Thursday, December 31, 2009
I hope that everyone is enjoying their Holiday Season. As the New Year approaches, I am filled with gratitude for all that the past year has brought, and I look forward to many positive developments in the year ahead.
Many of you are aware that last summer I demitted from lodge Intrepid. Without going into great detail, or mentioning any names, Intrepid left the GOUSA over a dispute relating to constitutional issues that arose in that obedience.
When the individuals involved left the GOUSA, they also demitted from Lodge New Isis of the George Washington Union. As a result of this, many members of New Isis who had been close to these persons left the lodge as well and joined Intrepid, of which I was lodge secretary at the time.
Very few of these individuals bothered to formally demit from the GWU as is required by Masonic protocol. Over the following months it became apparent to me that practicing Freemasonry was not the main priority of the leadership, so after much reflection, I demitted and affiliated with the remaining members of New Isis so that I could concentrate on practicing Freemasonry and grow in Masonic light.
Since then, in an effort to gain legitimacy as a jurisdiction, Intrepid claims to have founded a "New Isis" lodge in San Francisco. The claim has also been made that the real Lodge New Isis "left" the GWU, which is nonsense, most of the previous members having never formally left the lodge in the first place.
One member of Intrepid recently relocated to San Francisco. I am not aware in the history of Freemasonry that a one man lodge can exist as a "duly constituted" lodge of Freemasons. I suppose that by claiming multiple lodge membership several people can claim to have several lodges, even when done at a distance.
Such claims are at best disingenuous, at worst, dishonest. I strongly believe in not airing disputes in public, but as a member of Lodge New Isis of the George Washington Union, a duly constituted lodge of an obedience chartered by the Grand Orient of France more than three decades ago, I am offended by the name of my lodge being purloined and used politically for purposes of deceiving others, both inside, and outside, the Masonic community.
That being said, Lodge New Isis is in the process of repairing the damage caused by the exodus of some of its previous members, and has a bright future as part of the Mainstream Liberal Masonic community in Los Angeles. Our Worshipful Master has been working very hard with members of other Liberal lodges in Los Angeles and we foresee growth, and serious Masonic work being accomplished in 2010.
I will be visiting Lodge Aletheia of the Women's Grand Lodge of Belgium again soon, as well as Loge Art et Lumiere of the Grand Orient of France in March. I cannot thank these brothers and sisters enough for all the support that they have given us at Lodge New Isis. That is what Freemasonry is all about.
Setbacks such as Lodge New Isis has gone through recently, are a great opportunity for us as Masons to engage in real work and polish our ashlars. It is a challenge, but one that I know we, as Freemasons, are up to.
I am hoping to attend the next annual Convent of the George Washington Union, as I was unable to attend the most recent, which was held in Montreal, Canada. New officers for the obedience were elected and many projects are in the works, including a greater effort to make our presence felt in the wider community.
This New Year will be one of sacrifice, hard work, and patience, but we will also experience the enjoyment of the rewards that come with such effort.
FIAT LUX ET LUX FIT
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The item that is most readily recognized by society as the emblem of a Freemason is, without a doubt, the apron. While the most obvious origin of the apron is from the working attire of the Operative Stone Masons, over time much symbolism has become attached to it.
The earliest aprons were, understandably, based on those of the operative masons, and, in common with many other trades, were long enough to cover the workers front down to the knees. It was normally made of linen, though leather aprons were used as well, particularly in trades which necessitated greater protection for the wearer.
Our aprons are descended from those with bibs. It is the remnant of this protective part of the apron from which the flaps of our aprons derived.
Initially, the bib, or flap, was either worn up and buttoned to the coat, or was allowed to hang down. Often, it was even cut off by the early Freemasons and dispensed with. As the apron evolved in the 18th Century, the flap became a decorative aspect, and often was cut in a semi-circular shape. The lower part of the apron would be cut in a similar fashion.
Freemasons began to decorate their aprons with the symbols of the Craft and overtime these decorations became more and more elaborate
Today, the aprons used by Freemasons are more standardized, in part due to the mass manufacturing techniques that are employed.
Additionally, as the Grand Lodges became more organized, they began to require a degree of standardization regarding the aprons employed by their members.
Today’s aprons are smaller, and simpler than those used by our operative and speculative predecessors. They distinguish the Freemason, and to the initiate conveys great symbolic meaning. I treasure my apron as it identifies me as a Mason to my brothers and sisters, and also serves to remind me of the great responsibility that comes with ownership of it.
In the Scottish Rite first degree we are told that the apron symbolizes work. I understand this to mean the work that all Freemasons are required to engage in, to work on ourselves. This work that the apron symbolizes never ceases. Unless asleep, we are always engaged in the labor which we have voluntarily sought out and taken upon ourselves.
Many Masonic writers have attributed its white color to the concept of purity. As the apron was traditionally made from a lambskin, this has also been used to symbolize innocence. Lambs, like small children, have often been used to portray that state where one has not yet been stained by exposure to the darker side of life.
White is also the color of virginity in many cultures. The newly initiated Mason is a virgin to the work of the lodge. Despite the lifetime of work ahead in the shaping and polishing of the individual’s Ashlar, the Mason’s apron remains unsullied and white, symbolizing the purity of his, or her intentions.
The triangular flap has been equated to the Delta which is a central symbol in the lodge. The delta, or triangle, has been called the perfect geometric shape, and the three sides also bring to mind the symbolism of the number three and the use of three dots in the shape of a triangle in Masonic correspondence.
The square shape of the apron can be considered to represent the finished, or “perfect Ashlar” the completion of which is the Magnum Opus of Freemasonry. One author has also attributed the Four Cardinal Virtues to the four sides of the apron, namely, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice.
A square can also suggest Solidity. A solid foundation is essential to erecting any building. Our entire symbolism involves the building trade. Our working tools are those of the Operative Stone Masons. We as Speculative Masons labor together in lodge to build the Great Temple of Freemasonry. Without the solidity of a firm foundation are labors will be in vain.
As a symbol of being prepared for work, all Masons must be attired with the apron to be present in lodge. This relates to the gloves that are required as well. As warriors require their swords and shields to be capable of performing their duties, so must Freemasons be garbed in their aprons and gloves to able to begin their labors in the Temple.
We shape and polish our Rough Ashlars, so that we may participate in the great work of Freemasonry, which is the Progress of Humanity to the Glory of the Great Architect of the Universe.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
When I was in Marine Corps boot camp, back in 1979, we had classes in Marine Corps history. One of the Marines often mentioned was Major General Smedley Butler. During his 34 year career with the Corps, General Butler was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the French National Order of Merit, the Marine Corps Brevet Medal, Seven campaign medals, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, and TWO Medals of Honor.
What was not mentioned however, was that General Butler, after his retirement, became an outspoken critic of war, especially the wars that he had served in.
In 1935 his book, "War is a Racket" was first published. A section of the book that is often quoted is:
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."
General Butler was a patriot who loved his country, but opposed the interventionism that he had been a party to during his service. He was against men being sacrificed in the interests of big business instead of the interests of the country. He was a frequent spokesman for the American League Against War and Fascism.
While I do not agree with everything that General Butler wrote, specifically his statements that we should not concern ourselves with what is going on in other countries, I do respect his stand against war on principle.
Too often wars are waged in the interests of the few, while the many suffer the consequences.
As a Freemason who believes in the brotherhood of humanity, I find the thought of killing others repugnant. Unless it is absolutely necessary in self-defense, I could not support unleashing such misery on my fellow creatures. War, in my opinion, should always be a last resort.
I would recommend reading his book, which is available free online at the following link:
Monday, November 2, 2009
I happen to be in a Liberal Jurisdiction, but even Masonry as practiced by the UGLE is very different from American Freemasonry.
I think that English Masonry has more in common, in terms of practice, with the Grand Lodge of France, and even the Grand Orient of France, than with most American Jurisdictions.
I have not researched enough of the history to determine how all of these innovations arose.
While all Grand Lodges are independent and can practice Masonry with some differences, (as long as the Landmarks are not violated), it troubles me how much American Masonry has diverged from the practice of Masonry in Europe, (England, Scotland, Ireland included), and most of the world.
A big problem, in my view, is the plethora of so-called Masonic bodies that have arisen here.
These include: The Shriners, The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, Tall Cedars of Lebanon, National Sojourners, Order of the Eastern Star, Order of the Amaranth, White Shrine of Jerusalem, Royal Order of Jesters, Rainbow Girls, Sciots, High Twelve, Jobs Daughters, Daughters of the Nile, De Molay, ad infinitum.
Obviously, in the minds of some Masons, Freemasonry was "lacking" something, or was not what they were really looking for in the first place.
Freemasonry, in my opinion, is complete in itself. Concordant bodies, such as the AASR, the York Rite, AMD, etc., are fine, as they simply elaborate the teachings of Freemasonry that are taught in the craft lodge. They offer parallel, rather than "higher" degrees of Freemasonry.
Maybe what many of these people were looking for was not Freemasonry. They should have joined the Odd-Fellows or Moose. They could find a "play-ground" in some other organization.
Another big problem in American Masonry has been to turn it frequently into a charity.
Freemasons are taught to be charitable in their lives, but the Order itself is not a charitable institution.
It is an organization that exists for fellowship, mutual aid, and personal growth. Freemasons work on improving themselves and, in the process, improve the society in which they live.
In European, or European concept lodges, business attire is the standard, philosophical papers are presented by members, discussions are held on Masonic topics, and minimum periods between degrees are up to a year.
Masonic education is not optional, but is a requirement, and the meetings are proceeded, or followed, by a meal, or refreshments, known as an Agape, or Festive Board.
Many U.S. lodge meetings consist of a "business meeting" to discuss the light bill, and the food consists of spaghetti on a paper plate, or hot dogs.
Why would men like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Benito Juarez, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Mozart, Winston Churchill, Salvadore Allende, Augusto Sandino, Franklin Roosevelt, Simon Bolivar, Andrew Jackson, Jose de San Martin, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, or Voltaire have wasted their time with an organization like that?
In the United States it has become all too often a social club and a charity, one, that it appears leaves so much to be desired that its members devote more of their time to the "fun" clubs associated (wrongly) with the Grand Lodges then to the work of the craft lodge. However, since Masonry is usually not being practiced in the lodge, it is hard to blame them.
You simply won't find this in the rest of the world, at least not to this degree.
November 2, 2009 7:45 PM
Monday, October 26, 2009
I have started a new blog, one that specifically relates to the Liberal, non-dogmatic Freemasonry available in Los Angeles. It is deplorable that European Freemasonry has such a limited presence in the United States.
With over 300 million citizens in this country, there are only several hundred members of our jurisdictions here. This is unacceptable.
While we, as Masons, are not to openly solicit members, we can certainly make our presence known.
It is inconceivable that out of a nation with over 300 million people Adogmatic Freemasonry only has a few hundred members.
This must change. And the only way to do this is to make Americans aware of our existence. There are around one and a half million Anglo-American masons in the United States.
Do we really believe in the Jurisdictions that we belong to? If we are willing to sacrifice our time and money to belong to a Liberal jurisdiction do we not think that it has something to offer?
If every American knew of the existence of our obediences, then we could say, "they prefer not to be Freemasons, or they they want to join the Anglo-American Grand Lodges and wear funny hats, and dress up as medieval knights.
It is time that people became aware of our existence. That is why I am starting the Los Angeles Freemasonry blog. It is not the solution to the problem, but at least it is a start.
I will be writing about the Liberal lodges in Los Angeles, and providing their contact information.
Things need to change. If one tenth of one percent of the nation were involved with European Freemasonry we would have 300,000 brothers and sisters working to make a difference in our society.
It is imperative that we, as Freemasons of the European, Liberal, tradition, make the public aware that we exist. Otherwise, why do we bother to meet at all?
I have linked the blog on this site. San Diego Freemason blog will continue, of course.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Brother Dr. Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile in 1970. A founding member of the Socialist Party of Chile, Dr. Allende labored to maintain civil liberties, while at the same time attempting to restructure Chilean society in the interests of the oppressed majority.
Though under pressure from more radical elements among his supporters, and at times flirting with the Soviet bloc, he worked within the system to bring meaningful change to his nation. In 1973 Brother Allende was overthrown in a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Rather than face torture and death at the hands of Pinochet's troops, brother Allende committed suicide.
Under General Pinochet, thousands were tortured and murdered, and DINA, Pinochet's secret police tracked down opponents around the world and killed them. The head of DINA, it was later revealed, was on the payroll of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. In 1976, Orlando Letelier, who was a member of Allende's administration and was tortured after the coup, was murdered by DINA agents in Washington D.C. , along with his assistant.
Since 1998, after Chile was finally rid of Pinochet, the dictator was charged with kidnapping, torture, and murder, and the U.S. government revealed that Pinochet had millions of dollars stashed in U.S. banks and other countries.
While Brother Allende was not the victim of violence specifically because of his Masonic membership, the contrast between him and Pinochet speaks volumes about Masonic values, and principles. On the one hand, a brother that tried his best to alleviate suffering among his people. On the other hand, a vicious murderer, liar, and thief, that was responsible for the sufferings of millions.
Brother Allende was chosen, in a poll conducted in Chile in 2008, from a sample of 1.5 million people, as the Greatest Chilean in history.
Brother Allende exemplifies the true spirit of Freemasony and it's never ending struggle to improve the lot of others and fight tyranny.
Here is a link to an excellent interview with Brother Allende while he was alive and discussing Freemasonry.
Brother Allende was the Grandson of Past Grand Master Ramon Allende Padin.
Rest in Peace Brother.
The following is the law passed by the Fascist dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco in 1940, directed primarily at Freemasons. Note that holding "Higher Degrees" aggravated the offense. This usually meant the death penalty. Since so many of our Spanish brothers died under the Franco regime I decided not to mention only one. This is an excerpt from an article on Wikipedia that quotes from the book, "Freemasonry and the Spanish Civil War", by Matthew Scanlan:"the lodge building in Cordoba was burnt, the masonic temple in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, was confiscated and transformed into the headquarters of the Falange, and another was shelled by artillery. In Salamanca thirty members of one lodge were shot, including a priest. Similar atrocities occurred across the country: fifteen masons were shot in Logrono, seventeen in Ceuta, thirty-three in Algeciras, and thirty in Valladolid, among them the Civil Governor. Few towns escaped the carnage as Freemasons in Lugo, Zamora, Cadiz and Granada were brutally rounded up and shot, and in Seville, the entire membership of several lodges were butchered. The slightest suspicion of being a mason was often enough to earn a place in a firing squad, and the blood-letting was so fierce that, reportedly, some masons were even hurled into working engines of steam trains. By 16 December 1937, according to the annual masonic assembly held in Madrid, all masons that had not escaped from the areas under nationalist control had been murdered."
The Law of 2 March 1940
Article No 1: Constitutes a felony to be a communist, or to belong to a masonic lodge or any other secret society.
Article No 2: As these organizations are now banned by the effects of this decree, all monies and properties are to be confiscated immediately.
Article No 3: Any advertisement to exhort the principles or pretended benefits of masonry or communism, or anything against the Religion or the Motherland, will be penalised according to this law.
Article No 4: To be considered a mason, will be those who had been initiated into masonry and had not been expelled from the Order, or not broken altogether their relationship with the organisation. It would also be considered a mason those expelled from the Order with the apparent reason to protect the member from the objects of this law.
Article No 5: From the date of this publication, masons and communists, as defined in article No 4 above, will be liable to be imprisoned with a "minor jail offense", a minimum of 12 years and one day, but this situation could be aggravated by the "Aggravated Circumstances" as explained in Article No 6.
Article No 6: "Aggravated Circumstances" is to have obtained any of the Degrees from the 18th to the 33rd inclusive, having taken part in any Annual Communications or being part of any Committee or Board of the Grand Orient of Spain, which would indicate the great confidence of the Order entrusted upon the member.
Article No 7: Any mason or communist, who belongs to either organisation, must notify the Government of his affiliation within two months of the date of this law.
Article No 8: Without prejudice to other penalties as per article No 5, and those who have not a reasonable excuse to be absolved, will be separated immediately and indefinitely from Government jobs, Public or Official Corporations, managerial and advisory positions in private enterprise companies, as well as any other job in which any kind of confidence is entrusted upon them. This law will cover this employment situation in perpetuity. It will be considered a attenuating circumstances providing information to the authorities about the persons who had performed the initiation into masonry, their superiors, or any other person involved in masonry or any other item of information that will be of benefit in the carrying of this law.
General Francisco Franco
A letter from Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei to Franco written in 1958, regarding the union of church and state existing in Spain under the Franco regime:
I wish to add my sincerest personal congratulation to the many you have received on the occasion of the promulgation of the Fundamental Principles.
My forced absence from our homeland in service of God and souls, far from weakening my love for Spain, has, if it were possible, increased it. From the perspective of the eternal city of Rome, I have been able to see better than ever the beauty of that especially beloved daughter of the church which is my homeland, which the Lord has so often used as an instrument for the defense and propagation of the holy, Catholic faith in the world.
Although alien to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.” It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority, will always be found.
I ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission entrusted to you.
Please accept, Excellency, the expression of my deepest personal esteem and be assured of my prayers for all your family.
Most devotedly yours in the Lord,
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Rome, May 23, 1958
The photo is of Franco at church with Frederico Cardinal Tedeschini in Barcelona.
I felt that it would be appropriate to take the time to remember those men who were persecuted for being our brother Masons.
Brother Tommaso Crudeli, 1703-1745, was arrested in Florence by the Holy Inquisition in 1739. At this time he was tortured and asked to reveal the secrets of Masonry and his lodge. Two years later he was released to house arrest, where he passed away in 1745. His literary works were burned in Florence, and his writings were prohibited by the church.
I will continue this series in the following days. So many of our brothers had their lives, and liberty taken from them for being members of the Order.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
It is very interesting to see how Freemasonry has evolved in the United States compared to other parts of the world. While no Grand Lodge seems to agree with how many landmarks there are, or what they are, the U.S. Grand Lodges are responsible for many innovations in Freemasonry. These include:
1. Opening of the lodge in the 3rd Degree. At the Baltimore Convention of 1842 it was decided that "Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts are not members of Lodges, nor are they entitled to the franchises of members." Not done that way prior to the convention, and never in Europe. This had the effect of rushing men through the degrees so that they could participate as full members.
2. Use of the Pledge of Allegiance when opening lodge. While there is nothing wrong with being patriotic, nationalism is inappropriate in a Masonic Temple.
3. Use of Sectarian prayers in lodge. Freemasonry is non-sectarian.
4. The doctrine of Territorial Exclusivity. As more Grand Lodges recognize the Prince Hall Grand Lodges in their states, (as well they should), this doctrine becomes moot.
5. The creation of numerous bodies that, while not Masonic, require members be masons, or related to masons to join. These bodies are accepted by the Grand Lodges and are viewed by the general public as being Masonic, which they are not.
6. One day classes, whereby a man can become a Master Mason in a single day.
7. Encouraging attempts at recruitment in many jurisdictions, such as advertising for members.
8. The prohibition of alcohol at Masonic functions. Compare this policy to the practices of the Grand Lodge of London, the lodges in the American colonies, etc.
All in all, it is my opinion that while there are many good Masons in the U.S. jurisdictions, and many Grand Lodges are making positive changes, Mainstream American Masonry has traveled well off the path of historic Freemasonry. The Masonic Restoration Foundation is a wonderful step in the right direction, as is the "European Concept" lodge movement.
Sadly, much of what is called Masonry today in many parts of the country cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered authentic Freemasonry. Most American Masonry would be defined as "Irregular" when compared to the Freemasonry of the Grand Lodge of London in 1717 and European Freemasonry in general as practiced for the past 300 years. That's just the way it is.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Today is Mahatma Gandhi's 140th birthday. While Gandhi was not a Freemason, (despite rumors to the contrary), he embodied many of the tenets that we, as Masons believe in.
Gandhi preached tolerance of others, especially in religious matters, the equality of all people, regardless of race, and most importantly, he preached Truth.
Gandhi is also remembered for the simplicity of his life, and his teachings of non-violence. While we do not need to agree with everything he said, or taught, I feel that we can all acknowledge him as one of the great figures of the 20th century.
Happy Birthday Gandhi. You left the world a better place than you found it.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Many in the Masonic community are drawn to the myth that Freemasonry is derived from the religious order of the middle-ages known as the Knights Templar, also know as the Poor Soldiers of Christ.
I can see the appeal that such a myth has for many, but Freemasonry is not the Society of Creative Anachronism. The leap from the symbolism of working-class stone masons, to being knights in shining armor is a big one.
I suppose though that the leap from wearing a commodore's uniform of the 1800's with a sword, and a funny hat is not that much of a leap to wearing a fez with a Sphinx on it. After all, it was the age of Gilbert and Sullivan. Not Freemasonry though.
The Order of the Templars existed from 1129, to 1307, approximately. Historical Freemasonry began with the foundation of the Grand Lodge of London in 1717. This was more than 400 years after the order was suppressed.
While wide-spread, and very wealthy, the influence on the average European peasant at the time must have been minimal, after all, the majority of the population could not even read, and there were no books available anyway.
While stone masons did build their fortresses, masons also built every other stone building at the time, including those for monarchs, the church, and the other religious orders, such as the Hospitallers, and the non-military monastic orders.
While brave in battle, the Templars also engaged in suicidal tactics at times, reminiscent of the Japanese banzai attacks in World War II. A strong sense of honor, but little common sense.
While wanting a connection to the Templars can be appealing to some, it has no basis in reality. Numerous Masonic scholars have written on the subject, and Freemasonry has no more relation to the Knights Templars than to the Priory of Sion, the Ancient Egyptians, or the original builders of Solomon's Temple.
Any serious student of history knows that Freemasonry evolved from the stone masons guilds, and took form in the latter half of the 17th, and early part of the 18th century. The documentation exists. The rest is, unfortunately, wishful fantasy.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I had posted awhile back on another site about the Swedish Rite, which is practiced in Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, and Norway. Let me say that I have nothing against the Scandinavians, and I am sure that there are many outstanding brothers in those jurisdictions.
I do have issue though with the fact that the Swedish Rite is only open to Christians. I see this as contrary to the traditional practice of Freemasonry. Even in the US, and England, which are bastions of conservatism regarding Masonic practice, no man can be denied Masonic membership on the basis of his religion.
By any standard, this is a violation of one of the Landmarks of Freemasonry. What if the Grand Lodge of Israel were to announce that only members of the Jewish faith could join? What if the Grand Lodge of Italy were to announce that membership was only available to Roman Catholics?
What if the Grand Lodge of Mississippi were to state that only White men could join..................?
When the Grand Orient of France decided that whether or not a man believed in God was a matter of personal conscience, and should not be asked as a condition of membership, the United Grand Lodge of England, acting "shocked" at such an offense, cut off all recognition.
Their supporters, in lock step, fell into line and denounced the Grand Orient as well. Any complaints about those Grand Lodges that discriminated on the basis of religion, or race? None.
Throughout the world, the UGLE has set up puppet Grand Lodges where there have been Grand Lodges, and Grand Orients for centuries, something that the U.S. Grand Lodges would consider to be a violation of Territorial Exclusivity.
Somehow, when the UGLE does it, it is alright. Since the United Grand Lodge of England decides who is a "real" Mason, and who is not, that apparently, gives them the right to establish lodges wherever they wish, regardless how long other Grand Lodges have existed there.
My point here is that the U.S. Grand Lodges, the largest and wealthiest of the Grand Lodges in the world, should stop kowtowing to the UGLE. Freemason's Hall in London is not the Vatican. The Grand Master of the UGLE is not the Pope.
It is hypocrisy to recognize jurisdictions that are restricted to a particular religion, or race, while severing relations with the Grand Orient of France, not to mention the Grand Lodge of France, which is "regular" in every sense of the word.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I was thinking today how, even in many of the adogmatic jurisdictions of Freemasonry, there is still reference to the Grand Architect of the Universe. I know that many of my Brothers, and Sisters are atheists or agnostics and may find the term undesirable.
I understand their concerns, though I happen to like opening and closing the lodge "to the glory of the Great Architect of the Universe and the progress of Humanity, in the name of Universal Freemasonry".
My religious beliefs are a mixture of Deism, Taoism, and Stoicism that sometimes borders on the agnostic side. I do not believe however that the universe came into being out of nothing by sheer chance. I do believe in a higher reality, though I would never anthropomorphize that reality by attributing human qualities to "it".
I am not arguing here for the existence of God, that is up to each man, and woman, to decide for themselves. I am just grateful that the reference to TGAOTU is still optional in Liberal, Grand Orient Freemasonry. Banning the use of the term, if a majority of a lodge's membership desire it, would be just as bad as forcing a lodge to use it, as is done in the "regular" jurisdictions.
By the way, I do like the fact that we use a blank book instead of the Bible. I would actually prefer though to use Anderson's Constitutions, or the Constitution of the particular jurisdiction. A blank book, despite what it symbolizes, is still blank. Why have it on the Altar at all? Just my opinion.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I just returned home from attending a meeting of Lodge Aletheia of the Women's Grand Lodge of Belgium. The meeting lasted about five hours, running a little over due to the business at hand. I visited as a guest with my WM from Lodge New Isis.
I never cease to be impressed by the standard of work and dedication that the Sisters of Lodge Aletheia display. The Sisters of Aletheia treat masonry as work, not a chance to get together with friends and socialize. The Chain of Union was a moving experience.
It has been a long day, 10:30 masonic education meeting, followed by lunch and lodge from 2:00 until 7:00. I am grateful to the Sisters for their warm welcome and masonic fellowship.
My only regret is that I was unable to stay for the agape afterwards. I would have enjoyed spending more time with the Sisters, but it was necessary to head back to San Diego.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Since I last posted there have been changes in my Masonic life. If you are familiar with previous posts of mine then you are aware that I joined lodge Intrepid of the Grand Orient of the USA. At a later date there were some issues between the leadership of Lodge Intrepid and the governing body of the GOUSA.
As a result of this unfortunate conflict Lodge Intrepid demitted en masse from the GOUSA and decided to go it alone as an independent lodge. For many reasons, none of which I can discuss here, I have recently demitted from Lodge Intrepid and am now a member of Lodge New Isis of the George Washington Union.
I am looking forward to continuing my Masonic education within the Liberal, European Tradition which is now available to me in the GWU. I send my greetings to all fellow Masons in CLIPSAS, especially to my brothers and sisters in the Women's Grand Lodge of Belgium, the Grand Orient of France, the Grand Orient of the United States, and Le Droit Humain.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
As usual, it has been awhile since I posted. I finally completed my paralegal studies at the University of San Diego and am now seeking employment in the field. Things are progressing well at Intrepid, two more candidates for initiation have received their interviews.
I am working on a piece of Architecture so that I may advance to the Fellow-Craft degree, hopefully in September. I am enjoying the process, and have many Brothers and Sisters with years of experience to assist me.
I contacted the lodge in November of 2007, was interviewed in April 2008, was initiated in September of 2008, and am looking at passing in September of 2009. This is as it should be, no rush, and time to grow in Freemasonry. We are having an excellent series of Masonic Education online twice a month. In addition, we have a minimum of one meeting a month at lodge, sometimes two, which I often cannot attend due to the distance involved.
When I first entered Freemasonry, the thought of women being involved seemed foreign to me. Now, I could not imagine it any other way. The Sisters in lodge Intrepid have been a joy to meet and labor with, without them, lodge Intrepid would be missing something very special. When men and women can meet on the level and work together as Brothers and Sisters, it really expresses the concepts of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity that I hold so dear.
I have no problem with men and women's clubs, but Freemasonry, a revolutionary organization, that in a time when racism, slavery, religious intolerance, class differences, where considered acceptable, stood up and preached tolerance, the equality of people regardless of origin, ethnicity, and religious faith. There is no reason that I can see to exclude half of the human race from such an organization.
Mixed Masonry is the future. While there are, and will continue to be, Masonic groups that are limited to men, or to women, the mixed lodges will grow, and become the dominant lodges of the future. As well they should.