Seek and ye shall find
There is much to learn about Freemasonry, but how do you go about obtaining more knowledge? John Hamill steers you in the right direction.
'You should endeavour to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge' - so the Charge to the Initiate informs every new member. But how many do, and how many who would wish to would know where to start?
The proposer and seconder of an Initiate, or the 'fathers of the Lodge', should be the obvious sources .for information, but are often found wanting. In the old days, the Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction was the fount of all knowledge, but
for a couple of generations Lodges of Instruction have become simply Lodges of Rehearsal, preparing the work for the next Lodge meeting.
The omnium gatherum of Masonic information is the Library and Museum of Freemasonry at Freemasons' Hall in London. The staff there will guide enquirers to the right source, and if they do not know the answer may well 'know a man who does'.
The ritual is obviously the candidate's first experience of Freemasonry. It is often forgotten that, in addition to the ceremonies, there are the
Lectures, which expand on the ceremonies and explain many items.
Printed copies are available from Masonic suppliers, but if you can be in London on a Friday evening during the Masonic season, the best way to experience them is to visit the Emulation Lodge of Improvement.
In addition to working a ceremony, the Lodge of Improvement works the Lectures in perfect form.
For those seeking to understand the meaning of the ritual there is the Cornerstone Society. Set up in 1999 under the patronage of the Marquess of Northampton, the Cornerstone Society aims to increase the awareness, particularly of Master Masons, of the real meaning and inner spirituality and beauty of our Masonic ritual.
Given that Freemasonry teaches moral lessons and selfknowledge, the Cornerstone Society seeks to help brethren who are actively interested in developing a better understanding of this crucial aspect of Freemasonry.
The Cornerstone Society does not seek to impose its views, merely to open up avenues for exploration. This is done at conferences, which include lectures, workshops and question and answer sessions.
It is not an academic society, but more a society of shared experience, which seeks to be
interactive and to explore some of the ways in which we function as Freemasons how we conduct our ritual, what it means to us, and what the deeper meanings of the ritual are.
Forthcoming events are:
Wednesday, 6 November (6pm, Boardroom, Freemasons' Hall, London): A Master Class by Michael Baigent entitled 'Climbing Jacob's Ladder'. £6
Saturday, 9 November (Christleton, Cheshire): Full-day conference, including lunch, under the title 'The Spirit of Freemasonry'. £15
Saturday, 7 June 2003 (Grand Temple, Freemasons'
Hall, London): Full-day conference, including lunch, under the title 'The Paths of Heavenly Science'. £21
Also under the patronage of the Pro Grand Master is the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre (CMRC). Centred on the Canonbury Tower in North London, ancient London home of the Compton family, the Centre holds monthly Wednesday Lectures covering the whole gamut of Freemasonry and the Eastern and Western esoteric traditions. The CMRC's fourth conference will take place over the weekend of 2-3 November, under the title 'Freemasonry Beyond the Craft'.
Web site created by Mark Griffin