The Chamber of Reflection: A Revitalized and Misunderstood Masonic Practice

The Chamber of Reflection:

A Revitalized and Misunderstood Masonic Practice

Roberto M. Sanchez
Full Member, Junior Warden, Texas Lodge of Research
District Deputy Grand Master 2013
Past Master, Gray Lodge No. 329 Houston, Texas
Past Master, St. Alban’s Lodge No. 1455 College Station, Texas
1678 Beaconshire Rd.
Houston, TX 77077
281-536-3231
rmsh13@yahoo.com

Though the initiation rituals of Freemasonry are universal with slight variation according to various Grand Lodge jurisdiction, most American lodges fail to incorporate one of the oldest traditions utilized to prepare candidates through the use of the chamber of reflection. Prior to 2009, the majority of Masons in the United States were unaware of the use of the chamber of reflection as an accepted preparation practice for the degrees. The chamber of reflection was not a phrase common to pop culture, or even a part of American Freemasonry. However, thanks to author Dan Brown and his best-selling thriller The Lost Symbol, it has become a growing trend in many American Masonic lodges. Those Freemasons who are members of the York Rite, more especially the Commandery, are tacitly familiar with the chamber of reflection. Yet, even these degrees provide scant explanation in any of the rituals. Somewhere in the transition towards a modern American society, the true intent of the chamber of reflection vanished into the mist of antiquity. It is the purpose of this author to explore the history, protocol, and traditions of the chamber of reflection. While traveling to several Grand jurisdictions in several different countries, I discovered that the chamber of reflection is very much alive where it has been continually practiced for years. Most of the brethren who received their initiations in Europe, Mexico, Central and South America, Middle East and Africa will be acquainted with the chamber of reflection. Lastly, the practice may be found in the degrees in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the French Rite, the Brazilian Rite and other rites derived from those listed.

In The Lost Symbol, a fictional thriller involving the Freemasons, Dan Brown introduces to the reader one of Freemasonry’s greatest initiatory tools – the chamber of reflection.

“The skull sat atop a rickety wooden desk positioned against the rear wall of the chamber. Two human leg bones sat beside the skull, along with a collection of other items that were meticulously arranged on the desk in shrine like fashion – an antique hourglass, a crystal flask, a candle, two saucers of pale powder, and a sheet of paper. Propped against the wall beside the desk stood the fearsome shape of a long scythe, its curved blade as familiar as that of the grim reaper… ‘This room is Masonic?’ Sato demanded, turning from the skull and staring at Langdon in the darkness. Langdon nodded calmly, ‘it’s called a Chamber of Reflection. These rooms are designed as cold, austere places in which a Mason can reflect on his own mortality. By meditating on the inevitability of death, a Mason gains valuable perspective on the fleeting nature of life.’ ”
Dan Brown goes on to paint a vivid picture of the meaning of the chamber of reflection and lists items found in such a place. But what did all of this mean to the Freemasons? How many American Freemason could actually identify the meaning of the items in this “secret room”?1

The chamber of reflection is not a new innovation but an ancient tradition older than the Craft itself. In Freemasonry, the chamber of reflection was originally found in the French and Scottish Rites. This small room, usually adjacent to the lodge, is the predecessor of what Freemasons, commonly call the “anteroom.” The purpose of the chamber of reflection is to give the candidate a chance to prepare himself for his initiation into the Fraternity. It is not just for the external preparation of the candidate, to put on the required garments, but for the internal mental preparation of the candidate. The candidate is encouraged through self reflection to contemplate what his motives are for joining the lodge. The chamber of reflection is exactly what it implies, a quiet room where the candidate is to meditate before his initiation. Isolation in this cavern-like room is where a symbolic metamorphosis is experienced, the neophyte emerges from this chamber symbolically transformed into a new person. It serves to separate the candidate of all earthly things, his family, his job, the superfluities of daily life, and makes him consider the notions of his own mortality. The chamber of reflection was intended to be the candidate’s very first experience in Masonry. However, it is important to note that the chamber of reflection is a preparation tool, and not part of the degree itself. 2

There are slight variations to the contents located within a chamber of reflection. For the context of this paper, the most common items as listed in the rituals of the French and Scottish Rite will be referenced. According to Albert Pike, the chamber of reflection “should be one story below the lodge room; and if possible, underground, with no window. The floor must, in any case, be of earth. On the walls should be brief sentences of morality, and maxims austere philosophy, written as if with charcoal.” The room should be completely dark, and the walls painted black or made to look like the interior of a cave. In the center of the room is placed a small wooden table, accompanied by a stool or uncomfortable wooden chair for the candidate to sit on. On the table the following items should be somberly placed: a single lit candle, a human skull and crossed tibia (leg bones), an hour glass, a small bell, a small loaf of bread, a basin of water, containers of salt, sulphur, and mercury, a mirror, papers, a quill pen and ink. In some chambers of reflection, there may be a picture or representation of a rooster instead of the mercury. Lastly the alchemical cipher V∴I∴T∴R∴ I∴O∴L∴, and the words “Know Thyself” should be written somewhere on the wall.3

The emblems and relics found in a chamber of reflection all have a very specific significance. Before expanding on these symbols, let us follow a candidate’s journey into the chamber of reflection on the day of his initiation into this tradition. First the candidate, dressed in suitable lodge attire (dark suit and tie) is brought to the lodge building by his sponsor. He must not meet any of the other Mason except the ones necessary. The Secretary and the Master of Ceremonies, (an officer who in some jurisdictions would be equivalent to the First Expert,) both dressed without any Masonic insignia, meet the candidate. The Secretary collects the necessary fees and returns to the lodgeroom. The Master of Ceremonies stays with the candidate, while the sponsor also goes into the lodgeroom. The Master of Ceremonies then blindfolds the candidate and introduces him into the chamber of reflection. He presents the candidate with a piece of paper with questions that the candidate must answer. The Master of Ceremonies indicates to the candidate that he must write on the paper his moral and philosophical testament. He then instructs the candidate that when he has finished this task, he should ring the bell, or give three knocks to acknowledge that he is ready to proceed with the rest of the initiation. He is also told that, once the door is closed, he should remove the hoodwink. At that time, the candidate sees the chamber and the objects described earlier.4

The chamber of reflection is an important symbol. It represents a womblike state, where the aspirant is to participate in his rebirth as an initiate, to indicate when the candidate emerges from the chamber, in the same manner as being born a new man. Thus, the chamber indicates at the same time, a beginning and an end. The end of the candidate’s life as a profane, and the beginning of a new life as an initiate in search of more light. According to Andrew Hammer, in his book Observing the Craft,

“Before ever knocking at the door of the Craft, the initiate was confronted with the gravity of his choice to join, so that any doubts he might have entertained could be acted upon. In this way he might be spared a commitment he has not truly resolved to make, and the Lodge spared a man who would not endure even the test of confronting himself, much less having the resolve to better that which he had confronted. He is put in darkness and isolation because both of these things together decrease the perception of time, and make a relatively short period of time seem much longer. Thus, when the initiate arrives at the door of a Lodge, he has, to mind, long been in darkness.”

This is the beginning of the journey for each candidate as they embark into the mystical and dramatic realm of Freemasonry. It is at this point the candidate stands at the threshold of initiation where he may turn back. Yet, if he chooses to proceed his life will be forever transformed. If the candidate fails to progress through the work of the remaining degrees, by their experiences in the outer chamber will force them to reflect upon their reason for wishing to become a Mason, and as such, for all their actions in life.5

The most misunderstood emblem is the skull. For centuries many non-masons and some persons within the Fraternity believed the skull to be an immoral and malicious symbol. It represented a malevolent and evil nature, such as poison or danger. But in the chamber of reflection, as in the rest of Masonry, that is not the case. The skull has appeared for centuries in various Masonic degrees, tracing boards, and aprons, such as the nineteenth century Knight Templar apron. The skull, together with the crossbones, is a symbol of mortality, and is used to elaborate on the other symbols present in the chamber. Its’ purpose is to serve as a reminder of the Latin phrase memento mori, “remember, you will die.” It serves as a reminder that our earthly life is not eternal and your time spent on this earth is limited and should be spent to improve society, yourself, and your spiritual service. Death is eminent, and each of us at one point or another must face this ultimate ending.6

The hourglass is an emblem of human life and represents the passing or marking of time. It symbolizes the futility of attempting to stop or to slow down time. As the candidate watches the slowly falling sands running through the hourglass so too does his time slowly runs out to death. The hourglass elaborates on the solemn thought of death, and reminds the candidate of the fleeting nature of his mortality. Together the skull, the hourglass alludes to mortality and reminds the future Mason to make good use of his short time on Earth.7

The bread and water represent the bare necessities of life and are humble emblems of sustenance and simplicity. Bread, considered one of the most meager forms of nourishment, reminds the candidate to live his life plainly, simply and humbly. Water is one of the four elements essential to the ancient mysteries, and is also an emblem of purity, or cleansing. In some variations of the chamber of reflection, the candidate is required to wash his hands as a symbol of the purity of his intentions.8

The burning candle and bell lack some of the esoteric significance attached to the other emblems but are also important. The bell is rarely used since it takes up space on the small table used in the chamber of reflection. It’s sole purpose is to inform the Master of Ceremonies, or the Mason in charge of the candidate while he is in the chamber, that the candidate is ready for the degree. Most common the candidate knocking three times on the door, has replaced the bell at the completion of his mental preparation. The single burning candle primarily serves to provide the candidate with suitable lighting so he may perform the assigned task, whether it be writing his philosophical last will and testament, required questions or thoughts, all depending on the Masonic jurisdiction, or practiced Masonic rite. 9

There are several items associated with alchemy in the chamber of reflection. To begin the ultimate goal of an alchemist was to turn a crude and superfluous metal into aprosperous and valuable metal such as transforming lead into gold. In the chamber of reflection, the alchemical elements are there to represent a different transformation, that of transforming the petitioner into a candidate. These alchemical elements are salt, sulfur and mercury. Salt alludes to several uses, but in the alchemical sense it alludes to the human soul. Salt is a preservative, and reminds the candidate that his activities while on earth should be remembered in a positive manner even after death. Salt, in excess may also spoil the food it was intended to preserve and admonishes the candidate to moderate his desires and passions. 10

Sulfur refers to the human body since some forms of sulfur are found in hair and skin. It is also a mindful reminder that all trials come to pass. Just as the foul odor of the sulfur will dissipate over time, so shall any trials and tribulations the candidate may encounter. It serves as a lesson, and reminds the candidate to make all things a learning experience. The coupling of salt and sulphur are the equivalent of the checkered pavement. It represents that of ambivalence and balance of light and darkness, truth and error, life and death, soul and body. 11

Mercury may appear in the chamber of reflection as the element itself, or it may be symbolically represented as a rooster or cockerel, either painted or as a ceramic figurine. The rooster is a symbol for the Greek god Hermes, or the Roman god Mercury, who crows at the dawn of day announcing the coming of light. This alludes to vigilance and also corresponds with faith. Mercury is a symbol of the emergence of the darkness of ignorance and fear. It is also the omen foretelling spiritual trial and testing. Just as we need vigilance and perseverance to seek truth and the light, we must also have the courage to acknowledge it when our social standing, ego, and perception from others challenge it. Mercury, salt, and sulfur, together, allude to the makeup of man and all substances. These three symbolic elements derive from alchemy, a tradition which has provided us with all of the symbols we use today to describe a metamorphosis, thereby alluding to a lesson the candidate will learn in the first degree—to circumscribe his desires and keep his passions in due bounds. 12

The quill pen and paper are placed in the chamber of reflection for the candidate to perform his appointed task of writing as he is instructed. Depending upon the particular Rite or degree, the candidate is asked to compose a short piece of writing. Most common, however, the candidate is encouraged to write reasons for petitioning for the degrees, or, in some lodges, his moral and philosophical last will and testament. Since the candidate is confronted with the thoughts of his own mortality, he is asked to put into writing where all of his worldly belongings and legacy would go in case of his ultimate demise. In some variations, specifically in the advanced degrees of the York Rite, there is a Bible on the table, and the candidate is asked to read the verse or verses associated with the degree. In the Brazilian Rite, the candidate receives yet another task in addition to the ones already mentioned. He is presented with Articles I and II of the Constitution of the respective Jurisdiction. The candidate must then sign and declare to affirm solidarity and act accordingly to the principles of Freemasonry. In some of the lodges around the world, where the chamber of reflection is used, it is customary to invite the initiate back into the chamber of reflection on his fifth year anniversary of his initiation. He then is presented with the same emblems he saw before his initiation, but now he is also presented with his philosophical and moral last will and testament. The purpose of this exercise is for the initiate to reflect on his initiation, and see how far he has come and transformed over the years. This practice may be repeated on different Masonic anniversaries. In all, this portion of the chamber of reflection allows the candidate a chance to reconsider his request for membership. If his motives are not pure, if he is fearful and does not have the courage to proceed, then he may not be able to inviolate the secrets of Freemasonry. 13

The alchemical cipher V∴I∴T∴R∴ I∴O∴L∴ is an important element in some versions of the chamber of reflection. It is an acronym for the Latin phrase Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem, which means, “Visit the interior of the Earth, and by rectifying, you shall find the hidden stone.” Sometimes this acronym appears with the addition of U∴M∴ at the end, signifying, Veram Medicinam, which means the “true medicine”. As previously mentioned, the alchemist’s goal was to change base metals into gold, and the acronym vitriol was the recipe that would ultimately produce such a transformation. However, in Masonry, the term vitriol is used as a tool to remind the candidate to look within himself. Thus, using his time in this solemn chamber to reflect and examine his own life, and therefore search for ways in which he could improve himself internally. Its ultimate goal is to have the candidate reach a sense of self attainment thereby understanding the other saying that should be written in the chamber — Know Thyself. The candidate is to take this advice metaphorically. The meaning conveyed is that one must search within oneself, as the truth is hidden there, and this truth is the real solution to life’s problems.14

The mirror is essential to the Chamber of Reflection, because the purpose of this portion of the initiation process is to allow the candidate to reflect. He is also to reflect on his own mortality, the reasons he has chosen to join the Craft, and to contemplate his own understanding of himself. According to the lecture in the Third Degree, we are taught that Hiram Abiff repaired to the Holy of Holies to reflect upon the work he had accomplished, to meditate and pray. It is in the chamber of reflection where the candidate gets a chance to practice the teachings of the Craft as they are intended, and emulate our ancient patron. Another example of reflection and looking within oneself is portrayed in the Rectified Scottish Rite. When the candidate is brought to light in the first degree, and the hoodwink is removed, the first thing he sees are the brethren looking back at him. It is at this point the Worshipful Master informs him that “It is not always before oneself, that one finds his enemies. That which is to be feared the most is many times behind himself. Turn around!” It is at this time that the candidate is once again presented with the mirror and sees his own reflection. It is a lesson by which the candidate is taught that the enemy is usually within oneself. Therefore, each member of the Craft should know and scrutinize himself in order to break off the rough and superfluous parts of his life in order to live the life of a true follower of the Craft. Thus, the chamber of reflection allows the candidate the chance to truly analyze and examine himself and the symbols in the room around him.15

The symbols, elements, and lessons within the chamber of reflection are provided for the specific purpose of allowing the candidate to meditate, reflect and contemplate. None of the emblems should ever be used to frighten, haze, tease, or humiliate the candidate in any way. The purpose of the chamber of reflection and its symbolic elements are meant to illustrate to the initiate that the ceremony of initiation is not to be taken lightly.16

But what does all of this mean to the American Mason? Where did the Chamber of Reflection go and why is it experiencing a revival in American Freemasonry? The earliest English reference to a Chamber of Reflection seems to be in Jachin and Boaz, the English exposure of the ritual of the Ancient’s Grand Lodge, published in 1762. Its description strongly resembles that of the one in the French exposure, Les Secrets de Francs-
Maçons, published in 1742. In Jachin and Boaz the chamber of reflection process is explained as follows:

“Soon after, the Master asks if the Gentleman proposed last Lodge-Night is ready to be made; and on being answered in the Affirmative, he orders the Wardens to go out and prepare the Person, who is generally waiting in a Room at some Distance from the Lodge-Room, by himself, being left there by his Friend who proposed him. He is conducted into another Room, which is totally dark; and then asked, whether he is conscious of having the Vocation necessary to be received? On answering, Yes, he is asked his Name, Surname, and Profession. When he has answered these Questions, whatever he has about him made of Metal is taken off, as Buckles, Buttons, Rings, Boxes, and even the Money in his pocket taken away. Then they make him uncover his Right Knee, and put his Left Foot with his Shoe on, into a Slipper; hoodwink him with a Handkerchief, and leave him to his Reflection for about half an Hour. The Chamber is also guarded within and without, by some of the Brethren, who have drawn Swords in their Hands, to keep off all Strangers, in case any should dare approach. The Person who proposed the Candidate stays in the Room with him; but they are not permitted to ask any Questions, or converse together.”

The idea of the chamber of reflection, as part of Masonic practice, also spread to Germany, Belgium, Holland, and other European countries. Between 1787 and 1801, Friedrich Ludwig Schroeder worked on a revision of the German ritual based on Jachin and Boaz entitled Schroedersches Lehrlingritual. It was accepted and worked in a number of German lodges, although other versions of the ritual continued to be practiced. 17

In the early 1800’s, the chamber of reflection was being used and practiced in several craft lodges in the United States. By 1814, the chamber of reflection had made its way into the rituals of the Grand Encampment of New York, and by 1816, to General Grand Encampment at its formation. The chamber of reflection was a well understood and a well-practiced Masonic custom in the United States at this epoch of its history. Some Freemasons even had small chambers of reflections in their homes, while others would make it a habit to revisit the one they used during their initiation into the Craft. All of this began to change by 1826, the year that America’s most notorious incident involving the Freemasons took place — the Morgan Affair.18

Captain William Morgan, a disgruntled Mason, announced plans to publish the rituals of Freemasonry. Although a number of other ritual exposures had been published in the United States during the previous century, Masons were outraged that their secrets would be divulged to the community. On 11 September 1826, William Morgan was arrested and jailed for an outstanding debt. The next day four Masons paid the debt, bailed Morgan out of jail and escorted him to a waiting carriage. He was driven away and was never seen again. This event fuelled outrage among anti-Masons in the United States and gave birth to the Anti-Masonic political movement. Because of the Anti-Masonic movement, Freemasonry was forced to adapt and change. The laws of several grand jurisdictions were changed, and the old custom of having to be invited or “tapped” to join Masonry were forever changed. Several hundred lodges in the United States closed its doors. New York went from 480 lodges in 1826 to 75 in 1835; Massachusetts dropped from 180 Lodges to 56, and the Grand Lodge of Vermont completely went out of existence. Masonry experienced a transformation of a very exclusive and esoteric fraternity, to that of an open revolving door and transparent fraternity. The more esoteric traditions retreated from the craft lodge into the higher invitational bodies, while the rites and traditions of the craft lodge rituals were diluted or completely abandoned, like that of the chamber of reflection.19

According to Masonic researchers and authors S. Brent Morris and Arturo de Hoyos in their book Committed to the Flames, in 1826, after the Morgan Affair, Robert Benjamin Folger filled a book with the enciphered craft rituals of a secret Masonic Rite. These rituals were that of the Rectified Scottish Rite, also known as the Knights Beneficent of the Holy City or CBCS. This order was well known throughout Europe but completely unknown in the United States at the time. The chamber of reflection resurrected itself in the United States in rituals such as the Rectified Scottish Rite, but never really returned into mainstream craft lodges until the end of the twentieth century.20

Masonry has been forced to adapt and change in order to survive, such as the creation of Masonic fraternal organizations like the Shrine and Grotto, to family oriented ones such as the Order of DeMolay, and Rainbow Girls. Based on the information presented in this paper, chambers of reflection are gaining in popularity again because the younger Masons who are joining lodges today are very interested in the ancient mysteries of the Masonic Orders, and its old traditions. Organizations like the Masonic Restoration Foundation have been created for the purpose of restoring some of these once forgotten Masonic traditions, while at the same time regulating the customs so they will not be done incorrectly. Several grand lodges have adopted a number these customs and traditions in order to regulate them. In a grand masters decision issued 23 January 2013, the Grand Master of Colorado approved the Masonic practices and observances of chambers of reflection, officers processions, and chains of union.21

Over the past several years, there have been several articles written about the chamber of reflection with no real research behind them. There are several lodges using chambers of reflection with the goal of scaring the candidate, or doing it because it is a “cool thing to do.” If a lodge’s members do not know what V∴I∴T∴R∴ I∴O∴L∴means or represents, and they do not know how to explain it to the new initiate, then that lodge should not be using a chamber of reflection. This important preparatory tool shouldn’t be used because it is cool. Rather, it should be used because it helps the candidate prepare himself mentally for the degree, it is an old tradition of the Craft, and it is the correct thing to do. Most importantly, each lodge should practice and follow the constitutions, resolutions, and edicts of the grand lodge under whose jurisdiction it is chartered. In The Laws of The Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M., it states that only the ritual approved by the Grand Lodge of Texas may be used in its lodge rooms and ante rooms opening directly into the lodge rooms. However, I find no mention in our grand lodge law regarding or restricting chambers of reflection, or items that may decorate, be stored in, or be present in the preparation room. Furthermore, there are no guidelines as to how the candidate is to be prepared prior to the beginning of the degree.22

There is great meaning in the chamber of reflection. A Mason can quietly meditate upon the individual meanings of the contents in the chamber, while reflecting on his purpose for joining, and becoming a better man. More importantly, it removes the candidate from the rest of the membership, who might tease the candidate and advise him to beware of the goat. Throughout my travels in a number of Masonic jurisdictions around the world, I recognized the great importance of this tradition, which has been used for centuries in worldwide Freemasonry. The chamber of reflection should be used prior to each of the three degrees. Every practicing Mason should propose to his respective grand lodge the restoration of the traditional chamber of reflection. This is an important custom that should be restored to every lodge thus allowing the candidate to participate in a True Masonic Experience.


Appendix A

The following is a translated Entered Apprentice Chamber of Reflection Ritual in its entirety:

Mr. _____________________
YOU ARE NOW SEATED IN THE CHAMBER OF REFLECTION, WHERE, IN SILENCE AND SOLITUDE, YOU WILL HAVE OPPORTUNITY FOR MEDITATION.

YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU DESIRE TO ENTER THE REALM OF FREEMASONRY. THESE DEGREES WILL INCULCATE THE CARDNAL VIRTUES, AS WELL AS THE PRINCIPLE TENETS OF OUR ORDER. YOU ARE IN THIS CHAMBER TO GIVE YOU A FEW MINUTES TO REFLECT ON WHY YOU ARE HERE FROM YOUR OWN PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE. REFLECT ON THE EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE, THE BENEFITS YOU HAVE TO GAIN AND CONTRIBUTIONS YOU CAN OFFER THE LODGE IN RETURN.

WHILE THE WORLD IS SHUT OUT, MEDITATE UPON THESE THINGS, AND PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR THE SOLEMN CEREMONIES THROUGH WHICH YOU WILL BE CALLED TO PASS. THERE LIES ON THE TABLE BEFORE YOU A MELANCHOLY MEMENTO OF MORTALITY. BESIDE IT IS AN HOUR GLASS, WHICH I NOW REVERSE. (Done.) AS YOU BEHOLD ITS SLOWLY-FALLING SANDS, LEARN THAT SO SURELY ARE THE WASTING SANDS OF YOUR MORTAL LIFE RUNNING OUT TO DEATH.

THERE IS ALSO ON THIS TABLE THE HOLY BIBLE, WHICH IS OPENED TO PSALM 133. I ENJOIN UPON YOU AT THIS TIME THE READING OF THE VERSES INCLUSIVE OF THAT CHAPTER. WHEN YOU SHALL HAVE CONCLUDED THE READING YOU WILL DISCOVER SOME QUESTIONS, TO WHICH YOUR EXPLICIT ANSWERS ARE REQUIRED IN WRITING. REFLECT ON THEM, AND THEN ANSWER EACH WITH A SIMPLE “YES” OR “NO,” ACCORDING TO THE DICTATES OF YOUR CONSCIENCE. THEN SIGN YOUR NAME, IN FULL, TO EACH OF THEM.

YOU ALSO FIND THAT THERE ARE SOME ARTICLES OF CLOTHING , YOU WILL REMOVE ALL METALLIC SUBSTANCES ABOUT YOUR PERSON, REMOVE YOUR CLOTHING AND PUT ON WHAT IS PROVIDED FOR YOU.

I AM NOW ABOUT TO LEAVE YOU ALONE, AND WILL SIGNAL MY DEPARTURE BY THREE KNOCKS UPON THE DOOR, HEARING THEM, YOU WILL REMOVE THE HOODWINK AND PROCEED AS I HAVE DIRECTED. WHEN YOU SHALL HAVE CONCLUDED, GIVE THREE KNOCKS AND I WILL ATTEND YOU.


Appendix B

The following is a translated Fellowcraft Chamber of Reflection Ritual in its entirety:
Mr. _____________________
YOU ARE NOW SEATED IN THE CHAMBER OF REFLECTION, WHERE, IN SILENCE AND SOLITUDE, YOU WILL HAVE OPPORTUNITY FOR MEDITATION.

YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU DESIRE TO ENTER THE REALM OF FREEMASONRY. THESE DEGREES WILL INCULCATE THE CARDNAL VIRTUES, AS WELL AS THE PRINCIPLE TENETS OF OUR ORDER. YOU ARE IN THIS CHAMBER TO GIVE YOU A FEW MINUTES TO REFLECT ON WHY YOU ARE HERE FROM YOUR OWN PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE. REFLECT ON THE EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE, THE BENEFITS YOU HAVE TO GAIN AND CONTRIBUTIONS YOU CAN OFFER THE LODGE IN RETURN.

WHILE THE WORLD IS SHUT OUT, MEDITATE UPON THESE THINGS, AND PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR THE SOLEMN CEREMONIES THROUGH WHICH YOU WILL BE CALLED TO PASS. THERE LIES ON THE TABLE BEFORE YOU A MELANCHOLY MEMENTO OF MORTALITY. BESIDE IT IS AN HOUR GLASS, WHICH I NOW REVERSE. (Done.) AS YOU BEHOLD ITS SLOWLY-FALLING SANDS, LEARN THAT SO SURELY ARE THE WASTING SANDS OF YOUR MORTAL LIFE RUNNING OUT TO DEATH.

THERE IS ALSO ON THIS TABLE THE HOLY BIBLE, WHICH IS OPENED TO AMOS 7. I ENJOIN UPON YOU AT THIS TIME THE READING OF THE VERSES INCLUSIVE OF THAT CHAPTER.

YOU ALSO FIND THAT THERE ARE SOME ARTICLES OF CLOTHING , YOU WILL REMOVE ALL METALLIC SUBSTANCES ABOUT YOUR PERSON, REMOVE YOUR CLOTHING AND PUT ON WHAT IS PROVIDED FOR YOU.

I AM NOW ABOUT TO LEAVE YOU ALONE, AND WILL SIGNAL MY DEPARTURE BY THREE KNOCKS UPON THE DOOR, HEARING THEM, YOU WILL REMOVE THE HOODWINK AND PROCEED AS I HAVE DIRECTED. WHEN YOU SHALL HAVE CONCLUDED, GIVE THREE KNOCKS AND I WILL ATTEND YOU.


Appendix C

The following is a translated Master Mason’s Chamber of Reflection Ritual in its entirety:
BROTHER. _____________________
YOU ARE NOW SEATED IN THE CHAMBER OF REFLECTION, WHERE, IN SILENCE AND SOLITUDE, YOU WILL HAVE OPPORTUNITY FOR MEDITATION.

YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU DESIRE TO ENTER THE REALM OF FREEMASONRY. THIS DEGREES WILL INCULCATE ALL VIRTUES OF THIS ORGANIZATION, AS WELL AS THE PRINCIPLE TENETS OF OUR ORDER. YOU ARE IN THIS CHAMBER TO GIVE YOU A FEW MINUTES TO REFLECT ON WHY YOU ARE HERE FROM YOUR OWN PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE. REFLECT ON THE EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE, THE BENEFITS YOU HAVE TO GAIN AND CONTRIBUTIONS YOU CAN OFFER THE LODGE IN RETURN. THIS DEGREE REMINDS THAT WE ARE IMORTAL AND THAT ONE DAY , WE WILL CESE TO EXIST.

WHILE THE WORLD IS SHUT OUT, MEDITATE UPON THESE THINGS, AND PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR THE SOLEMN CEREMONIES THROUGH WHICH YOU WILL BE CALLED TO PASS. THERE LIES ON THE TABLE BEFORE YOU A MELANCHOLY MEMENTO OF MORTALITY. BESIDE IT IS AN HOUR GLASS, WHICH I NOW REVERSE. (Done.) AS YOU BEHOLD ITS SLOWLY-FALLING SANDS, LEARN THAT SO SURELY ARE THE WASTING SANDS OF YOUR MORTAL LIFE RUNNING OUT TO DEATH.

THERE IS ALSO ON THIS TABLE THE HOLY BIBLE, WHICH IS OPENED TO ECCLESIASTES CHAPTER 12. I ENJOIN UPON YOU AT THIS TIME THE READING OF THE VERSES INCLUSIVE OF THAT CHAPTER. WHEN YOU SHALL HAVE CONCLUDED THE READING YOU WILL DISCOVER YOUR LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. REFLECT ON THIS, AND THEN COMPLETE IT ACCORDING TO THE DICTATES OF YOUR CONSCIENCE. THEN SIGN YOUR NAME, IN FULL.

YOU ALSO FIND THAT THERE ARE SOME ARTICLES OF CLOTHING , YOU WILL REMOVE ALL METALLIC SUBSTANCES ABOUT YOUR PERSON, REMOVE YOUR CLOTHING AND PUT ON WHAT IS PROVIDED FOR YOU.

I AM NOW ABOUT TO LEAVE YOU ALONE, AND WILL SIGNAL MY DEPARTURE BY THREE KNOCKS UPON THE DOOR, HEARING THEM, YOU WILL REMOVE THE HOODWINK AND PROCEED AS I HAVE DIRECTED. WHEN YOU SHALL HAVE CONCLUDED, GIVE THREE KNOCKS AND I WILL ATTEND YOU.


Appendix D

A Chamber of Reflection in Mexico


Appendix E

A Chamber of Reflection in the USA


Appendix F

A diagram of a Chamber of Reflection


Appendix G

Chamber of Reflection Courtesy of Edolon House / The Joe and Jill Chronicles


Appendix H

Grand Masters of Colorado Decision on Chambers of Reflection


NOTES

1 Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol (New York: Doubleday, 2009), 149-160.

2 Daniel Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry (London: Assouline, 2000), 22-25; Allen Roberts, The Craft and Its Symbols (Richmond: Macoy), 13; “Initiation,” Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia (Richmond: Macoy, 1995)327.

3 Albert Pike, The Porch and the Middle Chamber (Kessinger Publishing), 5-13; Christopher Hodapp, Deciphering the Lost Symbol (Berkley: Ulysses press, 2010), 72-73.

4 Giordano Gamberini, Codice Massonico Delle Logge Riunite E Rettificate Di Francia (Foggia: Bastogi, 1778), 16-51; Daniel Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons (Paris: Assouline, 1997), 24-30.

5 Cliff Porter, The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry (Colorado Springs: Starr Publishing, 2011), 128-170; Andrew Hammer, Observing the Craft ( Mindhive Books, 2010), 101-102.

6 “Skull and Crossbones,” Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia (Richmond: Macoy, 1995),623; Hodapp, Deciphering,, 52-53,72-73; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Mark O’Connell, and Raje Airey, The Complete Encyclopedia of Signs & Symbols (Hermes House), 159; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110.

7 “Hourglass,” Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia (Richmond: Macoy, 1995), 623; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Monitor of the Lodge, Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M. (Waco, TX: Waco Printing Co., 2010), 85; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; O’Connell and Airey, Signs & Symbols,159, 229 .

8 “Communion,” Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia (Richmond: Macoy, 1995), 143; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110.

9 Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25.

10 Lewis Spence, The Encyclopedia of the Occult (London: Bracken Books, 1988), 9-13; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons, 24-30; O’Connell and Airey, Signs & Symbols,146-147, 206 .

11 Lewis Spence, The Encyclopedia of the Occult (London: Bracken Books, 1988), 9-13; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons, 24-30; O’Connell and Airey, Signs & Symbols,146-147, 206

12 Lewis Spence, The Encyclopedia of the Occult (London: Bracken Books, 1988), 9-13; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons, 24-30; O’Connell and Airey, Signs & Symbols,146-147, 206

13 Manual de Aaprendiz Macom Segundo o Ssistema do Rito Brasilero. (Brasilia: Grande Oriente do Brasil, 1986) ; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons, 24-30.

14 M. O’Connell and R. Airey, Signs & Symbols,144-147, 206 ,227-233, 240-244; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons, 24-30 .

15 Gamberini, Codice Massonico,16-65; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons, 24-30; O’Connell and Airey, Signs & Symbols, 92-95, 234 .

16 Gamberini, Codice Massonico,16-65; Hodapp, Deciphering,,72-73; Beresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, 22-25; Porter, Secret Psychology, 128-170; Hammer, Observing the Craft, 100-110; Beresniak, Les Symboles de Francs-Macons, 24-30; “Chamber of Reflection,” Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia (Richmond: Macoy, 1995),127; “Chamber of Reflection,” Albert G. Mackey, An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, ed., rev. and enl. By Robert L. Clegg, 2 vols ( Chicago: Masonic History, 1929), 1 190; “Chamber of Reflection,” Robert Macoy, A Dictionary of Freemasonry(New York: Gramercy Books, 1989), 106 .

17 Jachin and Boaz (London: W. N. Coll, 1762); Perau, M. L’abbei, L’Ordre des Francs-Macons Trahi, et Le Secret des Mopses Revele'(AAnsterdam, 1745).

18 S. Brent Morris, The Folgers Manuscript, ( Illinois: The Masonic Book Club, 1992) 179-200, xv-xxviii; Stephen Dafoe, Morgan (New Orleans: A Cornerstone Book, 2009)45-124.

19 Dafoe, Morgan, 45-124; Morris, Folgers Manuscript, 1992.

20 Arturo De Hoyos & Brent Morris, Committed to the Flames (London: Lewis Masonic, 2008), 181-186, 193-195.

21 Grand Masters Decision, Grand Lodge of Colorado (Appendix H).

22 The Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M. (Waco, TX: Waco Printing Co., 2011).

Published by permission of the author and the Texas Lodge of Research.

April 2017 Stated Communication

The Brothers of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 met in Stated Communication on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Worshipful Brother John Cissell of Buechel No. 896 traveled to Petersburg to be our guest speaker for the evening. The topic was Circumambulation.

Pictured above, left to right: Worshipful Master Buddy Wallace, Worshipful Brother John Cissell.

Circumambulation

Good evening Brothers.  It is a personal pleasure to be invited to speak to you this evening and I will be addressing a subject that I hold in high regard.  Before we get started, I’d like you to consider the central question of the evening.  Why do we perform ritual and do we understand the symbolism of the ritual we perform?

When asked, almost all Brothers can tell you that the badge of a Mason is his apron.  Many will tell you that which makes him a Mason is his obligation, and most can tell you the purpose of the working tools of each degree.  Some can recite for you the uses of Chalk, Charcoal and Clay, or the symbolism of the beehive or pot of incense.  A gifted few can deliver the mountainous Stair Lecture in its eloquent explanations of the various forms of architecture and the liberal Arts & Sciences.  I am not going to spend our time here this evening pealing apart one of those worthy subjects however.  This evening I am going to ask you to consider one of the most often overlooked components of our ritual.  And while this small piece of ritual may seem trivial as we take the first step in considering it, I ask that you keep an open mind to the very nature of esoteric initiation, which is what our ritual truly is.  This evening we are going to consider the very steps taken about the altar during the conduct of all ritual, and what those steps represent.

What is Circumambulation?

Circumambulation – the noun, or Circumambulate – the verb, from the Latin Circum (around) and Ambulare (to walk) Merriam-Webster defines as to circle on foot, especially ritualistically.  Oxford defines it as the act of moving around a sacred object or idol.  Though the Etymology of the word dates to ancient times, its first known usage occurred in 1606.  It is believed that the circumambulation dates to ancient times, prior to all, or at least most of the current concepts of religion going back to the time when humankind worshipped the sun and other forces of nature.  Both the Greeks and Romans are known to have circumambulated their sacred objects.  Ritualized circumambulation occurs today in many of the world’s religions and is an integral part of Hinduism and Buddhism in Eastern religions as well as Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Circumambulation occurs in both Sunwise (clockwise) and Widdershins (counter-clockwise) motions.  Masonic Circumambulation occurs Sunwise, with the Altar always to the Right.

While we do not know with certainty how the act of circling the Altar first became part of the rituals of Masonry, many speculate that the practice began during the Operative roots of the Craft and was intended to allow for a proper inspection of new candidates for physical deficiency or inadequacy. While we cannot know with certainty the when or why, we can explore the meaning and the symbolism associated with the Rite of Circumambulation in Freemasonry.

Masonic Scholar Carl Claudy, in his book Introduction to Freemasonry states “Among the first religions were sun and fire worship.  Prehistoric man found God in nature…Worship of the sun in the sky was done symbolically by worship of fire upon piles of stones which were the first altars….Early man imitated the God he worshiped.   Heat and light he could give by fire, so lighting the fire on the altar became an important religious ceremony.  And early man could imitate the movements of his God.”  Most ritualistic circumambulation occurs in a clockwise motion, from East to West through the South following the movement of the sun across the sky as observed in the Northern hemisphere.  As early man worshipped the sun, the procession was not just a physical act, but a mystical one as well.  Brother Mackey wrote that circumambulation “had a reference to the motion of the heavenly bodies, which according to the ancient poets and philosophers produced a harmonious sound, inaudible to mortal ears, which was called ‘the music of the spheres.’”  As humankind evolved from worshiping nature to polytheism, henotheism (the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities) and monotheism the rite of circumambulation necessarily took on new meaning.  No longer simply an act of imitation, circumambulation became an act of purification made possible through the structured proximity to the holy.

Many Observant lodges in America, and most European lodges execute the Officer’s Procession, whereby the officer’s enter the lodge in a solemn line and proceed about the Altar before assuming their appropriate stations.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, The Senior Deacon would frequently travel from his station to the Secretary’s desk to retrieve the Volume of Sacred Law, and then proceed to the Altar to display the Great Lights appropriate to the degree being worked.  The entire time, the Senior Deacon would keep the Altar on his right side.  At the end of the meeting, he would follow the same path, East through the South, approaching the Altar from the West always keeping the Altar to his right.  Within the lodge room, this procession purified the profane and transformed it into the sacred space necessary to perform our initiation rites.

In the stereopticon lecture (the third section) of the Entered Apprentice, we are taught that among the several decorations found within every regular and well-governed lodge of Entered Apprentices you will find a point within a circle, touching upon two parallel lines.  We are taught that the point represents the individual Brother, the circle is the boundary line of duty, beyond which we are never to suffer our prejudices or passions to betray us, and that while traversing this boundary line, we necessarily touch upon the two lines and our volume of sacred law.  We are also taught that for those Masons who keep themselves thus circumscribed within those due bounds, it is impossible to materially err.  Like most of you, I have heard those words many times within the walls of a lodge of Entered Apprentices.  In my travels, I have looked for the literal symbol just described without fail in every lodge I’ve entered, and seldom find it displayed as such.  After beginning my study of the Rite of Circumambulation though, I found this symbol…..at least its esoteric representation…..in every lodge I’ve entered, be that a lodge of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Mason.

Symbolically, the point is the Volume of Sacred Law, the parallel lines are the Master in the East and the Senior Warden in the West and finally, the circle is made by the candidate led by the Senior Deacon in procession about the Altar.  By proper attention to the act of circumambulating the Altar, in reverent procession, we not only symbolically sanctify the lodge room and purify the candidate for the initiation, but we also should be reminded of our own obligation to keep our own actions and passions within due bounds.

While I do not dare tell you that the Rite of Circumambulation is the most important step taken within the lodge room, nor that it is the most meaningful component to our ritual, I do want to impress upon you the weight of the procession about the Altar and draw your attention to its proper care.  I am of the firm belief that through knowledge…..that knowledge of what those steps represent, we are better enabled to perform our ritual with the sincerity and gravity that it deserves.  If we pay greater attention to the smallest detail……literally the meaning of the steps we take around the Altar then we almost certainly will be compelled to give greater attention to the more obvious components of our ritual.  And I believe that is a path to a more enriching Masonic experience, for it is our single claim, when we answer the Masters challenge in each degree, while standing in the East for the first time, to be a traveler in search of Light.  Let us shine the light of knowledge upon our ritual, and thereby elevate our appreciation for it and those who have come this way before us.  I leave you this evening my Brothers with a hearty thanks for the opportunity to fellowship with and address you.  I also ask you to reflect upon that central question that I opened with… Why do we perform ritual and do we understand the symbolism of the ritual we perform?

Kelly Chorus Performs Spring Concert

The Kelly Elementary School Chorus, under the direction of Ms. Holly Trenkamp, performed their Spring Concert on Thursday, March 30, 2017 to a full house at Belleview Baptist Church.  Following the concert, Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 served punch and cookies to the choir members, faculty, relatives and friends.  The Lodge wishes to congratulate the Choir and Ms. Trenkamp on a job well done.  Thanks to all who came out to support the Choir and a special thanks to Jillian Gross for baking most of the cookies that were enjoyed by all!

Eight members of our Lodge and one visiting Brother attended the Spring Concert.  They are, left to right, Bro. Jason Wallace, Sr. Warden, Bro. Kenny Williamson, P. M., Bro. Buddy Wallace, Worshipful Master, Bro. Dennis Stephens, Jr. Deacon, Bro. Rick Campbell, Tyler, Bro. Ed Tanner, Sr., Steward, Bro. Larry York, Secretary at DeMoss Lodge No. 220 and Sr. Warden at Wilmington Lodge No. 362, Bro. Dan Kemble, Secretary and Bro. Adam Gross, Jr. Warden.

Ms. Trenkamp gets the Choir organized prior to the performance.

Choir members chat with each other before the performance.

The Choir takes a quick run through prior to showtime.

The Kelly Elementary Choir performing during their Spring Concert.

Ms. Trenkamp introduces the next selection.

The Choir begins their final number.

Belleview Baptist Church is a beautiful venue for the concert.  Pictured above is one of the Church’s stained glass windows.

Worshipful Master Buddy Wallace and Choir Director Holly Trenkamp after the performance.

March 2017 Stated Communication

The stated meeting of Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 on March 14, 2017 saw a full house at Lodge despite Winter’s last blast of cold weather and snow.  We were honored to have representatives from five other District 18 Lodges in attendance at our meeting, including four current Masters – Worshipful Bro. David Bird from Good Faith Lodge No. 95, Worshipful Bro. Joe Deck from Bradford Lodge No. 123, Worshipful Bro. Sean Weaver from Phoenix Lodge No. 719 and Worshipful Bro. Tom Cooper from Hebron Lodge No. 757.

Bradford Lodge No. 123, with six in attendance, claimed the District 18 Traveling Gavel.

Worshipful Bro. Eddie Hazelett, Past Master of Paintsville Lodge No. 381 and current member of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky’s Committee on Education, presented our Masonic Education for the evening.  Worshipful Bro. Hazelett told the story of how Scots Masons were involved in the construction of the White House in Washington, D. C.  Bro. Hazelett’s presentation was excellent and the Lodge presented him with an honorary membership in Elvin E. Helms Lodge no. 926.

Click here to view Worshipful Bro. Eddie Hazelett’s presentation.

We were delighted to have Worshipful Bro. Al Collier in Lodge with us again.  Bro. Al has been caring for his wife, Jenny, who has been ill.  Being a full-time caregiver, Bro. Al has been unable to attend Lodge.  He and Jenny recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.  Congratulations to Bro. Al and Jenny and may they enjoy many more anniversaries.

We received good news regarding Bro. Garry Kelly’s recovery.  Bro. Garry has been responding to treatment and will continue to receive therapy in Florida.  His address is:

Bro. Garry C. Kelly
Room 1414
Orlando Health Rehabilitation Institute
52 Underwood Street
Orlando, Florida  32806

Please feel free to drop Bro. Garry a line or a card to cheer him.

Our Lodge is draped in mourning to observe the death of Bro. Emmett Ralph Elliott, a 52-year member of our Lodge.  Bro. Elliott died on March 3, 2017.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, April 11.  Please join us for a good time of food, fellowship and Masonic Education.

In Memory of Ralph Elliott

Ralph Elliott, 90, of Crestwood, husband of Stephania Brewer Elliott, died Friday, March 3, 2017 at Hosparus Care Center in Louisville.

Ralph was born in Boone County, Kentucky February 25, 1927 the son of the late Emmett & Viola Caldwell Elliott. He was a World War II Veteran having served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. He then spent most of his working life in land management and disposal with the U.S. Corp of Engineers. He was also a 50 year member of Elvin E. Helms Masonic Lodge No. 926 F&AM in Petersburg, Kentucky and a longtime support of Trooper Island.

Besides his wife of 44 years he leaves to cherish his memory 5 daughters, Darlene, Lisa (Todd), JaNene, Michele (Michael Noe) and Mary Jane, 3 sons, Alan (Ruth), Rob and Kenny (Rhnea), sister, Ann Brown, 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, several nieces & nephews and extended family. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Kerry Elliott.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested memorials to Hosparus.

6th Annual David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-Off Results

This year the David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-Off had eight entries. Chili chefs included David Bird, Debbie Bush, Travis Bush, Rick Campbell, Dave Cassesa, Lora Rodgers, Ed Tanner, and Buddy Wallace. The overall winner, and new unofficial Mayor of Petersburg for the ensuing term, was Debbie Bush, followed by David Bird in second, and Dave Cassesa in third.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The category winners were:

Traditional: Dave Cassesa, first place; Buddy Wallace, second place; Lora Rodgers, third place.

signal-2017-02-19-100136

Hot: Rick Campbell, first place; Travis Bush, second place; Ed Tanner, third place.

signal-2017-02-19-095834

Exotic: Debbie Bush, first place; David Bird, second place.

Overall the David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-Off was a great success with receipts of over $1400 for the various community programs of Elvin E. Helms No. 926.

Bro. Mike Moses of Boone-Union No. 304 won the split-the-pot.

February 2017 Stated Communication

Our speaker for our February educational program was Worshipful Brother Dan Kemble and spoke of the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry.

The Ancient Landmarks: An Introduction

Early in one’s Masonic journey, the new Mason is confronted with the concept of the “Ancient Landmarks.” Perhaps no other topic in Freemasonry has generated so much study, so much debate and so little agreement.

Landmarks are defined as objects or features of a landscape that are easily seen and recognized from a distance, especially one that enables someone to establish their location.

Albert G. Mackey, the noted and prolific Masonic writer, wrote that Landmarks mark boundaries and, more in the Masonic sense, mark the boundaries between the profane world and the Masonic world.

As Masons, we generally encounter the term “landmarks” twice – once when receiving the charge as a newly raised Master Mason, and again during a Lodge’s annual installation of officers.

The Master Mason Degree Charge states:

Universal benevolence you are always to inculcate, and by the regularity of your own behavior afford the best example for the conduct of the less informed. The ancient Landmarks of the Order, intrusted to your care, you are carefully to observe, and never suffer them to be infringed, or countenance a deviation from the established usages and customs of the Fraternity.

In the Installation ceremony, the Master Elect is asked:

Do you promise to respect genuine and true Brethren, and to discountenance imposters and all dissenters from the Ancient Landmarks and Constitutions of Masonry?

But beyond these two instances, how much are we taught, and how much do we really know about the Ancient Landmarks?

For the first 100 years or so following the creation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, little was written about the Landmarks.

Anderson’s The Constitutions of the Free-Masons of 1723 says, “Every annual Grand Lodge has an inherent power and authority to make new regulations, or to alter these, for the real benefit of this ancient Fraternity; provided always that the old Landmarks are carefully preserved.” While we accept Anderson’s Constitutions as an integral part of the foundation of Freemasonry as we know it, it sheds little light on what, exactly, the ancient Landmarks are.

In the 1820s, Masonic scholar, George Oliver made oblique references to the Landmarks in several of his writings, but did not specifically identify them.

In 1856, M. W. Bro. Rob Morris, who would serve as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1858-1859, published a list of 17 Ancient Landmarks in his Code of Masonic Law. Morris’s list of Landmarks is noteworthy in that it differs so greatly from the other lists that followed, and seemed to have but little effect on the general direction of the debate about the Landmarks. The Ancient Landmarks, as enumerated by M. W. Bro. Morris is provided on a
separate sheet.

W. Bro. J. W. S. Mitchell, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, rejected Morris’s list of Landmarks, saying that “all, or nearly all” of the Landmarks were included in Andersons Constitutions of 1723. M. W. Bro. Mitchell’s reading of Anderson’s Constitutions is puzzling, given its silence on specifics of the Landmarks.

Morris’s list, and Mitchell’s subsequent rejection, touched off a lasting debate about the identity and nature of the Landmarks. The next Masonic scholar to weigh in on the subject was the renowned Dr. A. G. Mackey.

Albert Gallatin Mackey (1807-1881) was a South Carolina physician and one of the greatest Masonic thinkers and writers of the 19th century. In 1859 Dr. Mackey published A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence which discusses, in great depth, Mackey’s understanding of the Landmarks.

In his Textbook, Mackey established four tests which must be met in order for a custom to be considered a Landmark. The four tests are:

  1. It must be an unwritten law or custom;
  2. It must has existed “from a time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary;”
  3. It must be universal; and
  4. It cannot be changed.

All four tests must be met for a practice or custom to be considered a Landmark.

Mackey then went on to list 25 Ancient Landmarks which, in his opinion, met the four tests. Those 25 Landmarks are provided on an attached sheet.

The study of the Landmarks caught the interest of Henry Bannister Grant, known to most of us as H. B. Grant. Bro. Grant was a native New Yorker who moved to Kentucky as an adult. He joined Hiram Lodge No.4, in Frankfort, then, upon moving to Louisville, became
instrumental in the founding of Louisville Lodge No. 400.

Bro. H. B. Grant served as Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky from 1887-1912. In 1889, R. W. Bro. Grant published his list of Ancient Landmarks in the “Masonic Home Journal,” beginning in February of 1889. R. W. Bro. Grant said, “The Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry are the immemorial usages and fundamental principles of the Craft and are unchangeable.” Note the similarity to Mackey in the use of the terms immemorial (existing since antiquity) and unchangeable.

Right Worshipful Bro. Grant then proceeded to list 54 Ancient Landmarks of the Craft.

These Landmarks can be found in Bro. Grant’s Vest Pocket Trestle-Board and Working-Tools. A list of Landmarks as identified by R. W. Bro. Grant is provided on an attached sheet.

In 1889, the Grand Lodge of Kentucky adopted the 4th Edition of its Constitution, which incorporated Grant’s List of Ancient Landmarks. R. W. Bro. Grant died (in office) in 1912. Several years after the death of Bro. Grant, the Grand Lodge of Kentucky directed W. Bro.
Henry Pirtle, author of the Kentucky Monitor, to revise our Constitution. In 1919, Bro. Pirtle completed his task and the Grand Lodge of Kentucky approved the 5th Edition of its Constitution. Missing from the Constitution were R. W. Bro. Grant’s list of Landmarks. Pirtle explained as follows, “The so-called ‘Ancient Landmarks’ which were included in the Fourth Edition have never received the endorsement of the Grand Lodge and have proved misleading to Brethren in this and other states for this reason. No one knows what the’ Ancient Landmarks,’ so often referred to, really are. And it seemed better to the compiler of this edition [Pirtle] to
avoid entering upon the wide field of controversy over this subject.”

In 1918, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts formally entered the debate on the Landmarks, by announcing that it recognized six Ancient Landmarks:

  1. Membership is limited to free born adult males;
  2. The practice of monotheism;
  3. A belief in the immortality of the soul;
  4. A Volume of Sacred Law;
  5. The Legend of the Third Degree; and
  6. The symbolism of the operative art of Masonry.

The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in publishing this list, went on to declare that the list was not “exclusive.”

In 1920, Massachusetts Freemason and noted American legal scholar Roscoe Pound published Lectures on Masonic Jurisprudence. In Lectures, Dean Pound identified seven
Ancient Landmarks, as follows:

  1. Belief in God.
  2. Belief in the persistence of personality.
  3. A “book of law” is an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.
  4. The legend of the third degree.
  5. Secrecy.
  6. The symbolism of an operative art.
  7. That a Mason must be a man, freeborn, and of age.

Pound wrote that there were “certain universal, unalterable and unrepealable Fundamentals which have existed from time immemorial and are so thoroughly a part of Masonry that no Masonic authority may derogate from them or do aught but maintain them.”

A study of the Landmarks does not reach a definitive conclusion as to how many exist and what their specific nature is. In reflecting upon the debate about the Landmarks, and with reference to Mackey’s four-fold test, Melvin M. Johnson, who served as Grand Master of Massachusetts from 1914-1916, commented as follows, “Probably all Masonic students will agree to this definition and then proceed immediately to disagree upon the list of those fundamentals which are to be classified as universal, unalterable and unrepealable.” M. W. Bro. Johnson’s analysis is probably the most correct statement that can be made about the Landmarks. Yet their study is of infinite interest to Masons and the source of unending, and hopefully, productive, hours of discussion.

Sources:

Albert G. Mackey, M. D., A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence, Macoy & Sickels, Publishers, New York, New York, 1859.

B. Grant, Vest Pocket Trestle-Board and Working Tools, Masonic Home Print, Masonic Home, Kentucky, 1914.

Book of Constitutions of The Grand Lodge of Kentucky,4th Edition, Press ofthe Masonic Home Journal, Masonic Home, Kentucky, 1893.

Rob Morris, A Code of Masonic Law; Being a Practical Exhibit of the Landmarks and Usages of Ancient Craft Masonry, J. F. Brennan, Louisville, Kentucky, 1856.

Coils Masonic Encyclopedia, Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Richmond, Virginia, 1961.

Roscoe Pound, Lectures on Masonic Jurisprudence, National Masonic Research Society, Anamosa, Iowa, 1920.

Delivered by Dan M. Kemble
Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926
Petersburg, Kentucky
February 14,2017

W. Bro. Rob Morris’s List of Landmarks (1856)

  1. The Masonic Landmarks are unchangeable and imperative.
  2. Masonry is a system, teaching symbolically; piety, morality, charity and self-discipline.
  3. The law of God is the rule and limit of Masonry.
  4. The Civil Law, so far as it accords with the divine, is obligatory on Masons.
  5. The Masonic Lodge and the Masonic Institutions are one and indivisible.
  6. Masonic qualification regards the mental, moral and physical nature of
  7. Personal worth and merit are the basis of official worth and merit.
  8. The official duties of Masonry are esoteric.
  9. The selection of Masonic material and the general labors of the Masonic Craft are
  10. The honors of Masonry are the gratitude of the Craft and the approval of God.
  11. Masonic promotion, both private and official, is by grades.
  12. The Grand Master may have a deputy.
  13. The head of the Lodge is the Master, duly elected by the Craft.
  14. The medium of communication between the head and the body of the Lodge is the Warden, duly elected by the Craft.
  15. Obedience to the Master and Wardens is obligatory upon the members.
  16. Secrecy is an indispensable element of Masonry.
  17. The Grand Lodge is supreme in its sphere of jurisdiction, and controls both the Subordinate Lodges and individual Masons, but is always subject to the Ancient Landmarks.

Ancient Landmarks from Mackey’s A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence (1859)

  1. The modes of recognition.
  2. The division of Masonry into three degrees.
  3. The legend of the third degree.
  4. The government of the fraternity, by a presiding officer called the Grand Master, who is elected from the body of the Craft.
  5. The prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the Craft.
  6. The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensations for the conferring of the degrees at irregular times.
  7. The prerogative of the Grand Master to give dispensations for opening and holding Lodges.
  8. The prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons at sight.
  9. The necessity of Masons to congregate in Lodges.
  10. The government of the Craft, when congregated in Lodges, by a Master and two Wardens.
  11. The necessity that every Lodge, when congregated, should be duly tiled.
  12. The right of every Mason to be represented in all general meetings of the Craft, and to instruct his representatives.
  13. The right of every Mason to appeal from the decision of his Brethren in Lodge convened, to the Grand Lodge or General Assembly of Masons.
  14. The right of every Mason to visit and sit in every regular Lodge.
  15. No visitor unknown to the Brethren present, or to some one of them as a Mason, can enter a Lodge without first passing an examination according to ancient usage.
  16. No Lodge can interfere in the business of another Lodge, nor give degrees to Brethren who are members of other Lodges.
  17. Every Freemason is amenable to the laws and regulations of the Masonic jurisdiction in which he resides, and this although he may not be a member of any Lodge.
  18. Certain qualifications for candidates are derived from a Landmark of the Order.
  19. A belief in the existence of God as the Grand Architect of the Universe.
  20. A belief in the resurrection to a future life.
  21. The book of law shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.
  22. The equality of all Masons.
  23. The secrecy of the institution.
  24. The foundation of a speculative science upon an operative art, and the symbolic use and explanation of the terms of that art, for the purposes of religious or moral teaching.
  25. That these Landmarks can never be changed.

Some of the

ANCIENT LANDMARKS

See Proofs (prepared by H. B. Grant) in Ky. Book of Constitutions, 4th. Ed. (1889)

  1. The Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry are the immemorial usages and fundamental principles of the Craft and, are unchangeable.
  2. Freemasonry (existing “from a time whereofthe memory of man runneth not to the contrary”), was anciently operative and speculative; it is now speculative, embracing a system of ethics – moral, religious and philosophical – and relates to the social, ethical and intellectual progress of man.
  3. Freemasonry embraces the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, which are conferred in regular Lodges whose rites and ceremonies are private.
  4. The legend of the third degree.
  5. Secrecy is an essential element of Masonry, and every Mason is bound by irrevocable ties to keep inviolate the private ceremonies, signs and words of Masonry, and the business of the Lodge, including the ballot, and (excepting treason and murder) never to divulge any accepted secret confided to him.
  6. Writing or printing the esoteric part of Masonry plainly or by sign or otherwise, is contrary to the covenants of the Fraternity.
  7. The Covenants of a Mason do not conflict with his duty to God, his country, his family, his neighbor, or himself, but are binding upon his conscience and actions.
  8. Belief in the existence and reverencing the name of the Supreme Being, whom men call God, and whom Masons refer to as “The Grand Architect of the Universe,” is unqualifiedly demanded.
  9. Belief in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection to a future life.
  10. “The Book of Law,” Square and Compasses, are the Great Lights in Masonry, and their presence in an open Lodge is indispensable.
  11. The Principal Tenets of Masonry are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
  12. The Cardinal Virtues of Masonry are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice.
  13. The white lambskin apron is the badge of a Mason.
  14. The Square and Compasses are Masonic symbols of morality.
  15. The Saints Johns’ Days (June 24 and December 27) are Masonic Festivals.
  16. The “General Assembly,” or Grand Lodge, is the supreme legislative, judicial and executive body of the Craft in all matters Masonic within its territorial jurisdiction, and is composed of representatives from Lodges therein.
  17. A Lodge is an organized body of Freemasons, having a Warrant of Constitution authorizing it to work.
  18. Every Lodge, Grand and Subordinate, when lawfully congregated, must be clothed, tyled and opened before it can proceed to work.
  19. Masons meet in the Lodge upon the level of equality, and address each other as Brother.
  20. A Lodge, duly opened, has the right to instruct its representatives to Grand Lodge.
  21. Questions of politics, or sectarian religious beliefs, cannot be brought into a Lodge.
  22. A Mason in good fellowship with some regular Lodge may visit any Lodge not his own when it will not disturb the harmony of the Lodge visited.
  23. A Mason cannot sit in a clandestine Lodge, nor converse on the secrets of Masonry with a clandestine made Mason, nor with one who is under suspension or expulsion.
  24. The Grand Master is the executive head of the Craft, and presiding officer of the Grand Lodge, by which he is elected and whose laws he must obey.
  25. The Grand Master may preside in any Lodge in his jurisdiction.
  26. The Grand Master may suspend the Master of a Lodge or arrest a Lodge charter for cause.
  27. The officers of a Lodge are the Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Secretary, Treasurer, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon Steward and Tyler.
  28. The Master is the head of the Lodge, and, as a presiding officer, governs it according to the laws usages of the Fraternity, and may convene it at pleasure.
  29. The Master must have been a Warden [except in the formation of a new Lodge, or when no Past Master or Past Warden who is competent and willing to serve is a member of the Lodge].
  30. The Master, by virtue of his office, represents his Lodge in Grand Lodge.
  31. The Master becomes a “Past Master” at the close of his official term.
  32. The Wardens of a Lodge must be Master Masons.
  33. In the absence of the Master, the Senior Warden performs his duties. In the absence of both, the Junior Warden acts.
  34. Officers of a Lodge, Grand or Subordinate, hold their offices until their successors are lawfully chosen and inducted into office, or become lawfully disqualified.
  35. A Mason is not to urge any person to become a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry, for every candidate must offer himself voluntarily and unsolicited.
  36. Every candidate must be a man, free born, of mature and discreet age, of good morals and report, possessed of intelligence and having the natural use of his limbs that will enable him to receive and impart Craft mysteries.
  37. It is the internal qualifications of a man that recommend him to become a Mason.
  38. Careful inquiry into the physical, intellectual and moral fitness of every candidate for the mysteries of Masonry is indispensable.
  39. Advancement to the degrees of Fellow Craft or Master Mason is not to be made without examination as to the qualifications of the candidate, and by unanimous consent.
  40. Unanimous consent of the Lodge, expressed by ballot, is essential before initiation or admission to affiliation.
  41. A Mason must be a good man and true, conforming to the laws of justice and virtue, called “the moral law. “
  42. Every Mason must be obedient to the laws of the country in which he lives or sojourns.
  43. No Brother can recognize anyone as a Mason until after strict trial or lawful information.
  44. A Mason is bound to use the utmost caution when in the presence of strangers or profanes, that no sign, token or word to which they may not be entitled shall be discovered by them.
  45. Every Mason out to belong to some Lodge, attend its meetings and share its burdens.
  46. A Brother is not to be admitted to Lodge membership without certificate [or demit], due notice and inquiry.
  47. Every Mason must patiently submit to the award of his Brethren in Lodge assembled [subject to appeal to Grand Lodge].
  48. A Mason must be true to his fellow; instruct, admonish, defend and assist; but never traduce or supplant him.
  49. A Mason shall not have unlawful knowledge ofthe wife, daughter, sister, mother or servant of his fellow.
  50. A Mason should be diligent in business and pay his just debts.
  51. Every Mason must obey Lodge summons.
  52. The only penalties known to Masonry are fines, reprimand, suspension for a definite period, and expulsion.
  53. A Mason cannot be disciplined without having an opportunity to be heard in his own defense [unless he absconds or cannot be reached by notice].
  54. Every [affiliated] Mason is entitled to burial with Masonic [ceremonies and] honors.

George Washington and the Virtue of Temperance

George Washington and the Virtue of Temperance

 “In politics as in religion, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

George Washington

 The most recognizable Mason in American History, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732.

Bro. Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason on November 4, 1752 in Fredericksburg Lodge # 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  He was subsequently passed to the Degree of a Fellow Craft on March 3, 1753 and raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on August 4, 1753, all ceremonies being conducted by Fredericksburg Lodge # 4.

Although 265 years have passed since his initiation, we all share a bond with Bro. Washington.  Because of the unchanging nature of Masonry, we can know with certainty that Washington took the same vows as an Entered Apprentice Mason that we assumed over two centuries later.  We can be equally assured that before being passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft, Bro. Washington was asked the question, “As an Entered Apprentice Mason, what came you here to do?”  His answer, as so many who preceded and followed him, would have been, “To learn, to subdue my passions and improve myself in Masonry.”

It is this phrase, “to subdue my passions,” that is the focus of this presentation.

Temperance is defined as the act of voluntary self-restraint; It is the act of refraining from exercising an act which one otherwise has the ability to perform.  It is no accident that Freemasonry joins subduing one’s passions with learning and improvement.  In each of our three degrees we promise some act of restraint, or temperance.  We promise not to reveal the secrets of our fraternity.  We promise not to cheat, wrong or defraud each other.  We promise not to divulge the confidences reposed in us by our brothers.  We promise not to violate the chastity of the female relatives of other Masons.  We promise not to strike another Mason in anger.

All of these promises reflect the Masonic virtue of temperance.  We have the physical ability to perform all of the things that we have promised not to do.  But it is the quality of temperance – the exercise of restraint and patience – that does truly curb our passions and lead us to be better men.

Brother George Washington clearly mastered the virtue of temperance.  There are three examples from his life – one from personal life and two from his public life – to which I wish to draw your attention this evening.  Each of these examples reflect the attitude that Washington displayed toward temperance and restraint.

The first example is found in a letter that Bro. Washington wrote to his young niece, Harriot Washington.  Washington wrote, “You are just entering the state of womanhood, without the watchful eye of a Mother to admonish or the protecting aid of a Father to advise and defend you; you may not be sensible (aware) that you are at this moment about to be stamped with that character which will adhere to you through life.  Think, then, to what dangers a giddy girl of 15 or 16 must be exposed in circumstances like these.  To be under but little or no control may be pleasing to a mind that does not reflect, but this pleasure cannot be of long duration.”

Every man here this evening who is a parent has at one time or another had the pleasure of explaining to a child why it isn’t necessarily a good idea to do something just because you can.  Washington was engaged in that same level of discourse with his niece.  His letter to her reflects his (and Masonry’s) value on self restraint and reflection.

The next two examples come from Washington’s public life.

First, in 1782, after the end of the Revolutionary War and before the writing and ratification of the Constitution, Washington received a letter from one of his officers, Major Lewis Nicola.  In what has become know as the “Newburgh Letter,” Nicola suggested that Washington proclaim himself king.  Washington replied to Nicola by letter the same date and called Nicola’s suggestion “a calamity.”

Washington could have been king.  He was the single unifying figure in the post Revolutionary War United States.  He had the stature and the popularity to declare himself king.  Surely Washington was aware that a kingdom was his for the taking.  It seems almost impossible to imagine that the idea was not at least a little bit tempting to him.  But all of the historical evidence points to the contrary.

Washington rejected the idea of proclaiming himself king.  His prompt response to Nicola was unequivocal.  Washington fought against England for the concept of republican government.  To fight and win such a battle, then embrace a monarchy for his own sake, would have been a repudiation of the principles in which he believed.

In Washington:  A Life, Ron Chernow writes, “But over the years, this man of deep emotions and strong opinions had learned to subordinate his personal dreams and aspirations to the service of a large cause, evolving into a stateman with a prodigious mastery of political skills and unwavering sense of America’s future greatness.  In the things that mattered most for his country, he had shown himself capable of constant growth and self-improvement.”

Could Washington have proclaimed himself king?  Most certainly the answer is yes.  But Washington realized that to do so would not only ultimately be ruinous to his newborn country, but would also cause him to betray his own beliefs.  Washington exercised the Masonic virtue of temperance.  He could have been king, yet he chose to exercise restraint in making what he believed to be the best choice for his country.

The final example of Washington’s temperance is his refusal to accept a third term as president of the United States.  He actually made this refusal on two separate occasions – once following his second inauguration in 1793 and again preceding the presidential election of 1796.

At the beginning of his second term as president in 1793, Washington made it clear to all that he would not accept a third term as president.  First, he was simply exhausted by public life and wanted to return to Mt. Vernon.  Second, he believed that it was important to establish the precedent of a peaceful and orderly transition of the office of the presidency.  He feared that if he accepted a third term and then died in office, the precedent would be established that the presidency was an office to which one was elected for life.  Washington was determined to avoid this, so he refused all entreaties to accept a third term.

Washington’s act of restraint in refusing a third term established the precedent, which has lasted for over two hundred years, of an orderly transition of presidential power.  This precedent has been so strong that it has guided our country through the difficult days following the deaths and resignations of presidents.  Indeed, the orderly transition of power is one of the defining characteristics that distinguishes the United States from most of the world’s other nations.

Brother George Washington exercised the Masonic virtue of temperance personally and publicly.  His restraint led to the development of a high moral character which benefitted him individually and the country as a whole.  Bro. Washington is our best example of how subduing one’s passions lead to improvement.

In his book, Patriarch, presidential historian Richard Norton Smith writes the following passage, “Even at this stage of his career, then, Washington remained a revolutionary.  But it was a revolution of character, not of politics, to which he committed himself.  He staked his presidency – and his place in history – on a belief that men could be wise enough to restrain their passions and reasonable enough to keep government in check.”

What then, is the contemporary application of Bro. Washington’s example?  It is this – let us practice patience and restraint in a civil society where such virtues are considered quaint and old fashioned.  Let us be faithful to our sacred vows of temperance.  Let us be wise enough to reflect and to restrain our passions.  Like Washington, let us also be participants in a revolution of character.

Delivered by Dan M. Kemble
February 9, 2017
Burlington Lodge # 264
Burlington, Kentucky

Sources:

Washington:  A Life.  Ron Chernow, 2010, Penguin Press.

Patriarch.  Richard Norton Smith, 1993, Houghton Mifflin Company.

George Washington:  A Biography (Volume VII).  John Alexander Carroll and Mary Wells Ashworth, 1957, Charles Scribner’s Sons.

George Washington:  A Biography (Volumes I through VI).  Douglas Southall Freeman, 1948-1954, Charles Scibner’s Sons.

Washington:  The Man and the Mason.  Charles H. Callahan, 1913, Gibson Brothers Press.

Golden Rule-Covington No. 109 Initiates Two

On January 31, 2017, Golden Rule-Covington Lodge No. 109 welcomed two new Brothers to the family of Freemasonry. Bro. Mike Hamilton and Bro. Randy Herzog were initiated as Entered Apprentice Masons before a crowd of 31 Masons representing at least a dozen different Lodges.

To demonstrate that Freemasonry really is a family, Bro. Randy Herzog’s father is our own Bro. Jim Herzog.

randy_and_jim_herzog

Five of our Brothers from Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 were in attendance at the Degree: Worshipful Bro. Buddy Wallace, Master, Worshipful Bro. Jim Herzog, Worshipful Bro. Ernie Stratton, Worshipful Bro. Ed Tanner, Senior Steward and Worshipful Bro. Dan Kemble, Secretary.

Congratulations to Worshipful Bro. Rob Himes and his corps of officers for some fine degree work! Welcome to Bro. Hamilton and Bro. Herzog! May your Masonic journey be rewarding to you and our Craft!

randy_herzog_ea

L-R: Bro. Greg Bailey (109), Bro. Dan Kemble (517, 926), Bro. Buddy Wallace (264, 926), Ernie Stratton (304, 926), Dwight Rider (109), Mike Hamilton (E. A., 109), Jason Hale (109), Ed Tanner (304, 926), Rob Himes (109), Orlando Dos Santos (109), Eric Nelson (109), Randy Herzog, (E. A., 109), Jim Herzog (264, 926), and Hampton Quigley (109).

Northern Kentucky DeMolay January 2017 Installation

Northern Kentucky Chapter, Order of DeMolay, held its installation of officers on January 29, 2017 at Bradford Lodge No. 123, Independence, Kentucky. Bro. Josh Ball, who also serves as State Junior Councilor, was installed as Master Councilor of the Chapter. This is Bro. Josh’s third term as Master Councilor!

The Installation was performed by State Master Councilor Draven Sims along with his corps of officers.

2017-01-29-15-04-33

Our Master, Bro. Buddy Wallace, along with Junior Warden Adam Gross and Secretary Dan Kemble attended the installation. Worshipful Bro. Buddy is pictured above with the members of Northern Kentucky Chapter, Order of DeMolay and the state officers of Kentucky DeMolay.

Northern Kentucky Chapter meets at Bradford Lodge No. 123 on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month at 2:00 P.M. Please support these young men and welcome them into the family of Freemasonry.

%d bloggers like this: