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Erik's Masonic Journey

Tue, 19 Dec 2000

The site is back up! Unfortunately I seem to have lost one or two entries. Hopefully they won't be missed too much.

If you are still having trouble accessing the site, please contact me at erik@aarg.net. Thanks for your patience!

Fri, 08 Dec 2000

Well, it turns out that I won't be Junior Steward after all. However, I will be giving the Entered Apprentice charge, which means that I'll be memorizing something. That is perfectly fine by me, as I've got a good memory and would love to put it to work. At the same time, I'm working on my Master Mason catechism and getting ready to tutor a newly initiated Entered Apprentice on his catechism, so my memory will be getting quite the workout for the next few weeks. Our secretary wants me to give my Master Mason proficiency at our stated meeting next Thursday, so I have to wrap my brain around all that confusing stuff in the last half of the catechism (all of you Masons know what I'm talking about!).

I'm excited and flattered that I've been asked to do the Entered Apprentice work. The charge and the tutoring will be a lot of fun and I'm very glad to have this opportunity to give something back to the lodge.

Going through my list of links that I've yet to share, I have another link about female Masonry. The Women's Grand Lodge of Belgium is one of the few female Grand Lodges to have any presence on the west coast as far as I know. They have a lodge down in Los Angeles, I believe. The second and last link I will share today is for the Grand Lodge of New York F&AM, First Nassau District. They have a very nice layout, beautiful graphics, and some neat pictures. Please check it out!

Thu, 07 Dec 2000

Tonight is our second Entered Apprentice degree practice, and once again I will take up the mantle of the Junior Steward and learn as much as I can by following along. Tomorrow there was supposed to be a Master Mason degree conferred by Medford Lodge No. 103, but it has unfortunately been canceled. I was looking forward to seeing the degree as a spectator while my own experience was still fresh in my mind. But that will come soon enough, I'm sure!

Today I would like to share two web sites made by individuals, instead of lodges. The first is Steve M. Hudson's home page. Steve's petition was recently accepted, and he should soon be receiving his Entered Apprentice degree. His writings are very profound, and it looks like he will be a welcome and intelligent addition to the Craft. Congratulations, Steve! The Tracing Board by Bro. Jeff Peace is the second link I'd like to share. He has collected quite a few excellent articles and a great deal of material on his site, and I urge everybody to check it out.

Those of you who are American Masons and have gone through the three Blue Lodge degrees in a York or American Rite lodge might not be aware of some of the interesting differences that other rites use in their versions of the Blue Lodge degrees. For example, blue lodges practicing the Scottish Rite use a "Chamber of Reflection" in the Entered Apprentice degree. I'd heard it mentioned before, but luckily the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon has among its vast collection of material this very interesting article about the Chamber. If you are a petitioner in a Scottish Rite blue lodge (not to be confused with the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, which practices the 4th-32nd degrees), you might want to skip this link as it may be a bit of a "spoiler."

Fri, 01 Dec 2000

Practicing the Entered Apprentice degree last night was a real treat. I will be taking the part of the Junior Steward during the degree, which seems like an excellent place to start. As far as I can tell, there are no speaking parts. One thing that is so amazing to me is how seriously my lodge brethren are taking the work. The head of the degree team is a Past Master who moved up here from a California lodge, and he is very strict about our movements and actions during the ritual. This will hopefully give us the appearance of a well-oiled ritual machine, and be extremely impressive to those observing the degree. There is a lot of memory work involved, and a lot of additional ritual work that I never even knew existed! It's great to see and I'm excited about the opportunity to learn more of it.

In light of my recent Masonic activities, I thought I would share an article titled "MASTERing the Art of Learning Ritual". I also have some other links to share. First, is the Regular Grand Lodge of Yugoslavia of AF&AM, which is a small but growing Grand Lodge with a very nice looking web page. Next is 4Masonry.com, which looks to be a good collection of online resources for Masons. They also have a free e-mail system. Check them out!

Finally, I have collected two links about Table Lodges. The first link comes from Indiana Masons Online and contains a diagram of a table lodge and some suggested toasts and activities. The second link is provided to us by The Electric Lodge No. 495 in the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. It describes some of the peculiarities and history behind the Table Lodge, and makes for some good reading. Enjoy!

Thu, 30 Nov 2000

I started learning my Master Mason catechism this morning. Wow, that's a doozy. Tonight I will be going to the Entered Apprentice degree practice to find out exactly which part I'm going to be playing. That should be a lot of fun.

Using the E-M@son Links page as an inspiration, I created an AvantGo version of this page. To add the Erik's Masonic Journey channel to your PDA, just click here! Keep in mind that most of the links I share are not really formatted for AvantGo, so you may not want to follow off-site links or anything. Please share feedback about this service. Feel free to e-mail me or the mailing list about it.

Now, for those of you who aren't foolish enough to dish out the money for a PDA, I do have news to share. Next month is of course going to be filled with Lodge Installations, which are open to the public. Central Point Lodge will be having their installation on Saturday, December 9th at 10:00 AM. Grants Pass Lodge will be on Sunday, December 10th, at 1:00 PM. Ashland Masonic Lodge No. 23 will be on Thursday, December 21st at 6:30 PM. Click on the lodge names for driving directions. These installations are open to the public, so please feel free to bring your family and friends.

Wed, 29 Nov 2000

Today I have more good news! I'm not totally sure yet, but it sounds like the lodge is going to get me started on learning one of the parts for the Entered Apprentice degree. I believe it will be a non-speaking part. One of the Deacons, perhaps? This is something I will enjoy a great deal, and I will know more about it on Friday.

The first link I'd like to share today is Blackmer Lodge No. 442 in San Diego, California. The page is very nicely put together and has some great information on it. Secondly, the Grand Lodge of Michigan has such an excellent website that it almost compels me to share it with everybody. I also found for the first time The American Mason, an on-line Masonic magazine. I believe they also have a print version. They have some good articles and it's definitely worth checking out.

Mon, 27 Nov 2000

On Saturday I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, and it was incredible! Brethren from five different lodges collaborated on the degree work, and if I could remember all of their names off the top of my head I would thank each of them individually. I enjoyed the Fellowcraft degree so much that I thought it would be impossible for the Master Mason degree to beat it, but by golly, it did. What an excellent degree!

Bro. Mark Barondes from Pacific Lodge No. 50 came down from Salem, OR, to watch my degree be conferred, and I wanted to thank him specifically as he drove a long way and had to sleep in his car. Thanks, Bro. Mark!

I don't have any links to share today, but I would like to announce that I am going to be moving to a new job in December. Those of you who wish to contact me via e-mail, please use my permanent address, erik@aarg.net.

Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Last night I helped cook for our monthly lodge dinner. It was a lot of fun! The head cook was our Chaplain, who happens to be a retired Methodist minister (as is his wife!) and the current High Priest of the local Royal Arch Chapter. I was in charge of the scrambled eggs, and there were pancakes and ham and lots of syrup to go around. After dinner we usually play bingo, and I managed to actually win a game last night, so next month I get a free dinner!

Yesterday I came across the home page of Bro. George Marshall, Jr. and discovered that he has collected a wealth of information about the York Rite, including an excellent page on Royal Arch Masonry. There is such a rich history behind the Royal Arch degree that I look forward to pursuing at least the first part of the York Rite eventually. I do plan to be an active Blue Lodge participant for at least a year before expanding into any of the hauts grades, though. My interest is currently piqued because of the antique apron I discovered on my honeymoon two weeks ago.

Some postings on soc.org.freemasonry also directed me to Den Danske Frimurerorden, which is the largest Grand Lodge in Denmark, and also to one of its competitors, Storlogen Af Danmark, which is apparently unrecognized by the UGLE. I also found the home page of Windsor Masonic Lodge No. 138 in Manitoba, Canada. This is a beautiful home page and everybody should check it out.

Mon, 13 Nov 2000

Hello readers! I am back from my vacation, and I have some good news. My new wife and I got back from our honeymoon, where we visited wineries and vineyards around McMinneville and stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast called the Wine Country Farm. While in the area, we stopped by an antique store in Lafayette, where I found an ancient Masonic apron. It's an ornate Past High Priest apron from Monroe Chapter No. 1 in Detroit, Michigan. The inscription under the apron's flap dates the owner's term as High Priest as 1889-1890, so I am assuming the apron was probably presented in 1890 or '91.

I also helped my friend finish up his petition during my vacation, and I believe it was read at the lodge's stated meeting last Thursday. In addition, I met another brother-to-be at the lodge coffee morning, and he looks to be not much older than myself. It's very good to see this new infusion of "young blood" in the lodge. We need it! I also learned that I will be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on Saturday, the 25th of November. I will be the third of three brethren being raised that weekend, and the ritual will be held at the Medford Masonic Center by a team consisting of Masons from Ashland Lodge No. 23 and Medford Lodge No. 103. If any readers are interested in attending, please e-mail me and I will give you more details.

Mon, 23 Oct 2000

Last Thursday I took my Fellowcraft proficiency, and I passed! I don't feel like I did quite as well as I did with my Entered Apprentice proficiency, though. I have enjoyed going to lodge meetings every time I've had the chance, and I am thinking about asking the Worshipful Master if he will "knock down" our next stated meeting to the Fellowcraft degree so I can see the entire thing. I have learned that my Master Mason degree will be given on November 25th by a degree team consisting of brothers from Medford Lodge No. 103 and my own, Ashland Lodge No. 23. Any brothers who will be in Southern Oregon at that time are welcome to attend. Please ask me for directions.

I have just a couple of links to share today. I am a big fan of New England, and have traveled there a couple times with my wife. So far, my favorite New England state has been Vermont, so I thought I would share a link to the Grand Lodge of Vermont. However, New Hampshire is really tough to beat with their patriotic state motto, "Live Free or Die!" I haven't been able to find a link to the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire yet, though.

This weekend I had a great time discussing Freemasonry with the Corresponding Secretary of the Southern California Research Lodge, Bro. Ralph Herbold. He is a very friendly guy and is absolutely full of information. He's also a great salesman, and I walked away from his garage bookstore with a big armload of great books, including Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia.

Wed, 04 Oct 2000

I want to start the day by thanking Bro. Franz Bruhns of Freimaurer-Loge Am Rauhen Stein Matr.-Nr. 888. He is the first visitor to submit a link, The Three Roses Award. Bro. Bruhns says, "This award will only be given to web sites with masonic content. For the story behind please look at our rubric 'Masonic Art'. The evaluation bases on the masonic 'Light, Love and Life' of the specified resources the web site." Please check it out. The sites that have received this award in the past look very interesting.

I have tracked down the websites of a few more lodges in Oregon. Multnomah Masonic Lodge No. 1 was Oregon's first lodge. I can't find anything on the page describing the lodge history, so I'm not sure when it was chartered. However, I do know that the Grand Lodge of Oregon was chartered in 1851. Next we have Pacific Lodge No. 50 in Salem. Their website has plenty of information and is worth checking out. Finally, Unity Lodge No. 189 in Portland. Portland seems to definitely have its fair share of lodges. Hopefully someday I'll be able to visit many of them.

My last link for the day is to the Grand Lodge of Scotland's list of Famous Masons. If you search down the list far enough, you will come to the listing for M.W. Arthur D. Hay, who was an Oregon Supreme Court Justice and also the Grand Master of Oregon in 1941.

I have been attempting to track down the webpage for the Research Lodge of Oregon. I've found many outdated links, but if anybody knows where the page can currently be found, please let me know.

Mon, 02 Oct 2000

It's another Monday, and I'm back with another armfull of links to share. I'd like to start off with a page called Goethe Freemason which, as its title suggests, is an essay about the famous German poet and Freemason Johann Wolfgang Goethe. An interesting quote from the page: "It is a continual puzzle to Masons, why Washington's biographers so seldom - almost never - mention either his Masonic correspondence, membership and Mastership; or the tremendous, if quiet, influence which Freemasonry had upon his life, character and activities."

The Virginia Masonic Information Net compiled by Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 is so incredibly excellent that everybody should check it out. Make sure to scroll all the way down the page to plumb the depths of their vault of information. There are plenty of great links and papers to read here. The lodge's page is something else, as well! Their web designer is very creative.

Thu, 28 Sep 2000

Today I told the lodge secretary, who also happens to be the man helping me with my Fellowcraft memory work, that I would be prepared to prove my proficiency at the next stated meeting. That's only two weeks away, so I really have to start studying so I can remember all of this stuff! While the original plan was to arrange for my Master Mason degree to be put on by Belt Lodge No. 18 in Kerby, it now looks like the Ashland lodge will be doing it. I'm very excited!

Bro. Chris Adams sent me a link for Harry Klitzner Company, an online fraternal supply manufacturer. They have a very comprehensive listing of Masonic and Shriner items, and Bro. Chris says that he has ordered a few things from them and been completely satisfied with the service! And for those of you interested in Russian Masonry, here is an article titled A History of Masonic Collections in Russia. I think this brings me up-to-date on my long list of Masonic links. If you have any to share, especially a home page for your lodge, please send it to me and I will share your link on this site.

Hiram's Oasis is probably the oldest Masonic website in the world. The man who started it, Bro. Preston E. Burner, passed away earlier this year. I never had the pleasure of corresponding with him, but I have heard many good things about him, and his collection of Masonic files that he shared with the world is very impressive. My best wishes to his family and friends.

Wed, 27 Sep 2000

I wasn't planning on adding a new entry today, but I have such a long list of backlogged links I wish to share that I thought I should. First I'd like to direct everybody to the Mystic Sojourner Page, which contains a number of very interesting articles that share a very spiritual view of Freemasonry. They speak to great lengths on symbolism in Masonry. Also, the very attractive webpage of the Grand Loge de France has some good articles. Don't worry, there's an English section!

The eternally informative Bro. Paul Bessel has collected a list of All the Grand Lodges in the World, including "mainstream" grand lodges, Prince Hall grand lodges, and "other" grand lodges. This last category includes clandestine and unrecognized organizations. It's interesting to see that there's even a clandestine Grand Lodge in Oregon: the Most Worshipful St. Joseph Grand Lodge of Oregon. I couldn't find them on the web, so if anybody has information about this organization I'd be most interested in hearing it.

On to the individual lodge pages! Valley Lodge No. 499 in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, has an excellent page which includes a good collection of Masonic links. They have a program where they are selling custom Masonic glassware. One dollar from each glass sold goes to the Valley Lodge Christmas Charity Fund. I also came across a site calling itself "an information portal to all of the Masonic Lodges of the Black Hills of South Dakota". It is very nicely put together with excellent graphics and a wonderful layout. Please check it out!

Tue, 26 Sep 2000

Didn't I used to have some sort of on-line Masonic page that I was working on? Oh yeah, here it is! Wow, I feel like once again I've let down my readers by not posting anything in over a month, but I've got some great stuff to share now, which will hopefully get some folks coming back here for more. First, I came across the Masonic Renewal Committee of North America, which is dedicated to renewing interest in Masonry. They have some interesting books available. Are there any members of this organization out there? If so, please drop me an e-mail.

For any South African Masons out there, there's now an eGroup for you! I also found a page titled Twenty-First Century Freemasonry that has some interesting ideas. Hopefully the author of the page will continue updating it, and sharing his ideas with the world.

While not directly related to Freemasonry, these next links have to do with some of our sublime fraternity's lessons and goals. Ontario Consultants Religious Tolerance is an excellent page full of great information. Also great reading is this page about Banned Books Week, from which I have pulled this insightful and moving quote:

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error." - On Liberty, John Stuart Mill

As for my Masonic education, it continues slowly. A continually busy life has kept me from my studies far too often, and I have yet to even prove my proficiency in the Fellowcraft degree. I am working on it, though, so just bear with me.

Wed, 16 Aug 2000

Today I received my order from All Things Masonic. They messed up the order a little bit and only sent me one car emblem instead of two, but that's alright because we've decided that we're going to start taking stickers off the Focus in hopes that people will stop scratching and denting it! I've never seen a new car get battered in parking lots so often, and I'm starting to feel like it's in that Saturn commercial. Also, the coffee mug I ordered is very nice, but the colors in the Square & Compasses seem a bit washed out and pale. Still, it was very prompt service. I suspect the messed up quantities was a bug in their shopping cart software, as the invoice says I only ordered one.

Bro. Mike Leigh sent me a link to his lodge, Oaklands Lodge No. 5356 in the Province of Cheshire. It is a nice page with a very attractive pink background and has a good FAQ and some excellent photos. Speaking of provinces, I also have a link to The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Hertfordshire which I've been sitting on for a while. It looks to be a very well-maintained website, and while it doesn't have anything to do with the Blue Lodge (at least, I don't think it does), I'm including it anyhow. I believe Mark Master is an additional degree one may receive in parts of the UGLE, but I'm not sure. I'd like to know, so please e-mail me if you can shed some light on this subject.

Well, Bro. Duncan Ellis revealed an interesting link to the ritual for a Masonic wedding on the eGroups Freemason list. Apparently the ritual is worked in parts of Turkey, and while it isn't used as an official ceremony it's a sort of Masonic nuptial affirmation. It looks very interesting!

Tue, 15 Aug 2000

I am a Fellowcraft Mason! I don't know exactly how to describe the Fellowcraft ritual. It was similar to the Entered Apprentice, but at the same time so much more beautiful, involved, and intricate. I wish I could do it over and over again, as there are a million details I'm sure I missed. The ritual team was excellent. Medford Lodge #103 brought a man down from Selma for the long spoken parts in the second half of the degree. Speaking of Medford Lodge #103, it is a very beautiful place. I met many Masons who all happened to be very friendly folks.

I am interested in finding books about the Fellowcraft degree. There is so much symbolism and allegory in the degree ritual that I have a tough time remembering all of it, and I am curious to read others' interpretations. If anybody has any book recommendations, please drop me an e-mail and let me know!

Well, now it's time for me to share some links. First on my list is an excellent and informative website about Masonic music. This site contains information about dozens of composers who have created music related to Masonic ceremonies or degrees or ideas. It is definitely worth checking out! Secondly, the Undernet Masonic Resource Center contains a very sizeable and informative collection of papers about Freemasonry, as well as nice graphics, an attractive layout, and plenty of great content. Those interested in esoteric Freemasonry will also be very pleased with their library.

Two lodges are on my list of links for today. The first is Dresden Lodge #90, F&A.M.. Their website is very nice looking, but requires JavaScript to work properly. Once there, make sure to check out their excellent collection of Masonic clip art and excellent photograph collection. The second is the very oddly numbered Lodge Mother Kilwinning #0 in Kilwinning, Scotland. This lodge claims to date back to the 14th or 15th century, and its history is more interesting than any single lodge's I've read so far. Please go check it out!

Mon, 07 Aug 2000

Let me start the week with some excellent news. This Friday I will be receiving my Fellowcraft degree at the Medford Masonic Lodge! I'm very excited about this. I spoke with the Worshipful Master of the Medford lodge at the annual Ashland Lodge picnic yesterday, and he told me that they will be giving the Fellowcraft to another Mason as well. In anticipation, I took my suit pants to the dry cleaners. If any Mason reading this page is in Southern Oregon or wants to drive up here to see the ceremony, please e-mail me and ask for more specific directions and information.

I have found a few fraternal supply houses on the web. lostword.com seems to have a good selection, although the prices are a bit higher than I hoped. All Things Masonic likewise has an excellent collection of Masonic paraphenelia. I just ordered some things from them, so I'll be sure to let everybody know how their service is once my order gets here. Last, but not least, Michael Poll Publishing sells out-of-print and collectible Masonic books. They also publish new Masonic books, so those interested should definitely check them out!

Michael Poll Publishing also has an excellent collection of links, which you can find on this page. I also came across this very beautiful page for the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. It looks like it'd be a very nice place to visit.

Thu, 03 Aug 2000

This weekend, my beautiful bride and I were finally married! It was a very joyous occasion, but I must say that all of the hard work leading up to the event has left me very exhausted. I am just now getting caught up with all of the links and e-mail that I have received and collected for this page, so please be patient if I haven't responded to you yet!

To welcome myself back (Welcome back, Erik!), I'd first like to share the webpages for a couple of Missouri lodges. McDonald Lodge #324 in Independence has a very nice looking web page and has nothing to do with hamburgers. They have two stated meetings a month, so it looks like they must be a very busy and active lodge. Mount Hope Lodge #476 in Odessa has a page that looks very similar to McDonald Lodge's. They, too, have two stated meetings a month! I have to say, I'm a bit jealous. Does every lodge in Missouri have two stated meetings a month?

As many American Masons know, Freemasonry has been present throughout the history of our nation. Bro. Paul Bessel has collected information about the signers of the Declaration of Independence on this page and listed known Masonic affiliations for all of them. Also, I was directed to an excellent page about Freemasonry in the Civil War, which is filled with interesting stories.

Today, being Thursday, is my Lodge's weekly coffee morning. I am looking forward to going and visiting all of my Masonic brethren. I'm a married Mason now!

Thu, 20 Jul 2000

Today was our Lodge's coffee morning, and I took my petitioning friend with me so he could meet some of my Masonic brothers. He had a great time, and I think he got along well with them, which makes me happy. I think he'll make an excellent Mason. Aside from that, things have continued to be very busy with the rest of my life. Valkyrie and I are almost done planning our wedding and everything is coming together nicely.

I have a few good links to share today. The first is a page sent to me by Bro. Marv Liss, Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry (if you don't have Java enabled you'll want to start here instead). I haven't spent a lot of time exploring this site but I do know that it contains a great collection of Masonic essays and articles. Thanks, Bro. Marv!

I also found a great site on Bro. Paul M. Bessel's site containing several articles regarding the Shrine & Freemasonry. These are good reading.

Mon, 10 Jul 2000

The oddest news today is the recent changes in the Shrine's policy for accepting members. They have dropped the requirements for members to have reached the 32º in the Scottish Rite or the Knight Templar degree in York Rite, and now any Master Mason may petition for membership. From an e-mail bulletin I received:

In an unprecedented move in its 128 years of existence, the Shrine of North America overwhelmingly voted on Monday, July 3, 2000, to make available to Master Masons the opportunity to join the Shrine fraternity.


It was by a near-unanimous vote of the Representatives meeting in Boston at the Shrine's 126th Imperial Council Session that Section 323.3 of Article 23 of the bylaws of the Iowa Corporation was amended to read: "A Temple may not accept a petition from a candidate unless he is in good standing as a Master Mason of a Lodge recognized and in amity with the Conference of Grand Masters of North America. Furthermore, a Temple may not add to or take from the qualifications for membership as fixed by these bylaws."

This message was followed quite quickly by some rather strange news from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Arkansas stating that the Shrine will no longer be recognized as an official appendant body of Masonry within its jurisdiction. MW Dickey J. Fortner wrote, "As many of you are aware, Past Imperial Potentate Ralph Semb indicated in several of his writings that he believes the laws of the Shrine supersede Grand Lodge Law and the authority of a Grand Lodge to govern the Master Masons within their Grand Jurisdiction." His entire letter regarding this issue is available online.

Wed, 28 Jun 2000

Today I have many collected links to share with everybody. First, I'd like to direct everybody to visit the webpage of Lyons Jr. Lodge #290 in the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. Speaking of Prince Hall lodges, I found this page and this page which talk about the efforts of Masons in Alabama to convince the Grand Lodge of Alabama to recognize Prince Hall Masonry. It sounds like they could use support! And speaking of the south, I also came across the Louisiana Masonic Family. It is a very nicely designed page with plenty of great information, including this excellent article about MW Thomas Smith Webb, the man who wrote much of the ritual used in American Masonry today.

Many Masons are doubtlessly aware of the discussions going on about the decline in membership in many of our Lodges. I was very pleased to find this quote by Bro. Åke Eldberg on alt.freemasonry:

I also find it hard to believe that the survival of Fremasonry is at stake; our fraternity will see increases and decreases in numbers over time, but it will survive. Even in Eastern Block countries where it has been outlawed for decades, lodges reappear now. The most important thing isn't to make Masonry attractive to many people, but to preserve the important values that it stands for and the lessons it has to teach.

Bro. Eldberg is another of those extremely intelligent Masons who always has worthwhile thoughts and opinions to share. I would encourage everybody to visit his Anti-Masonry debunking website.

Tue, 27 Jun 2000

Well, the news of the day is that I spoke to my mentor, who also happens to be the Lodge secretary. He told me that as the Lodge is dark during the summer, he's having a lot of trouble getting together enough people to do my Fellowcraft degree, so we're going to have to wait until September. This is disappointing, but I think the lesson in patience is good. Besides, I'll have a lot of time this summer to work on the Lodge's new homepage, and maybe I'll have a chance to get ahold of the Worshipful Master and show him what I've got.

Bro. George Tucker shared the web page for Littleville Lodge #881 in the Grand Lodge of Alabama on our new mailing list. I also found on the web an interesting research paper entitled "What Does the Finnish Freemason Believe In?". It is interesting reading! Only marginally related to Freemasonry is this page dedicated to A. E. Waite, a very prolific writer who wrote at least one book on Freemasonry and was involved in such groups as the Golden Dawn.

Repeating visitors will notice that I've added a few new things to the website, such as the navigation bar near the top and the search box on the right side. Please feel free to send me feedback about these new items and let me know how they're working.

Mon, 26 Jun 2000

It is the beginning of another week, and hopefully this shall be one including more webpage updates. To begin with, I came across Masonic Moroni, a page indexing a number of articles regarding Freemasonry and Mormonism. I'm sure many of these articles contain good information, but I haven't looked through many of them yet. Even more worthy of mention is a collection of articles by Bro. Dr. Roger M. Firestone. Those who frequent alt.freemasonry probably recognize his name. He is a very prolific and intelligent speaker on the subject of Freemasonry and I always enjoy reading his work.

On Bro. Ed King's website I also found an article called After Petitioning. It is very informative and a good read, and is similar to a small booklet I received from my lodge. I also stumbled across a Masonic TrueType font while browsing through GoMasonry. And lastly, I wish to point everybody towards the webpage of the Lodge of St. George #1152 in Singapore. It sounds like they had some hairy times in the war, but pulled through alright.

Hopefully this week I will hear word about my Fellowcraft degree. Things have been very slow at the lodge coffees, probably because these summer months are the Dark ones. I will have more news about this later in the week.

Fri, 23 Jun 2000

I've gone and had another slow week, for which I apologize. However, I did get one thing done today! I created an eGroup for announcements and discussion regarding this web page. Please feel free to join it by following this link and filling out the relevant information. It is open to both Masons and non-Masons alike.

For those of you who have gotten tired of visiting this page daily to see if any changes have been made, this will be an excellent way to keep abreast of things without actually coming back here.

Also, in the realm of not-such-great-news, it looks like my lodge's home page is gone! I think it is now quite necessary for me to begin working on a new one, as I think an online presence is necessary.

Wed, 21 Jun 2000

I managed to get ahold of a member of Sunnyside Lodge #163, and it turns out they aren't gone at all. Here is what he had to say:

Our beautiful lodge was sold, and as I've been a member since 1978, it was a second home to me. I was Master of Sunnyside in 1983, and at that time the upkeep was around $15,000 a year. With a declining membership, I guess the majority of the members felt that it was time to sell the building, as it is less expensive to rent. I am going to be Master of Sunnyside again next year, but it won't be the same without our old building. I had many happy memories there, and remember many fine Masons who passed through that building. I hope this information helps.

After checking the lodge's new home page I discovered that they meet at the Washington Masonic Center, another building I talked about yesterday! How's that for an odd coincidence? Hopefully someday Sunnyside #163 will be able to move back into that incredible lodge building. I wish them the best of luck!

These last few days I haven't had many links to share, so I thought I would dig around a bit and find some nice Lodge pages to share. The first belongs to Livingston Lodge #160 in Hammond, Louisiana. It is a nicely designed, concise page with good information. The second is an Australian lodge, Scotia Lodge #263 in Brisbane, Queensland. While it loads a bit slowly from here, I really enjoy the colors and style they used in their design. It has a nice layout with clean graphics and good content. If you would like to see your lodge's homepage mentioned here, please e-mail me and introduce yourself! I enjoy hearing from all Masons all over the world.

Tue, 20 Jun 2000

After a long weekend and a busy trip to Portland, I'm back! I had some interesting Masonic adventures this weekend. While in downtown Portland on Hawthorne street, we came across an old brick building with some magnificent columns. It was fairly large, and I remember thinking how neat it would be if it was a Masonic temple. Well, it was! Apparently it was sold off sometime in the past, but the cornerstone indeed identified it as the former home of Sunnyside Lodge No. 163, A.F. & A.M. The building was built in 1919 and the cornerstone laid by "M.W.C.M.". Currently the old temple isn't in the best of shape. The Lodge room, which still has many of its original benches and some Masonic decoration, is home to an artsy head shop and the rear part of the building houses an Irish pub. There is still a very nice floor mosaic right when you walk into the building with a large decorated "G". I took some pictures, and can hopefully have them up here someday.

It was depressing to see such a fine building in such a state of disrepair, and I was afraid that perhaps Sunnyside #163 had seen the last of its days. However, I see some references to it on the web so hopefully it's alive and well in a newer, nicer building. I was also happy to see the very beautiful building being used by Washington Lodge #101 on 52nd Street. It seems there's a lot of interesting Masonic history in Oregon, and I sure wish I could find some books about it.

My second great Masonic adventure happened out in Forest Grove, the home of the Grand Lodge of Oregon. This was interesting, because a chain of restaurant breweries called McMenamins bought the old Grand Lodge and retirement home and turned it into a great restaurant and hotel called the McMenamins Grand Lodge. My friends wanted to take me there so I could point out Masonic symbolism in the building, but it seems that McMenamins took away most of the old decoration. And unfortunately we weren't able to tour the real Masonic Grand Lodge because they aren't open on Sundays. I plan on going back there someday during the week, that's for sure.

The new Grand Lodge building is very impressive. I wish I had a photo of it! Anyhow, I am interested in hearing from fellow Masons in Oregon, especially those who can share with me some history of the Portland Lodges. Please e-mail me if you have any information.

Wed, 14 Jun 2000

We're only halfway through the week, but I feel as if there's been about five months piled into the first two days! However exhausted I might be, I still managed to scrape up some great links and some more news about my Masonic journey that I'd like to share. On Monday Valkyrie and I attended the monthly Lodge dinner. It was great fun. We were accidentally an hour late, but we still got there in time for some food and a couple good games of Bingo. There was a really good turnout, and I had a chance to talk to the Worshipful Master about building a website. It sounds as if everybody is really fond of that idea. In case anybody feels like asking, there's no word yet on when my Fellowcraft degree will be conferred. Given my hectic schedule at the moment, I wouldn't mind if they waited a few more weeks.

After poking around for more information about Freemasonry in Egypt I came across an article at Egy.com which seems to suggest that Freemasonry in Egypt is rather dead at the moment. Please read the article here and let me know what you think.

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has a great site full of information. I haven't even started exploring it yet, but it looks like their page about George Washington's apron is really interesting. I also found Bro. R. M. Firestone's Quick Index to Masonic Information. I think I may have mentioned it before, but it's definitely worth looking at. For those who need a good pick-me-up in the middle of this extremely long week, there's also a web page full of Masonic jokes. And that's it for today! Please be aware that updates might be very slow for the rest of this week, and perhaps next week too. Someday soon I hope to get back on track with this stuff!

Mon, 12 Jun 2000

It's Monday, and everything seems to be back to normal! This weekend was filled with much excitement and celebration, as an old friend of mine returned to town after being gone for a year and a half. I realize however that I have been neglecting all of my readers by not sharing news of my proficiency examination. I passed! I stumbled in a few places, but overall it went very smoothly. It was very exhilarating to be reciting the memory work in front of my Lodge. My brethren were very excited about my progress as well. I was told several times that it was the best examination they'd seen, and my mentor wanted to make sure everybody knew how quickly I'd learned it. But now I sound like I'm bragging, when really I'm just extremely thrilled!

I learned also that our Lodge goes dark in July and August. However, several of my brothers were scheming to pull together some "emergent" meetings in those months to get me through my Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees so that I would be able to attend the Lodge's stated meetings when they begin again in September.

In the link department today, I have the Family of New Jersey Freemasonry, which happens to also be the home page for their Grand Lodge. Apparently New Jersey has so many Freemasons that they are broken down into districts, with deputy Grand Masters. That must be a lot of Masons attending a lot of Lodges. Now I understand why I get e-mail from so many of them!

In other news, I recently began planning for a trip to Egypt later this year. I would be very interested in making contact with Freemasons while I'm over there. If anybody has any information on contacting Masons in Egypt, please e-mail me and let me know. I haven't been able to find anything so far.

Thu, 08 Jun 2000

This has been a very busy week for me at work. In addition to moving my office, I've been needing to rearrange our server room and get all ready for the "big move". Our evenings have been very busy as well! Valkyrie's birthday is next week and we've been planning a party for her. Tonight a good friend of mine is coming into town, and I am going to the Lodge to take my Entered Apprentice proficiency test as well! Last night we saw the York Rite Commandery officer installation and watched a slide show presented by the minister they sent to the Holy Land.

Understandably, with all of this going on I've had very little time to collect any links to share. However, I did find one which appears to be the home page for the Grand Lodge of Russia. Or at least a lodge in Russia. Well, I'm not sure if I'll have any time for an update tomorrow, but hopefully by Monday there will be more here!

Wed, 07 Jun 2000

It's been a good while since I've posted anything at all on this page, and I'm sure many of my regular readers are getting rather bored reading the same old entries over and over again. Well, I'm back! The most exciting news of the day is that a good friend of mine asked for a petition. I was hoping he'd ask, so I had been carrying a petition in my vest pocket for several weeks. Unfortunately, he waited so long that the blank petition I gave him was wrinkled and dirty. Today at my Lodge's weekly coffee meeting I picked up a clean petition for him, so hopefully when the Lodge stops being dark in the Fall he'll be ready!

Monday night is our Lodge dinner, which is open to the public if anybody is interested in attending. And on August 10th the Grand Master of Oregon will be visiting the Medford Lodge. That too will be open to the public, and I'm really looking forward to meeting him. Anybody interested is of course more than welcome to attend. Please e-mail me for more details.

I have a few good links to share today. First is the Canonbury Masonic Research Center, which has some good information online. Next is a collection of Masonic poetry, and finally a page by Bro. Mark Stilwell called Beyond the Illusions - Freemasonry. Please check them all out, and enjoy!

Mon, 05 Jun 2000

It's another Monday! This weekend was a lot of fun. On Saturday I spent a few hours at the Lodge hanging out with my mentor. We talked about all kinds of things, and I ended up bringing home A Pilgrim's Path by John J. Robinson. I'm nearly done with it and have been impressed with late Bro Robinson's writing and ideas. I'm sure that his popularity has caused his ideas to be looked at very seriously in my Lodge, but I will have to wait to find out.

I also spent more time pitching my website idea to my mentor, and he really likes it. He doesn't have any experience with computers, but he understands that it is a great way to reach people. I will probably start putting something together after I get a more comprehensive pricing scheme for him to look at and share with the Lodge. Also, he invited Valkyrie and me to a public installation and dinner being given by the local York Rite organization. They send a local minister to the holy land every year, and when he returns he gives a speech or a presentation. This will be a great opportunity to show off my new suit!

I also got a Masonic emblem to stick on our car. If you check out that link, we got model AE-3. It is extremely shiny. Also, I am thinking of buying a neat Masonic tee-shirt. I have been looking at these shirts at The Greek Shop. Does anybody know of a good place online to purchase some nifty Masonic tee-shirts? Drop me a line and let me know!

Fri, 02 Jun 2000

I don't know why I hadn't mentioned this before, but last weekend I picked up the new suit I bought. I needed one primarily for Lodge meetings, but I thought it would be good to have one around just in case. I later found a good web page about buying your first suit. Luckily I had my dad to help me out.

Aside from that, I don't have a lot of updates on this rather slow Friday. I did find a page full of good information on Masonry. Also, I found a page on Bro. Ed King's excellent website which goes into detail about the issues concerning women in Freemasonry.

Lodge coffee was a lot of fun this week. We all just sat around and I got to hear a lot of bad jokes (which, nonetheless, were funny). There were a lot of brothers there this week, and I met some new faces.

Wed, 31 May 2000

Howdy, everybody! Reading through alt.freemasonry this morning, I came across a message by Bro Jim Dolan in a thread about "moon lodges". He quoted an article saying:

... In the early eighteen hundreds when Masonry in Vermont was still a new venture, the Green Mountain State was a wild and unsettled place. It is difficult for us to imagine the thoughts and feelings of a nineteenth century Vermont Mason stepping into the bitter cold of a winter night after a lodge meeting to pursue his travel homeward. For him, a trip of several miles at night after a lodge meeting was a major undertaking where even the task of finding one's way was formidable. For this reason, many of these early lodges in Vermont and other jurisdictions adopted the custom of holding their meetings during the week of the full moon. Hence, these lodges became referred to as "Moon Lodges."

I must say, after visiting Vermont last Christmas, I can attest to the depth of the cold they feel up there! I was amazed, but I loved it. Now with summer approaching, I find that I am missing the Vermont winter freeze more and more with each passing day. In any case, the full text of the quoted article has many more interesting things to say. It's good reading!

The latest Grand Lodge web page I've visited is that of the Grand Lodge of Croatia. It has a very nice layout, excellent colors, and some very good content. It looks as if it will be expanded in the future, as well. Make sure you also stop by to look at their long list of Masonic links, which seem to contain a link to every Grand Lodge they could find.

Tomorrow is the Lodge coffee get-together, and I'm looking forward to meeting with my mentor again. I'm hoping to get my memory work wrapped up fairly soon. There is a new petitioner working his way through the process right now and I am excited about the opportunity to sit in on his initiation. Many brothers have told me that watching another go through the same process is an entirely new experience in itself, and that one can learn a lot by doing this.

Tue, 30 May 2000

Happy Tuesday, everybody! I want to start off the week with this a link to Freemasonry in Israel, a page full of information. It has a very nice layout and is easily navigated, as well. This weekend while playing around at home, Valkyrie found a link to The Grand College of Rites. I don't think she even knew I was curious about them, so it's a good thing I was peeking over her shoulder. Also, I came across the International Guild of Masonic Webmasters. Do you think they'd let me join?

Valkyrie has been showing a great deal of interest in Freemasonry which prompted her to do some searching for Masonic bodies which accept female members. The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasonry is one such organization existing mainly in the UK. Le Droit Humain is another organization I see mentioned often, sometimes called The International Order of Co-Masonry. The HFAF page also mentions The Order of Women Freemasons, but unfortunately no web page is given. I think it is important that Freemasonry be somehow available to women. As Bro Alice M. Board wrote in 1936 after receiving her Entered Apprentice degree,

When I had reached the end of my journey through that vale of wonderment, my heart which had been overflowing with gratitude, became sad with a sense of injustice as my mind swiftly sped back through the ages. Why had women been so long shut away from this wealth of beauty? Why had man hugged his secrets and mysteries so closely to his breast? He had not spared one crumb from his plentiful table for the woman who toiled patiently at his side.

God made man - God made woman - He gave them both eyes to see the sun rise and set - He gave them ears to hear the chorus of birds at morning and eventide, and minds to think heavenly thoughts - then why, my heart questioned, had man delved from the past this treasure of faith, hope and charity, and had kept its pages hidden from the sight of woman?

(That quote shamelessly stolen from this site.)

Sun, 28 May 2000

Yesterday Valkyrie and I drove to the coast, but it was so incredibly rainy that we didn't even try to walk on the beach. In addition, Jefferson State Brewery, which we were intent on visiting, apparently closed down about a month ago. In defeat, we headed back home. We did get to see a bunch of redwoods, and on the way back stopped in at the Kerbyville Museum, which is just down the street from Belt Lodge #18. We got some pictures of the Lodge which I'll post here if we ever get them developed and scanned.

The museum was a rather odd one. It was of course very much a small town production, but many of their artifacts seemed strangely out-of-place or incorrectly stored. For example, they have an old barn containing a badly rusted giant newspaper printing press, an old carriage, and a couple of antique cash register machines which are all rusted beyond use. However, we enjoyed the museum quite a bit. Inside the museum proper they have a fine collection of Burroughs adding machines, telephones, and even an old working telegraph. They also have a giant lithograph machine which still works! I'd recommend the museum to any passers-by.

Now that I have my new web interface all set up, I'm able to make updates at home, so you'll probably be seeing these weekend entries from time to time. I have some good Masonic links today, too, of course. First is Gary Ford's excellent Freemasonry and Other Secret Societies. It contains a great deal of good information, including a page on phoney Masonry and why the O.T.O. should be considered clandestine. From Mr Ford's page I also found a link to the Anti-Masonry FAQ, with a lot of good historical information.

This has been an incredibly large Weekend Update! Thanks for reading, and remember to drop me an e-mail with any questions, suggestions, feedback, or Fraternal greetings!

Fri, 26 May 2000

Tomorrow Valkyrie and I will be driving to the coast, and I'm really excited about that. Today, however, promises to be a slow and relaxing Friday at work.

I've come across some good Masonic links today. First off, Bro. Paul Bessel's excellent Masonic Info page, complete with a very good list of Masonic book reviews, is worth checking out. I haven't spent much time perusing the site yet, but it looks very promising.

I also received an e-mail from Bro. Peter Maris who urged me to check out the website for his lodge, Clifton #203 in Clifton, NJ. He warned me that it was "under development", but I have to say that it looks very beautifully laid out to me! Nice colors, good layout, and it looks great from here. Bro. Peter also shared some information with me regarding Masonic titles:

By the way, in case you do not know, the RW in front of nis name stand for Right Worshipful, a title given to all present and past Grand Lodge Officers. After being made Grand Master, he , and all past Grand Masters, will be called Most Worshipful.

Thanks Peter! I learn something new about Masonry every day. By the way, loyal readers, if anybody has a good link to suggest, please drop me an e-mail and let me know. Chances are, it will end up here!

Thu, 25 May 2000

Good news! I finally got a new interface working for this page. I will be writing something up about the technical details for those who are interested later. Please, if you notice any oddness or bugs, please e-mail me about them. Also, note that the URL has changed! This page is now located at http://www.aarg.net/mason/. Please update your bookmarks.

In other news, I attended the Lodge coffee morning today, and it was a lot of fun! My Lodge is filled with many friendly people, and they're a joy to hang out with. I also spoke with a fellow I'm going to call Brother Sam about creating a web page for the Lodge, and the other Lodges in the Rogue Valley. Bro Sam thought this was a great idea, and is going to be speaking to the Worshipful Master of Jacksonville Warren Lodge #10 about it soon, and then giving me a call.

I also learned that the Lodge has another petition. I think this is excellent news! A couple of the brothers were heading out to investigate the new petitioner when I was leaving.

Today is also the Royal Arch meeting. Everybody was wearing these bright red blazers, and the coffee meeting was much more crowded than it normally is. I met many new brothers! It was very fun.

Wed, 24 May 2000

I've been meeting with my mentor, and am progressing very nicely with my memory work! Right now I'm working on the most difficult part, which those of you who have tackled the Entered Apprentice degree can probably easily identify!

Bro. Franz Bruhns sent me a link to the Freimaurer-Loge Am Rauhen Stein #888, a German Lodge with lots of interesting information, including an interpretation of the symbolism in Mozart's "The Magic Flute". This is a very good page, and I urge folks to check it out!

I also received some information from the Southern California Research Lodge. They sent me a book containing an interpretation of the Entered Apprentice degree, and several letters and pamphlets, including something written by Ernest Borgnine!

Mon, 22 May 2000

Nothing new to report today, but I did receive a link to a neat website from Bro. Neil Whary. The site, by Bro. Ed Greenberg, is an excellent resource. He has a collection of photos of Masonic Lodges across the country. One of those pictured happens to be the old Lodge building in Ashland, which was sold in 1999 when our Lodge moved to a newer building.

The old building right now is being remodelled, and several stores and restaurants are moving in. Some day I'll try to get some photos up here so others can see!

Fri, 19 May 2000

First order of the day, I'd like to extend a hearty congratulations to Garrett Yakich, who will be receiving his Entered Apprentice degree tonight in Porter Lodge #284 in Pennsylvania. I hope he enjoys the ceremony as much as I did, and I wish him the best of luck on his Masonic journey!

Now, my Question of the Day today is, what the heck is the Grand College of Rites? I couldn't find any good links for it, or I would have posted them here. If anybody passing by happens to know where I can find more information about them on the web, please drop me a line and let me know! Thanks.

And by the way, my golf game is improving!

Thu, 18 May 2000

Last night I met with my mentor for the first time to study my Entered Apprentice memory work. I am told that I'm making good time, and that I have my young brain to thank for that. It's interesting stuff! Most of it I find that I remember from the initiation, which helps a great deal. This morning is the weekly coffee meeting, but unfortunately I'm unable to attend as I'm going golfing with a good friend.

I know that it may seem a bit odd that I'm putting golfing above the Craft, but my golfing friend is a great guy, and I only get to hang out with him once or twice a week, so I like to seize the opportunity when it arises!

I've continued to have a great deal of encouraging e-mail, and my fingers are getting tired as I try to keep up with responding! The most flattering e-mail by far was from Bro. Peter Reach of Freedom Lodge #169 in Belfast, who presented me with the Excellent Masonic Page award. Thanks, Peter! I was also sent a link to Arcana Lodge #489 in Limestone, Tennessee, from Bro. Terry Baily.

I'm sorry that this entry doesn't have more interesting places to visit. I have a busy day today! Busy with, uh, golf. Does anybody have any amusing anecdotes involving golf and Freemasonry? If so, I'd love to read them.

Wed, 17 May 2000

Wow! After joining the E-M@son Webring, the URL for this site was posted to a mailing list for Freemasons in New Jersey. When I came in to work this morning, I discovered many excellent e-mails from list members. Everybody seems to really be enjoying my journal, which makes me feel really good! So, I'd like to extend a special greeting to all New Jersey Freemasons! Thank you for visiting, and please feel free to e-mail me and let me know what you think of my web page.

Tonight I will be meeting with my mentor for the first time to work on my Entered Apprentice memory work. I am not entirely sure yet what this entails, but my mentor is a really friendly man and the secretary of our Lodge. He's been a great help to me throughout this process, and I look forward to meeting with him.

On the web today, I've been reading a couple of interesting sites. The first is the home page for the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraïm, which appears to be an "extended degree" system similar to the Scottish Rite. I've e-mailed their secretary for more information, as it looks rather interesting. I also found the URL for this page of Masonic clip-art on alt.freemasonry. There looks to be a number of great graphics and pictures there, although some seem to have lost some quality when they were reduced.

Tue, 16 May 2000

While exploring the Grand Lodge of Oregon's homepage, I came across a link to Belt Lodge #18 in Kerby, OR. I have to say, despite having lived in the state for all of my 24 years, I've never heard of Kerby. Anyhow, according to the Lodge's page, they once had a very unique Master Mason degree. Valkyrie and I have made plans to stop by Kerby on our way to the coast on Memorial Day weekend.

More crawling across the web also brought about some other interesting links. First, see an essay about Freemasonry and Pagan religions. Also, the Golden Dawn FAQ is very interesting, though not very Masonic. Along a more Masonic line is E-M@son, which seems to be a web-hosting service for Freemasonic sites. Here is an excellent article by John J. Robinson titled What is a Mason? -- definitely worth a read! Finally, IBC's Masonic Resource Page has an excellent collection of good links to explore.

Mon, 15 May 2000

Well, the first bit of news is that I noticed that the Grand Lodge of Oregon has a new web site. It's a great improvement over the old site, but the abundance of animated gifs and JavaScript grates on me. Still, I urge folks to check it out!

I found a list of interesting books offered by the Southern California Research Lodge. If any passing Masons have recommendations for good Masonic reading material, I'd be happy to hear it. Please send me e-mail!

Before heading home for the day, I thought I'd share one more important link I've found. I've been concerned about what my friends and family might think about Freemasonry and my decision to become a member. I came across a page which attempts to answer Difficult Questions about Freemasonry. Please check it out!

Fri, 12 May 2000

It's official! I am now a Freemason. Last night, I received my Entered Apprentice degree in a very beautiful, moving ceremony. It was not quite what I expected, and I believe it was a very effective ritual. I am very excited about further studies and travels along the Masonic path. The longer parts of the ritual were performed by a man from Warren Lodge #10 in Jacksonville, Oregon. He was an excellent speaker, and seemed to really be enjoying himself. None of the Lodges around here have much of a web presence. Perhaps I can use my computer skills to give them a hand!

I found an excellent Swedish web page dedicated to debunking anti-Masonry. It was written by a pastor who is also a Mason, and is definitely recommended reading. Another page by the same author discusses some of the details of Swedish Freemasonry, which has some interesting differences from American Freemasonry. I remember reading in other places about the effects King Karl XIII has had on the fraternity over there. This is all interesting reading!

The official homepage of Swedish Freemasonry (or in English) contains even more information on the Swedish Rite, which is practiced in Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. They keep pretty busy! Any Swedish Rite Freemasons who stop by this page are encouraged to send me e-mail! I'd love to hear from you.

Tue, 09 May 2000

Oh, happy day!! I just learned that my initiation into the Entered Apprentice degree will be taking place this Thursday! Stay tuned for more information. Soon, I will actually be a Freemason!

Wed, 19 Apr 2000

I spoke with the man from the Lodge, and I'm scheduled to meet with him and some other Brothers (or future Brothers?) during the Thursday morning coffee time. From what I've gathered, I am supposed to be assigned a mentor, and then sometime in the near future, go through my Entered Apprentice degree. This is very exciting for me. I really can't wait to start!

Tue, 18 Apr 2000

WOOHOO!!!! Awesome news! Last night I got a message on my answering machine; it looks like my petition passed, and soon I'll be talking to somebody about scheduling my Entered Apprentice degreework!

Fri, 14 Apr 2000

Talk about nervous! I'm very anxiously awaiting a call. They must have voted on my petition last night. The thing is, the petition is apparently voted on in a blackball ballot, although not always. This means that if one person doesn't like my petition, or thinks I'm not worthy of becoming a Freemason, then they can veto my joining.

I'm hoping to hear from them today regardless, so we'll see how it goes. I'll keep this page updated! In the meantime, I just found this extremely interesting page outlining the history of the New World's first Grand Lodge. Many thanks to Russ K. of soc.org.freemasonry for sharing this link!

Tue, 11 Apr 2000

I'm eagerly awaiting news about my petition. The Lodge apparently has a "stated meeting" this Thursday, where hopefully they shall vote on me and things. If you're out there and reading this, please cross your fingers! And feel free to wish me luck via e-mail!

In the meantime, I have learned something pretty amusing. "Buzz" Aldrin, a Freemason, was given a charter by the Grand Lodge of Texas to found a Masonic Lodge on the moon. You can read all about Tranquility Lodge #2000 at its web page. Brother Jack Wise on alt.freemasonry had this to share about it:

At the December 1999 annual Grand Communication, the GL of Texas, Chartered Tranquillity Lodge #2000 to be located at the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon as soon as practical. Until the Lodge can be relocated to the moon, it resides temporarily in the city of Waco, Texas and meets quarterly in the Grand Lodge Building.

Thu, 06 Apr 2000

Wow, I apologize for the lack of updates (in case anybody is actually reading this page, I mean). By this point, I've talked to all three of the Master Masons who were supposed to be "investigating" me. Now I just have to wait for the Lodge's next stated meeting, I think, where they'll be voting on me. Probably via blackball, but I'm not entirely sure how things are done in Oregon.

I'm very excited. All of the Master Masons I've met thus far have been very nice, respectable, intelligent men. However, all of them have also been older. I'm wondering how this will affect my petition. I have been getting the distinct impression that I'll be the youngest fellow in the Lodge if I'm accepted.

So, if you're out there reading this and are in Ashland and interested in Freemasonry, you really need to ask them to petition. Call the Lodge, and they'll get back to you! Hey, it worked for me.

Thu, 16 Mar 2000

Last night I talked on the phone to a local Master Mason, who arranged to meet with me today at the Lodge's weekly coffee time. I went, and talked. He was a very, very friendly fellow! I've been very happily impressed with all of the Masons I've met so far. They've all seemed to embody the virtues promoted by Freemasonry.

After chatting for a while, he said he would recommend my petition to the Lodge. This is good news! Two more Master Masons to go! Wish me luck, everybody.

Fri, 10 Mar 2000

After several weeks of deep thought and pondering, I finally decided to petition for membership in the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, a fraternal order known more commonly as the Freemasons. I was very nervous about doing this, but I finally got ahold of a member of Ashland Masonic Lodge 23 and was asked to visit their weekly morning coffee get-together. When I showed up, I was surprised to see that all of the attending Freemasons were at least twice my age; I estimate that most of them were at least in their mid- to late-60s. However, I suspect this is but a small portion of the local Lodge. As the coffee get-together is held at 10:00 in the middle of the week, younger members probably had to be at work.

The next step, from what I've read and heard, is for three of the Lodge's Master Masons to contact me. They'll come over, meet Valkyrie, and talk to us about Masonry and what it means and stuff. After I go through that three times, they'll vote on me.

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