a young man wise beyond his years. Who demonstrates even a wise man can be lead from the path of the Lord if given enough temptation but when shown the true path can return to the Lord for forgiveness.

There is evidence to support that the first Master Mason was Nimrod who is supposed to have built the Tower of Babel for his God to reside in. Nimrod is also credited with giving masons their signs and tokens. The evidence for this is found in “the Halliwell Poem” (1390 A.D.). However the bible tells us that the Tower of Babel was made from burnt bricks not stone The oldest recorded account is The Schoyen Collection (604-562) carved on a black stone in the time of Nebuchadnezzar II. This is about the time that the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem. So why would the story now change to Solomon’s temple. With the philosophical and intellectual approach to Masonry at the end of the 18th Century and beginning of the 19th Century it was probable seen as wrong to have an edifice dedicated to a pagan god. So I premise that a temple build to the one true god would have fitted better to the times. 

Now to look at Temple, why was it built at Jerusalem? The bible tells us that It was built on land purchased by King David (Solomon’s father) but as a conqueror  why would David have need to buy the land. Jerusalem was also a politically astute choice as it did not promote any of the lands of the twelve tribes. The archaeology evidence of the time would indicate, at the time of Solomon Jerusalem was not much bigger than a small farming town. 
For centuries, scholars have searched in vain for any remnant of Solomon’s Temple. The fabled Jerusalem sanctuary, described in such exacting detail in 1 Kings 6, was no doubt one the most stunning achievements of King Solomon in the Bible, yet nothing of the building itself has been found because excavation on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, site of the Temple of King Solomon, is impossible.
Fortunately, several Iron Age temples discovered throughout the Levant bear a striking resemblance to the Temple of King Solomon in the Bible. Through these remains, we gain extraordinary insight  into the architectural grandeur of the building that stood atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount nearly 3,000 years ago.
As reported by archaeologist John Monson in the pages of BAR, the closest known parallel to the Temple of King Solomon is the ’Ain Dara temple in northern Syria. Nearly every aspect of the ’Ain Dara temple—its age, its size, its plan, its decoration—parallels the vivid description of the Temple of King Solomon in the Bible. In fact, Monson identified more than 30 architectural and decorative elements shared by the ’Ain Dara structure and the Jerusalem Temple described by the Biblical writers.
 
The similarities between the ’Ain Dara temple and the temple described in the Bible are indeed striking. Both buildings were erected on huge artificial platforms built on the highest point in their respective cities. The buildings likewise have similar tripartite plans: an entry porch supported by two columns, a main sanctuary hall (the hall of the ’Ain Dara temple is divided between an antechamber and a main chamber) and then, behind a partition, an elevated shrine, or Holy of Holies. They were also both flanked on three of their sides by a series of multi-storied rooms and chambers that served various functions.
Even the decorative schemes of ’Ain Dara temple and the temple described in the Bible are similar: Nearly every surface, both interior and exterior, of the ’Ain Dara temple was carved with lions, mythical animals (cherubim and sphinxes), and floral and geometric patterns, the same imagery that, according to 1 Kings 6:29, adorned the Temple of King Solomon in the Bible.
It is the date of the ’Ain Dara temple, however, that offers the most compelling evidence for the authenticity of the Biblical Temple of King Solomon. The ’Ain Dara temple was originally built around 1300 B.C. and remained in use for more than 550 years, until 740 B.C. The plan and decoration of such majestic temples no doubt inspired the Phoenician engineers and craftsmen who built Solomon’s grand edifice in the tenth century B.C. As noted by Lawrence Stager of Harvard University, the existence of the ’Ain Dara temple proves that the Biblical description of Solomon’s Temple was “neither an anachronistic account based on later temple archetypes nor a literary creation. The plan, size, date and architectural details fit squarely into the tradition of sacred architecture from north Syria (and probably Phoenicia) from the tenth to eighth centuries B.C.” However I conclude that the author of Kings had knowledge of the Ain Dara Temple. 
Now let us look at the two great pillars at the entrance or porch way to the temple. Why are they named after a farmer and a little known priest. Unlike modern temples the ancient temples were built to house their god and scripture tells us that the holy of holies was to house the Ark of the Covenant  which contained the tables on which were written the laws given to Moses by Yahweh The important of the words is more important as God said in Strength (BOAZ) I will Establish( JACHIN ) this mine house to stand firm forever.
Much has been made of the dimensions of the pillars especially the diameter being 4 cubits and the circumference 12 as every schoolboy knows this is only an approximation as the diameter would be slightly less than 4 but it is a reasonable estimate. They were formed hollow no doubt as the weight of solid pillars would be over 150 tonnes. Being hollow they would weigh in at just under 50 tonnes. They were cast in the clay fields however there is no evidence that large scale casting took place in the bounds of Ancient Israel or geological evidence of  large clay fields.  They would probably have been cast in sections and man handled together. The idea of achieves to  Masonry is purely a masonic input.
If not made of brass what could they have been made of I suggested that they could have been stone or wood covered in gold leaf or copper. This would fit in with Hiram being a master craftsman working in all kinds of materials. The pillars are said to represent fire and cloud. The people would have seen smoke issuing from them during the day and fire would glow at night.
What must be remembered is the general populaces would not be allowed to enter the temple so would enter the outer courtyard where they would make offerings so would see the pillars on entering but not on leaving.
The idea of two celestial globes is a modern idea at the time the idea of the world being round was unheard  so the bible indicates they were topped with giant bowls. 
The Greek historian Herodotus wrote in 450BCE of the two great pillars at the “Temple of Hercules” being of tempered bronze which reflected the light of day, perhaps they are the original pillars.
One other description in the King James bible and masonic ritual is the height of the pillars in the bible they are 18 cubits in the story of the tracing board they are 17.5 the “Genoa bible” of 1560 states that ? a cubit was not visible being sunken into the structure.
Could our ancient brethren have made the pillars in the area of Jerusalem probable not but there were areas in the ancient world where they could have been made.
The Bible informs us that there were  3,300 officers 80,000 stone cutters not masons, all stone was cut and shaped away from the temple as no metal tolls were allowed in the temple. Metal tools were used by the Egyptian overseers so were taboo for the tribes of Israel and 70,000 woodcutters The Temple was only 27m long 9m wide and 14m in height.  Why so many workers involved?
The temple was build of stone and clad in cedar obtained from Hiram King of Tyre I real personage. Solomon paid Hiram with corn, oil and wine The bible says 540 tonnes wheat/barley and 990000litres of wine/oil after giving 20 towns in payment which were not received well.
Our ancient brethren received their wages in the middle chamber which would have been built to the side of the temple. The bible mentions a winding staircase on the outside and a second one leading to a third chamber above the middle chamber. There is no mention of wardens but there would be guards on each of the sides.
In conclusion let me reiterate that there is no physical evidence for Solomon’s Temple but maybe we should not consider this edifice as areal building but as a way of expressing the hopes that the real strength of Masonry is that the true Temple, the one we are all building in our hearts founded on those strong foundations of Faith, Hope and Charity.

References 
2007 Cornwallis lecture by WBro Alan D Moore The Temple of King Solomon both Historically and Symbolically.
Searching for the Temple of King Solomon Biblical Archaeology Society  October 2013
King Solomon’s Temple Symbol of Freemasonry by RW Bro Don Falconer  May 2012New 
International Version of the Bible.




An Inspirational Story

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.  

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death. 

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.  

'I want to repay you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's life.'  

'No, I can't accept payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.  

'Is that your son?' the nobleman asked.  

'Yes,' the farmer replied proudly.  

'I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he did.  

Farmer Fleming's son attended the  very best schools and in time, graduated from  St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London,  and went on to become known throughout the world  as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the  discoverer of  Penicillin..  

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.  

What saved his life this time - Penicillin.  

The name of the nobleman was Lord Randolph Churchill and his son's name was Sir Winston Churchill.  

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.  Work like you don't need the money.  Love like you've never been hurt.  
Dance like nobody's watching.  Sing like nobody's listening.  Live like it's Heaven on Earth.  

The author of the story is unknown. It is worth noting however that both Sir Alexander Fleming and Sir Winston Churchill eventually became Freemasons.

R.W. Bro Robert Taylor




​​​​​​​MENTORING in The Lodge of Discovery No. 8737 in Venuatu

 What is a Mentor   –   some lateral thinking?

Article adapted from WM Bro. Martin Gandoff, Montgomerie Lodge 1741 EC. Previously published in the Norfolk Ashlar, The Surrey Mason and the Square. Our Thanks go to Martin for allowing us to use his article about Mentoring.

The word mentor derives from the Latin mens meaning ‘mind’ (mental has the same root), so when using this word, we are really considering helping to develop the mind.

In general terms’, mentoring is a personal development relationship, often quite close, in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable (wiser?) person over a period of time, helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. It usually involves the informal transfer of knowl- edge and the communication and support needed to assist career, work or development in gen- eral. Some common mentoring techniques include:

Accompanying - a commitment to work side-by-side with the learner

Preparation - setting a basis so that the learner has some idea of what new areas of knowledge and behaviour are coming up and hopefully soften the possible shock against the changes that might occur by membership of our order

Demonstrating - using one's own examples and experience to bring out aspects of the development process, rather than just quote from the manual.

Finding special opportunities – isolating particular situations or occasions relevant to the learning process.  As the learner becomes increasingly more comfortable, the mentor may throw the learner straight into an area of change hopefully to spark off a change of values or even a dif- ferent way of thinking

Reviewing – on a regular basis to examine what is and should have been covered and absorbed and draw conclusions as to relevance, significance and future progress.

However, we need to be rather more specific for a Masonic mentor

Masonic mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing on-the-spot help. Nor is it just about keeping an initiate happy. It is surely, about an on-going relationship of education, discussion, meeting challenges from the curiosity of a new mason and encouraging him to search for Masonic truth.

To many, the mentor has responsibility for helping his mentee, apprentice, protégé or whatever to attend lodge and LOI, to make sure he understands the organisation of the lodge and its officers, the importance of the ritual and keep him happy when he has ‘retired for a short while’ before a ceremony in a higher degree.

But old-fashioned as it now appears, these are mainly the responsibility of the proposer and seconder and if this is true, then what is the purpose of a mentor?

The typical ‘early life of a mason’ these days is something like ‘Initiation to MM apron 11⁄2-3 years , Steward 1-2 years, First office not long afterwards’.

As membership shrinks in quite a few lodges, the pressure is always on candidates to progress quickly and this time-span might be even shorter.

There are also pressures against moral development in these times of economic stress, major changes in behaviour and public morality, increasing absorption of different cultural standards and modes of behaviour and thinking.

The young mason is encouraged to attend lodge, where he will see what is going on and by at- tending LOI, ‘he will learn the ritual’. (In fact LOI is surely a place to practice the ritual within the rehearsal ceremonial – the ritual should already be largely learnt!)

Lots of training, but where is the Masonic ‘education’?
It seems to me that there are a number of subjects of which a thinking mason should have a working knowledge, including:

A broad history of the craft and its origins
A broad history of the development of our ritual
An overview of the structure of the craft, from Grand lodge down to the private lodge An overview of the authority and management of the craft
The role and responsibilities of all lodge and provincial lodge officers
How, where and why charity and relief are applied.

Not every mason will want, or be able to handle all of these, but I suggest that a working knowledge of most, can only increase general interest level, encourage further enquiry, per- haps increase the richness of the Masonic experience and help to prevent the loss of young masons who may feel that after coming in, nothing much happens to them for a long time.

After over 20 years of formalising the above ‘knowledge set’ into a programme that might be followed by a young mason and having failed completely to gain any interest in it, I draw two possible two conclusions:

A. I am totally wrong and this education is irrelevant

B. Many masons have little interest or knowledge of the various aspects and therefore cannot or will not support their development.

So what can the mentor do?

1 Make sure that the young mason’s proposer and seconder are involved in his development, from initiation, through the offices to the chair (and even beyond).

2 Offer help and suggestions as to how they can assist him and make him comfortable in lodge, at LOI, at the festive board and at home.

3 Make him aware of the importance of the overall scope of the above ‘knowledge set’

4 Help him to investigate and gain knowledge as he wants and assist in obtaining sources of information.

The tradition in working man’s groups such as trade unions and operative lodges was not just to protect the employee against unfair employer practices and keep out untrained competition. There is much evidence that the ‘spiritual’ side of behaviour was not ignored. The Halliwell Manuscript, the earliest version (about 1390) of our Old Charges contains among much more, the following (in old English):

Look also thou scorn no man
In what degree thou see him gone, Nor shalt thou no man deprave.
If thou wilt thy worship save,
For such word might there outburst That might make thee sit in evil rest. Close thy hand in thy fist And keep thee well from ‘had I known’

Our craft is a brotherhood of friends, whose ceremonies and ritual give us an awareness of some- thing more than their basic content. Using stories, word pictures and allegories, it seeks to illus- trate the truths under-pinning our society, which are those of life itself.

If the freemason understands the more material aspects of our craft, it is to be hoped
that he will more easily appreciate the spiritual aspects, ‘devote leisure hours more especially to the study of such of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within the compass of his attainment, and without neglecting the ordinary duties of his station to consider himself called on to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge’, leading to ’honour to himself, usefulness to mankind and credit to his lodge’.

M Gandoff December 2012 Acknowledgment; Article by WM Bro. Martin Gandoff, Montgomerie Lodge 1741 EC. Previously published in the Norfolk Ashlar, The Surrey Mason and the Square. Our Thanks go to Martin for allowing us to use his article about Mentoring.




Answers to March 2018 Quiz

Q 1. What are the working tools in the Board of Installed Masters?

Q 2. How do you know yourself to be a Mason?

Q 3. How do you demonstrate the proof of your being a Mason to others?

Q 4. What does the last point in the above answer mean to you?

Q 5. How could you explain this point to other masons?

Q 6. What has to happen to make a masonic Lodge "just" when it is opened?

Q 7. WHere should the VSL be opened in your Lodge?

Q 8. How do we reveal our secrets to other Masons?

Q 9. At the commencement of your initiation you were blind-folded. There are three reasons for this, give two of them.

Q 10. Where were you first prepared to be made a Mason, and where were you actually made a Mason?




Masonic Knowledge Quiz for April 2018

Questions can be from any part of our masonic ritual, so, if there are questions about events in a Degree you have not reached yet - be patient, work hard, and you will get there one day.

Q1. Of the three Great Lights, which is the greatest and why?
Q2. Which of the “working tools” appears twice on the Second Degree Tracing Board.
Q3. What was the origin of the four tassels at the corner of our Lodge pavement?
Q4. Look at the First Degree Tracing Board in your Lodge and see if there is a ‘key’ on Jacob’s Ladder – some do – some don’t. What is the ‘key’ to your Lodge and indeed to Freemasonry?
Q5. What is the one thing that all three Tracing Boards have in common?
Q6. What is the connection between the Orders of Architecture used on our Master and Wardens’ columns and the building of King Solomon’s temple?
Q7. What is a parallelepipedon? We are told in the explanation of the first degree Tracing Board that this is the form of a Masonic Lodge room.
Q8. Who formulated the plans for King Solomon’s temple.
Q9. The Junior Warden tells the Master his place is in the South to mark the sun at its meridian and call the Brethren from labour to refreshment. So, does the Junior Warden rule the day or the night and is his symbol the sun or the moon?
Q10. Name three examples where the number fifteen plays an important role in our ceremonies.

Answers next time and if any mason in New Zealand can give me a hand with a few questions and answers that would be gratefully received and faithfully applied. Thank you.

George Allan




Book Review

I have just finished reading a truly amazingly good book on

A Brief History of The Freemasons by Jasper Ridley,

an English author of many historical factual books. Ridley died in 2004 so this book has been around some time.

The book is fair and honest and coveres a lot of masonic ground from 1717 to modern day. It is different from the usual masonic history books in that it relates the facts from historical research about what actually happened in most countries where Freemasonry exists, from the UK to France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Poland, across to the USA and even to Japan.

Ridley tells it as it was, no frills and some of the detail will put your hair on end. He is bold in his reporting of the difficulties Freemasonry experienced during the 19th and early 20th centuries and this explained a lot to me.

This is quite a long book (340 pages) full of interesting and disturbing truths. It is not a PC book but pulls no punches in puting the facts from both sides.  It is a book that every mason should get and read.

I first had a library copy but have bought my own copy because I will want to read and re-read over and over.I seriously recommend it.

ISBN 978-1-84529-678-0 paper-back

Another cracking good read full of facts rather than fancy is The Fellowship by John Gribbin published by Penguin Books ISBN: 978-0-141-01570-5. This relates a great deal of relevant historical facts that lead up to the formation of English Freemasonry and the Royal Society - well worth getting a copy through your local library of buying your own for a lot of future reading.

George Allan

April 2019




A Useful Link for Making a Daily Advancement in Masonic Knowledge

Here is a useful link from Brother Gary Hulst of St Andrew Lodge No.418 SC. They meet in the Auckland area (I think - someone correct me please if I'm wrong).

https://www.standrew418.org.nz/blog     Have a go and see what you can see.

Gary is also a member of the Royal Arch (St Andrew Kilwinning Chapter No. 564) and a Cryptic Mason (Ponsonby Kilwinning Council No. 394).

For those of you who do not know what the Royal Arch or Cryptic Masonry are all about - ask someone or read your Freemasons' Magazine of a few issues ago.

When we close the Lodge in the 3rd Degree we are told that the genuine secrets were lost and we have to use substituted ones. The Royal Arch tell the story of finding those genuine secrets. The Royal and Select Degrees tell of the building of the crypt in which the genuine secrets were hidden.

So, over to you to find out more.

George Allan - Chairman of National Education Committee

posted on 23 July 2017




Masonic Knowledge Quiz for May 2018

Questions can be from any part of our masonic ritual, so, if there are questions about events in a Degree you have not yet reached - be patient, work hard, and you will get there one day.

Q1. What is the theme of the 2nd Degree?
Q2. How many times is a Candidate taken round the Lodge in the 2nd Degree?
Q3. How are the 3 virtues Faith, Hope and Charity represented on the 1st Degree tracing board?
Q4. What is the origin of "silent fire" lead by the Tyler at the end of refectory?
Q5. Which knee does a man kneel on to take his Oblogation as an Entered Aprentice Freemason?
Q6. Why is the Order of Architecture used on the Junior Warden's column called Corinthian?
Q7. What is the largest symbol in a Masonic Lodge room?
Q8. Which one of the symbols in Freemasonry represents the 2nd Degree?
Q9. The Senior Warden tells the Master his place is in the West to mark the setting sun.  So, does the Senior Warden rule the day or the night and is his symbol the sun or the moon?
Q10. Three rule a Lodge - who are they?

Answers next time and if any mason in New Zealand can give me a hand with a few questions and answers that would be gratefully received and faithfully applied. Thank you.




June 2018 Quiz

Questions can be from any part of our masonic ritual, so, if there are questions about events in a Degree you have not yet reached - be patient, work hard, and you will get there one day.

Q1. People talk about 'the secrets' in Freemasonry - how many 'secrets' are there and what are they?
Q2. In the Charge after Initiation we talk about our Order being ancient and honourable and say that it is honourable because it (Freemasonry) conduces to make those so who are obedient to it precepts. What are 'precepts'?
Q3. When the Master of your Lodge declares it open, at what book, chapter and verses is the VSL opened in your Lodge? 
It can vary and there are choices - so what happens in YOUR Lodge?
Q4. The Order of architecture used for the Senior Warden's column is called Doric, where does this name come from and why?
Q5. The knee a man kneels on to take his Obligation as an Entered Apprentice Freemason is different from the knee on which he takes his Obligation as a Fellow Craft, why is this?
Q6. Explain why the VSL, Square and Compasses are known as 'the furniture' of a Freemason's Lodge.
Q7. Which 'working tool' teaches that perseverance is necessary to establish perfection?
Q8. Which of the two patron saints of Freemasonry has his feast-day on 24th June each year?
Q9. The IPM tells the Master his place is in the East to open the Lodge ... and then what?
Q10. Freemasons are recommended to practice the virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice and later in the same Charge to appreciate the sacred dictates of Truth, Honour and Virtue. What is the message here?

Answers next time and if any mason in New Zealand can give a hand with a few questions and answers that would be gratefully received and faithfully applied. 

George Allan




Masonic Knowledge Quiz for September 2018

Q1. What is the very first question a Candidate is asked in the first degree?  "Do you feel anything"? by the Tyler.
Q2. Who are the Principal Officers in a Lodge?  The Master and Wardens (during Installation the I.G. is regarded as a principal oficer). 
Q3. When was the VSL first introduced into a Masonic Lodge?  We dont really know but probably from the very begining due to the influent of the church in those days.

Q4. The Order of architecture used for the Junior Warden's column is named after the people in ancient Corinth. What is the reason for this?  The people in Corinth grew beautiful flowers which they used as decoration.
Q5. The Junior Deacon is the first mason to teach a Candidate during initiation, what does he teach the Candidate? To step off with his left foot,
Q6. What are the 'ornaments' of a Freemason's Lodge and why are they 'ornaments'?  
Ornaments make things beautiful and in our Lodges these are the Mosaic Pavement, The Blazing Star, the Indented Tessellated Border.
Q7. What is the masonic symbol of the second degree?  The SQUARE
Q8. What is it that the honour, reputation and usefulness of a Lodge depend on?  The skill and asiduity that the Master uses to manage Lodge affairs. 
Q9. What is the danger that traditionally would have waited for any mason until his latest hour? The stain of dishonour. 
Q10. What would cause a sussession of masonic membership?  Non-payment of annual dues; criminal conviction; continually disrupting the harmony of the Lodge.


George Allan




Masonic Knowledge Quiz for October 2018

Q1. After a Past Deputy Grand Master what is the next lowest rank? President of the Board of General Purposes
Q2. The Junior Deacon leads the Cnadidate at the start of the 2nd Degree and the Senior Deacon leads him at the end - when does the change over take place? On completion of the prayer the Junior DEacon returne to his place in some Lodges.
Q3. How many masonic Lodges are there in New Zealand?

Q4. What does the Level teach us in Freemasonry?
Q5. How many Grand Masters have there been in New Zealand masonry?
Q6. What are the 'furniture' of a Freemason's Lodge and why are they called 'furniture'?
Q7. What is the masonic symbol of the third degree?
Q8. Why do we use the term 'tyled' when refering to the Lodge being opened/closed?
Q9. In all three of our Craft degrees - how many signs are there in total?

Q10. What are the duties of the Junior Deacon?

Answers next time and if any mason in New Zealand can give a hand with a few questions and answers that would be gratefully received and faithfully applied.

Click here to send me something please
George Allan




Masonic Knowledge Quiz for November 2018

Questions can be from any part of our masonic ritual, so, if there are questions about events in a Degree you have not yet reached - be patient, work hard, and you will get there one day.

Q1. Who does the 'compasses' belong to?
Q2. What is the essential difference between the Working Tools in the first two degrees and those in the third degree?
Q3. What is the age of the oldest masonic Lodge in New Zealand?

Q4. Which is the lowest Grand Ranks that entitles the Brother to be addresses as Very Worshipful Brother?
Q5. How many New Zealand Grand Masters are still alive?
Q6. Where in our ritual is the first mention of the masonic symbol used to close the LOdge in the third degree?
Q7. Who was the Great Great Grandmother of Soloman?
Q8. Why is the fire after the tyler's toast silent?
Q9. In all three of our Craft degrees - how many time does a Candidate perambulate round the Lodge in total?

Q10. What are the duties of the Junior Warden?

Answers next time and if any mason in New Zealand can give a hand with a few questions and answers that would be gratefully received and faithfully applied.

Click here to send me something please
George Allan




Training - The Forgotten Masonic Art

As Freemasons we use the building of King Solomon's Temple as the basis of our teachings to make good men better. We know from the many accounts of the erection of not only that structure, but also the cathedrals and castles that are dotted around the British Isles and Europe, that the men who conceived, designed, and supervised those constructions were clearly not only well educated but that they also properly trained the thousands of workmen whom they employed on those projects. Notice the two key words here - "educated" and "trained".

Education is defined as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university. Training is the action of teaching a person or persons a particular skill, skills, or type of behaviour.

In our modern world there has been a trend for accountants, Chief Executive Officers, and "Managers" to replace training with new buzz words called "team building". A CEO or other dignitary often abseils in to the event from a helicopter, or flying fox, (mind the earrings Christine) amid a laser light display and loud music. The participants are expected to stand up, clap and cheer, eat unusual food (e.g.locust pies) talk about their most harrowing experiences at school or on Facebook (usually in Group Dynamic sessions after "drinkies" and dinner). At the end of the weekend (or week), everyone fills in an "anonymous" evaluation sheet (online of course so they can track your IP address) which promises to make sure that the next event will be improved. Attendees go home full of the enthusiasm to do better - however this usually wears off after about a week. The facilitators go home with lots of money in their bank accounts. The accountants and CEO's/Managers are happy because they have apparently saved heaps of money (when the finances are getting low), by getting rid of "In House" training department staff (along with IT Help Desk and front of business and telephone answering people for good measure and replacing them with robotic press button 1 or 2 or 3 for service systems which cost a fortune and frequently break down requiring contractors to be called in at $$$$ per hour + + +.

Organisations which deal with "people" such as the Police, Fire Service, Ambulance, and Search and Rescue to name a few still "train" their employees using "In House" staff. They utilise Kinaesthetic programs (no more lectures) that have been developed based on a proper "Training Needs Analysis" rather than the best guess of a CEO or Manager who usually has no idea of how to conduct such an important study. Input to well conducted research comes from many sources including users, owners, customers/clients and yes - even the accounts department.

With the devolution of some authority from "Fortress Wellington" to the Divisional Grand Masters and District Grand Masters, such training programs are obviously needed in modern Freemasonry in New Zealand. Simply giving someone a "handbook" and saying "go get em" is not going to work. We once had training programs for Wardens and Masters of Lodges. What has happened to these? We must never forget that the "Lodge" is the engine room of the Craft. As our Lodges disappear - so does the Craft. Without training this is an almost inevitable event. Read the 1987 paper attached to this newsletter. Some fascinating predictions in that. Seemingly even then some Grand Lodge Officers and some members of Board of General Purposes were blinded by the reflections from the gold braid on their regalia. What has changed?

We have in our organisational structure an "Education Pillar". There are some very competent Brethren who are members of this pillar. Why are their skills not being called upon when they are most needed? Why is the Board of General Purposes not addressing this training need as part of the significant restructuring process that is being undertaken? A training needs review should be running in tandem - not left as an afterthought or worse just ignored.

Training does not have to be horrendously expensive. Universities, Polytechnics, and schools are using technology to help provide structured programs to meet the needs of industry and commerce. Video conferencing, interactive quizzes, video's and role playing, all meet the kinaesthetic requirements of modern training. Qualified Education Advisors can facilitate programs in their Districts and Divisions under the guidance of the Divisional Grand Lecturers. Has anyone in Grand Lodge or the B.O.G.P thought of that and done anything to get programs underway in 2018?

If we are serious about stemming the decline in membership then it seems pretty obvious that we need to return to our roots. For too long, far too many of our leaders have been seemingly oblivious to anything but a singlar focus on ceremonial activity. Freemasonry is much more than that. Read our Mission Statement here. Not one word about ceremonial. Let's stop being just ageing thespians. Let's get training and deliver what we promise!

Fraternally

John MacDonald

District Education Advisor and Editor Northtalk

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Masonic Knowledge Quiz for December 2018

Q1. In the VSL story name the three original masonic Grand Masters?
Q2. Which countriy did each come from?
Q3.In the VSL story name the three Kings who visited the Holy Birth?

Q4. Which country did each of these come from?
Q5. What gifts did each of the three Kings bring?
Q6. What gifts did each of our original Grand Masters bring to the building of the Holy Temple?
Q7. Name one of the Grandfathers of Soloman?
Q8. Name one of the Grandfathers of baby Jesus?
Q9. Name three other groups present at the building of the Holy Temple?

Q10. Name three other groups present at the Christmas birth?

Happy Christmas break everyone. Let us meet back here in February 2019

George Allan




Masonic Knowledge Quiz for February 2019

1.  What is the minimum number of masons to open a lodge meeting?

2.  What combination of grades (i.e. EA, FC, MM, PM) can these be?

3.  Name the seven liberal Arts and Sciences.

4.  Which of these are Arts and which are Sciences?

5.  When giving the sign in the first degree how many ’squares’ are formed (remember you have to take a step to start this sign)?

6. Ditto the 2nd degree for those of you who have taken this degree?

7.  Ditto the 3rd degree  for those of you who have taken this degree?

8. At the closing of the Lodge in the first degree the Chaplain suplicates TGAOTU to continue to preserve our Order - how?

9.  How is a Candidate for initiation "properly prepared" in his dress outside the Lodge room?

10. What three special reasons are given for making a claim on a Candidate’s charity in the NE corner?




The Old Tyler Talks

What did you think of it?" inquired the Old Tiler of the New Brother as they came out of the lodge room in which a lodge had just been consecrated, dedicated and constituted. "It isn't often that we have a chance to see that ceremony."

"I don't care if I never see it again," returned the new Brother. "It's hot in there, and it struck me as a lot of blah, just words which mean nothing. Why do they have to go to all that bother? Why the corn and wine and oil? Why not just say, 'you are a lodge-go ahead and work,' and have it over with?"

"Would you have the Master say, 'this lodge is open and 'this lodge is closed' for an opening and closing ceremony?" asked the Old Tiler.

"I wouldn't go as far as that," answered the new Brother. "But this ceremony leaves me cold. I can't see any sense in having this new lodge anyhow!"

"Oh! So that's it!" The Old Tiler smiled wisely. "You are objecting to the beautiful ceremony we have just witnessed because you are not in sympathy with the creation of a new lodge at this time and place!"

"I wouldn't say that." The new Mason flushed.

"Did you, by any chance, happen to want election to an office in the new lodge, and they chose someone else?"

The new Brother made no answer.

"There will be other new lodges!" comforted the Old Tiler. "And you are a little too young in Masonry to aspire to office in a new lodge. But I can't let you keep this wrong attitude about one of the really beautiful ceremonies of our beloved order. Have you ever attended the graduation ceremoies of any grammar school, high school, or college?"

"My little girl graduated from the eighth grade into high school last week," answered the New Brother. "Why?"

"It's at least an even bet that you saw half of that ceremony through wet eyes," answered the Old Tiler. "As you watched all those fresh young faces, boys and girls leaving childhood for youth, tak- ing the big step that is between the grade schools and high school, facing the unknown future so blithely, was not your heart touched with a knowledge of all the disappointments and heartaches these happy and carefree children must undergo?"

"You wouldn't be human otherwise! To me a consecration, dedication and constitution of a lodge is something like that. The new little lodge starts out so bravely. It is composed of Masons who have had no Masonic responsibilities. Sometimes one can find an old Past Master who will go into the new line, but generally they are new and untried officers. They satisfy the authorities that they are competent to confer the degrees, but who knows their abilities to form a new lodge into a coherent whole, their tact in keeping harmony, their knowledge of the necessity for practicing brotherhood in the lodge?

"They come here, these brave bright brethren, and the Grand Lodge performs this beautiful ceremony. The corn, the wine, the oil, are poured for them. They are consecrated to God, dedicated to the Holy Saints John, and constituted a member of the family of lodges under this Grand Lodge. Masters of other lodges are present to wish them well. Some come bearing gifts - the jewels the officers wear, the working tools, perhaps a modest cheque from the lodge which sponsored them, to help the new thin treasury get a start.

"They have no traditions to steady them. They have no matters of common knowledge to bind them together. They have no past of which to talk. All they possess is their mutual Masonry and their mutual responsibility - their hopes, their fears, their plans and their determination. An unwritten page is theirs on which to record their Masonic future. The Mystic Tie is all they know of lodge life. The Grand Master pronounces them a lodge, the charter or warrant is presented and they are born. To me it is a simple, beautiful, pathetic and interesting sight, and one I never tire of seeing."

"I am a fool." The New Mason spoke with conviction. "Old Tiler, why did the Senior Deacon gather up the corn that was used and put it carefully away?"

"He couldn't gather the wine and the oil, since they were spilled for good," answered the Old Tiler. "But that little horn of corn will be kept until this new lodge itself sponsors another new lodge, then to be offered to them, that they may be consecrated with the same corn poured for the Mother Lodge." "Oh, I am a fool, indeed," cried the New Mason. "Please take me with you to the next such ceremony, will you?"

The Old Tiler grunted ... but it sounded like a promise.




A little learning is a dangerous thing

The following is a poem written by Alexander Pope who lived from 1688 until 1744

A little learning is a dangerous thing ;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring :
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts ;
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise !
So pleased at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky ;
The eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last ;
But those attained, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthened way ;
The increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes,
Hill peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise !


Contributed by VWBro George Allan




How is your Geometry

As part of our ceremonial, a candidate will be told to kneel on one knee and place the opposite foot “at right angles with the body, thus forming a square”.

I have seen a number of ceremonies in which the limbs of the candidates have been placed at varying angles according to lodge, district and other custom, but I have yet to see any of these look either comfortable or square.

It occurs to me that there are three challenges to consider:

  1. What we decide is the plane of the body,
  2. What is the baseline for the square, and,
  3. The natural flexibility of a human body.

If a chap were to kneel on the floor, or a piece of flat ground, on one knee, his leading leg would naturally go forward of the body.  In this position the forward thigh would make an angle of 90 degrees with the lateral plane* of the body.  The thigh will be approximately horizontal and parallel with the ground, thus being at right angles with the vertical axis of the body, torso and opposite thigh.  

By placing the leading foot so that it rests on the ground in line with the thigh and directly below the knee an approximate square might be viewed in profile.

In the event that the candidate kneels on a raised kneeler, then the profile pictured is less of a square and more of a trapezium.  One can only assume that in the early ceremonies the concept was simple and the kneeler was absent in the inferior degree ceremonies.  

This is the situation of our man immediately before the Master.  Possibly in the Goose and Gridiron.  Probably without the benefit of a table on which to rest and balance.  He would be reasonably stable just kneeling on the floor.  Once his companions attempt to move his leading leg to the side, balance is distorted, the right angle with the plane of the body is disturbed and the form of a square is upset.  In short, it begins to look contrived.  

We also now encounter the limitations of natural flexibility of the body.  At this point in the discussion it might be acknowledged that as the hip is flexed outward there is an uncomfortable sensation created in the groin or gubbins muscle.  It is not a gentlemanly pose.  That this should occur immediately prior to the candidate taking an obligation, might be seen as imposing duress which is obviously not a desirable situation.

In conclusion, I suggest that we take note of both the geometric and natural anatomical features of our requests of candidates in the early stages of their career in Freemasonry.  

My personal recommendation would be that a candidate kneel on the floor and slightly to one side of any structure used to support the VSL, so that his leading leg might be forward of and thus at right angles with his body. 

This recommendation appears to be supported by the instructions in the ritual (6 ed., 2010)

“The deacons should see that the Candidate is placed in an easy position.” (p. 49)

The Deacons should place the Candidate’s l… f… well forward, the body in an easy position.” (p. 115)

WBro P Dacombe-Bird

Westminster Lodge No, 308

Lodge Waikanae No. 433




useful links for masonic knowledge

http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/saltemp.html

http://www.anzmrc.org/  the Reserach site containing information about Freemasonry

http://www.midnightfreemasons.org - interesting stuff for Master Masons

https://www.freemasonrytoday.com the UK Masonic Magazine

Philalethes Society




Revisiting Ritual by The Rev Neville Barry Cryer

‘... until time or circumstances shall restore the genuine’ 

In this articles the purpose is to help us all to re-encounter phrases in our ritual that are so often and so easily repeated that we may not have realised the full content of what has been said. If ritual is to be of any true value then it is important for its complete meaning to be clear to us. The mere learning of words that have no apparent relevance for us is boring and pointless. If that is the case for some, then I can well understand why there are too many Masons today who question if the learning of ritual at all is really necessary. Some of us who have been in Free and Accepted Masonry at long time only claim to have enjoyed it so long because it has continued to reveal more and more of its treasures as we have pondered and unravelled the phrases we have so often repeated. lt is the continual discovery of new meanings that has kept our interest and helped us to both recite, and listen to, the ritual year after year. 

It is against that background that I invite you to look again at the words in the Third Degree when, having been instructed in the Five Points of Fellowship, the Master informs us that these substituted signs shall mark us out as Master Masons ‘until time or circumstances shall restore the genuine ones’. 

As so many Freemasons still do not complete their essential Masonic journey and therefore do not receive the genuine Master Mason secrets in the Holy Royal Arch, it should not surprise us if these words of the ritual pass by without making any impact whatsoever. If a Brother has been assured that the present Master Mason Degree is complete in itself, or that learning how to face death is all that matters, then who cares if there are ‘genuine secrets’ that remain unrevealed? 

Yet that is not what the present Master Mason is told at the Opening of this Degree; an Opening, of course, that the Candidate will not have heard. He will learn soon enough, however, if he pays attention, that the purpose of this Degree is ‘To seek for that which is lost, which by your [the Master's] instruction, and our own endeavours, we hope TO FIND’. So, contrary to what others may tell us, the ritual makes plain that this Degree is not complete until we re-discover those ‘genuine secrets of a Master Mason’. And as if to hammer home this true purpose of the Third Degree the Opening ends with this promise from the Master: ‘Then, Brethren, we will assist you to REPAIR THAT loss...’. Nothing could be more clear than that. He is not saying here that he will help us to be satisfied with “substituted secrets”. He is promising that HE, with the additional knowledge and progress that he has as an Installed Brother, will be able to help us make the still further journey to the place where we can acquire the genuine Master Mason secrets. And that is exactly what is being said in the ritual phrase with which we began. 

The word ‘until’ in that phrase meant that the substituted secrets were temporary ones which had to be replaced by the genuine. In order to secure these it is a matter of having reached the right TIME and that is when Moses’ Tabernacle in the Wilderness and Solomon’s Temple are joined by the Second Temple erected under the direction of another ]ewish Prince. That IS the right TIME because this was the moment foretold by later prophets in the Volume of the Sacred Law, for the completion of the sacred sites ordained by the Divine. There can be no better moment for an Accepted Freemason to commemorate than this one. A parallel with the building work of our operative forebears. 

lt is also the right CIRCUMSTANCE because this was the situation when Cyrus, King of Persia, 

released the Jews from exile and allowed them to recover their appointed homeland. It is on their own soil and with a sacred task to complete that we, their ritual successors, can rightly receive the genuine secrets of a true Master Mason. This is what ancient Masonry was meant to lead up to and then conclude with. Raised from a death in exile, enabled to construct the sacred edifice where the Divine presence met with his people in the Holy of Holies, we can experience the summum bonum, the ultimate Masonic goal. That is what the Master's Third Degree words were promising us. To know what Masonry is all about means entering the Royal Arch. 

“The Square” September 2012 p39 




The Patron Saints of Freemasonry

Freemasonry has two Patron saints – St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.

By VW Bro. Martin McGregor

John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century AD. John is revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism. He is called a prophet by all of these traditions, and is honoured as a saint in many Christian traditions. Other titles for John include John the Forerunner in Eastern Christianity and "the prophet John" (YaḥyÄĀ) in Islam. To clarify the meaning of "Baptist", he is sometimes alternatively called John the Baptizer.

John used baptism as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement. Most scholars agree that John baptized Jesus. Some scholars believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John. John the Baptist is mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus. 

According to the New Testament, John anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself. Christians commonly refer to John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus' coming. John is also identified as the spiritual successor of the prophet Elijah.  He died by beheading in 28 – 36 AD in Machaerus, Perea, Levant.

John the Baptist was a patron saint of the operative masons since very early times and Grand Lodge communications used to be held on his Feast Day.

St. John the Evangelist is the name traditionally given to the author of the Gospel of John. Christians have traditionally identified him with John the Apostle, John of Patmos, or John the Presbyter.

Christian tradition says that John the Evangelist was John the Apostle. The Apostle John was a historical figure, one of the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death. He was one of the original twelve apostles and is thought to be the only one to have lived into old age and not be killed for his faith. Some believe that he was exiled (around 95 AD) to the Aegean island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation.  

In American Freemasonry, the two Saints John are represented by the two parallel lines at a tangent with the Point within a Circle symbol, but the New Zealand Ritual makes it very clear that the two lines represent Moses and King Solomon in the New Zealand Rite

The operative masons also revered the Four Crowned Martyrs as their patron saints.  The designation Four Crowned Martyrs or Four Holy Crowned Ones (Latin, Sancti Quatuor Coronati) refers to nine individuals venerated as martyrs and saints in the Catholic Church. The nine saints are divided into two groups:

Severus (or Secundius), Severian(us), Carpophorus (Carpoforus), Victorinus (Victorius, Vittorinus)

Claudius, Castorius, Symphorian (Simpronian), Nicostratus, and Simplicius

According to the Golden Legend, the names of the members of the first group were not known at the time of their death "but were learned through the Lord’s revelation after many years had passed."They were called the "Four Crowned Martyrs" because their names were unknown ("crown" referring to the crown of martyrdom).

The first group - Severus (or Secundius), Severian(us), Carpophorus, and Victorinus were martyred at Rome or Castra Albana, according to Christian tradition.

According to the Passion of St. Sebastian, the four saints were soldiers (specifically cornicularii, or clerks, in charge of all the regiment's records and paperwork) who refused to sacrifice to Aesculapius, and therefore were killed by order of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), two years after the death of the five sculptors, mentioned below. The bodies of the martyrs were buried in the cemetery of Santi Marcellino e Pietro on the fourth mile of the via Labicana by Pope Miltiades and St. Sebastian (whose skull is preserved in the church).

The second group, according to Christian tradition, were sculptors from Sirmium who were killed in Pannonia. They refused to fashion a pagan statue for the Emperor Diocletian or to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Emperor ordered them to be placed alive in lead coffins and thrown into the river in about 287. Simplicius was killed with them.

The Acts of these martyrs, written by a revenue officer named Porphyrius probably in the fourth century, relates of the five sculptors that, although they raised no objections to executing such profane images as Victoria, Cupid, and the Chariot of the Sun, they refused to make a statue of Æsculapius for a heathen temple. For this they were condemned to death as Christians. They were put into leaden caskets and drowned in the River Save. This happened towards the end of 305.

By way of explanation, it was not actually illegal to be a Christian in ancient Rome but, if you were a Roman citizen, you were expected to honour the gods of Rome over and above any other gods you might worship.  This was because the Romans believed they had a contract with the gods to protect Rome in return for their faith in them.  This belief was reinforced by the many battles when the forces of nature intervened to the detriment of the enemy, enabling a Roman victory.  Refusal, by a Roman citizen, to worship the gods of Rome was regarded as treason.  The Romans tended to view Christianity as an alien superstition that was undermining Roman traditions, a sort of social cancer.  The Emperor Diocletian was one who tried to stamp out Christianity in a massive persecution, but even he gave up the task in the end.

 The Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (its Latin title meaning Four Crowned Ones) is a Masonic lodge in London dedicated to Masonic research. Founded in 1886, the lodge meets at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street.  The name of the Lodge is taken from lines 497 - 534 of the Regius Poem. This poem from circa 1390 is one of the oldest Masonic documents.

The story is that the martyrs first tried to get out of the carving job by claiming that the marble was flawed.  However, there were too many experts around for them to get away with the ruse and an interrogation revealed their Christianity was the real reason for their refusal.

The references in the text of the martyrs' passion to porphyry quarrying and masonry located at the 'porphyritic mountain' indicate that the story's setting is misplaced; there are no porphyry quarries in Pannonia and the only porphyry quarry worked in the ancient world is in Egypt. Mons Porphyrites was quarried to supply the rare and expensive imperial porphyry for the emperor's building works and statuary, for which it was exclusively set aside. Mons Porphyrites is in the Thebaid, which was a centre of Christian erimiticism in Late Antqiuity. The emperor Diocletian did indeed commission the extensive use of porphyry in his many building projects. Diocletian also visited the Thebaid during his reign, though he was more usually associated with the Balkans, which might explain why the story's location was transposed to Pannonia over time.

Man of Arden




The Spirit of Freemasonry

The article Vol 45 (p 34) of Freemasonry by VW Bro Dr George Allan asks the intriguing and fundamental question: “How would you describe the Spirit of Freemasonry to a non-Freemason?”

The following is my effort.

“The Spirit of Freemasonry is found in a body of men of good character and various faiths, called a Lodge, who not only believe in a higher power which they call the Great Architect of the Universe, but also, in the promotion of strong moral behaviour. Symbols and analogies from ancient times are used as illustrations for their strong personal spiritual beliefs and moral principles. 

The Volume of the Sacred Law is to rule and govern their faith, while the moral meaning behind the square and compasses governs their lives and actions.

Charity (in its ample sense) and the practice of all the traditional virtues are emphasised.

Freemasonry is not a secret society, far from it, but an honourable one centuries old, supported by princes and presidents and many other dignitaries, celebrities and other men of good will. Masonic secrets gradually unfold to worthy candidates.  In other words it makes good men even better, engendering a strong bond of brotherhood. All these attributes help to give hope, meaning and purpose to their lives.

Some members have served 50, 60 and even 70 years, which in itself speaks volumes about their benign ethos that epitomises the Spirit of Freemasonry.”

As an afterthought I want to tell you in more detail why I chose to use the phrase “benign ethos.”

1.     First I have chosen ethos as it is the nearest word I could think of after checking its meaning in the Oxford series of dictionaries. I chose the  Oxford  as it  is the foremost world authority accepted by academics and for legal purposes. Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.  Oxford defines ethos as the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its attitudes and aspirations.  That well fits the general description of spirit.

2.     Next I chose benign as an adjective, to allay any idea of improper behaviour; and that we are an organisation only for the good of members and society. The Shorter Oxford includes the words: kind disposition; gracious, gentle in operation. The Concise Oxford’s definition includes: genial and kindly; favourable not harmful,

3.     I suggest that both these two definitions, together go a long way towards defining the Spirit of Freemasonry. 

We are approaching Anzac Day and I expect to attend because I served  on active service as a radio technician in the RNZAF in the forward areas of the Pacific, so the term ‘sprit de corps’  springs to mind that can be applied to Freemasonry.  The COD defines the phrase: a feeling of pride and mutual loyalty uniting members of a group. The Sprit of Freemasonry also meets that definition. I hope you will send me a copy of your proposed lecture on this subject

PS  The comments on the avoidance of the use of the word “God” is well known, but I note the  1st Degree Tracing Board Lecture uses the word ”God” half a dozen times.  I wonder how this came about?  Was this accidental or deliberate?

Very Kind Regards

Squire Speedy

JP(Ret) MPhil MM, 60 yr badge;




Does man make Freemasonry or does Freemasonry make the man?

Both  can be argued  and there is no right or wrong position...
But in this address on the similarities between a hard traditional Karate style and freemasonry, the conclusion may in fact polarise this question.
and I can tell you that freemasonry and karate are both  a way of life.
As a  preschool boy living in Wellington CBD, I was often taken for walks in what is now known as the Cuba quarter and I can remember looking through the windows at street level to the floor below where a karate class was in progress.
I remember, because I was frightened by the noise of shouting and the "violence" I could see. However I did resolve to one day take the step and join a karate class.

Years later when Karate had all but been forgotten, my 15 year old son came to me and asked if he could join a Karate Class in the suburb we were living in. I'm not sure who got the greatest surprise, him or me, but I knew then that this at last was my opportunity. I have two sons so the three of us turned up at the next class in-take day, and duly enrolled.

There was an application form that we had to sign that absolved the Instructor of any responsibility for physical accident, and a price list of karate regalia and dues.

Before the class started , I took the opportunity to look around the  people who like us, were first timers. There were all sorts, young, old, male, female but at least I had someone to talk to - my sons and the established graded students didn't seem to notice us.
Some of the new "intake" were  of the type that thought they would become karate experts after the first lesson, and there was probably 5 of them, but did they get a shock!
The class met twice a week for 2 hours and for the first 3 weeks all we did was sit ups, push ups and  stretching -no karate. This was pretty off putting for the more macho of us students, and finally, the big 5 dropped out.
And.....karate began.
We stopped being students and became Karatea and we learnt how to bow and count to 99 in Karate. We learnt when the Dojo was at ease and when it was not, and how to behave accordingly. We also learnt that from the moment the class started until it ended that we were totally in the control of our Sensei or teacher - and that's what the " hard" is about  "Hard" in this context was that it was physically demanding, required total obedience and if someone stepped out of line, the whole class suffered the punishments which was invariably, 50 knuckle push ups - to the count!
The recognised degrees in Freemasonry number 6, three in the blue and three in the Royal Arch. In my karate style, Okinawan karate, an off shoot from Sholin ryu there are six grades that can be attained, denominated by belt colour yellow, green, blue, purple , brown and black.
Some martial arts include coloured belt "Tips" and other colours but that is more for the commercial aspirations of the  instructor rather than anything else.

So here  we are at the start and immediately we have a similarity
before attaining the first grade the karate has a white belt, indicating his karate innocence. When the candidate enters his first degree he is in darkness with respect to Freemasonry, hesitant, and reliant.
In the official degrees that is the only time that he has this experience.
In Karate, at least in my style the Black belt or Shodan grade included the trial and predicament of self defence while blind folded.
There was no time for hesitancy, but there was reliance, reliance in the confidence of knowing that the Instructor was there, making sure all was well.
At the Shodan grade a visiting Sensei of higher grade would attend and oversee the workings of the grade to deliberate on whether the standard was met.

The routine running of the Dojo between grade examination, was to practise the techniques for the students' next level. There was very little "violence" but more repitition of techniques, standing in rows, punching and kicking imaginary targets, and sometimes each other.

All the while, over the years, respect both for the Sensei and fellow students was being ingrained, support for each other instilled by mentoring, and discipline was never compromised.
Each grade had its own proof of efficiency called a Kata - or "pattern" meaning a combination in free flow of the techniques of that grade.
Physically, the body was learning how to coordinate and importantly how to focus. Mentally, the body was contemplating the final  trial of exhaustion but not succumming to it. Spiritually, each student was finding the "way". The parallel here is that in Freemasonry we focus on the Ritual determined to get it right both from the first test Questions right through until we experience unshaken Fidelity
I'm proud to say that both my sons and I achieved our Shodan grade together.
So, brethren because karate is a "Way of life" and karate develops the man both spiritually, mentally and physically, so then does Freemasonry develop the man. We should be proud of that.

WBro Richard Illingworth - Master of the Research Lodge of Wellington




Four Things To Keep In Mind

The necessity of regularly re-examining what has gone before rather than accepting blindly the deductions of those we regard as the great figures in Masonic research.

The avoidance of a decent into a society of antiquaries writing learned papers on minor details, and also a recognition that a truly speculative and provocative paper can have more value than a factual one.

Freemasonry has been affected by and affects society.

Historical evidence can be drawn from visual arts, an area we have neglected.

From WBro John Hamill 1985 Master of Quatuor Coronati quoted by RW Bro McCarroll in his reply to his installation toast in Research Lodge of Wellington 1989




Summary of the Antient Charges and Regulations
  1. You agree to be a good Man and true, and strictly to obey the Moral Law.

  2. You are to be a peaceable subject, and cheerfully to conform to the Laws of the Country in which you reside.

  3. You promise not to be concerned in Plots or Conspiracies against Government, but patiently to submit to the decisions of the Supreme Legislature.

  4. You agree to pay a proper respect to the Civil Magistrate, to work diligently, live creditably, and act honourably by all men.

  5. You agree to hold in veneration the original Rulers and Patrons of the Order of Freemasonry, and their regular Successors, supreme and subordinate, according to their Stations; and to submit to the Awards and Resolutions of your brethren in general Lodge convened, in every case consistent with the Constitution of the Order.

  6. You agree to avoid private piques and quarrels, and to guard against intemperance and excess.

  7. You agree to be cautious in your carriage and behaviour, courteous to your brethren, and faithful to your Lodge.

  8. You promise to respect genuine and true brethren, and to discountenance imposters and all dissenters from the original plan of Freemasonry.

  9. You agree to promote the general good of society, to cultivate the Social Virtues, and to propagate the knowledge of the Mystic Art as far as your influence and ability can extend.

  10. You promise to pay homage to the Grand Master for the time being, and to his Officers when duly installed, and strictly to conform to every Regulation of the Grand Lodge.

  11. You admit that it is not in the power of any person, or body of men to make alteration, or innovation in the Body of Masonry without the consent first obtained of the Grand Lodge.

  12. You promise a regular attendance on the Communications and Committees of the Grand Lodge, upon receiving proper notice thereof; and to pay attention to all the duties of Freemasonry upon proper and convenient occasions.

  13. You admit that no new Lodge can be formed without permission of the Grand Master or his Deputy, and that no countenance ought to be given to any irregular Lodge, or to any person initiated therein; and that no public procession or ceremonial of Freemasons clothed with the badges of the Order can take place without the Special License of the Grand Master or his Deputy.

  14. You admit that no person can regularly be made a Freemason, or admitted a member of any Lodge without previous notice and due enquiry into his character; and that noBrother can be advanced to a higher degree except in strict conformity with the Laws of the Grand Lodge.

  15. You promise that no visitor shall be received into your Lodge without due examination, and producing proper vouchers of his having been initiated in a regular Lodge.

  16. From the Book of Constitution Section VI




COMPASSION

Compassion flows from the Masonic commitment to Relief. “To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view.” And a noble aim it is. Where joy is to be found, sorrow is often close at hand. We learn in Masonry that the symbolic ground floor of King Solomon’s Temple was a pavement of alternating squares of black and white, symbolizing that human life itself is “checkered with good and evil.” We can expect “rough patches” in life, and as Masons we watch for ways to help others over the setbacks that come our way. That is what compassion is all about. It is a watchful caring for others, an entering into their misfortunes in a way that lets them know that we share their pain as well as their joy.

R. Stephen Doan, FPS

President of the Philalethes Society

Click Here to see what this is




Video Links and Articles

Here is a really good link to  short video clips of interest - each is 60 seconds on a topic of masonic knowledge. 

Here is another one that will lead you to lots of masonic knowledge in other parts of the world.  

Here is a link to The Philalethes Society

and here is a link to the Historical foundations of Freemasonry

I have included a new article from our Brethren in The South Island about being an Entred Apprentice.




Some Masonic Anecdotes from the Past

Paper presented by VW.Bro S.D.Barrett

1 October 2018

In researching this paper, I asked myself what is history, without going to Google my thoughts were that there is both ancient and modern history. History however is something that we can never change, we can have our ideas and interpret it as we please, but the fact remains we can never change it.  There have been literally hundreds of Lectures written about The Temple different interpretations but the facts will always remain the same. The opening of the lodge tonight is now history and cannot be changed in any way

When we look at the hardships our predecessors encountered 100 years ago when visiting other lodges or even getting to their own lodge, I wonder whether or not they considered it a hardship, it is very obvious that ships, trains and horses played a great part in their travels, with many references being made to the supply of a Salon car by the Railways and travel by ship to ports and up rivers that provided access to established lodges. Those days the Wright Bros had yet to make their first flight so air travel would not have even entered their minds. Today if we could not drive to visit a lodge outside our boundaries we would stay at home. 

My first example is from 1905 only 113 years ago when the GM at the time visited Central Otago, visiting Cromwell Kilwinning No98, Dunstan 108, Manukerikia Kilwinning109, St Bathans 126, and Mt Ida 97. To achieve this, it necessitated travel by train, coach and buggy for 5 days out of the 6. In 1905 the rail head had only reached Omakau so a journey of 108 Km by horse drawn transport was necessary to reach Cromwell.  A ceremony of installation was held at 4 lodges followed by the usual dance or ball. The railways provided a long saloon car for the party. An interesting comparison was made by the GM in regard to Naseby and I quote. When I made my first acquaintance with Naseby, 35 years ago it was then, arid, treeless, desolate and a collection of shanties. Now bright with trees with pretty houses in the midst of gardens and public buildings substantial and handsome. 35 years previous would have been 1870, no mention was made of the mode of travel used. When I first visited Naseby in the late 60s I could relate to the description of 1870.  

Still in 1905 on the 11th of January the Grand Master accompanied by the G. Sec, G, Super, the past Grand Super, the G, Chaplin Archdeacon Stocker and accompanied by members of all the other lodges in Southland, travelled by special train to Orepuki the furthest west township in the colony to constitute and dedicate this new lodge, Lodge Orepuki 131. As I assume that even in 1905 the travel would be from Wellington another mammoth task. As appears to be normal in those days the dedication ceremony was conducted in the afternoon with a break from 6.0pm to 7.30pm when the ceremony of installation took place ending at 10.00pm when the brethren adjourned to the hall of refreshment and the most pleasant evening of song, recitation and the appropriate toast and speeches claiming attention until 12.30am.

We will now go back in time to 1877 with Lodge Palmerston No 26

When it was agreed to consecrate the lodge on August 23rd and then to meet monthly on the Thursday on or before full moon. For some unrecorded reason the lodge met on Friday august 24th when 16 candidates were proposed, balloted for and initiated that night, the fee for initiation having been fixed at 6pounds and 6 shillings, the yearly sub at 2 pounds2 shillings. There is no mention as to how long or how the ceremonies we conducted, however 1 year later the lodge was in financial trouble, having in 1877 purchased a building site for 50 pounds and accepted a contract for a building for 423 pounds and 13 shillings. In spite of efforts by the brethren to loan funds it was necessary to raise a mortgage of 400 pounds at 8.5% surely a high rate in those days. This became to much of a burden for the members, so 3 options were put to the members either increase the annual membership fee by 1 pound [rejected], issue 5 pound debentures no seconder, hand in the charter [rejected]or that the building be vacated and meetings held elsewhere [passed]. The next meeting was held in the secretary’s office, the April meeting lapsed for lack of a venue, the May and subsequent meetings were held rent free in the Government survey offices, by permission of the surveyor general for an indefinite period. The upside is that the lodge building was purchased by members from the mortgagor for 100 pounds and the lodge has met in it ever since.

Let us now take a leap forward in time to June 21st 1945 at Lodge Papatoetoe No 227 when at the regular meeting 100 visitors were welcomed by the WM WBro. WA Cairns. While the number of visitors was impressive, what was more impressive was those who were welcomed. Firstly, there was the Mayor of Wellington Bro Will Appleton, the Mayor of Auckland, Bro JAC Allum, the Mayor of Northcote Bro. M Pearn, the Mayor of Ellerslie W. Bro H White. The Mayor of Otahuhu, WBro J Murdoch, The Mayor of Manurewa, W. Bro. W Barnard. The Mayor of Wellington being a close personal friend of the Master and promised to visit during his term as Master. 6 Mayors at one meeting, wouldn’t it be great to recreate that in 2018.

An interesting note in the Ohura lodge minutes of February12th 1931. Quote- thanks are due to the local Masons wives for their share in preparing the good fare. Ohura Lodge has decided to go dry for a period of 3 months, the money saved in this way to be devoted to the Earthquake Relief Fund. End Quote.

Lodge Nicholson Lodge No 326 dedicated on 3rd May 1947 has the distinction of having the largest role of any new lodge dedicated in NZ the total membership being 132 including 67 past and present Grand Lodge Officers. Also unusual about this lodge that it was named after the MWPGM Oliver Nicholson who delivered the address to the Brethren-

An interesting article appears in the minutes for Lodge Otaki No92 for January 1904, and June and July 1905.and relates to a presentation by Bro. Brown of Dawson City.

Bro. Fred Brown the well-known Trail Gulch miner of Klondike had the idea of preparing a set of gavels carved from the tusks of a mastodon for presentation to the GL of NZ. After a great deal of effort and through the kindness of a Mr Fawcett sufficient ivory well preserved was obtained and enlisting the assistance of Dawson carver the gavels were made. On the official visit of the D.D.G.M. of Manitoba the request was made to first use the gavels at the session at which he presided in the most northerly Lodge of Masonry in the world before they were sent to the most southerly jurisdiction that being NZ. Accompanying the gavels are three stands upon which they will be used. These stands are sections of the mastodon tusk being in full circumference. Before sending them out to NZ Bro. Brown will have them mounted in Klondyke gold from his own claim Trail Gulch Klondyke. They will be sent to MW. Bro Herbert J Williams GM of NZ who will ask Bro. the Rt. Hon. R.J. Seddon to present them the proposed present is unique and the motive in remembering his Mother Lodge when so far from home will be duly appreciated.in a letter dated 17th March 1904 states that the work was in abeyance as he had not at that time been able to get sufficient numbers of gold nuggets of the right size. It was the end of the year before they were completed and sent to NZ. How to safely get them to NZ, was the next question, and he thanks P.M. Bro Hartman of Dawson and also the Postmaster General of Canada for granting a special permission for the tools to be sent through the mails in the safest possible manner.   The finishing and ornamenting the ivory with the gold was entrusted to Messrs Frank and Vesco Jewellers, Dawson. Bro. Anderson of Yukon Lodge decorated the case which held the tools. The GM, Gavel and striker plate are mounted with round bands of gold and have two rows of nuggets round each. the presentation of the beautiful and costly gift was made was made in May 1905 to the IP GM in the last minute of absence of 0.0. Richard Seddon. 

One can only imagine the value of these tools in 2018.

NB. In 1913, it was reported that Bro FJ Brown a member of Lodge Otaki but resident in Dawson City who made that very handsome presentation to Grand Lodge has been admitted to the mental hospital in New Westminster, British Colombia, his hard life and disappointment having affected his mind. The Grand Secretary has been in contact with lodges in Dawson City and New Westminster enlisting their assistance

To finish I have come across a short poem which I shall read and comes from the Oration at the opening of the HAUTONGA MASONIC HALL August 23rd 1966 delivered by V.W. Bro.Allan T Hunter G.L.

And one was an humble person, A man of the everyday,

Whom often I’d passed by proudly, On meeting him on my way,

He spoke! And my bigness dwindled, And out of the circling sky

There seemed to be a message, That I would be measured by.

I can to a newer learning,  An inkling of some great plan,

As they made me an Entered Apprentice,  IN THE BUILDING OF A MAN.




MISUNDERSTANDINGS

Reproduced from the Research Lodge of Otago Transactions Nov 2018

Readers of Transactions would be familiar with the English magazine, Freemasonry Today. One of their regular contributors was Canon Richard Tydeman, Past Grand Warden, who died in 2011 at the age of 94. He wrote many very worthwhile articles, one of which he entitled “Misunderstandings”, in which he pondered the effects of change.

The trouble about getting old, he wrote, is that one can easily lose touch with the young; we don’t always seem to be speaking the same language! For instance, I will freely admit that I have never listened to Radio One in my life and consequently had never even heard of a disc jockey called John Peel. So, when a young lady told me, in a sorrowful voice, that “John Peel has died”, I wrongly imagined that this was some sort of catch or a juvenile joke, so I replied, “Well, he had probably just heard that the government propose to abolish hunting.” The young lady looked at me in bewilderment. “What’s that got to do with it?” she asked. “Oh,” said I, “D’ye ken John Peel – with his hounds and his horn in the morning, and all that.” The lady was even more bewildered. I had never heard of the disc jockey; she had never heard of the legendary huntsman.

I know there is quite a time-gap between the two John Peels, but gaps can be found even within a lifetime. A schoolmaster friend told me that he was reading to his class a story set in the eighteenth century. I quote his own words:

“At one point in the story a man wrote a letter with a quill pen and sprinkled the letter with sand. I broke off at this point to explain to the class that this sanding was a primitive form of blotting paper. At the end of the story I invited questions, and one hand went up. ‘Please sir, what’s blotting paper?’”

Modern children with ballpoint pens have no use for such a thing.

On another occasion a child asked me, “What programmes did you most enjoy on television when you were young?” I found it difficult to explain that television had not been invented then, and even my radio consisted only of a crystal set with headphones.

Now, what I am leading up to is the undoubted fact that certain things in our Masonic Ritual will not be as clear to younger brethren as they are to us pensioners. And it is likely to get worse. For instance, metric units have replaced our old familiar measurements – in fact, I believe it is now actually illegal to sell things in pounds and ounces, pints or yards.

So, how long will it still be to produce a twenty-four-inch gauge? Nobody has yet suggested any alteration to the twenty-four hours in a day – but it is just possible to imagine some idiotic government decreeing that every day must have ten hours with a hundred minutes in each hour and a hundred seconds in each minute. I am sure that such idiots would dearly love to decree that every year should have a hundred days, but fortunately that is one of the things that no human being is capable of altering!

However, feet and inches have already been outlawed in many places. Should we therefore alter our Rituals accordingly? Thus, “three feet between north and south and five feet or more perpendicular” would become “.9144m and 1.5240m respectively; “four inches or a hands breadth” becomes “10.16cm” and so on – to say nothing of “the length of my cable tow.”

No, our Ritual should not be changed to accommodate these metric variations, but we really ought to spend a bit more time in educating our candidates to understand the significance of the language in which it is written. That was the original purpose of a Lodge of Instruction, but in many cases, this has become little more than a Lodge of Rehearsal, just ploughing through the Ritual without attempting any explanation. There is so much that we take for granted without realising that our candidates might misunderstand. I was once asked by a young Mason why we talked about “the principles and tenets of our profession.”

“You can’t call Masonry a profession,” he argued, “we don’t do it for money.” When I explained to him that the phrase merely means, “the principles and tenets that we profess”, his reaction was, “Oh, I wish they had taught me that at the Lodge of Instruction.”

Other examples of change can be found in our Working Tools. Someone once asked, “Why does the Junior Warden have a greenhouse thermometer hanging from his collar?” Well, a plumb-rule does look rather like that at first glance; and the shape of the Senior Warden’s Jewel is even more puzzling because modern levels consist of a single horizontal bar and a glass cylinder of liquid with a bubble in it; very different from the old weight hanging on a string. Like so much of Masonry, our Working Tools date from the eighteenth century, which is why our Secretary’s Jewel is still crossed quills and not ballpoints.

Please, therefore, instruct your brethren and encourage them to ask questions. Some of the questions you may not even be able to answer yourself, for we all need instruction, and the wisest of us does not know everything. Don’t alter the Ritual or the established customs just because fashions and meanings change.

I have heard the Tyler’s Toast altered from “over the face of the earth and water” to “and in the air” – quite unnecessary because everyone who is over the face of earth or water must also be in the air to be able to breathe.

Let us keep original words and explain their meaning in the Lodge of Instruction. It is never too late to learn. I, personally, have now learnt to distinguish between a recently deceased disc jockey and a huntsman of two hundred years ago, “with his coat so gay.”

And that last phrase includes a word that has completely changed its meaning within the last twenty years!
- With acknowledgment to Freemasonry Today. Rev. Canon Richard Tydeman, MA OSM PSGW, a Priest for 70 years and a Freemason for 74 years, was an author, a highly-regarded preacher, compiler of crosswords, verse, and plays. A long-time columnist for Freemasonry Today, Canon Tydeman’s contribution to Masonic thought was acknowledged in 1971 when he was appointed Prestonian Lecturer.




A MASONIC RECORD

Reproduced from The Research Lodge of Otago Transactions Nov 2018

Do you know that an English Freemason, Thomas Cromwell, began the agitation which resulted in the migration of the Pilgrim Fathers, and that in all the stirring scenes connected with the establishment and growth of the United States, Masons have been the chief actors; that Masons were largely instrumental in the first permanent settlement made in Virginia; that the man who moved in the Continental Congress in June, 1776, the appointment of a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence, Richard H. Lee, was a Mason; that two of the committee, Livingstone and Jefferson, appointed to draft that document, were Masons, and that the very words of the Declaration of Independence are Masonic and that none other than a Mason could have dictated them; that another Mason, John Hancock, at the peril of his life, led the way to the desk and affixed his signature first to that immortal Declaration, and that all but four of the signers thereof were members of the Craft; that on the memorable night before the battle of Lexington, a Mason, Robert Morris, held a lantern in the Old South Church and gave the signal to another Mason, Paul Revere, whose “midnight ride” has been immortalised in verse; that the Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts was the engineer who laid out the breast works of Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill; and that General Joseph Warren, the Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts, poured out his life blood upon the slopes of Bunker Hill; that Putnam, Lee, Wayne, Marion, Greene, Washington, LaFayette, and indeed nearly all of the military leaders of the Revolution were Masons, while another Mason, Benjamin Franklin, negotiated the treaty with France which enabled the American people to achieve independence. In the long roll of honourable statesmen who have knelt at Masonic altars are mentioned Patrick Henry, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James Monroe, Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and to these might be added Garfield, Roosevelt and McKinley, and even the very coins of the realm bear stamped upon their faces the inscription, significant to every Mason, “In God We Trust”. This is indeed a record of which Masonry can well boast.

- Jewels of Masonic Eloquence and Stories, Masonic Research Society, Enid, Oklahoma, U.S.A. 1915




Summary of the Antient Charges and Regulations
  1. You agree to be a good Man and true, and strictly to obey the Moral Law.

  2. You are to be a peaceable subject, and cheerfully to conform to the Laws of the Country in which you reside.

  3. You promise not to be concerned in Plots or Conspiracies against Government, but patiently to submit to the decisions of the Supreme Legislature.

  4. You agree to pay a proper respect to the Civil Magistrate, to work diligently, live creditably, and act honourably by all men.

  5. You agree to hold in veneration the original Rulers and Patrons of the Order of Freemasonry, and their regular Successors, supreme and subordinate, according to their Stations; and to submit to the Awards and Resolutions of your brethren in general Lodge convened, in every case consistent with the Constitution of the Order.

  6. You agree to avoid private piques and quarrels, and to guard against intemperance and excess.

  7. You agree to be cautious in your carriage and behaviour, courteous to your brethren, and faithful to your Lodge.

  8. You promise to respect genuine and true brethren, and to discountenance imposters and all dissenters from the original plan of Freemasonry.

  9. You agree to promote the general good of society, to cultivate the Social Virtues, and to propagate the knowledge of the Mystic Art as far as your influence and ability can extend.

  10. You promise to pay homage to the Grand Master for the time being, and to his Officers when duly installed, and strictly to conform to every Regulation of the Grand Lodge.

  11. You admit that it is not in the power of any person, or body of men to make alteration, or innovation in the Body of Masonry without the consent first obtained of the Grand Lodge.

  12. You promise a regular attendance on the Communications and Committees of the Grand Lodge, upon receiving proper notice thereof; and to pay attention to all the duties of Freemasonry upon proper and convenient occasions.

  13. You admit that no new Lodge can be formed without permission of the Grand Master or his Deputy, and that no countenance ought to be given to any irregular Lodge, or to any person initiated therein; and that no public procession or ceremonial of Freemasons clothed with the badges of the Order can take place without the Special License of the Grand Master or his Deputy.

  14. You admit that no person can regularly be made a Freemason, or admitted a member of any Lodge without previous notice and due enquiry into his character; and that noBrother can be advanced to a higher degree except in strict conformity with the Laws of the Grand Lodge.

  15. You promise that no visitor shall be received into your Lodge without due examination, and producing proper vouchers of his having been initiated in a regular Lodge.

  16. From the Book of Constitution Section VI




About this Website

This is the "Main Page" on which new articles appear each month along with a new QUIZ each month. After a month these pages are moved to the "Archive Page" so this Main Page doesn't get clogged up. To see all the pages available click in the drop-down box in the grey rectangle called "...select a page to view " just above this message and to the right of my photo above.

To see the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree web-pages click on the appropriate degree shown in the drop-down box. Read the I.T. password instructions carefully to get in.

We now have a Masonic Knowledge Course on this website: the "Introduction" is now on the Archive Page, the 1st degree material is under the 1st degree page, the 2nd and 3rd degree materials are under their relevant pages. Have a look and make your daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.

We need your questions about Freemasonry, any points you want clarified, any issues you want discussed - send them to me at drgeorgeallan@gmail.com and through this webpage we will find answers for you.




The Entered Apprentice Mason - some guidelines

This Study Guide comes from VW Bro McGregor PG Lec in The South Island

It provides an easy, step-by-step learning tool to help you understand Freemasonry's biblical, historical and symbolic meanings and tenets.

Memorization of words is simply not enough.  Memorization coupled with a true understanding of that which is memorized, becomes Masonic wisdom and will provide an infinite benefit to you throughout your Masonic life.

The Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice Mason

The Entered Apprentice should always be ready to use his (symbolic) tools.  Freemasonry is not only for the lodge room but as a primer (a book of basic rules) as to how best to live your life.

The working tools of an Entered Apprentice are the Twenty-Four Inch Gauge, the Common Gavel and the Chisel.

24 Inch Gauge:  The Entered Apprentice Mason is taught that by the Twenty-four Inch Gauge he should divide his time:  Eight hours for the service of God and a distressed worthy brother;  Eight for your vocation (work), and Eight for refreshment and sleep.

The Common Gavel:    An "Ashlar" is a stone.  The Common Gavel was used by Entered Apprentice operative (real) stonemasons to break the corners off of a rough stone (rough ashlar) to better craft them to the builder's purpose...to lay a true and correct foundation of a building.

Without "perfect ashlars with which to lay your personal foundation, your building cannot be laid out on the square (horizontally), nor be perfectly plumbed, upright (vertically).

Each and every foundation (whether it be an actual building, or that building not made with hands...which is You), must use both the square and the plumb (in perfect alignment with each other) or it will be viewed as shoddy work and subject to falling back down into a pile of rubble.

As an Entered Apprentice Mason, you will begin to remove these rough edges and shape your character so as to "divest your heart and conscience of all the vices and superfluities (excesses) of life".

 




 A  bit of knowledge from The South Island

TASSELS 

In the English and French Tracing Boards of the First Degree, there are four tassels, one at each angle, which are attached to a cord that surrounds a tracing-board, and which constitutes the true tessellated border. These four cords are described as referring to the four principal points, the Guttural, Pectoral, Manual, and Pedal, and through them to the four cardinal virtues, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. These tassels are often found appended to the corners of the ceiling of the ceremonial Lodge Room and at the corners of the Tessellated Pavement. 

Note Deuteronomy (20;12),where the older translation has fringes and the Revised Version gives borders, the latter agreeing with border of Mark (6: 56) and Luke (8: 44). Where the Revised Version has border throughout, the Authorized Version has hem in Matthew (9, and 14: 36). As symbols of great importance their use was ordered in Numbers (15: 35, 40), "Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments, throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribbon of blue: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God." 




2019 April Quiz

Q. 1  What were the dimensions of King Solomon’s Temple, length, width and height?

Q. 2  Our traditions tell us that our Order is older than the Garter. When was The Order of the Garter established and by whom?

Q. 3  Likewise, who established the Order of the Golden Fleece, where and when?

Q. 4  Name the four Lodges in London that met to form the first Grand Lodge in 1717?

Q. 5  What was the original name of that Grand Lodge?

Q. 6  What is the last line in the prayer when closing the Lodge in the third degree?

Q. 7  Name the Officers needed to open a Lodge in the first degree.

Q. 8 What does the word "fiat" mean?

Q. 9  Was Solomon the eldest son of King David?  If not what number son was he and why did he become King after his father?  

Q. 10  Who was the 1st Grand Master of the New Zealand Constitution?

 




The Symbolism of the White Gloves and Apron

by Bro Jim Logan, DepM, to the Hawke’s Bay Research Lodge No 305

An Address given on Monday, 5th November 2018

There is in the wearing of Craft clothing, as in everything else pertaining to Freemasonry, a symbolism. Briefly, white gloves are symbolic of clean hands, and are complimentary to the lambskin apron, the symbol of a pure heart. These two are of equal importance and are really inseparable.

White Gloves:

The custom of wearing white gloves is of great antiquity. In the Christian Churches from the earliest times, white linen gloves were always worn by the Bishops and Priests when in performance of their ecclesiastical functions. The Bishops always wore a thin plate of gold called "a tassel" on the back of their gloves to denote their high rank. The gloves worn by the clergy indicted that their hands were clean and not open to bribery.

In the indenture of covenants, made in the reign of Henry IV, between the church wardens of a parish in Suffolk and a compa- ny of Freemasons, the latter stipulate that each man should be pro- vided with a pair of white gloves and a white apron.

While we have no written proof, as far as I know, that our ancient operative brethren did moralise on the white gloves and apron after the manner of the working tools, there is nothing to show they did not. Dr Robert Plot, a non-mason, states in his Natu- ral History of Staffordshire, dated 1686, that the "Society of Free- masons presented their candidates with white gloves for them- selves and their wives".

In the general regulations of George Payne, GM, approved by the Grand Lodge in London in 1721, Article 7 reads: Every new brother at his making is decently to cloath the Lodge, that is, all brethren present. By “cloath” (clothing) it means that the Lodge is furnishing all the brethren present with white gloves and aprons.

In Count Tolstoy's well-known novel War and Peace it states that “the newly obligated brother was then invested with a white apron and received a trowel and three pairs of white gloves, two pair for him-self and one pair for the lady he most esteemed, after which the Master explained their symbolic meaning to him”.

In the Netherlands ritual the presentation of white gloves is still retained. The candidate for initiation is taken on three jour- neys; after the second journey his hands are dipped in a basin of water, and a reference is made of the necessity of "clean hands" and the purity of heart and life as a pre-requisite to initiation. On the completion of the third journey he takes his obligation after which he is led to the West, where he is invested with the white apron and is given a pair of white gloves to wear. He is presented with a pair of lady's gloves which he is directed to hand to her whom he considers most worthy to receive them from the hands of a Freemason.

I do not know when the presentation of white gloves ceased to be the general custom but the wearing of them as part of the proper clothing of a brother is still retained in New Zealand by rul- ing of the Board of General Purposes (Collected Rulings clause 37 - Aprons and Gloves).

Undoubtedly the use of white gloves in Freemasonry is a symbolic idea handed down to us through the ancient and universal language of symbolism and like the apron is intended to denote pu- rity of life and actions.

The White Lambskin Apron:

In the Masonic apron two things are essential for the preservation of its symbolic character - its colour and the material. Its colour must be white, because that denotes purity, simplicity, candour, innocence, truth and hope. The ancient Druids and the Priests, generally of antiquity, used to wear white investments when they officiated in any sacred service.

The white lambskin apron is to us a constant remind- er of that purity of life and rectitude of conduct, of higher thoughts and nobler deeds which are the distinguishing characteris- tics of a Free and Accepted Mason. The material must be lamb- skin as our ritual informs us the lamb has been from time im- memorial an emblem of purity and innocence, but its purity was physical, ours must be spiritual. At investiture the brother is in- formed that the badge is older than the Golden Fleece, etc. These words are used simply to impress upon a newly made brother the value and importance of the lambskin as a universal and old age symbol. It does not claim that that the masonic apron is more an- cient than the other orders but that the symbolic apron is.




2019 April Quiz

Q. 1  What were the dimensions of King Solomon’s Temple, length, width and height?

Q. 2  Our traditions tell us that our Order is older than the Garter. When was The Order of the Garter established and by whom?

Q. 3  Likewise, who established the Order of the Golden Fleece, where and when?

Q. 4  Name the four Lodges in London that met to form the first English Grand Lodge in 1717?

Q. 5  What was the original name of that Grand Lodge?

Q. 6  What is the last line in the prayer when closing the Lodge in the third degree?

Q. 7  Name the Officers needed to open a Lodge in the first degree.

Q. 8 What does the word "fiat" mean?

Q. 9  Was Solomon the eldest son of King David?  If not what number son was he and why did he become King after his father?  

Q. 10  Who was the 1st Grand Master of the New Zealand Constitution?




2019 May Quiz

Q. 1  Is there ever an occasion when a mason is allowed to entre a lodge without wearing his apron? Who is allowed to and what is the occasion?

Q. 2  How many years passed in England after the formation of the first Grand Lodge and the consecration of the United Grand Lodge?

Q. 3  How many Craft Lodges are there in New Zealand?

Q. 4  Why are the Prestonian Lectures so called?

Q. 5  Where does the prestigious research lodge Quatuor Coronati meet?

Q. 6  What does Quatuor Coronati translate as?

Q. 7  What year was the Grand Lodge of New Zealand formed?

Q. 8 The three steps taken in the first degree - why in that peculiar fashion?

Q. 9  If the Master is taken ill and has to leave the Lodge before the end of a ceremony, who takes over?  

Q. 10  If the Master is unable to chair a committee meeting, who takes the chair?




Job Description for: GRAND LECTURER 

Job Description for: GRAND LECTURER 

 

POSITION TITLE:

Grand Lecturer 

APPOINTED BY:

Grand Master (under CL 125a)

TERM OF APPOINTMENT:

Annual Appointment generally for 3 years.

FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS:

Responsible to: his Divisional Grand Master for the organisation and management of Masonic education in his Division at a District and Lodge level.

Reports to: the National Education Committee (NEC) on Masonic educational practices and achievements in his Division.

POSITION SUMMARY:       

The Grand Lecturer is to provide the encouragement and motivation of District and Lodge educational personnel in his Division.

 

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE:

The Grand Lecturer is required to have at least five years’ experience in education or masonic education. 

 

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:




TERMS OF REFERENCE for: District Education Advisor

APPOINTED BY:  District Grand Master in consultation with the Divisional Grand Master and the Grand Lecturer.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: Annual Appointment generally for 3 years.

RESPONSIBLE TO: District Grand Master

FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS:  theGrand Lecturer in his Division; Lodges in his District Team

POSITION SUMMARY:

The District Education Advisor is responsible to his District Grand Master for the organisation and management of Masonic education in the District.

He shall motivate Lodge Education Advisors and ensure that masonic education is encouraged and delivered in Lodges.

He shall report to his Grand Lecturer on Masonic educational practices and achievements in his District.

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE:

The District Education Advisor is required to have at least three years’ experience in education or masonic education.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:

• The Board of General Purposes has agreed the term District Education Advisor

be used in lieu of the term District Education Officer until such time as the constitution can be updated.

APPROVED:


Freemasons NZ: TOR_32_District Education Advisor_provisional_

Revision: 2; December 2016 Page 2 of 2




Masonic Education Curriculum

Masonic Lodges need this curriculum so that every Mason learns the same basic topics in Masonry and becomes confident about Masonic signs, words and the meanings of our ceremonies.  This document was prepared as a direct result of feedback from Masons attending the three Divisional Conferences in 2014. It sets out the topics needed to strengthen Masons’ knowledge in our 3 degrees. The recommended method of Masonic Education is by Mentoring explained as follows.

 

Mentoring

A Mentor is a Masonic Friend, preferably about the same age as the Candidate and from a similar background. A Mentor does not have to be a Past Master who knows all the answers but should be a keen Mason who will allow a newer Mason to have a voice and discuss topics on his journey of discovery. See the final section on Selecting a Mentor.Mentor training sessions will be available in Districts to show how to lead Masons through the curriculum topics.

The Curriculum is subdivided into three areas: 1 Lodge Culture & Etiquette; 2 Activities Outside the Lodge; 3 Ceremonial. There is a final Section on Selecting a Mentor. The next sections recommend topics to be covered in each of these areas.

 

LODGE CULTURE & ETIQUETTE 

This section suggests topics in three areas: in Lodge; at refectory; within other districts.

In Lodge

At Refectory

Within Other Districts

 

ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE THE LODGE

This is divided into two parts: Personal Development; Sharing Masonry with non-Masons contributing to a better society.

 

Personal Development

Sharing Masonry with Non-Masons.

The following questions should be discussed in full at every opportunity:

Assist the Mason to construct his own explanation of Freemasonry.

 

CEREMONIAL

The Entered Apprentice Degree

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies in the First Degree

Explain where each Lodge Officer stands and his duty. Discuss the ritual of the Master addressing his Wardens asking questions. Emphasise that this is done in every Masonic Lodge throughout the world.

 

Questions Before Advancing to the East

The Method of Advancing from West to East in the 1st Degree

Discuss why:

The Obligation

Discuss:

The Sign, Token and Words 

The Distinguishing Badge of an Entered Apprentice

Explain meaning of the apron and the charge after investiture both symbolically and in modern society.

 

The North East Corner Charge

Explain the symbolism, especially the place of ‘charity’ compared to ‘relief’.

The Method of Preparation 

Explain each part of the preparation in the 1st degree in understandable language.

 

The Working Tools in the 1st Degree

Explain the symbolism and possible every-day meanings in our private and working lives.

 

The Charge After Initiation 

This beautiful charge is considered by many to be the most important in the ritual.

Explain and discuss what each part means. Particular reference should illustrate: 

Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth

Explain each in Masonic terms plus their relevance in modern day living. Include morality, integrity and ethics. 

 

The 1stDegree Tracing Board.

The first degree tracing board is the longest charge in our ritual and deserves several sessions on explaining its intricacies. It is important that a Candidate receives this explanation and the opportunity for discussion before preparing for the 2nd degree.

The Questions and Answers Leading to the 2nd Degree

Explain questions and discuss answers – an understanding is more important than a recital.The Mentor must ensure that the Candidate has done his homework and knows his answers. 

 

The Fellow Craft Degree

Introduction

Explain that whilst progressive, this is a discrete degree.

Discuss the concept of ‘Passing’ - through what, and why - and the term Fellow Craft. Discuss why a Candidate is admitted on the 90° angle of a square. 

Opening and Closing in the 2nd Degree

Discuss the symbolism in the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

The Pass Grip and Pass Word in the 2nd Degree

Demonstrate and explain the pass grip and pass word. Get the Mason to practice and show you.

Discuss the differences between:

Draw attention to when to use one and when to use the other.

The Symbolism of the 1stPerambulation




Bulletproof Freemasonry

What I Learned about the Craft in Afghanistan

 by Bro. Lieutenant Joseph F. Curry, Intelligence Officer, Canadian Armed Forces; The Beaches Lodge No. 473 and Canada Lodge UD (Kandahar), both of the GL of Canada. 

This is an edited version of a first-person account by a Mason in a military lodge deployed in the field and presented at the London Masonic Conference, Ontario Canada, on November 9, 2013. If you liked this article, you might also like Lt Curry’s articles “The Rifle and the Apron” on the history of military lodges and their influence on spreading Freemasonry around the world, including here in Australia and “The Craft at Work in Kandahar.” They’re both Googleable. 

What I would like to do is highlight some of the lessons I’ve taken away from my time in Afghanistan. I believe they can be useful and relatable to Masonry. 

Keep your sense of humour. War is a dark and evil thing for anyone at any time, but especially so for this Canadian boy who grew up in the privileged bubble that is rural Ontario life. For eight long months that felt like eight long years, I lived the evil that is war. This affects everyone differently. 

Every time I left the base on a patrol, we would stop just before leaving the gate; we would load our weapons, prepare our grenades, turn on our Electric Counter Measures and prepare to step off. I would look around at the men in my patrol and see how they were prepared emotionally to go out there. I saw seasoned soldiers shaking like a leaf, not just the first time, but the 50th time and the 100th time out. I was always calm, cool and collected; not because I have nerves of steel, not because I’m stronger mentally, but because of my coping mechanism. You see, in my mind I was already dead. When I stepped onto the aircraft heading to Afghanistan I knew I wasn’t coming home. It was only a matter of time until an Improvised Explosive Device got me, whether it was this time or the next time out didn’t matter. You can’t hurt a dead man. 

I recently had a conversation with another officer in my unit about how he dealt with the stress of going on foot patrols in Taliban territory. His method was the exact opposite of mine, but to the same effect: he told himself that he was Superman, and that nothing could hurt him. So he too freed his mind to focus on the task at hand. The result was that we were better mentally prepared to focus on the mission at hand and not be distracted by mortal fears. 

This is a helpful ploy in the situation, but it is clearly delusional; a part of the insanity of war. So where then does the balance come in? For many soldiers there is no balance to be had, and the resulting Operational Stress Injuries (including sometimes PTSD from critical traumatic incidents) are inevitable. I would be lying to you if I told you I came home with no degree of Operational Stress Injury (in fact I think any soldier who has been on operations in a theatre of war would be lying to you if they told you they had no Operational Stress Injury), but I think the degree of my injury was less than it could have been, and the recovery quicker because I was able to find that balance in Lodge. 

The only laughter I remember from those eight months was with my Lodge Brethren. Lodge was a world away from everything else there. It was a safe retreat. We chided and teased each other, laughed at ourselves and one another, and regained some of our humanity. To Grand Lodge Officers I say this: the best support you can ever give to the Canadian Armed Forces is to ensure that we are never deployed again without being afforded the privilege of meeting in a military lodge. So keep your sense of humour. 

Bullet-proof Freemasonry is Masonry that reminds us to laugh. Here in Canada we too often become unbalanced. We are too easily indulged in ourselves, our lives, our work, even with the work of the evening; but when we take time to laugh together we increase the bonds of fellowship. When we laugh at ourselves we break the bonds of narcissism. 

When we laugh with each other we realise the Chief Point of Masonry which is to be happy ourselves, and to communicate that happiness to others. Be Flexible. The Worshipful Master is asked at his installation to agree that it is not in the power of man, or any body of men, to make innovations in the Body of Masonry. 

I say the following carefully, so please hear me out before objecting. There is room for “flexibility” in Masonry without the threat of “innovation” in Masonry. We have the tendency sometimes to become very rigid in our traditions, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but is not always a good thing either. Sometimes the answer to “why do we do it this way?” is simply “because we always have”. I’m not talking here about our ritual, or our constitution. 

Of course we did not improvise without Dispensation from Grand Lodge where necessary. Let me give you some examples of how we improvised in Canada Lodge: 

None of us were there long enough to be elected to and pass Chairs. Solution: the Worshipful appointed Master Masons to serve as required. We had Dispensation for this. 

We didn’t have suits and tuxedos. Solution: we wore combat uniforms. We could not disarm: Solution: we had our weapons in lodge. 

We had to defend the building in an attack. Solution: we tyled the lodge with an assault rifle instead of a sword. 

We needed to be in contact with our Chain of Command. Solution: we had our cell phones on in lodge. 

We didn’t have a hoodwink or a cable tow. Solution: we used a piece of cloth and a rope. 

We didn’t have a “convenient room adjoining the lodge”. Solution: we put the candidate behind a curtain and had him wear ear phones. 

Sometimes we can get hung up on process and forget about results. Bulletproof Freemasonry is goal oriented, flexible in its approach, all the while staying within due bounds and respecting the ancient landmarks. Masonry has a history of being flexible, but sometimes we forget that fact. If I were to suggest that we hold our next Lodge meeting at the local pub I would fully expect to get several aghast looks and many objections. But in the early days of the Craft that is exactly where many Lodges met. 

Masonry became global because soldiers in military lodges talked to good men about being Masons. We don’t recruit, but it’s OK to talk about being a Mason. Many of us wear Masonic jewellery, and I find it is often a conversation starter. The first candidate that was initiated in to Canada Lodge started down the path to initiation when he inquired about my ring. The second candidate similarly started the conversation with another brother. We were not shy of talking about the Craft. 

Sometimes we don’t talk about Masonry because we aren’t sure what to say, or how much to say. If we just talk about the parts of it that we really like on a personal level, chances are we’ll do just fine. My message here is not new or revolutionary. Stay flexible, on a personal and a lodge level, and always with our goal in mind. At the end of the day, if we are doing justice to the work and to the Candidate we cannot err. 

Comment
It is easy for us to forget those brethren who are in military service, and actively serving their Country in places all over the World. They are apart from their family and we as Freemasons MUST add them to our prayers for a ”safe and speedy return to their native shores should they so desire” 

A simple toast, used in many Lodges is “ To our absent Brethren. “ 

With acknowledgement to The Educator 




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 that “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?




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.




S.R.I.A.

Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (Rosicrucian Society of England) is a Masonic esoteric Christian order formed by Robert Wentworth Little and others in 1865, although some sources acknowledge the date to be 1866-67.[3][4] Members are confirmed from the ranks of subscribing Master Masons[1] 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.[5]

History

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.

Membership requirements

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:

1st Order

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

2nd Order

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.

3rd Order

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

 

Those who have held the leadership role of Supreme Magus (Grand Master)

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)




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.

John Milton




The 10 Research Lodges in New Zealand

Masonic evening have to be:
* Worth coming to
* Interesting
* 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. 




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.

INTRODUCTION

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 Secrets

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

The Mysteries

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:

 

  1. How is a good man made better?

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

 

    1. Why are women excluded from becoming masons? This was a mystery to most women.

    2. 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?

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

 

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

 

    1. 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

June 2019