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Erik's Masonic Journey

Mon, 03 Dec 2001

It's been a very busy couple of months for me. My job has been taking up a great deal of my time, and on top of that I've had a few other projects going on the side.

On Saturday I was installed as Junior Deacon of Ashland Lodge No. 23. It was a great ceremony. Our lodge room was packed to the gills with visitors, Mason and non-Mason alike! I think everybody had a pretty good time.

The rest of the month looks likewise exciting. There are of course more installations all over the valley, but most of them conflict with my schedule so I won't be able to attend. Likewise, we will have our normal Masonic study group on the 17th of the month. On the 21st, Siskiyou Chapter No. 21 Royal Arch Masons will be holding their installation; I shall be installed as Royal Arch Captain. For those of you unfamiliar with the York Rite, the Royal Arch Captain is very similar in duties and responsibilities as the Junior Deacon in the blue lodge.

We have some great things coming up next year. Our incoming Worshipful Master has done a lot of hard work planning for a bunch of neat events. In addition, the study group has some cool things coming down the pipe, as well, so watch this page!

Sun, 30 Sep 2001

Yesterday I had the honor and pleasure of being exalted to the sublime degree of Royal Arch Mason. It was a very moving and meaningful experience and an amazing degree. I have to say that I agree with all of those who recommend that every Master Mason go on to receive the Royal Arch degree.

The degree work was done with the assistance of several chapters, and I don't have all of their names here with me. Here is a short list of those I can remember: my home chapter, Siskiyou Chapter No. 21; Oregon Chapter No. 4 in Jacksonville; and Coquille Valley Chapter No. 57 in Brookings. They were assisted by Right Excellent Grand Lecturer Gene Wright, PGHP, and Right Excellent General Grand Principle Sojourner Carl Carlson, PGHP. I am very grateful to all of them for their hard work. If you're reading, thank you!

And now I would like to present links to the Grand Chapter RAM of Oregon and the General Grand Chapter RAM International. Read and enjoy! If you have book recommendations or websites to send me to that can help me digest all of the information in the RAM degree, please send it to me!

Sun, 09 Sep 2001

After a Dark summer, the lodge has become Light again in a big way! This weekend we conferred three degrees! On Friday night we raised one brother to the sublime degree of Master Mason, and on Saturday we passed two brethren to the degree of Fellowcraft. It was a lot of work. Our degree team, which had never done the Master Mason degree before, worked for many months to get that one right. I played the part of the 1st FC, and we're pretty close to having a complete team.

It was only with the help of Medford Lodge No. 103 that we were able to pull the degrees off. They are always there to lend us a hand, and we're very lucky to have a large group of such helpful brethren so close by.

I'm looking forward to the coming year. We have a lot of stuff on our plate. In October, we'll have an official visitation from our new DDGM, R:.W:.B:. Leland Stickney. In November, we'll have elections, and December will be our installation. In the meantime, the new lodge website is coming together, and hopefully I'll be able to unveil it soon!

I hope everybody had a great summer, and I'm sorry I don't have any links to share! I will get working on it.

Mon, 04 Jun 2001

The study group was a great success! W:.B:. Ralph Herbold from the Southern California Research Lodge attended, and we discussed various matters, including the meaning of secrecy in our Blue Lodge obligations. It turns out that those "arts, parts, and points" actually exist! I never knew that. Nobody even told me! They are extremely difficult to track down, but I encourage all of you to visit your lodge's library and look them up in a Masonic encyclopedia.

Our next study group will be on Monday, the 18th of June. We are encouraging all Masons to attend. If you don't know where the Ashland Masonic Center is, but would like to show up at the meeting, please drop me an e-mail at erik@aarg.net. We will be discussing the Entered Apprentice degree.

One last thing. I recently came across the website for Benjamin B. French Lodge No. 15 in Washington, DC. Please check it out! I am very envious of their schedule. It sounds like their meetings are packed full of interesting speakers and education. If only they were over here in Oregon!

Mon, 21 May 2001

Tonight is our first Masonic Study Group meeting, and I must say that I am quite nervous! Bro. Carter is organizing it with me, but somehow I volunteered myself to speak at the meeting and give some sort of introduction. Yoikes! Luckily, my lovely wife Valkyrie was on a forensics team when she was in high school, and was able to give me a few pointers. I think I'm ready! This is definitely more nerve-wracking than reciting ritual from memory.

In order to calm my fears, I went out lookin' on the web, and found links to a few other Masonic study groups: The Winding Staircase Discussion Group in Charlottesville, VA; the Masonic Fellowship Discussion Group in Chicago; and the Manitoba Masonic Study Group in Manitoba.

In other news, Bro. Carter and I got drafted! We are now the lodge librarians. I suppose that's what we get for hanging out in the library too much. During our first attempt at librarianizing, we were going through the piles of new books that were recently donated to the lodge, and in one box I found an entire pile of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum research compendiums! Most of them are from the 70s, and there looks to be many many interesting articles in those volumes. I can't wait to check them out!

Hopefully those of you out there who are reading this will wish us luck tonight. We're hoping for a good turnout, and some of us (especially me) are hoping that Bro. Arneson won't get terrible stage fright trying to organize this study group!

Sat, 19 May 2001

Links, links, and more links!

I have been neglecting this page terribly, and tonight as I was playing around on my computer I realized that I had amassed quite an excellent collection of links to share with everybody. The first is not exactly Masonic in nature, but as many of you sit in lodge with brethren of different faiths, cultures, and upbringings, it should be of interest nonetheless. It is the World Civilizations page at Washington State University. Their glossary contains a ton of great information and is worth reading from beginning to end!

Now, on with the Masonic links. As I mentioned last time, we are planning a Masonic study group. In preparation, I have been combing the Internet searching for pages with good study information. It is tough to find things that are interesting enough to capture an audience, but not so esoteric as to drive people away. Let me share some of the links I've found.

  • Esoteric Freemasonry is a collection of articles about (you guessed it) esoteric Freemasonry. There is some great stuff here, and even if you're not interested in the esoteric parts of the Craft, I urge you to check it out.
  • The Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, California Chapter, is a Masonic group dedicated to extremely esoteric study matters. They have some interesting material on their site.
  • The kind brethren at NCMason.Org have put together an online list of Short Talk Bulletins, which are great papers to present before your lodge. They're also great for reading and learning from, so go check them out if you haven't already!
  • A collection of Essays and Papers has been most graciously placed online by the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. I have linked to some of their articles in the past, but here is their full collection in all its glory!

This is just a small sample of what I've found. I could share more if I had all of my links here with me. All of you should head out to your nearest favorite search engine and look up some articles on Freemasonry. Share what you've found with your brethren! Bring the light of knowledge into Freemasonry.

On Thursday, I finally saw the Master Mason degree conferred! Wow, I don't know what to say. I can see why they call it sublime, that's for sure. It was great to see all of the work and effort which went into this degree, and I am honored to have been asked to play the part of the 1st Fellowcraft in my lodge's degree team.

Tue, 08 May 2001

Before getting into my update, I'd like to share two exciting pieces of news. First of all, the Grand Lodge of Iowa now recognizes Prince Hall Masons! The Grand Lodge of F&AM of the State of New York also recently voted to recognize Prince Hall Masonry. This is great news for both of those jurisdictions. Congratulations, brothers!

Now, on to our regular news. Brother Scott Carter of Carterworks, Brother Tony King, and I have been discussing website design for Ashland Lodge's website. We've got some great plans, and this Thursday at our stated communication I will be pitching the idea to the lodge. I'm sure they'll accept it, but I am still nervous about the idea. This promises to be very exciting.

We are also going to be starting a Masonic Study Group which will meet on the third Monday of the month at the Ashland Masonic Center. This is also a very new thing for all of us. We plan on beginning by inviting all of our new Entered Apprentices and spending the first meeting or two discussing the EA degree, its ritual and meaning. Does anybody have any good tips for us? If so, please drop me a line and share them!

Stay tuned, and our new lodge website will be posted here when it's ready!

Fri, 13 Apr 2001

It's time once again for an update! Tomorrow evening we will be conferring two Entered Apprentice degrees, and then next Thursday we will be passing two of our brothers on to the Fellowcraft degree. On the Friday following that, I will be traveling out to Shady Cove Lodge No. 208 to aid in a Fellowcraft degree that they are conferring. All in all, a very busy time for me.

During the Entered Apprentice degrees, I will be giving both the apron lecture and the charge. Learning the apron lecture has proven to be quite educational. In my opinion it is the most beautiful part of the EA ritual, and every time I hear it I learn something new. Having the opportunity to give it to our new brethren is something I have wanted since I first received it myself!

In addition to all of this, I petitioned for membership in Siskiyou Chapter No. 21 Royal Arch Masons. I will be receiving the fourth degree (or perhaps the fourth and fifth degrees) on Thursday, April 26th. I would be very pleased if any York Rite readers would come by and see the degrees conferred!

Finally, I would like to share just one marvelous link. The Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum is a treasure trove of articles, pictures, and information on Masonic artifacts and antiques. I have been spending many hours on that site reading and learning. Hopefully it will be just as enjoyable for everybody.

Fri, 09 Mar 2001

Our stated meeting last night was a blast! It was also a very complicated meeting. As it was our Grand Lodge visitation night, we opened in the Master Mason degree. However, our Junior Warden, Senior Deacon, and both Stewards were out for the night. I filled in for Senior Deacon, and officers from last year filled in for the other positions. After opening on the Master Mason degree, we received Right Worshipful Brother Carl Carlson, District Deputy of the Grand Master of District 28 of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Oregon. Once this was finished, I gave my Master Mason proficiency. I am now a full Master Mason, with all of the lights, rights, and benefits which that entails!

After our small amount of Master Mason-only business was finished, RW Carlson called the lodge from labor to refreshment, where we opened on the Entered Apprentice degree, completed our normal lodge business, and then closed on both of those degrees. It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun for my first night as a Senior Deacon! The lodge attendance last night was the largest I've seen so far, and I got to meet Masons from several visiting lodges.

But the best thing is, I have a brand new dues card. Now I can go anywhere!

Mon, 05 Mar 2001

This week at our stated meeting we will be having a Grand Lodge inspection. In addition, I will be giving my Master Mason proficiency. After learning the Entered Apprentice Charge, memorizing the rest of the proficiency material was a piece of cake. I am feeling good and confident about it!

Our lodge continues to be very busy. This is a rather new thing for the lodge, at least in recent years, and everybody is very excited about it. We have three Entered Apprentices waiting for their Fellowcraft degrees, and more petitions coming in. The great thing is that many of the new petitioners are younger, which should be beneficial for our lodge's image in the community.

Also, I told the secretary that I would be interested in speaking during a lodge meeting sometime in the near future. I would like to research a topic having to do with the Entered Apprentice degree. Any pointers, research ideas, or good tidbits of information regarding this subject would be great. I haven't narrowed it down at all yet. You can send ideas to me at erik@aarg.net, and I will be very grateful.

An unidentified Mason in Hong Kong sent me several links about Freemasonry in his part of the world. The first is a link to Zetland Hall, the "Home to Freemasonry in Hong Kong." Next we have a very nice looking page called Freemasonry in Hong Kong, which has a wide variety of information available. The unidentified Mason informed me that lodges in Hong Kong operate under one of three Grand Lodges: the UGLE, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, or the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

Thu, 15 Feb 2001

The episode of History's Mysteries last night was very interesting, and in my opinion about a billion times better than the episode on secret societies last Sunday. The first half of the show painted a very glowing picture of our fraternity, with the last half covering the Morgan Affair and the negative effects it had on Freemasonry.

The one thing that disappointed me the most about the show was that so much time was spent focusing on the Morgan Affair, and not enough on either the symbolism of Freemasonry or the state of modern day Masonry. The latter was briefly covered during the last few minutes of the show, but it sure made us sound like a dying breed!

Overall, I think the show was great exposure for us! They said so many good things about Masonry, and didn't interview a single conspiracy freak or paranoid kook, which was very nice. It renewed my faith in the History Channel, that's for sure.

By the way, if anybody would like to buy the video online, it can be ordered here.

Wed, 14 Feb 2001

Hello everybody! Since I last posted to this journal, a lot of things have happened. I gave the Entered Apprentice Charge during the initiation of a good friend of mine, and I got it right this time! It was a very excellent experience. This Thursday I will be giving it again to the son of our Senior Warden.

Now, I'm going to talk about television! Tonight on The History Channel there's going to be an episode of History's Mysteries dealing with Freemasonry. You can read about it here. On Sunday they had an episode dealing with some other so-called secret societies, including the Skull & Bones. It was very sensationalized, however, and it seemed like the majority of the show was the infamous paranoid conspiracy theorist David Icke. I am hoping that tonight's show will be better.

Finally, I just finished reading this article reprinted from Time Magazine dealing with the declining state of Freemasonry and some of the things that are being done to save it. I believe the article is from 1998, and it is a very good read. I encourage visitors to check it out!

Fri, 12 Jan 2001

Hello, everybody! Posting to this journal will probably continue to be rather slow for a while, but I wanted to check in and let everybody know that things are going great. My new job is excellent and I'm having a wonderful time here.

Last Saturday we initiated two new Entered Apprentices. It seems strange that it's been eight months since my own initiation, and it was very fulfilling to finally take part in this important ceremony. I gave the Entered Apprentice Charge, albeit rather badly. It was my first time speaking in front of a crowd, and even though they were all brethren, it was still a bit nerve-wracking. However, we're initiating one more new brother on the 18th. Hopefully I'll do better this time!

Last night was my second stated meeting, and the first stated meeting of our new Worshipful Master. Because of a change in the code by the Grand Lodge last year, we were able to open and conduct business on the Entered Apprentice degree. I think our new W:.M:. was happy about this, as we'd been practicing the Entered Apprentice ritual for quite a while leading up to the initiations last Saturday. It was a lot of fun.

Soon our new degree team will begin working on the Fellowcraft degree! I believe I'll get to do the Charge for that degree as well.

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