A Call for Help

I came across a very interesting video on CNN last night. The mother and uncle of Philando Castile, the young man who’s death recently sparked the protests in Dallas, that have, sadly, lead to more deaths.

I know that like many social topics, this is one that people feel very strongly about one way or the other. As this is not a blog about social and legal issues, I will not be sharing my opinion about what is going on, in hopes of staying as nonpartisan as possible.

However, in the midst of this tragedy, an unexpected Masonic topic came up, the one of brotherly relief. Many people are well aware that there are varying signs and phrases that Masons use, with varying degrees of secrecy. What I was not prepared for, however, was seeing one on CNN. You can see it at the end of the video below.

Please note, I would not normally share or talk about this, but because it was shown on a major news network, about a major news story, I felt that it was appropriate to mention. I will not talk further about what is said, other than that it is a call for help.

http://www.cnn.com/video/api/embed.html#/video/us/2016/07/07/philando-castile-mother-uncle-interview-full-newday.cnn

The concept is, basically, that if someone calls in help this way, that as long as they are a brother in good standing, you should not judge the situation, and do whatever you can to help.

That raises a ton of questions.

What is a brother in good standing?

Theoretically, it means only a brother who is current on his dues, and a member of a Grand Lodge that is recognized by yours. But what if they’re behind on dues? What if their GL is unrecognized? About eight Prince Hall Grand Lodges are still unrecognized by their mainstream counterpart in the United States. What if they are unable to be vetted for, for whatever reason? What’s more, what if the Brother has done something illegal, and is now asking for help? Does it matter what he’s done?

How can we not judge the situation?

The short answer: you can’t. As soon as you learn about the situation, any situation, you’ve already formed some sort of opinion on it. The question is if you can put aside your personal judgement to help someone who really needs it.

What falls under “whatever I can do to help”?

Just money? Just time? Both? Do you not have to assist if you are far away? Or are you obligated no matter where you are?These questions are never answered, this is something you must answer for yourself. Much like you must not pass judgement on the situation, you should make a judgement call about what is reasonable about how much assistance is warranted, both for the situation, and yourself.

If you would like to help RW Brother Clarence Castile, who asked for assistance in the video, a GoFundMe page has been created. However, I can’t help but feel he was asking for help on a much grander scale.

Masonic Funerals

Sadly, I had to put my dog down this week. It may be morbid, but it got me thinking about death, and talking with my husband about what he wants to happen when he is gone. I think this is a very important conversation to have with your loved ones. We talked about whether or not we would want a Masonic or OES funeral. But what exactly does that entail?

When a man is initiated into Masonry, he receives a special lambskin apron that is pure white. The color represents many things, including the “washing away of sins”, the blank slate of his mind, and the lamb of G-d. Usually, the only time he will wear the apron is when he receives it. The apron is then tucked away in a safe place. When the Mason passes, he is buried with the apron on, or it is burned, in the case of cremation.

As for the funerals, there are three major types you will see:

-Masonic

 

-OES

 

-Templar

Please note: this is a video of the Knight’s Templar Wreath Laying Ceremony. There is an actual funeral service, but it is fairly similar to this.

Many of the auxiliary groups have their own service rituals, but these are the most common that you will see. Often, a special prayer may be said when a member of a Lodge or Chapter passes, whether or not they have chosen to have a Masonic funeral. In addition, many groups have a special ritual evening that remembers all those who have passed in the last year.

Have you ever been to a Masonic funeral service? What did you think? Is it something you would choose for yourself?

 

Big News!

This post will be short and sweet, but I am so excited I couldn’t wait any longer! As some of you may have deduced, I’ve been working on a bit of a side project for The Mason’s Lady, and the day to reveal is finally here!

There is now a Mason’s Lady Community Facebook group! I’ve spoken with a number of ladies who feel that they are the odd ones out as far as dating a Mason, as well as some Masons who wish that their SO’s had someone to connect with over the topic; this lead to the creation of the group.

I wanted something that could supplement my blog, as well as hopefully become something more. The idea is that this is a safe place to vent, speak out, support others, and ask questions in real time. I’ve posted a few conversation starters, so lets get the ball rolling and get to know one another!

For now, the group will be simple and light. At this time, the group is closed, so that the public can only see the members, not the posts within the group. I do also have it so that any member can approve membership, hopefully I will not have to change it in the future.

Order of Weavers

I want you to imagine something with me. Close your eyes, and imagine a Lodge; the people within it, its purpose, all of the wonderful things that those people accomplish. Imagine their families, the children growing up within the Lodge, and one day joining on their own. Now imagine, only a slight difference from reality. Instead of all of the members being men, imagine them instead to be women. What would be different? What would be the same? Would the organization crumble, or thrive? How would the men feel about being excluded; would they be offended, or would it not be a big deal? Could what this Lodge accomplish be far different from others?

What if I told you this was not necessarily a daydream? While there are a few women organizations in the United States, they are almost a direct copy of masculine (regular or mainstream) Masonry. Personally, I feel that if I were to join a Lodge, I would not want it to be masculine Masonry with different but similar words, I would want it to be something of its own, something that I can help shape its own legacy. Within the Netherlands (as well as one Lodge in France), this exists within the Order of Weavers.

The Order of Weavers was created shortly after World War II. The women of the country,as many did, enjoyed the newfound freedom of being able to take leadership positions and work outside of the home. They had noticed that Freemasonry had lent great support, both to the members, as well as their families. They were inspired to create something similar, but very much their own. Twelve women began the order in 1947, many of them were the wives of Freemasons. While starting out, they were supported by three Freemasons,though the Order of Weavers is not an official Masonic organization. The rituals were completed by 1950.

In many ways, the Order of Weavers is very similar to masculine Masonry. There are three degrees. The membership requirements are similar, a candidate must be a free-born woman, who believes in a higher power. Dogma, politics, and controversial issues are frowned upon for topics of discussion within the Lodge. They do not permit the opposite sex to join. They both teach similar morals and life lessons, and touch the lives of their members. Also, much like UGLE Freemasonry, the Order of Weavers has a split off organization that came about of disagreement. This is called the Order of Free Weavers, and the majority of their Lodges are based in France, with some in the Netherlands.

The Order of Weavers, is of course, still very different from Masonry. The three degrees are called Spinner, Weaver, and Designer (sometimes also called Creator?). While the formatting of the ritual work is based off of Blue Lodge, that tends to be where the similarities end. The Grand Lodges are instead called Colleges. The Order of Weavers tells their own stories, and teaches their own lessons, ones quite divergent from Freemasonry. The concepts behind the rituals, however, are similar. The end result is still to create a better person. In the end, the biggest difference between the two organizations, is that the Order of Weavers does not have the great pedigree that Freemasonry does.

There are currently 16 Lodges of the Order of Weavers, 15 being in the Netherlands, and 1 in France. This is actually the same number of Lodges of Le Droit Humain. They currently boast 500 members.

So, what’s the big deal about this organization? Sometimes, I day dream about bringing the organization to the United States. It would be quite the undertaking. However, if anyone is interested in gaining approval from the College, flying to the Netherlands, receiving the degrees, going back home, and doing all the work to begin a Lodge, please let me know! I think I am up to two people right now.

Please note, that there is not much information out there about the Order of Weavers, so some of this is pieced together a bit. If you have different information, or are a member of the Order of Weavers, I would love to hear from you.

What do you think about the organization? Would you join, or be interested in learning more? If you’re a Mason, what do you think about the Order? Would you be okay with your SO joining?

Reader Questions

So, something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while is sharing questions that I get via e-mail and PM, as well as the answers that I give. This is the first one that I have chosen to share. The sender did not respond when asked if I could share her email, so instead I’ve summarized her questions, and posted my reply. If you have any questions you would like to ask, please feel free!


How can I value something [Masonry] that doesn’t value me for what I am, a woman? How do you feel about that?

In your blog you speak as if you and your partner hold in the highest regard the brotherhood, and without questioning? Why not question? Why not doubt?

 

Addressing your first question, about the exclusion of women. This is something that I have struggled with greatly the entire time that I have been with my husband. On the one hand, I want to be included, and my sex and gender shouldn’t matter. On the other, I respect their right to exclude me, and understand why its done; I see it as creating a “safe space” something that men need just as much as women. I’ve asked my husband before if he would be okay with me joining a co-ed Masonic Lodge. There are none in our area, but he said it would not be an issue. He did, however, say that he feels that his obligation would bar him from communicating with me at least Masonically, if not also put a damper on our communication about Masonry. That would make my life very difficult, as he is often the first person I turn to when writing this blog.

Many people have asked me, “Why not just join Eastern Star?” I have, and it is not the same. As it is not a mirror image of Blue Lodge, and is not exclusive of males, that safe space feeling tends to fall short. I would say that the closest thing that currently exists within the Masonic community would be Daughters of the Nile. It’s not quite right though. I feel that the answer lies in a different organization, called the Order of the Weavers. It mirrors Blue Lodge very similarly, but is quite different in its own right. Unfortunately, there are currently no chapters in the United States, and the organization only operates in the Netherlands. It would be quite the project to get a group of people together to go there, receive the degrees, get the blessing to start a new chapter, and then head back to the States and start the first US chapter. This would take a decent sized group of very dedicated women to pull off.

As for the values, there are two things to remember: Freemasonry is hundreds of years old, and came about well before women were independent in any sense; just because a group excludes you from membership, does not mean that it does not value you. For the former, Freemasonry has been largely unchanged the entire time that is has existed. With this goes the gender and societal roles of women. I often feel that the organization is outdated and behind the times. However, just because you cannot be a member, does not mean that you cannot be involved. I’ve heard from lots of women who have started their own “wives club” of sorts within the Lodge, who get together for all sorts of activities, both related to Masonry, and not. Masonry can uphold traditional gender roles, this is true, but in this day and age I feel that there is much more flex within them, and many more lines to be blurred and boundaries to be pushed.

The latter is very interesting as well. While there are no oaths sword to uphold womanhood within ritual (that I am aware of). It is expressed in different ways. There is a special dinner that some Lodges put on every year (others less often) called Ladies at the Table. It’s basically an evening to celebrate and honor all of the women who support the Lodge throughout the year. T decided to put one on the year that he was Master of the Lodge. It was a great time to have all the men come together and really show their appreciation for what the women do (and put up with) for Masonry. Within DeMolay, the young men’s organization, which is based on Blue Lodge, honoring womanhood is mentioned within their obligation. They also have a special ritual called the flower talk, specifically given for the sake of moms and other women that support Masonic youth. You can watch that here. So, I guess my point is, don’t ever think that you are not valued as a women within Masonry. I think that often the opposite becomes true. Masonry teaches men about many topics, and I have seen many a man come out on the other side as a kinder, more respecting, and chivalrous individual.

Moving onto your second question. When I first started dating T, I was much like you were before you were with your Mason. Most of my ideas about Masonry were largely based on conspiracy theories and Internet rumors. I had no idea just how involved he and his family are. Luckily, our relationship was built on open communication, and because of that, I trust him fully.

I think the two biggest factors in me trusting the brotherhood are experience and Google. I joined OES early on in my relationship with T. After you join a Masonic body, you realize just how mundane it really is. And when you see that the organization that uses the inverted pentagram mostly just pays bills and sends condolences, it gives you perspective. I have also since become a DeMolay advisor, and am privy (as are all the parents) to the ritual, that is based on Blue Lodge’s. In addition to this, I have seen first hand what Masonry does. It does make good men better, but it is so much more than that. To know that I have a huge community that has my back whether they agree with me or not is truly amazing. I can’t think of anyone within my Masonic family that would turn me down in a time of need. I’ve been lucky enough to see the life of a child changed by Masonry, not only through its youth programs, but also the hospitals that they run.

When all else fails, Google is your friend. All of the rituals are available online with some careful searching. None of those secrets are really so secret. Have I read the entire ritual cover to cover? No, I’ve not. But I feel that just knowing that it is available to me is comforting on many levels.

I would not say that I am without doubts on Masonry. However, these tend to be on specific issues rather than the organization as a whole. For instance, the exclusion of homosexuals in Mississippi and Tennessee, as well as the exclusion of trans-men in other states I definitely do not agree with, but it never causes me to doubt the entire organization.

I am also, not without question. Questioning Masonry is actually what lead me to create this blog in the first place. Questioning Masonry is often the drive to continue on with it. We cannot learn without knowing what questions to ask. I enjoy sharing the answers to my questions here, which is what makes up a large portion of the posts on The Mason’s Lady. I think that when we stop questioning, we become compliant, and that leads to many issues.

FreeMasonry in Cartoons

Finals week is upon me, so of course, all of my downtime is spend vegging out and watching cartoons, so join me! Please remember that these are all simply based on Freemasonry or other “secret societies”, and are not intended to be accurate. Sometimes writers and/or artists are Masons themselves, other times it is simply what they imagine it to be. Enjoy!

I have no idea what this is or where it comes from, but it certainly is silly, as well as mildly NSFW. If you happen to know the source, please let me know!

flintstones_mother_in_law

The Flintstones start us off with the Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo. If you’re interested in watching specific episodes with the order, check out this link for a list.

While not directly Masonic, in this Disney short, Donald Duck learns about geometry. It’s a bit like Disney does the middle chamber lecture. I remember watching this in high school math class!

 

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From the “Good Neighbors” episode of Spongebob Squarepants. I believe there is also an oath and song in it, but I cannot share that here.

An interesting cartoon from 1931 called Bimbo’s Initiation. Remember that clubs and lodges of all types were very popular at this time.

watch-out-stan-mayor-dies-and-gideon-returns-in-gravity-falls-s02e14-if-i-run-for-mayor-559622

If you’re looking for a smart cartoon with lots of Masonic symbols, Gravity Falls is for you. There is some question if the creator is a Mason, but it has only been reported that his uncle is.

 

The Simpsons has a lot of Masonic and “Illuminati” references. This is from the Episode Homer the Great.

Have you seen any Masonic images or symbols or even more in another cartoon? Please share!

How to Explain Masonry to Someone Else

So, just a personal aside before we begin. I know I’ve been gone a bit, I had surgery on my foot, and thinking straight enough to write while on painkillers is exceedingly hard. But! I am shooting for a 2nd and 4th week posting schedule, so hopefully we will get back on track. In addition to this, I’ve been mulling around the idea of putting together a book! It’s very much in the beginning stages at this point, I don’t even have a rough outline beyond what’s in my head at this point. If you have any topics or suggestions you’d like to see in a book on the topic of being an SO of a Mason, feel free to shoot me an email at themasonslady@gmail.com

 

So, I know that this has happened to you. Someone asks you to hang out on the night of a Masonic event. The exchange usually goes something like this:

“Unfortunately, we have something going on.”

“Something fun I hope?”

“Well, it’s a Masonic dinner, they can be kind of fun.”

“Masonic?”

“Yeah, you know like a Freemason?”

“Um, no?”

Queue you trying to explain what Masonry is in a sentence or two, to someone that probably will still have no idea what it is that you’re talking about, or, to be honest, might not even care. So, what should you say?

To be honest, often I still have no idea. When I find myself in this situation, I tend to stumble over myself, and often leave the other person thinking about men chanting in robes, or share way too much about the organization.

Give them a frame of reference

Most people have no idea what a Freemason is, and that’s understandable. Oddly enough, however, almost everyone knows what a Shriner is. I would imagine this is due to their marketing and advertising that Blue Lodge tends to avoid. Even if I say “Shriner”, and I still get a blank look, I usually follow that up with “the guys in the little cars in the parade”, “Shriner circus”, or “Shiner Hospital for Children”, and then they know who I mean. I usually follow it up by saying that every Shriner has to be a Mason (as long as you’re not in Arkansas), but not every Mason has to be a Shriner. This is usually a satisfactory answer to what a Mason is.

Keep it concise

Truth be told, most people are just asking to be polite. The answer that you give them probably does not greatly affect them in any way. The hard part is summing up Masonry in a short, simple yet complete answer. There are so many aspects, and it can mean so very many things to so many different people. Usually, I will go with the standard of, “It’s a philanthropic adult fraternity.” This answer satisfies most people, and yet, every time I say it, I feel like its not quite right. It doesn’t quite encompass Masonry as well as it could. To be honest, I’m not sure what the correct, complete answer is. If you have a better one, please do share!

Share additional information, but only if asked

This is probably one of the things I have the hardest time with. When someone shows interest in Masonry, or in a related organization, I can get a little over excited, and talk to them a bit more about it than they really wanted to know. That being said, there are people out there that do want to learn more about the organization(s), so you should be prepared for that. Brush up on your general knowledge (Freemasons for Dummies!), or at least know where you can send someone to learn more – the Wikipedia article is decent, and your local Grand Lodge’s website is always a great resource. It’s fine to not have the answer to someone’s question regarding Freemasonry, but be sure to find out, or direct them to someone who can answer their question. Since Masons don’t actively recruit, word of mouth is the only way to get new members!

Hopefully this will help next time someone asks, “What is Masonry, anyway?” If you have any answers to this question that you use, please share them!

 

 

The SO Masonic Blues

Sometimes, I’m really good at feeling sorry for myself and being absolutely pathetic. Take last night for instance. I’ve got a bum foot, so I’ve been on crutches for about a week, this coupled with the fact that I can’t do much of work or school on crutches, has left me with a lot of free time. Unfortunately, in the case of last night, this free time does not include my husband; it sounds kind of lame when I put it this way, but the man is  my best friend. While I did get some homework done, lets be real, all I wanted to do was consume an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching Fuller House.

Sometimes being in a relationship with a Mason can be hard. Sometimes you can’t, or don’t want to come to Lodge dinners, or other meetings just to hang outside the Lodge room. If your Mason is anything like mine, Lodge night often involves hours at the Shrine bar afterwards, which often means that he’s not home until long after I’m asleep. While I didn’t approach last night in the most healthy way, it certainly could have been worse. And I did start making this list, a list I want to share with you, and hope that you will take and add to, and make your own. Please note that I am definitely an introvert, so those who are not will find themselves with completely different lists. Even if you don’t take any of these ideas, at least take the concept, so that you have something to pull out of your back pocket for when you’re feeling down and sorry for yourself on Lodge night (or any other night for that matter).

Things to Do on Lodge Night: (Especially when I’m feeling sorry for myself, in no particular order)

  • Watch movies in genres he hates or only watches for you
  • Make a super awesome dinner for one
  • Bake!
  • Play video games
  • Take yourself out to dinner
  • Order Chinese delivery, eat all of the evidence
  • Do that thing you’ve been saying you’re gonna do for months
  • Read a book
  • Start a new hobby, or revisit one you haven’t had time for
  • Work on the Master Craftsman Program
  • Go for a nice walk (it’s getting to be that time of year)
  • Binge watch an entire season of a show on Netflix
  • Play a solo board game, or call up a friend and play games
  • Call up some friends and go out for coffee or dinner
  • Learn or start a new craft project
  • Clean (boring)
  • Organize (less boring)
  • Go shopping, spend way too much time at the store
  • Work out
  • Work on a puzzle, crossword, sudoku, etc
  • Check out your local library
  • Work on learning a new language (check out Duolingo!)
  • Drive out to the country and stargaze
  • Actually write something by hand: a letter, a journal, a book
  • Organize a girls night out on Lodge night with other SO’s from the Lodge

 

What would you add? What’s on your list?

Masonic Working Tools

I will be the first to admit, school is kicking my butt this semester. Unfortunately, since school is my highest priority at this time, other things tend to get pushed to the wayside. This does not mean that I will be posting here any less, it just may mean that the day of the week a new article gets posted may become a little erratic. Just wanted to give the heads up, since I know many of you check only Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

I wanted to talk this week about the working tools of a speculative Mason. First, a history lesson. Freemasonry takes many of its ideas and traditions from the occupation it was based on: masonry. The words to differentiate the two are speculative and operative. The people who lay bricks and do stone work for a living are usually referred to as “operative or stone” masons. Those who are in a fraternity and attend Lodge are called “speculative or Free” Masons. So, theoretically, you could be a Masonic mason. Also note that many people capitalize the fraternity member, but don’t capitalize the union member; this makes deciding which group someone is talking about online much simpler. There’s a lot more to the story on how these two are related, but that’s for another day.

Like many jobs out there, masons have their own set of tools, although I’d imagine they’ve changed quite a bit over the years. Freemasonry, also, has its own set of tools for their work; which are based on some of the traditional tools stone masons once used. One of the only straightforward things in Masonry is, the tools used for Masonic work, are called “working tools”. There are three working tools associated with each Blue Lodge degree, for a total of nine (ish). Many of the working tools are associated with an office in Blue Lodge, which you can read more about here.

 

Entered Apprentice: 2 or 3 tools

24 inch gauge

24inchgauge

A gauge is just another word for ruler. The 24 inch ones are the kind that you usually now made out of metal, often used for drafting plans in stone masonry. During the speculative degree, the canidate learns that each number represents an hour in their day, which they are taught to divide into three separate, but equal parts: “eight hours for the service of God and a distressed worthy Brother, eight for our usual vocations and eight for refreshment and sleep.” T and I have had more than one discussion about what part of our lives fit into that, especially family. We decided that a lot can fit under the service of God umbrella.

 

Common gavel

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Anyone who’s seen Law & Order knows what a gavel is. Here however, it refers to a type of hammer rather than an instrument to gain order in a court room.  There are lots of different looking gavels out there, but the common gavel has a part of it that comes to a point, used in stone masonry for cutting the edges off of bricks and stones. In speculative Masonry, the candidate is taught that the gavel is used by Freemasons “for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of the vices and superfluities of life.”

 

Chisel

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For those joining Lodges in the UK, the chisel is added to the Entered Apprentice degree. For the majority of Lodges in the US, this is left out. The stone mason uses the chisel to remove flaws from, and beautify a stone or gem, showing its inner beauty. During the degree work, the Masonic candidate is taught something similar: the importance of discipline and education in one’s life. “Just as the brilliance of the diamond is revealed by the skillful use of the chisel, so too will the beauties of the human mind be revealed through knowledge”

 

Fellowcraft: 3 tools

 

Square

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Chances are, you’ve seen a square as well; it’s a ruler with a 90 degree angle. In operative masonry, it is used to make clean  corners and work, and to help make sure that everything is well, square. The canidate for the FC degree in Freemasonry , its taught that the tool is to help “square your actions” or to “act upon the square”; that is, to make your virtues and morals shape your actions . This is one of the symbols most widely associated with Freemasonry, and with its simple shape, and simple but powerful lesson, it is easy to see why.

 

Level

level

The level is the second working tool of the Fellowcraft degree. Again, you’ve probably come across one before. Operative masons and others use a level to test the horizontals of an object, to make sure that it is smooth, even, or, well, level. In speculative Masonry, the lessons for the level differ a bit depening on where you are. In some jurisdictions, it’s taught that  the level is a reminder that “that we come from the same

place, share in the same goal, and will eventually be judged by the same immutable law.” In others, the level is used as a symbol of equality among brethren in the Lodge. Still others teach that the level is a reminder that time has no preference for anyone,  “And for each and all, time will lead us to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns”. Hard to pick just one of those lessons. I can’t imagine that any Lodge teaches all three. Also, please know that within Freemasonry, the level symbol used appears much different from the level you may use to hang a picture in your living room.

 

Plumb

plumb

Okay, so, I had to look this one up. The third working tool of the Fellowcraft degree is a plumb, often called a plumb line in both forms of masonry. Apparently operative masonry also calls it a plumb bob. Think of it like a level for vertical things; it tells you how vertical something is (or isn’t); it can also be used to test perpendiculars. The lesson of the plumb line is for the canidate to be reminded to live a life that is upright, honest and just. “As an Insecure building must eventually fall, so he whose life is not supported by an upright course of conduct can no longer sustain a worthy reputation and must soon sink beneath the estimation of every good and virtous man.”

 

Master Mason: 1 or 3 tools

 

Trowel

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It’s not, as I once thought, a fancy pie server. An operative mason will use a trowel to spread cement between layers of  brick. In some jurisdictions, this is taught as the only working tool for a Master Mason; in others the three below are used instead. Where it is taught, the trowel is used to, “spread the cement of brotherly love and affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers.”

 

Pencil

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You know it, you love it, the pencil. Obviously used by operative masons for marking down any number of things. But what can this seemingly innocuous item teach us? That everything we do, good or bad, is being written down by God, and that on the day that you stand before him, all of these deeds will be lain before you, and you will be judged. A less ominous lesson teaches that a Mason “must give an account of his actions and conduct through his mortal life,” to God.

 

Skirrit

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Another one I had to look up, and to be honest, I could not find a reference that wasn’t speculative Masonry anywhere. It kind of looks like a spool of string on a stick. The stick is stuck in the ground, and the string, which is covered in chalk is unwound. The string could then be used to draw a nice straight line on the ground, to mark where a foundation or other part of a building may go. The skirrit reminds the Master Mason candidate of the straight and narrow path ahead of him that he will follow. “Regardless of what colour our volume of the sacred law is, we must ensure that we do not wander from the goal of perfection that we have set”.

 

Compass

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The other oft seen symbol of masonry. As I’m sure you know from elementary school, stone masons use compasses to draw circles. It can also be used to draft, measure distance, and even navigate. The  lesson of the compass lies within its two moveable legs. As the compass can only open so wide, so are there boundaries of everything. “The Compasses, in defining limits and proportions, teach us the limits of

good and evil as laid down by the Great Architect.” Using proportion and balance in your work and life, can bring about stability and beauty in both.

 

If you would like to learn more in depth about the working tools, I highly recommend an adaptation of an esoteric lecture given by a brother in Canada, simply called The Working Tools of a Mason. Also, if you would ever like to own or gift a set of working tools, they are sold in various places. I am quite particular to this set, but try and find out which tools the jurisdiction uses!

 

As always, please contact me here, or at themasonslady@gmail.com with any questions or comments you may have. Have a wonderful weekend!