True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Glad to meet you thus…

One of the joys and privileges of Freemasonry is that of traveling and visitation. There are regular lodges around the world where any brother from a recognized jurisdiction might sojourn among brothers, culture, and make new friends who he has never known before.

I have been traveling, this last year, far, far to the east. I traveled so far to the east, in fact, that I found myself in a typical police state, where Freemasonry is illegal. Not only is it illegal to be a Freemason, or practice Masonry here, but if any of the natives were caught, it would cost them their lives.

Puts a whole new spin maintaining secrecy, doesn’t it?

As a result, I have been a lodge of one… I have although had the pleasure of working with two brothers, also world travelers, veterans of military careers and sojourners in this place. For obvious reasons, I will say no more of them, other than their presence has been a sanity saver for me.

Now, we have all had the pleasure, I am sure, of recognizing, and being recognized as Freemasons by brothers we have never met. We make ourselves known by certain signs, phrases, turns of speech, and in America, by rings, pins, necklaces, bumper stickers, license plates, plaques, and so on.

Here, there is none of that for obvious reasons, so it is all the more rare, pleasant and surprising to meet a brother! As Freemasons, we instill in our speech certain phrases from ritual. We do this without thinking, as often as not. There are of course the tried and true phrases as well, questions and responses that indicate a man is indeed upright, on the level and acting on the square.

There are other ways we know each other as well. Not words, gestures, questions, or signs, but the manner a man expresses and carries himself that identifies him as a Mason. The first brother I met, I knew before I asked him that I was a brother. When I did ask him obliquely, he looked at me and said: “I wondered how long it was going to be before you asked me.”

You see, he had recognized me as a Mason long before I recognized him, or said anything directly to identify myself. Masonry does change us, it does make us into different, better men, and we can see that in others.

Why do I mention this now? Well, in a short time, I am on my way home. Back to my family, my friends, my brothers, and my lodges. This, because I have found a new and better job.

I have spent so much time here in the east, I literally feel as if I should be proclaimed a past master again. Why? Because here, I was a lodge of one.

I was required to master myself, live by the square, on the level, in an upright manner before g-d and man. This has been a dangerous place, where exposure, for me at least, would result in, at best, expulsion from the country.

Even now, I will not name the country, though there are a number in the east where Freemasonry is illegal. Wherever tyranny stands, there you will find Freemasonry held as illegal. Tyrants cannot abide freedom, no matter how it appears. This place is no different.

But, for all of that, this has still been a good experience. This sojourn has forced me to focus on my Freemasonry in a manner I would never have experienced at home in the United States. You see, it’s easy to be a Mason in the US and in the UK where we have our detractors. At least in free countries we have freedom from persecution, though even there can be found pinheaded hatemongers.

It is sad that, in some countries, Masons must still conceal themselves, must still keep their Masonry only in their hearts. A few political divisions in England recently tried to create rules and laws requiring Masons to declare themselves before taking certain jobs, and in Italy Masons must conceal themselves or face prejudice, job loss, and other unpleasantries.

There is no reason to require someone to register themselves, as a particular religion, or member of an organization, other than to create the same type of harassment the Jews underwent in Germany in the 1930s, and all of our forefathers gave to stop that horrific event will be lost as history repeats itself.

This trip has given me a new view of my Masonry, has enlightened me, made me appreciate it all the more, and forced me to focus internally on Masonry. I have had time for quiet contemplation and for study. In a sense, this blog is itself a result of my time in the east.

Take the time to examine your Freemasonry. What is it, what does it mean, how has it affected and transformed your life? Not everyone can be blessed with the time in this place as I have been, surrounded by hostile forces.

And next time you meet a brother, remember how wonderful it is to meet on the level!

G-d bless!

1 comment:

Peter Taylor said...

Well done again Theron! Now if there was a reason for keeping the secrets of Freemasonry secret, you have just highlighted one!

 
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