This is the Craft Masonry Education Website for all Freemasons in New Zealand. Welcome.
Dr George Allan
Education Pillar Head
This website is maintained by VW Bro. George Allan who firmly believes that Freemasonry is Universal, so, you can share anything good on this website with any other Mason in the world.
I realise that "education" is not every Mason's cup-of-tea but there is a ground-swell that indicates that many Masons join with a thirst for knowledge and then walk away when they can't find that knowledge. So, this website aims to fill that gap on a regular basis with articles to inform you of masonic learning, masonic educational events that are happening or going to happen in all three Divisions and ideas to try for yourself and your Lodge.
You are encouraged to use the information you find here as discussion points with other Masons in your Lodge, other Lodges in your Division and other Masons throughout the world. Your feedback is especially welcome - e-mail me by clicking here and tell we what you and your Masonic friends are doing.
Click the dropdown above to visit the collection of Masonic Education Pages we have put together for you.
GEORGE ALLAN ON EDUCATION
This month we start with the May quiz, a book review, a real-life report on Freemasonry while on active service in Afganistan, an informative article on our Research Lodges in New Zealand and a new Video to help masons learn their Ritual. Click on this link to learn your ritual as a Lodge Officer
The rest of the video-links are now on the ARCHIVE PAGE (click on the drop-down box at the top of this page) - well worth a look. There is a whole bundle of masonic stuff there, including all the past quizzes. Feel free to use any of the material in your Lodges at any time.
Also on the ARCHIVE PAGE are the job descriptions for Grand Lecturer, District Education Advisors and Lodge Education Officers. These were constructed after many hous of discussion with Masons up and down the coutry, and then discussed in committee and submitted to the BofGP for approval and authorisation.
2019 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?
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) fully 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.
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.
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
The 10 Research Lodges in New Zealand
Masonic evening have to be:
* Worth coming to
* Stimulating - or we lose members.
Worth coming to involves being worth my time, worth my effort to get there, worthwhile when I am there.
Interesting involves the subject matter being relevant, stimulating to my mind, something new for me to consider and worth listening to. The voice of any speaker needs to be loud enough for me to hear, clear enough for me to understand, at a speed appropriate to my listening and understanding. Any slides shown have to be simple and clear to see and delivered at an appropriate speed.
Stimulating involves a new look or approach that I may not have seen before, as contribution to my knowledge, making me want more and possibly research further for myself. I should feel motivated to find out for myself.
Here in New Zealand we have developed a masonic culture where some Brethren are really interested in the questions “what, how why” about the things we say and do in our masonic ritual.
There are 10 Research Lodges; two in the Northern Division; four in the Central Division and four in the Southern Division. A list and the days they meet is given at the end of this article.
The Book of Constitution gives the aim of a Research Lodge (as composed by our ancestral founding fathers about 100 years ago) emphasising historical research. Today most research is encouraged to be more interesting than historical fact. We are speculative masons so speculations allowed and encouraged. Each research lodge has its own bye-laws and Lodge customs so contact the secretary and go along to a meeting and see what takes place.
Here is a list of the Research Lodges in New Zealand:
Two in The Northern Division
United Masters Lodge No. 167 which meet on the 4th Thursday of April to September with their Installation in October.
The Waikato Lodge of Research No. 445 which meet on the 3rd Tuesday of May, July, September and November with their Installation in March.
Four in The Southern Division
Midland District Lodge of Research No.28 which meet on the 2nd Monday in May, 2nd Thursday in August, 2nd Saturday in September and the 1st Wednesday in December with their Installation on 3rd Tuesday of March.
The Research Lodge of Otago No. 31 which meet on the 1st Tuesday of May, 4th Wednesday of July and September, 5t Wednesday of November with their Installation on the 5th Wednesday of March.
Research Lodge of Southland No. 33 which meet on the 2nd Tuesday in April, June, August, October and December with their Installation in February.
Top of The South (TOTS) Research Lodge No. 415 which meet on the 4th Monday of May, August and November with their Installation in February.
Four in The Central Division:
The Research Lodge of The Taranaki Province No. 323 which meet on the 4th Wednesday of March, May, August and October with their Installation in May.
The Research Lodge of Ruapehu No. 444 which meet on the 1st Monday of February, May, July, September and November with their Installation in March.
The Research Lodge of Wellington No. 194 which meet on the 2nd Thursday of March, May, July, September with their Installation in November .
Hawke’s Bay Research Lodge No. 305 which meet on the 1st Monday of February, May, August and November with their Installation in August.
Any questions you have please contact the Grand Lecturer in your Division.
An Ear of Corn
Masonic Knowledge from The South Island thanks to VW Bro McGregor PG Lec
This was, among all the ancients, an emblem of plenty. Ceres, who was universally worshiped as the goddess of abundance, and even called by the Greeks Dewneter, a manifest corruption of Gemeter, or Mother Earth, was symbolically represented with a garland on her head composed of ears of corn, a lighted torch in one hand, and a cluster of poppies and ears of corn in the other. In the Hebrew, the two words, which signify an ear of corn, are both derived from roots which give the idea of abundance. For shibboleth, pronounced shib-bo-leth, which is applicable both to an ear of corn and a flood of water, has its root in pronounced shib-bole, meaning to increase or to flow abundantly; and the other name of corn, pronounced daw-gawn, is derived from the verb, no, pronounced daogaw, signifying to multiply, or to be increased.
Ear of corn, which is a technical expression in Freemasonry, has been sometimes ignorantly displaced by a sheaf of wheat. This was done under the mistaken supposition that corn refers only to Indian maize, which was unknown to the ancients. But corn is a generic word and includes wheat and every other kind of grain. This is its legitimate English meaning, and hence an ear of corn, which is an old expression, and the right one, would denote a stalk, but not a sheaf of wheat.
That sore battle, when so many died
Without reprieve, adjudged to death
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
To Be or Not To Be
We have been looking for some time (years not months) for a better term than that of MENTOR.
We are looking for a term that describes a Councillor who helps a fellow mason form his values by sharing their experiences (note the sharing of the learners experiences - this is very important).
Someone who shares masonic knowledge by explaining what it means; someone who is an exemplar in life; someone who is an inspiration.
Can any of you help with a good idea?
George Allan PG Lec