Friday, June 16, 2017

300th Anniversary Masonic Essay

The 21st century has turned out to be an Era of colossal changes. Globalization, artificial intelligence, space exploration, social media, and the expansion of private enterprise have all seen growth of unprecedented proportions. In spite of all of these great advancements, the new millennium has also presented us with an escalating  number of challenges. Social divide, terrorist attacks, political unrest, and an alarming increase in the frequency of natural disasters. These events have all had a radically transformative effect on the economic, political and ecological systems on a Global scale. We are living in the midst of a rapidly changing World.
It’s often been said that  change is what makes the world go around. Energy in motion permeates the entire Universe, causing a state of constant transformation. As a consequence of this Universal law, the human race continues its dynamic forward march perpetually transitioning from a state of lesser complexity, into a state of greater complexity. In a nutshell, as our inner and outer realities change, the world as we once knew it, is no more.
This brings us to the matter at hand:
After enduring 300 years of time has Freemasonry evolved enough to make it relevant to a new generation of  young men in 2017?

The answer to this question lays beyond the deceptive veil impressed upon our senses by the wonders of this fast changing information age. In order to gain an appropriate degree of perspective, it is necessary to delve into a deeper source by exploring the very essence of human nature.
Emotional needs are inherent in all humans beings . In order for a man to achieve a degree of self actualization, his emotional needs, those that are a part of his essence, must be satisfied first. It is due in part to Masonry’s proven ability to fulfill the finer needs of man, which has enabled its resilience to the passing of time, ultimately cementing its staying power.
Freemasonry is a selective institution where not  everyone is accepted; unless of course the applicant is willing to prove himself as a man under the tongue of good report. Once he’s received, the new member is granted access to a world-wide fraternity which honours the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. It is this noteworthy aspect of membership which fulfills a young man’s intrinsic need to belong; particularly to something that’s important and worthwhile.
Freemasonry provides a young man with the opportunity to establish long lasting friendships with like minded individuals. Having this type of bond with fellow members reassures the new mason that should he ever feel the need to turn to someone for advice, he can do so at anytime by confiding in one of his brethren.  It is this aspect of  membership which fulfills some of the other innate desires in man, namely: the need to be sociable, while experiencing a feeling of safety in his environment.
  Just as importantly, Freemasonry equips a young man with the necessary tools to improve all aspects of his character. The masonic system enables the member to rid himself of some of his less favorable traits by improving his weaknesses; and it also facilitates a deeper understanding of who he is by refining his strengths. The process is both transformational and enlightening; conducive to a journey towards self-actualization, which gradually becomes a mason’s ultimate destination.           

                                                                                    2.
These are only a few of several  transcendent and unconditional qualities which set the institution of Freemasonry apart from the rest.

Some people may say All of this sounds very appealing but... What type of  specific knowledge can a young man expect to obtain from Masonry which makes it strictly unique, and could not be found anywhere else?”
By becoming a Mason a young man can expect to have access to a type of knowledge that is unaffected by the passing of time.
He may expect to learn that…

Masonry is Universal

Masonry knows no creed, race or color.  The tenets of liberty, equality and fraternity which Masonry advocates and champions know no bounds. These proverbial axioms embrace all cultures and transverse every geographical line; promulgating a genuine sense of brotherhood amongst all nations.  And although Masonry is neither a religion nor a substitute for one, the Craft acknowledges the significance of all religions, grasping their corresponding qualities, unifying their variances; but yet remains impartial to all. It counts within its circle Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Hindus amongst many others. Freemasonry’s embracive nature also makes it equally welcoming to those men who are not necessarily creed bound, but who being true to their conscience, will only profess a belief in a Supreme Being. The abbreviation G.A.O.T.U.  meaning the Great Architect of The Universe, truly is a most egalitarian, unbiased and integrating expression. The term is non denominational, allowing each mason the right to follow the spiritual path he so chooses.
A young man may also expect to learn that…

Masonry is Educational

One of Masonry’s principal facets is the applicability of its wise philosophies to everyday life. The Craft inculcates morality by encouraging its members to be ethical in all their undertakings. It instills charity by emphasizing the existing interdependence and common ground of all mankind. The lessons  are imparted in their purest form, proclaimed unpretentiously, and demonstrated with candor. The charges and lectures are sources of great inspiration, motivating each initiate to furnish favorable contributions toward society; making it a better place for every one to live in. Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of thought are the three timeless precepts which rest on the cornerstone of the masonic foundation; ever ready to obliterate the imminent threat from humanity’s three principal
                                                                                          3.                                                                                                                        
enemies, namely: ignorance, fanaticism and tyranny. Its rituals are the channel which transmits this timeless knowledge, making the essence discernable. Such rituals play a fundamental role in keeping the flame alive. The masonic system of communication is expressed through symbols, an idiom that is comprehensible in all of the world’s languages, and decipherable by all initiates; enabling each mason to derive benefits from the teachings in proportion to his own individual capacity.
Since the inception of The Grand Lodge of England,  Freemasonry has progressively become an organized, policy making body. The essence  infused the substance giving it identity, the spirit acquired form making itself intelligible, and the foundation which had been laid in centuries gone by gave rise to a superstructure. For three hundred years the Craft has disseminated its ancient wisdom the world over.  This perennial knowledge has been transmitted from the homely repose of its temples of instruction, those distinctive dwellings we commonly refer to as “the lodge.”  It is at the lodge where each mason is extended the inestimable privilege to partake of its mysteries, and it is there where he learns that such invaluable ancient knowledge truly is time transcendent.
Since time immemorial the essence of  Masonry has lived and breathed in the heart of mankind. From that defining, enlightening moment when man first became aware of his own consciousness and developed a sense of Self, the torch of Masonry rose and soared; emerging as an inextinguishable beacon of light for all seekers of truth to revere and follow.

So mote it be!


Written by:

Brian Louis Chaytor  & Brian Lawrence Chaytor  (Father and Son)

Members of Claude. M. Kent Lodge number 681, Oakville, Ontario
 District A



Brian Louis Chaytor,  MM, FRC XII° (12th Degree Rosicrucian)
Claude M Kent Lodge 681, Oakville, Ontario, Canada (Craft Lodge)
Member of The Martinist Order
Member of The Esoteric Hierarchy, Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis

Brian Lawrence Chaytor, 32°, FRC XII° (12th Degree Rosicrucian)
Claude M Kent Lodge 681, Oakville, Ontario, Canada (Craft Lodge)
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario
Master Craftsman Program, Levels I, II & III
Member of The Esoteric Hierarchy, Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Third Degree - Saturday Apr 8, 2017

Harmonie 699 3'rd Degree and visitors

Harmonie 699 just raised three new Master Masons, and the first from our North Star program.   We'd like to welcome MM Kyle Clever, Cullan Donnelly and Nicholas Mogavero


We also had a wonderful visitation from our Canadian brethren from Claud M. Kent Lodge not 681 in Oakville - welcoming Trever Isaac, Brian Chaytor Jr and Sr. and W:. Bryce McBain.



The degree was a day for Lewises.  Not only were two of our visitors Father and Son - but we had two Lewises being raised this day.


Bros.  Jeffrey and Kyle Clever.

Bros. Cullan and Mark Donnelley



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Double Header Catchup - Aug 24, 2016 and Oct 12, 2016.



Your humble blogger has been shirking his duties in the quarry and has some older - but exceptional - news from Harmonie Lodge.  Since one of the symbols of Harmonie is Janus - it seems fitting to make this one a double-header.



 On Aug 24'th 2016,  W. Ed Draves of Western Star Lodge 1185 came to give us his own double header presentation.  The first half of his presentation was about the Masonic Youth programs, and in particular DeMolay.




He gave a very heartfelt and personal account of what DeMolay means to him and how it personally affected his family, and his son.  He also talked about what it means to be a DeMolay volunteer and the effects it has on the boys who join and the community around them.  Lastly, Harmonie would like to welcome the newly initiated Brother Chris Draves to the craft.


Part two was an education in the production and flavors of Mezcal and how they differ from region to region - dependent on the type, growth and processing of the agave.  He also brought samples from the region where he does missionary work.





On October 12'th - W. Nathan Shoff made a triumphal return to Harmonie Lodge to give a wonderful presentation on circumambulation within the lodge and what it means in our ritual.




He talked about ambulation and circumambulation through history in various religious ceremonies as well as it's place in the various Mysterious Schools - hitting on the importance of direction, how it related to the cosmos, sacred geometry and the body itself.





Links for those interested in more information:

NY DeMolay - http://www.nydemolay.org/

Ed Drave's reviews on Mezcal - https://davemillersmexico.wordpress.com/the-buffalo-mezcalero-samples-all-our-dmx-mezcal-reviews/







Concordant Bodies Visit - The Shriners - Wed Oct 26'th 2016





As a mason grows, he sometimes yearns for more light which finds his path to the concordant bodies of Masonry.  Harmonie often has a night for visitations from the various concordant bodies where the brothers can be filled in what they are about.  Last night W. James Mirusso - High Priest and Prophet, as well as brother Mike Hackford - Chief Rabban of Ismailia Shriners visited to give a presentation.




And the Nobles of Harmonie:




Along with their presentation - the Nobels presented a video of what the Erie Shriners Hospital does - and mentioned the visitation day at the hospital.







Links for brothers interested in the shrine:
http://www.ismailiashriners.com/  - The homepage for the Ismailia Shriners.



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Entered Apprentice Degree - Wed Sept 14, 2016



Last night was a wonderful night of firsts for many of the men of Harmonie Lodge.  For our 7 new Entered Apprentices it was their first step on the lifelong journey in Masonry.  They were also the first brothers to fully go through the NorthStar process.   The brothers found the process very helpful and rewarding.

Lewises aren't new at Harmonie, but are always a special occasion and one of our members proudly witnessed his son initiated.  Harmonie initiated it's first mason under the age of 21.




We also had 3 volumes of sacred law on the altar; The Holy Bible, the Quaran and the Torah, belonging to one of our initiate's grandfather and had a rich history in it's own. Our District Deputy Grand Master the RW Daniel Di Nitale read from Brother Rudyard Kippling's poem 'The Mother Lodge' - pointing out that one of the beauties of Masonry is that it unites men of different backgrounds.

For many of our young officers, it was their first opportunity to preform degree work they did admirably carrying on Harmonie's tradition for ritual work.

We welcome our new brothers and look forward to laboring with them in the quarries.


The Mother Lodge


THERE was Rundle, Station Master, 
An' Beazeley of the Rail, 
An' 'Ackman, Commissariat, 
An' Donkin' o' the Jail; 
An' Blake, Conductor-Sergeant, 
Our Master twice was 'e, 
With im that kept the Europe-shop, 
Old Framjee Edu1jee.

Outside - " Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!
Inside - 'Brother," an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
An' Saul the Aden Jew,
An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!

We 'adn't good regalia,
An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
Excep', per'aps, it's us.

For monthly, after Labour,
We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquets,
Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
Of the God 'c knew the best.

So man on man got talkin',
An' not a Brother stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots
An' that dam' brain-fever-bird.
We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

Full oft on Guv'ment service
This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,
An' bore fraternal greetin's
To the Lodges east an' west,
Accordin' as commanded.
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother-Lodge once more!

I wish that I might see them,
My Brethren black an' brown,
With the trichies smellin' pleasant
An' the hog-darn passin' down;
An' the old khansamah snorin'
On the bottle-khana floor,
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother-Lodge once more.

Outside - Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!'
Inside- Brother," an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Masters Travels:




Recently, I had to take a business trip to Houston, TX and Baton Rouge, LA. When I was informed of the dates that I would be traveling, I consulted the websites of the Grand Lodges of Texas and Louisiana and was able to find a Lodge that met in each city that corresponded with my travel dates


On August the 4th, 2016 I visited Reagan Lodge No. 1037 in Houston, TX. (http://www.reaganlodge1037.org/)
.


The Lodge was having its first communication with its new Master, W :. Stewart Anderson, after a tour of the building we sat down to a dinner of homemade brisket with all the trimmings, true Texas cuisine at its finest!


 W :. Stewart Anderson on the right and Yours Truly on the left. 




Later that same week, my travels had taken me on a 5-hour drive to the East where I visited St. James No. 47 in Baton Rouge, LA. (http://www.stjameslodge47.org/) St. James is a Lodge with a great history and has been in operation since 1844 save for a short period at the end of the Civil War. 




  





While visiting, I was granted the opportunity to observe a proficiency examination, a Brother was turning in his Fellow Craft in preparation for his Master Mason Degree, later that evening I was also fortunate enough to see First Degree conferred.  While the work does differ between Grand Jurisdictions, it is still similar in many ways and this makes visiting other Lodges a learning experience. 

As I stated earlier, the Lodge did not meet for a short period at the end of the Civil War.  War being what it is brings great disruption to many things.  Unfortunately, during that period the Lodge itself was looted and some of its history was lost to the ages. However, one of the older Past Masters showed me something that many members of this Lodge that were present did not even know what  they had in plain sight.  At  the Junior Wardens station we have this gavel brake.

 
And underneath, we have an inscription.





This was looted by Union troops at the end of the war when they occupied Baton Rouge, it was recovered close to 60 years later by a Lodge #9 in Pennsylvania and returned to its home! 



On the left, W :. Jeffrey Maynor and Myself on the right.



Brothers, as a Master Mason it is your right to travel to other Lodges whether locally or when in a different country or state.  It is always a learning experience and your Brothers are waiting for you when you get there.  There are no strangers in Freemasonry, just Brothers you have not met yet.  

A few words of advice when traveling out of your Jurisdiction.  If you have advance notice of a trip and you will have time to visit a Lodge or concordant body, always contact the secretary ahead of time.  You can easily find this information on either that Jurisdictions Grand Lodges website, or on the Lodges website if they have one.   Also, you can obtain a certificate of good standing from your Grand Lodge as well, this piece of paper can save you and the Lodge that you are visiting a great deal of time.

Fraternally,
W :. Benjamin Kaminski
Master, Harmonie No.699