Four Things To Keep In Mind by Bro John Hamill on being Installed as Master of Quatuor Corinati
A Summaryof the Ancient Charges - seebelow how many you identify with.
Here is a really good link to short video clips of interest - each last 60 seconds on an topic of masonic knowledge. Click and see.
New monthly quiz.
On the Archive Page (click the drop-down-box at the top of any page) there are dozens of quizzes and other stuff you can use in your Lodge or just have fun with fellow masons and still make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and through this webpage we will find answers for you.
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 very first question a Candidate is asked in the first degree?
Q2. Who are the Principal Officers in a Lodge?
Q3. When was the VSL first introduced into a Masonic Lodge?
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?
Q5. The Junior Deacon is the first mason to teach a Candidate during initiation, what does he teach the Candidate?
Q6. What are the 'ornaments' of a Freemason's Lodge and why are they 'ornaments'?
Q7. What is the masonic symbol of the second degree?
Q8. What is it that the honour, reputation and usefulness of a Lodge depend on?
Q9. What is the danger that traditionally would have waited for any mason until his latest hour?
Q10. What would cause a sussession of masonic membership?
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.
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
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
You agree to be a good Man and true, and strictly to obey the Moral Law.
You are to be a peaceable subject, and cheerfully to conform to the Laws of the Country in which you reside.
You promise not to be concerned in Plots or Conspiracies against Government, but patiently to submit to the decisions of the Supreme Legislature.
You agree to pay a proper respect to the Civil Magistrate, to work diligently, live creditably, and act honourably by all men.
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.
You agree to avoid private piques and quarrels, and to guard against intemperance and excess.
You agree to be cautious in your carriage and behaviour, courteous to your brethren, and faithful to your Lodge.
You promise to respect genuine and true brethren, and to discountenance imposters and all dissenters from the original plan of Freemasonry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the Book of Constitution Section VI
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" (Yaḥyā) 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
‘... 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 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
JP(Ret) MPhil MM, 60 yr badge;
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
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:
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
Keeping this website lively needs new questions to be asked by masons like you. Questions that need someone to research and answer in a short article.
We also need questions for our quizzes.
So, please let me know of interesting questions we can use in our monthly quizzes and as a basis for research.
Send them to me at email@example.com
If you want to write and submit an article, or you know of a good one written by someone else please contact me at the same e-mail address, and let me know about it. Then we could get it published on this site for everyone to see and share in the knowledge.
VW Bro George Allan
Chair of National Education Committee
posted - time immemorial
Are you a relatively new WM, SW or JW of your Lodge?
Are you likely to be WM, SW or JW of your Lodge next year?
The Education Team in your Division are planning workshops to help Masters and Wardens share best practice, and thereby gain in confidence for running their Lodges. It will last for 3 hours or so, and be held in a geographic location convenient to you. You will learn about your duties and ways to deal with difficulties in Lodge and committee.
Are you interested? Then contact me by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to include your Lodge name and location (Division and District) your current Lodge Office
A bit of knowledge from the South
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."