Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Plant of Deep Root...

Here is an interesting story coming out of the border regions of the Sahara. The people there are doing combat against the creeping sands destroying the arable land there. The weapon against this scourge, the acacia tree. Lines of acacia trees are being planted to keep the Sahara at bay.

You can read more here. Truly, a plant of deep root.

H/T to WM Steve B.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Emulation Rite Exemplification

Well brothers, it's been a few days since the brothers and myself were allowed to witness an Emulation Rite Third Degree exemplification as presented by Internet Lodge No. 9659. The event was a part of the Atlantic Brotherhood Summit, an event hosted by Sir Winston Churchill Lodge No. 351, a British themed affinity lodge recently chartered. I have some new perspective of the way the Masonic world looks outside the borders of Minnesota.

The Emulation Rite is one of the most widely practiced ritual in England and perhaps, throughout the world. The Emulation ritual was a result of the amalgamated practices between the Antients and the Moderns. At the merger, the Grand Lodges took steps to standardize the ritual practiced in England. Of course, in England, there is still variety in ritual but it is common that Emulation will be the ritual seen when traveling there.

In Minnesota, like most US states, there is one ritual. That ritual is our variation of Preston-Webb (which resembles the Conservator of Rob Morris). That's why this was a huge event. A different variation of ritual hasn't been done here since 1869. Under both the approval of the UGLE and the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, the Emulation Rite was exemplified.

Without going into explaining the Emulation, it was very interesting that the same story can be told in such a different way. The elements of Masonry were there. I recognized everything going on yet at the same time, the feel was very different. The lessons were still there, but more emphasis was on certain aspects versus others.

My hope with this event is that more variation will exist in our state. I really think that's the way things are going. Sir Winston Churchill Lodge doesn't really state that they would like to practice Emulation, but I'm sure they would. Before each SWC meeting, there is an Emulation practice and many top ritualists in my state are members.

A lodge that desires to take on a new ritual takes upon itself a big responsibility. If a lodge doesn't have the requiksite requisite players, it can look outside the lodge for help. If you're the only lodge that practices that particular ritual, you really have to have dedication in your members because you may not be able to find help. Of course, a lodge that is seeking a different ritual will likely have that level of dedication.

One benefit of different practices would help cement the principle of universal Masonry which is so often impressed upon us. To know that the rest of the world is not like us is important. We need a global perspective and different ritual types can do that.

I like the Minnesota Work. In general, I think it's very well organized and dramatic. However, other ritual should be permitted. Variety is the spice of life and I really think that having different practices within our state is essential. I hope to see changes in the near future.

One question that I had but was unable to ask was how is variation dealt with in England? In Minnesota, there is no variation. I understand that there is more than one ritual but I'm curious if lodges are allowed to choose their own, how schools are dealt with if there are multiple rituals, and if all lodges founded after the creation of Emulation must choose Emulation? I'm sad I couldn't ask them however, perhaps one of my readers could help.

What do you think? Should individual lodges be allowed to practice a ritual other than the standard one in their Grand Jurisdiction?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lodge Copernicus

A fascinating new concept lodge has emerged from Adelaide in South Australia. Lodge Copernicus No. 246 is a very unique lodge. It is unique because, unlike any other lodge, this lodge can confer all five degrees of Antient Craft Masonry, the three Craft degrees, the Mark Master, and Royal Arch.

From the consecration calendar entry on the Grand Lodge of South Australia's website:

The formation of this new Lodge is an indication of a new approach to the direction in which Freemasonry is going and which underlines in a tangible way the ever increasing collaboration between Craft, Chapter and Mark.

In taking this direction, it is hoped that membership of the Chapter and Mark will increase and indeed the Craft sees this as the way to help in gaining members of those Orders.

The Lodge will work the five degrees, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd of the Craft, the Exaltation in the Royal Arch Chapter and Advancement in the Mark, These are the five degrees of pure and antient masonry which are the only ones recognised by the Craft.

Those who become members of this Lodge and are not already members of the Chapter and Mark Orders will progreess to those Orders in this Lodge. They will not need to join them in any other Chapter or Mark Lodge. Members will support and regularly attend all three Orders when qualified to do so.

This is an incredible development in Masonry. The idea that three separate bodies could work together to build something unique and beneficial for all is a step in the right direction. The likelihood of this happening in the states or provinces is little to none, but I'm always impressed to see the new ideas that spring forth from the wells of the Masonic mind.