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


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


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.”




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




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.




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.




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




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.”



vintage-old-masonic-freemason-pencil-top-eraser-e61f69ef7f925e34ba1776f0ae298e4e (1)

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.




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”.




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 with any questions or comments you may have. Have a wonderful weekend!


Freemasonry and Sex

Alright, let’s start with this disclaimer.

This is an article for those 18 and up only. If you are under 18, and have questions about sex, please visit Scarleteen.

Now that that’s out of the way. There’s a couple of things that are never discussed in Lodge, religion and politics. However, there is another topic here, that is not even mentioned, sex. What does sex have to do with Freemasonry? More than you might think.

What does Masonry say about sex?

Sex itself is really only mentioned once, during the obligation itself. A Master Mason candidate swears that he will respect and uphold the integrity of another Master Mason’s wife, mother, daughter, or sister. Included in this bit, that he will not have “carnal intercourse” with them. So, not specifically sex, but can you think of any other kind of “carnal intercourse”? The idea here isn’t that a Mason can’t date another Mason’s sister, but more that he won’t do it behind his brother’s back, and more pointedly, won’t sleep with his brother’s wife.

The Demolay obligation includes that the candidate will respect womanhood, and a promise to not defame the character of any woman. Not exactly what is included in the Master Mason degree, but the general idea is the same. Interestingly, there is no such promise made in the OES, or Daughters of the Nile obligation, nor is there anything of the like in Job’s Daughters, or Rainbow Girls.

What about LGBT Masons?

Something that has come up in the last few years is whether or not the obligation should be changed, to include those in same sex relationships. Not every (L)GBT Mason’s SO is also a Mason of course, just like not every heterosexual Mason’s SO is in Eastern Star. Many people feel that this should be changed to include husband, son, father, and brother, while others feel that it is implied. If it is to be changed, as we know with Masonry, it will not be any time soon, especially not if you live in Georgia.

Yes, you read that right. If you are a gay or bisexual man, who lives in Georgia, you cannot become a Mason. The Grand Master barred any gay man from joining Freemasonry last year. Yes, you read that right. Of course, they also tried to eject someone for being a “non-white”, and also don’t allow fornicators to become Masons…. Good luck with that Georgia.

What about the T in LGBT? This is kind of a tricky subject, and from what I can tell, is mostly decided on a case by case basis. There are a couple of jurisdictions who ask if you were “born male” on their petition paperwork. If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, check out Being Transgender in the Masonic Community.

What about those of us who like to spice it up a bit?

I’m not going to lie to you, Freemasonry and the Masonic community is sometimes a bit like stepping back in time. It 100% supports the idea of the 1950’s household, complete with slippers and dinner on the table when the husband gets home from work. It’s starting to get away from that, but very slowly, as with all things in Masonry. This can be both a burden and a boon. Sometimes it’s kind of fun to play subservient housewife, who is only interested in cooking and magazines…right up until the time that an older Mason thinks I’m dumb because of whats in between my legs. My point is, it can be fun sometimes, but can get old very, very fast. I will be coming back to this topic when I discuss Masonry and Feminism later this year.

And then there’s the people who take things just a bit too far. Sometimes my research for this blog takes me to the depths of the internet; through some other family’s vacation photos to Washington D.C., to websites from the Geocities era, and somehow, I found myself at a website all about the Red Star.

Before you go Googling it, please know, it is absolutely NSFW. I just want to go on record, that this is absolutely, one-hundred-and-ten-percent, not Masonic ritual. It is someone’s (or a few people’s) fantasy. It is absolutely not real. The entire “ritual” is posted, and reads like a bad BSDM fanfiction. The basic idea, is that after a man becomes a Master Mason, his wife must undergo a ritual, turning herself completely over to him, becoming completely submissive. She then becomes his “red star”. It even comes complete with Bible quotes about being a good and subservient wife, so you know it’s legit; NOT! Again, seriously, this is not a real thing, a quick search will show you that it falls apart pretty quickly. But just in case you needed an idea for Valentine’s Day…


I guess the bottom line here is, Masonry and sex do not really mix, as it shouldn’t. Don’t sleep with other Mason’s SOs (unless you have their permission), don’t be a gay Mason in Georgia, and don’t believe everything you read on the internet, especially when it comes to Masonry.

Grand Lodge is this weekend, marking the third year of The Mason’s Lady! Hope to see some of you there!

How to Keep Freemasonry from Ruining Your Marriage, and Why It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way

Every week it seems, I receive an email or PM saying more or less the same thing. My husband joined Freemasonry behind my back. I don’t like how much time Masonry takes up. Freemasonry is ruining my marriage.

 There are dozens, if not more, forums stating the same thing. That Freemasonry wants nothing more than to take men away from their wives, their children, and their families.  Let me first assure you, that this is not the case. In fact, Freemasonry teaches that it should not be a priority in your life. Your family should always come first, as should work, school, and anything else that may be important in your life. Freemasonry should supplement and complement  your life, not take over it. Unfortunately, many new members jump into the deep end, and either become overexcited with all of the new opportunities, or feel guilted, or that they “should” do this or that event, and quickly find themselves overwhelmed. If you find yourself in this situation, either as a Mason, or an SO of a Mason, this is what I recommend doing.

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. This is the biggest factor, and honestly, the easiest to do. However, it is also the most overlooked. If you feel that your SO is spending too much time at Masonic events, tell them. They may not realize that you are struggling with it at all, and think that everything is fine. Your partner is not a mind reader, no matter how much we may want them to be. I know that I can fall into the trap of being passive aggressive in hopes that my partner will somehow magically be able to guess what is wrong. If you have a problem, or even just a question, about Freemasonry, or anything else for that matter, speak with them about it. In addition to this, those who are members of Masonic organizations need to communicate clearly with their leaders. I know I have been goaded more than once into doing some event that I didn’t really want to because I felt I had to. Don’t be afraid to communicate your wants and needs to them. If you can’t make it to something, they will understand.
  1. Do your research. A lot of the time, the reason we don’t like, or are afraid of something, is because we don’t know about it. A lot of women tell me that they are concerned about the secrets that the Freemasons tell the men to keep from their wives. As I’ve said before, and I will say again: Freemason secrets are nothing more than handshakes, and ways to recognize each other. If you want to know for yourself, Google it. No, seriously. Anything that goes on in Lodge you can find on the Internet. I’ll even give you a leg up; the most commonly used book is called Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor. It’s even in handy dandy PDF form! A fair warning though- it is mind numbingly boring to read. However, if you are a Mason who has not yet received all of their degrees, or are someone who wants to someday become a Mason, I recommend you do not read it. Not knowing what is coming is half the fun of initiation. In addition to this, know that if you do read it, and ask your SO questions, they may not be able to answer them all. Although all Masonic secrets can be found with a quick search, the men who join still swear an oath to never reveal them.
  1. Get involved. This kind of goes hand in hand with number two. When T first told me about the Shrine, I imagined this super-secret bar that entrance could only be gained with the correct knock and password, that it would be far off the beaten path, maybe even underground. When I first went to the local Shrine, I realized I passed it a million times every week. It was plain, out in the open, open to the public, with large signs and statues advertising what organization lay inside. I think sometimes we let our imaginations carry us away. Lodge night quickly becomes men in dark robes, chanting in an underground chamber of a long forgotten castle. If you’ve never been to your SO’s Lodge, go! There is nothing stopping you from entering the building, meeting the other members, or even entering the Lodge room. Ask the Worshipful Master for a tour, I am certain he will be happy to. If you’ve been frustrated with your SO’s lack of answers, ask someone who may know there. Don’t just go when there are family events, go on Lodge night, go and have dinner with them before their meetings, ask if you can sit in on education lectures. You won’t be able to go to everything, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Even just going to a Lodge meeting and sitting out with the Tyler, reading a book, can do wonders to put your mind at ease.
  1. Consider therapy. Don’t think of therapy as a bad thing. Just like Masonry, you want to make a good thing better. It may help you learn things about your SO you never knew before. This is why many religions require couples to go through some kind of counseling before they are married.  Often times, just having a third, neutral party can help more than you can imagine. Going to therapy can help you learn how to communicate better, which we all know leads to better relationships. Sometimes we realize issues are bigger than we thought, and sometimes they are in reality such a minute detail we don’t even remember why they seemed so big in the first place. Counseling and therapy can help give you perspective, and can help you grow as a person, and as a couple. I highly recommend it for anyone, not just those who feel they are having issues, Masonic or otherwise.
  1. If all else fails, back away. This, I feel like is also very difficult to do. If Freemasonry is causing enough discourse that your SO feels that it is ruining your relationship, it’s time to step away for a bit. Not from your relationship of course, but from Masonry. I feel like so often we feel obligated to do everything, especially as new members, that we get overwhelmed quickly, sometimes without even realizing it. Masonry will be there when you get back. Being a Mason is kind of like being a Jew, once a Mason, always a Mason (you do have to keep current on dues of course). It’s okay to take a break, Masonry will still be there when you are ready to return. Please, please do step away, especially if you feel that your relationship with your SO, or any other aspect of your life is suffering because of it.

Hopefully this helps at least one person out there. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me here, or email at


The Masonic Bible…Qu’ran…Tanakh?

Every so often, I hear the same remark about Masonry, “Isn’t that some kind of weird religion?” No, of course it’s not. “But don’t they have their own Bible?” Well, yes, kinda.

I’m not exactly sure where people get the idea that Freemasonry is a religion. I think that it tends to be one of the rumors that spread around by people who have no idea what they are talking about, and may, or may not fear what is actually going on in those Lodge rooms.

So, let’s start with that. Freemasonry is not, nor will it ever be, a religion. In fact, it is very uncommon to have every member of a Lodge be of the same religion. The only requirement, for the majority of Lodges out there, is that the candidate believes in a higher power. Usually, that’s it. There’s no question as to who or what they think that higher power is, or how they choose to worship it, or not. Occasionally some Lodges will delve a bit deeper into these kinds of questions, but they tend to be vague and be wide open for interpretation. So, this means that a Christian, a Muslim, and a Buddhist could all be Freemasons, and even all be members of the same Lodge. Do you think you’re going to get people with that large of a variance of a belief to agree on religion? Good luck. In fact, religion, along with politics, is a topic of conversation in Lodge that is widely discouraged.

Right, so, Freemasonry is not a religion. But what about this Masonic Bible I keep hearing so much about? The Masonic Bible does exist, but not like you think. The Masonic Bible tends to be one of those things that conspiracy theorists say that you don’t get to actually know about until you’re a super secret 99th degree level Master Mason. Well, I hope one of those conspiracy theorists is reading this right now, because I am going to share with you never before seen pictures of a Masonic Bible.


Gasp! The horror, the horror, the…wait a second, isn’t that just a King James Version of the Bible? Yes, yes it is. Think of a Masonic Bible to be akin to a family Bible, or a study Bible. It has a different cover, some different stuff in the beginning, but after that, its just the same Bible you know and (may) love.

You see, when a Masonic candidate takes his oath, he swears on the Bible (usually, see below for more). In some Lodges, he may swear on the small, personal Bible for all three of his degrees, or in others, he may swear on the Lodge Bible for the first two, and then the small one for the Master Mason degree.

Alright, let’s talk about all that extra stuff. This is T’s Bible, and as you can see, it is a bit worse for wear. On the cover and spine, we see the square and compass, makes sense. In the first couple of pages, there’s usually some blank space and a lot of lines, as well as some sort of presentation page. This area is for inscription from friends and family, as well as noting when the Mason went through each of the degrees. Traditionally, after the third degree is finished, everyone else present signs the Bible, which is then presented to the candidate. The rest of it, as you can see, is the kind of stuff you could find on Wikipedia, though if anyone is interested in reading all of this part, I’d be happy to upload it. After that, it’s the Bible, same beginning, same middle, same end.

OES, as you can see, does more or less the same thing, only to a bit of a less degree. Only the cover is the major change you see, otherwise it’s a Bible that one may receive after confirmation. The different ribbons stuck in it is the way it was presented to me, and marks the passages from which the five heroines that make up the five OES degrees come from.

So, what if you’re not Christian? What if you’re a Jew, or Muslim, or anything else? Well, fear not, for Freemasonry has it covered. You may swear your oath on any Holy Book of your choosing. How I wish I’d known that when I joined! Unfortunately, it’s not something readily advertised, and in many cases, you may have to supply your own. In areas/Lodges where a religion other than Christianity is dominant, they may have a different holy book as “default”, or may even present a different holy book to the new member.

If you are ever able to make your way to the House of the Temple in Washington D.C., which is the headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite; and you went into the Lodge room, this is what you would see on their altar.


That’s the Holy Bible, the Jewish Tanakh, the Muslum Qu’ran, and the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. And people try to say Freemasonry is a Christian organization!

As you can see, Freemasonry highly values the diversity of its members. Sometimes Lodge members may get this idea a bit muddled, but this picture illustrates it best. Do not be fearful of joining a Masonic body if you are not a Christian (although some of the auxiliary groups you may not be eligible), and do not be fearful of claims of a Masonic Bible, as it is simply, the Bible.

Also, if you’d like a virtual tour of the House of the Temple (which I highly recommend, that place is *gorgeous*!) check out this page.

2015: A Year With The Mason’s Lady

Has it really been another year already? I knew with school it would fly by fast, but wow! 2015 brought some big changes to The Mason’s Lady, including new formatting, as well as switching to a biweekly posting schedule while I am in school. I may go back to every week during the summer, time will tell. Christmas is tomorrow, and New Year’s is around the corner. The snow started early this morning, so it looks like we will be having a white Christmas here. Travis and I have taken off (but not yet registered for) Grand Lodge next year, where I will be sure to have some sort of small celebration of the 2nd birthday of the Mason’s Lady. Some topics to look out for next year include Christianity and Masonry, Masonry and Non-Christian religions, and sex (yes, sex) and Freemasonry. Of course we will continue to have posts on various Masonic education topics, and other things you should know as a  Mason or a Mason’s Lady throughout the year.


As I did last year (aren’t traditions great?) I want to use this post to stick all of the topics I went over this year in one place. You can see last year’s here.


Freemasonry 101

History of the Installation of Officers

What to Expect at an Installation of Officers

Myths of Masonry, Part I

Myths of Masonry, Part II

The Masonic Ring

Don’t Panic

So You’ve Decided to Join a Masonic Body Part I

So You’ve Decided to Join a Masonic Body Part II

Masonic Education

Prince Hall Masonry

The Obligation


Things Every Mason Should Know

Masonic Journeys (No, the other kind)

The Daunting Task of Memorization

Illuminati Grand Master Reporting for Duty

Master Craftsman

The Masonic Membership Problem

Masonic Potluck


Other Topics: Masonic

Leader of a Nation

Masonic Trivia

Masonry and Patriotism

The Bond of Brotherhood

Being Transgender in the Masonic Community

Masonry and Death

Masonic Hate and You

Masonic Halloween 2015

Masonic Christmas


Women and Freemasonry

The Benefits of Being a Mason’s Lady

Emily Post’s Guide to Female Dress Codes

A Handbook for the Freemason’s Wife Review


Masonic Youth

Round Up

DeMolay Conclave 2015


Women of Freemasonry

Women of Freemasonry: Adah

Women of Freemasonry: Ruth

Women of Freemasonry: Martha


Masonic Events

Shout out for CHiP


Looks like that’s it for this year. Have a Happy Holiday, and see you next year!





Masonic Christmas

Wow, is it really December already? We’ve got our tree up, but not yet decorated, and the menorah is out (of course, all you have to do is take it out of the box), and that’s about as far as we’ve gotten as far as holidays at our house, gifts aren’t even really on the radar yet.  I have to assume that at least some of you are on the same page as myself, and might be on the lookout for a gift for a Masonic family member. I covered this topic as well last year, but this year I wanted to show off some of the more unique options out there.


Something Old


Everyone loves heirlooms, even more so if they can be passed from Mason to Mason throughout the generations. Sometimes though, you find that you’re better off getting something secondhand in order to get that unique gift. There’s lots of options here: books, aprons, but the biggest is jewelry. A word of caution, however, try and buy from a reputable seller. There’s tons of Masonic costume jewelry out there, and what you thought was 25k gold, might actually be gold plated, or worse, just plain plastic. eBay tends to be a better option than Etsy, due to the lower prices, but both are viable options. Also, don’t be afraid to check out your local pawnshop or even craigslist. What you find might just surprise you.


Something Handmade


 There are so many cool, unique options out there if you decide to buy something that has been handmade. Etsy is the place for this, although there are some other sites out there as well. Don’t limit yourself to just sellers with Masonic items, many people that do glass etching or woodworking will be able to do most any of the logos for any Masonic organization. 3d printing is also becoming very popular, and tends to be fairly inexpensive. Scotch glasses, jewelry boxes, embossed journals, the possibilities are limitless. Don’t forget that for the most part, these are not copyrighted, so you don’t have to worry about that, although your state and country laws may vary.


Something Educational


 Education is the gift that keeps on giving, especially when it comes to Masonic education. Although initiates receive copies of the ritual work when they join, there are countless books out there on Masonry. History, how-to’s, esoteric books, meditations and reflections, even Masonic fiction exists. Besides, doesn’t everyone need a copy of Morals and Dogma? If you’d rather give a gift that goes a step further, why not enroll them in the Master Craftsman program? I’ve talked about this before, but the short story is, it’s an education program put on by the Scottish Rite, that has readings and tests, and even a fancy pin to show everyone you finished. And, as long as they get it done in a year, you can buy them the next level next year!


 Something Charitable


 Charity is really the name of the game when it comes to Freemasonry, so why not donate to a Masonic cause in someone’s name for a gift? There’s tons of options out there, including the Shiner’s Hospital for Children and RiteCare. If you want to take it a step further, find out what organizations and charities their Lodge or Chapter is working with this year. If you’re not sure, contact your local Grand Lodge, or barring that, you can never go wrong with keeping it close to home and donating to an organization in your local community.


Something Traditional


If you’re looking for something more traditional, check out these Masonic retailers.



Red Tower Regalia



Masonic Potluck

The holidays are just around the corner, and what does that mean for the Masonic world? Potlucks as far as the eye can see. I know T’s Lodge is kicking off the holiday season with a Veteran’s Day potluck, followed by a few more later in the month. Potlucks can often be tricky for those of us that are younger in the Masonic community. On the one hand, we don’t have the time to spend that all of the retired folks do (I know one lovely lady that hand makes 3D decorations for Christmas cookies every year!), but just buying a bag of chips from the store on your way to the Lodge might make you feel like you barely did anything at all. Have no fear! These recipes will have everyone thinking you called into work the day before, just so you could make something awesome for the potluck; in reality, anyone can  find time to make these simple but delicious dishes.

Honey BBQ Wings

Call me crazy, but I think cold weather is the best time to grill. Doesn’t take much effort, gets you in front of a fire, and your meat is cooked nice and fast. You can’t fake that nice grill char anywhere else. Also, wings are super simple. If you haven’t made buffalo wings at home before, I highly recommend it. Grill ‘em, then toss in sauce. Done and yum.


Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill wings, turning occasionally until golden brown and crisp, about 15-20 minutes.



  • ½ Cup honey
  • 1¼ Cup Ketchup
  • ½ Cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • cracked pepper to taste


  1. Add ingredients to pot on stove top and whisk to combine. Bring to boil reduce to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat and let come to room temperature. Use as a dipping sauce or to baste on meat.
  2. Store in airtight container in fridge, or toss wings immediately.

Caprese Bites

Who doesn’t love cheese? These craprese kabobs are super simple, and always a welcome addition to any potluck. I do have two recommendations however, first, get mozerella pearls or balls if you can

help it, you will save yourself a ton of time. Second, not everyone is as big of a fan of balsamic vinegar as I am, so you may want to have it on the side instead of drizzling on top of the kabobs, especially if you are expecting children to attend. Also a nice, light dish, since many items at Masonic potlucks tend to be heavy.


 You will want one of each of these for how many kabobs you want to make:

Grape tomaotes

Mozzarella Balls or pearls

Fresh basil leaves

1/6 cup of olive oil

1/6 cup of balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper



  1. Take a toothpick, place tomato, basil leaf, and mozzarella on toothpick
  2. Do this until you are satisfied with the number of kabobs you have
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over bites
  4. In a small bowl, combine oil and vinegar, drizzle over bites.

Salsa chicken

 Okay, so, you signed up to bring a meat dish to the potluck, but now you realize you have no time. Like, literally just enough to come home from work, change your clothes, and barely make it to Lodge on time.  Take it from the Hitchhiker’s Guide, Don’t Panic. Salsa chicken is here to save your day. All you need is a crockpot, and if you don’t have one, now is the time. They are a $20 lifesaver, and you can literally unplug it at home, and take the whole thing with you to Lodge.


 4+ boneless chicken breasts- add more if your crockpot allows.

2 cups of salsa – the chunkier the better

Salt and pepper


  1. Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cover with salsa. Toss until the chicken is covered.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours), or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork.
  3. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker and toss with the remaining salsa and juices until well-mixed.
  4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. (This chicken also freezes well.)

Popcorn Cake


So, I’m known in my household for taking desserts a bit too far. I will happily spend hours making dozens of cookies, only to eat one and no more. This is a super simple twist on rice krispie treats that I made last night for our DeMolay potluck this evening. I might have had a small slice for breakfast, and let it be known, this recipe packs a ton of sugary goodness.


12 cups (about 2 bags) of popped popcorn, unpopped kernels removed –I used movie butter, kettle corn might be too much, unless you are really into sweets

1 stick of butter

16 ounces  of marshmellows – the orginal recipie called for 8, which is almost two bags, I thought mine was a little too marshmellowy, feel free to add more if you want

2 cups of m&ms, any flavor

1 ½-2 cups of 2-3 other mix ins – broken pretzels, peanuts, candy corn, goldfish, gummy bears, anything you love with popcorn or just have around


  1. Grease your Bundt pan. If you don’t have one, any loaf pan or even a 9×13 pan will be just fine.
  2. Mix your popcorn and mix-ins together
  3. Melt your butter and marshmallows together in the microwave until smooth. Let cool for about 2 minutes
  4. Mix the marshmallow mixture into the popcorn mixture. It will be quite sticky.
  5. Move everything into your pan of choice. Place a piece of parchment paper on top to help you smooth the top out.
  6. Let cool for at least one hour

I hope that these recipes can help you bring an awesome dish to your next potluck, Masonic or otherwise. If you have any recipes you would like to share, please feel free. And as always, have a wonderful week!

The Obligation

The obligation is that which binds you to the secrets and ideals of the order you are joining. They are different for every organization, as well as every degree, but for the most part, they are the same.  I will not go over the exact wording here, but if you feel so inclined, they are not hard to look up online. However if you are joining or thinking of joining a Masonic body, do not look up the obligation beforehand. While I have never done this, I have spoken with many people who have, and they often feel that some of the “magic” of the moment is gone.

Often, many significant others of Masons who are not in Masonic bodies are concerned about what is in the obligation.  I would like to take this time to go over what each obligation contains, just to give you peace of mind. Please remember that this is just a general overview, and that obligations can vary fairly wildly from state to state.

Obligation of an Entered Apprentice

This obligation is super long, however, it really only contains three things. That the candidate swears to:

 Never reveal the secrets except to a confirmed brother.

  • Never reveal the secrets except in a regular Lodge (where they will presumably be revealed to someone else)
  • Never to write the secrets down so that they may be known to non-members.

Pretty simple right?

In the Fellowcraft degree, the candidate swears to:

  • To never reveal the secrets, except those entitled to them (I.e. New members)
  • To answer the signs – signs are a way that members can recognize each other
  • To obey summons – to Lodge, etc
  • To maintain the lessons taught in the first degree

The Master Mason degree is really just more of the same. The candidate swears to:

  • To never reveal the secrets, except to a known Brother or in Lodge
  • To adhere to the principals of the square and compasses
  • To answer signs
  • To obey summons, with the exception of illness and pressing emergencies
  • To maintain and uphold the five points of fellowship as applied to another Brother:
    Hand – friendship and support to him
    Feet – unite in mutual defense and support with him
    Posture of daily supplication – see to his needs, weaknesses and necessities
    Breast – safeguard his secrets
    Except for offences contrary to civil and religious law
    Honour – preserve his honour and repel slanders on his name

There are some mini obligations within the degrees, these are usually referred to as charges. The topics of the charges are:

1. Secrets

2.      Signs
3.      Summons
4.      Principles (including secrecy, behaviour, fidelity and integrity and fellowship)
5.      Charity and benevolence
6.      Harmony and peace
7.      Care and diligence
8.      Work ethic
9.      Education (including the VSL, Masonic knowledge and the Liberal Arts and Sciences)
10.  Civil duties
11.  The Virtues
12.  Equality and Justice
13.  Religion
14.  Sin
15.  Behaviour
16.  Usages and Customs
17.  Laws and Regulations
18.  Offences of Brethren
19.  Honour
20.  Danger
21.  Instruction and assistance for inferiors
22.  Improvement of morals

Really, in all of the Masonic organizations, the obligation contains about the same thing. Usually it’s less intense than the ones listed here.  

So, what about these secrets they are swearing to not reveal? It’s gotta be something super duper secret right? Well, it’s not really. While the rituals themselves are secretive, it’s not anything you can’t find online. The only thing you may have a hard time finding is referred to as the secret work, these are signs (gestures), phrases, and handshakes used for one member to be able to recognize another outside of Lodge. Even these you can find to some extent, I know for sure the secret work of OES is embarrassingly available. (But it is handy for when I forget something). Usually though, recognition goes something like, “hey are you a Mason?” Truth be told, if you don’t know someone outside of your Lodge, chances are you wont have much reason to discuss Masonic secrets with them; people who are non-Masons trying to learn secrets from a Mason are often painfully obvious.

There are, of course, consequences for breaking your obligation. Within the ritual, it still contains the original punishments for breaking the oath. Yes, it is true the punishments outlined are physical in nature, often having something to do with the sign or position for the degree received; for example (and no, this is not in the ritual), cutting off a hand for stealing. While many of these punishments seem harsh, the important thing to remember is that these are an allegory. The Nebraska Monitor states, “ The obligations of Freemasonry contain the reference to certain physical penalties, which are symbolic in nature and are intended only to impart the historical lessens [sic] of fidelity.” It is terribly important to remember that the only punishment that can actually be given to a Freemason for violating his obligation is reprimand, suspension, or expulsion.

Masonic Halloween 2015

It’s that time of year again. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing, and the kiddos are getting excited.Halloween is coming! If you don’t have any idea what your Halloween costume will be, perhaps some of these famous Freemasons can give you some ideas.

There’s American singer and cowboy actor Roy Rogers

Harpo Marx, the second oldest Marx brother

Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the composer

Or, if you’re looking for a costume for the whole family, why not the Ringling Brothers?

If you’re looking for more Masonic Halloween costumes, check out last year’s post.