This is the Craft Masonry Knowledge 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 Knowledge Pages we have put together for you.
GEORGE ALLAN ON MASONIC KNOWLEDGE
June/July Quiz 2021
THIS WILL BE THE LAST QUIZ FOR SOME TIME. CLICK IN THE DROP-DOWN BOX ABOVE TO SEE THE 60 QUIZZES AND OVER 100 MASONIC ARTICLES.
1. In our Obligations we use the term "duly constituted and warrented Lodge...." You can see the Lodge Warrent on display which proves the lodge is warrented but what makes it duly constituted?
2. Who are the seven masons who make a Lodge perfect?
3. Why do we use the term Obligation and not Oath or Promise?
4. The term hele appears in which degree Obligations? [hint: remember there are 6 degrees in NZ Freemasonry].
5. Where in our ceremonies would you see the words, "the sun must always be at its meridian with respect to Freemasonry?
6. At what time of day is the sun at its meridian?
7. Mostly our Installation ceremonies in The Craft end around 9pm so which country in the world is the sun at its meridian at that time?
8. What has to happen in a Freemasons' Lodge to make it "just"?
9. How could an Entered Apprentice prove himself to be a Mason?
10. What are "the perfect points of my entry" ?
Useful links to Masonic Knowledge
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
Where Did Our Modern Freemasonry Begin
To understand how our fraternity of Freemasons came into being we need to get several pieces of the puzzle into the correct order relative to each other. The term ‘puzzle’ is a fitting one as it really is a puzzle and this presentation will probably leave you with more questions than answers.
We are told according to tradition that our Freemasonry came from Operative Lodges dating back to sometime in the 1300’s and possibly even earlier. A text dated around 1390 in Old English written in rhyming verse starts with the art of Geometry as related to teaching children of the nobility of ancient Egypt and it calls this masonry. It tells of the spread of Geometry into other lands. It also relates a good story of how masonry started in England under King Athelstan (895-939). This poem is called the Regius Poem probably because it was donated by persons unknown in 1734 to King George II as a gift and was filed away in the royal archives as unimportant until discovered around 1840 by James Halliwell. He was not a Freemason but recognised the important messages in the text. For example, the text lists 15 articles and 15 points for the governance of operative masons.
So the Regius Poem was called the Halliwell Document and is regarded as an early form of The Old Charges because it tells mason apprentices how they should behave both professionally at work and morally in life. William Schaw was the principal Master of Works to King James VI in the late 1500s and used the Regius Poem as a basis for his charter stating the conduct of stone masons employed in Scotland. The important work of building castles as defences against attack, churches and cathedrals as places of worship went along-side building ordinary houses (the weather in Scotland is much colder than in the more southerly England so granite was used to keep out the cold in winter and heat insummer).
Stone masons Lodges all over Scotland often relied on the local lord to subsidise and support their well-being and it would not be unusual for gentry to attend a Lodge meeting where business was discussed. The Scots were canny with their money so records would be kept and checked of all expenses. The 'Lodge' would have been a building housing equipment as well as a meeting place and would have deliberately constructed as facing south to take advantage heat from the sun.
The craft of being a stone mason would have had an hierarchical structure with the masons working freehand in stone at the top of the ability structure - these were known as Freemasons and their job involved chiselling ornamental pieces from stone softer than granite, such as statues and gargoyles.
An interesting parallel is the similarity of the Guilds of London dating back to the times of King Henry II who wanted to raise taxes. He commanded that the tradesmen of London should improve the quality of their work, become better and therefore sell more good, make more profit and pay more tax. The first of these to be Chartered was the Worshipful Company of Weavers in 1155. By the time of King Edward I, II and III in the 1300’s Guilds were established for most trades. No trade was allowed to take on apprentices unless they were registered and regulated.
Members were expected to adhere to very strict and proper behaviour.
Members of Guilds were appointed to the most important posts such as Aldermen and Mayor and became powerful citizens of London.
Each Guild built its own Hall and was ruled for a year by an elected Master , SW and JW (some Guilds had Upper Warden, Middle Warden and Lower Warden) who progressed towards the master’s chair.
This was the situation in London around 1640 and middle and upper classes wanted to join, dine well, have a good time, intellectual discussions. The Royal Society was formed out of these gentlemen in November 1660.
We know that there were Lodges of English Freemasons in existence in the 1600’s. The earliest record of an English initiation is that of Mr.Elias Ashmole (1617 – 1682) an antiquarian (studied historic things especially the empirical evidence of the past), an officer on the Royalist side of the civil war, founder member of the Royal Society in London. He was made a mason on 16th October 1646 at Warrington, Lancaster
We are told that the first Grand Lodge in England was formed from 4 Lodges meeting in London and named after the public houses where they met: the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul's Church-yard (now called Lodge of Antiquity No. 2); the Crown Ale-house in Parker's Lane off Drury Lane; the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden (now called Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland No. 12); and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster (now called Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. IV). Representatives first met at the Apple Tree Tavern in 1716 to discuss forming a governing body, holding an annual assembly and feast. They met finally at the Goose and Gridiron and constituted themselves into the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster and elected their oldest Master Mr Anthony Sayer the first Grand Master. In 1720 George Payne was elected the 2nd GM and he wrote the General Regulations of e Free Mason. The third Grand Master the Reverend Dr John Theophilus Desaguliers ordered the Rev Dr James Anderson to write The Constitutions of the Free-Masons containing the History, Charges, Regulations, and of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. This was submitted to GL in 1722 and approved by a Grand Lodge committee. This work was reprinted in Philadelphia in 1734 by Benjamin Franklin, who was that year elected Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania. It was also translated into Dutch (1736), German (1741), and French (1745).
Important questions arise:
How was it that news spread and many men travelled to central London to meet and decide to start this GL?
Secondly: Why would diverse lodges want to be governed by a London based GL?
One conspiracy theory is that it was the Hanovarian ruling class that pulled the strings in the background to secure a protestant grip on London and England.
We know that in 1717 first Grand Lodge and that in 1751 there was another Grand Lodge styled the Antients or Atholl Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Old Institution 1751. These came together as the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813 and is the one and only current Grand Lodge for England.
There was also the Grand Lodge of York 1725 – 1792
And the Grand Lodge South of the River Trent 1779-1790.
At the start of the 1800’s HRH the Duke of Kent was Grand Master of the Athol GL and his brother HRH the Duke of Sussex was GM of the premier GL. This facilitated the joining together and forming The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) which we know today. However, there was considerable unrest when this governing body insisted that every masonic lodge would use the same ritual and obey the same rules and regulations.
Anderson, J. 1723, The Constitutions of the Free-Masons, "For the Use of the Lodges" in London and Westminster
Hibbard, W., 2016 “THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN BRITAIN IN 1717
ITS INFLUENCE ON THE FORMATION OF THE FIRST GRAND LODGE”, in Transactions of the Research Lodge of Wellington, May 2016
Roger, L. M., “English Speculative Freemasonry: Foundation and Empire”, in: Transactions of the Masonic Study Society, Vol. LXXIV
VW Bro George Allan PG Lec; K.L.; OMLJ
How You Can Change Your Lodge
A long time ago, a Chinese General wanted to change the world, but before he could change the world, he realized he needed to change his country. He knew that if he changed his country that would have an impact on changing the world.
But before he could change his country, he realized he needed to change his province. He knew that if he changed his province that would have an impact on changing his country that would in turn have an impact on changing the world.
Before he could change his province, he realized he needed to change his village. He knew that if he changed his village that would have an impact on changing his province that would in turn have an impact on changing the country and ultimately have an impact on changing the world.
Soon he realized that before he could change his village, he would need to change his family. For he knew that if he changed his family that would have an impact of changing his village that would in turn have an impact on changing his province, impacting his country and ultimately changing the world.
Finally, he came to the conclusion that by changing himself first, that would change his family, then his village, his province, impacting his country and ultimately changing the world.
The moral of the story, if you want to change the circumstances around you, first look within and begin changing or improving yourself. After all, is there anyone you know who can’t benefit from a little self improvement?
With thanks to an old Chinese Proverb
A Guide for Masonic Mentors
Here are 6 pointers to helping a Brother make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge.
1. “Learning Together” as a good method to get to grips with understanding our Freemasonry; Understanding the reasons ”Why” as a learning process; Why we abide by Masonic standards in our daily life.
2. Explain each topic covered in the Masonic Education Curriculum. Include the following: Respect for Secrets; How can we use understandable language; How to represent masonry in a way that everyone can understand and relate to; Promote the value and experience of public speaking to increase self-confidence.
3. Encourage quest for knowledge; Don’t overpower him with history; Promote relevance to today. Explain the functions of a Research lodge and explain that many have no dues for first year plus an on-line library of masonic books;Feed his interest areas.
4. Guide to enjoyment of masonry; Encourage him to get his friends to participate in debate; Talk through local Community engagement; Celebrate his successes; Think young and include discussion on outdoor activities; Use new-age technology such as smart phones and facebook; Involve partners more.
5. Create appreciation of the modern value of FM; Discuss his UNDERSTANDING of Masonry and the concepts covered to date;Encourage family circle involvement; Discuss our Charity works; Reconnect with elderly/disabled brethren.
6. Discuss how to retain his Membership and others like him; Communication is KEY; Give him a meaningful job in Lodge not a tea-towel; Talk through his family involvement, both formal and informal; Discuss his possible active parts in his local Community involvement; Encourage his ritualist development but don’t rush his progress; Explain why we have a refectory and explain the procedures in refectory.
Three practical suggestions for all Mentors
1.You have probably been appointed as a Mentor because someone in your lodge thinks you have the ability to impart knowledge to your fellow masons. Approach the task with confidence knowing that you have resources such as educational references and notes that give you a head start in talking with your ”students”.
2.The mentor system is a “sharing” experience not a lecture or school teacher exercise. Your preparation for each session will involve more time than the session itself, but you will get satisfaction in brushing up your own knowledge on well-known subjects. Avoid offering details that are of no immediate interest to the topic. The ideal situation will be to whet the appetite and encourage questions and discussion. No lectures please. Don’t tell him what you know – tell him where to find the answer for himself and let him DISCOVER for himself.
3. Limit the time of each session to less than one hour at a time. Three subjects is the target and 20 minutes a subject should be enough. Better to stop short than peter out. Tailor your session to circumstances. If fewer subjects at greater length seems appropriate then exercise your judgement accordingly. If a subject is disposed of quickly or is not getting across, move on to the next one (Source: Notes for Mentors, Sep 1981, GL NZ).
Freemasons New Zealand
VW Bro George Allan PG Lec, K.L.
VW Bro R Williams PG Lec K.L.
MASONIC LODGE ROOMS AROUND THE WORLD
Our thanks to VW Bro. M.I. McGregor PGLec of Southlands for the following
Mother Lodge Kilwinning No.0, Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland
The origin of the Lodge is unclear with the first documentary evidence being a mention in The Schaw Statutes of 1598 and 1599, which identify it in its first paragraph as the "heid and secund ludge of Scotland".
The lodge's own legend attributes the formation to the building of the Abbey at Kilwinning in the 12th century. There existed in this period corporations or fraternities of masons, endowed with certain privileges and immunities, capable of erecting religious structures in the Gothic style. A party of these foreign masons is supposed to have come from Italy, or Cologne, for the purpose of building the Abbey at Kilwinning and to have founded there the first regularly constituted Operative Lodge in Scotland. The Lodge is reputed to have been held in the chapter house on the eastern side of the cloisters. On the broken walls and arches of the Abbey numerous and varied Masons' marks may be seen.
Mother Lodge Kilwinning No.0 has vied with Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No.1 as being the first Masonic Lodge in Scotland. The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel, No.1, is a Masonic Lodge in Edinburgh, Scotland.
It is designated number 1 on the Roll of lodges of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and as it possesses the oldest existing minute of any masonic lodge still operating (31 July 1599) and the first historical reference of a non-operative or speculative freemason being initiated as a member (1634), it is reputed to be the oldest Masonic Lodge not only in Scotland, but the world.]
Secrecy in Freemasonry
This quote about Masonic secrets.
Secrecy is not the key to Freemasonry. Everything concerning its aims and its ritual is available to the public in books and manuals. Yet there is a Masonic secret, a mystery, an experience that cannot be taught or explained, the secret of experiencing true love for all mankind, a positive attitude toward man and life, and a broad affirmation of God.
This is the secret that our detractors do not want to know about.
Comments on the 6th Degree of New Zealand Freemasonry - the Royal Arch
The Royal Arch is a complex topic and a book could easily be written on it. I wonder what message the modern ceremony gives besides an interesting story on a supposed “fact” in history.
The discovery of “the Book of Holy Law” has no relevance to the modern Christian or indeed the “discovery of the lost word” both being pre-CE.
To understand the modern RA we need to go back in history to look at the history of the Jews In Europe and the influence of the Kabbalah on some of the “higher thinking” Jews.
A small group was certainly in Ireland post the Jewish expulsion from Portugal and England and a synagogue in Ireland can be dated back to 1660. During the interregnum period Cromwell allowed Jews into England and many came to London bringing their ideas with them. I can find no evidence of RA ceremonies but there was certainly a belief in the four elements (plus the work of Paracelsus with the addition of the three higher spirits of sulfur (Correct scientific spelling!), mercury and salt was widely known.
There is evidence of ceremonies passing on the higher knowledge of the mystics were performed and ceremonies which have been labelled Royal Arch continued “underground” (quite popular with the Antients in London) The best reference to these is Laurence Dermott (born in Ireland and who received the RA degree in Ireland in 1746.)
It is noted that he was very critical of the “Mutton Chops/legs Masons.)
The next mention is probably 1812 with the Union of the two Grand Lodges. It is interesting that the Duke of Sussex (GM of the Moderns) was a big supporter in the removal of civil restriction on Jews. (actually the Duke of Sussex was an interesting fellow and a “black sheep”……the current D of S!!!) This is quite interesting as the Moderns were strong opponents of the RA ceremony… Is this antisemitism again?
The Duke of Sussex eventually appointed Adam Brown to rewrite a ceremony to be acceptable to the “Moderns” and at this stage the ceremony of passing the veils was removed but the Principals were to be decked in the old veil colours and chair lectures were instituted. To appease royalty the Master was now the King and not the High Priest. In Ireland and most US ceremonies the High priest is still the “boss” in a Royal Arch Chapter.
The Irish are very influential is setting up the RA in the US and I have read reports of Mordecai Moses in 1658 in Newport, RI, and the contribution of Moses Michael Hayes. The opposition to Jews in Freemasonry was still common (especially in Germany back to 17 and 18thcenturies and this led to the formation of Jewish B’nai B’rith and the lodges based on Freemasonry and Cabbalistic principles.)
A bit more about our ceremony. The veils colours are described of course inJosephusand as we pass through them we are being tested in our physical world (Malkuth?). There are other ceremonies in other orders of course which emphasise this test. This is also the Zelator in the SRIA.
After our experiences in the physical world the candidate is ready to set forth on the journey of discovery in the spiritual world. (beware of the Abyss!)
The fact that there are three descents is of course significant (4 plus three again). I note that there are 4 levels in the first order and three in the second order for SRIA (the third order are merely administrative and seem to be additions under the English influence).
As more and more light (perhaps betterRuach) is available a discovery is found (Kether?). In older ceremonies the Sojourners return to the site three times. The discovery is surely that that answer will be found with oneself but this is just one further step on the journey to the Divine.
The concept of the four elements at the Union in 1813 was thought by the Moderns to be ridiculous as many more elements had been discovered (Lavoisier et al) and the old philosophies were supplanted by the Age of Reason and the influence of Descartes and Newton.
Adam Brown completed his revision in 1835 and the ceremony has only had minor revision since then.
So the RA ceremony goes ahead. It still has some opposition in some quarters. It has lost it’s message of the journey to the higher levels and the journey to the Divine self and this is probably the reason why there was a move in the 1860s to form a group that would be interested in the further study of the mystical world.
I do not see that the Mark degree relates in any way to the RA but like many other modern ceremonies it attempts to teach a moral lesson rather than allow someone to continue with their mystical journey.
I fear that freemasonry has become just another social club for men!
Anon. August 2020