Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
We are taught as masons that man is like a rough ashlar of stone. A rough ashlar, for non-masons, is a stone brought from the quarry that still has rough edges and needs to be cleaned up and fitted for building purposes.
The rough ashlar, through much work with the working tools of masonry, becomes the perfect ashlar to be used in the building of the celestial temple.
I rather like this symbol used by the craft to help the brethren visualise perfecting themselves. It is quite true that I am continually chipping away at the rough ashlar of my being to expose the perfect ashlar that lies underneath the surface.
This symbol has much meaning to me because I love to carve stone into art. I had carved little wooden figurines with my Swiss army knife on my front porch as a kid and loved creating things out of wood. I had even started to carve an Arthurian chess set based upon the characters of Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy of books but never finished due to the amount of pieces needed and my teenage laziness. I took a carving class none the less, and found I could create in stone just like I created in wood just with a set of different tools but much of the same talent. I loved carving stone and was often found in the art studio skipping other classes to work on my pieces.
Stone carving requires vision and patience. You need to see what you can make out of the rock and the patience to chip away a little at a time to get to that vision. It takes much more work to carve stone than wood. That is why I can really buy into the ashlar symbology of Freemasonry. A man has to slowly chip away the vices and superfluities of life to fit his ashlar into that house not made with hands eternal in the heavens. I really love that allegory but it brings me to the point of this post.
The rough ashlar is a great symbol of an adult man, but sitting here on a lazy Sunday afternoon looking at my beautiful angelic girls taking a nap (my 4 year old on the couch, my newborn in her bassinet) I see two perfect ashlars fresh out of the quarry. I would like to add a step to the allegory. The stone when cut from the quarry is perfect, it is in the transporting of the stone from the quarry to the celestial temple that the ashlar become rough. Bumpy roads beat up the perfect ashlar to the point where it must be reshaped into that which it once was before being added to that house not made with hands. There is no other way to see things when looking at your own child.
P.S. My logo was improved by one of my best friends in the world who knows well how hard it is to carve stone. We bought a piece of granite and some stone carving tools a long time ago. I remember sitting on my front porch of my parents house with him chipping away at a piece of sculpture that, still unfinished, now sits weathering on the front steps of my house waiting to be finished. We have both been on some bumpy roads that have not yet cracked our ashlars.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
There has been much debate and conjecture at my lodge leading up to our annual meeting that will be held tomorrow night. As far as I know my name will be on the ballot for Junior Warden of the lodge, which depending on who you talk to is a good and a bad thing. The brethren who I have talked with who are opposed to the idea, are so because they want me to progress through the officers chairs a little slower. They say that it is so I can get a better idea of how it is to be the junior officers particularly Senior Deacon before being thrust towards the East. I would have no problem with doing that, and would love to be Senior Deacon with all of its challenges, if it were not for the pressing need for my lodge for some new and active leadership. Our officer line has been a little stagnant and if I hadn't come along I think my lodge would be in more trouble than we are already are in.
Of the four brothers who were not Past Masters ahead of me in line when I became the Senior Steward: One has no aspirations for anything beyond Junior Steward for the time being, because he does not like to talk in public and his work schedule has been interfering with his labors in the craft. The next one has his hands in too many organizations and misses most of our meetings. The two left are the current Junior Warden who has had a horrible tragedy in his family but says he will continue to the Senior Wardens chair this year and the other is the current sitting Master of my lodge who cant wait to vacate the Oriental East.
So, at our last meeting which seems like an eternity ago, when the subject of our Grand Lodges upcoming Wardens seminar was brought up, the WM in conjunction with our Chaplain, looked over to me, who happened to be sitting in the Junior Deacons chair where I had been for a few meetings covering for a brother, and said "maybe we should send "the kid" to the seminar and move him to the South next year" and if you saw my picture on The Tao of Masonry you know what happened since.
Anyway, however my brethren decide to put this Master Mason to labor tomorrow night I will be prepared to do my best for the benefit of my lodge, as I have always done. Which brings me to Beauty.
If I am to be appointed to a chair in the South I will be the representation in our lodge of Beauty which led me to one of my (newly) favorite writers Manly Palmer Hall and his Magnum Opus "The Secret Teachings of All Ages" and the quote at the beginning.
In my life I have tried to be true to myself. At a young age I explored the meaning of life and how it applied to me. The first step toward enlightenment is to follow the words that were inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi "Know Thyself". It is the first step towards Beauty. Before you can explore the secrets of the world that our Creator has designed, study his creation that you can know best, Yourself. By knowing yourself you can act in harmony with what you were put here to do, leading to Beauty and the Great Architect of that Beauty.
My living in harmony with what I was put here to do led me to Freemasonry and to my lodge and even to this blog. If my harmony manifests itself into being the Junior Warden I will represent Beauty and share it with my brothers.
To all of my Blog Brethren who will ascend to the South this year, and that seems to be a lot of you, keep the quote above in mind and reflect upon it in your term as Junior Warden.