Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Symbolic Wages: The Elements of Consecration in Freemasonry. By W:. Bro. Shawn Eyer


Brothers, not long ago W:. Litwin and I gave a lecture about Masonic Tracing Boards and how they were used in the Lodge rooms of old. For those that missed the lecture we will be giving again at Charlotteville Lodge #73 on January the 18th. It was very well received by the Western New York School of Instruction. Even though it was given almost two years ago we still get requests to give it again, which we will be doing in Charlotteville Lodge.
W:. Bro. Eyer work expounds upon the idea we put forth about the central nature of the Tracing Boards in early Masonic workings. He actually demonstrates the Lodge Consecration ritual I discussed in the Tracing Board program. I am not going to spoil this with video a summation. It is well worth your time to watch every second of it. I am so proud to see this level of work being conducted and being made accessible to the whole of the Craft. Take advantage of this opportunity to review world class Masonic research in the leisure of your home, you will not regret it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Car Survival Kit


As we are now in the holiday season and still have yet to be burdened by our normal heavy snows, I wanted to take this time to share with you some things that could save your life, your families, and even your fellow Brethren. Being prepared is a must for anyone wishing to be of service to those in need. Having a good understanding of how to use certain items & being educated will prove more beneficial than most of the gear you can ever obtain; though there are some mandatory items not to be without. Here then is a very good list of 'Gear' you may wish to compile for your trunk. A car or truck should have most of these items. You never know if your car will break down, be stuck in the snow somewhere, or if someone may need your help! I write this because when I was teenager, someone helped me. This is part of how I give back. Do not be fooled by the commercial kits available at stores. If you must, use them as a basic kit to be added to. Let us hope that you never need to use these items, but in case you do this list should prove helpful in most situations. I have taken the liberty to add some links so that you may better understand what some of the more obscure items are.

Winter Car Survival:

Always clean/inspect and tune up your vehicle before heavy snow - Winterize by oil changes, snow tires, snow wiper blades, etc.

Have a Basic First Aid kit.

Clothing:

~ extra winter gloves * frostbite only takes a few minutes to set in

~ extra winter hat *remember about 80% of heat is lost through the head

~extra sweaters, and or jacket

~ heavy duty work gloves

~ A safety reflective vest- http://www.amazon.com/Safety-Fluorescent-Silver-Stripe-Polyester/dp/B002FCJ8SQ

~ Extra scarf

~ Extra socks -wool hiking type

Small basic tool kit: screw drivers, needle nose pliers, channel lock pliers, crescent wrench.

~ Rope (50-100 feet of real 500lb. test 7 strand para cord) do NOT be fooled by 'fake' stuff still called para cord, make sure it has 7 inner strands!

~ Tow Rope (strong enough to tow a truck)

~ Strobe light-   http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___87551

~ Road flares

~ Extra Batteries

~ Glow sticks

~ “Heat” - car rock salt.

~ Emergency gas

~ Gas can & $20 cash in glove box

~ Jumper cables

~ Road reflector triangle

~ Extra windshield de-icer

~ Water bottle. http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___23236

~ A good Multi-tool- http://www.knivesplus.com/LEATHERMAN-TOOLS.HTML

~A key chain led flashlight- http://www.photonlight.com/

~ Flashlight. There are many good ones on the market, use a good one with good reviews that is reliable and durable.

~ 2 knives:
My suggestions
       Folder: swiss army - used as a back up to your multi tool
       Fixed blade: ka bar heavy duty warthog model (1278)- strong, can even be used in buttoning wood for fires, very affordable.
http://www.amazon.com/Ka-bar-1278-Ka-Bar-Heavy-Duty-Warthog/dp/B004NN5QEA

*** Though any good fixed blade will work, so use your common sense for the situations that might occur.

A Great knife link:  http://www.knivesplus.com/index.html

~ Polar Tec blankets - http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___80905

~ Gallon of water

~ Food..... MRE's/snickers/nuts/jerky/can beans/tuna/dried fruit/ anything nonperishable

~ A good book to read

~ A few BIC lighters

~ Snow Shovel http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___60630  OR http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___82859?cm_vc=PDPZ1#

~ Sunglasses

~ Emergency blanket-reflective  http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___89035

~ Hand warmers (push button active kind)  http://www.amazon.com/Heat-Factory-Premium-Hand-Warmer/dp/B001OPMFK8

~ Solar cell phone charger-    http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/portable+battery+chargers.html
http://www.rei.com/category/4500031
http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/507044?qs=3006392_pmd_google

~ Fix a flat

~ Insta-Fire- http://www.instafire.com/home.htm

~ Extra toys (if you have children)

*** Any extra medication you may need such as inhalers, insulin, epi pen, or other life saving medications.

Some of these items are very helpful but not necessary. Though ask yourself this, wouldn't you rather be comfortable and allow your wife/girlfriend or children to be if there is a situation. You never know how long, or where you could be stranded. What if you saw someone on the side of the road that needed your help, wouldn't you like to be able to offer them a hand? More so, what if that car was one of us, a Brother in need?

Lastly I wanted to share two of my favorite books on survival, they are educational, detailed, scientific, and funny!

98.6 degrees of Keeping your ass alive- http://www.amazon.com/98-6-Degrees-Keeping-Your-Alive/dp/1586852345

When all Hell breaks loose: Stuff you need to Survive when disaster strikes- http://www.amazon.com/When-All-Hell-Breaks-Loose/dp/142360105X/ref=pd_sim_b_1

If you wish to contact me privately about any of these items; my reviews/opinions, and use of them, I would be happy to open a dialogue with you about anything at all. 716-572-2908

Stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy your holiday season!

Fraternally,
Bro. Krebs

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Best of Masonic Regalia


I thought this holiday season it would be in the theme of things to start a monthly article on one of the things I love best, Masonic regalia. I have spent countless hours searching for the very best in Masonic items and each month I hope to share with you what I have found in my search.

One thing you will find when looking at high quality Masonic regalia is the love and craftsmanship that goes into each item. I have yet to find an item of superior quality that does not have a Brother behind it, not a factory or soulless machines cranking out the same thing. You will find a true craftsman designing each detail. That is it what makes our regalia unique, the soul that is placed in it by the craftsmen.

One of the companies I first discovered was Fraternal Ties by Bro. John Paul Gomez of Doric Lodge No. 316, way out in the cold wastes of Canada (like 2 hours from us in Buffalo!). I recall finding him on eBay selling an amazing red silk tie. It was designed to have a very 1800s look that had square and compasses hidden in the design. An amazing tie that I could wear everyday, not too over the top that people would look at it and be taken aback by the design. It is a simple and wonderful design that got me hooked to his work. I have bought all but two of the ties he has made since. I can tell you that with each new tie -- well they just get better.

Bro. Gomez's ties are often very subtle, so one could wear the tie every day and none would be the wiser that it was a Masonic tie. Bro. Gomez’s attention to the art of design has made his ties unique and modern, no silly square and compasses tie over cheap nylon, just high-end fabrics and innovative designs.

He also runs a blog off his website, www.fraternalties.com, where he has many wonderful works of Masonic art he generously posts free of charge as wallpaper for your computer (I can't recall a time I did not have one as my I-Pad’s wallpaper) and articles on his esoteric Masonic muses.

As a lover of the finer things made for Masons, I can tell you that Fraternal Ties is of the finest I have ever seen. Do yourself a favor, be a Mason in style, and wear your light with the dignity it deserves, wear the “tie that binds.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Harmonie 699 listed among nation's most prestigious Lodges

Harmonie Lodge was recently honored by being added to Academia Lodge No. 847's list of Traditional Lodges, i.e. "Masonic Lodges emphasizing substantial education and/or a more traditional approach overall. This list includes, but is not limited to, Traditional Observance and European Concept lodges." Harmonie's brand of Janusian Masonry has been greatly influenced by both Traditional Observance and European Concept lodges and we are greatly honored by being listed among these 45 other Lodges of excellence. We are also pleased to be one of the four Lodges listed that are under the aegis of the Grand Lodge of New York. We are thrilled to stand shoulder to shoulder with St. John's Lodge No. 1, Independent Royal Arch No. 2, and our good friends from Mariners Lodge No. 67. Please click the link below to see the list of Lodges. These websites are a tremendous resource for the serious student of Masonry and casual observer alike.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rough Ashlar


When I was told that I needed to produce a “Master’s Piece” before the third degree I wasn’t sure what to expect out of myself.  What could I possibly bring to the table?  Certainly not some great work of art, not a musical masterpiece, or even an article on Freemasonry itself.  The cold hard conclusion is that I am an under educated, under skilled, classless man who wants to obtain light in Masonry.  How could a man such as myself produce something worthy of the title “Master’s Piece” and be proud to place my name on it, claiming it as my own?  Stephen King came to mind.  King once said "you are the unfortunate ones who still get the lovemaking all confused with the paltry squirt that comes to end the lovemaking (the orgasm is, after all, God’s way of telling us we’ve finished, at least for the time being, and should go to sleep)."  Although a crude statement, it is one of my favorites.  What King was trying to say is simply it’s the journey that counts.  I believe that statement applies to Masonry.  Masonry, to me, is not the beginning of my journey, nor the end.  So instead of writing a “Master’s Piece” I decided to write about the under educated Mason (myself and I’m certain there are others) and the journey taken as a rough ashlar.

Each time I step into the lodge or even the dining area I feel intimidated.  It has been difficult to keep up in conversations that I know nothing about.  The vocabulary used confuses me.  Most of the Masons I’ve met know about history, philosophy, politics, and are very well read.  I however, do not know about these things, and I am not well read.  I am a 23 year old high school graduate.  I play video games in my spare time and I have a job as a security guard.  I could have stepped out and quit at any time -- but I didn’t.  An under educated Mason such as myself learns something new each time he steps into lodge.  If I had known everything before I walked in the door, I wouldn’t be learning anything new.  Lodge would be boring, and I probably wouldn’t want to be a Mason.  For now I am happy sitting on the sidelines, warming the bench, and just listening.  The more I listen the more educated I become.  As I become educated, I become less intimidated.  As I become less intimidated I am able to participate more in discussions and ask appropriate questions.   This is the path I am taking to become a better man and Mason.

How else do I benefit from Freemasonry?  Other than the obvious educational aspect there is a sense of comradery.  Myself being a former military man, the friendship and brotherly love offered by Freemasonry acts as a replacement for the fellowship amongst soldiers.  No one can deny that it is a benefit of Freemasonry to know that no matter where a Mason goes, there are others around that can recognize him for what he is, and treat him with the same respect he would his own family.  We are brothers, and that is not a term that I personally would take lightly.  The world looks different and feels different everyday when you know that by the decisions you make, you may be letting your brothers down.  Although I have not yet been passed to the degree of Master Mason, I do take my obligations seriously.  Sometimes that’s all that we as men need to walk uprightly during our day-to-day activities.  Bettering myself as a man betters myself as a Mason and allows me to represent our fraternity proudly.  This could not be done without the constant thought of letting down my fellow brothers.

This is not to say that an under educated Mason only benefits himself by attending lodge.  Because I am not educated I have the ability to ask questions that maybe no one else would have bothered to ask.  These questions can inspire conversation and learning even amongst “veterans” of the Craft.  The generational difference that a young under educated Mason brings allows the fraternity to continue growing as time continues.  This keeps the fraternity from becoming outdated, and also potentially attracts new members.

A man can memorize rituals, or phone books, or movie quotes.  I do not feel that this benefits the individual or the world around him.  It is a great starting point for tradition's sake and as an introduction to the Craft.  We as Free and Accepted Masons only benefit ourselves and the fraternity through our daily actions and understanding of what it is to be a Mason.  Regardless of age and education, each driven member of the lodge will find a way to benefit himself and his brothers.  I am not proud of the man I am, but I am proud of the man I will become through dedication to both the lodge and myself.

- Bro. Jason Bonnett

Friday, November 18, 2011

Famous Freemasons of Forest Lawn Cemetery Tour


“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, when we visited the Masonic Plots;
I see no reason why our distinguished Brethren should ever be forgot”


Members of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 and visiting Brothers were joined by friends and family as our own Daniel Di Natale, with the assistance of Peter Filim, of Ancient Landmarks Lodge No. 358 and a Docent of Forest Lawn, guided us on a tour of famous Masons interred in the cemetery.  All in attendance learned many things about war heroes (specifically the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War and others), early Buffalo politicians, frontiersman, natives and past members of Harmonie Lodge and its predecessors.

We also visited Brothers’ memorials of particular aesthetic value, such as Brother Burton Dow and his modern memorial with its bronze “burning bush” and Brother Lawrence Bell, the founder of Bell Aircraft.  The Schickel memorial near the Delavan entrance and others lent Masonic symbolism that was debated and contemplated.  Non-Masonic memorials famous to Forest Lawn were also discussed, such as the Darwin Martin memorial and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Blue Sky Mausoleum.

The tour was heavily historical and context was given influential people in the settling of Buffalo, some of which those in attendance were familiar and others we had never heard of.  Bro. Sgt. Philip Bachert of the famed Weidrich’s Battery of the Battle of Gettysburg and Bro. Col. Cyrenius Chapin, the leader of the Buffalo militia during its invasion in 1812 were examples of professional soldiering and amateur defenders.  Bro. Gen. Daniel Bidwell is very well memorialized in the city with the parkway which bears his name and the statue of him at its beginning.  Bro. Erastus Granger, whose simple marker lies in stark contrast to his contributions to the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, early Masonic Lodges in Western New York and the founding of Forest Lawn.  He is the original owner of the land on which we walked.

A good time was had by all, who left feeling pride in their city and fraternity.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Distinguished Speaker Series

Harmonie Lodge’s first distinguished speaker series kicked off on October 26, 2011. W:. Andrew Hammer, past master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 and author of Observing the Craft: The Pursuit of Excellence in Masonic Labour and Observance, presented a thought provoking lecture on Masonry in transition and the need to be truly "observant" in our Craft. We had many visiting brethren in attendance from Districts as far away as Monroe and Cattaraugus County.


Our next distinguished speaker is coming to the Ronald J. Keel Fellowcraft Club on March 28, 2012. We will have the honor of welcoming R:. W:. Richard Friedman, Chairman of the Custodians of the Work for the Grand Lodge of New York. In the second half of 2012 we hope to host W:. Shawn Eyer, past master of Academia Lodge No. 847, the premiere Traditional Observance Lodge in California, and editor of  Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research and Letters, the most highly regarded quarterly magazine focusing on Masonic history, symbolism, philosophy, ritual, and art.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The NEW Harmonie Lodge No. 699 website



It is with great enthusiasm that I unveil the new Harmonie Lodge No. 699 website.

I wish to thank W:. J. C. Litwin and Bro. Michael Hacker for designing it.

Special thanks to Bro. Gregory Stewart and Bro. Zackary Burgess for their inspiring artwork.


Best fraternal regards,

W:. Frederick G. Clark II
Master, Harmonie Lodge No. 699

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Observing the Craft" - Wednesday, October 26th @ 7:30pm


W:. Bro. Andrew Hammer is coming to Harmonie Lodge No. 699 on Wednesday, October 26th. He will be presenting a lecture based on his recent book, Observing the Craft: The Pursuit of Excellence in Masonic Labour and Observance.

This lecture is open to all Master Masons. The WM is requesting a $5.00 donation from non-members to help defray costs. Lodge opens at 7:30 p.m. Our traditional Festive Board will follow the lecture.

Observing the Craft is a manifesto of sorts for the observant Mason, who seeks quality over quantity in every aspect of Masonry. 

It is a stringent argument for the Symbolic (Blue) Lodge as the ne plus ultra of the Craft, asking that Masons put actions behind their statements that “nothing is higher than the third degree.”

It is a book that calls for nothing but the utmost personal effort and commitment to be put into the operation of a Masonic Lodge, and the experience of a Masonic meeting, in search of the transformational experience which Masons define as “making good men better.”


Monday, October 3, 2011

The Ancient Landmarks: Our Indefinite Boundaries

W:. Nathan A. Shoff will be lecturing on the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry this Saturday, October 8th at the Western New York Lodge of Research. The lecture begins at 10:00 a.m. at the Cheektowaga Masonic Center located at 97 Lucid Drive, Cheektowaga, NY 14225. All master masons are welcome to attend. W:. Shoff is the immediate past master of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 and a senior faculty member of Concordia Collegium: Academy of the Progressive Science of Freemasonry. His paper "The Ancient Landmarks: Our Indefinite Boundaries" was first published in 2007. It is one of the most detailed works of scholarship on the subject and has received  a great deal of critical acclaim. Its thoroughness puts it in league with the scholarship of Albert Mackey and Carl Claudy. You will not regret attending this lecture.






Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Adventure of Freemasonry


It has always bothered me a little that when I was brought into the Craft, I had to do little more than be interviewed once and show up for my degrees. The committee I now sit on requires candidates to write personal statement letters and show that they are duly and truly prepared. While the benefit of hind site will never allow me to write the letter I might have written in their shoes, I am now able to reflect on the things that brought me to where I am now, and put some of the pieces together with more clarity thanks to the limited wisdom that is inherent to the passing of time, as brief as it may be in my case. And, while I may never be able to elucidate or even identify all of factors that have brought me to where I am today; given the inherent shortcomings of self-reflection, I need to give credit where I know at least some credit is due. Ergo, I must thank Indiana Jones.



Today, we all know Al Khazneh. Even if you don’t think you do, I can heartily assure you that you’ve seen it. Literally meaning “the treasury,” it is most famous for being the entrance to the temple housing the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. As a child, growing up well before the internet was in every home and took most of the mystery out of life, I remember watching Indy ride up to what had to be a model, or a very elaborate set. Of course, in the years that have passed since my first viewing, childhood naivety has succumbed to education, but there was an indelible mark that still hasn’t faded. For reasons that I hope become apparent, years after finding out that it wasn’t just a set, I was very pleased at the consolation that the origins of Al Khazneh have become largely lost to history.



From that moment forward, I had always told myself that one day I would make a great discovery. I became convinced that somewhere out there, there was something lost that I could find. Even then I knew that I would not be the one to locate the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, or anything of that ilk. As luck would have it, while I was yet in grade school, explorers conclusively proved that they found the legendary city of Troy. Hell, as recently as a few years ago, people seem convinced that the Ark of the Covenant was in a church in Ethiopia. And, thanks to Dan Brown, in the popular mindset the idea of physically recovering the Holy Grail seems outdated, laughable even.



So, life continued, and I began to understand why H. P. Lovecraft devoted so much of his writing to lamenting the fact that in an industrial and then post-industrial age, people had forgotten how to dream. There was nothing left to discover, unless you wanted to leave the planet. With sincere apologies to any crypto zoologists reading this, Loch Ness and Bigfoot really aren’t worth my time. The only mysteries I could find within my realm were historical in nature, but to date I have not resolved any of the questions that have haunted us ever since we forgot the answers.



None of this, however, could quench the coals of that fire. The fact remained that I needed, on an existential level, to explore. So, when a friend joined a local lodge, I did some research, if only for the purpose of my own education. I had no idea what a Freemason was, or did, or was supposed to be. The one thing that I found was that of all the different things I heard, the only aspect that seemed self-evident was that no one could agree on the where, when, or how, regarding the origins of the Craft. Even with the overwhelming evidence that the Craft emerged as operative stone mason guilds fell by the wayside, it seemed unlikely that anyone could ever flesh out the details.



From the day I knocked on the door of a lodge, it quickly became apparent that I had found what I was looking for, at least to some degree. There were allusions in the ritual that, when I asked for an explanation, none could give me a straight answer. While I had known going in that the origins were shrouded in mystery, I would never have guessed that even the functional parts of standard ritual still held their secrets back from men that had joined before I was born.



So it was that I started down my path, the adventure of which thrills me more today than ever. Watching those films again, with a new perspective, I began to piece together similarities that I hadn’t previously understood. Indy was a treasure hunter, and throughout the first film little more. However, in Last Crusade, you can see a different side. While ostensibly he was searching for the Holy Grail, the film ends without him being able to possess it, yet ends on what is unquestionably a positive note. He learns to let go, learns that it was the journey that counted. While the story of a father-son relationship is hardly unique to that film, it marked a change in the franchise. In what I consider to be the most remarkable part of the film, Indy seems to have gained more through his actions than he could have ever gained by possessing the object he was after. And, while I am no Indiana Jones by any stretch of the imagination, in trying to satisfy my quest for knowledge, for exploration, for adventure, I eventually came to find that I was discovering more about myself and what was truly important, things that had been in front of my face the entire time. Qualities that I like to think I had always possessed, but did not appreciate or acknowledge, rendering myself incapable of trying to improve them.



That was the moment that I realized Freemasonry was an adventure of two parts. The first adventure is an internal one. An exploration of ourselves, realizing what we are capable of, improving it, and pushing ourselves beyond our ill-perceived limits. The other adventure is the Craft itself. Scholars of the last century have called us the last vestige of an esoteric tradition that goes back beyond the edges of what historians can recall, but is still deeply engrained in a part of us that many have forgotten or have chosen to ignore. I, for one, will not argue with them. Within the ritual there are layers that the wisest among us may not yet perceive. That which is lost but may one day be found is perhaps the lynchpin of the entire system. It teaches us allegorical lessons, refers to actual knowledge that we may well have lost, and even applies to each of us in our individual search for whatever it is that we are seeking.



Indy, for being an icon of film, was quite the everyman. His education led him down perilous paths as he searched for things that had been seemingly content to lay undiscovered for the rest of time. But he had a drive to rediscover that which was lost, and that desire bore him past those trials. He understood that if they were out there, we could find them. Thus it is for every traveling man. All of us have the tools necessary to dig as deep as we would like. We do so knowing that we will likely not discover that which has been lost in the most literal sense of the word, but can rest well in the knowledge that we may find things that are even more important along the way, hidden treasures that only the individual can know he is looking for. As far as adventures go, mine may not be film worthy, no artifacts rest in museums due to my efforts, and my name is not a byword for epic tales, but it’s an adventure that has led me to greater treasure thus far than I could have ever expected, in every sense of the word. And I anticipate that it will continue to do so until the day my own adventure must necessarily come to its end.

           



RSB

Honoring our District Deputy Grand Master


On August 24, 2011 the Brethren of Harmonie Lodge had the honor of hosting R:. W:. Paul S. Sabo, District Deputy Grand Master of the 1st Erie District, representing the M:. W:. Vincent Libone, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York. R:. W:. Sabo is a tireless advocate for Freemasonry in Western New York. He has proven himself to be a kind and generous leader, who always has time for his Brethren and the Lodges under his supervision.

R:. W:. Sabo has done an exemplary job of cultivating the potential of the Lodges in the 1st Erie District - and it shows. His forward thinking leadership in support of Ritual Excellence, Masonic Education, and Charitable Endeavors have set the tone for how an upright man and mason should act before God and Man. He is also the Master of the Western New York Lodge of Research.

At his official visit, W:. Ted Clark, Master of Harmonie 699, presented R:. W:. Sabo with a 1901 Pan-Am Exposition commemorative plate and map. Held during the hey day of Buffalo, this international event was planned and organized by a good number of Fellows of the Craft. The Mayor of Buffalo was none other than Harmonie Lodge's secretary, Bro. Conrad Diehl. The key note address was give by the President of the United States, Bro. William McKinley. After his unfortunate assassination, Bro. Teddy Roosevelt, then V. P., was sworn in as President at the Wilcox Mansion on Delaware Avenue. 

The Exposition saw the first long-distance transmission of electricity from Niagara Falls to Buffalo, NY. Thus the normal blackness of night was replaced by a city of lights. And as Nicholai Tesla illuminated Buffalo with light, so too does our District Deputy Grand Master bestow the Light of Masonry throughout the 1st Erie District!

Ward A. Peterson Award for Masonic Benevolence



Bro. Daniel J. Di Natale was bestowed this award for his exemplary service to the Master, Wardens and Brethren of Harmonie Lodge. 

Bro. Di Natale has been the president of the Ronald J. Keel Fellowcraft Club for two years. In his tenure, he has substantially increased the Ward A. Peterson Benevolence Fund while also leading fundraising efforts, allowing for major donations to the Food Bank of WNY in 2010 and the Masonic Medical Research Lab in 2011.

Albert Pike Award for Masonic Education and Scholarship

W:.J.C.L was bestowed the Albert Pike Award for Masonic Education and Scholarship for his exemplary service to the Master, Wardens and Brethren of Harmonie Lodge No. 699.


The Cornerstone Award

R:. W:. Henry Zip Lang, Jr. was bestowed this award for his exemplary lifetime of service to the Master, Wardens and Brethren of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 and the Western New York Masonic Community.

·        Master of  Harmonie Lodge – 1957
·        Potentate of  Ismailia Temple – 1965
·        Grand Steward of the GLNY – 1968
·        Director, Royal Order of Jesters – 1979
·        Secretary, Harmonie Lodge – 1992 to 2008

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The new Ronald J. Keel Fellowcraft Club website

V:. W:. Ronald J. Keel and R:. W:. Ward A. Peterson
Brethren,

It is my great pleasure to unveil the new and improved Ronald J. Keel Fellowcraft Club website designed by W:. J. C. Litwin and Bro. Michael Hacker. Special thanks to Bro. Greg Stewart for his amazing artwork.

Click the link below to see what all the fuss is about.

THE RONALD J. KEEL FELLOWCRAFT CLUB

I'll see you around the quarry,



Bro. Daniel J. Di Natale
President, RJK Fellowcraft Club

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Tyler's Toast

The Craftsmen’s work of day is done, the Brethren now must part.
"A Tyler’s Toast" our Master cries, "to warm each faithful heart."
For though we go our separate ways, our bond is ever strong.
The magic of the mystic tie will draw us back ere long.


Until then, think, each time you meet a Brother down on luck,
Whose life is marked by poverty, perhaps by illness struck.
That "If not for the Grace of God, I might walk in his shoes,
I wonder how much I can spare, to help him meet his dues."

And spare a wish for Brethren, who through no fault, their own,
May find themselves in foreign lands, and laboring alone.
That once the day shall come when they no longer need to roam,
May each enjoy a swift and happy voyage to his home.

Long may our Lodges welcome Craftsmen, travelling to the East.
And may our secrets guide good hearts, until each soul’s release
To wing its own way Heavenward, these heartfelt words ingrain,
We're happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.

To our next merry meeting.

The WM welcomes 7 newly initiated Entered Apprentices

On August 10, 2011 Harmonie Lodge No. 699 had the honor of initiating 7 young gentlemen into our esteeemed ranks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Wonderful Lambskins

Brethren,

We are so very fortunate to have real lambskin aprons for our upcoming first degree. For the last few years I have searched for the very best in Masonic regalia. I was lucky enough to find Bro. William Ellis from brotherhoodaprons.com. He has been a joy to work with and has provided many of the custom aprons we all have seen around the districts (especially at Harmonie Lodge). These aprons are made by him and his wife, just like the regalia of old, made for a Brother by a Brother. I am so impressed with how amazing these came out that I had to share with all of you just how amazing these aprons are.

For those of you that are not members at Harmonie, do your Lodge a favor speak with Brother Ellis. Stop buying the mass produce catalog regalia. Get it made the way your Lodge's needs it and what your candidates deserve. Gain a true Masonic emblem that will be worn with pride for years to come.

Around the Quarry,

Bro. D

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Mother Lodge



There was a Rundle, Station Master,
An' Beazeley of the rail;
An' Achman, commissariat,
An' Donkin o' the jail.

An' Blake, cunductor sergeant,
Our Master twice was ‘e,
With ‘im that kept the Europe shop,
Old Framjee Eduljee.

Outside "Sergeant!
Sir! Salute! Salam!"
Inside "Brother"
an' it doesn't do no ‘arm,

We meet upon the level
an' we parted on the square,
An' I was Junior Deacon
in my Mother Lodge out there.

There was Bola Nath, accountant,
And Saul, the Aden Jew,
An, Din Mohammed, draughtsman,
Of the Survey office, too.

There was Babu Chicekerhitty,
An' Amir Singh, the Sikh,
An' Castro of the fittin' sheds,
A Roman Catholic.

We ‘ad n't good regalia,
An' our Lodge was old an' bare;
But we knew the ancient landmarks,
An' we kept ‘em to a hair.
 
An' looking on it backwards,
It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as ‘eathen now,
Except, per'aps, it's us.

For monthly after labor
We'd all sit down an' smoke
We durs'nt give no banquets
Least a brother's caste were broke.

An' man on man got bukkin'
Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
Of the God 'e knowed the best.
 
So man on man got started,
An' not a beggar stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots,
An' that dam' brain-fever bird.

We'd say't was very curious,
An' we'd all go ‘ome to bed
With Mohammed, God, an' Shiva,
Changin' pickets in our ‘ead.
 
Full out of Gov'ment service
This wanderin' foot ‘ath pressed
An' bore fraternal greetin's
To the Lodges East and West.

Accordin' as commanded,
From Ko'at 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 white and brown,
With the burlies smellin' pleasant
An' the ag-dan passin' down.

An' the old Khansannah snorin'
On the bottle-Khana floor,
Like a Brother in good standing
With my Mother Lodge once more.

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


Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, July 23, 2011

German Table Lodge


Part of our Lodge’s German heritage is the annual hosting of a Table Lodge. A few other Lodges in Erie County hold similar events, but only Harmonie Lodge presents an unparalleled feast of traditional German (Bavarian) food, drink, and music. The Table Lodge is a time for our brethren to feast and toast to the health of our Lodge, our Brethren, and our Fraternity. Unlike the usual Festive Board, the Table Lodge is modeled after early Masonic meetings in Europe and America, which were literally held at the table. These types of meetings were standard practice for many of the colonial Masons of early America, and were common in the homelands of our founding members. While this type of meeting fell out of fashion around the turn of the 19th century in favor of a more formal meeting, many continental European lodges maintained this tradition. It is from contacts that our brethren made in German lodges that this tradition has been brought to our home in Buffalo.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Craftsman’s Journey

As a man with little family
And ne’er the guts to dare
The turning point turned out to be
Parting upon the Square

My heart had heard the Architect
Though this ashlar was rough fare
So I approached the Masons’ Lodge
And knocked what door was there

I was taken by the hand
With no reason to beware
And then I observed the light
Three flicker and three flare

Then I was properly educated
As my mind was so far bare
I took the craftsman’s journey
And I walked that flight of stair

At long last I was made a master
And death held no despair
But my travels were just beginning
The progress is for e’er

So I advanced from a lowly start
Taking seats as was fair
With the hopes I may one day be worthy
Of sitting in Solomon’s Chair

Through this I stay ever mindful
That titles are only a snare
For what good is a Master
That no longer lives with love and care?

Yet through it all vice still hounds me
Clawing at my soul’s lair
Though now I keep it in due bounds
For I am Hiram’s heir

I’d always had Baal’s Bridge wisdom
But I knew not from where
‘Til my Brothers gave me Light
And bid my actions Square

– Bro. Ryan S. Bonnett

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Join the Mug Club! Table Lodge 2011

Brothers,


We are a few weeks away from hosting Buffalo's original German Table Lodge. All 50 reservations are spoken for, and there is a growing waiting list. If you have a reservation, but have not yet paid, you need to act NOW! You can do this easily at http://harmonie699.com/members_only.aspx   by paying via paypal or by mailing a check to the secretary. Entrance is $30 and with that you get the limited edition 2.75 oz Harmonie Toasting Cannon. You get this with your purchase of the ticket the day of the event to use in sharing our fraternal toast. I know that some of our Brothers would love to attend but cannot due to being busy or simply live too far away. That is no reason to not get a hold of one of these wonderful Toasting Cannons.


For $5 each you can have one of these wonderful Cannons to share in a toast where ever you may be. You can pick them up at Lodge or we can ship them to you. Shipping and handling is $6.00 for up to 3 Cannons. If you are interested in ordering a few for yourself our your Lodge please contact me via facebook or email info@harmonie699.com. All the proceeds will go towards the Lodge, so please Brothers pick up a set.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Excerpt from Albert Pike's "Morals and Dogma"

IN the Ancient Orient, all religion was more or less a mystery and there was no divorce from it of philosophy. The popular theology, taking the multitude of allegories and symbols for realities, degenerated into a worship of the celestial luminaries, of imaginary Deities with human feelings, passions, appetites, and lusts, of idols, stones, animals, reptiles. The Onion was sacred to the Egyptians, because its different layers were a symbol of the concentric heavenly spheres. Of course the popular religion could not satisfy the deeper longings and thoughts, the loftier aspirations of the Spirit, or the logic of reason. The first, therefore, was taught to the initiated in the Mysteries. There, also, it was taught by symbols. The vagueness of symbolism, capable of many interpretations, reached what the palpable and conventional creed could not. Its indefiniteness acknowledged the abstruseness of the subject: it treated that mysterious subject mystically: it endeavored to illustrate what it could not explain; to excite an appropriate feeling, if it could not develop an adequate idea; and to make the image a mere subordinate conveyance for the conception, which itself never became obvious or familiar.
Thus the knowledge now imparted by books and letters, was of old conveyed by symbols; and the priests invented or perpetuated a display of rites and exhibitions, which were not only more attractive to the eye than words, but often more suggestive and more pregnant with meaning to the mind.
Masonry, successor of the Mysteries, still follows the ancient manner of teaching. Her ceremonies are like the ancient mystic shows,--not the reading of an essay, but the opening of a problem, requiring research, and constituting philosophy the arch-expounder. Her symbols are the instruction she gives. The lectures are endeavors, often partial and one-sided, to interpret these symbols. He who would become an accomplished Mason must not be content merely to hear, or even to understand, the lectures; he must, aided by them, and they having, as it were, marked out the way for him, study, interpret, and develop these symbols for himself.