This is the "Main Page" on which new articles appear each month along with a new QUIZ each month. Then they are moved to the "Archive Page" so this Main Page doesn't get clogged up. To see all the pages available to you click in the drop-down box in the grey rectangle called "...select a page to view " just above 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 email@example.com and through this webpage we will find answers for you.
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.
How is your Geomatry - see below.
A new version of 1st Degree Questions and Answers known as The Catechism: see the 1st Degree pages. In former times the questions were asked by members around the Lodge starting with the Senior Warden and going round with the sun, and answered by the mason on his left. Go to the 1st Degree webpage, use the Pass Word of that Degree and make an advancement in daily knowledge. Our grateful thanks to VW Bro Martin McGregor in Southland for all his hard work.
I am away on holiday to Scotland, Russia and England where it is summer time. I'll be back early September so there will be no quiz for the next two months. However, 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.
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. 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.
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
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;
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.
‘... 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 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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Remember to include your Lodge name and location (Division and District) your current Lodge Office
by Bro Squire Speedy